Selected category: Clean Energy

FirstEnergy Can’t Hide Any Longer

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnifying_glass_with_focus_on_glass.pngOver the past few months, I have written a good deal about FirstEnergy, the massive electric utility serving customers across six states, and specifically its attempts to saddle Ohioans with the cost of its risky investments. The company has asked the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to guarantee profits for its uneconomic power plants through customer-funded subsidies.

FirstEnergy has also prevented opponents of its bailout from examining all relevant information to the case, including the credibility of its key witnesses. But, last week, the PUCO rejected these attempts to hide information about FirstEnergy’s embattled $3 billion proposal. As we near the start of the proposed bailout hearings on August 31st, this decision is a victory for transparency – and places the utility’s proposal on shakier ground than ever.

The full story involves a consultant – Judah Rose of ICF International – who FirstEnergy hired to justify the bailout. Rose was asked to project future electricity market prices, which would determine the economic value of the power generation plants in question. This contributed to how FirstEnergy settled on the figures for its bailout request. Read More »

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Another Tech Giant Supports North Carolina Renewable Energy Policies

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SAS Institute, Inc. – a North Carolina-Based technology company – has joined big names like
Apple, Facebook, and Google in a growing chorus of high-profile tech firms urging lawmakers to protect North Carolina’s burgeoning clean energy economy.

SAS told state lawmakers in a recent letter: “Technology companies value North Carolina’s existing energy policies, which enable us to operate and grow our businesses in a sustainable manner.”

At stake is North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS), which requires utilities to get 12.5 percent of their energy from sources such as solar and wind by 2021.The REPS and other thoughtful clean energy policies have helped create new markets that are attracting investments, building businesses, and creating jobs. The results are impressive.

North Carolina’s clean energy industry is growing

Today, North Carolina’s clean energy industry includes more the 1,200 firms providing nearly 23,000 jobs. In 2014, the industry generated nearly $5 billion in gross revenues for the state’s economy.

Much like North Carolina’s world-class university system, the growing clean energy economy makes the state an attractive choice for business leaders who are looking for the right place to invest and grow their businesses. Read More »

Also posted in North Carolina, Renewable Energy, Utility Business Models| Leave a comment

Powering Texas: Big, Clean, Market-Driven Changes are Already Underfoot

By: Peter Sopher, policy analyst, clean energy, and Sarah Ryan, clean energy consultant

wind-364996_640 pixabayOver the past century, the electric grid in the United States has experienced only minor changes. There is evidence, however, the power sector is changing. We are moving away from traditional coal generation and toward alternative, cleaner energy sources. And despite our state being primarily known for oil and gas, Texas is no exception.

In fact, Texas’ electricity sector has been trending cleaner over the past decades, driven by deregulation of the electricity market, the development of the massive highway of transmission lines built to carry West Texas wind to cities throughout the state – the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ), and technological progress. Basically, once the market was opened up to competition, the more economic options – which also happen to be cleaner – began to gain a foothold. And there’s no stopping this train.

Where we are and where we’re going

To start, the declining use of fossil fuels to power our lives is perhaps the most significant change in Texas. As shown in Figure 1 below, fossil fuels’ (coal and gas’) proportion of the state’s electricity generation mix shrunk from 88 percent in 2002 to 82 percent in 2013. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Power Plan, General, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Texas| Comments are closed

How Does the Investor Confidence Project Work? Check Out Our New Factsheet

By: Max Wycisk

ICP Logo newestThe Investor Confidence Project (ICP), Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) signature buildings efficiency finance program, is sometimes hard to explain in a nutshell. Ultimately, the program aims to create confidence among investors financing energy efficiency projects by standardizing how projects are designed and implemented across the commercial buildings sector. But how do we get from the origination of a project to a successful return on investment?

Our new ICP factsheet aims to answer this question and more. We’ve even developed this helpful infographic depicting a step-by-step process for using the ICP system: Read More »

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FERC, Grid Operator, Others File Supreme Court Briefs in Demand Response Case

Source: iStock

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a grid operator, states, and other parties just filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could decide whether Americans have access to low-cost, clean and reliable electricity.

The case, EPSA v. FERC, revolves around demand response, a resource that helps keep prices low and the lights on – and does so while also being environmentally friendly.

In 2013, for example, demand response saved customers in the mid-Atlantic region close to $12 billion. And during the polar vortex, which threatened the North-East with freezing cold in 2014, the same resource helped prevent black-outs.

The clean energy rule at issue in this case is called FERC Order 745. EDF has been writing about this demand response case throughout the past year. We’ve been fighting for low-cost demand response and we’ll keep fighting in the Supreme Court.  Read More »

Also posted in Climate, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing| Comments are closed

FirstEnergy Clings to the Energy Past

800px-Power_lines_(8618709561) flickrAll around the country, we are seeing signs of innovation when it comes to the electricity industry. The state of New York is performing a comprehensive review of related technologies and business practices, Illinois is modernizing the electric grid and empowering customers to save energy by creating transparency around smart meter data, and the wind industry in Texas continues to set new records. The U.S. grid is truly beginning to evolve from the system Thomas Edison created 100 years ago, moving toward a more flexible grid that runs on clean, renewable resources.

Yet some players – with significant revenue and power – are not on board. FirstEnergy, the Akron-based utility giant, has been clinging to the past and waging war on clean energy in Ohio, as I explain in my op-ed published today in the Akron Beacon Journal. The Beacon Journal is the hometown newspaper of FirstEnergy’s headquarters. Read More »

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