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jpak

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 38,862

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FERC’s Energy Storage Ruling Could Jump-Start Big Batteries

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/FERCs-Energy-Storage-Ruling-Could-Jump-Start-Big-Batteries

If the price of grid-scale energy storage fell to zero dollars per megawatt-hour, regulators and utilities would still be puzzled in how to deploy the boon of energy storage.

That's because storage doesn't fit neatly into the electrical utility's regulatory universe of generation, distribution, and load -- or into the utility rate recovery structure.

But that regulatory uncertainty is starting to clear.

It started with FERC Order 755, enacted in 2011, a ruling from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that increased the pay for “fast” responding sources like batteries or flywheels that are bidding into frequency regulation service markets. Flywheel energy storage operator, Beacon, sells into this market.

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MIT Explains Why Toyota and GM are Pushing Hydrogen

http://gas2.org/2013/07/17/mit-explains-why-toyota-and-gm-are-pushing-hydrogen/

In recent months, GM, Toyota, and Honda have all made big public commitments to put hydrogen fuel cell equipped cars on the road by 2016. Some of their moves can be explained by President Obama’s expected hydrogen push and pressure from oil companies and gas-station owners to keep their infrastructure relevant in a non-petroleum economy.

Hydrogen fueled cars’ primary emissions are, of course, water vapor – so they’re vastly cleaner than petroleum fueled cars at first glance. They also have the potential to be convenient, since they can be refueled in about the same time it takes to fill a liquid fuel tank. Still, despite gas station owners’ vested interest in a liquid-fuel model, they’ve been surprisingly resistant to investing in the technology. Last year, for example, only 27 hydrogen filling stations were added to America’s infrastructure. That’s surprising for a technology that was once “the darling of the Bush administration” (Bush called for $1.2 billion in gov’t funding to develop fuel-cell technology in his 2003 State of the Union address).

Since then, of course, we’ve all learned that there are a lot of questions about just how environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles actually are when the hydrogen that fuels them comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel that’s produced through highly controversial “fracking” processes that releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide (at best).

So, what’s really going on here? Why the sudden spark of interest? Kevin Bullis, of MIT’s Technology Review magazine, explains that, sometimes, “miracles do happen”.

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The Solar Industry Responds to Utility Attacks on Net Metering

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/The-Solar-Industry-Responds-to-Utility-Attacks-on-Net-Metering

A recently published primer on net energy metering (NEM) from the solar industry explains why it is under attack by utilities across the country -- and explores how the two opposing sides might come to terms.

“As the penetration of distributed solar generation increases, the debate on NEM policies and impacts is intensifying,” concluded the authors of a new report, Ratemaking, Solar Value and Solar Net Energy Metering: A Primer, from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). “Utilities in some regions have observed distributed solar adoption at rates not previously forecast and are now seeing significant amounts of grid-tied solar on their systems.”

“Between 2011 and 2012, the number of newly installed solar NEM systems increased from 61,400 to 89,620 -- a 46 percent annual growth rate -- bringing the cumulative total to 302,380 NEM systems,” the SEPA study reported. “By year end 2012, U.S. solar generation under net metering totaled more than 3,500 megawatts-AC. It is striking to consider that in 2005, when EPACT passed, total grid-connected solar capacity nationwide was only about 200 megawatts-AC.”

The utility industry is starting to think about these disruptive changes. As a recent report from the Edison Electric Institute concluded, "Disruptive forces, if not actively addressed, threaten the viability of old-line exposed industries.”

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Solar to Reduce Utility Profits in Five Years, Fitch Says

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-18/solar-to-reduce-utility-profits-in-five-years-fitch-says.html

Rooftop solar power and energy-efficiency programs will eat into utility revenue and profit margins and discourage investment in new transmission projects within five years, a Fitch Ratings analyst said.

Utilities in stagnant or low-growth markets in the Midwest and Northeast face the biggest losses as more businesses and homeowners install their own generation systems and upgrade to more efficient appliances, said Glen Grabelsky, Fitch’s managing director of utilities, power & gas. Retirees flocking to southern states may offset some losses for local utilities.

Utility revenue is increasingly threatened by technology that’s reducing demand for electricity from the grid, including solar panels, smart meters and software that shuts down operations when power prices spike. As some customers’ bills fall, state regulators will let utilities shift some of their fixed costs to other customers who don’t use solar panels, Grabelsky said today from New York.

“You can only burden the other customers to a certain degree,” Grabelsky said today in an interview. “For now it’s fairly negligible but in five years it will become noticeable. Each year the disparity will grow.”

