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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.

Where Is Wind Energy Cheaper than Natural Gas?

Answer: The gas-rich states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado. This week, utility Public Service Co. of Oklahoma announced that it tripled its planned purchase of 200 MW of wind energy, to 600 MW, because of the immediate savings to its customers and the 20-year guaranteed stable pricing. Read More

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A Difficult Conversation: How to Prevent Power Outages in Coastal Communities

When we talk about the electricity supply in this country, we confront a generational transition. As coastal communities repair and improve their electric grids to better face rising waters and powerful storms, they are caught in a realization: We are using the same gear our grandfathers used to keep the lights on. It is time to recognize how new things like solar panels, smart meters, and heating and cooling improvements can contribute to the grid in times of stress, and every other day. It is time for the 21st century to reconsider the 19th century design of the centralized, one-way grid. Read More

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Is Natural Gas What We Need to Replace Coal-Powered Electricity?

New England gave birth to the Industrial Revolution in this country using water power. Now New England is struggling with decisions over how to power its future. Read More

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“Not A Good Day in the Neighborhood” — Electricity Grid Progress since the August 2003 Blackout

Electricity grid operators knew hours before the 4 p.m., August 14, 2003 Northeast power failure that things were going badly. One called his wife, predicting accurately that he would have to work late, and another complained it was “not a good day in the neighborhood.”

The largest blackout in North America left 50 million people without power and largely without communications, but some engineers knew that the blackout could have been prevented. Part two of a two-part series on the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Read More

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13 of the Largest Power Outages in History — and What They Tell Us About the 2003 Northeast Blackout

What gets the most attention is not what causes blackouts in North America and Europe. It’s the system, not a shortage of power plants that is the problem. Take a look at the 13 major power outages over many years, and see that the problems we face are not because we aren’t building enough power plants. Part one of a two-part series on the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Read More

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Koch-Funded Group Misleads Georgia on Solar

UPDATE, July 11: GA Regulators vote 4- 1 for more solar. We describe how to keep rates low in our update at the bottom of the page.

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) will vote this week on a new proposal requiring Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility, to use more solar energy.

It’s a nonpartisan plan supported by the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots as a way to diversify the state’s energy portfolio and save consumers money.  Read More

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What We Know: Renewable Energy Can Deliver for the President’s Carbon Reduction Plan

Past experiences with doubling renewable energy in the U.S. show that three of the president’s largest proposals can deliver reductions in carbon emissions. Great lessons learned so far light the path for reaching and exceeding the president’s goal for doubling again our deployment of renewable energy. Read More

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News on Energy Alternatives—Wind, Efficiency Are In, Small Nukes Are Out

Investors working with utilities are making clear and clean choices for meeting our energy needs.  Two big announcements show wind and energy efficiency are financeable and attractive, and new small nuclear reactors are not.  Recently MidAmerican Energy chose to add more wind energy to its supply, dump a “modular” nuclear plant proposal,and decline to follow the trend toward burning natural gas. Read More

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Solar Dawns on Southern Tea Parties

Competition in the electric utility industry came after a nationwide flood of nuclear power cost over-runs. History is now repeating in Georgia and Florida, where popular reaction against uneconomic nuclear power is in bright contrast with support for solar energy. I wrote last week that the utilities resistance to solar makes sense only to the incumbent utility with an old business model. Read More

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Why Are Electric Companies Standing on Their Own Ignorance to Block Solar Savings? Because the Regulator Lets Them.

Whether the electric utilities like it or not, more people are using solar energy for electricity than ever before. And they are saving money at the same time. A federal rulemaking about streamlining the process for connecting small solar energy supplies to the grid reveals the real issues: Solar is causing competition and utilities are slowing the policies that can lower consumer costs. Read More

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