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

How Local Utilities Gamed the Natural-Gas Market – On 37 cold days, when demand was high, unused pipeline space resulting from the scheduling changes represented about 28% of the daily capacity typically used by gas-fired generators. Eversource and Avangrid, routinely booked large gas deliveries, then cut orders sharply at the last minute. Yet nine other gas utility companies taking gas from Algonquin didn’t cancel at the last minute. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is reviewing the findings, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to open an investigation on the matter, and both the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Massachusetts Public Utilities Department are launching inquiries of their own. Here’s the key – the utilities are now using these peak periods of demand, when the pipeline was 29% empty, to lobby for a new pipeline that will be paid for by consumers and guaranteed to be used. Research from around the country will probably show us the truth of the situation.

Blue-collar wages are surging. Can it last? – Economists at UBS, a bank, estimate that energy investment has caused nearly three-fifths of all economic growth in 2017, once the effect of fluctuating inventories has been stripped out of the figures. That’s it. That’s all I really wanted to point out…and wow – what a number! I have a very smart friend of mine, who back in 2008-2009 expressed stress in wondering how the world would bounce back from the recession. I just happened to be quitting a banking job to start a solar company and was hoping that my educated guess was correct. It was.

Almost a third of consumers own some form of a distributed energy resource – An electric car or plug-in hybrid electric car, a rooftop solar system, a backup generator, and/or a heat pump water heater. Also noted was that 34-35% also want solar and/or a backup generator. I bet there a lot of cross over in those two groups – 4% of consumers had solar and 13% had some sort of backup generator. How long until that group turns into a single group with a solar backup generator?

Global Storage Market to Double Six Times by 2030 – There isn’t much to this article other than a pretty graph, other than of course the thought that batteries will double six times by 2030. This ‘doubling’ thing comes up a lot as industries scale. And when things double a few times – seven gets you to 1% market share, seven more gets you to 100% – the species changes.

As Wind Power Sector Grows, Turbine Makers Feel the Squeeze – On Thursday, Vestas, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, said its revenue in the third quarter fell 6 percent compared with the same period a year ago, to 2.7 billion euros, or $3.1 billion. Profit dropped 18 percent, to about €250 million, Vestas said. The figures sent the Danish company’s shares plummeting by as much as 20 percent. Vestas said on Thursday that the price it gets for its turbines has fallen sharply. The company received around €800,000 per megawatt, a unit of power capacity, for the orders it booked in the third quarter of the year. By comparison, it received €950,000 per megawatt in late 2016. These record low prices around the world are going to come at a cost somewhere. Sometimes it is new technology expanding production – sometimes it’s real human beings losing jobs and benefits. Solar power pricing is among the logics put forth as causing these challenges. Article noted concurrently – Vestas booked a 48% rise in Q3 orders…so its a complex story as always.

China’s JA Solar agrees to go private in USD$362m transaction – Chinese solar manufacturer, one of the world’s largest, going private with all the shares going to the owner is a real complex conversation. How exactly can so much money be made by a group who owns a company in an industry where every party has had serious profit challenges. How exactly are the debts of these groups – bank loans written by politically focused programs – recognized over the long-term? Going private lets you simply delete pages of a book.

Wanna see how solar panels are made at First Solar? Fundamentally different process than the solar ingot, to wafer, to cell, to panel process.

S0 you get two videos today because you’re my favorite readers. We covered this solar panel bling recently – gorgeous stuff, makes for art

Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot program. Solar panels adjacent to the Sokaogon Chippewa Community Convenience Store in Mole Lake, Wisconsin. Photo by Chris Collins. Just a regular old solar panel installation in a suburban neighborhood. The original shows that aspect a bit better. Nice. 🙂

Considering residential solar? Understand Solar will connect you with local contractors. Tweet me to pick apart quote.

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