Students of energy policy have long been familiar with the cry from activists: Government shouldn’t pick the winners and losers.
But the environmental movement, albeit with good intentions, is quite often guilty of that. Collectively, the environmentalists have told the electric utility industry, with varying degrees of vehemence, “We want wind and solar.”
As an afterthought, some environmentalists have acknowledged that there are other options, most notably nuclear and improved storage, and there is the possibility of new technologies or huge improvements in the known ones.
These deserve a hearing in the great sea change now taking place in electricity production.
Electric utilities want to reduce and end carbon emissions. But right now, they’re struggling with the overselling of alternatives when they don’t have enough essential backup in the form of storage. They also have the huge imperative of maintaining service — in lay terms, keeping the lights on.
To that end, CPS Energy has canvassed the world, seeking ideas that will best deliver 500 MWe of new technology, 900 MWe of solar power and 50 MWe of storage. The new technology includes solutions for generation, conservation, and what the utility calls “firming,” which is backup for electricity generated from sun and wind.
In response to its July request for information (RFI), CPS Energy has received nearly 200 expressions of interest from around the world. That enthusiastic response affirmed the mantra of