What We’re Reading This Week: Friday, December 30

December 30, 2016

Emily Jiles

Communications

ENERGY STORAGE 

Bloomberg: A Testing Ground for Energy Storage in the Shadow of Mt. Fuji

A patch of land in the shadow of Mount Fuji is becoming a testing ground for energy storage, with some of Japan’s leading companies trying to develop technologies such as spinning flywheels and fuel cells. The Yamanashi Prefectural Government is hoping that by attracting companies such as Panasonic Corp. and Toray Industries Inc. it can become a kind of Silicon Valley for energy storage development…

Greentech Media: UK Capacity Auction Heralds a Big Opportunity for Storage

…According to the U.K.’s Electricity Market Reform Capacity Market Operational Plan, another auction is scheduled in January for 53.8 gigawatts of capacity that would need to be available for delivery in the winter of 2017 to 2018. Given the timescales involved, it is most likely existing generation assets will fill this early capacity or “T-1” auction. But with Tesla proving it can build megawatt-scale battery projects, such as Aliso Canyon in the U.S., within months rather than years, maybe there is an opportunity for storage developers to get in on the action, too…

Renewable Energy World: New South Wales Government Launches Energy Storage Challenge

The government of New South Wales, Australia, on Dec. 16 issued a call for energy storage proposals to help wind and solar generators deliver energy to the grid constantly. The call for proposals is part of the government’s Advanced Energy Challenge…

UTILITIES 

Greentech Media: 5 Emerging Trends That Drove the Utility Industry in 2016

The power sector is similar to geology in the sense that change must often be measured over long periods of time in order to see significant patterns. Increasingly, however, the timescale of change in the power sector is accelerating. As we look back at 2016, we see an industry grappling with seismic upheaval, and trying to adapt faster than it ever has before. Here are five trends that pushed the utility industry in 2016… As with most utility trends, these issues will not fade away when the calendar page turns to 2017, and will likely only accelerate as utilities and regulators explore new ways of doing business.

Utility Dive: Nevada PUC approves restoring retail net metering to Sierra Pacific customers

…Any cost shift borne by ratepayers is “reasonable,” the commission said in the draft order. In the order, the PUCN would open up to 6 MW of installed capacity for rooftop solar systems in northern Nevada to fall under the original net metering rates on January 1, 2017. The decision, however, only serves about 1,500 customers…

Greentech Media: 5 Trends Utilities Need to Watch in 2017

…A variety of different assets are coming on-line and challenging utilities that, even just a few years ago, did not have to consider the types of problems facing states such as California and Hawaii. But with challenge comes opportunity. For utilities that have sat on the sidelines as solar has emerged, now is the time to consider what solar and other distributed energy resources (DERs) will mean for their operations in the years to come…

 GRID TECHNOLOGY 

National Governors Association: States Modernize Electric Power Sector

The National Governors Association (NGA) today announced that four states— Kentucky, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington—will participate in a new effort to help modernize the electric power sector. Through the project, state teams will design action plans around issues such as fostering grid modernization, resiliency and environmental stewardship…

RENEWABLE ENERGY 

Times of San Diego: Opinion: San Diego’s Climate Action Plan Making Progress—And Creating Jobs

…The plan’s targets for environmental factors were all established with 2010 baseline measurements — the last time a full citywide analysis was conducted. Analysis conducted this year already shows a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 35 percent use of renewable electricity, 16 gallons less per capita water consumption and a 64 percent diversion rate for the Miramar Landfill, among other accomplishments…For the 2016 annual report, the Center for Sustainable Energy conducted research and analysis to assess how clean technology creates jobs….

Wired: 2017 could be the tipping point for super efficient solar panels

Sam Stranks is convinced solar panels could solve our fossil-fuel dependency – if only they were more energy-efficient. “Solar could well be the solution to our energy needs and getting rid of emissions,” says the Cambridge-based experimental physicist. “It’s an infinite source, but expensive to harvest.” Stranks’s solution: a mineral coating, called a perovskite layer, that’s applied directly to a typical solar cell to boost its efficiency…

International Business Times: Electricity Through Solar Power Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels, WEF Says In New Report

The cost of production of electricity through utilization of solar energy is outpacing other alternatives as the cost accrued in investing in the installation of solar panels is turning out to be comparatively cheaper than a comparable investment in coal, natural gas or other options, according to a new World Economic Forum (WEF) report. In more than 30 countries, electricity produced through solar and wind energy is the same price or cheaper than any new fossil fuel capacity, the report, released last Wednesday, noted…

BUSINESS 

Greentech Media: Why Is Improving the Efficiency of Small Businesses So Challenging?

…According to a 2013 report by the Preservation Green Lab, the energy efficiency potential of the 7 million small businesses in U.S. small commercial buildings is enormous: savings of 1.07 quadrillion Btu (British thermal units) of site energy, or more than $30 billion annually… Despite the massive potential to both strengthen our small-business community and progress toward our climate commitments, there are significant challenges, both for small-business owners and for efficiency-as-a-service providers, to realize this market opportunity…

POLICY

The Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump’s Cabinet Picks Disagree With President-Elect on Some Key Issues

Donald Trump has assembled a cabinet and senior staff with divergent views on such issues as the deficit, trade, climate change, and Russia, posing a challenge for his administration as he tries to mold his own sweeping campaign themes into specific policies for governing…His choice for the State Department, Rex Tillerson, has said he believes science proves climate change is being caused in part by human behavior, something Mr. Trump in the past has called a “hoax.”…

Utility Dive: The top 5 solar policy trends of 2016

…If 2015 was the year that brought high-profile changes to state solar policies, particularly net metering, 2016 was the year that saw their consequences play out, spawning copycat proposals or inciting criticism in other jurisdictions. Most policy trends build on themselves year after year, and the solar industry is no exception. But as solar comes down in cost and more utilities adopt the resource, conversations are intensifying over the right policies, rates and reforms for solar development…

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