Court validates PPL beliefs on state subsidies for new power plants

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit came to a unanimous decision that a New Jersey law promoting construction of new power plants by subsidizing development of new generation in the state is invalid because it oversteps the state's regulatory authority. The decision upholds a New Jersey District Court decision in a lawsuit filed by PPL EnergyPlus and other competitive electricity suppliers after the legislation was enacted in 2011.

Energy challenge nets local businesses 11 percent savings

With the average U.S. commercial building wasting 30 percent of the energy paid for by its owners, the potential to reduce energy waste is attractive to utilities, building professionals, members of the energy industry and business owners alike. Driving the cause is an increase in energy management and information systems (EMIS), which synthesize and display a building's energy use data, allowing occupants to leverage the information to make positive improvements in how they manage their energy use.

Despite Tesla, NV electric vehicle market could stall

Nevada was recently chosen as the location for the new Tesla electric vehicle (EV) battery factory, but a new report claims that if several proposed state policies concerning EVs don't pass, sales of EVs in the state -- and the economic and environmental benefits that come with them -- will suffer.

Mini solar becoming big business

The market for solar photovoltaic (PV) consumer products has expanded significantly in recent years driven by an ecosystem of companies, competitive products, and innovative financing mechanisms that have emerged in an opportunity to reduce poverty in the developing world and increasing profits in the developed world, according to Navigant Research.

Cooking up renewable energy action

States throughout the country are implementing innovative renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs that could be adopted nationwide to improve economies and reduce emissions cost effectively, as well as prove valuable as states develop plans to meet pending power plant emissions reductions regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new joint report.

Central America increasing solar capacity

In 2014, IHS predicts that total PV capacity for the six countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will reach 22 MW -- up from 6 MW in 2013 -- and 243 MW in 2015. However, it is from 2016 to 2018 when IHS says the solar market will make its greatest strides in the region, with aggregate PV capacity accounting for 81 percent of the six-year projected total.

Ontario home to largest biomass plant in North America

Replacing coal-fired electricity generation is the single largest climate change initiative being undertaken in North America and, when fully eliminated, will be equivalent to taking up to seven million cars off the road. In April 2014, Ontario, Canada, became the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. This week, Ontario became home to North America's largest power plant completely fueled by biomass.

Wave energy research continues with $4M grant

The total recoverable wave energy resource along the U.S. continental shelf is almost one-third of the total electricity used in the U.S. each year, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, and could provide the sustainable generating potential of approximately 10 percent of global energy needs. The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) is examining this potential with the help of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Energy Index ranks states by economic efficiency

Examining the regulatory variation across states determines where in the country the regulatory environment is optimal. The research found that there is little relationship between whether a state has substantial energy resources like oil, gas, and coal, and whether its regulations are economically efficient.

Warning to investors: Avoid Dominion Cove Point LNG

A new report is warning investors of serious financial, corporate governance, and sustainability risks associated with Dominion Resources' new gas export subsidiary, Dominion Midstream (DM), which would own a $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point in southern Maryland. 

Sempra LNG export nets DOE approval

The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country.  In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that this increase in domestic natural gas production will continue at a record production rate of 74.56 Bcf/d in 2014.

HVAC advances make compelling energy value proposition

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in commercial buildings accounts for approximately 40 percent of total building energy consumption, but advances in HVAC technology can provide for much more efficient and less energy intensive operation. Although adoption of these technologies has been low, except in large buildings, the reduced energy consumption these technologies can provide makes a compelling case.

Global liquid fuel use driven by Asia, Middle East

World petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption will increase 38 percent by 2040, driven by increased demand in the developing Asia and Middle East, according to projections in the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) International Energy Outlook 2014 (IEO2014), and will account for 85 percent of the total increase in liquid fuels used worldwide.

California's water challenge

Currently, Californians use 196 gallons of water per day -- the 15th highest rate of consumption per capita in the United States. The state is currently short more than a year's worth of water and supply will continue to decline until the upcoming winter. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation estimates that, by 2030, California may have an annual unmet water demand of between 1.5 and two trillion gallons of water each year.

Water utilities provide billions in economic impact

A new report based on the planned operating and capital investments of 30 public water utilities  estimates that these water, wastewater and stormwater utilities will contribute approximately $524 billion to the U.S. economy and support roughly 289,000 permanent jobs over the next decade.

Net zero energy building market to reach $1.4T

Hundreds of zero energy building (ZEB) pilots are being developed to showcase technology solutions and create high-performance buildings across a variety of residential and commercial facilities as governments, corporations and individuals seek ways to minimize the carbon footprint of their buildings. In fact, Navigant Research predicts that global ZEB revenue will grow from $629.3 million in 2014 to $1.4 trillion by 2035.

NJ missing out on RGGI benefits

States that participate in RGGI have reduced power plant global warming pollution by 18 percent since the program started in 2009. However, New Jersey power plants haven't faced a limit on their emissions since 2011. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that under current policy, New Jersey's power plant pollution would climb by almost 70 percent by 2030.

UK to lead offshore wind through 2020

Driven by aggressive renewable targets, policy backing and a shift towards a greener economy, the UK's cumulative offshore wind power installed capacity increased from just more than 0.3 GW in 2006 to 3.7 GW in 2013, according to GlobalData, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 42.9 percent.

CPUC: Proposed SONGS settlement disfavors consumers

A settlement proposed earlier this year by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and The Utility Reform Network (TURN) regarding the failed steam generator tubes at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) has been ruled against by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC has identified changes that must be made before the settlement can be considered further.

Duke Energy partnering with progressive utilities on renewables

Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, will build the next phase of its Los Vientos Windpower Project in Starr County, Texas. The 110 MW Los Vientos V currently has 25-year power purchase agreements with Garland Power & Light, Greenville Electric Utility System and Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU).