NewEnergyNews More: May 2015

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Every day is Earthday.

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  • Wednesday, May 27, 2015


    Berkshire buys more wind projects

    May 22, 2015 Lincoln Journal Star

    BHE Renewables, a subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway Energy company that is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., acquired two wind projects and seven solar projects from Geronimo Energy, including the 400 MW Grande Prairie Wind Farm, Nebraska’s biggest wind installation, the 255 MW Walnut Ridge Wind Farm in Illinois, and seven solar projects in Minnesota that are part of the 400 MW of community shared solar for which Xcel Energy has taken applications. Construction for all the wind and solar is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016. When Warren Buffett was reminded last year that Berkshire Hathaway Energy had invested $15 billion in renewables, he replied “there’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.” click here for more


    Minnesota regulators approve special off-peak power rates for plug-in vehicle charging; State regulators have approved lower rates for overnight electric vehicle charging.

    David Shaffner, May 21, 2015 Minneapolis Star Tribune

    The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered the state’s investor-owned utilities to provide new, reduced rates for the state’s estimated 3,000 electric vehicle owners who charge their cars during the off-peak nighttime hours. The new rates, which become available in about two months, could reduce the cost of charging EVs by 40%. EV penetrations are expected to increase in Minnesota by 2017 when battery ranges exceed 200 miles, a distance today’s Tesla is capable of. Some estimates put the cost of driving a plug-in at the equivalent of paying $0.40 per gallon to $0.50 per gallon for gasoline. Renewables in Minnesota largely means wind and wind is plentiful and therefore cheap at night. Night charging with renewables is seen as particularly effective at reducing the 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions generated by the transportation sector. click here for more


    An Alaskan Island Goes 100% Renewable

    Laurie Guevara-Stone, May 19, 2015 Rocky Mountain Institute

    Kodiak Island got relief from Alaska’s $0.18 per kwh electricity price by substituting wind power for the annual 2.8 million gallons of diesel fuel it has burned at an annual cost of $7 million. With 80% hydro power, its electricity supply now meets its 26-plus MW peak demand with 99.7% renewables. The 15,000 person southern Alaska island’s Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) installed six 1.5 MW GE wind turbines, 3 MW of battery storage, and added a 10 MW hydroelectric turbine to existing facilities. The island’s electricity rates, which are now 2.5% below 2001 levels, brought in new economic activity and jobs in construction and the fishing industry, and increased tax revenues, making a strong case for the state’s 50% by 2025 renewables mandate. click here for more

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015


    Barack Obama vs. Jeb Bush: The Climate Change Edition

    Michele Richinck, May 21, 2015 (Newsweek)

    “To President Barack Obama, climate change is a threat to national security. To Jeb Bush, a likely Republican presidential candidate, it's not clear how much humans are to blame for the Earth's fluctuating climate…While saying climate change hasn't necessarily caused conflicts around the world, [President Obama] noted that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group. And he said it's believed that drought, crop failures and high food prices played a part in fueling unrest in Syria…Bush hit back at the president, saying that…the issue shouldn't be ignored and that the Earth's climate is changing, but said research doesn't explicitly show the extent of human responsibility…Last year, the United Nations found the increasing threat of climate change will continue to grow if greenhouse gas emissions aren't brought under control…” click here for more


    Renewable Energy Dominates Another Month: Wind + Solar = 100% Of New Capacity In Apri; Over 84% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity Year-To-Date Is From Renewables

    Ken Bossong, May 26, 2015 (Sun Day)

    “…[R]enewable energy sources once again dominate in the latest federal monthly update on new electrical generating capacity brought into service in the United States…[W]ind and solar accounted for all new generating capacity placed in-service in April…[W]ind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower combined have provided over 84 percent (84.1%) of the 1,900 MW of new U.S. electrical generating capacity placed into service during the first third of 2015. This includes 1,170 MW of wind (61.5%), 362 MW of solar (19.1%), 45 MW of geothermal steam (2.4%), and 21 MW of hydropower (1.1%). The balance (302 MW) was provided by five units of natural gas…Renewable energy sources now account for 17.05% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S…” click here for more


    Intel catches the wind with rooftop micro-turbine array

    Pete Carey, May 21, 2015 (San Jose Mercury News)

