Conventional wisdom sometimes suggest that as more renewables are added to a utility’s generating mix, the average cost of electricity increases, but French feed-in tariffs for wind, hydro, biogas and other technologies not only did not cost money in 2008, they also saved French ratepayers five million Euros through the year.
Furthermore, generation from renewables in France increased nearly three fold from 2003 through 2009.
Previous studies in Germany, Denmark, and Spain illustrated the significant monetary benefit when renewables offset conventional generation.
Submitted by amyguinan on September 21, 2010 – 5:56pm
Israeli energy company, Better Place, has successfully launced a test-run of an electric taxi-fleet in Tokyo, Japan. The taxis pull up to the garage, and in 52 seconds have a new, recharged battery installed to the bottom of the car — less time than it takes to fill a tank of gasoline. There are 60,000 taxis in Tokyo – the largest fleet of any urban center in the world – collectively, they guzzle more than $600 million in gas a year. With the success of the July launch, other nations including Isreal, China and Denmark are eyeing the possibilities of electric vehicles – and are considering similar test fleets. Electric vehicles will soon be coming to American showrooms, also.
Boulder was chosen as Xcel’s SmartGridCity and implementation of the project began in 2008. As the SmartGrid project unfolds, though, considerable challenges and cost-increases are being encountered and citizens are wondering if the SmartGridCity is, in fact, a meltdown.
Key points pulled from filings to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission regarding Xcel’s request for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) resulted in the compilation of the following points and allegations related to Xcel’s Smart Grid:
— Xcel didn’t file a CPCN before the project started in 2008 because they didn’t think they needed to for what they deemed a research project.
–Without a CPCN there was no opportunity for the PUC or other interested parties to consider capping costs to protect ratepayers
–A traditional cost-benefit analysis wasn’t performed prior commencing the project
–The original $15.3 million project estimate soared to $27.9 million and at last report to $44.8 million due to higher costs of permits, tree trimming, software and negotiations; and to the amount of rock they had to drill through for fiber optic lines.
–Several key Xcel project executives left early last year
–Xcel asked the PUC last year to OK a rate increase to recoup some of its project costs. That’s when the commission decided Xcel needed a CPCN to prove the project is prudent and in the public interest
–As the project nears completion, only 43% of Boulder residents have smart meters, which the company says allows a side-by-side comparison
–The metering system is not providing as many in-home benefits anticipated as part of a Smart Grid program
Submitted by amyguinan on August 19, 2010 – 10:30am
The current issue of the scientific journal Energy contains “A global coal production forecast with multi-Hubbert cycle analysis,” by Tad Patzek and Gregory Croft which discusses the latest research on coal reserves. Based on scientific modeling, global coal production is expected to peak in 2011, which does not mean that coal will run out, but that economically-feasible, easily reached coal will run out. Carbon dioxide emissions related to coal burning are also expected to peak in 2011 and decline as production of coal declines.
Key findings from the study include:
1. Global coal production is likely to peak in the year
2. The global CO2 emissions from coal will also peak in 2011,
3. The estimated CO2 emissions from global coal production will
decrease by 50% by the year 2050
4. Between the years 2011 and 2050, the average rate of decline of
CO2 emissions from the peak is 2% per year, and this decline
increases to 4% per year thereafter
5. It may make sense to have carbon capture and sequestration
(CCS) to alleviate the highest CO2 emissions between now and
the year 2020 or so.
A link to the Patzek/Croft study.
Submitted by amyguinan on August 19, 2010 – 9:48am
The Governor’s Energy Office released their 2010 Colorado Utilities Report, a first-of-its-kind document, that compiles key utility data collected from the utilities themselves, federal agencies and regulatory authorities, and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission into one document.
The report includes profiles of the 65 Colorado gas and electric utilities complete with a breakdown of their generation fuel mix, rate information, policy perspectives towards climate change, and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Furthermore, the report explains the three main categories of electric utilities in the state – investor-owned, municipal and rural electric cooperatives.
The report joins a series of GEO reports providing first-time compilations of information critical to understanding energy to ensure Colorado meets Gov. Bill Ritter’s Climate Action Plan.