PUCs PSCs State

To date, California schools and public agencies that have gone solar have saved $2.5 billion in energy costs-real money that lets cash-strapped districts hold on to teachers and enables communities to maintain services. California homeowners have saved their neighbors $92.2 million by producing electricity that doesn’t need to be shipped across expensive, inefficient transmission lines from a dirty, utility-owned generator-which means their fellow ratepayers pay less for maintaining existing lines and building new ones. And solar’s created 43,000 jobs in the state.

But now California’s utilities-and utilities across the United States-are working to undermine the policies that make solar a great deal for the state. They’re doing this by attacking a key tenet of rooftop solar: the right to get a fair credit for the energy your system produces when you’re not using it. Keep reading →

New York City – the world’s energy finance capital and one of the world’s largest commodity trading marketplaces – is a fitting location for the Center on Global Energy Policy. As part of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, the center will seek to “provide independent, balanced, data-driven analysis to help policymakers navigate the complex world of energy.”

At Wednesday’s launch event, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by energy experts and US government officials, who helped officially inaugurate the new energy policy initiative. Keep reading →

Think of Texas and the mental movie is obvious: old fashioned oil rigs, big hats, big hair, big boots and conservative politics. Not much room for innovation, information technology, renewable energy or energy efficiency efforts in that narrative, but Texas confounds expectations. Keep reading →

Power markets have always been a complex proposition, perhaps especially so in the places where they could do the most good. How to price the creation and delivery of a commodity that can’t be stored, is technologically complex to ship and often dirty to create where it isn’t unreliable?

Transmission is the central component of the traditional power market. The lines and towers are the only thing that can make power flow from lower priced areas to higher priced areas, and as part of managing access the administrators of these markets have begun to charge for Congestion Revenue Rights. In California, those CRRs have become a major market, with banks, trading houses and power marketing firms all getting in on the action since trading began in 2009. Keep reading →

At least twenty-two of the 29 state renewables standards have been attacked by legislators or regulators in the last year or are now under attack.

Known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or a Renewable Energy Standard (RES), these mandates require utilities to obtain a portion of their power from renewable sources by a certain date. Research shows they add less than 5 percent, on average, to the cost of electricity bills and are an effective driver of renewables growth. Keep reading →

Dear Editorial Board,

The state of Connecticut is about to consider its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – which currently requires at least 20 percent of electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2020. A hearing on legislation to update the RPS was held last week, with the Energy & Technology Committee scheduled to act on energy bills on March 28. At issue: What types of energy should be included in the RPS, and is there a role for large Canadian hydropower? Keep reading →

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Thursday ruled that Xcel Energy will not be able to collect the $16.6 million balance it says it is owed for work performed on the SmartGridCity project in Boulder.

The ruling is in line with an earlier decision by an administrative law judge that the utility should not be allowed to collect the remaining $16.6 million in costs it incurred in the project because it had not met established criteria demonstrating customer benefits, according to a story in the Boulder County Business Report. Keep reading →

Crude oil production in Alaska has been steadily declining for years with potentially dire consequences for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and the state’s tax revenue base.

“Alyeska today is working to respond to the challenges posed by declining throughput. Throughput peaked at 2.1 million barrels a day in 1988. It has only steadily decreased since. In 2011, Alyeska on average moved about 600,000 barrels per day. With the lower flow levels, the crude oil takes longer to reach the Valdez Terminal – about 2 weeks, on average – and the oil is colder on arrival. The slower, colder oil has more potential for water and wax to settle and drop out, and as throughput declines further, the potential for ice to form during shutdown or flowing conditions increases,” according to operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s website. Keep reading →

How many billion of dollars does it take to secure the infrastructure of an energy company against the “known unknowns” of historic storms and other forms of interruption and just as importantly, who should pay?

The Public Service Enterprise Group company of New Jersey (PSEG) had an opportunity to answer that question in real time in the weeks after Hurricane Sandy, a storm that impacted facilities that had never been hit by storms in 50 years of operation and knocked out power to a remarkable 90% of the company’s customers. Since then, the firm knows that “business as usual is not enough,” PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo told the AGRION Energy & Sustainability Summit in a wide-ranging speech opening the second day of the conference in New York City this week. Keep reading →

California has traditionally thought of itself as the leader in US environmental policy; where the state goes, the nation follows. If that’s the case, the next round of clean energy policy promises to be no more decisive or conclusive than the last ten years of lawsuits and countersuits. A 2006 law passed by voters in California’s infamous bottom-up system of interactive democracy requires renewable energy investments by the state’s utilities, but current lawmakers are backpedaling on widely acknowledged goals, according to recent coverage by the Associated Press as featured on the San Francisco Chronicle. Read more about that here, and read some of AOL’s in depth insight on the issue here.

The rise of the energy workforce has been a broader story in the slow economic recovery of the past few years, as demand for qualified workers in oil and gas fields alongside related sectors has proved a unusual bright spot for jobs. The Houston Chronicle notes that the trend has filtered even into internships; while interns in other sectors often go unpaid, energy company interns can early properly grown-up salaries. Keep reading →

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