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Letter: Facts point to success of higher wind energy standards

http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20130711/OPINION03/307110033/Letter-Facts-point-success-higher-wind-energy-standards

Carl Langner’s July 7 letter on wind power and Senate Bill 252 (“Rural energy standard is unachievable”) contains a number of errors.

Wind energy reduces electricity prices by displacing output from the most expensive and least efficient power plants. According to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, a single wind energy purchase in the state “will save ratepayers $100 million” and allow them to “lock in a price for 25 years.”

In 2012, wind energy provided more than 20 percent of the electricity in Iowa and South Dakota, and more than 10 percent in seven other states, while European countries are even higher. Langner’s claim that wind energy cannot provide more than 8 percent of the electricity on the power system is therefore demonstrably untrue.

Changes in wind energy output occur slowly and predictably. As a result, utility system operators can reliably accommodate large amounts of energy with only minimal increases in the use of the reserves they have always used to accommodate changes in electricity supply and demand.

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Wind to Double and Solar to Triple in 6 Years (IEA)

http://news.discovery.com/earth/global-warming/wind-and-solar-energy-rush-goes-global-130712.htm

Renewable electricity generation is expected to double or triple in the next six years and outpace natural gas and nuclear power as a global source for electricity as early as 2016, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). If that happens, renewables will be second only to coal for electricity generation.

“Globally, renewable generation is estimated to rise to 25% of gross power generation in 2018, up from 20% in 2011 and 19% in 2006,” the IEA reports. That growth is being driven mostly by the expansion of wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) generation.

As hyperbolic as that might sound, it’s probably an understatement, say some energy watchers.

“It’s a remarkably bullish outlook compared to most forecasts,” commented greentechmedia energy analyst Chris Nelder in a thorough post about the new report. “It’s particularly remarkable for the IEA, whose conservative outlook on renewables has historically lagged behind reality.”

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Wind farm takes shape off Fukushima as Japan seeks non-nuclear energy

http://www.euronews.com/2013/07/12/wind-farm-takes-shape-off-fukushima-as-japan-seeks-non-nuclear-energy/

The first phase is complete of a plan to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm near the Fukushima nuclear plant that was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The first turbine has been delivered to the area and the facility is due to become operational in October.

It is part of plans by Fukushima Prefecture to ditch nuclear energy and move towards total reliance on renewable sources over the next 25 years.

By 2020 scores of giant turbines 200 metres high should produce twice as much power as the world’s current biggest offshore windfarm at Greater Gabbard off the UK’s Suffolk coast.

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Government clears RWE to build world's biggest offshore wind farm (UK)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/07/11/uk-britain-power-wind-idUKBRE96A0F120130711

(Reuters) - The government has approved RWE Innogy's 1,200 megawatt Triton Knoll offshore wind farm, a project with capacity comparable to that of a large nuclear power plant.

The 3.6 billion pound project will house 288 wind turbines 20 kilometres off the coast of Lincolnshire in the east of England.

When it opens towards the end of the decade the offshore wind farm will be the world's biggest, surpassing the London Array project officially opened by Prime Minister David Cameron last week.

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The Triton Knoll project will create about 1,130 jobs in Britain and produce enough power for 820,000 homes.

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Xcel: Wind deals to save $590M

http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2013-07-10/xcel-customers-save-590m-wind-deals

Xcel Energy expects to save customers about $590 million in fuel costs over the next 20 years with new wind energy contracts it announced Wednesday.

The company’s subsidiary, Southwestern Public Service, has made three deals that will more than double its wind energy purchased under contracts to nearly 1,300 megawatts. The company will have a total of 2,200 megawatts in its system serving Texas and New Mexico.

“The rest of the wind energy on our system is not under contract but instead is purchased daily at market prices,” Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves said.

The company’s Harrington and Nichols generation stations northeast of Amarillo have a generation capacity of almost 1,500 megawatts using natural gas and coal. The deal will add almost 700 megawatts of wind energy.

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An Epic Battle Between Solar Firms and Power Utilities Could Leave One Side Unplugged

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2013-07-11/news/an-epic-battle-between-solar-firms-and-power-utilities-could-leave-one-side-unplugged/

The nonprofit company, which manages bowling alleys and seven recreation centers in the politically powerful Phoenix-area retirement community, has a large solar-panel project going up at its facilities.

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"The anticipated savings is about $15 million," Higgins says from the lobby of RSCS' corporate office at Lakeview. She adds that the electricity generated from the photovoltaic panels could power an estimated 347 homes.

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Rooftop solar is a no-brainer to power utilities like APS, too.

They say they're getting screwed in deals like these.

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