Complaints from TX electric consumers up in 2014

"The uptick in complaints this year is worth monitoring, as they appear to reflect continued frustrations in the market," said Jay Doegey, TCAP board president. "However, complaints reached historic post-deregulation lows during the previous fiscal year, and the 2014 numbers also remain well below the post-deregulation average. So that's the good news."

Demo plant first to produce zero emissions

Exelon Generation is taking part in a first-of-a-kind demonstration power plant that will validate a new natural gas power system that produces zero atmospheric emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2) developed by NET Power, LLC.  The 50 MWt demonstration plant will validate the world's first natural gas power generation system that produces no air emissions and includes full CO2 capture without requiring expensive, efficiency-reducing carbon capture equipment.

APPA research supports plea to FERC to dump mandatory capacity markets

Just 2.4 percent, at the most, of generation capacity constructed in 2013 was developed solely for sale into organized electricity markets, according to a report released by the American Public Power Association (APPA).  In 2013, almost all new generation capacity was supported by long-term power purchase agreements or ownership, and only 6 percent of all capacity constructed that year was built within the footprints of one of the regional transmission organizations (RTO) with mandatory capacity markets, the report, "Power Plants Are Not Built on Spec: 2014 Update," says.  

Dominion fuel cell park a pathway for energy security and ingenuity

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy recently showcased how affordable fuel cell solutions support energy policy, the environment, and economic development at local, state and federal levels. Case in point: The 15 MW Dominion Bridgeport fuel cell park in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which demonstrates how fuel cell power generation enhances the resiliency of the electric grid with low carbon power production and exemplifies urban renewal being cited within a city.

China becoming major player in gas generation

China's gas power generation capacity is expected to rise from 43.8 GW in 2013 to 85.5 GW by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. Driven by China's need to adopt cleaner fuels for power generation and reduce its reliance on coal -- which accounts for 62 percent of the country's total installed capacity -- GlobalData predicts the country will see a boost in gas turbine installations.

NIPSCO proposal leverages FIT success

Investor owned utility Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has filed a proposal to expand its voluntary feed-in tariff (FIT) program, FIT 2.0. The proposed renewable energy purchasing program enables NIPSCO to procure 16 MW of electricity from small-scale, renewable electricity projects within its service territory. The program's predecessor, FIT 1.0, created 30 MW of market capacity for local renewables.

EPCs could be changing how they do renewable energy business

With U.S. renewable energy capacity expected to double by 2021, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services firms will need to adapt to the economic realities of a changing industry, as they are faced with a scarcity of large utility-scale projects and shrinking profit margins, according to research conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for CohnReznick.

Boosting African energy development in three steps

Sub-Shaharan Africa has more than enough energy resources to meet the needs of its population, but these resources are largely under-developed, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). IEA says that the region's energy sector is acting as a "brake on development," as more than 620 million people (two-thirds of the population) live without electricity. 

U.S. provides real-world examples of carbon emissions reductions

There are many real-world examples in the United States where government policies and emerging technologies are creating opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while delivering net economic benefits; with targeted policy support, the U.S. could achieve deeper reductions even faster, according to a study by World Resources Institute (WRI).

Streamlining solar interconnection processes

While some locational deployment strategies could raise issues of customer equity and grid access, the concept opens a cooperative way for utilities and solar developers to support greater solar build-out at potentially lower costs and greater industry and customer satisfaction.

Q4 largest for new global solar installs

The fourth quarter of 2014 will see an additional 14.4 GW of solar capacity globally, according to IHS Technology, increasing total global solar installations to 45.4 GW in 2014 -- down 1.5 GW from a previous IHS prediction due to weaker-than-predicted performance in several key markets. This is still a 20 percent increase in installations -- up from 37.8 GW in 2013.

SMBs want better sustainability programs

A majority of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) want better sustainability programs but are hindered by costs and a perception that such investments don't matter to customers, according to a survey by Cox Enterprises through its national sustainability program, Cox Conserves, which focuses on energy and water conservation and waste reduction.  

Report: PacifiCorp putting customers, shareholders at risk

PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, produces 77 percent of its energy via coal (as of 2012, the most recent data available) and provides electric power, transmission, and distribution services to customers in Oregon, Washington, California, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. While other utilities are transitioning away from coal, PacifiCorp plans to invest billions to upgrade its aging coal fleet, which is the largest in the West.

Western Europe seeing only pockets of natural gas opportunity

In early 2012, 15 GW of combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants, which capture some of the heat in the combustion process to make it more efficient and able to run more frequently than a stand-alone or simple cycle gas turbine, were in construction. In September 2006, the Platts Project Tracker recorded more than 23 GW of CCGT plants in construction, having noted 7.38 GW commissioned in the first nine months of that year. That was the "dash-for-gas" peak of construction activity.

Industry orgs weigh in on QER

Many industry organizations have been involved with shaping the first phase of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). As significant shifts are underway in the American energy landscape, recommendations focus on several areas that will provide for the long-term strength, flexibility and resilience of the nation's energy system. The optimization of these existing assets will be essential to ensure the delivery of clean, reliable and affordable energy.

TASC: We Energies contradicts itself on rooftop solar

Milwaukee saw the largest public outcry in the Wisconsin Public Service Commission's history late last week as state residents and businesses came together to oppose We Energies rooftop solar proposal, which would impose significant fixed charges on solar customers. 

MO city latest to become Green Power Community

Webster Groves, Missouri is the latest city to have been officially designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Community (GPC). To become a GPC, the city, including local government, businesses and residents must collectively use enough green power to meet or exceed EPA's Green Power Community purchase requirements.

Report highlights NextEra clean energy leadership

Over the past year, NextEra Energy has been named number one in Fortune magazine's list of World's Most Admired Companies in the electric and gas utilities sector for the eighth year in a row; and the number one "green utility" in the United States and number three in the world based on carbon emissions and renewable energy capacity by EI New Energy.

Utilities, major retailers uncovering multi-millions in energy savings

This year, the Environmental Defense Fund's EDF Climate Corps of fellows has uncovered $130 million in potential energy savings . Since 2008, when the program began, more than 300 organizations have worked with EDF Climate Corps fellows to uncover energy savings in their own operations, including utilities and energy providers like Pacific Gas and Electric, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, New Jersey Resources, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Southwestern Energy, TXU Energy, and Washington Gas.  

PSEG raising green energy awareness in CT

PSEG Power Connecticut, a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group, is donating approximately 1,600 solar panels that it will also install at two of Bridgeport's libraries -- the main Downtown Burroughs-Saden Library and the North Branch Library. The solar panels have been designed to provide the libraries with the maximum amount of energy possible, reducing the libraries' total energy consumption by an estimated 125,000 kWh a year and saving the libraries approximately $20,000 per year.