NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: Forget The Planet, Save The Pizza
  • Weekend Video: Wind Power Shines Its Light
  • Weekend Video: Storing Solar As A Liquid
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Inner Circle Of Climate Action
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Europe Building Wind For A Continent
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global Solar Is A Better And Better Buy
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Big Wind A Go-Go Near Home of Beatles’ Beat
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, May 18:

  • TTTA Thursday-Methane From Alaskan Tundra Accelerating Climate Changes
  • TTTA Thursday-U.S. Voters Back Paris Climate Deal 5 to 1
  • TTTA Thursday-The Tesla Solar Roof Value Calculation
  • TTTA Thursday-Senator Slams Tilted DOE Grid Study
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Plan For New Energy
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What New Wires Could Do
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Questions To Answer To Get New Energy Right
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Big Benefits In Big Wind
  • QUICK NEWS, May 16: Why New Energy Won’t Be Stopped; Silicon Valley Takes On Laptop Wind; Floating Solar To Cut Costs
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Why Coal Ain’t Comin’ Back
  • QUICK NEWS, May 15: Why Doubters Deny Climate Change; U.S. Cities Are Getting Greener; Electricity Choice Movement Faces Pushback From Utilities
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, May 22:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Solar For Everybody Else
  • QUICK NEWS, May 22: The Plan To Beat Climate Change; Ready For The Offshore Wind Boom; Solar Research Faces Trump Cuts

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Solar For Everybody

    Bringing the Benefits of Solar Energy to Low-Income Consumers A Guide for States & Municipalities

    Bentham Paulos, May 2017 (Paulos Analysis)

    Executive Summary

    The declining cost of solar energy is creating opportunities for all Americans to save money on their energy bills. And no one benefits from energy savings more than low income consumers, who pay a much higher portion of their income for energy than middle- and high-income consumers.

    But being poor creates barriers to accessing solar power and its economic benefits. Low income consumers lack sufficient savings that can be used to buy solar systems, and they may have low credit scores or a lack of credit history that may impede their ability to finance a system. They are often renters, or live in multifamily housing, without ownership of their roof.

    Many programs and policies that encourage solar deployment rely on leveraging public dollars with private investment, where a small contribution of public funding can trigger a larger contribution from the market. A 30 percent tax credit on a solar investment, for example, is matched by a 70 percent investment by a homeowner. But low-income consumers are less able or likely to respond to this kind of offer, so some policy incentives fail to reach low-income populations. One alternative is to provide a greater portion of public funding directed toward low-income consumers, but that means limited public budgets don’t yield as much private investment or as many solar projects.

    Policymakers have been trying a range of approaches to bring solar to low-income consumers. This guide surveys the field and recent studies to give a sense of what is being tried, and what could be tried. It examines what has and hasn’t been working, and what factors determine whether a given policy or program might work in a given circumstance.

    There are many existing government programs and policies aimed at reducing poverty, providing housing, and promoting clean energy. These provide a strong starting point for how to bring the benefits of solar power to low-income households. But there are also many new and emerging ideas, including government policies and programs, new business approaches, and philanthropic and volunteer initiatives.

    Summary of solutions, by category

    Much of the activity around low-income solar access has been aimed at financing to solve the first-cost barrier that low-income households face. Financing ideas either adapt existing techniques or develop new approaches. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), Pay As You Save (PAYS), and third-party ownership arrangements are just a few of the many financing ideas discussed in this paper.

    There are also many government policies and programs that are being adapted or created for low-income solar to make it more affordable. Some of these are compensation mechanisms, which allow customers to capture the full value of their solar investment. The most common examples are net metering for solar generators located on the customer’s side of the meter, and virtual net metering, which enables community solar by tracking output from off-site generation. Compensation mechanisms are distinct from direct incentives, whereby government policies provide explicit financial or other inducements.

