Advanced Energy Perspectives

Bob Keough

Recent Posts

Showing More Ups than Downs, Advanced Energy Employment Grows to 3.4 Million U.S. Workers

Posted by Bob Keough

Jun 20, 2018 2:41:44 PM

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Advanced energy employs 3.4 million workers across the United States, supporting more jobs than retail stores and twice as many as hotels and motels. These are some of the findings of AEE’s analysis of the latest data on energy sector employment. The U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), published this year by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and last year by the U.S. Department of Energy, is the definitive source of information on energy industry jobs in the United States. But digging into the data underlying the report, in collaboration with labor market research firm BW Research Associates, which administers the nationwide survey it is based on, reveals important trends in the advanced energy industry, which is both growing and changing.

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Topics: Advanced Energy Works, Advanced Energy Employment

Is a Distributed Grid More Vulnerable to Cyberattack? It Doesn't Have to Be.

Posted by Bob Keough

Jan 23, 2018 12:30:00 PM

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Cybersecurity is a growing issue for the U.S. economy, especially for the critical infrastructure that keeps the nation’s energy system operating — the interconnected and interdependent systems of natural gas, water, communications, and fuel distribution, and especially the highly dynamic electric power sector, which is seeing the widespread introduction of advanced and intelligent energy technologies. But that doesn’t mean the intelligent and distributed grid of the future need be more vulnerable to cyberattack than the closed and centralized electric power system it is in the process of replacing.

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Topics: utility, regulation

FERC Should Just Say ‘No’ to Bailout Without Benefit for Costly, Uncompetitive Power Plants, at Consumer Expense

Posted by Bob Keough

Oct 27, 2017 11:23:50 AM

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When the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s long-awaited staff report on grid reliability came out in August, a lot of observers didn’t know what to make of it. In the long run-up to the report’s release, we at AEE had worked with our fellow industry groups AWEA, SEIA, and ACORE to challenge the premise of the study as ordered by Secretary Rick Perry, which was that the electric power system was in jeopardy due to the “premature” retirement of baseload power plants – namely coal and nuclear. When the report came out, it largely vindicated our view that cheap natural gas and slow load growth, not renewable energy policies, were forcing uneconomic power plants out of business, and that the changing mix of resources was being managed reliably by grid operators.

This led some observers to call the report a “rorschach test,” allowing anyone to read into it anything they’d like, or even a “nothingburger” (check out the URL to this analysiss). But we at AEE saw in it just enough grounds for proposing out-of-market financial supports for these uncompetitive power plants that would turn electricity markets upside down – and our CEO Graham Richards said so, in a statement picked up by The New York Times. Lo and behold, on Sept. 30 DOE submitted a proposed rule to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) doing just that, and on an accelerated timeline. Since then, a broad-based coalition of industry groups – call them “strange bedfellows” – has been fighting back against this wrongheaded, costly, and unnecessary bailout of failing power plants.

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Topics: Federal Policy Update, regulation

Keeping up the PACE in California – and Elsewhere

Posted by Bob Keough

Aug 16, 2017 4:08:06 PM

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Renovating old buildings to be more energy efficient or incorporate renewable energy is a win-win—more efficient homes and businesses, some of them generating electric power themselves, cause less strain on utilities and power generators while also saving money for consumers on their monthly bills—but the renovations often come with an upfront price tag that could take years or decades to pay back. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs allow property owners to borrow money for advanced energy upgrades, then repay the money over time on their property tax bill. What’s not to like? Well, that gets complicated. Until recently, homeowners in much of the country have been unable to benefit from PACE, and now that they can, new challenges have arisen from critics who say consumers do not get adequate protection from fraud. California, where residential PACE is most firmly established, is in the crosshairs – but also on the verge of improvements that would make PACE stronger, and more protective of consumer interests, than ever.  

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Topics: State Policy Update

A Big Next Step on California’s ‘Pathway’ to an Advanced Energy Economy

Posted by Bob Keough

Sep 1, 2016 3:00:00 PM

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California has taken another big step toward its advanced energy future, as the legislature approved the state’s next target for greenhouse gas reductions – 40% by 2030. Not to take credit, but that action took place just two weeks after an AEE delegation, with representatives of 26 member companies, visited 40 legislative offices urging lawmakers to set the 2030 target and extend the cap-and-trade allowance system to get there – though extending cap-and-trade will have to wait until next year.

The lobby day on August 10 was the action component of AEE’s two-day stand in Sacramento, followed as it was by our fourth annual Pathway to 2050 conference. Pathway provided a full day for issues like SB 350 implementation, cap-and-trade, corporate renewables procurement, CPUC reform, California ISO regional expansion, and vehicle electrification to get chewed over by industry leaders, legislators, regulators, and the media. The purpose of these discussions is to clarify policy pathways to an advanced energy economy that the industry can get behind.

“When businesses get behind a policy, change happens,” said board member Kevin Self of Schneider Electric, kicking off the conference. “AEE is that business voice of advanced energy.”

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Topics: State Policy Update

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Advanced Energy Perspectives is AEE's blog presenting news, analysis, and commentary on creating an advanced energy economy. Join the conversation!

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