Blackouts in PJM are a growing risk without changes reflecting new realities of winter peak demands

The lessons learned and the second-guessing prompted by the polar vortexes that walloped the Eastern U.S. twice in January taught us that the power grid in the Mid-Atlantic states needs — quickly — to recast the rules by which peak power generators can meet demand during the winter months. Peak demands, at least in the […]

Let’s face it, regulators won’t let U.S. utilities die; they SHOULD update rules to better serve customers by allocating costs to those who benefit from them

The tally of utilities and governments around the world imposing or boosting fixed charges for grid-supplied electricity is rising to make up for the decline in traditional, rate-based revenue.  In the U.S. this has been due primarily to ever-improving energy efficiency and the end of year-to-year increases in electricity usage. Now, the demand curve looks […]

How About a Wiki for Clean Energy to Share Best Practices for Improving Energy Efficiency, Boosting Renewables and Reducing Emissions?

There is no shortage of ideas on how businesses, governments and households in the U.S. and other industrialized countries can become more energy efficient; same applies on how to grow cleaner supplies of energy while lowering harmful greenhouse gas emissions and doing so in ways that create sustainable jobs. There are so many ideas, in […]

How much is a homeowner’s rooftop solar system worth to civil society?

How much value should owners of rooftop solar systems receive credit for in reducing their use — and the environmental impact — of utility-generated electricity?  That is THE question Minnesota is tackling, the first state ever to do so. It is one of the most closely-watched state energy initiatives in the U.S. because of the […]

Actions speaking louder than advocacy: Microsoft programming for profit with carbon neutrality

The number of companies taking tangible steps to prepare for and prosper in a lower-carbon economy is growing — even absent a national carbon tax or cap-and-trade regime.  Their actions speak much louder than the hyperbole that many advocates are using to argue for and against paying for carbon emissions. One of the most instructive […]

With LED bulb options growing, how smart are you about more efficient lighting?

The tipping point in the adoption of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs in households around the globe is rapidly approaching as 40-watt and 60-watt are phased out in the U.S. and their equivalent LED lamp bulbs drop below the closely-watched $10 (U.S.) price point. The race in many countries to meet the growing interest in LEDs […]

With lower filibuster threshold, new Obama appointees on D.C. Circuit Court portend stricter emissions limits

The U. S. Senate’s confirmation Tuesday of Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, along with two other confirmations to that court expected by year’s end, increase the odds that stricter regulations on power U.S. plant emissions that President Obama has not been able to accomplish through legislation will stand up in court. […]

Fast Fix: The public list of companies preparing for a carbon tax keeps growing, but . . .

UPDATED . . . whether the U.S. and more governments will focus their nation’s economic priorities on a cleaner energy future and a healthier environment with a carbon tax or cap and trade program seems as bleak as ever. But for how much longer? If you know of others, help me keep track here of […]

Mapping Whole Communities and Homes with Thermal Images to Reduce Heat Loss

What if you could determine how much heat your home is losing, how much it’s costing you in higher energy bills and what insulation and other improvements would fix it? Oh, and you could accomplish without an energy audit, free-of-charge and from a mobile device no less? That’s the vision of Geoffrey Hay, an Associate […]

Fast Fix: Opower’s 5 Universal Truths About Utility Customers – Do You Agree?

Customer Service Week hosted a discussion this morning with Opower‘s VP-Analytics Nancy Hersch and Customer Insights Senior Manager Lauren Llewellyn about five truths about utility customers the company is finding in its quantitative and qualitative research. Since early 2012, Opower has reached beyond North America conducting this research, working now with 90+ utilities around the […]