A boom in solar energy in Texas is about to spoil power generators’ favorite time of day. Developers are expected to build about 4 gigawatts of commercial-scale solar panel capacity in the Lone Star state by the end of the decade, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance Tuesday. Cheap solar energy threatens to depress electricity prices during peak midday hours, when generators profit most as consumers blast air conditioners, driving electricity demand higher.
No matter who sits in the Oval Office in January, the American electricity sector will keep moving away from coal, White House senior adviser Brian Deese said today. Though Republicans, including presidential nominee Donald Trump, continue to attack U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Deese said market forces are driving power utilities in the direction of cleaner and lower-carbon solutions.
Google Inc.’s investment in Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power Project is its largest on the African continent to date, but it almost certainly won’t be the last. The California internet giant has shown a growing interest in sub-Saharan Africa since it made its first cash outlay three years ago — a $12 million investment in the Jasper Solar Power Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province
East Africa’s Great Rift Valley will soon become a hub for emissions-free wind energy as the continent’s largest wind farm rises from the arid, rocky landscape of northwest Kenya. This month, Vestas Wind Systems installed the 154th turbine at the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, just kilometers from the massive saline lake, popularly known as the Jade Sea for its translucent blue-green water.
Wind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago. As commodity prices threaten to reach decade lows and farmers struggle to meet debt payments, wind has become the newest cash crop, saving family farms across a wide swath of the heartland
This November we will be voting on a series of amendments. One of them involves solar power and whether utility companies can charge solar users special fees. On the surface the amendment appears to be pro-solar but as CBS4’s David Sutta discovered, that may not be the case.
Utilities continue filing requests to increase fixed charges, but reports show regulators have denied the majority of these requests. Compromise solar valuation regulatory decisions occurred in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Meanwhile, policymakers in New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island have taken progressive solar action, and voters overwhelmingly supported expanding solar access in Florida.
With solar panel prices down 20%-25% in the last few months, and the cost of financing rising for some developers, we’ll likely see more solar companies go out of business in the next two years. Whether or not that leads to a more sustainable industry or not — only time will tell. If it does, the upside will be tremendous for the winners.
Data has been transmitted across a national electricity grid for the first time, in what could be a significant step towards the creation of virtual power stations, where many thousands of homes and businesses combine to manage electricity use more smartly. The new technology could lead to lower energy bills for consumers who allow small variations in the energy consumption of their appliances, such as water heaters or freezers.
Some wind producers, encouraged by turbine makers, are deciding to “repower” existing wind farms to tap the tax credits, including NextEra Energy Inc., which has 110 wind farms in 19 states and Canada. NextEra reaped $73 million in Production Tax Credit subsidies in the first six months of the year. Armando Pimentel, chief executive of NextEra Energy Resources, the company arm that develops renewable power, recently told investors that while retrofitting “certainly wasn’t something we were thinking about six months ago,” he believes it may now make sense for nearly a third of the company’s 13,000-megawatt wind portfolio.