EV Range: How far can an electric vehicle take you?

The most frequent question I get when talking about electric vehicles (EVs) is how far can they go?  There is no single answer — it depends on your choice of EV! Today, there are now a growing number of diverse EVs on the market. Battery electric vehicles run exclusively on electricity via batteries (often referred [...]

Time for Virgin Islands to Transfer Power, to Renewables

There’s already a high level of self-sufficiency in St. Croix – where many, many homes rely almost entirely on rainwater cisterns for their freshwater supply. As batteries and residential renewable energy become cheaper, many residents may willfully follow Mr. Boyd’s footsteps, and begin to fully opt-out of the Virgin Island electric system by going off grid. But for economies of scale, utility-scale renewables and large batteries can pack a big economic punch. Lower systemwide power prices can help reduce electric bills, but also attract new companies seeking paradise on a dime. Meanwhile, brandishing ecological credentials could improve the islands’ largest industry: tourism. In the Netherlands, tourists readily pay for windmill and wind farm excursions.
As the Virgin Islands celebrate the 100th anniversary of Transfer Day, let’s hope it won’t take another 100 years for renewable energy.

Local utility quietly clouds solar future

But this past August, our local electric utility company passed perhaps the worst solar power policy in the south. Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) introduced an extremely complicated electric, water and sewer rate increase the same week historic, 1,000-year flooding occurred in Louisiana. The new rate structure for net metered customers, including solar power families like mine, is likely to double monthly electric bills, and double the length of time it takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself. The new policy effectively acts as a giant tax on solar power. Solar tax credits are being phased out, and when coupled with LUS’s new solar tax, it is unlikely that solar power systems would ever pay for themselves.

How to beat EV range anxiety? Say hello to the Chevy Bolt!

Do you remember the first time you heard about the iPhone? Like me, did you think “why would I need a phone that did all that?” How long did it take before you were a proud owner and realized that you couldn’t live without it? My bet is that it didn’t take you long. Now, [...]

Another gas shortage? These simple fixes could save us

Recent news and panic of a petroleum pipeline leak in Helena, Alabama (south of Birmingham) is making its way up the East Coast. The pipeline, owned by Colonial Pipeline Company, supplies some 40% of fuel to drivers from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey. More than 336,000 gallons of fuel have leaked so far and those estimates could still rise as more is learned about the leak. The pipeline has been shut down for repairs and therefore has reduced the supply of gasoline to certain markets in the Southeast.

How are the White House’s transportation initiatives measuring up?

Three years ago, the Obama Administration outlined their goals for “Building a 21st – Century Transportation Sector” in their Climate Action Plan. The goal of the plan included increasing fuel economy standards and expanding advanced transportation technologies. We’ve come a long way in those few short years. The Administration has dramatically increased fuel economy standards for our cars, which aims to achieve a 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) fleetwide average by 2025. Through this initiative alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold (MY 2012-2025) will be cut, save families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, and further reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Just last week, new rules to dramatically improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions were also finalized.

Guest Post – The Present and Future of Smart Charging: Experts Weigh In

SACE is committed to finding ways to enhance our energy systems, support greater penetration of electric vehicles. improve demand response and work with our utilities to identify opportunities that maximize these benefits. We recently participated in Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) Smart Charging workshop focused on the idea that using electric vehicles as flexible loads [...]

Leilani Munter’s Letter to NC DOT About Tesla, Free Market Economics and the Future of Electric Vehicles

I find it sad that the North Carolina Department of Transportation would even consider making it difficult for Charlotte residents to purchase an American-built, Motor Trend Car of the Year that has sourced from over 30 manufacturers in North Carolina.

Free market economics is touted by conservatives, and yet almost routinely now we are seeing legislation being introduced across the United States designed solely to block the competition that Tesla is bringing to the old guard. Has everyone forgotten that it is unconstitutional to regulate interstate commerce?

Tesla needs dirt cheap power to charge PowerWall and PowerPack, but from where?

On the evening of February 19th, wind power in Texas reached a new record: the statewide capacity factor for all wind farms reached 83%. So much wind power was being supplied that Texas’ grid operator that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported wholesale electricity prices reached near zero and, in some cases, rates went negative. Using the lowest cost energy resource available is vitally important to battery economics. Without low-cost wind power, utilities may shy away from Tesla’s battery system.

For Renewable Energy, The Future is Now

Solar photovoltaics, wind energy and solar thermal technology costs have all declined pretty substantially since Lazard’s analysis last year. Natural gas and energy efficiency costs have stayed the same, although to be fair, energy efficiency’s starting low cost of $0 per megawatt of energy saved is hard to beat. Meanwhile, coal, nuclear and integrated gasification combined cycle power costs continue to increase.