    “Intel is turning the roof of its Santa Clara headquarters into a mini-wind farm with what it says is one of the largest micro-turbine arrays in the country…The V-shaped formation of 58 wind-powered [Zefr] turbines…is expected to generate about 65 kilowatt-hours of power that will be used to provide electricity to the conference center in the rambling Robert Noyce Building…The chipmaker called the micro-turbines a "proof of concept" project…The micro-turbines are 6 to 7 feet tall, weigh about 30 pounds each and are positioned at the roof's edge where they can gather the most [8mph to 9mph] wind…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015


    Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Energy Storage Systems Integrators Assessment of Strategy and Execution for 12 Energy Storage Systems Integrators

    2Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “…One area of critical importance for the energy storage market is energy storage systems integration (ESSI). This is particularly important in the utility and commercial storage segments, which are growing quickly but often require customization and lengthy interaction with the end user…Systems integrators possess the technical and experiential capability to physically integrate hardware and software components into a working energy storage system (ESS) that meets an end user’s requirements…Players that have differentiated themselves include firms with strong, compelling, and scalable models and ESSI offers…[that] have well-thought out strategies with innovative offers that are responsive to observable market demand…” click here for more


    Sunshine State' or Not, Florida Badly Behind on Solar Power

    Jason Dearen, May 19, 2015 (AP via ABC News)

    “…Florida ranks third in the nation in rooftop solar energy potential but 13th in the amount of solar energy generated, according to industry estimates…The industry views Florida as a sleeping giant that could rival California in solar potential…[Utilities say solar, with 2 percent of the market, is growing slowly in Florida because energy costs are 30 percent lower than the national average, making it a bad financial choice] but renewable energy experts say the state lags behind because old laws [make it one of only four states that require solar energy be sold exclusively by utilities, banning sales from companies that install rooftop solar panels at little or no cost and then sell the energy generated to the property owner. A 2016 ballot initiative would change Florida's constitution to allow businesses other than utilities to sell solar power to consumers and drive solar growth]…” click here for more


    Siemens launches new wind turbine in the U.S. with industry-leading capacity factor

    May 19, 2015 (Siemens)

    “…The Siemens SWT-2.3-120 is the first wind turbine designed by Siemens to specifically meet the demands of its North and South American customers. The powerful new turbine features a 120-meter rotor, enabling it to achieve an industry-leading capacity factor…Serial production of the SWT-2.3-120 will commence in the U.S. in 2017 [at Siemens’ Iowa blade factory and its Colorado aerodynamic engineering center]. The product was developed with an eye toward increasing energy production for sites with medium to low wind conditions, which are prevalent in markets within the Americas region…” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015


    Global energy subsidies fuel climate change, says IMF study

    Shawn Donnan, May 18, 2015 (Financial Times)

    “Governments around the world will subsidise the cost of oil, gas and coal to the tune of $5.3tn this year, fuelling pollution and climate change as they misallocate the equivalent of what is spent globally on public health…It amounts to a clarion call for higher taxes on energy and therefore higher energy prices for consumers at a time when much of the global economy remains in a fragile recovery…The $5.3tn ‘true cost’ of government energy subsidies that the IMF team arrived at is equivalent to 6.5 per cent of global economic output. It is also more than twice the $1.9tn cost calculated by IMF researchers just two years ago. At the time the fund itself called that estimate ‘staggering’…More than half the total for 2015, or $2.7tn, came from an estimate of the cost of “local pollution”, while a further $1.3tn was attributed to the price of global warming…” click here for more


    Push To Change NC Solar Energy Law Raises Concerns

    Keri Brown, May 18, 2015 (88.5 – WFDD)

    “North Carolina lawmakers are considering a series of solar energy bills. They include extending tax credits for solar energy installations and setting up a loan fund to help businesses and homeowners pay for solar projects…Environmental groups say they’re concerned over proposed legislation that could repeal the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard…At issue is a requirement that the state's utilities generate a portion of their power from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and livestock waste methane. Current state law says they must account for 12.5 percent of total retail sales by 2021…[Fossil-fuel backed groups like] Americans For Prosperity support repealing the state’s renewable portfolio standard. They say millions of North Carolina residents are forced to pay higher energy bills under the legislation…” click here for more


