European Union negotiators are endorsing an accelerated overhaul of the bloc’s carbon market after the price of emission rights fell to levels that fail to deter polluters.
In my recent report on the utility business model of the future, I laid out 5 pillars of a democratic energy system. It’s hard not to notice the contrast between this vision of the future and the 15-year business plan laid out by Xcel Energy in Minnesota, the incumbent monopoly serving about half the state’s electric customers. Like those of its pe
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.
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.
This week, the US Supreme Court agreed to review a ruling by a lower court holding that FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has no jurisdiction to regulate demand response markets run by ISOs and RTOs. Based in large part on FERC order 745, these markets currently support investments in distributed energy resources and energy efficiency
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is shunned by the environmentalists that laud renewable energy sources. However, by not supporting both initiatives, they may be working at cross purposes. Natural gas, booming largely because of fracking, complements renewable energies on the grid. The two seemingly opposite technologies are, for the moment, inextricably linked.
This past week, seven teams of students from across the country gathered at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Wind Technology Center for a fierce blade-to-blade wind turbine rematch. At the Energy Department's Collegiate Wind Competition 2015 Engineering Contest, seven teams of undergraduates tested original model wind turbines in an on-site wind tunnel and presented their technical designs to wind technology experts. The full Collegiate Wind Competition, comprised of engineering, business, and deployment tasks, is held in even-numbered years and is designed to challenge undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines to develop unique solutions to complex wind energy problems. Teams that participated in the inaugural 2014 competition in Las Vegas, Nevada, were invited back to improve on their designs and technical solutions during last week's contest.