Bloomberg | Quint: Slap a Battery on a Gas Turbine and Make an Extra $1.4 Million

Edison International has found what every electric utility wants in this time of sputtering demand: a new source of revenue.

By adding battery storage to a quick-start natural gas turbine, General Electric Co. made a hybrid power plant that allows Edison to collect payments for keeping the generator ready to instantly supply electricity when California’s grid needs it, 24 hours a day.

That’s a market that peaker plants, which are needed only when demand surges in hot weather, haven’t been able to access unless they continuously burned gas to keep the turbine spinning. The hybrid units can provide Edison’s Southern California Edison utility as much as $1.4 million a year in revenue that similar plants without batteries miss out on, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Edison’s move comes as cheap natural gas and abundant renewable energy pummel electricity prices, hurting power generators’ profits.

Morning Consult: Senate Unexpectedly Rejects Bid to Repeal Obama-Era Rule on Methane

In an unexpected move, several Senate Republicans helped prevent a final vote on a resolution that would scrap an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions in oil and gas production. By not moving forward with the measure, the Senate missed its last chance to get rid of the environmental regulation promulgated by the Obama administration.

The 49-51 vote against cloture included opposition from all Democrats, as well as GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Susan Collins (Maine). The outcome marked the first time since Election Day that Republicans failed in their use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal a rule finalized by the previous administration.

The Bureau of Land Management rule, finalized on Nov. 18, curbed methane emissions from venting and flaring -- typical processes in oil and gas production -- on public land by imposing a cap. The Obama administration said it will save taxpayers money since less natural gas would be wasted and therefore more could be taxed.

But many Republican lawmakers said the BLM does not have the authority to regulate air quality and that the enforcement of the regulation would be too costly for oil and gas companies, driving down production and encouraging reliance on foreign oil.


USGS: Glaciers Rapidly Shrinking and Disappearing: 50 Years of Glacier Change in Montana

The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University. (This image shows the perimeter of Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park in 1966,1998, 2005, and 2015.)

On average, the glaciers have reduced by 39 percent and only 26 glaciers are now larger than 25 acres, which is used as a guideline for deciding if bodies of ice are large enough to be considered glaciers.

Renewable Energy Magazine: Every Fifth Utility Company in Germany Offers PV to Private Households, Finds EuPD Research

In a recent study, the German market research and consulting company EuPD Research has analyzed the energy transition-related activities of nearly 1,300 German utility companies regarding electricity, heating, energy efficiency and mobility.

The results show that every fifth utility already offers PV systems to their customers. Seventy percent of the companies that offer PV systems also offer storage.

Daily Kos (opinion): Trump’s Paris Disagreement Comes Down to the Loyalest vs. the Oilist

Set your clocks! We’re [less than] 24 hours away from the much-anticipated White House meeting to decide the fate of the US’s participation in the Paris Agreement.

While Trump’s children, secretary of state, and national security and economic advisors are reportedly advocating that he not blow it all up, Steve Bannon and Scott Pruitt have apparently gained a last minute upper hand with some shady legal analysis.

Now, if Trump actually looked at the agreement’s merits, he’d know Syria and Nicaragua are the only countries not party to the agreement. The U.S. pulling out would be out of step with not just the major global players, but almost every country on the globe, including petrostates like Saudi Arabia. And Trump would understand that if we leave, we can’t pressure countries he might not trust (let’s say China, for example) to keep up their end of the bargain. And perhaps some savvy diplomat can let Trump know that if he breaks America’s promise on Paris, global powers will be much less trusting when negotiating the sorts of labor deals Trump claims to care about.

MIT Energy Initiative (video): UC Berkeley Professor Eli Yablonovich on GaAs, the Solar Learning Curve, and More

A new scientific principle has produced record-breaking solar cells following UC Berkeley Professor Eli Yablonovich’s mantra, “A great solar cell has to be a great LED.” These solar cells have smashed all efficiency records and are in commercial production. Nonetheless, the overhang of greater than 60 gigawatts/year of subsidized, outdated, Chinese-silicon solar panel factories is blocking the scaling of the superior technology. Silicon solar panels are in line to provide about 10% of electricity, but the super-efficient technology can eventually provide almost all of the world’s electricity and fuel.

In the interim, the solar/LED symmetry will revolutionize thermophotovoltaics, the creation of electricity directly from heat, and enable electroluminescent refrigeration, a refrigerator in which light is the working fluid.