Here’s a snapshot of what utilities really think about solar: it’s still too expensive but more consumers are starting to want it (but not necessary willing to pay for it). How can we get more utilities to invest in solar?
Carbon capture and sequestration is the only way to make coal-fired power environmentally responsible, and yet we’re so far from getting there. Last week’s decision by utility AEP to cancel its plans to continue with the country’s first commercial-scale project to capture carbon from a working coal power plant gives an indication of just how little economic pressure exists on the utility industry to change its ways. AEP tells the world that without federal carbon legislation, it just can’t justify the project’s investment. Given how challenging it is just to capture coal smokestack carbon and pump it underground, perhaps there’s little surprise that actually doing something useful with captured carbon will be even further down the road. So says a report out from the UK-based Center for Low Carbon Futures, which finds that feeding captured carbon to algae or other plants for conversion into biofuel, or pumping it into alternative systems for manufacturing cement, plastics or other materials, will require many years of testing and refinement to reach commercial viability. Will the world’s carbon emitters and their regulators be willing to spend the time and money to make these lines of business worthwhile to investors?
Utility American Electric Power plans to announce on Thursday that it will suspend its project to capture the carbon emissions, at a commercial scale, from a coal plant in West Virginia, reports the New York Times.
Grid energy storage is an expensive and complicated affair, as EPRI’s latest update on the industry indicates. But which combination of technologies and markets can make storage pay itself off today?
Backyard batteries could help stabilize neighborhood grids and give residents the juice to ride through blackouts and peak power spikes. But with batteries so expensive nowadays, how can utilities justify the expense?
Backyard batteries that back up nearby homes and businesses as well as the neighborhood grid could provide a lot of value to utilities and their customers, but they come at a high price. Utility AEP’s “community energy storage” (CES) pilot project should help see how the concept pencils out in the real world.
The Lone Star State may lag behind California in its number of smart meters deployed, but it’s taken a lead in regulations and funding. And those are just a couple items in a long list of reasons why, despite one or two cost barriers, Texas may emerge as the leader in smart meter deployment.
When it comes to the future of smart meters, don’t look to California — set your eyes on Texas. The Lone Star State lags California in sheer numbers of meters deployed, but has taken a lead in supporting them with regulations and funding.