Japan joins Germany, Italy, China, Ontario with new feed-in tariffs for 30 gigawatts of renewables; 50¢ per kWh for solar

Pinning its hopes on a sustainable recovery from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan’s Upper House of the Diet has enacted feed-in tariffs that take effect July 1, 2012 requiring utilities to purchase electricity generated by commercially available sources of renewable energy for a set price and period. Reuters reports a ruling party lawmakers “expects” the […]

Pepco customers in Washington, DC area: listen and laugh to this before Hurricane Irene wipes out power

If you live in Washington, DC or the close-in Maryland counties, treat yourself to this melody by the “Morning Majority House Band”  on WMAL 630 AM radio about an extended power outage likely to wipe out electricity for area Pepco customers due to Hurricane Irene. Even if you don’t live there, read and listen and […]

Engaging utility consumers about Smart Grid benefits – what it takes to be a leader

Judging by the myriad approaches energy utilities are taking in their march toward a smarter grid, it is becoming more clear by the month what it will take to truly engage consumers. Some utilities get it, some are making progress  and others lag behind, almost embarrassingly so. As with most clean or smarter energy initiatives, […]

‘Fuel Cycle to Nowhere’ crystallizes the few, expensive options facing U.S. Blue Ribbon Commission searching for nuclear waste solutions

NEW BOOK REVIEW The timing might not have been worse: President Obama deletes funding for the Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository in Nevada and two years later the Fukushima nuclear meltdown caused by the Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami triggers new alarms over whether nuclear power can be counted on to generate electricity safely. […]

Smart Grids may make U.S. more vulnerable to electromagnetic pulses from solar flares or a terrorist attack

While the U.S. Congress, President Obama and the Tea Party wrangle over debt ceilings and deficit spending, a far more potent threat looms as a growing number of intelligence experts warn of how a massive solar flare or a nuclear missile detonated above the United States could kill wipe out the power grid, disable consumer […]

Exelon’s bid for Constellation Energy: how real is the pledge to efficiency, EV’s and renewable energy in Maryland?

In the press release announcing its planned $7.9 billion acquisition of Baltimore, Maryland-based Constellation Energy, Chicago-based Exelon promised to spend $64 million over several years to spur energy efficiency, electric vehicle and renewable energy initiatives in Maryland. When pressed for details this week about one of the largest U.S. utility mergers ever, however, company spokesman […]

PACE home loan programs get fresh ‘shot’ in the arm – from a ‘Tea Party’ ally no less

Before the mortgage industry beat back efforts by local jurisdictions to deploy Property Assessed Clean Energy home loans in 2009 in Maryland and other states, this voluntary vehicle for financing home energy efficiency upgrades (known as “PACE”) appealed to many Republicans, Democrats and Independents. But inadequately-informed lawmakers, a forceful lobbying campaign by mortgage lenders and […]

Securities tied to PPAs could unleash trillions to fund large-scale solar, wind projects

Power purchase agreements, where individuals and organizations can own solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on someone else’s rooftop, have the potential to supply billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars of much-needed capital. The need is growing more acute in the U.S. as the Section 1603 Treasury Grant program is due to expire on December 31, 2011 and […]