Today’s Lede: Michigan PSC approves large gas-fired power project. Michigan’s utility regulators approved DTE Energy’s $1 billion investment in a new 1,100-megawatt natural gas-fired generation facility, doubling down on the state’s policies putting no stock in electricity markets, either for retail choice or the region’s competitive wholesale market to provide adequate resources. Environmentalists and clean-energy advocates decried the Public Service Commission’s ruling. They had argued DTE’s evaluation of the need for the plant failed to account for the role renewables and energy conservation could play.
“DTE Electric’s recent and planned investments in energy waste reduction, renewable energy and energy storage, when coupled with this highly efficient gas plant, demonstrate that Michigan is a great example of an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to meet our energy needs in a reliable, affordable manner that protects the environment,” said PSC chair Sally Talberg.
“Despite the overwhelming evidence that DTE failed to adequately consider alternatives, including a portfolio of renewable energy solutions that would lead to greater savings, more jobs, reduced risk, and environmental benefits, the Commission authorized a $1 billion plant that would not pass muster with Michigan’s laws if it were proposed today,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Case No. U-18419. Click through here to access the docket.
PJM unveils fuel security initiative. PJM Interconnection announced today that it will undertake an examination of fuel security risk in what it termed the next phase of its grid-resilience initiative. Resilience is a new term introduced into the electric industry’s lexicon last year with the Trump administration’s advocacy of consumer subsidies for coal and nuclear power plants that are struggling economically in the competitive wholesale power markets operated by PJM and other regional market operators.
“The PJM grid remains reliable even with the resource retirements analyzed to date and investment in new, increasingly more efficient gas-powered generation sources. While the grid also remains fuel secure given these changes, the potential for continued evolution of the fuel mix underscores concerns [regarding] the long-term resilience of the grid,” PJM said in announcing the fuel security assessment.
In a March 2017 report, PJM concluded that its system could remain reliable with the addition of more natural gas and renewable resources, but that “heavy reliance on one resource type” raises potential resilience risks beyond existing reliability standards. “To address longer-term questions of fuel security, PJM will initiate a process, starting immediately, to analyze fuel-security vulnerabilities and establish criteria to assess areas in the PJM system that could face future fuel security issues,” PJM said.
“Competitive markets remain the best mechanism to maintain a reliable and fuel-secure system at the lowest reasonable cost to customers,” PJM President and CEO Andy Ott said. “We have the ability to identify risks to the system and to put a value on resources that offset that risk.”
ISO-New England report examines cold snap experience. A two-week cold snap in New England caused the region’s power plants to burn more than double the amount of oil it burned in all of 2016, according to ISO New England. An extreme 13-day cold wave beginning Dec. 26 caused the region to burn more than 2 million barrels of oil for electricity during the stretch, which is more than double the 1 million barrels of oil burned in 2016, Joe Cooper reports in Hartford Business. Switching to burning oil increased greenhouse gas emissions to 220,000 tons per day, up from 100,000 per day in the days prior.
“The cold temperatures, together with winter storms and other complicating factors, led to some of the most challenging conditions our system operators have ever had to navigate,” said Peter Brandien, ISO New England’s vice president for system operations. Click through here to access the report.
Possible power plant closure raises concern about New England’s electric supply. David Brooks reports for the Concord Monitor that ISO-New England will seek out-of-market compensation for the Mystic 8 and 9 generating facilities operated by Exelon near Boston. Exelon’s threat to shut down unless it can make more money selling its power “has added more urgency to a long debate about how to maintain the stability of the region’s power grid during winter, and how to get the six New England states to share the expense,” Brooks writes. “The big elephant in the room is cost allocation,” ISO-NE President Gordon van Welie said at a regional energy forum held by the New England Council. “No one’s going to escape the effects of the problem, and so therefore we think the region as a whole should pay for this problem.”
Electricity isn’t a free market, but it should be. So states the headline of an op-ed in the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner newspaper by Philip Rosetti, energy policy director at the American Action Forum, a think tank promoting free market-based policy solutions.
Rosetti begins by noting that Energy Secretary Rick Perry, in advocating for Trump administration-backed interventions in electricity markets to prop up struggling coal and nuclear power plants, maintained that “we don’t have a free market” in electricity.
“Secretary Perry is half-right, but half-wrong. Electricity isn’t in a free market, but there is a market, and it ought to be free,” Rosetti writes. “Is there any other industry in which customers fear scarcity because of an increase in low-cost production? Of course not. Markets have churn, and so the lost capacity from failing coal plants does not mean a permanent loss of overall power-generating capacity.”
