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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.

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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Wind in the Great Plains – and the Flood that Shut Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant

This week the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the restarting the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, which has not run since the Missouri River flooded in June 2011. That flood reminded the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the unmet safety needs of that plant, and helped the plant owner see the advantages of wind power. Read More

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Misleading IER Report on Wind Power Ignores Some Crucial Facts

A new, misleading report on wind power has emerged from the Institute for Energy Research. This small single-issue group has released an analysis of a single federal tax policy – the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) – and hidden an awful lot of relevant information in the process, including the group’s history of payments from fossil fuel interests and its distortions of renewable energy facts. Read More

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Disproving the Skeptics: 10x More Windpower and Solar is No Problem!

What would happen if we tried to make the electric supply 30% wind and solar? Air pollution goes down, and reliability is unaffected. Ok, now picture adding as much as 50,000 MW of wind and 60,000 MW of solar by the year 2026, and the engineers saying, “Sure, we can do that.”

That’s the finding of a study previewed today by the grid operator PJM and a consulting team led by General Electric. Read More

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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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