Data, quotes and stories of the changing energy era
“We have got a big appetite for wind or solar. If someone walks in with a solar project tomorrow and it takes a billion dollars or three billion dollars, we’re ready to do it. The more there is the better.”
The cost of lithium-ion battery storage could be on track to fall from $10,000 per kilowatt-hour in the early 1990s to $100/kWh in 2019, according to a University of California/TU Munich study published in the journal Nature Energy. The dramatic cost reduction would... read more
In the wake of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s study examining the impact of wind and solar on fossil baseload power plants, two prominent energy experts have looked at data worldwide and concluded that Germany and Denmark, two countries with some of the highest... read more
Despite a slight rebound in coal-fired power generation in China, analysts still project a gloomy long-term outlook for the country’s coal power sector. Cooling economic stimulus and growth in alternative and “cleaner” sources of power will combine... read more
While it may sound repetitive, the decline in solar costs globally is not slowing down, and it’s not isolated, with every region of the world seeing substantial cuts in the cost of new solar. GTM Research expects a 27 percent drop in average global project... read more
Analysts project that a large segment of China’s coal-burning sector is headed for a steep decline over the coming two decades as the country continues striving to address a critical air pollution problem. Since 2013, the Chinese government has announced several... read more
An analysis of rooftop solar and net metering in Utah has found that over a 20-year period, there is potential for a $400 million benefit from rooftop solar for the state’s biggest utility. The group Utah Clean Energy conducted the analysis to counter false... read more
Events are bearing out forecasts that the coal industry will continue to decline in the United States, even if a minor bump in employment masks the overall trend. In the first quarter of this year, coal industry jobs declined by 1,266 workers, according to government... read more
The largest coal mining company in the world, Coal India, has announced plans to decommission 37 mines which are no longer economically viable in India. The government-run company, which accounts for over 80 percent of the India’s coal production, informed the Bombay... read more
Renewable energy cost declines continue to outpace what analysts predicted even just one year ago. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest installment of the annual New Energy Outlook report, which models the global energy mix out to 2040, renewables... read more
Taiwan’s government is starting to map out plans for a power system will increase the share of renewable energy to 20 percent of total power output on the island by 2025, up from 5 percent currently. The Taiwanese government hopes to attract NT$1.8 trillion ($59... read more
The United States reached a new energy milestone in March as 10 percent of all of the electricity generated in the country came from wind and solar power. according to a new U.S. Energy Information Administration data. The EIA’s findings represent a... read more
Recent onshore wind auctions in Spain and Germany confirm that the cost of renewables continues to fall in Europe, especially now that market economics – are determining pricing rather than government tariffs. Countries are shifting to auctions to sell wind power... read more
Britain’s fleet of solar panels generated a record amount of electricity as the nation basked in sunshine during the hottest day of the year to date. U.K. solar power output rose to a record 8.75 gigawatts at 1 p.m. London time on May 27, according to data compiled by... read more
Arizona utility Tucson Electric Power has signed an agreement to buy solar energy at a historically low price from a new local system, which includes storage, large enough to power 21,000 homes. Excluding the cost of storage, TEP will buy the system’s output for 20... read more
At least 46 coal-fired generating units at 25 power plants in 16 states will likely close, convert to natural gas, or be intentionally curtailed in 2017 and 2018 as the U.S. electricity sector moves increasingly away from coal and toward other sources of power.... read more
Detroit, Michigan-based utility DTE Energy Co has announced it will build more natural gas and renewable energy power plants and shut all of its coal units by 2040. DTE said its efforts to cut carbon emissions will result in a 30 percent reduction by the early 2020s,... read more
California’s grid operator achieved a new record for renewable energy penetration, with clean energy sources peaking to provide more than two-thirds of the state’s electricity demand on the afternoon of May 13. The record followed on a week of strong wind and... read more
In a market plagued by financial woes and doubt created by the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric, the nuclear power business in the United State is collapsing for a number of reasons, according to a new report. The U.S. Energy Information Administration last week... read more
“Iowa has the most reliable electric grid in the country, and the average energy cost for all sectors here is the sixth cheapest in the nation.”
– Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, in an op-ed touting her state’s embrace of wind power, which has created 9,000 jobs and generated more than $13.5 billion in investments.
“While it appears $4.5 billion is a big number, if you built a central-station generation facility like a coal unit or something like that, it would be as big or bigger, but much more risky.”
