Author Archive: Karl Cates

Director of Media Relations Karl Cates has been an editor for Bloomberg LP, an editor for the New York Times, and a consultant to the Treasury Department-sanctioned community development financial institution (CDFI) industry.

IEEFA Update: The Puerto Rican Solar Elephant in the Room

‘New Interest in Ways of Shifting Island Power Grids Toward Greater Reliance on Renewables’

The hurricane ravage to America’s “51st state” has sparked what probably strikes some electricity-sector experts as an unexpected discussion about how to solarize Puerto Rico. IEEFA, informed by months of on-the-ground research and in conjunction with business and residents of the island, has been talking about it for a long time. The good news—to the […]

September 29, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Cracks in the War on Wind

Evolution, Tipping Points, ‘Hollow Showmanship’

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has the chart of the week in its depiction of the rapid evolution of wind turbines. Reproduced here, it reminds you a little bit of an old textbook evolution-of-man chart (Lucy to Piltdown to Neanderthal to Cromagnum). Progress in wind-turbine technology is happening a lot faster, obviously, than anything remotely biological, […]

September 22, 2017 Read More →

The Hurricane Case for Microgrids

Public Radio International: More than half of Florida’s population is estimated to have lost power because of Hurricane Irma. Many of the nearly 7 million Floridians who remained without power Tuesday will likely have to wait weeks before it’s restored. “What we think we’ll see on the west coast [of the state] is a wholesale […]

September 13, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: The Apolitical Wind

Benton County, Indiana: Cornfields, Soybeans, and a New Cash Crop

“White towers rising for miles amid the golden-tipped cornfields and leafy soybean plants” is a fun opening but the numbers are what jump out at you in a Wall Street Journal article published yesterday under the headline “Wind Power Wins Converts in Rural U.S.” About 100,000 people work in the American wind energy industry today—“close […]

September 8, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: The Solar Incursion

Arizona, Florida, Europe, Asia, South America, the World …

The sun shines almost all day every day in Arizona, where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration puts “yearly averages of percent of possible sunshine range” at 90 percent, give or take. This abundance is fueling a new Navajo Nation utility-scale solar installation that went online last week with the capacity to power 13,000 homes. […]

September 1, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Who Bob Murray Is, and What He Wants

A Life-Long Coal Man Rages Against the Night

Tom Sanzillo has a gimlet-eyed commentary up today piercing the coded talk Peabody Energy Glenn Kellow has been putting out lately around his save-the-company strategy. It banks on market intervention, that is, government action to reach in and keep his industry viable as natural gas and renewables take customers away. Peabody, the largest non-state-owned coal […]

August 25, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Open Talk of Transition

Utility Executives Speak of ‘Greening the Fleet’; a Coal-Subsidy Scheme Backfires; Clean-Energy Lobbyists in Washington

A remarkable bit of news surfaced this week through SNL—the trade publication, not the comedy show—in an article that cobbled together recent U.S. utility-industry earnings calls that had a strikingly common theme: CEOs talking openly now about getting out of coal. Several even “seem excited” to be doing so, among them the chief executives of […]

August 18, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: U.S. Coal Country Candor—What Would Raylan Givens Do?

Justice Prevailed on ‘Justified.’ But Only Because Somebody Stood Up for It.

What becomes now of the America of straight-talking, tough-but-fair Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, the hero (and sometimes anti-hero) of the late great Elmore Leonard? Givens was the central character in the AMC show “Justified,” a series that ran for six strong seasons before ending in 2015. It was built largely off a classic Leonard […]

August 11, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Something in the Wind

U.S. Nuclear Industry Reconsiders Expansion; Utility Exec Sees Less Risk in Turbine Farm Than Coal; Keystone XL Doesn’t Pencil Out Anymore

It’s de rigueur anymore for energy companies across the board to play up their clean-energy commitments—actual or just advertised—but executives at American Electric Power put some of their money where their mouths were in announcing intentions last week to invest $4.5 billion in the new Wind Catcher farm in Oklahoma. AEP’s logic is rooted in […]

August 4, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: A Growing Sense Across Energy Markets, and Among Market Players, That Change Is Gaining Pace

Peak Oil Demand; a Blockbuster Wind Deal; Battered Coal

Two stories this week got some bombshell play still ricocheting around. First was Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden saying the company, second only to Exxon Mobil among the oil majors and the biggest energy outfit in Europe, sees peak demand for oil occurring sooner than anticipated, contrary to the comparatively stodgy and widely […]

July 28, 2017 Read More →