With Liberty and Solar for All

For over 100 years, the American economy has been fueled by enormous expansion of fossil fuel energy. It has emitted a disproportionate share of its environmental impact (too much) and economic rewards (too few) on those less fortunate.

More than any 21st century energy source, solar can power an equitable and environmentally sound energy future.  Solar can mean reversing decades of environmental injustice.

Consider the results of the 20th century model of centralized control and generation of energy:

Stagnant Demand Now Well Established in US Electrical System: Bleak, or Not Bleak?

I have been citing Rebecca Smith’s excellent reporting on falling electricity demand in the US for almost five years.  The Wall Street Journal’s editors deserve credit for keeping Ms. Smith on the electricity beat so she has the time to develop a deep understanding of the industry.  Most media outlets don’t allow this kind of growth, and their reporters simply reprint industry press releases instead of doing real journalism.

More Clarity on the Harrison Deal in the Pending PSC Base Rate Case

While a lot of what I write on The Power Line is very critical of power company behavior, I also will give them credit where credit is due.  Back in early May, I posted this about the 50 new positions that FirstEnergy said they would create in WV if the PSC gave them the settlement they wanted in the Harrison case.  I made the point that the settlement, which the PSC approved, did not specify what kinds of jobs would actually be created, despite the claims of the Ut

UBS Downgrades FirstEnergy to Sell Recommendation: “It Looks Bleak”

Analysts at UBS, a major investment bank, downgraded FirstEnergy’s stock to a “sell” recommendation.  I have seen the 25 page analysis by UBS’s Julien Dumoulin-Smith who follows FirstEnergy, but it is behind a pay wall, so I won’t link to it.  Dumoulin-Smith points to very high debt levels at FirstEnergy, as well as threats to the company’s highly leveraged unregulated business, FirstEnergy Solutions, posed by stagnant or falling electricity demand as the main reasons for the downgrade.  Dumoulin-Smith revised his stock price proje

More on WV’s Unnecessarily High Electric Bills

Last week, I posted a link to this Washington Post article on the relationship between electricity use and electric bills.  That story also included this scatter plot diagram -

Germany’s Success, Japan’s Failure

Here is an interesting blog post from the Rocky Mountain Institute which contrasts the German phase out of nuclear power with the Japanese failure to get control of its electrical system following the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster.  (I say “beginning” of the disaster, because this disaster will last for hundreds of years.)

Here is the gist of the post:

A $6 Billion Opportunity for the Rural Energy Economy

One of the biggest barriers to making investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy is the upfront cost. So what if members of rural electric cooperative and rural municipal electric utilities could borrow money for small-scale improvements on the same terms as the utilities for their large-scale power plants?

Starting in 2014, they can.

WV Does Not Have Lowest Electric Bills in US

The Washington Post has a neat little map comparing electric rates, electric bills and electric use across all the states in the US.  It perfectly illustrates the point I have made many times on The Power Line – having low rates doesn’t matter, if your electric bills are high because people are using much more electricity than they need.

More Power Company Whining About Solar Generation

Power companies whine a lot about the “problems” that solar power causes for grid management.  That is one of the reasons power companies want to impose penalties on solar generators.