Utility projects advance the state of the art.
Given this dynamic state of evolution, it’s not surprising that next-generation technologies are undergoing their own difficult transitions. This transition is exemplified by four high-tech projects being executed by four electric utilities: Duke Energy, American Electric Power, Consolidated Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Their projects address different parts of the power-supply chain, and they’re taking different paths to secure financing and regulatory acceptance.
How solar PV could redraw the map for green energy and grid investment.
When Pacific Gas & Electric broke the news six weeks ago that it had signed a deal with Solaren Corp. to buy 200 MW of solar energy from satellites launched into geosynchronous orbit, the idea seemed almost laughable. Solaren’s plan is to catch unobstructed sunlight falling on arrays of photovoltaic solar panels deployed in the crystalline void of outer space, and then to convert the generated electricity into radio-frequency energy for transmission to Solaren’s ground-based receiving station outside Fresno. Welcome to the new renewable reality.
A new business plan for capturing big saving.
Historically, conservation has suffered from a fundamental challenge: it’s boring. But as efficiency becomes the first fuel, providers of efficiency services will begin to look more like businesses and less like government agencies—characterized by dynamic branding, with marketing strategies driven by customer science.
Today’s challenges are transforming the industry.
Joseph Scalise and Neil Cherry
Today’s urgent challenges will reshape the industry. Companies that successfully renew themselves will find the solution in assets they already possess, but have failed to exploit. The future winners will navigate a steady course through troubled markets while preparing for disruptive trends.
Utilities consider imposing a retail surcharge to fund clean-tech R&D.
Utility CEOs debate the merits of a retail surcharge to fund clean-tech R&D.
Congress pours tax benefits into efficiency and renewables.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
Of the many provisions in the bailout bill, few of them actually establish new federal policy. Instead, most just continue existing provisions that already were set to expire, and probably would have been enacted in some form—if not this session, then next session.
Consumers await a revolutionary interface.
Consumers await the revolutionary interface that will allow them to control their energy consumption. Besides maximizing efficiency in the home, these units will allow more
price and product competition. But disincentives to innovation are making for slow progress.
Chelsea Sexton is one of the country’s leading plug-in vehicle advocates. She led protests against GM’s decision to scrap thousands of EV-1s, and appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Who Killed the Electric Car? She formed advocacy group Plug-In America, and led the creation of the Automotive X PRIZE in 2005. Fortnightly caught up with Sexton in June to discuss the electric vehicle market, and utilities’ role in developing it.
A survey finds that consumers would support higher costs of “clean coal” and alternative fuels.
Gregory E. Aliff and Branko Terzic
More than three quarters of the consumers surveyed believe that alternative energy brought benefits, and a slight majority, 54 percent, would pay an additional 5 percent on their electric bills. The survey also found that 62 percent would be willing to pay higher rates to support “clean-coal” technologies
FERC risks going overboard in easing penalties for generation imbalances.
What good is a penalty that does nothing to deter the crime? For wind turbines, generation imbalances are caused primarily by variations in weather. Even if these imbalances are indeed a bad thing, no $100 penalty will make them go away.