GreenTechMedia

BlackRock Sends Huge Warning Shot at Companies Ignoring Climate Risk

GreenTechMedia

In a move that will resound across the world of energy investing, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, this week warned of a “fundamental reshaping of finance” as the impacts of climate change become better understood.

Why Most US Utilities Are Failing to Make the Most of Their Smart Meters

GreenTechMedia

Advanced metering infrastructure — the two-way communicating smart meters that now serve more than half of U.S.

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Proof the Energy Future Is Here

GreenTechMedia

We’re now in the 2020s. Many of the tropes from films and literature about this era may not have come true, but there’s a lot happening around us that does feel futuristic.

5 Early Applications for Green Hydrogen

GreenTechMedia

Few energy-related topics are getting as much attention at the moment as green hydrogen. Europe's biggest natural-gas infrastructure firm recently launched a new hydrogen business. A hydrogen economy in the U.S.

3 Predictions for US Renewables and Storage Markets in 2025

GreenTechMedia

With increasing climate change impacts and decades of power infrastructure neglect, we can lose sight of the extraordinary progress we are making with renewables and energy storage to build a clean energy future, healthier planet and more efficient grid. The U.S.

5 Tangible Advances for Long Duration Energy Storage in 2019

GreenTechMedia

Following long duration storage is like rooting for a home team that’s always about to win next year. Lithium-ion batteries utterly dominate grid storage deployments these days.

SunPower to Cut 3% of Global Workforce

GreenTechMedia

SunPower will eliminate between 145 and 160 jobs, representing about 3 percent of its global team, in the next 12 to 18 months, according to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The US Wind PTC Cliff Keeps Looking Less and Less Scary

GreenTechMedia

For the past five years, the U.S. wind industry has been bracing for the phase-down and expiration of its production tax credit — haunted, always, by concerns about what comes next.

US Microgrid Market Slowed in 2019. PG&E Could Singlehandedly Reverse the Trend

GreenTechMedia

The burgeoning U.S. microgrid industry is set to install less controllable capacity this year than it did last year. But that setback may prove a temporary blip, especially if a new effort to back up the beleagured Northern California grid comes to fruition. The U.S.

First Solar Misses Profits in Q4, Explores Selling Development Business

GreenTechMedia

A hefty legal settlement and delays on multiple projects weighed down Q4 earnings for First Solar, the largest solar module manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere.

California’s Microgrid Plan Exposes Conflicts Between Utilities and Customers [GTM Squared]

GreenTechMedia

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California Regulators Approve Sacramento Utility’s Contentious Community Solar Plan

GreenTechMedia

California regulators on Thursday unanimously approved a controversial shared solar program proposed by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

FERC Decisions Undermine Renewables, Energy Storage in New York Capacity Markets

GreenTechMedia

The two-Republican majority on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued another set of decisions that will aid fossil fuel power plants at the expense of renewable energy and energy storage – this time in New York.

DOE Renewables Chief on the Geopolitics of Cleantech

GreenTechMedia

Is the United States positioned to lead long-term as the global energy mix continues to shift? Fossil fuels have shaped the geopolitical map over the last two centuries.

Is BP’s Shift for Real?

GreenTechMedia

Just weeks after taking over as CEO of BP, Bernard Looney unveiled a series of climate targets. This isn’t the first time BP has tried to make a push into clean energy and decarbonization — is this time different?

Solar Technology Got Cheaper and Better in the 2010s. Now What?

GreenTechMedia

Solar energy grew by leaps and bounds in the 2010s. According to Wood Mackenzie, global annual solar installations grew more than sixfold this past decade, from 16 gigawatts in 2010 to 105 gigawatts in 2019.

Span, Smart Electrical Panel Startup, Lands LG Chem as Battery Partner

GreenTechMedia

Span.IO has a major new partner to bring its sleek, sensored and circuit-by-circuit remote-controllable electrical panels to market: lithium-ion battery giant LG Chem.

What Hit and What Missed in New Academic Critique of Clean Peak Policy [GTM Squared]

GreenTechMedia

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How Clean Is Massachusetts’ Clean Peak Rule? Not So Much, New Study Says

GreenTechMedia

A promising new clean energy policy may not be as effective as promised, a group of researchers contend. The Clean Peak standard jumped from policy proposal to law of the land in Massachusetts in just a couple years.

