March, 2013 - Hawaii Grapples with Parity
As the first jurisdiction
in the US to reach solar PV parity, Hawaii is working out emerging issues and thus providing examples and solutions for the
rest of us.
Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) now publishes maps of its circuits showing how much PV is on each circuit. They allow
simplified installation of net metered systems so long as the circuit has no more than 15% peak load of PV systems. "Simplified
installation" means that HECO will not concern itself with reviewing the effect of an installation on its grid.
a circuit has more than 15% peak load of solar PV, a new installation is subject to more examination and analysis prior to
The takeaway? HECO finds that under 15% peak load of solar PV on a circuit poses no problem to
a utility's grid.
December, 2012 - University
of Delaware Report Says Solar / Wind / Storage Can Economically Meet 99.9% of PJM Load
Engineers at the University of Delaware have released
a study showing that 99.9% of the PJM load can be met by wind, solar and storage. PJM is a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) of electrical utilties in the Mid-Atlantic and eastern Midwest. Eastern Kentucky Power Cooperative has applied
to join PJM in PSC case 2012-00169.
Key finding of the study include:
most of the load would be met by wind;
- intermittency of renewable resources would be
more cheaply addressed by builkding more capacity
of generatiors than more
capacity of storage;
- excess generation would occur in the winter, and this excess generation
could displace naural gas
used for space heating, thus contribuitng
to the overall economy of the system.
- backup would employ existing fossil fuel plants
- no new fossil fuel plants would be needed.
The study examined and addressed the PJM load for
the years 1999 - 2002. KySES suggests that the PJM load could be reduced well below that which existed in 1999 - 2002,
through the employment of efficiency and conservation.
- Solar Jobs Outnumber Coal Jobs
The third annual National Solar Jobs Census reports that as of November, 2012 the U.S. solar
industry employed 119,016 Americans and was experiencing 13% annual growth. The Census was performed by BW Research Partnership in collaboration with The Solar Foundation and Cornell University.
The coal mining industry employed 80,000 people at the same time. The number of coal jobs has, unfortunately, been declining for some time.
November 30, 2012 - Wind, solar and
gas power online in November
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office
of Energy Projects, the following power projects came online in November 2012:
- 740 MW of wind power;
- 17.2 MW of geothermal;
- 19.35 MW solar, and;
610 MW of natural gas facilities specifically designed to integrate with intermittent renewable
November 5, 2012 - German Solar
Production Jumps 50%
Germany produced 25,000 gigawatt hours of solar energy from January
through September, up from 16,500 gigawatt hours for the same period the year before, per USA Today. A gigawatt hour is 1 million kilowatt hours. Most large nuclear reactors produce
a bit over a gigawatt, so 25,000 gigawatt hours would be about 2 to 2 1/2 years production of a large nuclear reactor
2012 - All New US Energy Capacity in September was Wind or Solar
433 MW of new energy
generation capacity came online in the US in September, 2012. It was all either wind (300 MW) or solar (133 MW).
August 10, 2012 - New
Direction for Utility Industry
June, engineering and consulting firm Black & Veatch issued its 6th annual utility industry survey Strategic Directions in the U.S. Electric Utility Industry. Key findings include:
- Economic and environmental regulation motivate
utility investment decisions.
- Lack of regulator
knowledge and customer interest impede deployment of smart grid programs.
- Water supply is second only to carbon emissions legislation as the industry's
top environmental concern.
- The industry’s view
on renewable energy is shifting from hesitation to opportunity.
is the top-ranked renewable technology for the second year in a row. It was the top-ranked renewable technology in
all geographic regions of the country.
industry people see an economically viable future for coal.