We’re still eating the duck for breakfast: The blogs you clicked most in 2018 January 3, 2019 | By K Kaufmann We run the SEPAPower blog on the same principles of reader engagement I learned in journalism school. You have three seconds to grab your readers’ attention and get them to click on a headline, and possibly another three seconds to hold their interest and keep them reading past your first couple sentences. What this means in practice is, yes, we do sometimes get a bit click-baity with our titles, but once we’ve got your eyeballs, we try to give you fresh, substantive and occasionally provocative content. We know we have a lot of competition for your attention, especially since one of our primary outlets for the blog is the weekly Utility Dive: Solar email newsletter. Looking at the list of our top 10 SEPAPower blogs for 2018, the strategy seems to be working. While the blog may not always get the most clicks on our website, it is usually among the most visited pages in any one week, and hands down, it always has the longest time on page — four to six minutes or longer. Once you get there, you like what you read. The Village of Minster will be adding another 4.2 MW of solar and 7 MW of storage to existing installation, which sits on a former farm which is now the town’s well field. (Source: Midnet Media) 1. Solar powered yogurt and pop tops: How solar+storage helps a rural village thrive The Village of Minster, Ohio — population under 3,000 — has been a SEPAPower favorite. This update on one of our most popular blogs from 2016 shows how a small municipal utility can jump-start corporate demand for solar and storage. 2. Electrification and the role of the utility: A new front line in the U.S. energy transition Electrification — and the opportunities and challenges it presents for utilities — was a major focus of the energy sector in 2018. We were on top of it with this report from the Winter Policy Summit of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, aka, NARUC. Erika Myers checks out the Tesla Model X with a member of the DriveElectric team at the Low Carbon Networks and Innovation Conference in Telford, England. (Photo courtesy of ENA Events) 3. Three things you think you know about EVs are wrong This provocative piece, by SEPA’s Erika Myers, challenges conventional wisdom about the most effective incentives and utility business models to speed the adoption of electric vehicles. 4. Looking for the DER ‘holy grail’ – Smart thermostats outnumber batteries and deliver similar benefits at a fraction of the cost This guest blog post by Sam Shrank of Tendril also made a provocative assertion: A smart thermostat with the right optimization software can turn a home into a true grid resource, at a much lower cost than energy storage. 5. How New York and California are planning for the future of Community Choice Aggregation 2018 was also a big year for community choice aggregation (CCA). SEPA’s Rachel Henderson penned this update on how regulators in California, and other states that allow CCAs, are attempting to balance the community-level push for local control of electricity, and unresolved issues about reliability and oversight. Talking Puerto Rico at the Grid Evolution Summit (left to right), SEPA CEO Julia Hamm; Cris Eugster of CPS Energy; Nisha Desai, PREPA board member; Jose Roman Morales, former chair, Puerto Rico Energy Commission; Noel Zamot, Federal Oversight and Management Board; and Christian Sobrino Vega, Economic Adviser to the Governor of Puerto Rico (Photo by Momenta Creative). 6. DERs and the digital grid: No more pilots; full scaling ahead This report from SEPA’s 2018 Grid Evolution Summit focused in on the key themes that are top of mind among utility leaders — decarbonization, decentralization and digitization — and visions for accelerating the transition. 7. Eating the duck for breakfast: What the Southeast and California can teach each other about going solar Yeah, we all loved that title. But this piece looked at different approaches to putting solar on as many new homes as possible — the incremental path being taken in the Southeast vs. California’s 100% mandate. 8. Green tariffs: The new normal for corporate procurement of clean energy? Utilities across the country are responding to U.S. corporations’ voracious demand for new clean energy projects with green tariffs that ensure this additionality, as well as long-term price stability and RECs. This blog looks at the latest trends in corporate customer engagement. 9. Solar on every home? NREL outlines pathways to ultra low-cost residential solar In this guest blog, Jeffrey Cook of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory unpacks the market trends that will lower the levelized cost of energy for residential solar and make rooftop PV “a standard, cost-effective home installation, versus a luxury or long-term investment.” How a blockchain works (Source: Financial Times) 10. Blockchain probably isn’t the answer, but it prompts compelling questions This piece cuts through the buzz around blockchain to look at some of the technology’s practical and compelling applications for the energy industry. For example, could it be used as an alternative platform for managing distributed energy resources or for upgrading utility billing systems? Share Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedIn About the Author K Kaufmann Communications Manager K Kaufmann started writing about solar and clean energy as a beat reporter at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs. She covered the nearby city of Palm Desert, a town of 50,000 that spearheaded the drive for California to pass the first state-level property-assessed clean energy law and became one of the first cities in the nation to launch its own PACE program. She eventually went on to cover energy full-time, tracking debates over net metering as well as the permitting and construction of megascale utility-solar plants in the Southern California desert, including Desert Sunlight, Genesis and Ivanpah. She also has a background in business writing, with more than 10 years as an independent consultant for major firms in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Brandeis University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.