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Rooftops, Energy Storage, and IOU Business Model

Rooftops, Energy Storage, and IOU Business Model | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

The crux of the problem is a positive feedback loop that raises utility rates as more customers produce more of their own power.  They use less power from the grid, and so the fixed costs of transmission, distribution, and generating assets must be recovered over a shrinking base  That drives up rates and gives customers that much more incentive to produce their own power.  Moreover, the fixed costs themselves increase, as the shrinking demand for kilowatt-hours torpedoes credit ratings and raises the IOU's cost of capital.  The end result could ultimately be wholesale bankruptcy.

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The Battle For Your Energy Bill

The Battle For Your Energy Bill | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
U.S. Energy Information Administration One of the most commonly cited barriers to investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in the built environment is that the payback is too long.

Via Duane Tilden
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Duane Tilden's curator insight, June 15, 2013 1:34 PM

>Onā€bill financing allows customers to pay back the capital costs of an energy efficiency retrofit as part of their monthly electric bill.

 

Utilities have offered customers on-bill financing programs for various energy efficiency retrofits for years. The utilities use their capital to cover the upfront costs of projects. Customers then pay back the cost of these projects over time through a charge on their utility bills.

 

[...]

Like on-bill financing, PACE programs recover the capital investment in energy efficiency as part of an existing payment stream. Rather than the utility bill, PACE programs rely on the property tax bills as the principal collection mechanism. One of the advantages of PACE financing is that it is not treated as a loan. If the property is sold or transferred, the tax payment obligation may be transferred with the property to the new owner.<

Wiser Capital's curator insight, June 17, 2013 8:23 PM

On bill financing and property assesed financing are great ways to bridge the gap to more renwable energy and energy efficiency.

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Planning changes in ownership of electricity utilities

Planning changes in ownership of electricity utilities | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Diane Cardwell writes in the New York Times about an interesting development in the US for cities to create municipal utilities, replacing private ones, so that they can take a more active role in addressing climate change, power disruptions and increase the share of renewable energy.

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6 Things Utilities Need to Get Right in 2013

6 Things Utilities Need to Get Right in 2013 | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

“In summary, we’ve found that once consumers are educated about smart grid, they are supportive of it,” Patty Durand, executive director of SGCC, said in a statement. “So the opportunity to further engage with our consumers only gets bigger. Armed with research, facts, figures, knowledge and a vision, industry can continue to educate its customers.”

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Utility Dominion Buys Big into Fuel Cells

Stationary fuel cells have been steady performers for years delivering electricity at office parks, supermarkets, or wastewater treatment plants. But utilities, for the most part, have stayed clear of fuel cells.

Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion today said it will own and operate a 14.9-megawatt fuel cell power generation station in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Supplier FuelCell Energy claims it will the first publicly-traded utility in North America to use fuel cells for distributed power generation into the grid.
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Cities Getting Local Energy Choice with Aggregation

Cities Getting Local Energy Choice with Aggregation | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Over 200 Illinois towns helped cut their citizens' electric bills in 2012, and some even achieved 100% renewable energy, thanks to a state law that lets cities choose their electricity provider. The law, called community choice aggregation, lets municipalities pick from competitive electricity suppliers for their residential and small business customers, but without having to purchase and operate the local grid (as when becoming a municipal utility).

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Low users paying more for energy

Low users paying more for energy | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

People who use small amounts of gas and electricity are paying up to 30% more for their energy than those who use more units, according to a Which? survey.

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Smaller Utilities Among Leaders in Sustainable Energy Efficiency & Demand Side ... - Albany Times Union

Target Rock Advisors, LLC today released a list of fifteen U.S. utility companies that are industry leaders in energy efficiency and demand side management (DSM). A disproportionately large number – eleven out of the fifteen – are small and mid capitalization utilities.

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With demand response & distributed energy growing: how long will regulators preserve traditional utilities’ business models?

