The LA Lakers became the latest pro sports team to power its facilities with renewable energy last week. Meanwhile the Trump Administration continued its push to make coal-fired power cheaper even as the lower costs of wind and solar power are pushing utilities to rethink their strategies for adding in new energy.
The LA Lakers scored a slam dunk last week, not by picking up a star like LeBron James, but by becoming the latest professional sports team to go solar. The team recently installed a solar rooftop at the UCLA Health Training Center, its headquarters and training center. The array is expected to pay for itself within it’s first four years of operation while saving it $38,000 a year in electric costs.
In his latest attempt to appease the coal industry President Donald Trump’s (R) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new rule it’s calling the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. The rule would gut the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) requirement that coal-fired power plants reduce their carbon emissions. The ACE proposal comes even as solar, wind and natural gas outcompete coal-fired power plants.
The EPA made the proposal under the guise that new rule may reduce electric prices by between 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent somewhere around 2025, even though it would cost lost work days and increase asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.
While utilities continue to look to utility-scale renewable energy installations to help reduce energy costs, they’re also concerned that as solar becomes less expensive and commercial and residential customers buy their own solar arrays, they’ll face competition they hadn’t had to in the past. That’s according to Black & Veatch’s 2018 Strategic Directions: Electric Report, which found that 71 percent of utilities are concerned that the lower costs of solar power could cause a “utility death spiral.” The report found that industry leaders want to see regulatory changes to help them avoid the death spiral.
One of the places where solar can be particularly helpful is on islands. It offers an alternative to diesel-based generators and also, for close islands, can ensure power even if energy from the nearby mainland isn’t able to provide power. Case in point Ocean City, MD, will soon get 20 percent of its energy from a 10 megawatt solar array. The new solar farm is expected to save the town $120,000 a year in electric costs.Tweet