Greening or Greenwashing? Illinois Cities’ Use of RECs Shows Challenges with Local Aggregation

A recent report from the World Wildlife Fund (and others) touts how city energy aggregation is “unleashing” renewable energy in Illinois. Buying electricity on behalf of their residential and small business customers, nearly 100 Midwestern cities have purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) along with their energy supply, giving their electrons a questionable aura of green energy.

The Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax – It’s Working – in British Columbia

Oh, limiting carbon emissions is so complicated.  How are we ever going to get it done?  You’ve got credits and offsets and trading.  Oh, it’s just so hard.

No it’s not.  You just have to get serious.  The method is very easy.  Tax fossil fuels, collect the tax and then rebate it to the people who are going to create real solutions: citizens and businesses.  The government only keeps enough of the money to administer the program.

Impossible, you say?

The Leading Community Energy Aggregator – Episode 19 of Local Energy Rules

Community choice aggregation describes a situation where a town can become the bulk buyer of electricity on behalf of its residential and small business customers. Such local aggregations serve about 5% of utility customers in Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and California, but it’s Marin Clean Energy in California that stands above the crowd for their commitment to renewable energy and their nearly decade-long fight to offer service.

WV’s Great Carbon Opportunity: Our Failed Political Class Has Snatched It Away from Us

Behind all the squawking and whining by WV politicians there is Section 111d of the federal Clean Air Act.  Section 111d is the part of the Clean Air act that requires the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide states with performance standards for emissions from existing power plants.  In the last few years, EPA has determined that Section 111d allows the agency to establish guidelines to regulate the emission of dangerous carbon compounds from existing power plan

Energy Storage: The Next Charge for Distributed Energy

Energy storage promises to change the electricity system during the next decade, as fundamentally as distributed renewable energy has in the last decade. A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Energy Storage: The Next Charge for Distributed Energy, forecasts where the battleground is shaping up.

Solar Supporters: It’s Open Season on the Utilities’ Duck

placeholderThe rapid changes to the electricity system being wrought by distributed solar have utilities crying out, and they’ve poured much of their distributed solar angst into a chart being shared throughout the energy nerdocracy – the duck.

The Duck Chart, Showing Net Supply/Demand on the California Grid in 2012-13, Forecast through 2020

A Perfect Storm for Renewables – Episode 18 of Local Energy Rules

“We have a perfect storm for renewables,” says Jan TenBruggencate, second-term board member of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The Hawaiian utility, made local when the investor-owned utility left the business a decade ago, is surging toward 40% renewable energy in the next year, with a third of that total from customer-generated solar. Half its daytime energy will come from solar arrays by the end of 2015.

Minnesota Now Operating in the Real World, Unlike Most Other States

While power companies are pushing the argument that solar power generators should be forced to sell power back to the grid at a discount, Minnesota has created a formula that values solar power at its real value.  The state’s PUC recently voted to value the power sold through MN’s new solar gardens program at its real value, using its “value of solar”

Distributed Renewable Energy Under Fire

placeholderI developed this map as a side project while I was working on explaining the value of solar and its potential role in addressing conflicts between utilities and customers over distributed renewable energy like solar.

WV PSC Raising Rates to Cover AEP Maintenance Costs

Yesterday, the WV PSC filed a final order approving Ohio-based AEP’s plan to maintain its rights of way in WV.  AEP’s plan for APCo and Wheeling Power grew out of PSC general investigations into failed power company responses to the moderate 2009 snowfall and the 2012 derecho storm.