    GE Uses Cloud Computing to Boost Wind-Energy Output 20%

    James Passeri, May 19, 2015 (The Street)

    “…[General Electric] is introducing a wind-farm system that boosts production as much as 20% by linking turbines with software that not only gathers and analyzes industrial data but improves its analytical capability over time by learning from a machine's performance… The new product is one piece of CEO Jeffrey Immelt's plan to boost sales from GE's sprawling industrial divisions as he sells off most of the lucrative finance business to focus on the company's manufacturing roots…[With the new wind-farm platform] operators can adjust the machines in real time to achieve the best results. Cost savings from the technology, if applied to all wind turbines, would add $50 billion in value to the global wind industry, by adding $100 million in value to every 100 mega-watt farm, the company estimated…” click here for more

    Monday, May 18, 2015


    California Green Innovation Index goes global: Golden State ranks top among countries worldwide

    May 18, 2015 (Next 10)

    “In advance of the historic United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris this year, the California Green Innovation Index, for the first time, analyzes and ranks the Golden State’s economic and energy performance in comparison to the world’s 50 largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting nations…[California ranks] among top ten nations worldwide in total renewable energy generation, share of electricity from renewable sources, highest energy productivity and lowest carbon intensity (emissions per GDP)…For every dollar of goods and services, California emits less carbon than any nation except France…[and is] #5 in the world in energy productivity (GDP relative to total energy consumption)…” click here for more


    The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades

    Liz Stinson, May 15, 2015 (Wired)

    “…Vortex Bladeless is proposing a radical new way to generate wind energy that will once again upend what you see…Their idea is the Vortex, a bladeless wind turbine that looks like a giant rolled joint shooting into the sky…Instead of capturing energy via the circular motion of a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices…[that shake structures enough to] cause their eventual collapse…The Vortex’s shape was developed computationally to ensure the spinning wind (vortices) occurs synchronously along the entirety of the mast…At the base of the cone are two rings of repelling magnets…When the cone oscillates one way, the repelling magnets pull it in the other direction…This kinetic energy is then converted into electricity [silently and with no moving parts]…” click here for more


    Solar power road surface actually works; A Dutch solar power-generating road is making more electricity than expected.

    Patrick Nelson, May 18, 2015 (Network World)

    “…[T]hat road surface being tested in the Netherlands that act[s] as a giant solar panel converting solar energy into electricity…actually worked…Six months into the test, the engineers say they've generated 3,000kwH of power from the 70-meter bike path test track. That's enough power to run a one-person household for a year, and more than expected of the project, according to SolaRoad, the company behind the experiment…SolaRoad's road surface acts as a huge photovoltaic panel. Practical applications thought of thus far include street lighting, traffic systems, and electric vehicles…Designers are keen on the idea of developing a system where electricity could be passed onto vehicles as they drive down the road…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015


    Proposed surcharge on Utahns with solar panels is back for Rocky Mountain Power customers

    Brian Maffly, May 12, 2015 (The Salt Lake Tribune)

    “…[S]ome Salt Lake City students are weighing in with a petition asking the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) to protect Rocky Mountain Power customers who harvest sunbeams from the utility company's plan to impose new fees on them…[They are insisting the Utah Public Service Commission] take a broader view of solar's benefits…Residential power generation has become so widespread that utilities in Utah and other states say such customers are unfairly off-loading their share of maintaining the power grid. Utah's largest utility wants state permission to impose a monthly surcharge on solar-equipped [net metered] customers…” click here for more


    awaii Geothermal Solution Mining Possibility

    May 11, 2015 (Big Island Video News)

    “…[A presentation to the Hawaii County Council] is likely to spark a state-wide discussion on the use of Hawaii’s mineral resources…RJ Hampton and Sativa Sultan revealed their detailed research on the possibilities of geothermal solution mining…In Hawaii, the geothermal resource is used as a power source…[O]nly one company – Ormat, based out of Israel – has the right to tap that resource in order to produce energy. But Hampton and Sultan believe there is another, lucrative aspect to the resource…[Drilling into the magma chamber can recover abundant lithium and there is a machine that turns the geothermal brine from the power plant, in 90 minutes, into silicon wafers with] many applications, from thin film to solar panels…” click here for more


