Utility companies confront security challenges daily, especially those related to securing the North American power grid. Increasingly, they’re responding by implementing comprehensive cyber security plans across their business networks and their generation, transmission and distribution systems.
From broad-based threats against corporate e-mail systems to targeted spear-phishing attacks aimed at nuclear operations, utilities face new challenges regularly. A focus area is the regular increase of vulnerabilities reported in the security of industrial control systems that monitor and control manage the power grid, as noted by the Department of Homeland Security and the media. Keep reading →
US Cities are incredibly diverse in their energy use and their energy politics, but many are trying to use the latest tools to solve similar problems with boosting efficiency and adding new capacity.
TED gave a recent prize to the City 2.0, recognizing that the “smart city” is a vital and important trend not only in the US but across the world. In the energy sector, information technology allows tracking of impacts on the grid, of timing for energy usage or traffic and tracking changes in ways that can allow for more-varied forms of policy and business responses to increasingly pressing problems. Keep reading →
California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that, by 2020, all utilities in the state use renewables to generate at least 33 percent of the electricity provided to retail customers. Reaching this RPS target will also play a key role in determining whether or not California will meet its ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Many other states are in similar situations: Currently California is one of 29 states (plus the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories) (1) that have RPS targets, and another eight States and two more U.S. territories (2) have adopted renewables portfolio goals (see Figure 1).
Achieving these goals will require a number of states to rely much more heavily on electricity generated by intermittent wind and solar resources. In California, wind and solar generation are expected to provide virtually all of the additional renewable energy needed to achieve the state’s RPS target (see Figure 2). Keep reading →
Ten major natural gas export terminal projects are sparking a debate over the complicated balance between low domestic prices and the health of natural gas producers facing contracting returns on their investment in new production.
Would US exports of liquefied natural gas support an industry that’s struggling to produce the fuel at record-low prices, or would they deprive gas users of the benefits of those super-low rates? Keep reading →
While for many its a time of celebration, this holiday season is making many in the wind industry nervous.
The production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy–the primary federal financial support mechanism for wind, which rewards developers and investors with 2.2 cents per kWh over 10 years–is set to expire in just about a year, on midnight December 31, 2012. Keep reading →
Indications that fierce competition in the global wind turbine industry is about to intensify came with news from the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. Vestas abandoned its forecast of €15 billion in revenues in 2015 and said that job losses and restructuring will follow instead.
The Danish manufacturer’s third quarter results signal the challenges ahead as established players seek traction in emerging markets to compensate for oversupply, market expansion slows and the US and EU face potential double dip recessions, just as Chinese companies entice overseas customers with knock-down prices. Keep reading →
If the US wind industry were a patient, any doctor would give it a clean bill of health… until the end of 2012. The prognosis for 2013 could be near-terminal as the Production Tax Credit is due to expire at the end of 2012.
“The goal of the tax credit: is the more we build the cheaper it will become. That has been borne out over time,” says Richard Caperton, a senior policy analyst with the energy opportunity team at Center for American Progress. “Wind is a very healthy industry that is viewed as a mainstream investment by utilities. It’s been very effective.” Keep reading →
A wind rush is sweeping the world, with record installations planned for this year and next. This June, worldwide wind capacity reached 215 GW, a rise from 17.4 GW in just a decade.
“It’s come a long way in terms of installed capacity, geographic diversity, the maturity of the technology, and the size of the turbines. Growth has been dramatic, with scope for further growth on- and offshore,” says Brian Smith of the National Wind Technology Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and former chair of the International Energy Agency executive agency on wind. Keep reading →