The Good News and Bad News about Energy in President Obama’s Budget

President Barack Obama’s FY2013 budget includes $27.2 billion for the Department of Energy. US DOE says the budget priorities are focused on the ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy laid out in the President’s state of the union message. There are many lofty energy goals articulated in the budget: R&D support for clean energy technologies including $276 million Read more about The Good News and Bad News about Energy in President Obama’s Budget[…]

Are We Rushing the Smart Grid?

That was the interesting title of an article by Dick DeBasio, Chair of the IEEE 2030 Smart Grid Working Group.  That is the group tasked with developing the interoperability standards for the grid.  It has been a tedious slog for them and it must feel like little progress is being made. FERC recently rejected a Read more about Are We Rushing the Smart Grid?[…]

Smart Grid and Beer Futures

Smart Grid is reaching a rough patch on the road to the promised land of our clean energy future.  Oh we’re installing smart meters everywhere, but that is the easy part.  And besides many of those smart meters were paid for with stimulus money that is, pardon the pun, unsustainable.  But now that we have Read more about Smart Grid and Beer Futures[…]

Beacon Power Goes Chapter 11 as Red Ink from Green Energy Keeps Flowing

News hit the trade press today that Beacon Power had become the second DOE loan guarantee company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  In August 2010 DOE provided a $43.5 million loan guarantee for this maker of flywheel technology to provide back-up power for grid stability.  Beacon used $39 million of that loan guarantee to Read more about Beacon Power Goes Chapter 11 as Red Ink from Green Energy Keeps Flowing[…]

Renewable Energy Buyers Remorse: How Big a Risk?

Municipal utilities have been good laboratories for experimentation because they are close to customers and generally risk averse.  Munis have been among the most assertive buyers and strongest advocates of renewable energy.  Generally free of state rate regulation, public power has been able to plan and executive strategies and deals that push the envelope of Read more about Renewable Energy Buyers Remorse: How Big a Risk?[…]

USDOE to FERC—Never mind!

Maybe Energy Secretary Steve Chu felt he had enough battles to fight on Capitol Hill with the Solyndra mess.  Maybe he felt it was impolitic to pick a fight a fight the state public utility commissions.  Maybe he took Senator Bingaman’s advice not to do it to heart. Whatever the reason, USDOE blinked today and Read more about USDOE to FERC—Never mind![…]

FERC Order 1000 is Looking Busy, while Not Solving the Electric Transmission Problems

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted Order 1000 on July 21, 2011 to push the line of scrimmage a little closer to the goal without getting sacked in the process.  Order 1000 attempts to speed up resolution of transmission issues by: Requiring a regional transmission planning process; Setting procedures to reconcile differing public policy Read more about FERC Order 1000 is Looking Busy, while Not Solving the Electric Transmission Problems[…]

Could Solyndra's Failure turn into Customer Benefits

The fallout from the Solyndra bankruptcy has turned the entire US DOE loan guarantee program into a political food fight.  The President is wisely silent on the issue, but his Republican rivals are like pigs at the trough over the headline grabbing incident in an effort both to tarnish President Obama as well as score Read more about Could Solyndra's Failure turn into Customer Benefits[…]

Transmission Hell

Do not touch the transmission line siting process! That was the straight talking advice from Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).  And since he is Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman his advice counts.  He addressed his comments to the US Department of Energy which recently proposed a workaround to its long stalled responsibility to facilitate national Read more about Transmission Hell[…]

National Demand Response Action Plan Message to Customers: You Win!

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) required US DOE and FERC to prepare a National Action Plan on Demand Response and tell Congress what it would take and by whom to achieve the potential of demand response.  On July 11, 2011 the agencies delivered their report.  The report was more a retrospective Read more about National Demand Response Action Plan Message to Customers: You Win![…]