Demand for electricity in Texas is forecast to reach the highest so far in 2016 on Thursday as a brutal heat wave bakes the Lone Star State, according to the state’s power grid operator, which expects supplies to be sufficient to meet the peak. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid in most of the state, predicted demand would reach 69,589 MW on Thursday, topping the unofficial hourly high for the year of 68,800 MW set on Wednesday.
In June, the state of California — which has led the U.S. in putting electric cars on the road and switching to so-called clean electricity — took a decisive turn in its quest to move away from carbon–emitting fuels. An agreement between the large utility Pacific Gas and Electric and environmental and labor groups set a path for retiring the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, and thus, for a state in which “carbon free” will not include energy generated through the splitting of atoms. On Monday, though, New York — also a leader when it comes to greening power supplies — announced a very different route. The state’s Public Service Commission approved a Clean Energy Standard backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s backed Clean Energy Standard. It seeks to get New York to 50 percent renewable electricity by the year 2030 — while also retaining the six nuclear reactors that currently provide more 30 percent of the state’s electricity.
In the year since U.S. EPA unveiled its Clean Power Plan, the American electricity sector has outpaced all expectations about how quickly it can shift away from coal. Utilities, especially those that are investor-owned, have moved rapidly, driven by a combination of lower gas and renewable power prices, state mandates, federal tax incentives, customer demands and their own corporate efforts to address climate change. A new market reality has emerged — one that is starkly different from when President Obama announced his landmark climate effort on Aug. 3, 2015.
The deep waters off the coast of California could become home to the country’s largest offshore wind energy project and a test case for a technology that is still in its infancy. The 765-megawatt project, proposed by Seattle-based Trident Winds, would sit about 25 miles off California’s central coast, near the town of Cambria. If built, it will be larger than the 630-megawatt London Array off the coast of Kent, – the world’s largest working offshore wind farm that began operating in 2013.
Tesla Motors said on Wednesday that its losses deepened in the second quarter, but the electric-car maker pledged to expand production and improve the profitability of its vehicles. The company said it lost $293.2 million in the quarter, on revenue of $1.27 billion. The loss was only slightly more than in the first quarter, but it greatly exceeded analyst forecasts and raised the pressure on Tesla to improve its factory output.
Graham Goodman, a 33-year-old chemist, bought a used all-electric Nissan Leaf last fall in preparation for a tightening budget and growing family. In May, he stepped out of the hospital where he had just visited his wife and newborn to unplug his car from its charging station and go home. “I’m a former Marine, so it also feels like this tiny patriotic act I can do,” said Goodman, pointing to the U.S. Marine Corps eagle sticker on the back of the car. His Missouri license plate: PLUGD-N.
The new Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck has an electrically driven rear axle and is powered by three lithium-ion battery modules. The zero-emission vehicle has an admissible total weight of up to 26 tonnes with a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles). Although the range is on the low side, the model here is still a prototype. And, as Engadget pointed out, the “Urban” prefix implies that it’s meant for use in the cities instead of, say, cross-country hauls.
California’s landmark cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions and proposed amendments to extend that system will be used to comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the state said yesterday. The Golden State is the first in the country to publish a draft blueprint for fulfilling the federal agency’s mandate, aimed at cutting existing power plant emissions, said Stanley Young, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board.
Clean energy advocates yesterday hailed Massachusetts’ adoption of the nation’s most ambitious offshore wind energy law, one requiring utilities to contract for 1,600 megawatts of power from offshore turbines by 2027. “The Massachusetts Legislature hit a home run tonight,” Catherine Bowes, senior manager for climate and energy at National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast Regional Center, said in a statement following the Sunday passage of the long-negotiated energy measure, which also calls for significant increases in Canadian hydropower imports.
“Embrace of Renewables Has a Hidden Cost,” by Eduardo Porter (Economic Scene column, July 20), perpetuates the myth that nuclear and renewable energy are competitors. In reality, cheap natural gas is causing nuclear’s woes because fossil fuel power plants set prices in electricity markets, not wind or nuclear. Cheap fossil fuels have a 500 times larger effect than wind on setting the prices received by nuclear plants, according to the country’s largest electricity market monitor. Mr. Porter does note: “The economics of nuclear energy are mostly to blame. It just cannot compete with cheap natural gas.” But he still blames renewables.