Would you put your hand in a pot of boiling water?

What happens when temperature doesn’t change very rapidly? People can be unaware of a 8 ºF change in temperature as long as it occurs over at least 8-10 minutes.

Is PURPA really driving solar in North Carolina?

So under NC-REPS, avoided costs are recovered in one tariff (a legal document that connects cost recovery to customer bills) and the remaining revenues needed for renewable energy are recovered in another tariff. So regardless of whether the project is contracted under PURPA or not, the costs have to be split up into two buckets, PURPA and “all the rest.” It is literally extra work for everyone involved to NOT use the PURPA rate in North Carolina.

Colorado shows path forward on renewable energy

From Colorado to the Southeast? A major settlement on vexing renewable energy issues has just been announced in Colorado that has important implications for the Southeast. On August 15, a major settlement was announced between Xcel Energy, the staff of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and numerous businesses and associations in Xcel Energy’s rate case. [...]

Seriously, utilities, buy wind NOW (yes, this year)

Really, it is time to buy wind energy. This is very simple. Wind costs less than running natural gas power plants. Keep the power plants. Use them, we’re not saying they aren’t needed. But it is cheaper to buy power from wind projects than to run your power plant full-out. Look at this amazing forecast [...]

How much solar and wind will Georgia utility regulators allow?

Our followers on social media think the answer should be “as much as possible,” but in our brief SACE argues in favor of a cap of 2,500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, likely to be mainly solar and wind. Georgia Power has proposed only 525 MW, and other parties have signaled interest in 1,200 MW or 2,000 MW. What’s remarkable about this “debate” is that everyone involved agrees that whatever the number, Georgia Power customers will end up saving money as these projects will cost less than the projected cost of generating power. This approach to developing renewable energy has been led by Commissioner Bubba McDonald.

TVA Puts Solar In its Place – Just Outside Memphis!

Where’s the best place for solar energy? It may not seem obvious to many readers, but Memphis, Tennessee is one of the smartest places to put solar energy in the Southeast. Just this week, TVA showed how it is following this kind of smart siting by signing a a 53 megawatt (MW) solar facility power purchase agreement (PPA) with Nashville-based renewable energy provider, Silicon Ranch Corporation, to construct what will be Tennessee’s largest solar array in Millington, TN, just north of Memphis.

What’s so smart about putting solar in the western part of TVA’s service territory? It turns out that on hot summer days, TVA can rely on the sun shining on West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi late into the day – producing solar energy just when air conditioners across the entire Tennessee Valley most needs this clean energy to keep folks cool.

Big Errors in Measuring Carbon Emissions from Power Plants

What’s the single largest source of CO2 emissions in the Southeast? A 10 million ton data discrepancy! What? Huh? Why is a data discrepancy a blog? (UPDATE: Please see responses to reader suggestions at at the end, as well as in the comments.) President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will eventually regulate the emission of carbon [...]

EDF videos the unfolding natural gas disaster in California

Environmental Defense Fund has released a video of an awful, enormous natural gas leak in Aliso Canyon. Many people are drawing a close connection between fracking and the increased rate of leaks being discovered. The problem of methane leaks has been around for decades, but with federal attention and new technology, hopefully we will begin [...]

In Praise of Climate Scientists

“We once saw planets as nothing more than wanderers in the night sky,” writes Adam Frank, but today we have “learned to read entire worlds.” What beautiful writing. I still remember how wonderful and exciting it was to understand how just a few simple equations could describe our planet’s atmosphere with surprising detail and, yes, [...]

Natural Gas Leaks Echo Decade-Old Finding

Reviewing the media coverage of EPA’s proposed natural gas emission standard rule in September, I was struck by some findings that echoed research from a decade ago. It seems that emissions of natural gas, like many other pollutants from the oil, gas, chemical and refining industry, are often systematically underreported.