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Utilities companies won't let you sell your own solar power. Why not?

The electric utility sector is broken – but the transformation we need will be virtually impossible so long as a handful of wealthy elites are calling the shots

           

Utilities companies have their sights on ending net-metering: your ability to sell excess power at market rates. Photograph: Rex

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Energy and Policy Institute - Utilities Knew: Documenting Electric Utilities’ Early Knowledge and Ongoing Deception on Climate Change From 1968-2017

theguardian.com - by Kate Aronoff - August 1, 2017

A new report from the US-based Energy and Policy Institute last week found that investor-owned utilities have known about climate change for nearly 50 years – and done everything in their power to stop governments from doing anything about it.

From their commitment to toxic fuels to their corrosive influence on our democracy to their attempts to price-gouge ratepayers, it’s long past time to bring the reign of privately-owned electric utilities to an end.

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Why are Californian Solar Firms Paying to Give Away Power?

           

Getty Images

bbc.com - June 29, 2017

California companies are generating so much solar power that firms in other states are getting paid to take it.

The state has been forced into the arrangement to "avoid overloading its own power lines", according to the Los Angeles Times.

The situation doesn't necessarily mean we are "throwing money away", says economist Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

"But it probably is an indication that there are some serious problems in the way we're running the grid and the way we're making investment decisions."

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Jimmy Carter Powers Half of His Hometown With Solar

           

From peanut farmer to solar farmer . . . A view of the new solar "farm" on land owned by former President Jimmy Carter, with the city of Plains seen in the background. Nearly four decades after he turned heads by installing solar panels on the White House roof as part of his push to increase "clean" energy use in America, Carter has leased part of his property to SolAmerica. The Atlanta based company says more than 50 percent of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's hometown will be solar-powered as a result.  SolAmerica

ecowatch.com - by Joe McCarthy - July 13, 2017

 . . . Earlier this year, he <Jimmy Carter> commissioned SolAmerica to create a solar farm on 10 acres of his land in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. Today, that farm is supplying half of his town's electricity needs. It's expected to supply 1.3 megawatts of electricity annually, the equivalent of burning 3,600 tons of coal.

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New York is Building the Energy System of Tomorrow Today

REV4NY - May 2, 2016

In New York, the energy system of tomorrow is taking shape today. What does the grid look like? Watch this video to learn more about the vision behind New York’s plan for a clean, affordable and resilient energy system for all New Yorkers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUm91OTuvLg

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More Than 30 States Embrace Grid Modernization, New Policy Tracker Finds

           

CLICK HERE - 50 States of Grid Modernization (60 page .PDF report)

CLICK HERE - 50 States of Solar (11 page .PDF report)

A new quarterly report from the folks who brought you '50 States of Solar' aims to chronicle grid modernization initiatives across the US

utilitydive.com - by Herman K. Trabish - May 31, 2017

Grid modernization is a hot topic in the power sector as utilities across the country replace aging infrastructure and upgrade their systems for new energy technologies.

But until now, there was no easily-accessible tool to track the myriad regulatory actions on advanced metering, non-wire alternatives, ratemaking reform and the like.

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Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear and Grid Reliability?

           

Lessons from the Lone Star State: A surge in wind power on the Texas grid didn’t cause reliability problems (and brought down electricity prices) because regulators improved the efficiency of wholesale electricity markets. Sarah Fields Photography/Shutterstock.com

theconversation.com - by Joshua D. Rhodes, Michael E. Webber, Thomas Deetjen and Todd Davidson - May 11, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.

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Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves

           

Patrick Schnell, a participant in the Brooklyn Microgrid, with solar panels on his roof in Gowanus.
Credit Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

nytimes.com - by Diane Cardwell - March 13, 2017

 . . . In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of the borough, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door.

The project is still in its early stages — it has just 50 participants thus far — but its implications could be far reaching.

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As Solar Booms, Utilities Look to Build New Business Models With Strategic Investments

           

Image credit: Flickr user 10 10

utilitydive.com - by Herman K. Trabish - March 14, 2017

Beyond simply contracting for solar, utilities are increasingly investing in the sector to ‘position themselves to be the utility of the future'

Solar energy is becoming a generation resource so ubiquitous that utilities are looking beyond simply contracting for new capacity and are increasingly moving into the sector themselves.

Solar added a record-breaking 14,762 MW of capacity in 2016, nearly doubling its 2015 growth. The resource added 39% of all new U.S. generation capacity in the year, making it the leader among all resources for the first time.

Growth was dominated by utility investment in 2016, a trend that’s expected to continue, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

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Shell Sells Oil Sands Assets as Boss Warns on Clean Energy Challenge

           

An excavator at the Athabasca project near Fort McMurray in Alberta. Shell has cut its interest in the project as part of a retreat from tar sands. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Carbon-heavy assets offloaded for $8.5bn as company ties 10% of directors’ bonuses to how well it manages emissions

theguardian.com - March 9, 2017

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell most of its carbon-heavy Canadian oil sands assets for $8.5bn (£7bn) as the chief executive warned that the industry risked losing public support without progress towards cleaner energy.

The world’s second largest publicly-traded oil company plans to increase its investment in renewable energy to $1bn (£800m) a year by the end of the decade, Ben van Beurden said on Thursday, although it is still a small part of its total annual spending of $25bn (£20.5bn). 

Shell also said that 10% of directors’ bonuses would be tied to how well it manages greenhouse gas emissions in refining, chemical and upstream operations.

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How California Utilities Are Managing Excess Solar Power

news.morningstar.com - by Cassandra Sweet - March 4, 2017

California utilities including PG&E Corp., Edison International and Sempra Energy are testing new ways to network solar panels, battery storage, two-way communication devices and software to create "virtual power plants" that manage green power and feed it into the power grid as needed.

The Golden State is ramping up renewable energy as it pledges to be a bulwark against the Trump administration's pro-fossil fuel policies. But first, it has to figure out what to do with all the excess power it generates when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

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