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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.

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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Can Wind and Solar Power Meet Our Energy Needs?

News out that utility Austin Energy will meet its goal of 35 percent electricity coming from renewable energy four years ahead of schedule should help settle the question. Read More

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Looking to Reduce CO2 Emissions 40% from the Power Plant Sector?

Power grid manager PJM has an answer. Results of a three-year study of the power plant fleet operations from Chicago to Virginia show that raising renewable energy to 30 percent of the electricity supply can reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent. And this can be done while maintaining the reliability of the  electric system. Read More

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How Texas Made Wind Energy a Real Player

Press reports of Texas completing new transmission lines for wind describe an energy boom with a difference — this is carbon-free wind energy.  Read More

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Frozen: The Cost of Electricity Soars as Wires and Pipelines Fail to Meet Demand

The cold weather has pushed demand for energy very high. In our energy markets, demand rising faster than supply translates into higher prices. Electricity prices in the Mid-Atlantic and natural gas in the Northeast are showing this today, and this isn’t new or unique.  Supplies to meet demand are limited by the capacity of the delivery systems. Read More

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