Volume 1, Issue 12
April 18, 2016 – April 24, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta

Energy Storage:
Renewable Energy Stumbles Toward the Future                                                                     http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/business/energy-environment/renewable-energy-stumbles-toward-the-future.html
April 22, 2016 | Julie Creswell and Diane Cardwell                                                                                                                                    SunEdison’s fall from grace is the latest and largest in a string of renewable-energy company failures. Other companies which once focused on the renewable energy market are veering back to safer, more conventional consumer bases. Yet, what with tax credits, energy bills, and the upcoming Paris agreement, green energy has never been more more well supported and promoted than it is now; it’s a boom waiting to happen. Unfortunately, players in the renewable-energy space face high startup costs, a wary consumer market, and rapidly changing markets and policies. To overcome these obstacles, they often expand rapidly, seeking economies of scale and cheap financing. The article compares this state of affairs to what happened within the telecommunications bubble of the ‘90s. While experts figure out how this new market will behave in the long-term, it seems that the best option for energy companies may be to pursue slow, stable growth à la First Solar, one winner in the situation. -AD

San Francisco Becomes First Major U.S. City to Mandate Rooftop Solar in New Buildings        http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2016/04/22/san-francisco-becomes-first-major-u-s-city-to-mandate-rooftop-solar-in-new-buildings/?ss=energy#4f55cb5e79d1
April 22, 2016 | William Pentland                                                                                                                                                       This past Tuesday, San Francisco passed legislation that will require rooftop solar panels installed on all new buildings 10 stories or shorter constructed in the city, starting New Year’s Day 2017. San Francisco is the first large city in the US to approve such legislation. Prior to this, only a few small communities in California had passed similar legislation. This legislation expands upon existing legislation in the state of California that requires buildings to allocate 15% of their roof space for solar panels. -JPM

Is America’s First Offshore Wind Farm a Real Revolution or Just Another Green Boondoggle?     http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2016/04/20/is-americas-first-offshore-wind-farm-a-real-revolution-or-just-another-green-boondoggle/#48c9e8e41ec5
April 20, 2016 | Christopher Helman                                                                                                                                                          Today, unlike our European counterparts across the pond, America does not have any operational offshore wind farms. However, one is currently being constructed off of Block Island, an island located about 15 miles offshore of Rhode Island. The five-turbine farm will produce power for the island and for the mainland. However, the economics for the ratepayers of Rhode Island is not favorable. The company constructing and maintaining the farm, Deepwater Wind, will receive 24.4 cents/kWh of power the turbines generate, with a price escalator of 3.5% per year on that figure for the first 20 years of the farm’s existence (note that the average price for electricity in America is 12 cents per kWh). Deepwater Wind pulled these crazy economics off through the government by connections – particularly those held between the CEO of Deepwater Wind and the governor of Rhode Island in the late 2000s. As a result, the project gained approval after several efforts to thwart the project. As a result, Deepwater Wind will be making a lot of guaranteed money from the ratepayers of Rhode Island. -JPM

Power Distribution:
A Microgrid Grows in Brooklyn                                                                                        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-microgrid-grows-in-brooklyn/?WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20160422
April 22, 2016 | Morgan Peck                                                                                                                                                   Residents in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Park Slope and Gowanus, particularly those with renewable energy sources on their properties, are signing onto a project called the Brooklyn Microgrid. This project will allow these residents to connect their renewable energy sources into a microgrid for themselves. In addition, the Microgrid will become a benefit corporation, which will allow participants with and without renewable energy sources in the grid to have a role in deciding how to add onto or maintain the grid. This microgrid is a part of the recent push from California and New York to adopt microgrids. New York in particular is pushing microgrid construction through a competition series called NY Prize. This competition tries to hurdle the most difficult part of microgrid creation: gathering vendors and utilities together to solidify a plan for the construction of the grid. The Brooklyn Microgrid plans on competing in the NY Prize to fund its ambitions. -JPM                                                                                    

Energy Policy:
Senate Approves Broad, Modest Energy Bill                                                                                     http://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-approves-broad-modest-energy-bill-1461168275
April 20, 2016 | Amy Harder                                                                                                                                                   Earlier this week, the Senate passed a less ambitious but widely applicable version of an energy bill approved by the House in December. The bill passed easily (85-12) because steered clear of highly contentious issues, such as oil and gas exploration and water contamination in Flint, MI. Instead, it aims to adapt existing policy to the modern energy landscape. The bill will speed up natural gas exports, require grid operators to upgrade the system, and emphasize large-scale storage for renewable energy producers. While some problems may arise as Congress starts to put the Senate and House versions of the bill together, it should be signed in fairly easily. The bill is expected to have a small, positive effect on energy companies. -AD