In his commentary, Steve Cicala fell into a common trap for economists analyzing the electricity system. Touting what economics calls competitive advantage, Mr Cicala suggests we pursue the lowest price by taking cheap solar electricity from the Southwest, wind from the Midwest, and even coal from Appalachia, and send it across the country to places where those same electrons can’t be as inexpensively generated.

Renewables financing under Alberta’s new procurement program is both an exciting and daunting prospect. Equity and debt providers have traditionally shied away from merchant projects in the renewables sector, but on the whole, are enthusiastic about the market potential in Alberta. With some revenue certainty at the right price range, investors are ready to finance new projects and participate in what’s expected to be Canada’s next renewables frontier.
Grid Scale

Last year was big for battery energy storage. Technology prices continued to fall. Milestone projects got under way, and the sector gained wide media visibility in May when Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, unveiled the company’s sleek new Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed for residential use.

The U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 11 issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) related to a Helena Valley Irrigation District request to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to develop the 9.4 MW Sleeping Giant Hydroelectric Project at the existing Helena Valley Pumping Plant site at the Canyon Ferry Dam on the Missouri River near Helena, Mont.