Energy Exchange

What if gadgets talked to the grid to cut carbon? With this new technology, they can.

Having breakfast at a local restaurant last weekend, I was sitting next to parents who were desperately trying to get their toddler to eat the pancakes he had ordered a few minutes earlier. Watching the high-stakes drama, it occurred to me that toddlers are a bit like our electric grid: They can change drastically at a moment’s notice.

The better we are at reacting to the sudden outburst of “I hate pancakes” – or in the case of the grid, rapid changes in demand, price and emissions – the better off we’ll be.

For emissions at least, we can. Automated Emissions Reductions, or AER, is a new technology helping us to more precisely measure and proactively reduce the carbon emissions impact from our electricity use, in real time. A growing number of grid operators, businesses and energy managers nationwide are lining up to invest in this technology as an efficient way to cut their carbon footprint.

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Also posted in Energy Innovation, Fourth Wave / Comments are closed

3 reasons Texas’ electric grid survived a summer that pushed its limits

As the hot summer approached, Texas leaders expressed concern about potential blackouts and brownouts. Yet, thoughtful planning, a functional electricity market and clean energy helped ensure the lights stayed on.

Power outage concerns

Hotter temperatures and continued population and commercial growth drove record electricity demand this past summer. Additionally, in early 2018, Luminant (now Vistra) shut down three large coal plants – all inefficient and highly-polluting – with a combined capacity of 4,200 megawatts (MW).

The shutdown of these power plants and other changes in the electricity market initially led the state’s electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), to forecast few electricity-making resources would be available beyond the amount customers would likely demand.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization, Regional Grid, Texas / Comments are closed

100% by 2045: California evaluates one of the nation’s biggest clean energy goals

It’s summertime in California, and one thing that means is lots of sunshine. Lucky for us, the Golden State is a national leader in turning that sunshine, and other renewable resources, into electricity to power homes and business across the state.

Currently, the state is working to produce 50 percent of its electricity from clean energy resources like solar and wind and is closing in on that goal. Next month, lawmakers will get the chance to advance that goal even further – to 100 percent by 2045.

SB 100, authored by Sen. Kevin de León, is the bill that, if passed, could solidify the new, bigger, bolder target. California would be the second state in the nation to pass this high of a target – only behind Hawaii. A handful of other states are considering aiming at 100 percent clean energy, including Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

California’s leadership could help tip the scale. California has the opportunity to show the rest of these states and countries across the world that 100 percent clean energy is possible. With climate change already affecting us, we don’t have much more time to waste.  Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Solar Energy, Time of Use / Read 1 Response

East Coast meets West Coast style – how 2 states are advancing clean energy

By Rory ChristianLauren Navarro

Cities and states are taking the initiative to address climate change independently from the federal administration. With unique political contexts and environmental needs, each local authorities’ policies address specific climate challenges.

California’s new landmark mandate, requiring solar panels on new home constructions, and New York’s ongoing Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, illustrate just how different paths can lead to accomplish the same intent: to fight climate change.  They are also indicative of how elected officials are prioritizing energy, infrastructure, and housing in their planning.

The longer states wait to take action to set or meet environmental goals, the more expensive their efforts will become. More importantly, the delay can affect the economic and health benefits from new jobs and lower emissions that improve residents’ quality of life.

New York and California are well positioned because they’ve capitalized on emerging trends by addressing legal and regulatory issues in ways other states have yet to do. Let’s take a look at their approaches and challenges. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, New York, New York REV, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Dear FirstEnergy, America doesn’t need your coal plants

Why do grocers mark down the price of asparagus in the spring, or strawberries in the summer? Because they’re in season and stores have excess supply, and they need to increase demand by cutting prices. The lower prices are a sign, or “price signal,” of excess supply, and the grocers are following the economic law of supply and demand.

Electricity markets follow the law of supply and demand, too. Falling electricity prices are a price signal that we have more power plants than we need. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees our nation’s electric grid, reports on wholesale electricity prices, and their latest State of the Markets report is an eye-opener.

The report shows that we’re retiring old coal plants at a fast clip, but we’re adding new natural gas plants at an even faster clip – causing power prices to plummet. In PJM, the largest regional electricity market in the country, 1.9 GW of coal plants closed in 2017 as 2.8 GW of new natural gas plants were added. Read More »

Also posted in FirstEnergy, Illinois, Ohio / Comments are closed

Recommendations for a resilient grid, no federal coal bailout required

By Michael Panfil, Rama Zakaria

In the past year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has used the issue of grid resilience as cover for an aggressive campaign to funnel a multi-billion-dollar yearly bailout to the owners of old, uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants. Although this DOE effort was rightly rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in January, the issue of resilience remains.

In denying DOE’s proposal, FERC (the agency responsible for overseeing our nation’s electric grid) asked regional grid operators to report practices they are currently implementing to ensure a reliable, resilient electric grid. In March, grid operators filed their reports, which generally concluded that the grid is resilient and we don’t need uneconomic coal and nuclear plants to keep the lights on.

Today, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) – alongside numerous other stakeholders from business, academia, industry, and public interest organizations – submitted to FERC individual and joint comments on these grid operator reports and the topic of grid resilience. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Market resilience / Read 2 Responses