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utility dive

Nuclear Power over White Rabbits for a Reliable, Affordable, Zero-Carbon Future

By Energy Rant No Comments
I update my electrification slides for the Wisconsin Public Utilities Institute’s Utility Basics course every year with the latest technologies, sales data, and energy, commodity, and equipment/vehicle prices. Year over year, electricity prices at my home have increased 15%, for now, based on fuel alone. That is minuscule compared to what is proposed in the Northeast. linked to a Patch article that said Eversource Massachusetts is filing for a 38% hike on top of a 22% jump last winter. National Grid is filing for an unprecedented (in my world) “increase from last winter's 14.82 cents per kilowatt-hour rate to...
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Big Tech

Chasms of Big Tech and Utilities

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last month, Utility Dive posted an article describing how big tech (Google, Amazon, etc.) is taking the lead for home automation and energy management. But there is still hope for utilities – they have trusted relationships with customers, Dive says. Chasms of Risk Tolerance There may not be a pair of industries more dissimilar than big tech and utilities. Big tech has so much cash flow they can afford to have half their products bomb: Amazon failures include Fire, Destinations, Local, Register, and Importer. I only recognize Fire and none of these other boondoggles. Too bad, so sad for Mr....
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Wind Production Tax Credit

Capacity Market v Energy Market – What’s the Diff?

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
We are taking a break from exergy this week, and we are going to examine what is happening in distorted electricity markets around the country. This will be somewhat of a sequel to Regulating Deregulation and Wind's Other Big Subsidy. Too much of a good thing, or as they say, unintended consequences, is pushing the grid in some places toward instability. By the way, I scoff at the term “unintended consequences.” There are only two types of consequences: intended and ignorant ones. Utility Dive notes that Texas (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas – ERCOT) and the Southwest Power Pool are...
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Residential Demand Charges; Harpooning Red Herring

By Energy Rant No Comments
On the one hand, this article from Utility Dive, The flaws in the utilities’ push for residential demand charges, had me shaking my head left and right in disagreement. On the other, not so much considering Solar City’s[1] Chief Policy Officer co-authored the article. The article suggests that rather than using demand charges for residential customers, whether they generate renewable energy (solar) or not, utilities should use time-of-use rates instead. Time-of-use rates are a step in the right direction, but demand rates are still more equitable. Electricity Bills For new readers, here is a quick overview of various ways utilities...
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Cannabis – A Big Issue Coming to a Utility Near You

By Energy Rant One Comment
Every kilogram of marijuana produced has a carbon bigfoot print of 4.3 metric tonnes (4.7 tons) of CO2. Marijuana production (U.S) consumes the annual electricity production of 1.7 million homes. Marijuana production consumes 1% of the nation’s electricity, and it’s growing rapidly. Data centers consume 3% of electricity worldwide. Mother Jones reports a growth module that four measly plants consume as much power as 29 refrigerators – probably not even efficient ones at that. Ok. Now that we have some context, you can bet this is a serious post. Public Service Announcement I can’t help but mention that older marijuana...
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natural gas

Natural Gas is a Wonderful Fuel, Btu, er But,,,

By Energy Rant No Comments
New ideas are great, but there is no replacement for accumulated experience to assess the landscape ahead and see potential trouble on the horizon. This is one of my most important responsibilities for our company. I am no mountain climber, but I am reminded of mountaineering documentaries about summiting Everest and getting past the treacherous Hillary Step. Just last week, I met with a team of engineers cautioning them about crucial steps in the progression of a project that would make or break the project. It involved a combination of technical factors and human factors. Too bad there is no...
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Pricing PV Energy; The Tomato Wins!

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy 2 Comments
This post is brought to you by Midwest Energy News; in particular, the opinion piece, Time For Monopoly Reform in Minnesota.  It is written by Tea Partier Debbie Dooley from Atlanta.  You may have heard or read that the Tea Party and solar advocacy groups (a strange alliance) have been singing photovoltaic folk songs around southern campfires. I am not anti-renewable, but I am very much anti-misinform and mislead.  That is what The Energy Rant is all about.  To prove my love of renewables, as I was driving back from my mother’s over the Fourth of July weekend on a...
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Utility of the Future; Rebates for Load Building Anyone?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
The source of this week’s post about the utility of the future is this Utility Dive article about Pacific Gas and Electric’s proposed incentives for electric vehicles. The article made me think of this: liberals think big business is evil and conservatives think big government is evil.  Both are right to a large extent.  Oooh.  In my opinion, libertarians are most correct fearing crony capitalism as the unholy alliance between big government and big business.  A primary role of government is to ensure citizens are protected from fraud, embezzlement, collusion, and the seven deadly sins.  Hens and little people are...
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Clean Energy Disconnect Between Say and Do

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
This article, Americans could pay more for clean energy.  But will they really?, from Utility Dive reminds me of my own life experiences with squirrelly people.  They talk a good game, but where is the action?  It also reminds me of the folly in precise net-to-gross, or attribution studies. The article highlights findings of a University of Michigan study regarding consumer concerns over energy prices and the environment.  The findings include: Ninety three percent say energy prices are affordable. The threshold for unaffordable is a 140% increase! Energy markets are inelastic (I said this a long time ago). Self-reported willingness...
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State of the Electric Utility; Get Engaged

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff No Comments
Recently, Utility Dive released its report, 2015 State of the Electric Utility – a compendium of utility company prognosticative surveys.  Findings include: Utilities will move away from vertical integration – see last week’s Utility 2.0. The biggest opportunities are distributed generation, transmission, and customer relationships. The biggest challenges include old infrastructure, old employees, and primitive regulatory models. The biggest concern is flat to declining sales. There will be more use of natural gas, wind, solar, and distributed generation. As my personal finance instructor used to say, the most likely price (trend) tomorrow is the price. First, I wanted to see...
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