Tag Archives: Xcel

Solar is now competitive with … natural gas –Crossborder Energy study

Colorado, California, North Carolina: when will Georgia catch up in solar power? What will it take to get the Georgia legislature to realize all Georgians will benefit economically from much more solar power than GA PSC in July required Georgia Power to buy? And why should we permit a methane gas pipeline to gash through Georgia to profit executives in Houston and Juno Beach, Florida when we could be deploying solar everywhere in Georgia for local jobs, profit, lower electric bills, and clean air and water?

Here’s the study that showed solar benefits outweigh costs in North Carolina, The Benefits and Costs of Solar Generation for Electric Ratepayers in North Carolina, by R. Thomas Beach and Patrick G. McGuire for Crossborder Energy, 18 October 2013.

Wholesale solar PPA prices provide perhaps the most dramatic evidence of the continued decline in solar PV costs. Solar PPA prices have fallen dramatically over the past several years, to the point that, in some regions of the U.S., solar is now competitive with other generation resources, including wind and natural gas. Xcel Energy in Colorado recently announced that it is proposing to add 170 MW of utility-scale solar to its system, with its CEO stating “[f]or the first time ever, we are adding cost competitive utility scale solar to the system.”33 The California electric utilities make public each year the average PPA prices for renewable contracts approved by the CPUC in the prior year. Figure 3 shows the trend in the prices for their solar PV PPAs; CPUC contract approval can occur up to a year or more after bids are received, so the figure is indicative of prices through roughly 2011.34 2012 solicitations for solar PPAs in California in the 3 MW to 20 MW size range through the Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) have yielded market-clearing prices in the 8 to 9 cents per kWh range.3

The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) conducts and publishes regular national surveys of the installed costs of solar PV; these surveys include Continue reading

Climate change adversely affecting U.S. power grid

Yes, and moving away from baseload coal, nukes, and natural gas and towards distributed solar and wind power will help with that, both directly by making the grid more resilient, and indirectly by slowing climate change.

Clare Foran wrote for NationalJournal 12 August 2013, Climate Change Is Threatening the Power Grid: So says the White House, in a new report that recommends strengthening the grid.

Just days away from the 10-year anniversary of the worst power outage in U.S. history, the White House and the Energy Department released a report on Monday evaluating the resiliency of the nation’s electric grid and recommending steps to prevent future blackouts.

The report called storms and severe weather “the leading cause of power outages in the United States,” and warned against the steep cost of weather-related damage to the electric grid. It put the price tag for electrical failures caused by inclement weather at between $18 billion and $33 billion annually, and noted that costs have increased in recent years, jumping from a range of $14 billion to $26 billion in 2003 to $27 billion to $52 billion in 2012. Storms exceeding a billion dollars in damages (electrical and otherwise) have also become more frequent in the past decade, as the chart below shows.

Well, Entergy’s Arkansas Nuclear 1 (ANO1) is still down more than four months after a fatal accident (hey, look at that; Continue reading