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Grid Parity: Why Electric Utilities Should Struggle to Sleep at Night

March 26 -- What’s good news for those concerned with climate change, and bad news for electric utilities? That’s grid parity, which is sometimes called socket parity. It exists when an alternative energy source generates electricity at a cost matching the price of power from the electric grid.

As grid parity becomes increasingly common, renewable energy could transform our world and slow the effects of climate change. Advances in solar panels and battery storage will make it more realistic for consumers to dump their electric utility, and power their homes through solar energy that is stored in batteries for cloudy days. >>View Article

Editorial: A Blow to Wind Power

March 25 -- Doing away with the Kansas renewable energy standards could have a devastating effect on the state’s growing wind energy industry.

Nonetheless, the Senate Utilities Committee voted last week to repeal those standards and, as one senator put it, “let business do its thing.” The committee gutted an already approved House bill and replaced it with the repeal measure, meaning that the action could be approved by both houses of the Legislature without ever facing a public hearing that might reveal valid drawbacks to the bill. >>View Article

Solar Power is Now Just as Cheap as Conventional Electricity in Italy And Germany

March 25 -- Once all its costs are accounted for, the price of commercial solar power has pulled even with retail electricity rates in Italy and Germany, according to a new report.

The analysis is the third installment in a regular report by the consulting firm Eclareon, done on behalf of an international group of sustainable energy interests. This installment was also the first to look at solar power in the commercial sector rather than the residential sector. It looked at a standard 30 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system for your average commercial building, and the built a methodology to assess its “leveled cost of energy” (LCOE) in seven different countries: Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain. >>View Article

Energy Efficiency Aid Can Counter Utility Rate Hikes

March 25 -- South Carolinians now pay the highest electricity prices in the Southeast and have, since 2009, endured eight rate hikes from the state's investor-owned utilities.

Even more sobering, households earning less than $50,000 annually (just over half of the state's population)spend 22 percent of their take-home pay on energy; households earning less than $10,000 annually give up 75 percent of their income for energy bills. These residents are living in what's known as "fuel poverty." >>View Article

Study: Cali Could Save $1B/Year with Wyoming Wind

March 25 -- A new economic analysis puts more oomph behind the idea of exporting Wyoming wind to California via new transmission.

The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, a quasi-governmental "instrumentality" of the Cowboy State, Monday released data from a commissioned study at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The study makes the claim that Californian ratepayers could save up to $1 billion annually by importing Wyoming wind on a not-yet-built direct-current line. >>View Article

Wind and Solar Harvest Enough Energy Now to Pay Back Manufacture Plus Add Storage

March 24 -- To be cost-effective, any source of power has to produce more energy than it consumes. Oil companies would hardly turn a profit, for example, if extracting a barrel of oil required the energy output of a second barrel of oil...

Thanks to dramatic improvements in the manufacture of both wind and solar technologies, that appears to be more than possible. A new study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science finds that wind and solar not only produce enough power to be energetically sustainable but could support grid-scale energy storage as well. >>View Article

Time for the Sun to Rise on Clean Energy, Not Coal

March 24 -- As Illinois, as well as farmers and residents in Vermilion County, find themselves again in the throes of a short-term coal rush with devastating health and environmental impacts, it's time to turn the page on the past and transition to a future with more sustainable economic development. >>View Article

Geothermal the Way to Go in Central Pa.

March 24 -- In 2013, the United States finally became the world’s leader in installed photovoltaic capacity, putting in 4,751 new megawatts of energy production and beating Germany, which had held the lead for the previous 15 years despite having 3.6 percent of America’s land mass, 225 million fewer people and 20 percent less average annual sunlight.

The U.S. also leads the world in the number of geothermal (ground source heat pump) installations; the annual growth rate has doubled in the past decade, making geothermal a $2 billion a year domestic industry. >>View Article

Did Congress Kill Wind Energy Jobs in PA?

March 24 -- Bradley Molinick started work at Gamesa’s wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Ebensburg, Pa. in 2006, before the plant was even finished...

The company had come to Ebensburg with help from $15 million in tax breaks from the state of Pennsylvania in 2006. It built industrial scale wind turbine blades, more than a hundred feet long. Some of the blades ended up on big windfarms nearby, in the hilly terrain of the southern Alleghenies. Many of these projects benefitted from the PTC.

So in ending its subsidy of the wind energy, was Congress to blame for the job losses at Gamesa? >>View Article

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