Distributed Energy Resources, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  March 30, 2019

Weekend reads: The Shell switch; the Renewables race

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web:

Shell switches over 700,000 customers to renewable electricity (CNBC)  Shell has re-branded energy and broadband provider First Utility as Shell Energy and switched the firm's residential customers in Britain to a 100 percent renewable electricity supply. In an announcement Monday, Shell said that customers of Shell Energy would be offered renewable electricity from sources such as biomass, solar and wind, as standard. Over 700,000 homes were switched to renewables, Shell said. Shell announced it had agreed to buy First Utility in December 2017, and the acquisition was completed in February 2018. 

Renewables ‘have won the race’ against coal and are starting to beat natural gas (Think Progress)  The rapidly dropping cost of renewable energy has upended energy economics in recent years, with new solar and wind plants now significantly cheaper than coal power. But new research shows another major change is afoot: The cost of batteries has been declining so unexpectedly rapidly that renewables plus battery storage are now cheaper than even natural gas plants in many applications, according to a report released this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Study finds Texas is investing in more distributed energy resources (Solar Power World)  Texas continues to drive innovation in the electric market, and the traditional model of large, centralized power plants serving passive consumers is steadily evolving into an expanded array of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) that enables homeowners, small business owners and the state’s largest industrial users to manage their energy consumption in a way that makes sense for them. That’s the key finding of a new report by the Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC) and The Brattle Group, detailing the growth of DER, and what it means for Texas consumers and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages 85% of the state’s electric load.

CRE Companies Mind Their ESGs (Commercial Property Executive)  Research shows that the majority of institutional investors globally now employ an environmental, social and corporate governance strategy to guide their investment decisions. The top commercial real estate developers, owners and managers are embracing the ESG trend with quantifiable initiatives and dedicated staff that make their companies and portfolios more responsible, sustainable, resilient, and profitable–and more attractive for institutional capital.

What happened to the Tesla solar roof? (Utility Dive)  The iconic company's biggest promise was trifecta-integration of solar generation, energy storage and electric cars. So far, that has not happened. Two years ago this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed — in a tweet, of course — that the company would soon begin taking orders for solar roofs. In Tesla news-time, two years is a lifetime. Since then, other tweets have gotten Musk in trouble with federal regulators while the company has also started to produce electric cars and turn a profit. 

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