Rosetti counters arguments put forward by market-intervention advocates regarding grid “resiliency” and subsidies for other generation resources. Market competition and not government intervention is the cause of declining profitability for coal plants, he says, citing his own research (click through here). The recent cold snap illustrated how markets compensate plants in the face of demand, rather than demonstrate why certain resources should receive out-of-market competition, he writes.
“Electricity markets are fundamentally working, and overly expensive plants are closing. The answer to reliability concerns is policies that expand market competition and reduce the power of policymakers to intervene. Markets, by their nature, reward the services that people want.”
Enviro group challenges Alabama Power’s fees for distributed solar. The Southern Environmental Law Center is challenging a five-year-old order by the Alabama Public Service Commission allowing Southern’s Alabama Power Co. to charge customers who install solar some $300 annually in fees, the Asociated Press reports. Over the lifetime of the customer’s solar installation, the fees could add some $9,000 in costs, the group maintains. The Southern Environmental Law Center and a Birmingham-based law firm, Ragsdale LLC, filed the complaint on behalf of two people and Gasp Inc., which advocates energy production that reduces air pollution.
The complaint and petition for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief alleges the utility’s fees are “unfair, unreasonable, unjust, discriminatory, contrary to the public interest and otherwise unlawful.” The case is Docket Number 32767. Click through here to access the filing.
In a statement provide the Associated Press, Gasp executive director Michael Hansen said neighboring states are experiencing business and job growth linked to the solar energy industry that largely is bypassing Alabama because of the utility’s policies. “If solar customers were treated fairly, Alabama would have the opportunity to reap these same benefits,” he said.
W.Va. energy lawyer advocates competitive electricity market access for manufacturers. West Virginia’s large manufacturing and industrial customers should be granted “direct access” to wholesale electricity markets, “enabling them to purchase directly from other electricity suppliers the low-cost and renewable energy supplies that West Virginia utilities are simply incapable of providing,” Jamie Van Nostrand, a long-time energy regulatory attorney, law professor and director of the Center for Energy & Sustainable Development at West Virginia University’s College of Law writes in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“[W]e urgently need to take action to position the state for the future to be able to attract the 21st century businesses that will provide jobs for West Virginians,” Van Nostrand writes, maintaining that “the job providers of the future require an electricity supply that is predominantly renewable, and low cost.” The state’s policies relying on aging coal-fired power plants represents “a higher-cost path.”
Van Nostrand notes that a recently failed legislative measure, Senate Bill 600, contained provisions that would have allowed manufacturers access to competitive markets as well as provided rate incentives to attract manufacturers to invest in the state. “The sponsors of SB 600 recognized that the competitive economic advantage that West Virginia has long enjoyed due to low-cost electric rates has eroded.”
Both “new economy” businesses, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple, and “old economy” businesses, such as Walmart, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, Dow Chemical and Budweiser, have corporate sustainability objectives requiring their electricity supply to be procured from renewable energy sources, he notes. With 95 percent of the electricity produced in West Virginia being coal-fired, the state is poorly positioned to attract such businesses. Nor is West Virginia meeting the demand for low-cost electricity, as the state’s rates continue to rise because of a failure to take advantage of low-cost natural gas and other resources.
“West Virginia is losing badly in the competition to attract jobs, and rising energy costs are a major contributor. The time to act is now; there should be a sense of urgency about this issue to move quickly to position the state for a rapidly changing energy marketplace.”
Coal extracted a steep price, now gas is taking W.Va. down same path. Gov. Jim Justice’s recent call for a tax on natural gas resources to fund schools echoed a similar proposal made 65 years ago targeting coal. Supporters say the state’s actions over the past few years have positioned West Virginia to compete for growth. But critics fear that West Virginia won’t fully share in the riches the industry creates and will be forced to bear the long-term environmental, health and infrastructure costs, much as it has for the now-dwindling coal industry.
‘No flexibility,’ Dominion CEO warns as S.C. lawmakers ponder rate issue. As South Carolina’s lawmakers ponder how much the state’s electricity consumers should be on the hook for SCANA’s failed $9 billion investment in new nuclear, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell said on Friday’s earnings call that there is “no flexibility” in terms of the $7.9 billion bid his company has made to acquire the Palmetto State’s troubled investor-owned utility company. “We’ve made our offer,” he said.
