[What's killing old King Coal? It isn't carbon taxes or emissions capture costs. It's efficiency and cheap natural gas, with assists from growing capacity from solar and wind energy. Low cost, utility-scale storage based on batteries which can be deployed at the sub-station level to provide power conditioning peak shaving capacity will finish coal off. Note this past couple of weeks that India has opened the largest solar PV generating facility yet, and the Canadian federal government has finally announced a plan to phase out all coal generation by 2030 (although most of the provinces - including the 3 most populous - have already done this without federal help.]

5 December 2016

US state saves $5bn on energy bills since 2008

Utilities energy efficiency initiatives deployed in the US state of Michigan have helped consumers save $5 billion on their energy bills since 2008.

In its 2016 energy efficiency review, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) states that Michigan has exceeded its energy efficiency target set in 2008 by 20%. This was made possible by an increase in the implementation of policies supporting the adoption of energy conservation measures.

The regulatory initiatives are said to have allowed an increase in investments and implementation of programmes to improve consumer awareness on the benefits of energy efficiency.

In addition to reducing energy bills, energy efficiency projects have helped utilities to reduce their carbon emissions by limiting power generation using fossil fuels.

These programmes have also helped the state’s 65 utilities to reduce their operational costs by offsetting new investments generation plants and rather, improving the reliability of their grid networks.

According to the MPSC, utilities operating in Michigan have invested $262 million towards implementation of energy efficiency projects in 2015 alone. The Michigan state energy regulator projects that energy efficiency programmes deployed in the state in 2015 will result in benefits of up to $1.1 billion over the next several years.

The energy regulator said consumers can reduce their energy consumption by up to 35%, by shifting to less energy intensive LED lighting systems, insulation and automated controls.

The policies include the Senate Bill 437 and the SB438 both of which have increased the state’s energy efficiency targets from 10% by 2015 to 15% by 2022.

The Michigan State’s Energy Optimisation programme mandates electric utilities’ energy efficiency projects to achieve 1% of utilities total retail energy sales.

Energy efficiency projects deployment

In the 2nd quarter of 2016, Michigan-based power utility DTE Energy upgraded its energy efficiency tool 'DTE Insight' to help consumers reduce their power consumption and electricity bills.

The new feature allows customers to use the DTE Insight app to set an energy budget target, monitor their energy efficiency targets through access to daily, weekly, monthly and annual energy costs.

The app now connects mobile devices with smart gas and electric meters to allow consumers to receive notifications when they are approaching their targets. [Consumers Energy budgets $750m to complete AMI rollout].

In addition, the platform provides energy efficiency tips with step by step instructions and powerscans appliances to allow customers to view their monthly operating cost of a selected appliance.

DTE Energy claims the new feature allows the app to help consumers reduce power consumption by as much as 10% per month.


5 December 2016

Illinois community reaches nearly $1m in electricity cost savings
The village of Godfrey in Illinois has achieved nearly $1m in electricity cost savings with the aid of municipal energy aggregation programme managed by Good Energy.

With the municipal energy aggregation programme, the Village of Godfrey and several other municipalities in Madison County, procured electricity from a certified alternative retail energy supplier and secured lower electricity rates for participants.

In addition, the village of Godfrey enjoyed a total savings of $750,000 the first year with the energy aggregation programme. Quoted electricity rates would not fluctuate, maintaining a fixed rate for multiple years, rather than the annual rate changes under utility supply. Good Energy also assisted communities navigate through complicated state and local requirements and remain compliant with state and local requirements.

Residents are able to enjoy reduced energy cost — with a programme that also initiates a conversation about renewable energy and conservation.

According to a release, Godfrey was one of the first communities to go 100% green, offsetting their community’s electricity usage with RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates). This type of energy product helps renewable sources in the region to thrive and develops increased resiliency on the grid.

E.ON expands clean energy portfolio in Illinois

In other news, German utility company E.ON announced that its US subsidiary has kickstarted a clean energy project in the state of Illinois.

In a press statement, the firm said its Chicago based division started the installation of 278MW wind farm in Macon County.

The project falls under the company’s efforts to increase its renewable energy portfolio.

The completion of the wind farm by the end of 2017 will increase the firm’s wind energy portfolio in Illinois to 578MW. The firm is currently operating 3.1GW of renewable energy sourced from solar and wind in the whole of the US.

The wind farm is E.ON’s third wind energy generating plant in the US state and is expected to power more than 180,000 Illinois homes. Furthermore, in late July, E.ON Climate and Renewables North America signed a deal with Tucson Electric Power to provide frequency response and voltage control from a grid-scale storage facility. The 10MW battery energy storage facility with a 2MW solar array will be located adjacent to the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park southeast of Tucson. [E.ON expands clean energy portfolio in Illinois]
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