Energy Exchange

Cuba’s electric future: Lessons learned and pathways forward

A new report from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) highlights lessons learned and recommendations for the future of Cuba’s electric sector. These include the benefits of Cuba’s decentralized grid, the potential benefits of fueling the grid with more clean energy, and new financing opportunities. The full report is entitled The Cuban Electric Grid, and an abridged version appears in The Electricity Journal. The report builds upon more than a decade of EDF engagement in Cuba.

Here are five key takeaways from the report. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Financing, Energy Innovation / Comments are closed

We already know which grid fixes can keep lights on during bad storms. Here are 3.

After a record-breaking hurricane season and catastrophic wildfires in California, the vulnerabilities of our electric system – and the urgent need to upgrade it – have never been clearer.

It took more than 10 days of around-the-clock work to restore electricity to 350,000 customers after fires struck California wine country last month. Returning service to all 4.4 million power customers in Florida after Hurricane Irma took almost as long – and 70 percent of Puerto Ricans still lack power six weeks after Hurricane Maria.

Such crippling outages contribute to $250 billion in economic losses globally every year.

But there are solutions available on the market today that can reduce the impact of these outages. By investing in technologies that modernize our electric grid, and with careful planning, we can also create a cleaner and more efficient electricity system overall. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, General, Renewable Energy, Voltage Optimization / Tagged , | Comments are closed

If we don’t talk about water, are we really talking about resiliency?

It’s time to rely on water-smart power

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is trying to prop up coal and nuclear companies under the guise of enhanced “resiliency.” The Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposal does not define resiliency, nor does it even make clear what resiliency means in the context of the electric grid.

Resiliency in the energy sector generally, however, depends on water. The majority of the electricity that powers our world runs on century-old technology, guzzling down our most precious resource: water. Depending on the type of technology, generating just one megawatt-hour of electricity could use anywhere from 500 to 50,000 gallons. Solar and wind, on the other hand, use negligible amounts of water, and energy efficiency uses none.

Yet neither the DOE’s proposal nor its recent study on grid reliability touches on climate and water. Specifically, there is no mention of how climate change affects water availability or what that means for electric reliability. If Secretary Perry is really concerned about resiliency, water should be a key focus. And as a former governor from a drought-stricken state, he should know better. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Energy-Water Nexus / Read 1 Response

Department of Energy's proposal to FERC: Too many costs, no actual benefits

By Natalie Karas, Michael Panfil, and Rama Zakaria

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry recently proposed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) provide new revenues and guaranteed profits to the owners of inefficient and aging coal and nuclear power plants at the expense of American homeowners and businesses. These aging units are losing out to more efficient and innovative ways to generate power, reduce peak demand, and foster participation and competitive in the markets. EDF filed comments – separately and with a coalition of environmental organizations – today opposing DOE’s proposal to diminish, if not destroy, the integrity of competitive wholesale electricity markets.

The proposal is plagued by both procedural and substantive infirmities. It prevents informed outcomes by shortening FERC’s generally lengthy rulemaking process to a mere 60 days – offering little time for key stakeholders to participate. And it directs an independent, fuel-neutral federal agency to bankroll favored companies and energy sources under the guise of “resiliency,” a term the proposal does not define, applied to a problem that does not exist. In fact, a study released today shows “no clear relationship” between increased reliability and more coal and nuclear power. Read More »

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

Why better energy data equals better lives – now more than ever

Better Data, Better Lives.

That was the theme of the second World Statistics Day celebrated two years ago on October 20th, 2015. The holiday was designed for celebration every five years, but in light of recent attacks on climate science, it is critical to showcase the value of clean energy data now, more than ever.

So, why is clean energy data important? Why do we need it? As a data analyst, I expect to answer or debate questions about the significance, trends, and use of data. But I don’t usually expect questioning why data should exist in the first place.

Upon reflection, however, I’d say the simplest response is this: We need clean energy data to progress economically, socially, and technologically.

From a family trying to save money on their electricity bill to the global community collaborating on a cleaner, more renewable future, energy data can unlock an unending list of benefits by facilitating the design of effective policies, empowering people and businesses with information, and spurring energy innovation. Here are a just a few of those benefits. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Data Access, Energy Innovation / Read 2 Responses

Rick Perry’s coal bailout is an attack on competitive energy markets, with customers footing the bill

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry – whose agenda as governor of Texas was squarely focused on states’ rights and free markets – is now pushing for a federal plan that could disrupt organized electric markets.

Perry’s proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) aims to prop up uneconomic coal at the expense of Americans’ health and wallets.

Perry’s proposal would effectively pay owners of coal and nuclear power plants their operating costs, plus a guaranteed profit, regardless of whether those plants are selling electricity at a competitive price. These aging plants are currently being driven out of the competitive market by flattened energy demand and a growing list of cheaper, cleaner, more efficient alternatives – from natural gas and renewables to demand response and grid-scale battery systems. Simply put, Perry’s proposal shields uneconomic coal power, replacing competitive markets with profit guarantees.

That’s not a thumb on the scale supporting obsolete and expensive energy; it’s an elephant.

Because carbon pollution from coal plants causes asthma attacks, heart attacks, and a staggering number of premature deaths every year, propping up this dirty energy source will not only raise electricity bills, it will hurt American families. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Energy Innovation / Read 1 Response