– American Electric Power CEO Nick Akins, commenting on his company’s plans to spend $4.5 billion acquiring an 800-turbine Oklahoma wind project, the biggest in the United States.
“If Duke and Southern Co. couldn’t do it, who is the Navajo Nation going to find who can do it? There’s no evidence that this can be done economically or reliably.”
– David Schlissel, director of resource planning analysis at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, reacting to statements by Navajo tribal officials that they are considering building a coal gasification plant on the site of Navajo Generating Station after it is decommissioned in 2019.
“The only thing different between this year and previous years is that our political leaders, their lobbyist friends, and the billionaire coal tycoons are cutting safety regulations in order to make an additional dollar.”
– Gary Bentley, a former underground coal miner from Eastern Kentucky, writing about the rise in work-related coal mine deaths this year, even as the number of workers and mine output shrink. Nationally, there have already been more deaths in the first half of 2017 than in the entire previous year.
“In the first year alone, the [Pueblo County School] District saved $35,000. Over the life of the [community solar] program, those savings will exceed $2 million. That’s enough to buy a Chromebook for 7 out of ten kids in the District. It’s enough to pay all 32 employees at Prairie Winds Elementary for a year.”
– U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in an op-ed extolling the virtues of community solar programs. Bennet has introduced legislation in Congress to make permanent a Department of Energy program to promote community solar, especially in low-income communities.
Trying to keep aging coal and nuclear plants operating “may end up raising rather than lowering the average cost of wholesale electricity for many customers.”
– from a leaked draft of a politically motivated analysis commissioned by Energy Secretary Rick Perry that was supposed to question whether renewable energy policies or regulations have harmed grid reliability and accelerated the retirement of coal and nuclear plants, but which actually showed the opposite to be true.
“Solar reduces the cost of home ownership, it makes houses sell faster, it returns more to a builder, it makes local jobs, and most importantly, it reduces carbon emissions today to help our children and grandchildren have a better future tomorrow.”
— South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, whose monthly electric bill is about $10, after the city passed a measure requiring new houses to install solar panels.
“Donald Trump has used the phrase ‘clean coal’ probably a thousand times, and it doesn’t exist in the real world right now.”
– Billionaire Tom Steyer in an interview on Bloomberg TV
“None of our people are ever going to be building a coal plant again. It’s devoid of reality.”
– an unidentified utility executive reacting to meetings between power sector leaders and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt about the future of the Clean Power Plan and utilities’ desire to see some sort of carbon regulation rather than having the Trump Administration simply erase the CPP.
“Because of the low natural gas prices and expanded renewable generating capacity, wholesale electric market prices over recent years have frequently been too low to merit economic dispatch of coal generating capacity.”
– From the 20-year integrated resource plan filed by Boise, Idaho-based Idaho Power with the state’s Public Utilities Commission. The utility’s plans include retiring its shares in at least three coal-burning power plants throughout the West.
“I don’t see any problems with reliability, and I say bring on more renewables.”
– Colette Honorable, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, speaking at a conference sponsored by the federal Energy Information Administration.
“Coal is now largely irrelevant in New England.”
– Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England in a story about grid reliability remaining stable even as coal continues to fall off as a baseload electricity generating resource.
The Mississippi Pubic Service Commission requests a “solution that eliminates ratepayer risk for unproven technology and assures no rate increase.”
– Mississippi Public Service Commission in a news release directed at Southern Co. subsidiary Mississippi Power, in which it gave the utility 45 days to abandon its beleaguered and massively over-budget seven-year, $7.5 billion effort to construct a carbon-capture-and-storage coal-burning power plant.
“Coal’s competitive advantage is fast evaporating. It cannot compete with renewables on cost, and storage and smart management of the grid have made the need for new baseload redundant. Coal is yesterday’s technology – the only thing new coal has going for it is inertia.”
– Kobad Bhavnagri, the lead author of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Outlook 2017 in Asia-Pacific report.
“The whole utility paradigm has shifted. We really are doing our ratepayers a disservice by not considering all viable options.”
– Reiko Kerr, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s senior assistant general manager of power systems, regarding a decision by the utility to put a hold on a $2.2 billion plan to rebuild several old natural gas power plants while it studies clean energy alternatives.
