No simple fixes to the fixed charge debate

For generations, electric utilities have been content to get paid by customers primarily based on the amount of electricity they use. But recently, the rise of customer-sited distributed generation (typically rooftop solar) and the success of energy-efficiency programs in reducing load growth have led utilities to look for new ways to recover their costs and reduce their risk. Several utilities across the country have proposed new or higher fixed charges of one form or another in order to keep up revenue as consumption falls. However, fixed charges can stymie adoption of distributed generation, distort the market for energy efficiency, and disproportionately affect low-income customers. That has made these charges the subject of controversy.

Xcel going beyond ''fundamentals'' with clean energy investments

Xcel Energy's investment in clean energy is paying off for the customers and the communities it serves in eight Western and Midwestern states. The company has made significant strides in sustainable energy and plans to expand on it in the future, according to its newly released 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report.

EPRI: Reinforcing distribution systems for increased renewables

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has developed and released a methodology that can be used with existing software and planning tools to determine ways to reinforce distribution systems that face increased deployment of distributed energy resources (DER), such as rooftop solar, microgrids, and energy storage.

Report shows Europe is ''good at renewables''

The European Union (EU) has been making big promises toward renewable energy, and it looks like they are following through on those commitments. According to a new report, the union is on its way to meeting its 20 percent renewable energy target by 2020.

California has 10 times more solar than entire U.S. in 2007

California has reached a major milestone in solar -- by achieving 10,000 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report produced by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

White House reaches double its clean energy investment goal

President Obama and the White House have made a big announcement about investments in clean energy -- with more than $4 billion raised from foundations, institutional investors, and other long-term investors.

Ten years later: The world has 4x as many renewable targets

A new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that there are currently 164 countries that have at least one renewable energy target -- a significant increase from the 43 countries that had such targets in 2005.

Duke Energy testing swine waste to power NC plants

Duke Energy is creating a plan to use swine waste to create fuel at their Dan River Combined Cycle Station near Eden, after permission for the plant to be used as a renewable energy facility. They also plan to test the innovation at the Buck Combined Cycle facility near Salisbury in Rowan County.

IEA urges energy innovation for low carbon future

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released their special report on energy and climate change -- World Energy Outlook 2015 -- ahead of the COP 21 Paris climate talks taking place in December 2015.

Newsweek Top Green Companies in the World: Which utilities made the grade?

Newsweek has released their list of Top Green Companies in the World 2015, and numerous utilities made the list. National Grid came in as the top utility on the list -- at number 29.

Canada passes major wind energy milestone

Canada is growing their wind energy, and has reached 10,000 megawatts (MW) of installed wind capacity . According to the Canada Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), the milestone was reached with the commissioning of the K2 Wind Power Project in southwestern Ontario earlier this month.

AWEA explains how wind will be reliably integrated into the grid

One hesitancy to accept renewable energy has to do with its possible effect on the reliability of the grid. However, a new report found that electric reliability will not be affected as previously thought by the introduction of renewables.

Making the case for energy unconventionals

A new study found that "unconventional energy" development will be an important piece to the future of the U.S. economy. The report, "America's Unconventional Energy Opportunity," was conducted by the Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It looked at the overall energy system in the United States and how new innovation would change the country.

Vermont sets aggressive new renewable energy goals

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed a bill meant to help renewable growth in the state. House Bill (HB) 40 would establish a requirement of 55 percent for the power sold by Vermont energy companies to come from renewable sources by 2017, and 75 percent by 2032.

USDA grants $6.7M for ag, small biz renewable energy efforts

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is continuing their goal of increasing energy in the United States, this time with a total of $6.7 million in grants for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

NREL, Clemson partnering on the next wind innovation

Two research facilities have partnered to test wind energy research. The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Clemson University teamed up through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Their goal is to improve the performance of wind turbine drivetrains and to better understand how the turbines can integrate more effectively with the electrical grid.

Florida could become advanced energy leader

The advanced energy industry is a major economic force in Florida, at $6.2 billion in 2014 revenue, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the advanced energy market in the state conducted by Navigant Research for the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) -- outpacing the state's agricultural exports, which totaled $4.2 billion in 2014.

Amazon to become largest solar farm in Virginia company Amazon Web Services (AWS) is teaming up with Community Energy to build an 80 MW solar farm in Accomack County, Virginia. Called Amazon Solar Farm US East, it will be the largest solar farm in the state -- and one of the largest east of the Mississippi.

2015 Northwest natural gas predictions conservative

NWGA expects regional demand for natural gas to grow an average of 1.2 percent per year driven by the use of natural gas to fuel electric generation, as the region develops new gas fired generation to serve load growth and more flexible gas fired resources to complement intermittent renewable generation like wind and solar.

Hawaii's renewable energy requirement makes history

This week, Hawaii made history with its enactment of a law requiring that all of the state's electricity be produced from renewable energy sources no later than 2045. With the new policy, Act 97, Hawaii becomes the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent renewable requirement.