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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.

 

Category: Utilities

Utilities


Coal is Going, Going... Gone?

Utility Dive, Apr. 24, 2014, by Claire Cameron.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/coal-is-going-going-gone/253641/

"Coal power was the backbone of American industry for the last 100 years. But by 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that about 60 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity will be retired. That's 6.2% of all U.S. capacity, according to calculations based on NERC data."

Amory's Angle: Ramping Up Renewable Electricity

Rocky Mountain Institute, Winter 2014, by Amory B. Lovins.
http://www.rmi.org/winter_2014_esj_ramping_up_renewable_electricity

"Many people in the electricity industry long thought that the two renewable sources of electricity that vary widely over time—windpower and solar photovoltaics (PVs) —could provide only a few percent of total generation without endangering reliability. Those who still believe this now face increasingly severe reality tests.

As we’ll see, Germany and other countries are successfully powering their grids with astonishingly high fractions of renewable generation by combining five techniques: a) leveraging diverse generation sources across interconnected regional and national grids, b) improving renewables’ forecasting and predictability, c) integrating dispatchable renewables, d) adding distributed storage, and e) leveraging demand response."




Community Solar Offers a New Path Forward in Growing Distributed Generation with Customers

Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin, Apr. 2014, by Genevieve Liang. (Scroll or jump to page 15 of the PDF.)
http://www.nwppa.org/External/WCPages/WCWebContent/WebContentPage.aspx?ContentID=1701

"As solar energy becomes more mainstream in the public awareness, American utilities both large and small are trying to determine how to best incorporate solar into their resource mix, and how to handle the pathways via which consumers are adopting and using solar.

The looming question that is becoming more dominant in electric utility managers’ minds is: How can we actively engage with our customers and serve as their go-to source for solar, rather than being sidelined in this important conversation?"


Growing Solar [Co-ops Offering Renewables]

Rural Electric Magazine, Apr. 2014.
http://www.nreca.coop/growing-solar/

"Co-ops big and small are sponsoring innovative community photovoltaic projects to meet member demand for renewables."

New Interconnection Policies Free the Grid While Providing for Stability

Solar Industry, Apr. 2014, by Michael Puttre.
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/issues/SI1404/FEAT_01_New-Interconnection-Policies-Free-The-Grid-While-Providing-For-Stability.html

"Aggressive adoption of distributed generation solar power is forcing regulators, utilities and manufacturers to address grid stability."

US Utilities and Distributed Generators: Enemies No More?

Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production, Jan.-Feb. 2014.
http://www.cospp.com/articles/print/volume-15/issue-1/features/us-utilities-and-distributed-generators-enemies-no-more.html

"The US utility market is changing and the traditionally dominant players are seemingly beset on all sides. Could the distributed generation sector hold the key to a new business model? Elisa Wood spots signs of a new relationship."

Achieving Balance: Exploring the "Why" of Voltage Optimization

Rural Electric Magazine, Mar. 2014, by Courtney Barry.
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nreca/re0314/index.php?startid=24#/26

"Some electric co-op engineers see it as a real catch-22: maintaining a system that can support or allow a reduction in voltage while ensuring that adequate voltage is received by every consumer, all the way to the end of the line. But with the right tools and some forethought, achieving that balance doesn't have to be an insurmountable challenge, says Jim Weikert, automation consultant for Power System Engineering (powersystem.org) in Madison, Wis."

Standby Rates for Combined Heat and Power Systems: Economic Analysis and Recommendations for Five States

Prepared by Brubaker & Associates, Inc. and the Regulatory Assistance Project for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ORNL/TM-2013/583, Feb. 2014.
http://raponline.org/document/download/id/7020

"Standby, or partial requirements, service is the set of retail electric products for customers who operate onsite, non-emergency generation. These rates represent the cost of services utilities provide when customer generation is not operating or is insufficient to meet full load. Trends show that distributed generation is not rare anymore and that old ideas about risk have been replaced by utility operator confidence in anticipated performance. This paper presents the results of an analytical assessment of the rates, terms, and conditions for standby service in five states: Arkansas, Colorado, New Jersey, Ohio, and Utah."

New Frontiers in Energy Management [for Water Utilities]

Water Efficiency, Mar./Apr. 2014, by Penelope B. Grenoble.
http://www.waterefficiency.net/WE/Articles/New_Frontiers_in_Energy_Management_24639.aspx

"Energy management has become a matter of necessity in states like California, less enthusiastically embraced in states where energy costs are lower. But take a closer look, and you’ll discover that energy and operational efficiency go hand in hand—and that managing energy costs goes beyond simply equipping a pump with a variable speed drive."

Storage Steps Up: Could Grid-integrated Batteries Change the Way Power Producers Operate Fossil Power Plants?

Fortnightly's Power Profit, Feb. 26, 2014, by Scott M. Gawlicki, Public Utilities Fortnightly.
 http://powerprofit.fortnightly.com/fortnightly/storage-steps

"Duke Energy Renewables’ 153-MW Notrees (Texas) Wind Power Project includes a 36-MW advanced lead acid battery – the largest capacity battery facility in North America. Duke says developing expertise in this advanced technology will help expand the use of renewable energy, better integrate it into the power grid, and make the company more efficient at serving customers. Could batteries and other storage technologies affect the way power producers evaluate and operate their generating assets – in particular fossil fired generating assets they currently rely on to supply ancillary services?"

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The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at library@energy.wsu.edu

Archives of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs, from Oct. 2012 – Jan. 6, 2014, may be found on the WSU Energy Library web page.

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