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Electricity Grid

Winners and Losers from Flattening Tiered Electricity Prices

July 1, 2015 by Severin Borenstein

Winners and Losers

The California Public Utilities Commission is moving closer to major changes in the steeply increasing-block residential electricity rates that the state has had since the 2000-01 California electricity crisis. This Friday the Commissioners may decide to significantly flatten the tiered rate structure.[read more]

Solar's Value for Grid Circuits: Not Much on Average, but Huge for a Handful

July 1, 2015 by Jeff St. John

Solar and the Grid

Solar advocates and opponents have argued over the merits of various studies about the relative costs and benefits of distributed solar PV. Different studies have reached different results -- so different that the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote an entire report just to compare and contrast 16 of them.[read more]

Don't Write Off Energy Efficiency, It's Just About to have its Day.

June 30, 2015 by EDF Energy Exchange

The Advent of Energy Efficiency

Economists from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley released a study that called into question the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency. The study was based on the team’s analysis of energy savings shortfalls in the Michigan low income Weatherization Assistance Program.[read more]

North Carolina Solar Leadership at the Crossroads

June 30, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard
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Solar in the States

As a North Carolinian, I can tell you it's pretty darned amazing that, last year, our state was number 2 in the nation in installed solar capacity. And number 4 in the first quarter of 2015, despite what can only be described as some really crappy (and construction-slowing) winter weather.[read more]

Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver Huge Benefits

June 26, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Return on Green Investments

Decades prove energy efficiency programs deliver benefits to consumers and the environment - and these benefits far exceed the costs. A new working paper about a single federal efficiency program for low-income residents in Michigan is generating a lot of hype, but does nothing to contradict these basic facts.[read more]

Solar Star, Largest PV Power Plant in the World, Now Operational

June 25, 2015 by Eric Wesoff

Solar Star PV Plant

BHE Renewables' 579-megawatt solar project located in in Antelope Valley, California is now fully connected to the California ISO grid. That allows the facility, dubbed "Solar Star," to claim the title of the largest operational solar project on the planet.[read more]

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How Much Land Does Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Require?

June 24, 2015 by Jesse Jenkins
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Land use impacts of solar wind and nuclear energy.

Does wind and solar take up too much land to be practical? Does the extreme energy density of nuclear fuel make it the ecologically ideal energy source? In this post, I run the numbers on the land use impact of wind, solar, nuclear and other energy sources.[read more]

How Should Distributed Generation be Distributed?

June 23, 2015 by Meredith Fowlie

Distributed Generation Planning

In the U.S., residential solar PV installations last quarter were up 11% over the previous quarter: In those states where residential solar is taking hold, there are mounting concerns that rate structures currently in place to support residential PV will result in adopters bearing less than their fair share of system costs.[read more]

Cellulosic Ethanol is Going Backwards

June 23, 2015 by Robert Rapier

The Direction of Cellulosic Ethanol/shutterstock

April was a record month for cellulosic ethanol production according to the EPA’s database that tracks this information, but that meant that at least 8 months into the learning curves for these plants actual production for that month was only about 6% of nameplate capacity. And now things are going backwards.[read more]

Economics of Installing Combined Heating and Power Systems

June 23, 2015 by Merrill Kramer
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Combined Heat and Power Systems

With states adopting programs to encourage energy users to install combined heating and power (CHP) systems, building owners and asset managers are asking themselves the bottom line question – how can CHP increase my operating income and asset value?[read more]

Opening the Small Commercial Solar Market

June 22, 2015 by Elias Hinckley

Small Scale Solar Market/shutterstock

While the solar market has been exploding over the past few years, the small commercial segment of the market, made up of locations like apartment buildings, office buildings, small businesses, factories, warehouses, and hospitals, has been extraordinarily slow to develop.[read more]

Laudato Si: The Moral Case for Energy Efficiency

June 22, 2015 by James Greenberger

Pope Francis and Climate Change/shutterstock

Last week Pope Francis issued a sweeping new encyclical on the environment entitled “Laudato Si”. The encyclical runs 184-pages and covers a range of issues. Most noteworthy is its endorsement of the proposition that climate change is real and caused primarily by human activity.[read more]

The Grid is Getting Smarter, but are Customers Keeping Up?

June 22, 2015 by Jared Anderson

Smart Grid Adoption Delays?

Price signals are the key to altering actual customer behavior with regard to energy consumption, but something as simple as a smart meter alone may not be enough to advance many of the lofty goals promised by the smart grid or microgrids.[read more]

Enhancing the Role of Fuel Cells for Northeast Grid Resiliency

June 18, 2015 by Morry Markowitz
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Severe weather over the last few years demonstrate that our aging infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to outages and other disruptions. Intense storms, such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, debilitated sections of the eastern seaboard and left many communities without power for extended periods of time.[read more]

EU Energy Briefing: All You Need to Know for June [VIDEO]

June 17, 2015 by David Thual

EU Energy News

In this latest Brussels Briefing on Energy for viEUws - the European Union Policy Broadcaster, leading journalist Hughes Belin provides an overview of the latest European Union energy policy developments, including a review of the EU's efforts to reach renewable energy goals.[read more]