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Mike Jacobs

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About the author: Michael Jacobs is a senior energy analyst with expertise in electricity markets, transmission and renewables integration work. See Mike's full bio.

CO2 Model Malfunction: 2 + 2 = 237?!

Back in June, this blog celebrated the work of the grid operator Midcontinent ISO in describing scenarios for future power supply that met projected needs with a tripling of wind energy, 23% reduction in CO2, and almost no higher costs than “business-as-usual.” This week, something bad happened. Read More

Categories: Energy  

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How Much Does Rooftop Solar Power Cost? Grid Parity Here or Coming in More Than Half of U.S. States

Predicting the arrival of solar energy for electricity that is as cheap as local electricity prices is actually harder than predicting the sunrise. But UCS’s new solar infographic tells this exciting crossover point is right in front of millions of homeowners across the country. Read More

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There Oughtta Be a Law to Fix the Grid—and There Is!

Federal policies to introduce more choice in electricity supplies, and competition from new technologies and companies, continue to evolve and improve. These reforms have greatly fostered the growth of renewable energy across the United States. And a court decision today will help ensure that they continue to do so.
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Fracking: Energy Abundance or Crisis?

As the boom in fracking wells in the northern Appalachian Marcellus shale region now produces seven times more natural gas (methane) than in 2010, the implications for policy and impacts on the energy market are starting to show. Read More

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Hot Models Try to Forecast CO2 Reductions

A hot chase over models began soon after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft CO2 rules June 2. Reducing CO2 (carbon-dioxide, the climate-altering pollution) in the electricity sector is not a mystery, but expecting too much from a model can be frustrating. With the CO2 rules, we have entered a new era, triggering a great clamoring amongst policymakers and advocates to get comfortable with the models. Temperatures are rising, and it is not just the hot summer weather. Read More

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Behind the Curtain, Grid Operators Reveal Path to Reduce Carbon

The electric grid contains many mysteries, and we will have to master many of these to reduce carbon emissions. Fortunately, the independent grid operators are increasingly pulling back the curtain on renewable energy and coal plant retirements. And the view is great! Read More

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When Should Nuclear Power Pay for Risk? Is Never Good For You?

In a secret negotiation result reported by Hannah Northey, E&E News, the nuclear industry passed along another risk to the U.S. public. An expected $300 million loan fee for building the new Vogtle nuclear plant, was negotiated down to zero by the plant owners. This was one of two nuclear power issues that came out of the shadows of secrecy and unaccounted costs this week. Read More

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Which Costs More? Transmission Lines for 10x More Renewable Energy, or Pipelines for 2x More Natural Gas

Two recent reports make clear that long-distance gas pipeline infrastructure will cost more than the transmission investment needed for achieving 80% renewable electricity. The Keystone XL pipeline is just one new pipeline – let’s think about the energy system we are building. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Grid Security and Renewable Energy: Too Much Information, or Not Enough?

Grid authorities have been pushed to address physical attacks on the grid by recent reports of grid insecurity, most of which are not public. Detailed information about electric grid infrastructure is classified for homeland security. Read More

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How to Rescue Us from High Energy Bills? Energy Efficiency!

High energy bills and repeated debate over retiring old fossil-fuel plants are reminders that the market has failed to make the most profitable investments, and the regulators have failed to direct utilities to deliver the lowest cost energy supplies. The market is missing “more than $1 trillion in value through 2020.” That is the conclusion of international consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in Dec 2013. The choice is NOT burn coal or freeze in the dark. Read More

Categories: Energy  

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