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Why Haven’t Cities Covered Their Buildings in Solar?

The city of Beaverton, OR, is getting a new solar array that will offset energy use at an underground reservoir, saving taxpayers $95,000 per year, with no upfront cost. Ventura County, VA, has a 1-megawatt solar array on its jail facility, that’s cash flow positive.

Democratic Energy Media Roundup – October 27, 2014

This week in democratic energy, ILSR received considerable coverage in several publications. Media reports also discussed the future of utilities, the Energy Department’s significant investment in solar, and a new study examining how peer influence affects who installs solar.

Denmark & the US

Why are Denmark’s energy policies so much smarter than those of the US?  More important, why are Danes so much better at actually transforming their country?

Some of the answers are cultural and some are geographic.

Let’s start with a list of some of the geographic differences:

Power Company/Solar Conflict

RTO Insider has a good look at how the conflict between dying power companies and the emerging solar power industry is playing out, with a close look at the fight in Wisconsin with WeEnergies’ new push for rate increases.

Get Ready for Life on the Bumpy Plateau

This post is a little side trip from the issues facing our electrical system.  Fossil fuel production has a direct bearing on how investment in electrical generation plays out, so questions of resource limits do have a direct bearing on understanding whether the people who run the US electrical system are making good decisions or bad decisions.

New Report Shows Change Is Possible, But WV PSC Has Made It Very Expensive

Ken Ward had a story in yesterday’s Charleston Gazette titled “West Virginia could meet EPA plant standards, report says.”

West Virginia could meet proposed federal standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a smart mix of energy efficiency programs, ramped up solar- and wind-power generation and moderate improvements at existing coal-fired power plants, according to a new report.

Vertical Shaft Turbines Popping Up in NY

Wind turbines have not worked well as small scale electricity generators.  Complexity and too many moving parts makes their cost of maintenance high at a small scale.  Generally, efficiencies rise dramatically with size.  For years, innovators have been working on simpler, quieter vertical shaft turbines that are efficient in small scale applications.

We Have “Value for Solar,” but Should We Use It?

Earlier this year, Minnesota became the first state to formalize dozens of studies by adopting a “value of solar” formula that would fundamentally change the relationship between solar energy producers and their utility. It’s designed to have the utility accurately compensate solar energy producers for the value of solar electricity to the utility, its customers, and society. And by separating solar production from consumption, it also ensures that all electric customers are paying for their share of the electric grid.

We Have “Value for Solar,” but Should We Use It?

Earlier this year, Minnesota became the first state to formalize dozens of studies by adopting a “value of solar” formula that would fundamentally change the relationship between solar energy producers and their utility. It’s designed to have the utility accurately compensate solar energy producers for the value of solar electricity to the utility, its customers, and society. And by separating solar production from consumption, it also ensures that all electric customers are paying for their share of the electric grid.

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