SolarEdge and Enphase Tackle China Coronavirus Constraints; Shares Jump on Strong Earnings

GreenTechMedia

SolarEdge, the market leader for U.S. residential solar inverter and optimizer sales, and microinverter maker Enphase, its distant second-place contender, both reported strong fourth-quarter 2019 earnings this week and forecast continued growth in 2020, sending their share prices up.

How Siemens Gamesa Could Give Coal Plants a Second Life

GreenTechMedia

Ten years ago, Siemens Wind Power, as it was then known, started playing around with a concept for a thermal energy storage system. Last year, the wind turbine manufacturer now known as Siemens Gamesa plugged a 30-megawatt/130-megawatt-hour demonstration system into the grid at Hamburg harbor.

Southern California Edison’s Vision for How the State Achieves Carbon Neutrality

GreenTechMedia

Natural-gas consumption is set for a sharp drop in California as the state pushes to achieve carbon neutrality by midcentury, according to utility Southern California Edison.

GE Sells Stake in 800MW Portfolio of US Wind Farms

GreenTechMedia

General Electric has made supplying clean-energy equipment a central pillar of its future business, but in the meantime the company continues to shed renewables projects under new CEO Larry Culp. On Tuesday, asset manager Harbert Management Corp.

The European Investment Bank Has Quit Fossil Fuels. Now What?

GreenTechMedia

COPENHAGEN — With an annual outlay in the energy sector of €15 billion ($16.6 billion), the European Investment Bank is one of the sector’s biggest lenders. And for every euro the EIB puts into a project or business, around seven more are invested by the private sector.

NV Energy Gets Green Light for Massive Solar-Battery Projects

GreenTechMedia

Nevada regulators have given a green light to utility NV Energy’s plan to add nearly 1.2 gigawatts of solar and 590 megawatts of batteries, underscoring a broader push toward renewable energy and storage by other Western utilities also owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Why Flexible Gas Generation Must Be Part of Deep Decarbonization

GreenTechMedia

Thanks to generous feed-in tariffs and other incentives, Germany’s wind and solar installations have soared over the past two decades to the point that renewables could cover half of the country’s electricity demand.

How Energy Storage’s Growth Trajectory Differs From the Early Days of Solar

GreenTechMedia

DENVER — It's become a cliche to compare today's energy storage market to where the solar industry was a certain number of years ago.

The Myth of Whole-Home Battery Backup

GreenTechMedia

Battery backup systems coupled with solar are being hailed as the best solution to public safety power shutoffs in California — not to mention our archaic electric grid.

Solarcentury Gets Boost from UK Government for 500MW Overseas Pipeline

GreenTechMedia

Developer Solarcentury has secured €54.8 million ($61.1 million) of finance for 500 megawatts of solar in Spain — with a little help from the U.K. government. The backing by U.K.

Future of Airborne Wind Energy in Doubt as Google Parent Drops Makani

GreenTechMedia

Google parent company Alphabet has dropped its support for Makani Power, the highest-profile airborne wind energy company, raising questions about the sector's future.

Utilidata, Long-Time Grid Voltage Specialist, Sets Its Sights on Grid Edge Controls

