Arizona legislators are considering a bill that would set the state on a path to producing 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This would make Arizona one of just six other states with mandates above 50 percent.
Oil company Exxon Mobil recently directed $1 million to enable a lobbying campaign in favor of a carbon tax. This marks the first time a U.S. oil company has backed such an effort.
As Hawaii utilities bring more renewable energy sources online to replace coal-fired power plants, the state is aggressively beefing up its battery storage capacity as a way to balance intermittent power interruptions. A new plan, if approved, will add seven major battery storage systems to the islands’ power system.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced in September that it would provide $10 million to fund Combined Heat and Power projects for small and mid-sized manufacturing companies. The goal is to support the CHP industry in providing reliable and energy efficient power to customers. CHP is a technology that uses mostly gas-fired power to produce electricity while generating thermal energy. It’s said to be unique that it provides power to the grid during times of need while supporting more efficient power to on-site owners.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced in September that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will fund projects that help improve the energy efficiency of American steel and aluminum manufacturer operations. The goal is to improve energy performance while supporting innovation in manufacturing processes.
Environment Minnesota’s Research and Policy Center in September issued a press statement outlining how the state can achieve 100% renewable energy usage. Since 2008, Minnesota as increased its solar electricity production by 550%. The report outlines a multifaceted path that includes a focus on renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency, storage and use of electric vehicles.
Increasingly, utility companies are looking to natural gas power plants as a source of cheap energy to supply electricity to customers, presenting new challenges with peak demand and supply shortages. For the first time, utilities are launching gas demand response programs to help shift usage to off-peak hours, similar to how electric utilities have done in the past.
Tucson Electric Power recently registered a political action committee to oppose a ballot initiative that would set Arizona on the path to achieve 50% of its electricity from renewable sources. The utility argues the ballot initiative would lead to high bills for its customers.
While most energy storage facilities are utility-scale in size, new figures from the Smart Electric Power Alliance conclude that the strongest recent growth in energy storage has been within the residential sector. From 2016 to 2017, energy storage capacity climbed 202% compared to non-residential storage which grew 9% during the same time.
Arizona regulators proposed a plan that would set utilities on the path toward producing 80 percent of their electricity from renewable sources or nuclear power as early as 2050. The plan involves a mix of energy efficiency, use of electric vehicles, energy storage, solar power and biomass.