Selected category: Utility Business Models

It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over: Ohio Bailout Battle Marches On

case-law-pixabayIn extremely disappointing news, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently approved the AEP and FirstEnergy bailout cases. By keeping old, uneconomic coal and nuclear plants running for the next eight years, the bailouts are bad for customers, bad for the environment, and bad for the competitive electric market. Even worse, customers are forced to subsidize these plants, even if they buy their power from a different supplier.

A broad coalition of consumer, industrial, commercial, and environmental advocates opposed the bailouts, but the PUCO disregarded this strong public opposition. However, the battle over the bailouts is far from over.  Read More »

Also posted in FirstEnergy, Ohio| Read 2 Responses

Transforming the Electric System to Reduce Costs and Pollution

electrical-power-linesBy: Beia Spiller and Kristina Mohlin

Electricity markets around the world are transforming from a model where electricity flows one way (from electricity-generating power plants to the customer) to one where customers actively participate as providers of electric services. But to speed this transformation and maximize its environmental and cost benefits, we need to understand how customer actions affect the three distinct parts of our electric system: generation, transmission, and distribution. Read More »

Also posted in California, Electricity Pricing, Grid Modernization, New York, Texas| Read 7 Responses

The Sun Belongs to Everyone

2016-03-03-1457029192-4192505-GRIDsolar1

I thought only supervillains like Mr. Burns or Supreme Leader Snoke from Star Wars were bold enough to try snuffing out the sun…I was wrong.

I've been writing about solar power and economic equity for eight years now and I still firmly believe the vision that drew me to this issue in the first place: solar and other forms of clean energy hold the potential to be a jobs and economic growth machine for communities who need it the most.

Back in 2008, I joined a collective movement of environmentalists, community and justice activists, and labor and faith groups who coalesced around a vision for the "green collar economy." The idea of this movement was to fight climate change while also lifting people out of poverty and jails, and helping them transition into promising careers in growing industries.

Since then I've seen many great strides in the creation of a clean energy economy that employs hundreds of thousands with well-paying and accessible jobs, propelled by smart policy, innovation, and upstart private and public sector players, all making meaningful investments in communities. Rooftop solar in particular has begun to challenge the status quo by turning people's homes into mini power plants, cutting into dirty power and the monopoly-dominated, electric grid.

Yet, despite this progress and opportunity, some states – fueled by short-sighted officials, fear-mongering, and the threat of declining profits for big business utilities – want to shut it all down. Read More »

Also posted in Solar Energy| Comments are closed

Good Policy Gone Bad: How Nevada Killed Jobs and Clean Energy Competition

Road_Closed_sign_along_Nevada_State_Route_317_south_of_Caliente,_NevadaIf you want a good example how bad government can kill good jobs and clean energy innovation, take a look at what’s happening in Nevada, where a decision by Governor Brian Sandoval’s appointees, pushed by NV Energy Inc., essentially killed the thriving local solar energy industry.

In December 2015, Gov. Sandoval’s Public Utilities Commission (PUCN) approved a new net metering rule for people with rooftop solar systems that significantly increases monthly fees they pay their utility and significantly decreases the value of unused energy they sell back to the grid. Under the new rule, rooftop solar owners do not receive payments for the benefits they provide the electric grid and it will simply take too long to recoup a solar investment so that, for most, solar will no longer be a smart financial move. Solar companies are already running for the border.

And if killing jobs wasn’t enough, PUCN’s new rule is retroactive, essentially pulling the economic rug out from under the 17,000 Nevadans who have already invested in solar systems based on existing rules. In some cases, people who have invested tens of thousands of dollars are immediately underwater; it may take them decades to see a financial return on their investment. That is, unless Nevada decides to grandfather all existing solar customers for 20 years (a vote by the PUCN is scheduled for tomorrow). Read More »

Also posted in Electricity Pricing, Solar Energy| Read 9 Responses

Why this Utility Giant's $4-billion Coal Bailout is an Ill-Fated Energy Strategy

Clean energy investments are soaring worldwide, and the United States is no exception with $56 billion going toward renewable generation in 2015, an 8-percent increase over the year before.

So why are some utilities going against this trend – and risking a contest against more progressive competitors that are gaining market share at their expense?

To understand why, it helps to have a closer look at Ohio-based FirstEnergy, a large investor-owned energy company with operations in six states that has become the poster child for resistant utilities.

The FirstEnergy case also illustrates why companies that refuse change won’t be able to stop the rising clean energy tide, no matter how hard they try. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, FirstEnergy, Ohio| Comments are closed

How Battery Technology and Crowd-Sourced Energy Can Save Our Aging Grid

By: Karin Rives

Not too long ago, making and selling your own electricity via rooftop solar was a novelty. Today, with 784,000 homes and businesses in the United States already on solar, such transactions are taking place every day in 44 states.

Now comes Bring Your Own Battery

Also posted in California, Electric Vehicles, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy| Comments are closed
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