May142015

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energy policy over the coming years.

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May142015

Coast to Coast and Across Electric Systems, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that have the ability to disconnect from the main, centralized grid to operate independently when the main power grid experiences disturbances. This significantly boosts grid resilience. For almost a century, large centralized power plants have generated electricity and delivered that energy over high-voltage transmission lines to customers. But with microgrids, all that could change.

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May132015

UK Prime Minister Appoints Wind Farm Opponent to Energy Post

Prime Minister David Cameron named a vocal opponent of onshore wind farms to a junior post in the U.K. energy department, reinforcing his Conservative government’s effort to halt the spread of turbines in rural areas.

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May122015

Experts Agree: Electric Grid Will Stay Ahead of the Curve on the Clean Power Plan

In a timely new report, three prominent electric grid industry experts refute claims that the president’s proposal to cut carbon pollution from power plants will jeopardize electric grid reliability. The authors, Susan Tierney, Eric Svenson, and Brian Parsons, explain that those claims undervalue the grid’s strengths and the Clean Power Plan’s flexible design. They also chart a role for grid planners to help states develop their plans to cut carbon pollution.

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May122015

Germany’s Powerhouse Feels Pinch of Merkel’s Shift to Renewables

North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that’s home to utilities RWE AG and EON SE, is losing its standing as the country’s powerhouse as wind and solar energy begin to displace conventional sources.

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May122015

Brazil-based Renova’s Partnership with SunEdison Shows Shift in Strategy

Instead of owning and operating power plants, which deliver long-term, steady revenue streams, Renova Energia SA’s Thursday deal to sell assets to TerraForm Global Inc., a newly formed unit of U.S. developer SunEdison Inc., is the first step toward selling all its operating assets, according to a person involved in the deal who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

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May112015

UK Conservative Victory Sparks Climate and Renewable Energy Concerns

Amber Rudd was named to serve as the U.K. Cabinet minister in charge of energy and climate, easing concerns that the Conservative government would quickly backtrack on pledges to reduce fossil-fuel pollution.

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May112015

The Fantasy of Electric Rates: Time to Educate Ratepayers

Many electric utilities are flexing their political muscles against solar net metering and state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Their main issue is that other consumers are subsidizing solar (and renewables), particularly pointing to lower-income consumers. I have already written about the numerous studies that disprove those allegations, but that is not what this article is about.

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May082015

Summers’ Law Strikes Again

Lawrence Summers famously wrote, “there are idiots, look around” in an attack on the theory that markets are rational. What some have called “Summers’ Law” certainly applies to the markets’ response to the slide in the price of oil as it relates to stocks of renewable energy companies.

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May072015

The New Normal? Renewables, Efficiency, And “Too Much Electricity”

Just over a decade ago, the state of California faced serious concerns about whether its utilities could generate and/or buy enough power to assure that the world’s seventh-largest economy could keep the lights on. The infamous California energy crisis, which affected several other western states as well, was a complex tangle of poorly structured deregulation, significant market manipulation (remember Enron?), and other causes. Along with rolling blackouts, California endured an official state of emergency that lasted 34 months, led to the recall and replacement of Gov. Gray Davis, and cost the state and its ratepayers billions of dollars — a cautionary tale for all states of electricity supply unable to meet demand.

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