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June 13th, 2012 Archives
Don’t hold your breath. The CEO of the California ISO says, “It’s good stuff, but it’s expensive, and we have to find business cases.”
Eric Wesoff: June 11, 2012
Steven Berberich is the President and CEO of the California Independent System Operator -- the entity that makes sure there is a balance of electrical generation supply to meet the power demands of 30 million Californians. The organization has a deep familiarity with baseload and synchronous generation sources. Berberich spoke at a recent energy storage event put on by Silicon Valley Joint Venture.
Berberich's speech revealed enthusiasm for storage, moderated by the uncertainty of the regulatory environment and the still-expensive price of energy storage technology.
Berberich said, "It's not a matter of if -- it's a matter of when." But he also remarked, "Yes, it's expensive -- and it has to come down in price."
"Storage plus renewables is a marriage made in heaven. Wind moves around a lot and the quality of wind in California is not very good -- it blows at night and dies during the day. We can use storage to help moderate that." Given the 33 percent renewable energy mandate in California, the proliferation of wind, and storage's ability to cover wind cutting out, Berberich notes, "It's the economics of storage we need to sort out."
"We are the balancing operator in California," said Berberich. "I always talk about how supply and demand have to be equal. There is an opportunity to change that law if storage is on the system."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/When-Will-Utility-Scale-Energy-Storage-Becomes-Widespread/Share This Post
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
A coalition of environmental justice and civil rights activists has filed a complaint alleging that cap-and-trade provisions in California's pioneering program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions discriminate against people of color.
The groups, which represent minority communities, accused the California Air Resources Board of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it agreed to allow polluters in low-income areas to use carbon offsets to buy their way out of pollution reduction under the state's global warming reduction plan.
"Cap and trade allows them to buy allowances from other facilities or offsets from out of state or even internationally, denying communities next to refineries and other polluting businesses the benefits that would occur through direct regulation," said Brent Newell, a lawyer for the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, which filed the complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/12/BAQI1P08C6.DTLShare This Post
firstname.lastname@example.org Published Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2012
The state Department of Water Resources will stop buying electricity from a coal-burning power plant in Nevada next year as part of a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The department has been a leaseholder in the Reid Gardner Power Station in Moapa Valley, Nev., for 30 years. DWR holds a two-thirds interest in one of four generating units at the plant, located about an hour north of Las Vegas and owned by NV Energy, a publicly traded utility company.
Electricity from the plant primarily serves DWR's State Water Project, the nation's largest water diversion system and the single largest energy consumer in California. The electricity required to pump water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and over the Tehachapi Mountains is responsible for 2 to 3 percent of all the energy demand in California, said John Andrew, assistant deputy director at DWR.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/12/4556506/california-to-stop-electricity.htmlShare This Post
Ken Silverstein | Jun 12, 2012
Coal’s days are getting dimmer. With environmental regulators coming down on it in combination with extremely cheap natural gas prices, it is losing market share. But it’s also losing some support in the utility community.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energybiz.com/article/12/06/utilities-are-bailing-coal&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=EB_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-MemberShare This Post
Jun 12 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Leslie Brooks Suzukamo Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
Environmental groups say Xcel Energy's plan to meet Minnesota's electricity needs over the coming decades relies too heavily on coal-fired power, so the groups are asking state regulators to order the utility to study the alternatives, particularly adding more wind and solar power.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24893754Share This Post
June 12, 2012 | 10:43 pm
Dozens of residents and environmentalists demonstrated outside Culver City council chambers Tuesday night, calling on state lawmakers to ban fracking, a controversial technique used to collect natural gas and oil. Inside, a presentation on the practice was being given to the council and public.
Waving signs to motorists and chanting "Ban fracking now!" demonstrators said the practice is harmful, even if it were to be regulated in the state.
"There's no such thing as safe fracking," said Claudia Bestor, a Baldwin Hills resident. "It's damaging to the air and water."
One sarcastic protester wore a serial killer mask and held a heart-shaped sign that read "I Love Fracking."
To read the entire article go to: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/protesters-take-to-culver-city-streets-to-decry-fracking-.html?track=latiphoneappShare This Post
By MIREYA NAVARRO Published: June 11, 2012
A report from a new institute at the State University at Buffalo asserting that state oversight has made natural gas drilling safer is causing tumult on campus and beyond, with critics arguing that the institute is biased toward industry and could undercut the university’s reputation.
Jim Holstun, a State University at Buffalo professor, said a study on hydraulic fracturing “reflects the interests of the gas companies, not scholarship.”
The study, issued on May 15, said that state regulation in Pennsylvania had made drilling there far safer and that New York rules were even more likely to ensure safety once drilling gets under way in the state.
But a government watchdog group quickly raised questions about the study’s data and the authors’ ties to the oil and gas industry. And a newly formed group of professors and students is calling for a broader inquiry into the genesis of the institute, which issued the report only weeks after its creation was announced in April.
