Transportation buzz: e-trucks, e-buses, e-bikes

Does it seem like the buzz over transportation is all electric, all the time? If not, it soon could be, as the sale of four-wheel electric drive and electric-assisted commercial vehicles is expected to jump tenfold and innovation in engine-powered two-wheeled transportation is also accelerating.

Intermittent renewables driving thermal energy storage worldwide

Energy users are shifting to renewable energy sources due to the rise in energy costs and growing importance of environmental protection, driving gains in solar and wind as means to achieve more efficient, environmentally friendly energy.

Japanese utilities to resume approving grid connections for renewables

The issues that caused some Japanese utilities to restrict further grid connections for solar plants last year is expected to be resolved. The government is expected to release targets that would establish how much renewable energy will be permitted this year, and that announcement could come very soon.

Mexico edges out Chile as Latin America's top electricity market

Chile has slipped from its perch at the top of power market rankings for Latin American countries, replaced by Mexico. The displacement seems unlikely to do Chile any harm, but it is an interesting highlight for the many changes taking place in Mexico's energy sector.

PPL, Riverstone agree to FERC mitigation measures to seal Talen Energy deal

PPL Corporation and Riverstone Holdings LLC affiliate RJS Power Holdings LLC have filed a joint response with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) accepting additional market power mitigation measures required for FERC approval of the previously announced spinoff of PPL Energy Supply and its combination with competitive generation assets owned by RJS Power Holdings. The combination is expected to establish a new independent power producer called Talen Energy.

Emerging economies capitalizing on renewable energy

The past decade has witnessed significant developments in policies for renewable energy, which are driving its growth globally. In fact, new analysis from Frost & Sullivan forecasts the global installed capacity of renewable energy to more than double from 1,566 gigawatts (GW) in 2012 to 3,203 GW in 2025.

Low income customers tell utilities what they need

The results of a survey conducted by DEFG, a management consulting firm specializing in energy, reveals some interesting information about low-income utility customers -- 43 percent (or four in 10) of which have trouble paying their utility bills.

Itron survey reveals top countries for energy and water resourcefulness

A global benchmark survey of utility executives and consumers, noting the state of resourcefulness across the energy and water sectors, as well as key priorities moving forward, has just been released. Resourcefulness is defined as the ability to effectively manage the delivery and use of gas, water and electricity.

Decision to come soon on major Boston to NH transmission line bids

ISO New England will announce its decision on which of two bids it will accept for a major transmission line, the Greater Boston or Southern New Hampshire Reliability Project, in February.

Germany, U.S. partner with India on smart cities development

India has bold plans for smart cities makeovers for a number of its cities. Those plans may now take shape more quickly since Germany and the U.S. have signed on. The two western countries have each signed on to the initiative, with each country to provide assistance for three cities.

Chicago elementary students getting schooled by local utilities

Energy education in Illinois is starting early with the help of a joint program offered by ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. Nearly 5,000 fifth grade students in Chicago are becoming Super Energy Savers through a free science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based curriculum, intended to teach fifth graders about the importance of energy efficiency, and allow them to share money- and energy-saving tips with their families.

BOEM oil and gas leasing draft called a small step in the right direction

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released the draft 2017-2022 program for new oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), offering 10 new leases in the Gulf of Mexico, three off the coast of Alaska, and, for the first time, one off the coasts of Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia in the Atlantic Ocean.

New wave of mergers and acquisitions set to hit oil and gas

In 2014, mergers and acquisitions in oil and gas showed a strong recovery after a slow 2013, and with recent oil price decreases and OPEC's decision not to cut output, A.T. Kearney predicts 2015 is set to witness even further M&A activity across the oil and gas value chain -- strategic deals that will be key to growing value and aiding companies to navigate market turbulence.

WPX puts new gas projects on hold, low prices cited

Just as low oil prices have forced companies to significantly cut budgets and curtail drilling and production operations, natural gas projects are feeling the same painful pinch. Oklahoma-based WPX Energy Inc. is holding off on its western Colorado fracking operations for new wells.

EPA recruiting participants for Clean Power Plan review panel

EPA is asking small businesses, governments and not-for-profits to take part in the plan's development and to provide feedback. Specifically, the panel will focus on fossil fuel-fired power plants that operate in states that have not created their own greenhouse emission plans.

BLM, DOI field visits underscore methane emission reduction goals

Achieving the President's goal would mean harnessing enough gas that would otherwise be wasted or lost to heat more than 2 million homes for a year, according to BLM.

SELC to Duke Energy: Follow Santee Cooper's lead on coal ash cleanup

At its rate of coal ash removal during the last six months of 2014, Santee Cooper will finish removing the ash from the lagoons in 2019, four years ahead of schedule, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center, who was responsible for bringing actions against Santee Cooper seeking removal of the coal ash on behalf of the Waccamaw Riverkeeper, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Demand response key in California

Demand response has proven itself to be a cost-effective way to manage energy elsewhere. For example, PJM Interconnection, the power grid in thirteen states surrounding Pennsylvania, launched a demand response program which is projected to pay participants more than $300 million in 2014-2015 -- in addition to $1.2 billion they have already received in savings.

EPA regulates CCR from coal-fired power plants as solid waste

To ring in the New Year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a 745-page prepublication version of its final rule governing the landfill and surface impoundment management of coal combustion residuals (CCR) from coal-fired power plants.  The rule is to become effect six months from the date of its publication in the Federal Register.  

NJ community college partners with utility on tech degree program

There may be room for some optimism amid the utility industry's frantic search for ways to find and train the skilled technicians they need to replace an aging workforce that is rapidly retiring as well as the entry level employees they need. Utilities have tried a variety of innovative approaches and now more and more universities and community colleges are initiating training programs to help them meet that need, and they are often doing it in partnerships.