In this monthly roundup, we learn how lithium-ion batteries are affecting the energy market, how the 30-percent tariff on imported solar panels may actually help a Virginia business and why the Commonwealth needs to change energy policy and modernize its energy grid.
Big batteries are taking a bite out of the power market
The Wall Street Journal looks at how giant batteries that are charged by renewable energy are starting to “nibble away” at the power plants that create energy during peak hours. These plants are called “peakers,” are fired by natural gas and expensive to run. They usually crank into service only when demand rises, and regular supplies are insufficient, which is making them vulnerable to the appetite for lithium-ion batteries. Read the full story here.
Tariff may help Richmond solar panel manufacturer
When President Donald Trump’s administration announced that it would slap a 30-percent tariff on imported solar panels and the cells inside them, many saw it as a reckless move that would needlessly damage a booming U.S. industry. But for Charles Bush, who has pumped $1.2 million into a former die plant off Midlothian Turnpike in South Richmond in the hopes it soon will become Virginia’s first solar panel manufacturing facility, there could be a silver lining. Read the full story here.
CBJ: Local renewable energy companies face a changing political climate
Despite the historically cool climate toward renewable energy in Virginia, there are now more than 900 renewable energy companies in the state. To navigate state and federal roadblocks, energy companies are adjusting internal business models and eyeing state legislation that could do more to encourage the development and proliferation of renewable energy. Because there is no federal backing, many states and localities are providing their own incentives and leadership to promote renewable energy. For the most part, Virginia isn’t there — yet. Read the full story here.
Column: To attract businesses, Virginia needs to modernize its electric grid
Former Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd P. Haymore shared his thoughts on the Commonwealth’s approach to the generation and distribution of electricity in a recent column. One way to help keep positive results going in terms of electricity, he said, is for state lawmakers to take the steps needed to invest in the infrastructure of tomorrow. The Grid Transformation & Security Act of 2018 is an opportunity to address one of the state’s key economic building blocks and ensure we are best positioned for future investment, job creation and prosperity. Read the full story here.