Thousands of people across the Southeast have opposed utility plans to increase fixed fees on monthly bills, including a Georgia Power case to be decided soon. Making customers with solar “go away” is an explicit goal of at least one utility.
In this op-ed, journalist William Driscoll notes that land across the U.S. generally has at least 70% of the solar potential of land in the desert Southwest, according to data from a federal map. Yet that map needs a different color scheme to better reflect the data, he says.
To stop buying wholesale power from coal-heavy Tri-State, two co-op utilities in Colorado must first advise state regulators on setting a fair fee to exit their Tri-State contracts. A renewables-friendly wholesale competitor waits in the wings.
The Tennessee Valley Authority will offer just over 2 cents per kWh for distributed solar, although TVA’s prior calculations show a value of 7.2 cents per kWh, or higher when counting avoided pollution. An environmental lawsuit may be brewing.
Regional markets for energy capacity favor new gas generation over solar and storage, at a high cost to consumers. Eight U.S. Senators have taken notice, while a new report marshals the evidence.
With wide adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps, Colorado’s least-cost grid would reach 21 GW of solar capacity, 12 GW of wind, and 7 GW of storage by 2040, while electric rates would decline. These modeling results apply to other states as well.
In this op-ed, journalist William Driscoll proposes that corporations could earn a fixed rate of return from a corporate solar purchase, at reduced risk, if a financial firm offered a new type of solar purchase agreement.
Seven early-stage solar manufacturing firms have won U.S. Department of Energy grants to develop prototypes, which they could use to help attract private investment. DOE’s 21 PV research and development grants may hold more interest for established manufacturers.
In developing its resource plan, NorthWestern Energy apparently used modeling assumptions that favor gas-fired generation, says the Sierra Club. The group has filed a legal motion requesting access to the modeling inputs, and to the model itself.
Flexible solar plant operation can save a utility money. First Solar says it’s time for solar power purchase agreements to catch up to that fact.
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