News

Why some US electric utilities are experimenting with flat-rate pricing

Source: By Michael J. Coren & Tim McDonnell, Quartz • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Cell phones. Data plans. Movie and music streaming. Home energy bill? The subscription craze has finally reached electric utilities in the US. At least three companies are testing a new billing model that charges users a flat monthly rate regardless of how much electricity they consume. Utilities are hoping it ushers in the era of a more efficient, greener grid.

What a clean electricity payment plan means for gas, CCS

Source: By Carlos Anchondo, Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Natural gas could still count as a clean power source under House Democrats’ $150 billion clean electricity proposal, but only with the widespread adoption of technologies like carbon capture and storage, according to analysts. Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce committee advanced plans for a Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which would be implemented through the Department of Energy. Under the House proposal, the CEPP would give out grants to electricity suppliers that increase the amount of clean electricity they supply to customers by at least 4 percent over the previous year.

Industry, greens look to woo Manchin on drilling reforms

Source: By Emma Dumain, Heather Richards. E&E News • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

As House committees complete their work this week on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, environmentalists are already preparing themselves for the likelihood that many of their hard-fought climate victories won’t withstand negotiations with the Senate. One set of priorities, however, stands a strong chance of sneaking through, advocates say: a suite of historic overhauls to the federal oil and gas program.

First Major U.S. Offshore Wind-Farm Project Arranges Financing

Source: By Maxwell Adler, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

The first major offshore U.S. wind-farm project lined up $2.3 billion in financing with investments by Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and seven other banks. Vineyard Wind LLC plans to commence construction off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard next year and begin delivering electricity in 2023, according to a statement Wednesday. The farm, which will generate enough power to light 400,000 homes, still faces a legal challenge from fishing interests that object to the manner in which federal regulators granted approval. 

This grid technology could make or break Biden’s solar plans

Source: By Peter Behr, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

President Biden’s blueprint for getting 40 percent of the nation’s electricity from solar power by 2035 depends on development of a device that would take the place of fossil fuel plants in setting the heartbeat of power grids, experts say. Called a grid-forming inverter, the tool is a combination of electronics and software and could also enable solar panels on millions of homes to help restore a blacked-out power network like that left behind in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Ida. Today, solar panels cannot serve that role.

Moniz wants to turn more focus to clean alternative fuels, negative emissions

Source: By Jasmin Melvin, S&P Global • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

“I believe when you think this through that you reach the conclusion that while electricity and electrification are the lead horse in the decarbonization race, we also need a fuel,” Moniz said during a fireside chat at Siemens Energy’s North America Energy Week conference. The economy in general and particularly the hard-to-decarbonize sectors, such as the transportation, industrial and agricultural sectors, will need a fuel source, and there are a number of possibilities if sufficient attention is paid to the issue, Moniz asserted. Among those possibilities are biofuels, which Moniz said “have been a promise for a long time without fulfilling the promise,” as well as newer fuel alternatives such as an emerging class of carbon-neutral electrofuels produced with hydrogen and hydrogen itself.

An Outdated Grid Has Created a Solar Power Economic Divide

Source: By Eric Niiler, Wired • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

If the United States is ever to make a dent in its production of planet-warming carbon emissions, it will have to crank up the use of solar energy, much of which can be generated from rooftops on homes and businesses. Solar provides only 3 percent of the US energy supply today, but the White House and states like California are pushing to boost that to more than 40 percent in the coming decades.

GM advising some Bolt EV owners to park 50 feet away from other cars in case of fire

Source: By Michael Wayland, CNBC • Posted: Thursday, September 16th, 2021

General Motors is advising some Chevrolet Bolt owners to not park their electric cars within 50 feet of other vehicles to reduce the risk of a potential fire spreading to nearby cars and trucks.
The warning follows the Detroit automaker recalling more than 140,000 of the EVs produced since 2016 due to the risk of batteries spontaneously catching fire from “two rare manufacturing defects.”

Major utility questions Biden’s signature climate plan

Source: By Benjamin Storrow, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

One of America’s largest power companies is raising concerns that the president’s signature climate proposal would force utilities to develop clean energy “too rapidly.” American Electric Power asserted in a letter to other utilities and congressional offices that the Clean Electricity Performance Program would “adversely impact the reliability and resilience of the electric grid.”

The government helped Tesla conquer electric cars. Now it’s helping Detroit, and Elon Musk isn’t happy.

Source: By Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

President Biden held a splashy event on the White House’s South Lawn last month to announce an ambitious goal: to make half of new passenger vehicle sales electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel-cell electric vehicles by 2030. But a key player in the industry was nowhere to be seen. Elon Musk and the country’s leading electric-car manufacturer, Tesla, had been left out of the festivities.