    Biofuel Developers like Neste Oil, Diamond Green Can Thrive Despite Cheap Oil; Oil prices' precipitous drop could undermine alternative fuel developers, but Lux Research evaluated 25 companies to see which can overcome the challenge from cheap oil

    May 13, 2015 (Lux Research) “While alternative fuels like biofuels had obvious appeal when oil prices were well over $100 a barrel, the plummet in oil prices to $50 levels can threaten the cost-competitiveness of alternative fuels. However, many developers have planned for low oil prices and some will still be able to achieve cost reductions needed to thrive, according to [a Lux Research analysis of 400 alternative fuel producers and a closer study of 25 companies from seven technology families, four feedstock types and three stages of development]…Neste Oil, Diamond Green are benefiting from cost cuts…Solena Biofuels and Joule Unlimited were among the laggards…Amid low oil prices, high-profile companies such as Solazyme, [Sapphire Energy,] Amyris, and Gevo have shifted decisively toward specialty chemicals and nutraceuticals…Oil majors [like Total] remain a pillar of support…” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015


    Wind turbines inspire artist to create paintings shown in NCC exhibit

    Jen Banowetz, May 11, 2015 (Chicago Tribune)

    Chicago artist Brian Ritchard has found a way ‘to paint the wind.’ He said his interest in wind turbines stems from his interest in sustainability and alternative sources of energy. His methods and materials are very traditional, but his subject is contemporary and] his work has always been about the confluence of nature and culture. This work is inspired by 17-century Dutch landscapes. He began his ‘Turbine Paintings’ in 2008 during ‘random road trips’ but eventually began doing more research and planning trips. He has painted turbine-dotted landscapes all over the Midwest. The Turbine Paintings exhibition runs through June 14. The artist's reception is 6pm on June 6 at ghe North Central College Fine Arts Center’s Schoenherr Gallery, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. click here for more


    Efficient use of land to meet sustainable energy needs

    Rebecca R. Hernandez, Madison K. Hoffacker and Christopher B. Field, 16 March 2015 (Nature/Climate Change)

    “The deployment of renewable energy systems, such as solar energy, to achieve universal access to electricity, heat and transportation, and to mitigate climate change is arguably the most exigent challenge facing humans today…However, the goal of rapidly developing solar energy systems is complicated by land and environmental constraints, increasing uncertainty about the future of the global energy landscape…We found that the quantity of accessible energy potentially produced from photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) within the built environment (‘compatible’) exceeds current statewide demand. We identify additional sites beyond the built environment (‘potentially compatible’) that further augment this potential…” click here for more


    Smart Parking Systems; Sensor and Communications Hardware, Software, Services, and Smart City Applications: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “The congestion caused by poorly managed parking supply frustrates drivers, wastes fuel, creates air and noise pollution, and stifles economic activity. Today, the parking industry is being transformed by new technologies…Sensor networks that detect vehicle occupancy are providing the basic intelligence behind smart parking systems…[that] provide real-time parking availability information to make it easier for drivers to find a parking space…[A]doption across cities has been slower than expected. Significant funding from national governments has generally been necessary…Nevertheless, the smart parking sensor and communications industry continues to grow steadily [in cities and at universities, airports, and corporate campuses]…According to Navigant Research, the installed base of sensor-enabled on-street smart parking spaces is expected to surpass 1 million worldwide by 2024…” click here for more

    Monday, May 11, 2015


    Video: Transformer fire shuts down Indian Point nuclear plant

    Davide Savenije, May 11, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    “A transformer failure…at Entergy's Indian Point nuclear plant…caused a fire that shut down the facility's Unit 3 reactor…The Unit 3 reactor remains shut down. An Entergy spokesman…[said]] the reactor is safe and stable…The fire caused transformer oil to spill into the Hudson River. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said officials are not yet sure exactly how much oil leaked…[but it was reportedly at least thousands of gallons…” click here for more


    EnergySage Launches Local Solar Energy Marketplace for New York State; Comparison Shopping Platform to Facilitate Solar Adoption by Presenting Consumers with Unbiased Facts about Installers, Financing Options and Lowest Price Quotes

