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Electricity

GE Tackles Fuel Cells, Google Issues 'Little Box' Challenge, and Smart Grid Drones Prepare for Takeoff

July 27, 2014 by Lexie Briggs
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GE, Google, and Drones

Energy giant and AEE member General Electric is expanding its advanced energy product line to include fuel cells. Google is looking to shrink inverters. And utility San Diego Gas & Electric is getting ready to launch drones to check on transmission lines.[read more]

International Scorecard Highlights Room for Improvement in Energy Efficiency

July 27, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard

International Energy Efficiency

A recent scan of energy efficiency in 16 nations showed that all fall short of their potential. But the collective wisdom among these countries offers a path forward. Following close upon their World Cup win in Brazil, Germany also comes in first in the latest International Energy Efficiency Scorecard.[read more]

Con Ed Looks to Batteries, Microgrids, and Efficiency to Delay $1B Substation Build

July 26, 2014 by Katherine Tweed

Consolidated Edison is taking a new approach to delivering reliable power that is as radical as the gentrification sweeping New York’s outer boroughs. Con Ed filed a proposal for a Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program, or BQDM, that it hopes can defer the cost of building a $1 billion substation.[read more]

Prepare for High Energy Growth, Climate Experts Warn

Many world leaders continue to be in deep denial about how rapidly energy consumption is rising, and what the implications are for global warming. We can expect a tripling of global energy consumption if the whole world achieves Germany's highly efficient levels.[read more]

SDG&E Becomes First Utility to Test Drones

July 26, 2014 by Sarah Battaglia

Drones and Utilities

San Diego Gas & Electric became the first utility in the country to gain approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to test-drive drones. The utility has been granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate that allows it to operate drones for research, testing, and training flights in Eastern San Diego County.[read more]

High-Efficiency Planet

Dramatic increases in energy efficiency historically have allowed for cheaper energy services, and rather than reducing the amount of energy people used, these improvements increased energy consumption. As such, consumers play an important role in energy transitions.[read more]

Here's What Utilities Really Think About Microgrids

July 25, 2014 by Stephen Lacey

Microgrids and Utility Opinions

There is just over a gigawatt worth of microgrids scattered throughout the country. While many of those projects have proved their value during major storms or extended outages, they are largely custom-engineered and limited to public facilities like schools, hospitals and military bases.[read more]

What Will the 21st Century Grid Look Like?

July 25, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard
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It seems everyone involved with renewable energy and climate change is asking the same question these days. What will the 21st century grid look like? This is one of the key questions the Department of Energy is asking as part of the first “Quadrennial Energy Review.”[read more]

The Great Electric Company Growth Opportunity

July 24, 2014 by Elias Hinckley
5

Utilities and Growth Choices

Energy use in the United States can be split into two large (very, very large) pies. One is electricity for use in homes, buildings, and industry, and the other is transportation, which is powered primarily by liquid fuels (gasoline and diesel) from oil.[read more]

What We Don't Know About Economic Climate Change Impacts

July 24, 2014 by Maximilian Auffhammer
2

Climate Change Economic Effects

Relatively recent econometric literature examines the impact of weather/climate on a variety of outcomes of economic interest. In order to provide an estimate of a climate impact you need two things: An estimate of how a sector responds to a change in weather/climate and projections of future climate.[read more]

Sure the Utility Business Model is Changing, but Not So Fast

July 24, 2014 by Jared Anderson

Changing Utility Business Models

The changing utility business model has been a major theme in the news and industry circles this year, with many bemoaning that fact that as distributed generation and energy efficiency proliferate, utilities sell less of their product. The trend has even been dramatically called the “utility death spiral.” Scary.[read more]

'Pay-As-You-Go' Solar Financing Hits New Milestone

July 24, 2014 by Justin Guay

Pay-As-You-Go Solar

From Pakistan to Kenya, anecdotal reports have been trickling in that pay-as-you-go solar finance -- the off-grid solar market's version of a "solar lease" -- is driving record sales. Now, we can add one more data point to add to the mounting evidence.[read more]

Solar and Other Renewables Maintain Lead in U.S. Generating Capacity Installed

July 24, 2014 by Rosana Francescato
3

The latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” reports that renewable energy sources provided 55.7% of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity in the first half of 2014, with solar coming in at 1,131 MW. The trend is expected to continue, both in the U.S. and globally.[read more]

The Coming Storage Boom: Project Proposals Nearly Double California's Storage Target

July 24, 2014 by Jeff St. John
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California’s push to transform the market for grid-scale energy storage is working even better than expected -- at least on paper. Last year, California created a mandate calling for 1,325 megawatts of energy storage projects by 2020, to be scaled up every two years.[read more]

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Should the U.S. Implement a New 'Value-Added Carbon Tax' to Replenish the Federal Highway Trust Fund?

July 23, 2014 by John Miller
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Carbon Taxes and Highway Funding

As Congress struggles to develop revenue generation solutions for needed Highway and Roads infrastructure projects the Federal Highway Trust Fund is going broke. Is it time to consider generating needed, long-term revenues by implementing a new tax such as a ‘value-added carbon tax’?[read more]