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    1. How a Cold Day in Texas Exposed the Value of Grid Flexibility

      How a Cold Day in Texas Exposed the Value of Grid Flexibility

      As the sun rose over Dallas on March 3, 2014, thermometers read 15° Fahrenheit. Across the state, Texans turned their heaters on full blast as they prepared to head to work. Meanwhile, at the operations center for Texas’ electricity system, ERCOT, operators saw the price of electricity skyrocket. Around 8 a.m. prices jumped to nearly $5,000 per megawatt-hour, more than 100 times the average price of electricity. Though the unusually cold weather caused electricity demand to increase well above historical levels, the power market behaved as intended. Many power plant owners, who know their capacity is typically not needed during this time of year, had their plants offline for maintenance. Thus, when a period of unusually high demand on March 3 combined with relatively low supply, prices skyrocketed, demonstrating the fundamentals of supply and demand. Power plants that were available and able to turn on quickly -- to be flexible -- were rewarded handsomely.

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      Mentions: TX
    2. No, Cities Are Not Actually Leading on Climate. Enough With the Mindless Cheerleading

      No, Cities Are Not Actually Leading on Climate. Enough With the Mindless Cheerleading

      The idea that cities are leading on climate change is applauded over and over and over. There’s just one problem. It's not actually happening. Retrofit programs for buildings and homes aren't delivering results. Power distribution remains rooted in century-old thinking and technology. And those cities that claim to be on track to go "100 percent renewable"? Not even close. With the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord, city contributions are needed more than ever. But it’s time to stop with the empty platitudes and face reality. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

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      Mentions: U.S.
    3. Designing Storage for Homes That Don’t Have Solar Yet

      Designing Storage for Homes That Don’t Have Solar Yet

      Much has been made of the interoperability problem with home energy storage systems. Existing solar customers need battery systems that can connect easily with their legacy equipment. AC-coupled storage has proliferated to solve that problem. When Maine-based Pika Energy got to work designing power electronics for a new residential storage platform, the team decided to go in a different direction.  "AC coupling is attractive because you can retrofit it. However, actually getting the new battery inverter to talk to the legacy PV inverter is not a simple thing to do," said company President and co-founder Ben Polito. "Do you want to send your best technician to figure out how to interact with that 2011 inverter in an optimal way? It becomes more like a science project than a scalable solution."

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      Mentions: CO ME
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