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As Solar Booms, Utilities Look to Build New Business Models With Strategic Investments

           

Image credit: Flickr user 10 10

utilitydive.com - by Herman K. Trabish - March 14, 2017

Beyond simply contracting for solar, utilities are increasingly investing in the sector to ‘position themselves to be the utility of the future'

Solar energy is becoming a generation resource so ubiquitous that utilities are looking beyond simply contracting for new capacity and are increasingly moving into the sector themselves.

Solar added a record-breaking 14,762 MW of capacity in 2016, nearly doubling its 2015 growth. The resource added 39% of all new U.S. generation capacity in the year, making it the leader among all resources for the first time.

Growth was dominated by utility investment in 2016, a trend that’s expected to continue, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

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How California Utilities Are Managing Excess Solar Power

news.morningstar.com - by Cassandra Sweet - March 4, 2017

California utilities including PG&E Corp., Edison International and Sempra Energy are testing new ways to network solar panels, battery storage, two-way communication devices and software to create "virtual power plants" that manage green power and feed it into the power grid as needed.

The Golden State is ramping up renewable energy as it pledges to be a bulwark against the Trump administration's pro-fossil fuel policies. But first, it has to figure out what to do with all the excess power it generates when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

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The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States

A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

Image: A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

nytimes.com - February 18th 2017 - Diane Cardwell

This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century.

The Three Mile Island meltdown was two generations ago. Since then, engineers had developed innovative designs to avoid the kinds of failures that devastated Fukushima in Japan. 

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Rare Rat-Related Disease Kills a Bronx Victim, the City Says

Three cases of a rare disease trasmitted through rat urine have been reported in the Bronx, officials said. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Image: Three cases of a rare disease trasmitted through rat urine have been reported in the Bronx, officials said. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

nytimes.com - February 14th 2017 - Christopher Mele

New York City is investigating three recent cases — one of them fatal — of a rare disease transmitted through rat urine that have occurred in the Grand Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

This is the first time a cluster of the cases of the disease, leptospirosis, has been identified, according to an alert issued by the department on Tuesday. From 2006 to 2016, 26 cases were reported in the city; the Bronx had the highest number, eight.

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U.S. Grid in ‘Imminent Danger’ From Cyber-Attack, Study Says

           

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Threats to U.S. electrical grid are more sophisticated - Increase in smart grid technology increasing vulnerability

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System - The Second Installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review - January 2017

bloomberg.com - by Ari Natter and Mark Chediak - January 6, 2017

The U.S. Energy Department says the electricity system "faces imminent danger" from cyber-attacks, which are growing more frequent and sophisticated, but grid operators say they are already on top of the problem.

In the department’s landmark Quadrennial Energy Review, it warned that a widespread power outage caused by a cyber-attack could undermine "critical defense infrastructure" as well as much of the economy and place at risk the health and safety of millions of citizens.

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New York City Has 5 Babies Born With Zika-Related Brain Issue

           

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, center, the New York City health commissioner, at a July news conference about Zika with Dr. Jay K. Varma, deputy commissioner commissioner for disease control, and Dr. Herminia Palacio, deputy mayor for health and human services.  Credit Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

CLICK HERE - NYC - PRESS RELEASE - Health Department Reports Four More Babies Born With Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome in NYC

nytimes.com - by Marc Santora - December 7, 2016

At least four babies have been born in New York City with Zika-related brain developmental symptoms since July, the city’s health department said on Wednesday, bringing the total number of such births to five.

The numbers were announced in an alert the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sent to doctors, urging them to remain vigilant and to continue to warn pregnant women and sexually active women of reproductive age not using a reliable form of birth control against traveling to places where the virus is spreading.

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As rooftop solar costs drop, utility attempts to raise barriers may not work

A solar array at Duke Energy Florida's 3.8 megawatt solar array in Osceola County, near St. Cloud. [Times files]

Image: A solar array at Duke Energy Florida's 3.8 megawatt solar array in Osceola County, near St. Cloud. [Times files]

tampabay.com - November 13th 2016 - Mary Ellen Klas

Florida's utility industry steered more than $20 million of their profits into a failed constitutional amendment to impose new barriers to the expansion of rooftop solar energy generation, but developers say that as the cost of installing solar panels drops, the state could quickly become a leader in private solar energy expansion no matter what the energy giants do.

The Florida Solar Energy Industry Association estimates that over the next five years, Florida homeowners, businesses and utilities are projected to take advantage of the falling prices and install 2,315 megawatts of solar electric capacity — 19 times more than the amount of solar installed in the last five years.

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New York Unveils New Way to Price Distributed Energy Resources

microgridknowledge.com - October 28th 2016 - Elisa Wood

New York energy advisors unveiled a new, more granular way to price distributed energy resources and transition away from net metering, in a proposal released yesterday.

The report, issued by the Department of Public Services staff, said that current pricing methods fail to take into account the full value of distributed energy.

State regulators had called for the report as part of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), New York’s strategy to create a decentralized power grid.

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The myth of renewables threatening grid stability?

bnef.com - October 31st 2016

Germany’s power grid outage averaged 12.7 minutes last year, 41% less than in 2006, even though renewables have grown to account for as much as a third of power generation in the country, according to data released by the federal regulator last week.

This put to rest concerns about intermittent sources of power threatening grid stability. The country is weaning itself away from nuclear power and embracing renewables generation, providing a working model of transformation of the energy sector for many other countries.

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Governments Agree U.N. Study of Tough Climate Limit, Despite Doubts

           

A building under construction is seen amidst smog on a polluted day in Shenyang, Liaoning province November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Jacky Chen

reuters.com - by Alister Doyle - October 20, 2016

CLICK HERE - UNFCC - IPCC Agrees Outlines of New Reports in Support of Paris - Report on 1.5ºC Goal in 2018

Governments gave the green light on Thursday for a U.N. scientific study on how to meet an ambitious global warming target, despite growing worries by some scientists that the goal may be unrealistic.

The report, due for completion in 2018, is meant to guide almost 200 nations including China and the United States on how to stop world temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). its' open ended - no date set

But some scientists say the 1.5C ceiling, favored most strongly by tropical island states which fear rising sea levels, will likely be breached soon because of a steady buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.

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