Investments in renewable energy in Latin America have increased 11-fold since 2004, which is nearly double the global rate, according to a 2016 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. Chile, Mexico and Brazil are now among the top 10 renewable energy... read more
Retail giant Target has agreed to buy 100 megawatts of output from an wind project in Kansas. Under the agreement, power from the 474-MW Solomon Forks wind farm will help offset the energy used at 150 Target stores in the area. Construction on the wind project is... read more
The Orlando, Fla., city commission unanimously approved a resolution establishing a goal to transition Orlando to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2050. According to the Sierra Club, Orlando is now the largest city in Florida to make such a commitment and... read more
In an effort to better align solar-energy production with peak demand, the utility in Columbia, Missouri has begun to pay higher rebates for new west-facing arrays than it does for those facing south, where the sun’s most steady rays come from. The city-owned... read more
During a conference call with industry analysts last week, rail carrier CSX’s new president said he thinks “fossil fuels are dead” and announced that the company will not buy any more locomotives for coal trains. Hunter Harrison stressed that he doesn’t... read more
The U.S. government has awarded $4.6 million in aid to the state of Montana to retrain hundreds of coal workers, many of whom will soon be out of jobs because of a partial closure of the coal-fired Colstrip power plant, the second biggest in the West. Despite efforts... read more
Arsenal Football Club has committed to powering its stadium with renewable energy produced from solar panels and wasted food in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint. The famous North London club has signed a contract with Octopus Energy to source energy from anaerobic... read more
In a dramatic U-turn, Sri Lanka’s energy regulator has approved a new long-term electricity supply plan that rejects the construction of any new coal plants between now and 2037. Coal’s fall from grace in Sri Lanka has in large part been driven by public opposition to... read more
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is almost entirely out of coal, according to an update on its compliance with a 2015 law that compelled it and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to divest from coal by July 1, 2017. Coal stocks were a... read more
Throughout Vermont, customers are benefitting from an array of renewable, efficiency and energy storage projects that are being championed by an unlikely hero: the utility that supplies power to Vermont homes and businesses. Green Mountain Power is reinventing... read more
After working nine years to expand a nuclear power plant in South Carolina, its developers are pulling out of the $14 billion reactor project in the wake of rising costs, falling demand for energy, construction delays and the bankruptcy of lead contractor... read more
As the owners of the largest coal-burning power plant in the West map out the details of closing in the next two years, the Navajo Nation has taken its next step in its energy development by starting operations at a new 27-megawatt solar farm not far from the source... read more
Increasingly, utilities are shunning the power-purchase agreement model of acquiring new renewable energy capacity and instead making the leap to outright ownership, which allows the companies to build purchase costs directly into their rate base and earn guaranteed... read more
At the same time Mississippi Power is still stinging from the failure of its $7.5 billion coal gasification and carbon capture project, the utility also has cut the ribbon on a $7 million solar facility at the Naval Construction Battalion Center. The project is... read more
Despite high air conditioning use and demand for electricity, California nonetheless survived its worst heat wave in 11 years without any major blackouts and with megawatts to spare. Billions of dollars in new power plants and an explosion in solar and wind farms made... read more
Dozens of power industry executives who flew to Washington for meetings told EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that they are against the administration simply rescinding the Clean Power Plan. Rather, they said they’d like to see EPA draft a less stringent carbon... read more
Turkey, which is a latecomer to solar development, has just completed an auction to build the country’s largest solar project. The $1.3 billion, 1,000-megawatt Karapınar solar power plant in Central Anatolia is being billed as “a mega project in... read more
While President Trump sings coal’s praises, efforts to green America’s economy are receiving a boost from an unexpected quarter: Republican-held governors’ mansions. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is fresh off a legislative session in which he signed... read more
The city of Los Angeles is laying claim to the title of the nation’s most powerful PV project. At 16.5 megawatts, the Westmont solar project comprises 50,000 photovoltaic modules spread over 50 acres on the roof of a warehouse and distribution center near the port of... read more
Australian agricultural companies are embracing renewables as a more affordable source of power for their energy-intensive enterprises. The firm Nectar Farms is undertaking a massive $565 million expansion of its new hydroponics business in the state of Victoria,... read more
Innovations in the durability of solar panels designed by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Denver passed with flying colors in real-world testing in the spring of 2017. Denver was pelted with an unusually severe hailstorm on May 8, leaving a... read more
Idaho Power plans to phase out most of its coal-fired generation, partly because its plants are running less often amid persistently low prices for natural gas and renewables, according to the integrated resource plan the utility filed with state regulators in early... read more