Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Clean energy is not without risks: Clean Currents goes out of business

There was a firm, Clean Currents, that bought wind-generated electricty and sold it to customers in DC, Maryland, Virginia, feeding the electricity into the service grid.

As the cost of electricity on spot markets has shot up as much as 500% during the polar cold snap, they were inadequately hedged and declared bankruptcy.

-- "Clean Currents turns off its lights after January's polar vortex spiked energy prices," Washington Post
-- "Cold and unhedged: How the polar vortex drove Clean Currents out of business," Business Journals
-- "Clean Currents wins Washington Business Journal Green Business of the Year," press release, 2010

Similarly, post-Fukushima responses in Germany and other countries that led to cessation of the use of nuclear power and substitution with "clean" energy has led to significant price increases ("After Fukushima: Could Germany's nuclear gamble backfire?," CNN).

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2 Comments:

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Well, lets be clear -- they were not a "clean energy" company-- they bought and sold renewable energy certificates. Very different.

And it wasn't demand for electricity that shot the prices up, it was demand for natural gas which then increased electric prices.*

I'd say the real lesson is a small independent firm can't hack it in that market.

* the might have been hit by being overexposed to DC/MD -- which does use electricity for heat.

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

hmm. Interesting point about cities and electricity and heating.

2. am listening to a webcast from the Atlantic Council. Very interesting comment about "the waste-water-energy nexus" and how planning for each is disconnected from the others.

 

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