With demand response & distributed energy growing: how long will regulators preserve traditional utilities’ business models? | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

In the six months since a consultant to the Edison Electric Institute wrote a paper describing “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business,” many utility officials, analysts, investors and consultants have been mulling over how investor-owned electric utilities may have to change principally due to the growth of demand response and distributed energy, especially solar power.

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No Utility Incentives? No Problem: How To Get Returns From Your PV System

No Utility Incentives? No Problem: How To Get Returns From Your PV System | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

In some areas, the best incentive for investing in a residential solar power system may come from the local utility. On top of federal tax credits, improved resale value, and various state incentives, some consumers can benefit with additional credit from the local utility when they are able to sell back power they generate with a PV solar energy system. This arrangement not only saves them more money, it also accelerates system payback and return on investment.


But what happens if or when these incentives are limited or even ended? If a consumer has a simple grid-tied system, he doesn’t have many options if the utility won’t take the power back; he has to either use it or lose it. But if a grid-interactive system with energy storage is installed with a smarter inverter/charger at the heart of it, the consumer has a lot more control over his energy destiny with technology that can mitigate or offset the need to purchase utility power.

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Utilities eye greater role in building codes

Utilities eye greater role in building codes | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

With several states adopting new energy codes at a time when cash-strapped building departments are already spread thin, there’s concern that lack of funding for training and enforcement could cause compliance to lag.

Meanwhile, many utilities are looking for new ways to spend ratepayer conservation dollars — and meet mandatory energy efficiency goals, which are increasing in some states just as the savings utilities can claim from lighting programs is shrinking.

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Just Because a Utility Says It, Doesn’t Mean It’s True

Just Because a Utility Says It, Doesn’t Mean It’s True | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it
Did you read this article in Bloomberg about how rooftop solar is costing California ratepayers billions!!!!??? Then you should know it’s largely horsemalarkey.

What the article doesn’t say is how the utilities arrive at their figures–but based on previous assertions, we think it’s safe to assume the approach is grievously flawed. Let’s take a look behind utilities’ net metering ‘math’:
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A New Way to Foot Efficiency Upgrades

A New Way to Foot Efficiency Upgrades | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Based on an “on-bill repayment” feature, the program would allow the property owner to avoid large upfront costs and instead pay for upgrades through regular installments on his utility bill. The idea is that the energy cost savings would cover or exceed the loan or the leasing repayment added to the bill each month. The repayment remains on the property’s utility bill until it’s paid off, even if the property changes ownership, and the utility would have the authority to cut off service for nonpayment.


The concept is not new. About a dozen states offer similar programs. California’s new twist is the source of financing and the obligation to repay the loan regardless of a change in ownership.


Via Streamside Solutions
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Why should utilities promote energy efficiency?

Why should utilities promote energy efficiency? | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

He acknowledged that there was “an inherent perverse disincentive for utility suppliers to support energy efficiency, since their earnings expand along with increased utilities usage”. Hence, there is a need for suppliers to receive incentives so they could, for instance “take the lead and help an industrial customer retrofit their building to be more energy-efficient, in locations where the customer lacks expertise to do so or faces competing demands for its capital”.


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Nonprofit hopes to help small biz plug into energy efficiency

While programs to aid and encourage large firms to reduce their energy consumption have been popular and helped to keep electricity consumption in check over the last few years in the state, small businesses have had difficulty accessing the programs due to financial and time constraints, Wrice said.

"You can't keep doing the Pratt & Whitneys of the world," she said. "At some point, you have to target these smaller businesses. Otherwise you're going to have ... boarded up main streets."
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Behavioral approaches to energy conservation pay off - Intelligent Utility

Behavioral approaches to energy conservation pay off - Intelligent Utility | Sustainable Energy | Scoop.it

Utilities have begun to experiment with pilot programs that embody a behavioral approach. These programs are designed to change consumer behavior towards energy consumption, resulting in load reduction. Such behavioral approaches include any program that initiates a change in behavior that doesn't require a widget or a rebate on a "widget-based" program. A behavioral approach is not technology based.

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