    Energy assistance programs are also starting to see the value of low-cost solar as a way to reduce energy burdens, often in combination with energy efficiency measures. The LowIncome Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) are starting to include solar as cost-saving measures. Many states have existing utility rate discount or bill payment programs that could harness solar to generate savings for consumers

    While much attention focuses on solar’s direct benefits to low-income customers by reducing energy bills, solar can also provide indirect help by cutting costs for low-income support services. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), especially, is starting to use solar to improve energy security for the millions of low-income Americans it serves, while saving taxpayers some of the $5 billion HUD spends annually on utility bills. By installing solar technologies, shelters, food kitchens, churches, and service organizations of all kinds could redirect energy savings toward their primary mission.

    Summary of recommendations

    This guide is primarily for policymakers interested in bringing the benefits of solar to low-income consumers and communities. While this guide makes some policy and program recommendations, it recognizes that not all policymakers face the same constraints, policy environments, stakeholders, economics, and opportunities.

    To be helpful to all readers, regardless of their specific situation, the guide suggests some design principles for developing a successful low-income solar program. It highlights some options that seem especially relevant, universal, or promising; and it describes a simple segmentation of audiences—homeowner, tenant, and support service—and the implications of reaching each of them. Finally, the guide presents several scenarios that may apply to states in certain situations.

    Of course, the recommendations presented in this guide may not be best in any given circumstance. The lengthy discussion of other solutions is intended to help guide possible alternative actions.

    In short, successful low-income policies and programs share some design principles: they are tailored to low-income consumers; they are cost-effective and financially sustainable; they have measurable results; and they are flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions and new learning.

    The guide offers several suggestions for policies and programs that seek to expand solar to low-income consumers:

    • Leverage existing state energy policy to support low-income solar deployment, such as by adapting net metering, portfolio standards, and financial incentives for renewables.

    • Incorporate solar into low-income energy efficiency programs to reduce implementation costs and provide deeper savings for households with very high energy burdens.

    • Adapt existing housing and anti-poverty programs to include solar, such as LIHEAP and WAP, public housing, and economic development incentives.

    • Set up a financial vehicle that can develop, test, and deploy innovative financial strategies and provide leadership and technical expertise to other agencies.

    • Promote volunteerism to provide low-cost solar to low-income communities, such as new solar homes built by Habitat for Humanity—and reinforce it through supportive incentives and policies.

    • Partner with trusted allies in reaching out to low-income communities to ensure greater buy-in and program enrollment.

    • Ensure any low-income solar policies and programs will actually provide tangible benefits to low-income households and communities.

    In choosing which policy approaches to take, it may first be useful to consider the specific solar consumer you are trying to assist, and the current policy and market environment.

    Not all low-income solar customers are the same. They face different challenges and may need different solutions or different combinations of solutions to overcome them. For example, low-income homeowners can see clear benefits from owning solar systems, but may face first-cost hurdles. Tenants of apartment buildings may not be able to own a rooftop system, but they may be able to benefit from a flexible community solar program. Low income housing landlords may be able to benefit from tax credits, energy savings, and increase in property value from going solar but may be unwilling to share those savings with tenants. Groups that provide support to low-income communities face their own hurdles and opportunities. As nonprofit or governmental agencies, they may enjoy low-cost financing, but may not be able to access tax credits and other incentives.

    The very definition of “low-income” varies widely, from one government agency or jurisdiction or program to another. Some programs, for example, include all households earning less than 60–80 percent of the area median income as low income, while others use income relative to the federal poverty level. Definitions can have a significant impact on program design and implementation. Being consistent with other programs may be important, or it may be helpful to target particular customer segments within the low-income customer class. “Moderate-income” households may best be served by different programs and policies tailored to fit their needs. This guide largely avoids these definitional complications to provide general guidance that can be adapted to specific situations.

    Lastly, to help inform programmatic options, the guide presents a few sample scenarios that state and local agencies may face when thinking about low-income solar program development. These scenarios vary by the state policy environment for renewables, the type of audience to be reached, energy costs, and other low-income energy policies.

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    QUICK NEWS, May 22: The Plan To Beat Climate Change; Ready For The Offshore Wind Boom; Solar Research Faces Trump Cuts

    The Plan To Beat Climate Change A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising. A chat with Paul Hawken about his ambitious new effort to “map, measure, and model” global warming solutions.

