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EGEB: DOE neuters renewable support; Nevada solar plan ‘dead on arrival’; coal to wind jobs; more

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Final US government grid report neuters support for renewables – The Department of Energy’s long awaited report was finally released last night (at 10 PM EST?). Most of the report was left in place when it was leaked a few months back – thank you scientists for your leak. I’ve not read it yet, but a few others are giving feedback. One piece picked up by PV Tech was that this paragraph was removed: “One of the benefits of renewable energy is that it can serve as a hedge for more volatile fossil-fuelled generation. Many customers seek a steady bill payment because it’s easier to budget for and manage than a bill that varies by month. To the degree that renewable energy stabilizes the cost of an overall energy portfolio (or even just a customer’s bill), that affects perceived affordability.” Other thoughts that were added to the report included talking about grid stability possibly getting worse if coal/nuclear keeps going out of business. Of course, we see across Europe (and in the original version of the report) grid stability has gone up as we’ve seen as we’ve integrated more renewables and upgraded our systems to manage them. Can’t have renewables improving stability while you’re pitching losing coal/nuclear increases stability…so, just avoid reality!

In England, new offshore wind farms mean jobs – “When I left coal, people laughed at me,” Beresford said. “I was the only one doing what I was doing. Those coal plants were running 24/7. They said, ‘Wind will never replace coal.’ Now, I got people who left the coal industry asking me about jobs.” This is evolution – and if you do not evolve, you will be left behind to be consumed by time.

NV Energy declares its net metering proposal ‘dead on arrival’ – Two interesting quotes from the article: from the – The Nevada Independent, even the utility is calling the proposal “dead on arrival,” based on criticism from solar advocates, the Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection and some members of the PUC., and An attorney representing Sunrun also reportedly dismissed the proposal as a waste of time. Plus one request that the utility is requesting in terms of changing rates – Utility urged the commission to consider studying maximum demand charges on all customers. First off, its good to see that the utility has someone standing up to them. Secondly, maximum demand charges – paying a fee based upon your peak instantaneous usage during the month – will lead toward users installing battery systems or hooking their cars up to their homes. Careful what you ask for NVEnergy.

The above news update leads well into this article – In solar scuffle, big utilities meet their match – Some great history on how the reality of today in Nevada came to be. First half of article is broader history, second half gets into the meat.

From Tesla to Mercedes-Benz, automakers become energy companies – Whenever we hear about Tesla’s sky high valuation, we always hear how they are compared to GM, Ford, Mercedes and BMW – car companies. And it makes sense, to a degree, since Tesla is mostly known to the world as a maker of cars…but most of the world isn’t this website and isn’t those who are in the energy industry. And now other car companies are coming along – pulled by their teeth. German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz launched a U.S. energy division in November. BMWFord and other auto companies are also doing their own cenergy storage and vehicle-to-grid pilots with a range of utilities and renewable energy providers. Tesla is not a car company – Tesla is a technology company, much like Apple and Google. Tesla is a global leader in innovation in energy storage design, solar power and cars. Stop comparing Tesla to car companies – unless you want to miss the electric boat.

Black Hills’ plan for higher street-light costs stuns city – The city spent $2.1 million on street lights in 2013. After the LED lights were installed, that annual bill dropped to $950,000 in 2016. City Council was stunned to learn Monday that Black Hills Energy wants to more than double the annual cost of the city’s high-efficiency LED street lights — a $1-million increase that would erase the savings from the low-energy street lights. The utility companies don’t know what to do – their business model has been one based upon a monopoly power for the last 100 years (or more for some).

California cap-and-trade program gets a shot in the arm with strong permit auction results – This won’t necessarily lower emissions, it will simply mean those who do emit CO2 will pay a higher price to do so. If profit margins are high enough, this will get absorbed. What might come from this though are hundreds of millions of dollars being invested into cleaner infrastructure – Lawmakers will debate how to spend about $1.4 billion in cap-and-trade revenue in the coming weeks, including some leftover money from the last fiscal year and more cash expected over the following one. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) wants to spend about $1 billion to help retire old, dirtier engines, replacing tractors, trucks and cars with newer, more efficient models. In my opinion, this is the only way that a carbon tax ought be used.

Tweet of the day is from this website because I think it is cool as heck to think that essence of a car is going to be the slab of batteries beneath it versus the engine located in the front of it. A long ways back I remember when GM released their Skateboard body – I imagined the different car models I would have hanging in my garage. Need a pickup today? Switch it! Family car? Switch it! Racing up a windy mountain road! You know what to do…GM was ahead of their time in many ways. Glad to see it coming back.

Header image by Joan Sullivan – absolutely stunning photography. You can find her on Twitter as well.

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