NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, April 28: WIND’S BENEFITS BLOCKED BY D.C. GRIDLOCK; EXELON CALLS FOR FED SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR; SOLAR FINDS TROUBLE IN HAWAIIAN PARADISE

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    Monday, April 28, 2014

    QUICK NEWS, April 28: WIND’S BENEFITS BLOCKED BY D.C. GRIDLOCK; EXELON CALLS FOR FED SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR; SOLAR FINDS TROUBLE IN HAWAIIAN PARADISE

    WIND’S BENEFITS BLOCKED BY D.C. GRIDLOCK U.S. Wind Energy Could Double, But It’s Deja-vu All Over Again in Congress

    Andrew Burger, April 21, 2014 (TriplePundit)

    “…By the end of 2013, 46,100 wind turbines on 905 utility-scale wind farms with rated generation capacity of 61,110 megawatts (MW) were online, producing more than 4 percent of U.S. electricity generation…[I]nvestment has been growing at a 19.5 percent annual rate over the past five years, with an average $15 billion per year invested in new projects. With costs dropping 43 percent between 2008 and 2012, wind energy…growth and development has been remarkable…notwithstanding successive boom-bust cycles – the result of the waxing and waning of the wind energy PTC…[W]ind energy has become the lowest cost means of producing electricity in a growing number of U.S. markets, accounting for 31 percent of new U.S. electric generation capacity over the past five years…Driven by ongoing technological advances, declining costs and the Jan. 2, 2013 extension of the wind energy PTC, last year’s results were dramatic. Equally dramatic have been the effects of allowing the federal wind energy PTC to expire…Unfortunately, for the U.S. wind energy participants and society at large, the debate as to whether or not to renew the PTC for wind energy is playing out yet again this year…” click here for more

    EXELON CALLS FOR FED SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR Exelon touts the nuclear necessity

    Barbara Vergetis Lundin, April 24, 2014 (FierceEnergy)

    Government policies and market structures don’t give nuclear power the value it deserves as a source of emissions-free base load generation and, according to Exelon, as much as 25 percent of the U.S. nuclear fleet could be shuttered. Exelon’s nuclear plants, it said, were crucial to the PJM response during the extreme January cold because of natural gas supply constraints and price spikes. Exelon has pushed to end the federal production tax credit (PTC) vital to the wind energy value proposition, claiming the PTC causes negative pricing in electricity markets. Exelon does not mention the federal incentives available to the nuclear industry or the fact that markets have largely decided that nuclear plant costs and lead times make nuclear an uneconomic choice for new generation. Wind energy advocates say the negative pricing is not due to the PTC but to local transmission outages, extremely low electricity demand, and the inability of Exelon’s nuclear plants to ramp down when transmission is out or demand drops off. Executives of both NextEra and Xcel, both of which have generation portfolios broadly comparable to Exelon, say low natural gas prices play a much bigger role than the PTC in negative pricing and current nuclear plant economics. click here for more

    SOLAR INDUSTRY FINDS TROUBLE IN HAWAIIAN PARADISE Hawaiian Electric affirms commitment to solar; Boasting one of the highest levels of installed solar power in the country, Hawaiian Electric has rejected the findings of a recent poll and claims that it has "a significant public image problem."

    Edgar Meza, 25 April 2014 (PV Magazine)

    Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) denies intentionally slowing rooftop solar interconnections to limit the impact of customer-sourced distributed generation (DG) on its revenues but a recent poll paid for by The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) found that while 94 percent of Hawaiians want more rooftop solar 90 percent believe HECO is slowing the integration of it into the grid. HECO does not lose revenues from increased DG because its current rate structure allows for cost recovery, according to a utility spokesperson. HECO is 10th in the U.S. for megawatts of installed solar capacity, ahead of bigger utilities, and helped grow Hawaii solar 39% in 2013. Less than half of those polled had a favorable opinion of HECO, according to TASC. The HECO spokesperson noted the utility doubled rooftop solar on its grid annually from 2008 to 2012 and has an 11% solar penetration on Oahu while utilities in California, Arizona and other sunny states are at 2% to 3%. HECO’s high DG penetration has resulted in technical issues on the circuit and system level other states are only just now talking about, a HECO source recently said, and it is working on solar interconnections on circuits that can handle them safely and reliably. click here for more

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