“Farrell hasn’t been shy about his plans for SCANA if lawmakers meddle in the electricity rates it collects from ratepayers of its South Carolina Electric & Gas subsidiary. Touch the rates, and Dominion’s walking,” Thad Moore writes in the Post and Courier.
Newspaper urges Maine PUC to support offshore wind project. The Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel editorial board is urging the Maine Public Utilities Commission to support a power purchase contract that would require the state’s electricity consumers to subsidize the installation of an offshore wind project spearheaded by the University of Maine. The editorial boosting the Maine Aqua Ventus 12-megawatt, two-turbine demonstration project notes the Gov. Paul LePage-appointed PUC has questioned requiring the state’s consumers to pay more than $180 million extra on their bills to support the project over the 20-year life of the contract.
That works out to about 73 cents per month for the average Maine electricity consumer. That’s a small price to pay to support a project that would help establish the state’s leadership in the offshore wind industry, the editorial says. Ripping up the contract would mean losing an $87 million grant from the federal Department of Energy and would cost Maine taxpayers $11 million for a bond issue to support the project.
“The ultimate price would come at the expense of the state’s credibility as a business partner, giving investors a very good reason to look elsewhere before deciding to put their money to work here,” the editorial board maintains, noting the experience with Norway’s Statoil five years ago in the wake of Maine “reneging” on a power purchase agreement to support an offshore wind project the company sought to build. “The company took its $120 million and invested it in Scotland instead of Maine. If the PUC repeats that sorry episode, the damage to Maine’s reputation will be complete.”
While the project’s cost to consumers is roughly three times the average price of power in the market today, supporting the offshore wind research and development effort will help establish the state’s bona fides in a nascent industry that will provide jobs and investment, the editorial argues. “Maine has put too much into ocean wind power to abandon it. The PUC should not sink this proposal, or the state’s credibility.”
Effort to build offshore wind industry in Maine may hinge on 73 cents. Pending action at the PUC could imperil a 2014 power contract for floating turbines off Monhegan Island that would raise electric bills less than $1 a month.
Other electric industry news of note:
New Jersey BPU grants Sayreville steel plant discount on energy bill. Gerdau Steel is getting a discount beginning tomorrow on its energy bill, savings that could help the Sayreville steel plant stay competitive with rivals. The Board of Public Utilities has granted the only active steelmaker in New Jersey a 50 percent reduction of a surcharge on its energy costs, which amounts to about $1.5 million annually, according to Gerdau.
As nuclear power loses ground to natural gas, environmentalists are torn: Are the risks worth saving it for climate’s sake? Nuclear’s precarious situation creates a dilemma for environmental groups, which have long opposed nuclear power. “If they’re replaced by plants that burn fracked gas, then that’s definitely a problem,” said Tom Schuster, a senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club in Pennsylvania. But, Schuster said, nuclear energy carries its own environmental problems: radioactive waste, impacts from uranium mining, and the risks of a Fukushima-like disaster. Also, he says, money spent keeping nuclear plants open could be spent building out the renewables sector.
Batteries have a dirty secret. Energy storage is considered a green technology. But it actually increases carbon emissions, David Roberts writes in Vox. “The way it’s typically used in the U.S. today, it enables more fossil-fueled energy and higher carbon emissions. Emissions are higher today than they would have been if no storage had ever been deployed in the U.S.,” Roberts maintains. “In and of itself, energy storage is neither clean nor dirty — it is neutral, as likely to boost the revenue of fossil fuel plants as it is to help clean energy. If policymakers want to use it as a tool to enable clean energy, they need to be conscious of its characteristics and smarter about its deployment.”
Free market groups call for repeal of Clean Power Plan. Public policy analysts from 20 free-market organizations, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, today filed a joint comment letter in support of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposal to repeal the Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan. “We strongly support repeal of the CPP based on EPA’s reading of the Clean Air Act,” the groups declare in their joint filing. “This action is critical to end the previous administration’s economically destructive war on fossil fuels and deter future attempts to inflate EPA into a national climate policy legislator and energy czar.”
Can San Diego Ditch the Power Company? Not Without a Fight. A utility-supported campaign against community choice aggregation in San Diego promises to be a “major test” for municipal aggregation, which has taken a foothold throughout the country, Ivan Penn writes in the New York Times. “The model has met growing resistance from traditional retailers of power, which have found profits squeezed as energy-efficient appliances and residential solar installations reduce demand,” Penn writes.
