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Ohio continues move to smarter power system with multimillion-dollar clean-energy agreement

Over the past few years, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has actively opposed FirstEnergy in several cases where it sought bailouts for its uneconomic coal plants. We will continue to do so.

But if the utility giant wants to build a cleaner, more modern grid, we are eager to work together. Case in point: We are pleased to report that we reached an agreement on FirstEnergy’s plan to spend $516 million on grid modernization, bringing about lower bills, greater customer choice and less pollution.

Following AEP and Dayton Power & Light’s related agreements – both approved earlier this year – and in the midst of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s (PUCO) innovative PowerForward initiative, it’s clear Ohio is on a path to a smarter, more sophisticated power system. Read More »

Also posted in FirstEnergy, Ohio, Voltage Optimization / 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.

Read More »

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

Can blockchain unlock a sustainable future?

Blockchain – a really high-tech “spreadsheet” or ledger used to record transactions securely – offers exciting potential for clean energy. With the rapid rise of distributed energy technologies — such as rooftop solar, batteries, smart energy devices, and electric vehicles — some analysts believe the market for blockchain applications in the energy sector is many times larger than it is for cryptocurrency in the financial sector.

Blockchain technology may hold great promise for a sustainable future, but we need to solve some important challenges first.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Community Solar, Fourth Wave / Read 2 Responses

New report: 5 energy innovations that Ohio can use to attract $25 billion in investment

Why should Ohio ramp up its investment in energy innovation? More than 20,000 jobs and $25 billion in capital are on the line.

That’s according to a new report that outlines a vision for Ohio’s energy future and economic development. The report draws from the insights and experiences of a diverse group of advisors from across the state’s business, regulatory, academic, labor, and manufacturing sectors.

Here’s why now is a prime moment for Ohio to seize this multibillion-dollar opportunity, which will bring about a cleaner, more efficient energy system for Ohioans.

Five big opportunities

With the state’s largest utility constantly asking for a bailout and state legislators repeatedly trying to gut clean energy standards, Ohio isn’t exactly a leader on energy innovation. But it can be.

The report by Synapse Energy Economics, called Powering Ohio: A Vision for Growth and Innovative Energy Investment, highlights five areas for growth:

  1. Attracting investment from corporate clean energy leaders;
  2. Electrifying transportation, with a focus on electric vehicles;
  3. Building new clean electricity generation, like wind and solar power;
  4. Boosting Ohio’s energy productivity through energy efficiency; and
  5. Investing in a 21st century electric grid.

Taking advantage of these five related opportunities will net more than 20,000 jobs and $25 billion in investment dollars for Ohio, while enhancing productivity and lowering costs. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Financing, Energy Innovation, Ohio / Read 1 Response

Resilience proceeding gives FERC a chance to advance gas-electric coordination

Last September, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) started a conversation on resilience, asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to provide new revenues and guaranteed profits to the owners of old, inefficient coal and nuclear power plants to compensate these resources for certain reliability and (undefined) resilience attributes.

FERC swiftly disposed of that proposal in a January 8 order, finding that it was not warranted and would run counter to its pro-market regulatory model. FERC then asked all of the Regional Transmission Operators (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) to explain how they are evaluating and addressing resilience within their respective markets.

Read More »

Also posted in Gas to Clean, Natural Gas, Regional Grid / Comments are closed

New study answers the question, ‘What is grid resilience?’

By Rama Zakaria, Michael Panfil

Whether or not our electric grid is “resilient,” and what if anything should be done to make the grid more resilient, has been a topic of intense scrutiny in the past year.

The stakes in this debate reached new dimensions last fall with a highly controversial proposal by Sec. Rick Perry and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which claimed that the resilience of the electric grid is threatened by the premature retirement of uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. DOE’s flawed proposal – to bail out these plants through a profit-guarantee mechanism – was considered and unanimously rejected in January by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency charged with overseeing our nation’s electric grid. DOE’s proposal, in short, was an incredibly bad idea.

When FERC dismissed DOE’s proposal it opened a new proceeding, asking a series of questions around the topic of grid resilience.

A Customer-focused Framework for Electric System Resilience, a new report authored by Alison Silverstein and Grid Strategies, aims to answer these questions. The report, commissioned by Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council, recommends a customer-centric framework for evaluating electric system resilience and concludes that the most effective resilience solutions center upon the wires connecting the grid: distribution, and to a lesser extent transmission. By contrast, generation-related solutions – like keeping dirty coal and uneconomic nuclear plants online past their retirement dates – are the least effective for improving resilience. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, FirstEnergy, Market resilience, Utility Business Models / Comments are closed