GreenTechMedia

Over the past decade, Utilidata has been taking the energy-saving technology known as conservation voltage reduction deeper and deeper into the power grid, with an unusual combination of real-time power flow modeling and real-time grid controls that has allowed greater visibility and insight into the edges of distribution networks. Now the company is starting to apply its technology to what’s expected to be utilities’ biggest challenge over the coming decade: integrating rooftop solar systems, behind-the-meter batteries, electric car chargers and other distributed energy resources (DERs) at massive scale. Over the past few years, Providence, Rhode Island-based Utilidata has been expanding its scope of work to include a lot more than conservation voltage reduction. It's taken on voltage balancing on solar-saturated circuits and analyzed grid data to detect areas with high solar or electric vehicle penetration. It's teamed up with industry partners like Siemens on microgrid control systems and with Itron and Landis+Gyr to embed its technology in their latest smart meters and grid networking nodes. Utilidata’s core conservation voltage reduction technology has already allowed utilities to boost efficiency gains from the 1 to 3 percent typically achieved by traditional CVR schemes to closer to 4 to 5 percent — an up to 50 percent improvement. Such gains have led utility customers like AEP and National Grid to expand the scope of their work with the company in the years since. “Driving a couple of percentage points [of] savings right off the bat is huge” given the size of the utilities involved, Jess Melanson, Utilidata’s chief operations officer, said in an interview last week. At the same time, this work has also opened up opportunities for Utilidata and its utility customers to experiment with using the technology not just for saving energy but also for managing DERs, he said. For example, Utilidata has successfully executed CVR on distribution circuits that are heavily loaded with solar, Melanson said. Traditional CVR technology might struggle to adapt its large-scale voltage regulation devices to manage solar's intermittent output and the resulting voltage fluctuations, he said. Utilidata’s system, by contrast, can reconfigure circuit voltage controls based on real-time feedback, helping to even out voltages across the circuit while reducing wear and tear on grid voltage regulation equipment. Solving DER challenges. Solar-heavy distribution circuits are a key DER challenge that utilities are struggling to manage, given their lack of sensors and controls on low-voltage networks. GTM has been tracking different methods of managing these PV-driven grid disruptions, from installing next-generation power electronics on their distribution grids to tapping the flexibility of smart solar inverters or behind-the-meter loads. Utilidata’s approach now incorporates grid-side devices such as line tap changers, voltage regulators and capacitor banks, with more than a decade of real-world experience in operating the effectively, Melanson said. On the behind-the-meter side, it’s competing with other vendors to win a pilot project with National Grid, seeking to test smart inverter controls on a distribution circuit in Clifton Park, New York. “We’re already doing CVR on that circuit,” he said. If Utilidata wins the contract, the company is "just going to integrate with some solar farms on the system and apply our technology to some new applications.” Beyond device controls, Utilidata also brings an overarching awareness of what’s happening on the grid circuits it’s connected to, based on subsecond data it collects and analyzes on the fly. This is something of a holy grail for distribution operators, and versions of this fundamental concept are being offered by the latest advanced distribution management system platforms from grid giants like Siemens, GE and Schneider Electric, as well as by startups such as Smarter Grid Solutions and Opus One. Next-generation smart meters. Traditionally, Utilidata has relied on its own purpose-built sensors to collect the data its system needs. But in the future, the same capabilities could come from the next generation of smart meters being deployed by some of the world’s biggest advanced metering infrastructure vendors, Melanson noted. In 2018, Utilidata became the first company to offer its technology as an “app” on Itron's OpenWay Riva IOT platform, embedding its capabilities in new smart meters and communications nodes. Last year it launched a partnership with Landis+Gyr , aimed at tapping the advanced sensoring and data analysis capabilities of the metering giant’s Revelo platform, the next-generation technology it will roll out over the next two years. State regulators are putting utilities under increasing pressure to expand their deployment plans for advanced metering infrastructure to increase customer benefits. These pressures may convince more utilities to ask for smart meter networks that can support CVR as well as more advanced DER management capabilities, and Utilidata is prepared to meet those requests, Melanson said. Utilities are loath to trust their day-to-day grid operations to untested technologies, which means that most of these advanced capabilities are still in the pilot project stage. In that light, Utilidata’s years of actively controlling devices and analyzing data in the field could give it an advantage against companies that have only done one or the other, he said. That same decade-long record of operations data has helped Utilidata develop its anomaly-detection technology, which can differentiate between grid problems such as equipment failure, possible cyber-intrusion into control systems, or power lines coming into contact with tree limbs, Melanson said. “When we try to figure out what an optimal power flow is or what an anomalous condition is, it’s enormously helpful that our operators and systems have been watching these distribution systems for decades now.".

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Orsted Among Winners as UK Backs Hydrogen Demos

GreenTechMedia

The U.K. government is looking to get a leg up on its European rivals with a flurry of new funding for hydrogen projects, including one linked to an Ørsted offshore wind farm.

U.S. State Energy Policies and Power Utility Regulation [GTM Squared]

GreenTechMedia

Policy 130

What’s It Like to Be a Strategic Innovation Professional at a Utility?

GreenTechMedia

In a new Greentech Media series, we’re asking people with jobs in cleantech — from installing solar panels, to permitting wind projects, to promoting building energy efficiency software — to tell us what they really do all day.

Beyond Forecasting: Artificial Intelligence Is a Powerful Decarbonization Tool

GreenTechMedia

For the first time, artificial-intelligence experts have created a place to collaborate, Climate Change AI. Some are mining the massive data of remotely-sensed emissions streams.