Innovation remains the word of the moment in an energy industry continuing to struggle with the latest round of changes and challenges.

Change has come to feel constant in the energy business, but there are occasional tipping points where long-forecast adjustments actually come to pass. Breaking Energy reported on one such case study this week – long-time coal giant state Pennsylvania has begun to shed the percentage of electricity it derives from coal, and even its industry association is forecasting sustained declines in usage.

There are a number of potential responses to the shift away from coal, which now fuels 5% less of the US electricity generating sector than it did just a few years ago and has been the workhorse of the country’s power industry for more than a century. One response has been to develop new solar and wind projects, as New Jersey hopes to do so in moving beyond coal use altogether.

Our first entry in the Breaking Energy Industry Reading List of book reviews from thought leaders in the energy business takes a hard look at the use of renewable fuels and finds them wanting.

Internationally Innovative

We’re all told that the business world today is flat, small, increasingly interconnected and more mutually dependent. The energy business, for all of its regional variations and regulatory silos, is no exception and business leaders are looking for new ways to maximize the global and interconnected nature of energy development.

President Obama’s decision to appoint former utility CEO John Bryson as his new Commerce Secretary could be transformational for an industry that has often characterized the federal government approach as inconsistent even when it is significant. Bryson has experience in California, one of the country’s toughest electricity markets and a forerunner in clean energy regulation, as well as experience balancing the requirements of business with renewable imperatives as a board member at a solar company. His remit will include leveraging that experience to build exports and energy industry jobs, Obama said.

A global gathering of urban leaders for the C40 Conference in Brazil attracted a lot of attention on Breaking Energy this week, as did news that the World Bank will lend its massive data gathering and analysis powers to efforts to quantify emissions from cities and standardize the way those emissions are reported. The conference coverage came with some spectacularly telling graphics, and two comprehensive documents.

While innovation can be hard to define and even harder to quantify, that hasn’t kept the energy business and its consumers and regulators from trying to show innovation leadership across multiple sectors. Chevron and the Center for Strategic and International Studies closed out the week by making their mark on sustainable development goals with a new partnership, announced Friday.

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Read More:
Coal Concerns by Jon Hurdle
Solar Surge by Shifra Mincer
Reading List: Power Hungry by Jason Hayes
Power To The Cities by Shifra Mincer
The Energy Leadership Race by Peter Gardett