“This report reflects the interests of the gas companies, not scholarship,” said Jim Holstun, a professor of English and one of around 20 members of the newly formed University at Buffalo Coalition for Leading Ethically in Academic Research, which met for the first time Wednesday night. “We look very bad.”
The controversy at the university, a major research center with the biggest enrollment in the State University of New York system with 28,600 students, taps into widespread concerns in academia about the growing influence of corporate money in research as government grants decline. The drilling research arm, the Shale Resources and Society Institute, is seeking to raise $1.14 million in start-up money over the next three years from the oil and gas industry and other sources, according to the university and the institute’s Web site.
To read then entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/nyregion/university-at-buffalo-faces-scrutiny-over-gas-drilling-report.htmlShare This Post
The Huffington Post | By Lucia Graves
Posted: 06/12/2012 5:09 pm Updated: 06/12/2012 5:56 pm
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), an influential energy policymaker, appeared to reverse his position on renewable energy in a debate with GOP challenger Jack Hoogendyk on Sunday, telling a Western Michigan University audience he believes in government support for "all the alternative energy policies."
When asked by a moderator what alternative energy processes he favors and whether there should be subsidies for alternative energy, Upton replied, "I supported all the alternative energy policies, not just Keystone, that's clean coal, safe nuclear.
"All of these forms of energy need to make it on their own," the congressman added, according to a transcript of the debate provided by the Kalamazoo Gazette. "We need to support them. We need a North American energy plan which makes us energy independent. I'm convinced we can do that and renewable need to be part of that mix along with the other things I mentioned.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/fred-upton-flip-flop-alternative-energy_n_1591161.html?view=print&comm_ref=falseShare This Post
The Huffington Post Canada | By Daniel Tencer
Posted: 06/12/2012 12:54 pm Updated: 06/12/2012 12:54 pm
Canada will not see significant employment gains from the oil boom in the western part of the country, and should turn to development of green energy to drive future job growth, says a report from a left-leaning think tank.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives argued in a study published Tuesday that jobs created in the oil sands are fleeting, and the country should establish a plan to shift to a zero-emissions economy -- an ambitious goal the paper says will keep the country from missing out on more green jobs.
While some Canadian jobs will be created in the oil sands in the coming years, “most of them will be of short duration in the construction phase, while permanent jobs will be few due to the capital intensive nature of these industries,” the report stated, suggesting the authors expect technological advances to eliminate existing jobs in the oil patch.
The report goes against claims made by some government and energy industry groups that say Canada’s oil extraction industry will fuel job growth for years to come. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forecasts that employment in the northern Alberta oil sands will grow from around 75,000 today to 900,000 by 2035.
But the CCPA report argues that the oil business doesn’t create as many jobs as the same amount of output would create in other sectors, including the green economy. The report notes that one per cent of Canadian workers are employed in fossil fuel extraction, even though the industry accounts for 4.8 per cent of Canada’s economic output.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/12/canada-jobs-oil-green-economy_n_1590102.html?view=print&comm_ref=falseShare This Post
“Some kinds of opposition you have to crush.”—Governor Brown
Herman K. Trabish: June 11, 2012
California Governor Jerry Brown wants 12,000 megawatts of distributed generation (DG) to be part of the 20,000-plus megawatts of renewable capacity the state’s utilities have been ordered to put in place by 2020. That's a lot of rooftop and ground-mounted solar, small and community wind, small biomass/biogas production, combined heat and power and other such local renewables.
“There are many thousands of megawatts left to do,” explained Steven Weissman, co-author of the report California’s Transition to Local Renewable Energy: 12,000 Megawatts by 2020 from U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE).
Most of California’s DG will likely come from solar. “The good news is the California Solar Initiative [CSI] the CPUC oversees, which pertains to retrofit installations, and a comparable program the CEC oversees for new construction, should hit their 3,000-megawatt target by 2017. The bad news is it will have taken ten years. To meet the 12,000 megawatt goal, we’re going to have more than 3,000 megawatts still to make up and less than ten years to do it.”
To create a roadmap, Brown gathered players in the solar private sector, representatives of the state’s utilities, and leaders of California trade groups, environmentalists and labor unions at UCLA last summer and charged them with finding a way to install the twelve gigawatts despite regulatory, financial and political obstacles. “Find the path through the thicket,” he told them. “On the other side, we will have our solar future.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Getting-California-to-12000-Megawatts-of-Distributed-Generation/Share This Post
Published: June 10, 2012
WASHINGTON — When the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets on Wednesday to consider President Obama’s choice to head the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, three themes are likely to dominate the questioning: waste, waste and earthquakes.
Mr. Jaczko, the outgoing chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been criticized for his management style.
Collegiality and diplomacy may also be mentioned, given that the commission’s current chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, has drawn criticism for his aggressive management style.
The nuclear industry would, no doubt, prefer more uplifting confirmation hearing topics, like new reactor construction or progress on radical new designs that would make nuclear plants more useful or economical.