The highs and lows of American electricity. Why do consumers in some states pay more every month despite lower electricity prices — and vice versa? Last month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute published its annual assessment of state electricity prices. Click through to the report here. Prices in many states fell last year, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, but the reality is one of high retail prices for coastal elites and cheap power for those with abundant natural resources. But by other measures, “expensive” states to live in also have some of the most affordable power in the country. It’s a paradox: Some states have low electricity prices but residents pay more to power their homes, and others have high prices and low consumer bills. But the occurrence of high prices paired with high bills is rare.
The crux of Nevada’s ballot Question 3, energy choice. Although an NV Energy representative said the company is not granting interviews about the ballot question, an email statement said that NV Energy is working with the Coalition to Defeat Question 3. The goal, NV Energy stated, is “to make sure all Nevadans have the facts about this risky and costly Constitutional Amendment, which has the potential to dismantle an electricity system that already provide[s] low costs, increased clean energy production, great customer service and industry-leading reliability.”
Utility-backed program to replace net metering in Michigan faces opposition. The Michigan Public Service Commission’s “changes to net metering slams the door on Michigan residents who want to save money on their electricity bills by generating their own clean energy,” state Rep. Gary Glenn, the Republican chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, said in a statement. “The MPSC was supposed to conduct a comprehensive study of the cost of service for distributed generation, but protected the financial interest of two monopoly utilities and failed to side with the ratepayers.” Utilities argue that customers with rooftop solar are subsidized by all other ratepayers for the cost of using the electric grid. However, MPSC staff noted in a February report that this figure can be difficult to determine due to “data availability issues” and the relatively small number of net metering customers in Michigan.
Connecticut regulators investigate utility power shut-offs. Connecticut regulators, responding to requests by U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, are investigating the practice of power shut-offs to utility customers following a report of rising disconnections by Eversource. Katie Dykes, chair of the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, told Murphy PURA will establish a proceeding on uncollectable accounts to evaluate trends in program costs and participation.
Florida regulators approve ‘experimental’ DSM program for Gulf Power. Florida regulators have approved an experimental demand side management (DSM) program for Gulf Power that essentially pays a capacity price to commercial and industrial loads as a way to reduce peak demand. Utility officials say the “experimental” label applies to the pilot nature of the program, which expires at the end of 2021 and has a 50 MW subscription limit. Click through here to read the PSC’s order.
‘Carbon fee’ town hall sheds light on ballot issue in Athens, Ohio. Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council Executive Director Eddie Smith gave a brief description of the proposed 2 mill carbon fee, which would only affect those enrolled in SOPEC’s Opt-Out Electric Aggregation program. The fee, he explained, is intended to account for some of the “full cost” of carbon emissions. Customers can “completely offset that fee” by reducing at least 2 percent of their monthly carbon consumption, Smith said. “You can avoid 2 percent of your monthly consumption in a lot of very easy ways.”
Iowa governor may decide on bill to limit energy efficiency spending. A lobbyist for the Iowa Environmental Council says the bill could devastate utility-sponsored energy conservation programs in the state. The Iowa House of Representatives debated S.F. 2311 (click through here for the bill) overnight Thursday before passing it 52-42 about 5 a.m. Friday. The state Senate already approved an earlier version and is expected to sign-off on the House amendments. The legislation would cap spending on utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs at a level substantially below what is currently spent, and it apparently would allow utilities to charge higher fixed fees on customers with solar panels.
Two Dems, one Republican seek to unseat Ga. PSC Commissioner Pridemore. Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Tricia Pridemore to her seat in February to fill the vacancy left by former Chairman Stan Wise, who retired from the commission after 23 years. The biggest issue on the table for the commission is likely to be Plant Vogtle, where two nuclear reactors are under construction. The project is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Detractors say the costs of building the plant come out of ratepayers’ pockets, but supporters say Vogtle, the nation’s only nuclear plant currently under construction, will someday provide the state with abundant, cheap energy.
N.Y. bill would continue compensation system for buying solar energy. LIPA is considering a new system that would compensate commercial solar producers based on a complex array of factors, such as geographic location and environmental benefits. With backing from the Republican chairman of the Senate energy committee, a Long Island assemblyman has introduced a bill that would delay for three years a new state system for buying solar energy from customer rooftop solar
New York to launch utility energy registry this summer in data-gathering effort. “Ready access to information regarding customer energy usage is vital to the success of the Distributed Energy Resource market,” New York Department of Public Service spokesman John Chirlin said in an email. He said the registry is an online platform to “promote and facilitate community-based energy planning and energy use awareness and engagement.”
