In January, Longmont Power and Communications (LPC) announced they would begin connecting businesses located within 500 feet of the existing network. As we reported, local businesses were chomping at the bit to get hooked up and enjoy the high-speed next generation network. Even without efforts at marketing or advertising, more businesses have added themselves to… Continue reading
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Ottawa, located in east central Kansas, recently launched its own municipal fiber network. The community of 13,000 in Franklin County watched nearby Chanute build and establish its own broadband utility. Ottawa plans a similar incremental strategy. Both communities boast strong farming traditions and host industrial employers that could not get what they needed from the… Continue reading
Spencer Municipal Utilities (SMU) of Spencer, Iowa, will be replacing old copper cable with fiber this summer. According to the Daily Reporter, customers can expect the upgrade with no increase in rates. From the article: “Just like internet service has evolved from dial up to DSL and cable modem, fiber will give customers the next… Continue reading
Morristown, Tennessee, is one of very few communities where anyone in town can immediately get a gigabit delivered to their home and business. General Manager and CEO Jody Wigington of the municipal electric utility, Morristown Utility Systems, joins me to discuss why they built their network and how it is has benefited the community. The… Continue reading
Walmart now captures $1 of every $4 Americans spend on groceries. It’s on track to claim one-third of food sales within five years. Here’s a look at how Walmart has dramatically altered the food system — triggering massive consolidation, driving down prices to farmers, and leaving more families struggling to afford healthy food. Continue reading
In a forthcoming report on U.S. feed-in tariff programs, I’ll provide a comparison of solar feed-in tariff (FIT, a.k.a. CLEAN Contract) rates across the United States. Comparing published rates is not particularly helpful, however, because contract lengths vary (from 15 to 25 years) and the solar resource also varies widely. For international comparisons (e.g. Germany), it’s… Continue reading
The following news report suggests that some in Knoxville, Tennessee, are starting to get a little jealous of the incredible FTTH network built by Chattanooga’s publicly owned electric company…. Continue reading
Overruling a utility challenge, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) affirmed today that states have the right to set prices for mandated renewable energy purchases and that these prices may vary by technology:
“[W]here a state requires a utility to procure energy from generators with certain characteristics,” the state may set the wholesale rate (known as ‘avoided cost’) for that specific type of energy. Id. at para. 30. Therefore, a state can require utilities to purchase electricity generated from differentiated technologies (wind, solar, wave, etc.) and set the rate for purchases from each of these generators.
Photo credit: Flickr user KeithBurtis
Joining Ontario and several U.S. states, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia has proposed a new twist on a common clean energy program. The policy provides a guaranteed, long-term contract for wind, biomass, hydro, and tidal power producers and offers them the same return on equity provided to utiltiies. Continue reading
A residential rooftop solar PV system in Los Angeles, CA, has a cheaper cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity delivered than the most cost effective, utility-scale concentrating solar power plant.
In 2010, a buying group called Open Neighborhoods openly advertised an opportunity to get a solar PV system installed for $4.78 per Watt (not including any tax credits, rebates, or grants), a system that would produce approximately 1,492 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year (AC) for each kilowatt of capacity (DC).
Based on the best available public information about the costs and performance of operational concentrating solar thermal power plants, the PS10 solar power tower – an 11 MW installation in Spain – has the lowest levelized cost of operation of any concentrating solar power plant that produces electricity. PS10 had an installed cost of $4.15 per Watt and produces 2,127 kWh per kW of capacity.
However, due to higher operations costs and a higher cost of capital (8% rather than 5%) for a concentrating solar power plant, the levelized cost of the residential rooftop system (17.3 cents per kWh) is less than that of the power tower (19.9 cents per kWh).
This analysis also does not include any transmission infrastructure or efficiency losses, either of which would increase the levelized cost of the concentrating solar power plant. It also did not include the lower price point from Open Neighborhoods, which advertised a possibility of driving the price down to $4.22 per Watt (driving the levelized cost down to 15.3 cents per kWh).
The Southern California Edison project, also featured in the chart, is another example of low-cost distributed solar PV, with the 250 MW project spread across commercial rooftops in 1-2 MW increments but still achieving large scale.
Ultimately, this data further confirms that distributed solar can be delivered less expensively than centralized solar power.