But for the first time, the president has chosen a geologist for the post, Allison M. Macfarlane of George Mason University, and her expertise aligns with the pressing concerns facing Congress and the nuclear industry. She is a longtime critic of the idea of burying waste at Yucca Mountain, a volcanic structure about 100 miles from Las Vegas chosen by Congress in the late 1980s, considering its geology too unpredictable. With little new plant construction, the commission’s main responsibility these days is assuring the safety of the 104 plants now operating, and what to do with the decades-old problem of waste.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/11/science/earth/allison-macfarlane-nuclear-regulatory-commission-hearing-may-focus-on-waste.htmlShare This Post
Stats from Black & Veatch’s new utility survey show an industry worried about spending and regulator acceptance of smart grid projects.
Jeff St. John: June 8, 2012
One in three utilities lacks confidence that regulators are going to make it easy to recover the costs of implementing smart grid projects -- and more than two-thirds of them see an impending slowdown in spending making it harder to choose which facets of the smart grid to invest in.
Those are some of the results out from Black & Veatch’s sixth annual Strategic Directions in the U.S. Electric Utility Industry Report released earlier this week. The report, a snapshot of utility executives opinions taken in February and March of this year, paints a picture of an industry in the midst of unprecedented change -- and one that’s having trouble adjusting to the risks involved with that change.
On the smart grid front, utilities are seeing a downshift in spending, as the $4.5 billion in federal stimulus grants that gave the industry such a huge boost over the past 18 months have started to run out. Only 27 percent of respondents thought that spending would remain about the same after stimulus grants run out, and more than 70 percent of them predicted a slowdown.
Just how that slowdown would take place, however, was a matter of some dispute among respondents. About 30 percent of them saw the main focus for reduced spending going toward “revenue cycle system” improvements -- i.e., smart meters, billing software, customer-premise devices, and the like.
Only 17 percent saw the focus moving to transmission and distribution operating systems, on the other hand -- a finding that would seem to be at a disconnect to the shift in spending we’ve tracked from smart meters to distribution automation and other grid-side projects.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/smart-grid-costs-hard-to-recover-utilities-say/Share This Post
By CASSANDRA SWEET June 13, 2012, 12:41 a.m. ET
The U.S. market for solar panels is likely to double in 2012, thanks to government policies and falling prices, although new tariffs on panels imported from China could contribute to slower growth in 2013, according to a new study.
U.S. developers are likely to install about 3,300 megawatts of solar panels this year, nearly double the amount installed in 2011, according to the study released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.
The global solar-power market has been turbulent for manufacturers, as prices have plunged amid an oversupply of panels. But the falling prices, as well as faster development for large-scale solar power plants, have driven strong demand for solar in the U.S., the report found.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303901504577463530018881206.html?Share This Post
How about solar picks up the costs of net metering and utilities deliver accurate data, not sob stories?
Jigar Shah: June 8, 2012
Net metering is a compromise accounting method to accurately track electricity sent back to the grid. It allows utility customers who generate electricity on-site, usually from a solar PV rooftop system, to run their meter backward by sending the excess electricity generated back to the grid, or utility company. In turn, the utility company must pay the retail rate for the electricity sent back to the grid. This was done because it is the easiest way for the utilities to accommodate solar with their old meters and antiquated billing systems.
Well, not so simple. The complexity of the issues were oversimplified in a June 5 New York Times story by Diane Cardwell, entitled “Solar Payments Set Off a Fairness Debate."
Another article in CleanTechnica on May 21 by John Farrell, entitled “Net Metering: A Cost to Utilities or a Benefit?”, depicts more of the cost/benefit of net metering to the utility.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Guest-Post-Lets-Make-a-Solar-Net-Metering-Deal/Share This Post
The reality is that meeting our energy needs will require fossil fuels and renewables not merely to co-exist, but to co-develop.
Sheldon Kimber: June 11, 2012
President Obama’s recent talk of an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy is no doubt partially motivated by election year politics. That said, there is an important kernel of truth underlying it: no one approach can solve our nation’s future energy needs. While some renewable energy advocates want the industry to be the White Knight, the reality is that meeting our energy needs will require fossil fuels and renewables not merely to co-exist, but to co-develop.
This co-existence is particularly critical for two sectors of the industry: solar and natural gas.
Why these two? Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has fundamentally shifted energy production and consumption in the past ten years. For example, Germany recently set a record by producing 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs from solar. Solar is also cheaper than ever before thanks to massive cost reductions. Solar has earned a place at the mainstream energy table.
It is also clear that the development of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) technology shares the spotlight with solar PV as the greatest revolution in energy in the last 50 years. In just a few short years, our domestic outlook has changed from one of resource shortage to one of abundance. Many unanswered questions remain around fracking’s impact on health and the environment, but the fact remains that just like solar, it has radically increased our energy options.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Guest-Post-Frenemies-Why-Solar-and-Natural-Gas-Will-Be-Central-to-U.S.-E/Share This Post