Frack Dominion; Natural Gas Pipelines Are Obsolete. Dominion Energy is setting Virginia up to fail — with fracked gas pipelines that are unnecessary, obsolete and will keep Virginia behind the rest of the world for many years to come. Natural gas may have been a good transition fuel at one time, but that transition is over. The tipping point has been crossed, in which cleaner alternatives like wind and solar either already are cheaper than natural gas, or are rapidly becoming cheaper than natural gas.
Will Texans get burned? Forecast says a hotter summer and less available electricity. With the state facing a hot summer forecast expected to drive up demand as ERCOT’s reserve margin shrinks to the narrowest in 11 years, Texans are being warned to lock in their electricity rates before summer arrives.
Texas PUC gives nod to Xcel Energy wind projects. The Public Utility Commission of Texas gave verbal approval for a 1,230-megawatt wind energy expansion for Texas and New Mexico, the last approval needed before construction can begin. The proposed expansion will involve two new wind farms that Xcel Energy will build and own near Portales, N.M., and near Plainview, Texas. Work on those projects is expected to begin next year.
Wisconsin utility companies are told to credit customers $130 million, to start. The proposed July bill credit represents the first six months of tax savings the utilities will have amassed since Congress passed major changes to the tax code in late 2017, lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. On a separate matter, the PSC has released a planning document that projects little growth in the state’s use of electricity over the next six years and says Wisconsin residents pay less for power than the nationwide average.
Florida regulators look at utility hurricane plans. After Hurricane Irma temporarily knocked out electricity for millions of Floridians in September, state regulators next week will hold a two-day workshop to look at utility preparedness and storm-response plans.
‘Shocking’ electricity bills spark concern about smart meters in South Carolina, but Duke says they’re accurate. Customers complaining their electricity bills more than doubled and nearly tripled are among local residents blaming higher power bills on their new smart meters, the digital meters that transfer information about electricity usage through wireless technology to utility providers. A spokesman for Duke Energy Carolinas said the smart meters are accurate — more accurate than the analog meters they have replaced. Duke has installed more than 500,000 smart meters in the Upstate over the past few years, according to the company.
Pa. PUC slates hearings on Transource project. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will host eight public input hearings in May to gather comments regarding the east and west transmission line applications submitted by Transource Energy. Transource, the company hired by PJM Interconnection, wants to construct a proposed $320 million electric system upgrade with approximately 40 miles of new 230-kV overhead transmission lines across Franklin and York counties. Click through here for more information on the project. The project is running into stiff opposition from landowners and others. Click through here to access the opposition’s website.
Former BPA employee runs for Clark Public Utilities Board of Commissioners seat. Judy Chipman has announced her plans to run against incumbent Commissioner Jim Malinowski. Chipman recently retired from a 16-year career at the Bonneville Power Administration, an experience she says gave her “a deep knowledge of the industry.”
Anheuser-Busch touts 2025 sustainability goals. Now, we are challenging ourselves to do more through our 2025 Sustainability Goals. The goals, which will guide our sustainability efforts in the U.S. through 2025 focus on four key areas: renewable electricity and carbon reduction, water stewardship, smart agriculture, and circular packaging. The company aims to have 100% of purchased electricity come from renewable sources; and reduce CO2 emissions across the value chain by 25%
Battle escalates over Eversource bid for Connecticut water company. Connecticut Water Service Inc. struck back at Eversource after the state’s dominant electric and gas utility announced it is reaching out to shareholders of the Clinton water company urging them to reject a proposed merger with a California firm. Eversource informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it is seeking proxies from Connecticut Water shareholders to vote against the merger with SJW Group of San Jose, Calif. The Eversource offer is valued at $750 million. Carol Wallace, chairman of Connecticut Water’s board of directors, slammed Eversource, citing an unrelated decision by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to investigate Eversource’s practice of disconnecting electricity from nonpaying customers. “Eversource’s proxy campaign is an overt attempt to derail the SJW Group merger of equals and the many benefits it provides in order to promote Eversource’s inferior proposal and distract from its record of chronic underperformance and highly-publicized poor customer service,” Wallace said.
Opportunities and challenges greet Jeff Martin, Sempra’s new CEO. After going through perhaps the most momentous year in its 20-year history, Sempra Energy gets a new CEO on Tuesday. Jeff Martin takes over for Debra Reed, who is retiring as president and chief executive, less than two months after Sempra wrapped up its largest deal ever — spending $9.45 billion to acquire Oncor, the biggest electric utility in Texas. The acquisition grows Sempra’s workforce to 20,000 employees and expands its customer base to 43 million worldwide.
