Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists


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    'A long way to go': How ConEd, Xcel and 4 other utilities are helping cities meet big EV goals

    From New York City to Los Angeles, cities and utilities face cost, land and grid challenges in their efforts to electrify transportation systems. 

    Robert Walton, Emma Penrod, Jason Plautz and Scott Van Voorhis • Nov. 30, 2021
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    Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

    Pricing carbon is vital to US climate goals and politically unlikely, but there is another way, analysts say

    There are two basic approaches to pricing carbon emissions, and either can work, most economists agree. Though neither is politically viable, there is a way toward them, many analysts say.

    Herman K. Trabish • Nov. 24, 2021
  • Changing climate and electricity mix renew region-wide power market ambitions for the 'Wild West'

    Replacing today's "inflexible" dispatch in 11 Western states with an RTO's optimized operations and avoided capacity costs could deliver up to $1.3 billion in annual benefits, according to a DOE-funded study.

    Herman K. Trabish • Nov. 15, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    Northeast utilities are spending billions on resilience, and the investments are paying off

    Flood mitigation and storm hardening efforts are being informed by climate models that look decades ahead.

    Robert Walton • Nov. 10, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    Southeast utilities confront extreme weather, new peak demand patterns to avoid Texas-style blackouts

    The Texas storm was a reminder for utilities in the region, which are more familiar with summer peaking events, that extreme weather is now a year-round concern.

    Jason Plautz • Nov. 8, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    'Imagine the unimaginable': How the Pacific Northwest is trying to build a reliable grid in a changing climate

    Utilities and regulators are contending with changing temperatures, shifting demand patterns and a rapidly transitioning electric system.

    Kavya Balaraman • Nov. 8, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    Unlocking the Transition: Politicians tout renewable energy jobs for ex-fossil fuel workers, but it's not so simple

    Renewable energy might create new jobs for a variety of Americans, but experts say these positions don't always appeal — or just aren't available — to workers who are losing their jobs to the closure of coal mines and power plants.

    Emma Penrod • Nov. 5, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    Unlocking the Transition: Biden, Congress aim to fill gap from clean electricity plan's demise

    Sen. Joe Manchin's rejection of the plan has led to a scramble for potential alternatives, with a proposal by Reps. Kurt Schrader and David McKinley gaining support from major players in the utility sector.

    Scott Van Voorhis • Nov. 4, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    Unlocking the Transition: As Tesla, Ford and others invest billions in EVs, will the power system be ready?

    The new White House zero emission vehicle target of 50% of new car sales by 2030 has a long way to go, a short time to get there, and big challenges along the way.

    Herman K. Trabish • Nov. 3, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    Sophisticated hackers could crash the US power grid, but money, not sabotage, is their focus

    For now, the capability remains in the hands of nation-state actors. But "sophistication can ultimately be bought," Edison Electric Institute Vice President for Security and Preparedness Scott Aaronson said.

    Robert Walton • Oct. 28, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    A century later, utilities still face billions in potential liabilities from obsolete manufactured gas plants

    Thousands of manufactured gas plants dotted the American landscape in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, PG&E, ConEd and other utilities are still dealing with the contamination they left behind.

    Kavya Balaraman • Oct. 11, 2021
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    David McNew via Getty Images

    As California's solar net metering battle goes to regulators, a focus on reliability may be the best answer

    The reliability value of solar plus storage in ensuring resource adequacy might be the key to solar's future, according to Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies Executive Director V. John White.

    Herman K. Trabish • Oct. 1, 2021
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    Scott Olson via Getty Images

    State, federal actions show growing push for a nuclear role in reaching net zero emissions

    Former critics of nuclear power agree, financial support may be justified for firm power options to tackle climate change and get over the net zero emissions finish line.

    Herman K. Trabish • Sept. 28, 2021
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    Permission granted by First Solar

    Advancing the energy transition requires an honest discussion of costs, outages and land, analysts say

    Customers will tolerate the power system transformation's problems and challenges if they understand stakeholders will be "careful about the transition," one analyst said.

    Herman K. Trabish • Sept. 20, 2021
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    Permission granted by First Solar

    Key regulatory decision leaves California reliability issues unresolved, aggravates tensions

    In the long process to figure out how to share "attributes" of IOU legacy resources needed to meet state renewables mandates, a major decision could weaken collaboration between traditional and new load-serving entities.

    Herman K. Trabish • Sept. 8, 2021
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    Permission granted by Oklo

    Nuclear reactors of the future have a fuel problem

    Higher levels of uranium enrichment can unlock value from smaller and simpler reactors, but they come with new hurdles that the nuclear industry says only the federal government can address.

    Matthew Bandyk • Aug. 30, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    Will hydrogen usher in a new era of collaboration between gas and electric utilities?

    With hundreds of businesses from dozens of industries eyeing hydrogen as a key opportunity for future growth, gas utilities have started to make a case for their role in the clean energy economy. But not everyone shares their vision.

    Emma Penrod • Aug. 19, 2021
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    Adrian Ace Williams via Getty Images

    An ideal marriage? The battle to match US clean energy demand with excess Canadian hydropower

    It would seem like the perfect match — a surplus of Canadian hydropower with a grid in the United States that is hungry for more renewable power sources. But moving that power is proving to be complicated.

    Scott Van Voorhis • Aug. 16, 2021
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    Alex Wong via Getty Images

    California's Aliso Canyon review could offer key lessons on transition from natural gas, analysts say

    The state's consideration of whether to wean itself from one of its largest natural gas storage facilities could be a model, regardless of its success.

    Kavya Balaraman • Aug. 10, 2021
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    Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images

    The US power sector is halfway to net zero emissions, but it gets harder now, analysts say

    Renewables led the power sector's recent energy transition, but breakthroughs are needed to take the transportation, building and industrial sectors to net zero emissions by mid-century.

    Herman K. Trabish • Aug. 4, 2021
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    Scott Olson via Getty Images

    Gridlock in transmission queues spotlights need for FERC action on planning

    FERC is calling for stakeholder input to address the backlog in transmission queues holding 70% of the renewables needed for Biden's policy goals.

    Herman K. Trabish • July 19, 2021
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    Scott Olson via Getty Images

    'Doesn't make sense': Analysts pan omissions in MISO's first electrification impact analysis

    MISO’s first electrification-focused planning study was a "good start" by accentuating uncertainties on the rate and pace of the transition, but missed what storage needs will be and what least-regrets solutions offer, experts said.

    Herman K. Trabish • July 13, 2021
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    Adeline Kon/Utility Dive

    As the US begins to craft a hydrogen strategy, Europe's experience could offer valuable lessons

    Green hydrogen advocates are looking across the Atlantic for inspiration on the technologies, policies and strategies that could develop the domestic market. 

    Kavya Balaraman • July 6, 2021
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    David McNew via Getty Images

    From green to gold: 5 ways CFOs can gain from climate risk disclosure

    CFOs confronting growing pressure to disclose climate change risks can find in their analysis opportunities to improve capital allocation and risk management.

    Jim Tyson • July 6, 2021
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    Brian Tucker/Utility Dive

    As utilities risk missing carbon reduction targets, analysts stress need for organizational change

    Sierra Club and the Smart Electric Power Alliance published separate analyses on the shortcomings of utilities in their net zero emissions pledges, finding a common solution in new organizational approaches.

    Herman K. Trabish • July 1, 2021