Bridging the Carbon Gap: Fossil Fuel Use for the 21st Century

Coal gasification as a transition plan to build lead time to develop sustainable, climate-friendly energy technologies.

Coal gasification as a transition plan to build lead time to develop sustainable, climate-friendly energy technologies.

Editor's Note
Several of the sources for this article and accompanying sidebars are referenced numerous times.

Getting It Right: The Real Cost Impacts of a Renewables Portfolio Standard

How to justify green power without apologizing for the price.


Policymakers have shown considerable interest in the concept of a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), and how it might affect the cost of energy.

The RPS would require electricity providers to include a small amount of renewables-based power - typically less than 3 percent or 4 percent - in their resource mix.

Solar Mandate? Like it or Not, Consumers Pay

States earmark millions to fund solar projects via system benefits charges.

Making solar power a realistic choice for electric consumers is a burgeoning issue for state utility regulators. As part of electric restructuring, regulators are trying to finance the costs of solar installations.

Key to delivering commercial, on-grid solar power to new markets are state efforts, partnered with other government and industry actions. So far, the system benefits charge, or SBC, is the primary short-term incentive to develop solar, wind, biomass and other renewable resources.

Energy Storage: It's Not Just Load Leveling Anymore

ACCORDING TO ONE RECENT SURVEY, MORE THAN HALF THE U.S. population now lives in states with customer choice. Moreover, industry executives expect 20 to 50 percent of these customers to choose a new electricity supplier by year end. %n1%n

With changes expected in the way electricity is generated, delivered and sold, exerting pressure on prices, what does the future hold for energy storage technologies?

After all, restructuring efforts appear most active in the highest-cost states -- those with average electricity prices running above 7 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Off Peak

Arizona would wager on electric competition, hedge its bet with a solar portfolio.Looking for a new way to promote renewable energy?


With little fanfare, most aspects of the U.S. energy system seem to have settled into a fairly stable, predictable pattern. To my mind, we have reached an "energy plateau" likely to persist for maybe a decade or more into the future.

Energy is not now high on the radar screen of the general public, so there is little public pressure for significant change in the U.S. energy system.

Photovoltaics: A Dispatchable Peak-Shaving Option

PV technology combined with storage offers a cost-effective alternative to capacity additions.By John Byrne,

Young-Doo Wang,

Ralph Nigro, and

Steven E. Letendre

Until recently, both regulators and electric utilities have considered photovoltaic (PV) technology (i.e., solar cells) an unattractive

energy-supply option because of its relatively high cost. Now, however, a number of utilities have shown interest in using PV for peak-shaving.