RTO Insider: Net-Metering Caps Temporarily Lifted in NY

The New York Public Service Commission temporarily lifted caps on the amount of net-metered solar energy that can be permitted on a utility system. The move was prompted by a July petition from Orange and Rockland Utilities seeking to suspend its net-metered installations because it had applications for interconnections that exceeded the limit it can accommodate under current state rules.

While the petition came from ORU, the commission ruled that all six investor-owned utilities in New York must file tariff revisions to the rules governing their net-metering caps by Oct. 30, which will become effective Nov. 6.

Under the state’s 6% cap, ORU said it would reach its 62 megawatt limit in the “near future” and should immediately be allowed to suspend interconnections at that time.

Washington Post: The Electricity Innovation So Controversial That It's Now Before the Supreme Court

FERC. Demand response. Wholesale and retail electricity markets. If names and phrases like these have already made you want to stop reading, then chances are news last week about the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association was not at the top of your list.

That response is totally understandable. This stuff is beyond wonky. It pains even us electricity nerds.

Nevertheless, what’s at stake in the case goes to the heart of the gigantic changes that are now happening in the ways we get electricity -- and pay for it. So while this might not sound like it directly affects you, the truth is that we’re all ultimately parties to the transition the grid is undergoing right now.

Chemistry World: Inventors Race to Find Best Way to Recycle Polluting Carbon

Carbon-capture and storage (CCS) systems, which aim to lock CO2 into porous rock formations deep underground, are currently energy-intensive and uneconomical. So attention is shifting toward carbon-capture and utilization (CCU), which aims to use CO2 as a feedstock to make fuels, chemicals and other useful products.

On 29 September, the XPrize Foundation -- a charity that supports innovation -- announced that it would award $20 million (£13 million) to the winners of its new Carbon XPrize, a competition intended to stimulate CCU research. Entrants will submit ideas for using CO2 from either gas- or coal-fired power stations, and the best technologies will be tested at demonstration-scale plants. The teams that convert the most CO2 into the highest-value products will be victorious.

Vox: Clean Energy Creates Jobs and Destroys Others

One worry that haunts the transition to clean energy -- haunts any ambitious plan to use government policy to change the status quo -- is how much it will cost, in public funds and in jobs. Thus, independent analysts have spent a great deal of time modeling the transition, showing how costs and employment net out over the long term.

Some wonks and advocates have a bad habit of stopping there. "The transition is affordable and creates more jobs than it destroys. Argument won!"

However, the net effects are of mainly academic interest, at best the germ, the seed, of a strategy. What's more relevant to the political prospects of a clean energy transition is not net costs and jobs, but who gains and who loses. Which industries lose, and what kind of power will they wield to prevent it? Which win, and how equipped are they to support it?

MIT Technology Review: Drivers Push Tesla’s Autopilot Beyond Its Abilities

Enthusiastic Tesla owners cheered last Wednesday when the company enabled the use of an automated driving system, called Autopilot, in its Model S all-electric sedans. The wireless update of vehicles to Version 7.0 of Tesla software -- which allows properly equipped cars to steer, switch lanes, and manage speed on its own -- is exactly the kind of bold move that makes many Tesla fans so excited about the company. 

In fact, a number of Tesla drivers immediately took to the road to test the limits of Autopilot -- taking their hands fully off the wheel and seeing how far the car could drive itself down highways, country lanes, and suburban streets.