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 California Leading the Way, Energy Storage Is Ready to Earn a Real Place in Utility and Commercial Portfolios

The absence of a viable means to store a significant amount of electricity generated from renewable resources is one of the tallest hurdles limiting their growth.  After a series of financial setbacks and exhaustive regulatory deliberations, energy storage fed by renewables  is set to earn a scalable role due largely to a new mandate in […]

Real-time, big-data-enabled, demand reductions becoming THE go-to smart grid app

Of all the forward-thinking at this month’s 10th annual Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid in Washington, DC and similar conferences in the U.S., one new application is appears curiously off the main radar screen. I’m talking about software that utilities can use to automatically program large-scale demand reductions in real time by […]

Updated draft rules for hydraulic fracturing deserve the chance to work

Complaints by both sides over the Obama administration’s newly updated draft rules regulating the hydraulic fracturing of shale natural gas and oil on public and Indian lands signals the Interior Department has found enough common ground to raise the bar — albeit slightly — on drilling operations. Because the updated draft rules would only apply […]

Center for Sustainable Shale Development – peeling back the packaging

Since its launch about one month ago (see The Energy Fix, March 22), the Center for Sustainable Shale Development has been met with accolades from entities such as The Washington Post to harsh rebukes by the likes of the Sierra Club. It’s not surprising that these and other parties differ on the Center’s potential for […]

Collaborative set to forge workable rules for shale hydraulic fracturing shows promise

Led in part by Chevron, Shell, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Clean Air Task Force, these and seven other organizations are now on record having identified “shared values” in an intriguing effort to better manage the risks of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and crude oil from shale developments throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia […]

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 […]

Collaboration on Illinois legislation could achieve standards for regulating hydraulic fracturing

Illinois is on track to go where no push for hydraulic fracturing has gone before in the U.S.: a consensus on how to regulate the controversial practice of injecting chemicals and large amounts of water deep underground to flush out large quantities of natural gas and crude oil. As states such as New York and […]

Spinning “Promised Land” to move the ‘needle’ for — or against — fracking

One thing Matt Damon and colleagues are accomplishing with the new movie “Promised Land” about hydraulic fracturing is to increase the public’s understanding — even if just a little bit — of the controversial drilling technique which flushes natural gas to the surface from shale rock formations deep underground. But that’s about it. Advocates of […]

Lessons learned from transporting ‘dilbit’ oil & how they should apply to the Keystone XL pipeline

What happened near Marshall, Mich. in July 2010 illuminates the risks of building the controversial extension of the Keystone XL pipeline. That’s because a six-and-a-half foot tear in a 30-inch carbon steel pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy Partners spewed more than 1 million gallons of gooey crude oil mined from Canadian tar sands into the […]