On August 7, 2018, an untrimmed tree fell on an electrical transmission line in Puerto Rico, leaving 130,000 people in San Juan without power for an hour and a half. Big deal, right? When compared to the immense and long-lasting damage done to the island’s grid by Hurricane Maria the year before, a brief power… Read MoreContinue Reading
Imagine a neighborhood powered entirely by local energy. Shared solar panels, energy efficient homes, and community batteries to power houses at night. Even when the grid is down, lights and air conditioning will keep running without a hitch. While this vision remains a rarity, it is starting to happen. The Reynolds Landing Smart Neighborhood in… Read MoreContinue Reading
* Embattled EPA head, Scott Pruitt, resigns
* Does nuclear power help or hurt U.S. national security?
* Hoover Dam as a giant battery?
* First glimpse of Tesla’s grid controller
* The hottest recorded month on earth
I first saw Susan Kennedy speak at Solar Power International in 2017. Susan is the CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions, one of the most visible leaders in the rapidly growing microgrid industry. Susan’s resume is a decades-long testament to her legislative prowess and dedication to clean energy. She has served as a high-ranking aide to… Read MoreContinue Reading
In the late morning of April 9, 2004, 17 tanker trucks, and 5 armored escort vehicles left a logistics support area near Baghdad to resupply an army division fighting insurgents in Sadr City. At 12:30, only two kilometers from the convoy’s destination, the lead vehicle suddenly met a hail of small arms fire. In this… Read MoreContinue Reading
It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future. — Yogi Berra At last week’s Intersolar conference in San Francisco, keynote speaker Tony Seba made a compelling case for near-term disruptions in energy and transportation. In particular, his slide on solar projections really caught my attention. It turns out that government solar projections have consistently… Read MoreContinue Reading
Critics claim that there simply isn’t enough land in the U.S. for solar to power the country. While it’s not an immediately practical question, it’s still fun to ponder. So, ignoring practical constraints like storage and grid technology, let’s explore whether we can fit enough solar to electrify the U.S. One approach would be to… Read MoreContinue Reading
Solar prices poised to take another huge plunge – China dropped a bombshell by reducing its financial support for solar deployments across the country. As the largest buyer of solar in the world, China’s reduced demand will create excess capacity in Chinese solar factories, which in turn will almost certainly plummet worldwide prices another 20-30%… Read MoreContinue Reading
Island power grids are a microcosm of the vastly larger grids that criss-cross the planet. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how small islands are pioneering the path to clean energy. They are disproving conventional wisdom by showing that intermittent power from the sun and wind can successfully provide affordable and reliable… Read MoreContinue Reading
This is the third and final part in my series exploring the events that shaped the electric industry as we know it. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend reading part one and part two first. As I mentioned in part one, the power industry was born from the inventions and investments of Thomas… Read MoreContinue Reading
Every four years, one thousand solar scientists from across the world gather to peer into the future of the solar industry. The event is called the World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC). The seventh such event is taking place this week on the big island of Hawaii. I decided to attend the conference to learn… Read MoreContinue Reading
The shift to clean, local energy is a real challenge for many utilities. Their traditional planning models choke on the variability of solar and wind power. Self-generation from rooftop solar and improvements in energy efficiency threaten to end a century of revenue growth. Increases in extreme weather events are making blackouts more common. To get away from all these… Read MoreContinue Reading