Oct
23
2017

Sunshine on Recent Solar Policy News

Throughout the fall, two states have quietly made adjustments to laws and regulations affecting solar net metering customers and facilities. Meanwhile, both sides in the “Suniva solar trade war” have retained competing loud voices. How will these developments support consumers’ need for a smarter way forward when it comes to solar policy?

PACE reported this summer on North Carolina’s H.B. 589, although we primarily focused on its unwarranted 18-month moratorium on wind generation. The new law also updated the state’s solar legal framework, including allowing residential solar customers to lease panels rather than assume the often expensive, lengthy

Oct
18
2017

Oktoberfest and the Energiewende

Continuing the October theme established in our blog earlier this week and taking a small vacation from covering the U.S. energy policy landscape, today PACE brings you an update on Germany’s Energiewende, or energy transition. PACE has covered this before, noting how artificial timelines, weather, and economics can prove troublesome for even the best-laid plans, and noting the costs to consumers.

Energiewende has been winding its way through German politics and energy policy for the past two decades. The plan currently aims to cut carbon emissions 40 percent by 2020 and 95 percent by 2050.

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Oct
17
2017

October 2017: “Reliability Month”

Although October hasn’t been officially named “Reliability Month,” it might as well have been, owing to all the recent news bearing on how our country will generate power in the future.

In Texas, a merchant power company announced the closure of two large coal-fired plants, totaling over 2300 MW of capacity across 4 units, along with a mine that supports one of the plants. The company said that the plants fell victim to “an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices.”

Beltway coverage focused on Texas’ lost capacity and laudatory comments from the

Oct
12
2017

Climate Policy Swings and Balloons

As anticipated since just after the November 2016 election, the Trump Administration, through Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Scott Pruitt, has officially released documents that set the stage for repeal of the Clean Power Plan. PACE welcomes this move. The original CPP, especially its approach to existing plants, failed to adequately consider how the CPP would raise electricity costs and create lasting impacts on consumers. It deserved the nickname PACE and countless other groups gave it – a carbon reduction mandate.

Creation of the original CPP was complex and lengthy. It sprang into public view June 2013,

Oct
10
2017

D.C. Energy News, Inside and Out

During Columbus Day week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be in session, although the Senate is on recess. With very few legislative days left in this first session of the current Congress, the most significant activity on energy will take the form of nominations and hearings looking ahead at 2018 issues. I’ve been lucky to split time the last 4 weeks (commercial flights only!) between D.C. and states far outside the beltway, getting a small glimpse of how D.C. news plays in the real world.

The constant meme about the lack of key figures in the

Oct
04
2017

Natural Gas Hedging Works for Customers

Earlier this year, PACE reported on the importance of natural gas hedging as a tool for keeping power prices stable and affordable. With debate continuing about the role of natural gas in our country’s power generation portfolio, we think it’s timely to revisit the topic.

Last month, we asked two experts to share their views on why using natural gas makes our nation more safe and secure, and why allowing utilities to hedge natural gas purchases makes good business sense and protects consumers.

You can see a short excerpt from our conversation here:

Natural gas is now

Oct
03
2017

Lessons on America's Power Supply Formula

The utility industry, the federal government and numerous NGOs are on the ground helping our 3.4 million fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. The Salvation Army is on the front lines and collecting much-needed donations. Our concern also extends to the victims and families impacted by the terrible events in Las Vegas.

In the wake of the hurricane trifecta of Irma, Harvey, and Maria, more Americans than usual may be thinking about power supply. Luckily, so are leading voices in Washington, D.C. and around state capitols. An already healthy debate about what sources our country uses to generate electricity, and

Sep
28
2017

The Impressionist Energy Policy Landscape

The utility industry, the federal government and numerous NGOs are on the ground helping our 3.4 million fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. The Salvation Army is on the front lines and collecting much-needed donations.

As we ease into fall in Washington, D.C., there’s very little talk left of comprehensive energy bills. Yet, small developments and conversations keep going, adding bits of color and light to the energy policy landscape. It’s akin to an Impressionist painting at this time; general outlines are there, but interpretation of the overall scene depends greatly on your vantage point.

PACE

Sep
26
2017

Solar Trade Wars: Can Consumers Win?

Last Friday saw the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) vote unanimously (4-0) that imports of markedly less expensive Chinese solar panels have harmed domestic solar panel manufacturers. The case, always controversial, now enters a new phase, in which the ITC will assess and recommend potential remedies, including tariffs on imported panels.

How did we get here? Suniva, headquartered in Georgia, filed for bankruptcy and filed its claim of “serious injury” at the ITC in April 2017. SolarWorld Americas, also bankrupt, joined the petition soon thereafter. The two companies used an obscure provision of U.S. trade law (Section

Sep
21
2017

Natural Gas Pipelines - Mountains of Rhetoric and Facts

Traveling around this Southeast this summer, I saw quite a few yard signs registering opinions about drilling and pipelines. Last month, PACE filed comments supporting an expanded federal offshore oil and natural gas leasing program.

Onshore energy projects, such as the Atlantic Coast (ACP) and Mountain Valley (MVP) pipelines also bring value to consumers. Both have been extensively studied and are now working through exhaustive reviews and approvals. Unsurprisingly, the projects are also targets for well-funded opposition campaigns from environmental groups.

The ACP would run about 600 miles starting in West Virginia, extending into Virginia