Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

Clean Energy Conferences Roundup: April 2014

Source: National Retail Federation Flickr

Source: National Retail Federation Flickr

Thousands of clean energy conferences are held every year across the United States. A quick Google search revealed over 1.5 million results for 2014 alone. That’s why, starting this month, in an effort to save our readers time, the Energy Exchange will be endeavoring to round up a monthly list of some of the top clean energy conferences around the country. Our list includes conferences at which experts from the EDF Clean Energy Program will be speaking, plus additional events that we think our readers may benefit from marking on their calendars.

Top clean energy conferences featuring EDF experts in April:

April 2-4: Wall St. Journal ECO:nomics, Santa Barbara, CA
Speaker: Fred Krupp, President

  • Each year, top CEOs and investors, pioneering entrepreneurs, environmental experts, and policy makers convene at ECO:nomics to discuss and debate the most critical issues facing leaders who are driving change at the intersection of business and the environment. Experts from a diverse range of industries will debunk myths and uncover new opportunities through dynamic interviews led by senior editors from The Wall Street Journal. Topics range from America’s game-changing natural gas boom to China’s globally significant energy appetite to the range of potential power sources of tomorrow.

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Solar, Wind Prompting Electricity Grid Innovation In California

In a February Wall Street Journal article (“California Girds for Electricity Woes”), reporter Rebecca Smith gives an alarmist and misleading account of California energy regulators’ efforts to secure a cleaner, less expensive, more reliable electricity grid.  Right now, California has plenty of power:  44 percent more generating capacity than it typically uses, including a considerable fossil fuel energy portfolio.  Renewables – large scale, rooftop solar, wind, and, increasingly, energy storage – make up almost 15 percent of the grid, a percentage that will more than double in the next decade.  These clean, innovative energy technologies are working to improve the system by reducing the need for fossil fuels.

The reality is that the grid is changing, driven by California’s quest to secure an environmentally safe and affordable electricity system. Increasing the amount of renewable energy on the grid will mean that more generation is variable; electricity output from solar and wind depends on sunshine or windiness, respectively.    Up to this point, California has met this challenge by backing up clean resources with fossil fuels.  But California’s ratepayers can’t afford to keep doing this, so instead of “girding for woe,” the CAISO and the CPUC met to proactively address our changing future – to move California towards cleaner, less expensive electric grid planning.

This new approach can increase California’s ability to rely on clean energy generation by building greater flexibility into the system – while giving more options to consumers.  Not only can customer-based (“demand-side”) clean energy technologies reduce reliance on polluting power plants, they are quite likely to be more reliable and are potentially more cost-effective.   Demand response, or the ability of customers to choose to save money by responding to a price or electronic signal from the grid operator in times of excess system demand, will be key to integrating large amounts of intermittent solar and wind without back-up fossil or storage.   In fact, during afternoon peak demand, where supply is extremely limited in its ability to serve load, the addition of virtual generation resulting from the participation of DR into the market will actually lower energy prices.

California has already installed a robust digital metering infrastructure – and it’s time to put these meters to work by enabling customers to participate in demand response and other demand-side programs.  Coupled with technologies that now allow for fast, reliable, automated ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ adjustments to electricity use, we can seamlessly integrate variable electricity resources, such as wind and solar, without disrupting energy users.  Customers can choose to become an energy resource instead of fossil fuel plants.  Read More »

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