Author Archive: Karl Cates

Research Editor 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: 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: 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 →

IEEFA Update: The Truths Not Everybody Wants to Hear

The Wind Industry Is Creating Jobs; ‘Clean Coal’ Is a Myth; Change Is Happening Now

Wyoming doesn’t have much of a wind-energy workforce. But isn’t that a good problem to have? It means that as the state’s budding wind industry is creating jobs, bringing new money is coming into a struggling region, and offering some much-need diversification to a longtime one- or two-note economy. What it doesn’t mean is that […]

July 21, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Narrative Is Shifting

IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Narrative Is Shifting

Markets Are Changing; the Media Is Catching Up; Renewables Account for 20% of Total Generation in Latest Data Snapshot

What feels sometimes like a reluctant transformation is taking hold in the emergence of a “when” rather than “if” media narrative on the rise of renewable energy. This awakening is especially noticeable in the financial press, which can often seem captive in a historically entrenched way to the very financiers or industries it covers. Myopia […]