    David Roberts, May 10, 2017 (VOX)

    “…[The looming dangers of climate change are clear but] what about solutions?...[Paul Hawken, whose Natural Capitalism was called by President Clinton one of the five most important books in the world, has laid out] the 100 most substantive solutions to climate change, using only peer-reviewed research…[Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed Reverse Global Warming] is basically a reference book: a list of solutions, ranked by potential carbon impact, each with cost estimates and a short description. A set of scenarios show the cumulative potential…It is fascinating, a powerful reminder of how narrow a set of solutions dominates the public’s attention…” click here for more

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    Ready For The Offshore Wind Boom Massachusetts prepares for wind energy; The state aims to harness the strong, steady winds off its coast.

    Jan Ellen Spiegel, May 22, 2017 (Yale Climate Connections)

    “Off-shore wind energy is common in Europe. It’s never taken off in the U.S…[But Massachusetts] will soon request competitive bids for off-shore wind development – at sites 14 miles or more from Martha’s Vineyard…To encourage development, the state built a marine terminal to receive, construct, and repair wind turbines, which are too big for most ports…To make sure the state also uses the clean wind energy, Massachusetts passed new legislation that requires the purchase of 1,600 megawatts of wind-powered electricity per year within the next decade…Bidding for the first projects will start this year…[The first commercial-scale off-shore wind projects should be up and running] within four or five years.” click here for more

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    Solar Research Faces Trump Cuts Trump’s budget expected to massively slash research on renewable energy — and ‘clean coal’

    Chris Mooney, May 18, 2017 (Washington Post)

    “The Trump administration is expected to propose massive cuts to federal government research on wind and solar energy next week…The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which funds research on advanced vehicles as well as other aspects of clean energy, would face a roughly 70 percent [proposed] cut in 2018, carving about $1.45 billion from its $2.09 billion 2017 budget…The consequences of the proposed cuts could be wide ranging, potentially undermining the office’s SunShot Initiative, which has worked to drive down the costs of large-scale solar energy, which now runs about 7 cents per kilowatt hour. A goal of reaching 3 cents per kilowatt hour for large-scale solar electricity had been set for 2030…The cuts are far from becoming a reality. In recent budget negotiations, Congress funded Energy Department programs roughly on par with 2016 levels, rather than follow a Trump administration proposal to slash them deeply …” click here for more

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    Saturday, May 20, 2017

    Forget The Planet, Save The Pizza

    Everybody has their priorities. From ONgov via YouTube

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    Wind Power Shines Its Light

    Wind was named number two among the top one hundred climate change solutions in Drawdown by renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken.From American Wind Energy Association via YouTube

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    Storing Solar As A Liquid

    These are great ideas that could go a long way toward beating climate change but they have a long way to go.From Seeker via YouTube

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    Friday, May 19, 2017

    The Inner Circle Of Climate Action

    Study: inspiring action on climate change is more complex than you might think; People have to grasp how climate change impacts them, and we need to value environmentally sound behavior

    John Abraham, 19 May 2017 (UK Guardian)

    “…[Humans are causing climate change but they are not acting to stop it. A new paper describes] the hurdles that get in the way of meaningful action…[I]t is not just internal forces (emotions, beliefs, attitudes, etc.) that affect human behavior…[External factors] like social networks, societal roles, cultural worldviews, habits, infrastructure, investments, etc, are often severely underestimated in the extent to which they steer behavior. One fault of prior messaging is an almost exclusive focus…[on internal factors and a near-complete neglect of externals. A bigger hurdle is that] humans are not well equipped to coordinate behavior for common benefit…[because of the social dilemma that it can be] in the collective’s interest to act in one way but individuals may benefit personally if they act in another way… To radically alter the way humans think and live; educate the next generation; and design physical, governmental, and cultural systems, humans must experience and better understand their profound interdependence with the planet…” click here for more

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    Europe Building Wind For A Continent

    North Sea Wind Power Hub: A giant wind farm to power all of north Europe Coming up: 100GW mega wind farms on synthetic islands in the middle of the North Sea.

