Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

Power Prices, Regulation, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  May 6, 2017

Weekend reads: Ivanka's climate influence; Pruitt says grid needs coal; Westinghouse's undoing & more

Every Saturday, we'll bring you five of the most interesting — or quirky; it is the weekend after all — energy stories from around the web that you may have missed this week. This weekend's reads:

Ivanka to meet EPA head before crucial Paris climate meeting (Axios): Ivanka Trump will meet with EPA administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday morning at the White House before a crucial meeting regarding President Trump's decision to stay or leave the Paris climate accord. The president's daughter, who serves as a senior White House advisor, is passionate about combating global warming and turned heads when she brought climate activist Al Gore to Trump Tower during the presidential transition.

EPA chief: US needs coal to protect electric grid (The Hill): The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) argued Wednesday that using coal for electricity is necessary for the reliability of the electric grid. Speaking on Fox Business's "Varney & Co.," Scott Pruitt warned of the problems of relying too heavily on natural gas, which has increased in use over the last decade as coal has fallen. Pruitt argued in part that cybersecurity concerns should inspire the country to maintain coal as a significant fuel source.

How two cutting edge U.S. nuclear projects bankrupted Westinghouse (Reuters): In 2012, construction of a Georgia nuclear power plant stalled for eight months as engineers waited for the right signatures and paperwork needed to ship a section of the plant from a factory hundreds of miles away. The delay, which a nuclear specialist monitoring the construction said was longer than the time required to make the section, was emblematic of the problems that plagued Westinghouse Electric Co as it tried an ambitious new approach to building nuclear power plants. The approach - building pre-fabricated sections of the plants before sending them to the construction sites for assembly - was supposed to revolutionize the industry by making it cheaper and safer to build nuclear plants.

Report: Near-total renewable energy systems cheaper than gas in 2030 (PV Magazine): In April, a new report was published by London's Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) Energy Finance which charts a course for high penetrations of wind and solar on grids, looking specifically at four regions across the globe, including California. Flexibility: the path to low carbon, low cost grids also finds that by 2030, a system with "near-total" renewable energy generation and a mix of batteries and natural gas for backup "would be considerably less expensive than a system powered exclusively by natural gas."

2017 Could Prove to Be a Turning Point for Plug-In Hybrids (The New York Times): Until recently, if you wanted to ditch your gas guzzler and go electric, there were few choices. You could take the high road and opt for a $70,000 luxury vehicle, like the Tesla Model S, or take the low road and choose a more modest commuter, like the $31,000 Nissan Leaf. But this year, all that appears to be changing.

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