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DoE Announces $12.5B in Loans for Advanced Nuclear

December 17, 2014 by Katherine Tweed

DoE Advanced Nuclear Loans

The Department of Energy issued a loan guarantee solicitation for $12.5 billion on Wednesday for innovative nuclear projects. This comes on top of $8 billion for advanced fossil energy projects last December, and $6.5 billion for two nuclear reactors in February, the first new to be built in the U.S. in about 30 years.[read more]

The Final Five Smart Grid Predictions: A Progress Report

December 17, 2014 by Christine Hertzog

I made ten predictions all the way back in January 2014 about Smart Grid and Smart City trends and changes that will occur between 2014 and 2020. Here is an update on the final five predictions. You can review the full predictions and judge for yourself the quality of my crystal ball.[read more]

Trending Topics in Electricity Today: Will the EPA's Clean Power Plan Really Break the Grid?

December 17, 2014 by America's Power Plan

Well-established power groups are drawing different conclusions regarding the feasibility of maintaining grid reliability as states act in order to abide by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. What’s causing these reliability authorities to reach such different conclusions, and is more analysis needed?[read more]

Natural Gas Overwhelmingly Replaces Coal

December 17, 2014 by Alex Trembath
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Coal Replacement by Natural Gas

The growth of natural gas generation in the US has displaced coal generation. There is little evidence in the aggregate regional power generation data that cheap gas has displaced other low-carbon sources of electricity. Nor is there evidence that increased gas generation has induced new demand.[read more]

On the Meaning of Existence (and Power Plant Emissions)

December 17, 2014 by Meredith Fowlie
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Emissions and Existence

We don’t shy away from addressing the deep questions in energy and environmental economics. With this post, we tackle the very meaning of existence (with respect to power plants regulated under proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards).[read more]

Lima Call For Climate Action: The Long Road to Paris Begins

December 17, 2014 by Tom Schueneman

COP 20 and Looking Forward to Paris

Negotiations spilled into a marathon session at the COP 20 talks, finally ending Sunday morning, 31 hours after the scheduled end of the two-week conference, with what many call a “watered down” agreement. Sound familiar? It should. It has been the modus operandi for international climate negotiations for years.[read more]

Evaluating Fifteen Years of IEA Energy Forecasts

December 16, 2014 by Schalk Cloete
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Analyzing IEA Forecasts

This article takes a look at the accuracy and consistency of International Energy Agency forecasts by comparing a range of historical forecasts with actual data. The largest deviations are observed when looking at oil, coal and renewables other than hydro.[read more]

The One Chart That Shows Why 2014 Was a Breakthrough Year for Utility-Scale Solar in America

December 16, 2014 by Stephen Lacey

Solar's Breakthrough Year?

Over the next two years, America will build 13 gigawatts of utility-scale solar PV plants. Those projects will surpass the country's cumulative solar capacity across all sectors reached at the end of 2013. Why such a big surge in utility-scale solar after a brief slowdown in the project pipeline? The answer is price.[read more]

Putting Excitement Back into Nuclear Technology Development [VIDEO]

December 16, 2014 by Rod Adams

Nuclear Tech and Future Development

Josh Freed, Third Way‘s clean energy vice president, has published a thoughtful, graphically enticing Brookings Essay titled 'Back to the Future: Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change.' It focuses on Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie of Transatomic Power.[read more]

Decoupling and Distributed Energy

December 16, 2014 by Zane Selvans
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Distributed Energy and Generation

One of the main reasons that utilities fight against distributed generation like rooftop solar is that it erodes demand for their centrally generated electricity. Reduced demand is annoying for any business, but it’s especially bad for traditional monopoly utilities.[read more]

Big Utilities Begin to Warm to Rooftop Solar Energy

December 16, 2014 by Devashree Saha
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Utilities and Rooftop Solar Support

NRG Energy recently announced a major foray into California’s residential solar market, with a goal to have 35,000 to 40,000 home solar installations by the end of 2015. The development is indicative of the seismic changes underway in the utility industry. Utilities are slowly beginning to warm up to rooftop solar.[read more]

Finding the Way to Paris from Lima

December 16, 2014 by David Hone

With the choice of a high road and a low road from Lima to Paris, the Parties seem to have selected the dirt track off to the side, replete with rocks, obstacles, difficult terrain and an uncertain destination. However, the map they have crafted in Lima does at least have clear pointers to the outcome actually needed.[read more]

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Thoughts on Climate Change After Crossing Asia

December 16, 2014 by David Kroodsma

Climate Change Views in Asia

Six months after leaving Istanbul, and cycling 5,500 miles, we reached the coast of China, thus officially crossing Asia with our bicycles. In addition to enjoying the open road and making friends with farmers, yak herders, and businessmen, we've talked to people we've met along the way about climate change.[read more]

TransCanada's Other Pipeline Problem: Can Provinces Impose Conditions on Energy East?

December 16, 2014 by Martin Olszynski

On the heels of a unanimous vote of non-confidence by Quebec’s legislature in the National Energy Board, that province’s Environment Minister sent a letter to TransCanada with seven conditions the company must meet before the province accepts the Quebec portion of the company’s Energy East pipeline.[read more]

Is Cellulosic Ethanol All it’s Cracked Up to Be?

December 15, 2014 by Edward Dodge
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The EPA has long promoted cellulosic ethanol as the future of biofuels, but technical challenges have kept production far below targets. A recent rule change allows renewable natural gas to qualify as cellulosic biofuel even though RNG is not cellulosic, but this helps the EPA to appear to be meeting their goals.[read more]

Countries Know They Must Be Bold and Ambitious Next Year: What Lima Has Set in Motion

December 15, 2014 by Jake Schmidt

COP 20 and Looking Forward to Paris

The international climate negotiations have just wrapped up in Lima, Peru. This meeting was to set key directions for the new international climate agreement next December in Paris, where countries are to agree on a new international climate agreement that will require much deeper action by all countries.[read more]

Reading the Tea Leaves in the Oil Markets [VIDEO]

December 15, 2014 by Robert Rapier
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Oil Market Predictions

This week I would like to post a new interview that I did with Jason Burack of Wall Street for Main Street. I have been asked many times in recent weeks for comments on what’s happening in the oil and gas markets. Here I lay things out as I see them in a wide-ranging 40-minute interview.[read more]