    May 11, 2015 (PRNewswire via MarketWatch)

    “[The EnergySage Marketplace] is expanding its presence to New York State to help consumers make well-informed and profitable decisions about solar energy adoption. Backed by theNew York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the EnergySage marketplace will enable residents to quickly research and compare solar options and obtain multiple price quotes from pre-screened solar installers. The marketplace will also provide New York's solar installers access to a large pool of knowledgeable prospective clients, giving them the ability to reduce customer acquisition costs and efficiently grow their businesses…” click here for more


    MAP: Successful Renewable Portfolio Standards motivating states to reach higher

    David Ward, May 8, 2015 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “…Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) [have been successful] in attracting renewable energy investment at the state level, which is helping to provide tens of thousands of well-paying jobs all across the country. Because of this success, states are considering expanding these standards or otherwise incentivizing clean energy development…RPS laws are strongly moving forward as they bring significant economic benefits to states, and have the support of the vast majority of the American public. No RPS law has ever been repealed.” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 6, 2015


    Warren Buffett Is Betting Big on Wind Energy in Nebraska, and Other Planet-Saving News

    Juan Cole, May 6, 2015 (TruthDig)

    “Wind power is on a roll in the US despite a fickle Congress and the machinations of Big Coal and Big Gas to keep all the subsidies for themselves. And one of the world’s most successful investors, Warren Buffett, has noticed [and is investing in Nebraska wind]…BHE Renewables, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., …founded in 2011, has invested $10 billion to generate 3.4 gigawatts from hydroelectric, geothermal, solar and wind plants. Utilities make long-term agreements to buy the energy. Since the fuel for these plants is free, there’s money to be made in generating electricity this way…Another Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, MidAmerican Energy Company…is putting nearly another $1 billion into wind in Iowa…” click here for more


    Mit Energy Initiative Releases Major Report On The Future Of Solar Energy Focused On Solar’s Key Role In A Low Carbon Future

    May 5, 2015 (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

    “…Solar energy holds the best potential for meeting humanity’s future long term energy needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions – but to realize this potential will require increased emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies and more effective deployment policy, [according to MIT’s The Future of Solar Energy]…” click here for more


    Microgrid Deployment Tracker 2Q15; Commercial/Industrial, Community, Utility Distribution, Institutional/Campus, Military, Remote, and DC Microgrids: Operating, Planned, and Proposed Projects by World Region

    2Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “…As of 2Q 2015, Navigant Research has identified a total of 12,031 MW of total microgrid capacity throughout the world, up from 4,393 MW in 2Q 2014—a near tripling of the known scope of the microgrid market…Asia Pacific may emerge as the market leader over the long term….[D]ata collected from projects and project portfolios [shows 47% of [planned] global capacity [is there], compared to North America’s 44%. If one looks at the microgrids that are currently online, however, North America still leads; the region holds a nearly identical market share (66%) compared with data presented in 2Q 2014 (65%). In terms of segments, the remote segment is the clear leader in terms of both numbers of projects and overall capacity, representing 46% of the total microgrid market. This represents a doubling of its market share compared to data collected in 2Q 2014…” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015


    Doctors are already seeing links between climate change and their patients’ health

    Jonathan Patz and Howard Frumkin, 4 May 2015 (Grist)

    “…Now, the nation’s leading medical practitioners — with the White House behind them — are stepping forward with a diagnosis that all of us should heed, because the symptoms are becoming undeniable and the risks tremendous: Climate change is a health threat…” click here for more


    Is Solar Energy Ready To Compete With Oil And Other Fossil Fuels? Gaurav Agnihotri, May 4, 2015 (NASDAQ)

    “…even the gulf region has now recognized the changing nature of global energy dynamics and the growing demand for sustainable energy…According to a report for the national bank of Abu Dhabi by the University of Cambridge and PWC…solar energy presents a significant opportunity to make savings, reduce fuel cost risks, achieve climate ambitions and, at the same time, keep more oil and gas available for export…The study says that more than half of global investment in new electricity generation is in renewables…[and] around $150 billion was invested globally in solar energy generation in 2014 and solar energy is all set to be at grid parity in 80% of the countries in the next two years…” click here for more


