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Solar In - Coal Out - Utilities Must Adapt

Photovoltaics will loom large as US energy economy pivots

Coal is on its way out while the sun shines ever brighter on renewable energy, David Hochschild, of the California Energy Commission, declared at a recent industry summit.

California is well on the way to proving to the country and the world that the challenge of integrating ever increasing amounts of renewable energy into the grid can be met, growing employment and maintaining power reliability, he said.

Hochschild was one of several top California energy policymakers who addressed The California Renewables Rush conference recently that was organized by The Energy Times.

Hochschild reported that the value of the four major coal companies in this country has fallen 99 percent in 5 years - from $32 billion to $170 million.

At the same time, renewables investments have surged, he said.

"The last five years and the next five years are the most exciting chapter of energy history in our country," Hochschild said.

Utilities will have to change.

"There is going to need to be as much innovation in the utility business model as there has been in renewable technology," the commissioner said.



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