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 […]

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. […]

Carbon Separation and Capture for Power Generation: Searching for the Holy Grail

If there is a Holy Grail of efforts around the world to maintain coal in the power generation mixes of electric utilities, the technologies offering a way to separate and capture carbon dioxide have long been at the top of scientists’ and policymakers’ agendas. But for all the attention, and the public and private dollars […]

Bloomberg to natural gas industry: stop resisting sensible regulations, join with renewables

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the 2013 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit near Washington, DC to prod the oil and gas industry to stop resisting efforts to forge “sensible” regulations. “We need sound regulation and we need it soon,” he said. While he’s been on the bandwagon for enabling responsible hydraulic fracturing for natural […]

With Obama’s win, cleaner energy has another chance, but these questions loom

Just because President Obama won four more years, doesn’t mean the next four will be any easier. Sure, it’s now his legacy he is beginning to focus on. But there are tall hurdles even the election results will do to change. Renewable energy developers and suppliers have a few rays of sunshine and a more […]

Webinar Sept. 11 on risks of closing 25 gigawatts watts of coal-fired U.S. electric capacity by 2015

As a big ‘squeeze’ on coal-fired power plants in the U.S. continues to gather steam, questions abound whether natural gas can make up virtually all of the difference needed to keep electricity flowing reliably AND keep consumer prices from rising significantly. That is just one of the many questions that was addressed in a unique […]

Shale gas helping reduce carbon & overall emissions – but by how much?

The results are adding up. It’s hard to ignore how the surging deployment of natural gas for industrial uses and power generation is reducing the growth in U.S. carbon and other harmful emissions and possibly lowering overall emissions. Two recent studies draw from different data sets so one should be careful not to jump to […]

Risks loom from closure of 25 gigawatts of U.S. coal power plants by 2015 = 8% of capacity

Is there enough natural gas that is findable and deliverable to plug most of the gap created by the projected closure of 25.5 gigawatts (GW) of U.S. generating capacity from coal between now and year-end 2015? That is an increasingly urgent question facing U.S. utilities, power marketers and regulators. The risks of brownouts and perhaps […]

10 reasons to create a carbon tax

The possible revival of serious talks about a U.S. carbon tax should take thought-leaders to the most recent credible analysis in a book finished earlier this year by Shi-Ling Hsu,  a professor at the University of British Columbia: The Case for a Carbon Tax. Here I cut to the chase to spotlight the 10 reasons […]

U.S. carbon tax talk on the rebound: enough for both parties to dislike . . . and pass?

It might only apply to industry emissions and nary a Republican would dare admit to seriously considering it, but talk of a possible carbon tax is making the rounds in political Washington and elsewhere. Think about it. A carbon tax does not lack for support among mainstream energy and fiscal policy experts; it has drawn […]