Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies

The tidy rows of gleaming solar panels at Pine Gate Renewables facility in southwestern Oregon originally sat amid the squat grasses of a former cattle pasture. But in 2017 the company started sowing the 41-acre site with a colorful riot of native wildflowers. The shift was not merely aesthetic; similar projects at a growing number of solar farms around the country aim to help reverse the worrying declines in bees, butterflies and other key pollinating species observed in recent years.

Final Five Cities Join Bloomberg Climate Challenge

Final Five Cities Join Bloomberg Climate Challenge

The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge—a $70 million dollar program helping a total of 25 cities nationwide step up their efforts to tackle climate change—announced today its final five winning cities: Austin, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Denver and Orlando.

The challenge recognizes that cities are uniquely motivated to help tackle climate change: residents are on the frontlines of climate change and bear the brunt of its effects, from heat waves to increasingly frequent flood events.

You’ve Got To Know Your Stuff To Climb The Wind Power Career Ladder

You’ve Got To Know Your Stuff To Climb The Wind Power Career Ladder

Anthony Snoddy was first to climb the 18-foot ladder.

As the kid who found the tallest trees and front-flipped off buildings, Snoddy, 36, wasn’t worried about the height. He knew it would be part of his job maintaining and repairing wind turbines.

Instead, he was focused on the safety clamps and procedures for climbing the ladder. These weren’t part of his riskier youthful forays, but they were essential in graduating from MIAT College of Technology and entering a workforce expected to grow 96 percent between 2016 and 2026.

The Best Place In America To Ramp Up Renewable Energy Could Be Texas

The Best Place In America To Ramp Up Renewable Energy Could Be Texas

With wind and solar resources that complement each other exceptionally well, is the state ready to reimagine its power grid?

The astounding growth in wind and solar power coupled with their plummeting prices means that we are now radically rethinking how we produce, transmit, and sell power. Customerswant 100 percent renewable energy, states want to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and utilities are scrambling to come up with new business models and infrastructure to accommodate them.

ERCOT Reserve Margin Declines Further As Municipality Pulls Texas Coal Peaker

ERCOT Reserve Margin Declines Further As Municipality Pulls Texas Coal Peaker

A month ago, ERCOT officials warned that unpredictable weather and a declining reserve margin were creating uncertainty for the grid operator and increasing the chance that rolling blackouts might be required in the summer months.

Now, with the loss of Gibbons Creek, the grid operator could face steeper price spikes or the need to shed load at peak times this summer.

In December, grid officials said summer performance would likely depend on the weather.

Texas’s wind and sunlight complement each other exceptionally well. That’s huge for its grid.

Texas’s wind and sunlight complement each other exceptionally well. That’s huge for its grid.

The astounding growth in wind and solar power coupled with their plummeting prices means that we are now radically rethinking how we produce, transmit, and sell power. Customers want 100 percent renewable energy, states want to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and utilities are scrambling to come up with new business models and infrastructure to accommodate them.

The wind and the sun are some of the most abundant sources of energy in the world, and they’re free. But the big challenge of harnessing them is the simple fact of their intermittent availability: In general, the sun shines during the day, which means the amount of solar energy available is highest during the day. Wind, meanwhile, is usually strongest at night, so wind energy peaks after sunset.

Luminant Brings Large-Scale Energy Storage to Texas

Luminant Brings Large-Scale Energy Storage to Texas

Upton 2 battery energy storage system project now operational

IRVING, Texas, Jan. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy (NYSE: VST), announced that its Upton 2 battery energy storage system project has finished construction and began operating on Dec. 31, 2018.

The battery system, which is the largest energy storage project in Texas and seventh largest in the United States, is located on the site of Luminant's 180-megawatt Upton 2 Solar Power Plant in Upton County, Texas. The solar facility continues to deliver on the company's strategic plan to strengthen and expand its integrated businesses through enhanced retail solar offerings and diversity across its generation fleet. It is also direct evidence that competitive generators will invest in batteries in Texas when supported by market economics.

Austin Energy finishes the year with $50.5M in excess revenue, lower bills for customers

After weathering an erratic Electric Reliability Council of Texas market this summer, Austin Energy finished the year in a financially stable position with extra revenue that will be passed on to the public in the coming year.

According to Mark Dombroski, chief financial officer at Austin Energy, who addressed the Electric Utility Commission at its Nov. 19 meeting, the expected revenues can be attributed to an increase in the cost of energy from the ERCOT market as well as a larger-than-anticipated consumption of energy in the summer months. Forty percent of the utility’s sales occurred from June to September.

Fine-Tuning Renewables Could Help Texas Balance Energy Resources

Timing and placement of wind and solar power facilities are critical factors for Texas electricity providers that juggle their output with other resources to provide a balanced flow of energy. Rice University researchers have some suggestions on how they can integrate widely varying sources more efficiently.

Rice undergraduate student Joanna Slusarewicz, along with environmental engineer Daniel Cohan, performed an analysis of recent peaks in production from West and South Texas renewable resources and suggested that the state’s power production can be made more reliable by adjusting where and when those resources are deployed.