The Grid articles

solar vs utilities

There’s A Fight Brewing Over Who Profits From Solar Power

There’s A Fight Brewing Over Who Profits From Solar Power

In the ongoing wars over solar energy, one power company is consistently painted as the archetypal, mustache-twirling nemesis of clean electricity: Arizona Public Service. So you might be surprised to learn that this same company is about to become a big new producer of rooftop solar power. APS is an unlikely solar patron: In the

time of use pricing

A California Utility Explores Time-Sensitive Electricity Pricing

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), a utility that serves approximately 540,000 customers in and around Sacramento, California, has a summer peaking problem. SMUD’s peak load is around 3,000 MW, but 400 MW of that total is needed only about 40 hours a year (less than one half of one percent of the time), during

Solar Power Battle Puts Hawaii at Forefront of Worldwide Changes

Allan Akamine has looked all around the winding, palm tree-lined cul-de-sacs of his suburban neighborhood in Mililani here on Oahu and, with an equal mix of frustration and bemusement, seen roof after roof bearing solar panels. Mr. Akamine, 61, a manager for a cable company, has wanted nothing more than to lower his $600 to

grid defection

Defecting from the Power Grid? Unlikely, Analysts Say

Former Vice President Al Gore stood before a crowd of renewables investors, analysts and clean energy industry executives and declared the electric power grid in the U.S. as much of a technological dinosaur as landline telephones. Gore, speaking in New York City at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit, asked those in the

Musk and Rive

Elon Musk’s Cousins Battle Utilities to Make Solar Rooftops Cheap

In September 2013, Hawaiian Electric Co. told thousands of customers they couldn’t connect their new solar panels to its distribution grid. In some neighborhoods, HECO said, its system couldn’t absorb any more unused energy from home solar arrays. The moratorium, which lasted 13 months, made Hawaii a central battleground in the effort by utilities to

solar and utilities

NRG Energy Exec Questions Why Solar Is the ‘Bad Boy’

Is there a way to integrate increasing amounts of rooftop solar, enabling customer choice and a cleaner grid, while ensuring that utilities are compensated for lost revenue? It’s a question on the minds of many experts in the power sector. For Steve Corneli, senior vice president of sustainability, policy and strategy at NRG Energy, the

California Public Utilities Commission

California’s Investor-Owned Utilities Surpass Efficiency Goals

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the state’s four large investor-owned utilities, which serve 75 percent of the state, have proved yet again that energy efficiency is a great investment to save customers money and clean the air. The electricity and natural gas savings from efficiency surpassed the utilities’ 2010-2012 energy-savings goals and put

drought's effect on utilities

How utilities are being affected by the California drought

California Governor Jerry Brown made an announcement last week ordering California residents to conserve water, only days after his $1 billion emergency relief package. The drought is affecting many in the state — and utilities are learning to manage their resources. Hydroelectric production is down due to the shortage of water, but it’s not the

solar as a grid resource

How to Deploy Solar as a Grid Resource

When I pass through the residential and commercial areas of a city, it’s interesting to note which homes and businesses have solar panels on their roofs, and then to think about why those particular buildings are the ones with solar. Are the owners or occupants simply more environmentally conscious or climate concerned than their neighbors?

renewables and the grid

Three trends that get the grid to 70% renewables by mid-century

For a decade, electricity system operators have wrestled with how to respond to the challenge of growing renewables, but a change has come. System operators are now looking to solar and wind as a solution — rather than the problem — in their drive for more affordable reliability. But realizing the grid of the future necessitates

Arizona net metering

Why Arizona Utilities’ New Solar Taxes are A Bad Idea for Everyone

Solar taxes are taking off, especially in states whose fading utilities are afraid of losing their political and economic stranglehold on the energy industry. The latest disgrace is Arizona’s Tucson Electric Power, which is following in Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project’s clumsy footprint by complicating net metering progress with inequitable fees. “At first

Kansas utility targets solar customers for higher rate

As utilities around the U.S. have sought to increase fixed charges in response to growing numbers of customers generating their own power, a Kansas utility is taking a more targeted approach. In a case now pending before the Kansas Corporation Commission, customers of Topeka-based Westar Energy with their own solar, wind or other generation will pay

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