Energy storage is a game changer. In a recent blog, I noted how the falling costs for batteries, along with the spread of solar power, has the potential to significantly expand the ability of energy storage and distributed energy resources to participate in the nation’s electricity system. GTM Research expects the U.S. energy storage market to grow to roughly 2.6 GW in 2022, almost 12 times the size of the 2016 market. Seventy-one megawatts of energy storage were deployed in the first quarter of 2017, growing 276 percent over Q1 2016.

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company recently released a report noting that energy storage prices are falling faster than anyone expected, with battery costs down to less than $230/kWh in 2016 from almost $1,000/kWh in 2010. The falling costs for batteries, coupled with the spread of solar power, presents a growing threat of disruption for utility business models.

In May 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, released a daily energy brief noting U.S. nuclear capacity and generation is expected to decline as existing generators retire. Five nuclear plants, with a combined capacity of 5,000 megawatts, or MW, have retired in the past four years, primarily due to competition from low-cost natural gas, unfavorable market policies, and/or local opposition. The Three Mile Island generating station in Pennsylvania is the latest nuclear power plant to announce retirement plans. In addition to these recent retirements, six other plants are scheduled to retire in the next nine years.

The transformation of the electric grid in the United States is proceeding at a rapid pace. Several factors, including the proliferation of distributed energy resources, or DERs, utility-scale renewable generation, energy storage, advanced metering infrastructure, and other technologies, are changing the way electric power is now generated, transmitted and distributed.

It has been a number of years since states and local governments have won a property rights case. But in Murr v. Wisconsin the Supreme Court concluded 5-3 that no taking occurred where state law and local ordinance “merged” nonconforming, adjacent lots under common ownership, meaning the property owners could not sell one of the lots by itself. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC), filed an amicus brief, which the Court cited two times, arguing that these very common provisions are constitutional. 

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accord has galvanized climate action at the state and local level. A group of 12 states have formed a coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, to meet Paris climate commitments and fill the void left by the U.S. government.

Last week President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, citing the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement poses on our country.” The decision to withdraw from the agreement—a major international treaty to address climate change—is going to have broad policy and environmental impact on the global stage.

energy and environment

The Trump administration released its first full fiscal budget for 2018, called the “Taxpayer First” Budget, this week. As expected, the budget delivers a gut-punch to several energy and environment programs within the Department of Energy, or DOE, and the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Furthermore, the steep cuts proposed in the budget could eventually be magnified in a sort of double whammy to state efforts to protect the environment and transition to cleaner sources of energy.

CSG South

This SLC Special Series Report, the first part in a series, examines wind energy in the Southern region.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to review the establishment of national monuments made under the Antiquities Act. The review will focus on sites designated since 1996 that comprise at least 100,000 acres.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President to proclaim national monuments on federal land to protect areas...

Pages