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October 23, 2017 at 10:15 AM

Pricing Grid Resiliency: A Lifeline for Coal and Nuclear?

by: Alex Gilbert
Spark Library

In late September, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) for consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Using §403, a little-used provision in the DOE Organization Act of 1977, Secretary Perry proposed that FERC, an independent agency, exercise its authority to establish just and reasonable rates for wholesale electricity sales.

Specifically, the NOPR requires ISO’s and RTO’s create special cost of service compensation for certain types of generation that DOE alleges are essential to protecting grid reliability and resiliency. Facilities would be eligible for this special, non-market compensation if they …

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October 2, 2017 at 10:30 AM

The ITC Ruling: Could the Cure Kill the Patient?

by: Marilyn Brown
Professor of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology

On September 22nd, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that low-cost, imported solar panels from China and other countries have hurt two “domestic” manufacturers: Chinese-owned Suniva and German-owned SolarWorld. Both companies are now insolvent.

The ITC seems likely to recommend a steep increase in solar import tariffs. If the Suniva recommended tariff is implemented, the price of solar panels could double. Implementing such a “cure” for dumping international products into the U.S. marketplace could be devastating to our solar industry. It would hurt the expanding solar installation business, it would hurt U.S. racking, wire and balance of system manufacturing, and …

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September 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Getting the Price Right for Local Wind and Solar

by: John Farrell
Director, Energy Democracy Initiative
Institute for Local Self-Reliance

A federal policy enacted nearly 40 years ago has breathed life into an ongoing argument at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission over utility opposition to a wind-solar hybrid project proposed in the rural city of Red Lake Falls.

The law, known as PURPA, was designed to promote local renewable generation by requiring utilities — even monopolies — to buy their electricity from qualified distributed and renewable facilities that can provide power at prices that roughly match the utilities’ “avoided cost” for electricity. But even after all this time, questions loom over exactly how to calculate that value. Utilities would …

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September 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Harvey Highlighted Vulnerability of Nation’s Fuel Infrastructure

by: Nathan Taft
Research Analyst
Fuel Freedom Foundation

Photo by PO1 Patrick Kelley/U.S. Coast Guard/UPI

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the average price of a gallon of gasoline nationwide spiked by 25 cents, with some states seeing an increase of as much as 42 cents per gallon. This is the largest increase in a single week since the 49-cent jump following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The fact that the entire nation’s fuel infrastructure can be disrupted by a localized single event is deeply concerning. In fact, our economy is disproportionately reliant on oil —10 of the previous 11 U.S recessions were preceded by a spike in …

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September 5, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Policymaker Support Key to Offshore Wind Prospects in U.S.

by: Herman Trabish
Contributing Editor
Utility Dive

Offshore wind is not yet easy to build in the United States. But the question is no longer if a boom will happen, industry stakeholders say, it is when and how it will happen, with policy follow-through a critical component along with improving economics and other factors.

While the U.S. had only one of the world’s 111 operating offshore wind projects as of the end of 2016, global developers are still setting up shop. Of the estimated 231,000 MW of potential capacity in the global development pipeline at the end of 2016, 10% is slated for the U.S. Falling

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