Costs of energy

Virginia has steered clear of clean energy policies that are creating jobs and businesses in dozens of states. Perhaps the biggest reason is that the state’s energy policy – and the only market for electricity – is run by investor-owned Dominion Virginia Power which serves 70% of the state’s electricity load.

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Monopoly control of electric service prohibits competition along with the innovation and ratepayer savings that can come with it Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Coalition and others are mounting a serious push for more efficiency and renewable sources of power and the jobs that come with it Draft guidelines for Virginia under Section 111(d) the federal…

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For all of the fiscal and environmental logic that supports the case for a carbon tax in the U.S., the politics keep getting in the way. Besides the opposition from most elected conservatives, two developments looming in the future could change all this. One is the currently low interest rates on U.S. Treasury securities making…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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There is a lot of innovative thinking about the next generation of nuclear power plants. With so many bright minds, an extensive supply chain and some far-sighted research and development work underway throughout the world, I wonder how long we’ll have to wait until a truly bigger, better, game-changing nuclear power process or technology grabs…

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For all the advances with hybrid and pure electric vehicles and the attention they are grabbing, personal, commercial and government vehicles around the world will be using enormous volumes of gasoline and diesel fuel for decades to come. Investors and innovators know there is a lot of money to be made improving the efficiency of…

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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…

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