    Tesla is now selling used electric cars for lower prices

    Rich McCormick, May 4, 2015 (The Verge)

    “…Tesla Motors [quietly launched] a pre-owned vehicle program at the end of April — a new scheme that offers older versions of its Model S sedan for lower prices than new models. The used cars still come with Tesla maintenance and reliability checks, and like other high-end car makers, Musk's company gives a 4-year or 50,000-mile warranty on pre-owned vehicles…” click here for more

    Monday, May 4, 2015


    Tesla's New Home Energy Storage Solution Still Needs Help to Be a Breakthrough; For Tesla’s cheap Gigafactory-produced battery cells to truly disrupt stationary energy storage, it needs more partnerships and acquisitions in power electronics, software, and with utilities

    May 1, 2015 (Lux Research)

    “…[The] new offerings for stationary energy storage [from Tesla], including the Powerwall battery for residential energy storage…[and] massive capacity for lithium-ion batteries from its Gigafactory coming online soon…[mean] Tesla and its supplier Panasonic need new markets…[T]he burgeoning stationary energy storage market is a ripe target – but it will need more help to succeed, according to Lux Research…The distributed energy storage space already has many players offering standalone and solar-connected battery systems, so Tesla is certainly not the first to market. However, the EV maker does have key product scaling benefits afforded to few of its competitors, through its relationships with Panasonic for lithium-ion cells and SolarCity, the largest residential solar installer…[but it] must tackle three key areas…Cost reduction beyond [$350/kWh]…Offering financing and new residential business models…[and working] with utilities, not against them…” click here for more


    Dow Chemical, Walmart, Kaiser Permanente, and Google Energy took over half of Q1 PPAs; Wind power industry touts strong growth

    Devin Henry, April 30, 2015 The Hill

    The U.S. wind energy industry is in the middle of a near record expansion, with over 13,600 MW of capacity in construction at 100 sites in 23 states, according to the U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2015 Market Report from the American Wind Energy Association. Several factors are driving the “wind rush” but the most important is probably the extensions of the 2013 and 2014 production tax credit which allowed projects to qualify by beginning construction or investment in the year and be completed in 2015 and 2016. Texas, the leading state for installed wind capacity, also leads the $23 billion expansion with 7,800 MW in construction and 110 MW of Q1’s 131 MW of completed installed capacity. The other top 5 states in the rush are Oklahoma with over 890 MW under construction, Kansas with more than 870 MW, New Mexico with 680 MW, and North Dakota with over 530 MW. There were 1,200 MW of U.S. wind energy capacity construction begun in Q1 including the U.S. wind industry’s first offshore wind project, Rhode Island’s 5 turbine, 30 MW Block Island installation. Building on a trend begun in 2014 when almost a quarter of all new PPAs came from the private sector, over half the Q1 750 MW of new power purchase agreements were from four companies: Dow Chemical (200 MW), Walmart (50 MW), Kaiser Permanente (43 MW), and Google Energy (43 MW). click here for more


    Federal Regulators Deny Complaint over Glut in Southeastern Electric Supply – Without Denying the Excess Supply Exists; “Regulatory Contortion” allows Duke Energy, others to keep gouging customers by building power plants instead of sharing regional resources as the regulators have urged

    Jim Warren, May 1, 2015 (NC WARN)

    Despite huge amounts of excess power generation capacity on hand now and for decades to come – and dozens of large power plants sitting idle most of the year – protected monopoly utilities across the southeast keep building more plants instead of buying power from each other as federal regulators have urged…[but] those regulators denied a complaint by watchdog group NC WARN without contesting the federal data we used to show gross oversupply across the Southeast…In a classic Catch-22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied our request for an independent study into how many billions could be saved annually if southeastern utilities begin sharing power supply through regional cooperation, as FERC has pressed for. FERC says we didn’t supply enough data…[but that] study is the only path to get all of the data on the table…NC WARN cited utility and federal data showing that southeastern utilities maintain power plant capacities ranging from 24 to 37 percent above the highest usage of the year. Those reserves are over twice as high as the industry standard of 14-15 percent, and for all but the very hottest and coldest months, excess capacity goes far higher in the Southeast…The regulators admit that they urge utilities to share resources and that they have jurisdiction to require them to do so…” click here for more