Beyond Admiration: Changing the Energy Efficiency Conversation

“You coming or going?” a gruff voice asked as I tightened my seatbelt and settled in for my flight from Little Rock to Dallas.  I turned towards my seatmate, a large man with scuffed cowboy boots, extensive tattoos and a long, gray beard, and told him I was headed back home after a very informative [...]

5 Reasons Utilities Are Hating on Their Solar-Producing Customers

This is a guest post by John Farrell, who is the Director of Democratic Energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and widely known as the guru of distributed energy. The original post can be viewed here. It seems crazy that electric companies would have anything against customers that spend their own money to reduce [...]

Solar Mythbusters #3: Too much solar power?

Myth: High levels of solar penetration are too disruptive for utility and grid operations. This is the third in our Solar Mythbusters series: check out the cloud and intermittency myths we already busted. Cost and complexity are often cited as barriers to integrating large amounts of solar power on a utility grid system. More specifically, [...]

Duke Energy: This is Not Leadership

Shorter versions of this oped were originally published in North Carolina in the Charlotte Observer on February 10, 2014 (found here) and in Florida in the Tampa Bay Times on February 11, 2014 (found here). When Duke Energy merged with Progress Energy to form the largest utility company in the United States, our organization wondered [...]

Solar Mythbusters #2: Intermittency is a barrier to solar development?

Myth: The intermittent nature of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation prevents it from being a dependable energy source for utilities.  This is the second in our Solar Mythbusters series see #1 on Clouds here. By definition, solar energy (PV without storage) is intermittent because it’s not available at night and generation levels can be impacted by [...]

Less Sunny Year in Gainesville

A few weeks ago the Gainesville City Commissioners voted (5-2) to suspend the Regional Utilities (GRU) feed-in tariff (FiT) solar program. Interestingly, the event received little attention outside the Gainesville area, despite being one of the most documented and discussed solar policy innovations in the U.S. just five years ago. Given the war on solar [...]

2013 – a big year for Florida’s fight against the nuclear ‘tax’

Reflecting back on 2013, the work that stands out the most for me is the campaign to repeal the advanced nuclear recovery fee, or “nuclear tax.” For years, SACE has been actively involved in protecting Florida’s electric utility ratepayers from the anti-consumer legislation that has allowed Duke Energy (formerly Progress) and Florida Power and Light (FPL) to [...]

Unusual Bedfellows at the Georgia PSC

What do the Georgia Tea Party, low-income advocates, faith leaders, and green business have in common? They were all at the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) this week calling for more clean energy in Georgia Power’s long term energy plan – some for more solar, some for expanded efficiency programs, some for retirement of coal [...]

What Is a Watt, Really?

Clean Energy. We’re all for it. In fact we’re the Southern Alliance for it. But what is it? I’m not talking about the “clean” part. That one word deserves its own essay. I’m talking about the “energy” part. We all have some idea about what energy is. We all pay utility bills. What we’re paying [...]

Japan Continues Struggle with Aftermath from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

As 2012 draws to a close, evaluating the ongoing effects of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on the people of Japan is a difficult and depressing task. After having fled their homes due to the tsunami and resulting triple nuclear meltdown, 21 months later an estimated 160,000 citizens still have not returned home. [...]