Coal Bloviators and Germany

I have spent some time during the current WV legislative session listening to online broadcasts of legislative committee meetings.  A couple of weeks ago, I heard a WV Senator claim that Germany (this is a paraphrase) “has given up on all that renewable stuff and is going back to 100% coal for its electricity.” The Senator went on to explain that solar and wind power just weren’t working for Germany.

That would be news to the people of Freiberg.

Nigeria – One of Africa’s Most Prosperous Countries Has Collapsing Centralized Grid

This article from yesterday’s New York Times is a good companion piece to my recent post about Kenya’s M’KOPA.  Nigeria, the subject of the Times article, is more than 2000 miles from Kenya, but both countries are part of the same situation.

Kenya’s M’KOPA Pioneers Decentralized Power

Kenya is on the leading edge of decentralized solar power.  M’KOPA provides a 4 watt solar panel, three LED lights, a DC radio and a cell phone charger, all in a box.  The kit costs about $200.  The purchaser makes a small down payment and uses his/her cell phone to make small daily payments, about $.45, for one year.  Once the system is paid off, a code is transmitted by cell phone, and the charger system is unlocked.  Free electricity follows, for the life of the solar panel.

Karl Cates – The Other War: Underreported but Not Insignificant

Karl Cates has an excellent piece over at the IEEFA blog that will give you a good look at how decentralized solar power is under attack by the electrical industry around the US.  Cates also describes how this story is being suppressed in the US media.

Here’s what Mr. Cates has to say:

Utility and Advocate Debate Value of Solar

placeholderAt a Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association conference in November 2014, ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell tilted with Xcel Energy’s Rick Evans about the state’s dormant value of solar policy and whether it was likely to be adopted in the near future.

Power Company Misinformation on HB2201 Exposed

A funny thing happened in the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee meeting this afternoon.  The Committee took up and passed HB2201 without any changes, but a lot more happened during the discussion of the bill.  AEP’s obstruction of solar advocates’ efforts to correct a serious error in the bill collapsed in disgrace.

Duke Energy Holding Company Using Bogus Arguments to Attack Net Metering in Indiana

The desperate multi-state holding company Duke Energy is attacking net metering in Indiana.  RTO Insider has a good summary of the situation.

Duke trotted out the tired old propaganda that adding extra charges to solar power producers “balances the interests of customers who have their own generation and those who don’t.”

More on Holding Company Strategies

A friend in Morgantown posted a comment under this morning’s Oak Park post that is actually much more connected to my “Dangerous Holding Company” post.  The comment contained a link to the video below.  This is an interview with Michael Liebreich Chairman of the Advisory Board of

Oak Park, IL Microgrid Project Moving Forward

I posted back in 2013, here and here, about the pioneering project to turn more than 100 homes in Oak Park, IL into a resilient microgrid.  The project is moving forward as you can see from this link.

Dangerous Holding Companies Rebuilding Empires at the Expense of the Rest of Us

Back in the 1910s and 1920s, Samuel Insull, president of Commonwealth Edison in Chicago, and banker J.P. Morgan put together a network of privately owned holding companies that controlled must of the major electric utilities in the US.  In the late 1920s and early 1930s, this dangerous pyramid of companies collapsed, threatening the stability of electrical service across the country.