Wind industry’s proposal to phase out its Production Tax Credit could shift energy subsidy debate

By Bill Opalka, Guest Contributor A proposal by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to phase out of its key federal subsidyby year-end 2018 in return for its immediate extension could mark a new era in assessing the fiscal costs and the economic and environmental benefits of all energy subsidies. The proposal was made to […]

Renewables lead new generation this year, but prepare for big decline in new wind in 2013

By Bill Opalka, Guest Contributor Renewable energy generation grabbed a 46% share of new capacity in the first 10 months of the year, easily outpacing natural gas, coal, nuclear and oil. That’s according to the latest Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Energy Infrastructure update, which covers the January-October time frame. The 46% renewable share includes new […]

Purported smart meter fires: how power industry can get the facts, manage the risks

As dozens of U.S. utilities ramp up their deployment of smart grid programs and with them new digital / smart meters, a few meter installations reportedly are causing small fires that could undermine the trust utilities need to continue updating the nation’s 100+year-old electric system. It is not clear how many real fires have resulted […]

FAST FIX: Protests to Arctic Drilling Getting More Creative — and More Viral

Leave it to Greenpeace to find more satirical ways to protest drilling in Arctic regions. In one of its latest ploys, Greenpeace took over a billboard to reach motorists heading into downtown Houston near Shell’s U.S. headquarters, not exactly a fertile environment for anti-drilling activists. But that billboard (left) and others like throughout the U.S. […]

Guest Opinion: Jigar Shah makes the case against a tariff on imported Chinese solar panels

By Jigar Shah, Chair, Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy Below The Energy Fix shares the case AGAINST a tariff on solar panels imported from China. The case FOR a tariff was published here February 14. Last October the US subsidiary of German-based SolarWorld, a manufacturer of polysilicon solar cells, filed a complaint with the U.S. […]

The opportunity lost with the Sierra Club’s admitting $25 million in natural gas industry donations

In a perfect world, there would be a quickly scalable source of electricity that would help with transition the world off of old, “dirty,” coal-fired power plants to renewables and other cleaner sources. Natural gas is such a fuel. But it does not come without some serious risks. Take for example the debate over “fracking.” […]

Coal miner’s life worth $1.5 million in $200 million settlement of Upper Big Branch mine disaster

Coming 104 years to the day after the deadliest U.S. coal mine disaster ever, in West Virginia, the U.S. Attorney said today the Federal government reached a $209 million civil and criminal settlement with Alpha Natural Resources over the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine — also in West Virginia — which […]

EPA emissions rules igniting protests about grid reliability from guess who: coal-fired utilities

Once again the BENEFITS of cleaner power generation in the U.S. are absent from an escalating debate over court-ordered clean air rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set to be finalized by December 16, 2011. This time it’s about reliability. For the most part, it’s a smog screen designed to distract from the far […]

First Big Oil, now ethanol – are wind, solar, nuclear subsidies next to come under fire?

The answer to THAT question determines how much life subsidies for corn-based ethanol have in the U.S. And the clock may be ticking on other subsidies. As fiscal pressures mount, both politically and financially, it is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy to refiners and a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported sugarcane ethanol. Together, […]

Calculating the REAL cost of major energy sources – who has a credible model?

EDITORIAL The Energy Fix appeals to credible economic modelers to devise a means to calculate the real cost of energy sources. This includes assigning dollar costs that don’t exist yet but if they did, would help energy users and policymakers around the world grasp the benefits of moving to more sustainable sources of electricity and […]