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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.

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.

Commissioner McKinney Parrots Power Company Propaganda at Shepherdstown Public Hearing

On October 6, WV PSC Commissioner Jon McKinney traveled to Shepherdstown to preside over the public hearing about FirstEnergy’s 17.2% rate increase for WV’s residential customers.  A friend of mine, John Christensen, testified at the hearing and asked me to forward him the transcript of the hearing.

Capacity Markets: Money for Nothing

The American Public Power Association has published its latest biennial report on the impacts of mandatory capacity markets.  This report is not a theoretical analysis.  It looks at individual projects built in 2013 and how they were financed.  Most of the 24 page report is appendices with tables describing the new generation plants built in 2013.  As in their 2012 report, APPA concludes that, particularly in terms of stimulating new generation in areas where it is needed, capacity markets run

FirstEnergy Customers in Eastern Panhandle Give Commissioner McKinney an Earful

Keryn has a great account of the PSC’s public hearing on FirstEnergy’s 17.2% rate increase.  Poor Commissioner McKinney had to handle the hoi polloi all by himself.  He didn’t do such a great job.  Despite the fact that all the people testifying against the rate increase were residential customers, and the residential rate increase they face is 17.2%, Commissioner McKinney kept interrupting people to insist that they should be using the 14.3%

2 Charts Show Solar’s Jump to Top Spot for New U.S. Power Generation

placeholderWant proof that distributed solar is rapidly growing?  Look no further than these two charts, showing how solar provided over a quarter of new power plant capacity in 2013 (6% from residential solar alone!) and 43% in the first half of this year!

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