Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the company that operates the gas and power transmission networks in the U.K. and in the northeastern U.S., believes the idea of using large coal-fired or nuclear power stations for baseload power is “outdated.”
“From a consumer’s point of view, the solar on the rooftop is going to be the baseload. Centralized power stations will be increasingly used to provide peak demand,” he said in an interview. The chief of National Grid also notes that energy markets “are clearly moving toward much more distributed production and toward microgrids."MIT Technology Review: Finally, Fusion Takes Small Steps Toward Reality
After three decades of expensive government-funded research that has failed to produce tangible breakthroughs, nuclear fusion has gone from a promising source of effectively limitless power to something more like a punch line.
In the past year, that has started to change, however. Several privately funded companies and small university-based research groups pursuing novel fusion reactor designs have delivered promising results that could shorten the timeline for producing a prototype machine from decades to several years. Commercial power generation from fusion is still a long way off, but the outlines of such a reactor can now be perceived.CNBC: Energy Department Struck by Cyber Attacks
Cyber attackers successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, according to a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY.
Incident reports submitted by federal officials and contractors since late 2010 to the Energy Department's Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center shows a near-consistent barrage of attempts to breach the security of critical information systems that contain sensitive data about the nation's power grid, nuclear weapons stockpile and energy labs.Wall Street Journal: Renewable Energy's Potential May Be Understated
Today, California often gets as much as 30% of its power from renewables; there are periods of the day when production can soar to 40%. California legislators just approved a plan that would require half of all power to come from renewables by 2030. Still, the tipping point the power industry feared hasn’t materialized.
The experience of California and other states with high concentrations of solar and wind, such as Hawaii, is challenging long-held assumptions about the limits of renewable energy. As the boundary of what is considered possible expands, so does the momentum around investment in new technology and resources.Newsweek: U.S. Consumers See Upside of Falling Energy Prices
The markets are heaving over fears of a China-fueled global slowdown, but for American consumers, there’s good news here: They will be paying less as a percentage of disposable income for their energy than they did in 1960.
This year, American households are expected to pay an estimated $700 less on average for energy expenditures than in 2014 -- a windfall that is expected to last through 2016, according to economists at the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy. “We’re forecasting the average retail price of gasoline will be $2.11 a gallon in the last quarter of this year,” says Timothy Hess, with the EIA’s petroleum market analysis team. “And gasoline prices are expected to stay below $3 for all of 2016.”