    William Steel, May 18, 2017 (Ar Technica)

    “The harnessing of energy has never been without projects of monolithic scale. From the Hoover Dam to the Three Gorges Dam…[engineers] have recognised that with size comes advantages…The trend is clear within the wind power industry too, where the tallest wind turbines now tower up to 220m, with rotors spinning through an area greater than that of the London Eye, generating electricity for wind farms that can power whole cities…[An unprecedented plan from electricity grid operators in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark aims to rewrite the rulebook on offshore wind development…[They are planning to] build an artificial island in the middle of the North Sea to serve as a cost-saving base of operations for thousands of wind turbines, while at the same time doubling up as a hub that connects the electricity grids of countries bordering the North Sea, including the UK…In time, more islands may be built too; daisy chained via underwater cables to create a super-sized array of wind farms tapping some of best wind resources in the world…” click here for more

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    Global Solar Is A Better And Better Buy

    Solar Is Now the Cheapest Energy There Is in the Sunniest Parts of the World

    Jason Dorrier, May 18, 2017 (Singularity Hub)

    “…The world currently uses about 14 cubic kilometers of oil, or oil equivalent in oil, gas, and coal…[but] the sun bombards our planet with 10,000 times the energy we use from all sources combined…Wind was a footnote in the energy mix 10 years ago…[but grew 10 times and now] makes 6% of all electricity in the US…Solar power has grown by 100 in the last 13 years…[with 35% to 40%] annual growth over the last 20 years…Solar prices are plunging even faster than those who are wildly optimistic [expected]…In the sunniest parts of the world, unsubsidized solar is becoming the cheapest form of energy. In the US, natural gas is the cheapest energy at around five or six cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)…[but solar deals have recently been signed in California at $0.051/kWh, in Chile at $0.029/kWh, and in Dubai at $0.024/kWh...Storage and batteries are still key…[but over the last 15 years, capacity of lithium-ion batteries tripled, and the energy cost per unit of energy dropped by a factor of 10]…” click here for more

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    Big Wind A Go-Go Near Home of Beatles’ Beat

    Mersey feat: world's biggest wind turbines go online near Liverpool; UK cements its position as global leader in wind technology as increasing scale drives down costs

    Adam Vaughan, 17 May 2017 (UK Guardian)

    “The planet’s biggest and most powerful wind turbines have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast, cementing Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the technology...[Dong Energy’s 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay] are taller than the Gherkin skyscraper, with blades longer than nine London buses…Each of the 195m-tall turbines in the Burbo Bank extension has more than twice the power capacity of those in the neighbouring Burbo Bank windfarm completed a decade ago…The project is the first time the 8MW turbines have been commercially used anywhere in the world…

    Collectively [the UK now has an offshore wind capacity] of 5.3GW, generating enough electricity to power 4.3m homes. Eight further projects already under construction will add more than half that capacity again…[T]he cost of offshore wind has fallen a third since 2012…[Dong thinks 13MW or 15MW turbines are within reach]…” click here for more

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    Thursday, May 18, 2017

    Methane From Alaskan Tundra Accelerating Climate Changes

    The ‘ancient carbon’ of Alaska’s tundras is being released, starting a vicious warming cycle; “This is ancient carbon, thousands and millions of years old.” It’s being released “much earlier than we thought.”

    Joe Romm, May 16, 2017 (ThinkProgress)

    “The Alaskan tundra is warming so quickly it has become a net emitter of carbon dioxide ahead of schedule…Since CO2 is the primary heat-trapping greenhouse gas — and since the permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does today — this means a vicious cycle has begun that will speed up global warming…[This is the first substantial report that a major portion of the Arctic is a net source of heat-trapping emissions and] warns that our current climate models need to be updated…[For a very long time, the] permafrost, or tundra, has been a very large carbon freezer…But we’ve been leaving the freezer door wide open and are witnessing the permafrost being transformed from a long-term carbon locker to a short-term carbon un-locker…Melting permafrost can release not just CO2, but also methane, a much stronger heat-trapping gas…Russian scientists have recently discovered some 7,000 underground bubbles of permafrost-related methane in Siberia. Since methane traps heat 86 times more effectively than CO2 over a 20-year span, these findings suggest that the effect of the melting permafrost is even greater than first thought…” click here for more

