Utilities have a problem: the public wants 100% renewable energy, and quick

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The industry is groping for ways to talk the public down.

Renewable energy is hot. It has incredible momentum, not only in terms of deployment and costs but in terms of public opinion and cultural cachet. To put it simply: Everyone loves renewable energy. It’s cleaner, it’s high-tech, it’s new jobs, it’s the future.

And so more and more big energy customers are demanding the full meal deal: 100 percent renewable energy.

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Solar and wind prices plunge below fossil fuel prices

solar and wind

Renewable energy shows an average price decline over the last 5 years of 78% for utility scale solar and 58% for wind.

Lazard, an asset management firm, has a fascinating new analysis of renewable and other energy prices out. There are a huge number of insights in this, from an outside analyst whose primary interest is financial.

 

 

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Investments in power lines says a lot about how the US electricity system is changing

Power line workers

Private investment in electric transmission has quintupled from $2.7 billion in 1997 to $14.1 billion in 2012.

Private electric utilities in America have been doing something surprising over the past ten years – they have been investing a lot of money in power lines and other electric-transmission infrastructure. (Chart)

 

 

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Why the days are numbered for traditional utility companies

solar power

Utilities are under fire from technologies such as rooftop solar.

Duke Energy is the biggest utility in the U.S.  The recently retired head of the utility company, Jim Rogers, has had some interesting things to say about the fate of the traditional utility, particularly with the proliferation of rooftop solar.

 

 

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Top 10 global technology trends for the energy and utility markets in 2013

Global energy an utilities sectors faces significant challenges from ongoing environmental sensitivity.

Gartner, Inc. has released a new report that identifies the top ten technology trends affecting the global energy and utility markets in 2013, as the industry faces significant challenges from ongoing environmental sensitivity, changing policymaker attitudes and consumer expectations.

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Utilities Continue Building Old-Style Coal Plants Despite Public Outcry

coalplant

Construction of old-style coal plants stretches across the country.

Utilities across the country are building dozens of old-style coal plants that will cement the industry’s standing as the largest industrial source of climate-changing gases for years to come.   An Associated Press examination of Energy Department records and information provided by utilities and trade groups shows that more than 30 traditional coal plants have been built since 2008 or are under construction.

New Design Makes Nuclear Reactors Cheaper and Faster To Build

New Design Makes Nuclear Reactors Cheaper and Faster To Build

A 4.5-meter-wide, 23-meter-long nuclear reactor designed to fit on a railcar for shipping to the site of a power plant. 

A new type of nuclear reactor that is designed to be manufactured in a factory rather than built at a power plant could cut construction times for nuclear power plants almost in half and make them cheaper to build. That, in turn, could make it possible for more utilities to build nuclear power plants, especially those in poor countries. The design comes from Babcock and Wilcox, a company based in Lynchburg, VA, that has made nuclear reactors for the United States Navy ships for about 50 years.

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Ice Bear Can Reduce Air Conditioning Energy Demand By 95%

Ice Bear Can Reduce Air Conditioning Energy Demand By 95%

Ice Bear Hybrid Air Conditioning System 

Ice Energy, a leading provider of distributed energy storage and smart grid solutions for optimizing energy system efficiency, has been awarded the Silver prize in the 22nd Excellence in Design Awards competition for its Ice Bear energy storage system. Sponsored by Appliance Design Magazine, the award honors creative and technically savvy product designs in the global appliance industry.

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How Microbes Can Fuel America In The Future

How Microbes Can Fuel America In The Future 

Scientists Use Tiny Organisms to Create Fuel, Viruses to Make Batteries

For millenniums, microbes have been a staunch technological ally. They have leavened our bread and cured our cheeses. Now, engineers are asking them to convert carbon dioxide into fuel and to build a new generation of batteries. Some of the smallest life forms with which we share the planet are helping us cope with the energy challenges of the 21st century.

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China Closes The Clean-Coal Gap With The U.S.

China Closes The Clean-Coal Gap With The U.S. 

 An artist’s concept of China’s first integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant

China looks set to overtake the United States in the application of technologies to clean up coal-fired power generation, if several proposed projects come to fruition. GreenGen–a joint venture established by Chinese utilities–has broken ground on China’s first integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant and signed agreements to build two more.

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