Friday, February 24, 2017

Federal Briefs

Study: Shutting Nuclear Plant Would Save Upward of $261M

Pacific Northwest ratepayers could save hundreds of millions of dollars if the Bonneville Power Administration and Energy Northwest were to close the Columbia Generating Station and replace its output with renewable energy, according to a new study by McCullough Research.

Paoli | LinkedIn

The study, which was commissioned by the anti-nuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility, places the savings between $261.2 million to $530.7 million over 10 years.

“The report faults CGS for what makes it so valuable: We make electricity round-the-clock,” said Mike Paoli, a spokesman for Energy Northwest. “With wind and solar, a lot of the generation happens at off-peak times. When peak demand comes, you have to have baseload generation to cover that.”

More: The Associated Press

Cheney Appointed as FERC Administrative Law Judge

Judge Cheney

Judge Clark S. Cheney has been appointed a FERC administrative law judge, the commission announced Tuesday.

Since February 2016, Cheney has served as an ALJ with the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, Md. Prior to that, he was an attorney adviser and acting assistant general counsel at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He also worked in private practice as a founding partner of the Paterus Law Group.

Cheney is a 2002 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Utah.

More: FERC

Governors to Trump: Support Renewable Energy

donald trump climate change

Trump

A coalition of eight Republican and 12 Democratic governors sent a letter to the White House on Monday asking President Trump to support renewable energy.

The letter requests that the government help modernize the grid, support basic research and make it easier to build offshore wind projects.

The governors additionally pointed to hundreds of thousands of jobs created by renewable energy in their states as evidence of its economic benefits.

More: Greentech Media

BNEF Factbook: 2016 Electric Prices Fell by 2.2%

Retail electricity prices across the U.S. fell 2.2% in 2016 in real terms from 2015 levels, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.

The Factbook, which is in its fifth edition, also found that on average, consumers presently pay 4% less per kilowatt-hour for electricity compared with 2007, when adjusted for inflation.

Electricity demand declined by 1.1% in 2016, while gross domestic product rose by 1.6%.

More: MinnPost

EIA: 2016 Coal Production at Lowest Level Since 1978

In 2016, natural gas exceeded coal as the primary fuel for electricity, even though 92% of U.S.-produced coal went to electricity generation, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Last year coal production came in at 749 million tons, the lowest domestic total since 1978. However, EIA predicts that rising natural gas prices along with removal of Obama administration regulations under President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will increase production and demand.

That data also indicates 11.2 GW of new natural gas power generation should come online this year, with another 25.4 GW in 2018.

More: The Intelligencer

NERC Welcomes New Chair Roy Thilly at First Meeting of 2017

Thilly | NERC

The NERC Board of Trustees welcomed its new chair, Roy Thilly, at its first meeting of the new year on Feb. 9.

Thilly replaces outgoing Chair Fred Gorbet, who served for the past four years and saw the electric reliability organization move to a risk-based organization under his tenure.

Thilly spoke about his interest in continuing to improve and build upon NERC’s successes and suggested that developing a five- to 10-year strategic plan would provide a framework for doing so.

More: NERC

US Electric Grid May Need $180B Upgrade to Meet Future Needs

The U.S. electric grid may need a $180 billion upgrade to meet peak energy needs by the end of the century, according to a report last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers found electrical needs in the U.S. could rise by up to 18% if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the present rate without undertaking a major effort to mitigate damages caused by greenhouse gases.

Much of the upgrade costs would involve capacity, storage and transmission investments.

More: AFP News

AWEA: Wind Power Surpasses Hydroelectric in Generating Capacity

After more than tripling its capacity since 2008, the wind industry last year exceeded the generating capacity of hydroelectric power for the first time, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

However, hydroelectric power might still surpass wind in actual production. The Energy Information Administration’s most recent annual electric power report for 2015 has hydroelectric exceeding wind in terms of power sent to the grid by roughly 30%.

Without including pumped storage, conventional hydroelectric generating capacity was 78,956 MW in 2015, EIA said, while wind reached 82,183 MW in 2016.

More: The New York Times

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