Somebody Wants Something: Getting the Most from a Proposed Takeover of Hawaiian Electric Company

If your electricity—generated from imported oil—is the most expensive in the country and your solar resource is terrific, you’d expect your electric company to be making great strides toward renewable energy. On Hawai’i, the progress toward clean energy is in limbo, because island’s largest electric utility—largely owned by islanders—is likely to be acquired by mainland utility conglomerate NextEra, parent company of another regulated utility, Florida Power and Light.

Should Hawaiians accede to the wishes of NextEra and sell their largest electric utility to off-islanders?

Why (Else) is Xcel Energy Trying to Axe Minnesota’s Community Solar program?

In a filing Tuesday, Minnesota’s largest electric utility announced unilateral action within the next 30 days to reduce development under the state’s community solar gardens program by 80%, from nearly 560 MW to 80.

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 2 “The Present”

Aggressive state policy and cost reductions for clean energy have created two business model crises for electric utilities: stagnant sales and exponentially rising production from distributed renewable sources.

Obituary and Memorial Service

(Updated 4/30, directions to memorial service at bottom.)

The obituary below – including details of the memorial service – will be printed in several local newspapers later this week.

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Sad News

Dear readers and friends,

Bill Howley, founder and editor of The Power Line, died in a single-vehicle motor vehicle collision on the afternoon of Thursday, April 23, 2015, while driving to a WV SUN meeting. He was 62 years old.

He died surrounded by the verdant spring hills of central West Virginia, working hard for the future of his state. He took immense pride and joy in his work with fellow West Virginia energy activists.

His wife and family are arranging his memorial service; details will be posted here.

– Loren, Jacob, and Isaac Howley

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 1 “A Prelude to the Future”

The U.S. electricity system is undergoing the biggest change in its 130-­year history. The scale of electricity generation is rapidly shrinking, from coal and nuclear power plants that can power a million homes to solar and wind power plants that power a few to a few hundred nearby homes. Electricity demand has leveled off, so that every unit of new wind and solar power produced for the grid displaces a unit of fossil fuel energy. Batteries and electric vehicles provide new tools for distributed energy storage.

Hawaii Is a “Postcard from the Future”

Today, the New York Times published a good look at how Hawaii’s residential solar power industry, the most advanced in the US, is forcing obsolete power companies to change, and how those power companies are fighting back.

Can Other Cities Match Georgetown’s Low-Cost Switch to 100% Wind and Sun?

This is probably not the first place you’ve read about Georgetown, TX, the town of 55,000 that will be getting the equivalent of 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2017. But few articles hit upon the two key reasons Georgetown was able to make this move when so many other cities with abundant renewable resources (e.g. Tucson, AZ) are stuck with a majority-coal-fired electricity supply.

If cities had these keys, many could obtain 100% renewable energy at a surprisingly low cost.

Solar Energy in Missouri Means Jobs, Savings, and a Low-Cost Future

placeholderThere are a lot of utility-sponsored legislative and regulatory attacks on solar energy lately, and we put together this infographic to help the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association fight back in their state. Click the image to see it full size.

And FirstEnergy Shows Its Hand on HB2201

Today, The State Journal published energy reporter Sarah Tincher’s story on the differing views of HB2201.

In her story, she quoted FirstEnergy PR guy, and our old friend, as follows: