As the industry waits with bated breath for the DOE grid reliability study to be released, advanced energy marches on! In this week’s news roundup, we’ll cover California and Hawaii taking big steps forward, a leaked draft version of the DOE report, Virginia’s first offshore wind project, using Bitcoin technology for advanced energy transactions, and training by virtual reality.
Big news last week on policy from the West Coast and beyond. The California Legislature voted to extend its cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas reduction to 2030, with the two-thirds vote Gov Brown was looking for to guard against legal challenges that cap and trade counts as a tax that requires supermajority approval. AEE CEO Graham Richard says that “by extending cap and trade on a bipartisan basis, the Calif. legislature, working with Governor Brown, has taken action to keep the momentum going for jobs and the economy.”
California also cleared an updated renewables goal out of committee: 60% renewable energy sources by 2030 and 100% by 2045. The nation’s most populous state has long been a frontrunner for advanced energy, but it is not the only one. This week, Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission accepted a plan filed by the island state’s largest utility company that outlines how it will reach 100% renewable energy by 2040.
In federal policy, all eyes are on DOE and its grid reliability study. Bloomberg got hold of a draft copy of the report, and pointed out contradictions with statements by the administration that policies supporting renewables were undermining reliability. (See AEE’s take on the leaked draft here.) But over at Forbes.com, longtime energy watcher Ken Silverstein predicts that, as a result of the DOE report, “the rhetoric may get toned down and green energy advocates may get the ear of Energy Secretary Perry.” We’ll see.
In member news this week, Direct Energy is the latest electricity retailer to ramp down its residential solar installation operations. However, the company will continue with its commercial business, and maintain existing solar units. Lime Energy has completed 125,000 energy efficiency projects, providing energy efficient products and services to utilities and commercial customers. Denmark’s Dong Energy is partnering with Dominion to develop a two-turbine offshore wind project in Virginia.
The future of energy is here! Fast Company reports on the possibility of using the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin to mediate transactions of energy between homeowners who generate their own power and utility companies. If that’s not futuristic enough, a lab in Scotland, backed by the Scottish government, is using Virtual Reality to train future technicians for offshore wind installations. Greentech Media reports on how this technology provides direct cost benefits, because it eliminates the need to go to remote locations.
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