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FirstEnergy Solutions Implodes

FirstEnergy’s experiment in selling retail electricity below cost blew up in recent months.  Here is the story in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.  The geniuses that run FirstEnergy cooked up their new deregulated retail company, FirstEnergy Solutions, and created a business plan based on undercutting everyone else in the market, regardless of how much money it lost them.  Surprise, surprise.  This brilliant strategy succeeded in losing so much money that FirstEnergy

Citizen Groups Act to Cut WV State Subsidies to AEP’s Coal Plants

WV has been subsidizing AEP’s John Amos and Kammer coal-fired power stations by allowing the outlaw company to pollute our state’s rivers.  That subsidy got a little smaller a few weeks ago.  Here is the account from the WV Highlands Voice:

Why Aren’t Rural Electric Cooperatives Champions of Local Clean Power?

When it comes to ownership, there are few better structures for keeping a community’s wealth local than a cooperative. So why is it that America’s rural electric cooperatives are tethered to dirty, old coal-fired power plants instead of local-wealth generating renewable power?

There are a lot of answers to this question, but it might start with this: electric cooperatives aren’t quite like other cooperatives.

Speculators Profit from “Congestion” Payments in NY ISO

The NY Times has an interesting article today on electricity speculators DC Energy and their exploitation of exotic financial instruments to profit at times of peak demand in NY ISO, New York state’s regional transmission organization.

PJM Market Monitor Sees Exelon/PHI Merger as Threat to Power Markets

A recent story in industry journal SNL (subscription only) describes objections made by Joe Bowring, PJM Interconnection’s Market Monitor, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about Exelon’s proposed purchase of PEPCO Holdings, Inc.

Green Mountain Power Building Microgrid in Rutland, VT

Instead of whining about the federal government as politicians in WV have been doing, people and businesses in VT are using help from the US Dept. of Energy to create one of the first utility scale microgrids based entirely on renewable power.

A Solar Ownership Comeback? John Farrell Talks with Arnie Arnesen on WNHN

A month ago I wrote about the potential for a comeback for solar ownership (instead of leasing) as the economics and options for ownership continue to improve. Yesterday I discussed this trend in depth on “The Attitude” with Arnie Arnesen on WNHN. Subscribe to the podcast here, or listen by clicking the player below:

 

Offshore Wind, What’s Going On?

The answer: not much in the US.

A Few Weeds in Minnesota Decision to Allow Community Solar Gardens to Grow

Late last week, Minnesota regulators made a decision that may finally allow community solar projects to move forward (for Xcel Energy customers) in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. However, the Public Utilities Commission decision also highlighted the shortcomings of the legislature’s distributed solar policy adopted in 2013.

Can PUCs Lead on Distributed Renewable Energy?

If you’re like most renewable energy advocates that have interacted with a Public Utilities Commission, you probably don’t think they’re a repository of progressive policy toward distributed renewable energy.  In general, you’re right.

But it’s worth sharing a few, promising examples of Public Utilities Commissions around the U.S. that are actually making things better for distributed solar and other means of customer control over their energy future.

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