Tesla’s foe in Calif. fight over electric vehicle rebate: utilities. Tesla Inc. and Ford Motor Co. have urged the California Air Resources Board to let automakers pay out the rebate at the moment they sell the car, as a way to boost sales, instead of making consumers wait for a check from their utility or a credit on their bill, Bloomberg’s John Lippert and Mark Chediak report. Passing out free money is a great way to build brand loyalty, and Tesla and utilities are elbowing each other hard for the privilege. Eileen Tutt, executive director of the California Electric Transportation Coalition, whose board includes California utilities, said in an interview before the hearing that she’s “adamantly opposed” to letting automakers pay out the rebates. She said the utilities should continue doing so, though she’s meeting with Tesla and others to discuss possible improvements.
EcoFlow raises $4M from unconventional investors to grow its mobile power business. EcoFlow, a U.S.-Chinese hardware firm developed by former DJI engineers that sells portable power stations, has pulled in a Series A round of over $4 million ahead of the imminent launch of new products and an international sales expansion. The Shenzhen/San Francisco-based company has taken an interesting route. Founded in 2016, the startup burst on to the scene when it launched its River product in an Indiegogo campaign that pulled in $1 million. Today, River is available in the U.S. where it is sold via Home Depot, Camping World, Amazon, HSN and the EcoFlow website for $599 upwards.
Psst! Hey mister … wanna buy a hydroelectric plant? It’s nearly a century old, has suffered some damage from a rock slide, and is currently not operational. Despite those downsides, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced Friday it plans to offer for sale its small Kern Canyon powerhouse, located at the mouth of the canyon off Highway 178. Another damaged and non-operational hydroelectric facility in Tulare County may also go on the auction block this summer.
LaDuke: Power microgrids can keep the lights during climate disruptions. It all makes good sense. Rural electric cooperatives can get 0 percent financing. And, with new technologies, microgrids can separate safely from the main utility during outages and use only self-generated electricity. And in normal times, excess energy can be sold back to traditional utilities. University of California San Diego saves about $850,000 monthly on utility bills through a system of solar panels, fuel cells, generators and batteries (Winona LaDuke is executive director, Honor the Earth, and an Ojibwe writer and economist on Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation).
Sierra Club slams Trump administration’s coal goal. When Americans are asked in polls what kinds of energy our government should prioritize, invariably a majority—regardless of political affiliation—say renewables. And a solid majority of people in this country agree that the United States should take “aggressive” action on climate change. Yet instead of embracing clean energy, Trump is throwing a lifeline to the coal industry through actions like repealing the Clean Power Plan. It won’t work. Coal is in irreversible decline in this country for a simple reason: No one wants to pay more for the worst choice.
Global solar investment pushes ahead of fossil fuels. In 2017, the world invested in solar like never before, according to a new global trends report. Driven largely by China, global solar investment was $160.8 billion, up 18 percent on the year before. Harnessing energy from the sun to make electricity accounted for more than half (57 percent) of the $279.8 billion that was invested in renewables in 2017 and far outstripped the $103 billion invested in coal and gas generation, according to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report. Click here to access the report.
Electricity retailers find a receptive audience in Singapore. They say response to Open Electricity Market pilot in Jurong has been positive and encouraging; amid intense competition, residents there are enjoying a buffet of options.
Alberta’s competitive energy retailers could face service-quality regulation and publication of consumer complaints. Under proposed legislation, described as being intended to protect electricity and natural gas customers from “poor service”, Alberta energy retailers could face service-quality regulation by the Alberta Utilities Commission, backed by administrative penalties of up to $10,000 per day for ongoing failures to comply. Another proposed law would re-constitute the Utilities Consumer Advocate with a responsibility to publish information relating to retailers’ compliance, including consumer complaints and their outcomes.
Japan’s Top Power Utilities See Power Sales Decline. Reuters reports that two out of Japan’s three big power utilities projected a decline in electricity sales in the new business year as new entrants continue to grab market share following liberalization of the $73 billion retail power market two years ago. Japan’s former 10 power monopolies have barely recovered from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the resultant high fuel costs after most reactors were shut and costly safety upgrades. They now face an exodus of customers with Japan’s retail market thrown open to hundreds of firms.