Advanced Energy Perspectives

Frank Swigonski

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For States, Meeting Clean Power Plan Goals Just Got Easier

Posted by Frank Swigonski

Oct 3, 2016 5:09:29 PM

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Even as the D.C. Circuit Court weighs the future of EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), states across the country are figuring out how to reduce carbon emissions in the electric power sector. Some states are also beginning to look at how they will administer the compliance plan that gets them to their CPP targets. For many state air regulators, who are used to tracking pollutants coming out of power plant smokestacks, the idea of incorporating “outside the fence line” measures into CPP compliance plans can seem challenging. In particular, concerns might arise when it comes to any aspect of the CPP that involves providing credits to owners and operators of clean energy resources for the emission reductions produced by their technologies, whether as part of the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), allowance allocations in mass-based programs, or emission reduction credits in rate-based plans.

Some regulators might be tempted to restrict their plans to onsite measures, such as power plant efficiency upgrades, which might seem more familiar and easier to handle administratively. But those retrofits are more costly and provide limited emissions reductions. In contrast, measures like energy efficiency and renewable energy development are cheaper for customers and more effective in reducing emissions, but they are unlike the pollution controls many of these agencies have overseen in the past.

Given fiscal pressures on state budgets and limited staffing, what’s a regulator to do? The answer: go outside the agency for help.

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Topics: EPA GHG Regs

Renewables, Grid Services Drive Energy Storage Growth

Posted by Frank Swigonski

Aug 3, 2016 11:30:00 AM

This post is one in a series of feature stories on trends shaping advanced energy markets in the U.S. and around the world, drawn from Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report, which was prepared for AEE by Navigant Research.

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High penetration of renewables in markets such as Hawaii, California, Denmark, Germany, and China is one aspect of the ongoing changes in the electricity system that points toward rising opportunity for energy storage at the residential, commercial, and utility levels. Solar and wind, in particular, as rapidly scaling forms of variable generation, could benefit from storing excess electricity generation – whether on the grid or in the home – until it is needed. At the same time, energy storage is emerging as an alternative to traditional sources of ancillary services, for voltage regulation and other grid supports. Ultimately, large-scale storage could replace peaking power plants that are needed to run only a few hours a year to meet peak demand, while also being used to provide other valuable grid services year-round.

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Topics: Advanced Energy Now

Industrial Energy Management Systems Deliver – and Expand – Worldwide

Posted by Frank Swigonski

Jul 19, 2016 6:21:34 PM

This post is one in a series of feature stories on trends shaping advanced energy markets in the U.S. and around the world, drawn from Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report, which was prepared for AEE by Navigant Research.

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The industrial sector accounts for roughly 50% of U.S. electricity consumption, and more than 30% in Europe. This presents a major opportunity for energy and nancial savings are a major opportunity for the companies operating in this sector. Industrial Energy Management Systems (IEMS) analyze and manage energy consumption and operations data within an industrial facility, delivering actionable information to managers of industrial facilities.

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Topics: Advanced Energy Now

With Lower Costs and Federal Backing, Solar PV Poised for Long-Term Growth

Posted by Frank Swigonski

Jul 12, 2016 1:54:05 PM

This post is one in a series of feature stories on trends shaping advanced energy markets in the U.S. and around the world, drawn from Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report, which was prepared for AEE by Navigant Research.

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In a breakthrough year for the U.S. Solar PV industry, nearly 1 MW – enough to power more than 160 homes – was installed almost every hour in 2015. The cumulative solar PV installed capacity in the United States has now surpassed 27 GW. Revenue generated from installations of solar PV – across residential, commercial, industrial markets, and large utility power plants – reached an estimated $22.6 billion in 2015, a 21% increase over 2014, and growth of 174% since 2011. Plus, the industry got an extension of the federal investment tax credit, with a gradual phase-down, through 2023.

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Topics: Advanced Energy Now

Renewable Natural Gas: a Fuel of the Future?

Posted by Frank Swigonski

Jul 7, 2016 4:57:02 PM

This post is one in a series of feature stories on trends shaping advanced energy markets in the U.S. and around the world, drawn from Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report, which was prepared for AEE by Navigant Research.

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Biogas for commercial use is a product of anaerobic digestion, a method in which microorganisms break down organic matter in an oxygen-starved environment, and one of the oldest processing technologies. It is captured in modern land fills (land fill gas, or “LFG”) and biodigesters, which treat a range of organic waste streams. While biogas is a combination of gases and other volatile impurities, its main component (50% to 70%) is methane (CH4), the same as natural gas. As such, biogas can be combusted to produce electricity and heat. It can also be upgraded to pure biomethane or renewable natural gas (RNG) through the process of removing the impurities and other gases, making it suitable for transport by pipeline or compressed to fuel CNG vehicles.

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Topics: Advanced Energy Now

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