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    U.S. Voters Back Paris Climate Deal 5 to 1

    By 5 to 1, voters say the U.S. should stick with the Paris Agreement

    Ed Maibach, Anthony Leiserowitz, and Jennifer Marlon on May 16, 2017

    “… [The President’s] senior advisers have wrestled over whether to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, repeatedly postponing their meeting to reach a final decision…[But] a clear majority of Americans say that global warming is happening, human-caused, and a serious threat requiring action. More specifically, there is broad public support for the Paris Agreement — even among Trump voters…In a nationally representative survey conducted last November after the election, we found that seven in 10 registered voters say the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement. Only 13 percent say the U.S. should not…Majorities of Democrats and Independents, as well as half of Republicans, say the U.S. should participate. Only conservative Republicans are split, with marginally more saying the U.S. should participate than saying we should not…

    [A] majority of Americans in all 50 states say that the U.S. should participate in the Paris climate agreement…[Even the lowest levels of popular support are over 50% and] the states that provided President Trump with his electoral win are over 60%]…” click here for more

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    The Tesla Solar Roof Value Calculation

    Tesla Solar Roof versus Solar Panels: A Detailed Price Comparison

    May 17, 2017 (PowerScout)

    “Tesla recently announced that they have started accepting reservations for their eagerly anticipated solar roof…To understand the cost differential between a Tesla Solar Roof and traditional solar panels, we ran the numbers on a typical three-bedroom single family home in California with an estimated 2,000 sq.ft of roof space and an average monthly electric bill of $150…It is not surprising that Tesla has priced their product at a premium compared to other alternatives. It is a similar strategy to how they have priced their cars…

    If the existing roof is relatively new or you don’t need a new roof for many years, it is significantly cheaper (by 68%) to install solar panels on your existing roof than purchasing a Tesla Solar Roof…For homeowners, that have a really old roof with limited lifetime left, a Tesla Solar Roof could be a real option. Getting a traditional roof with solar panels is still cheaper by about35%. With the Tesla Solar Roof offering additional benefits such as better aesthetics, higher strength, longer roof warranties and the added convenience of dealing with only one company for roofing and solar, each homeowner can evaluate if the benefits are worth the additional price…” click here for more

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    Senator Slams Tilted DOE Grid Study

    Iowa senator slams energy chief for grid study undermining wind energy

    Valerie Volcovici w/Tom Brown, May 17, 2017 (Reuters)

    “…[Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says] U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has commissioned a ‘hastily developed’ study of the reliability of the electric grid that appears ‘geared to undermine’ the wind energy industry…[Grassley asked a series of questions about the 60-day study and] said the results were pre-determined and would show that intermittent energy sources like wind make the grid unstable…He pointed to a previous study conducted a few years ago by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which took two years to complete, not two months…Iowa gets 36 percent of its electricity from wind and that its largest utility, MidAmerican Energy Co, is on track to generate 90 percent of its electricity from wind in a few years…[and] has the ninth lowest electricity rates in the country…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Plan For New Energy

    The solar toolbox: How utilities can find the best planning approach for distributed solar; Studying the locational benefits of distributed solar is one way to plan, an LBNL study says

    Herman K. Trabish, September 29, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Utility and system planning continues to be the next frontier for New Energy to conquer.

    To cover a utility's fixed costs, are demand charges or time-of-use (TOU) rates superior? APS Director for State Regulation and Compliance Greg Bernosky thinks a demand charge is the best way to manage the utility’s peak demand and its costs. A price signal that gets customers to scale back their energy use during the utility’s peak demand period between 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays reduces the disproportionately big spending on infrastructure and fuel costs necessary to meet demand in those few hours, , according to Bernosky. Other rate design experts say there are many questions yet to be answered about demand charges, and one is whether time-of-use rates are superior to reduce peak demand and fit consumer needs.

