Perry Sioshansi

Posts by Perry Sioshansi

Whatever the cause, weather patterns appear unusual and getting more so.

The first 6 months of 2012 were the hottest first 6 months in a calendar year in Continental US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported in early July. The widespread drought affecting major portions of the US appear to be worse in 6 decades and are likely to affect food prices. Keep reading →

As new technologies go, wind has enjoyed three decades of continuous innovation, performance and reliability improvements and falling costs – benefits of economies of scale, technological advancements and learning by doing. The law of diminishing marginal returns, however, appears to have gotten in the way of further cost reductions.

That appears to be the underlying message from a new report, The Past and Future Cost of Wind Energy with contributions of experts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and a number of European collaborators. Keep reading →

It is adjustment time for the solar sector, and that is putting it mildly.

The scale, and more important, speed of changes taking place within the energy sector are truly unprecedented. And the resulting surprises, making winner and losers out of the stakeholders in unexpected ways, are equally stunning. Keep reading →

March 2012 shattered US temperature records. What about the summer?

Electricity market operators are not generally fond of hot summers, when consumers turn up their air conditioners to stay cool, while straining the network, sometimes to the brink of disaster. This summer is no exception, especially in a few places where supplies are likely to be tight. Keep reading →

Renewable energy resources, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), are poised to meet over half of EU’s electricity demand by 2030. In a statement released in mid-January 2012, Justin Wilkes, EWEA’s Director of Policy, said that the EU had already achieved the 21% target set in a 2001 directive for the end of 2010 by generating somewhere between 665-673 TWh from renewable resources, or 21% of total EU consumption of 3,115-3,175 TWh in 2010.

That is an impressive feat. But even more impressive is what Mr. Wilkes says can be achieved by 2020 and 2030 if EU merely stays the course. If renewable electricity production in the EU continues to grow at the same rate as it did from 2005 to 2010 it would reach 36.4% and an amazing 51.6% of electricity consumption within EU block by 2020 and 2030, respectively. Keep reading →

With government incentives and long-term contracts, what is there not to like?

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet has turned into something of a sage. As a long-term value investor, his decisions are followed with great interest. So when MidAmerican Energy Holdings, the utility arm of Berkshire Hathaway, bought First Solar’s 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm Power Plant in San Luis Obispo, California for an undisclosed amount, everyone took note. Keep reading →

Not much expected, not much gained – except for a significant all-inclusive twist.

The United Nations’ latest Conference of Parties (COP) on climate change followed the usual script. A couple of weeks of acrimonious debate leading to near failure, followed by heroic last minute efforts to save the conference from total ruin, just so the attending delegates could fly home in time for the holidays and report to their respective governments that they will be attending another event in a year’s time in Qatar. Keep reading →

Get used to the tail wagging the dog.

Until a few years ago, renewable energy resources were like a small tail on a big dog–utility owned and operated fossil-fueled generation. With their increased penetration in many parts of the world, the tail has grown big relative to the dog. In a few cases, the tail is now wagging the dog, rather than the other way around. The trend can only grow over time with important implications for both the dog and the tail. It is already happening in certain places and during certain times. With passage of time, it will become more commonplace, and troublesome. Keep reading →

Our existing grid is not as reliable as one would expect. What is the cure?

With no warning some 6 million residents across a wide stretch of Southern California, Southwest Arizona and the northern top of Baja California in Mexico lost power on 8 September 2011. It took hours to restore power. Coming a mere 8 years after the much bigger blackout affecting over 50 million people in Northeast US and province of Ontario in Canada in August 2003, it reminded anyone who needed reminding that the US electric grid is not as reliable or dependable as one would expect it to be. Keep reading →