    Rick Gilliam, distributed generation program director at Vote Solar, said the utility can more effectively address cost recovery with price signals customers can understand and act on through a range of rates. One example is the last year’s Colorado proceeding that was settled when Xcel Energy and renewables advocates agreed to both a demand charge pilot and a TOU rate trial. Another is this year’s agreement between APS and distributed energy resources advocates that included four alternative demand charges and a TOU rate. Both demand charges and TOU rates aim to use price signals to reduce consumer usage and shift it to off-peak hours, noted a recent report from Rocky Mountain Institute. When applied successfully, either rate structure can reduce peak load enough to allow utilities to defer or cancel costly investments in grid infrastructure… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: What New Wires Could Do

    How new transmission can unlock 10 times more renewables for the Eastern U.S.; The Eastern Interconnect can handle 30% renewables within a decade, but hotly-contested power line construction will be key

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 27, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Transmission builders now await the fate of the new administration’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan.

    The Eastern U.S. grid will theoretically be able to handle 30% renewables within ten years, but only with serious upgrades to the bulk power system. The Eastern Interconnection (EI), the world’s biggest power system, delivers electricity to 270 million customers. By 2026, the proper capacity expansion will allow system operators to maintain power reliability with more than ten times the current amount of wind and solar on the system today, according to the Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study (ERGIS). That forecast takes into account only existing technologies, but that doesn’t mean the capability will be automatic. Increasing on today’s 40 GW of wind and solar in the EI region will only make sense if there’s adequate transmission to deliver the electricity to offtakers.

    Developing that dramatic increase of today's estimated 35 GW to 40 GW of wind and solar resources will only make sense if there is adequate transmission to deliver the output to EI region off-takers. Whether that will happen remains up in the air, experts told Utility Dive. The EI is a 50,000 line, alternating current (AC) system served by over 5,600 generators. Its footprint spans the U.S. and Canada, from Nova Scotia to Florida and from the Atlantic coast to the foot of the Rocky Mountains. It contains six of the eight U.S. regional reliability entities, as well as the former Southeast Reliability Corporation (SERC), which includes Duke, Southern Company, and TVA. It is not the resource but the delivery system that is the limiting factor, said Wind on the Wires (WOW) Executive Director Beth Soholt, who has spent over 15 years working for new transmission throughout the Midwest. Veteran transmission authority Roger Rosenqvist, now a vice president at ABB, agrees the lack of new wires is a real barrier… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Questions To Answer To Get New Energy Right

    Demand charges vs. TOU rates: The great Arizona rate design experiment; Rate design experts debate APS's plan to be the first utility with mandatory demand charges for residential customers

    Herman K. Trabish, September 26, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Since this story ran, there is a rising trend of pilots and trials of these kinds of rates.

    There are big differences in how utilities are planning for the rise of distributed solar and a lot can be learned from a close look at how they plan to integrate it, according to a new study which analyzed 30 integrated resource plans from cooperatives, municipal- and investor-owned utilities and the divergent approaches to integrating distributed solar as penetrations rise in certain service territories. The report also assesses planning by five system operators, along with distribution system analysis in California, New York, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. While the primary planning has zeroed in on customer adoption, planners are already beginning to think about how distributed solar can serve system needs, lead author Andrew Mills said.

    Developing a forecast for deployment is key, since it guides planning in other areas. When accurately assessed, it can predict how distributed solar can meet generation needs, variability impact, and value and cost to the transmission and distribution system, according to Mills. The study describes four categories of deployment forecasting. Most planning uses essentially static or linear models based on the assumption that customers will continue to add DPV either to meet mandates or at an assumed rate or an historical rate. Such planning relies on few or no quantifiable predictive factors, according to the paper. But other types of forecasting, specifically customer-adoption planning, recognizes end user decision making hinging on photovoltaic economics and resource potential, among other factors. By using factors independent of mandates or historical trends, planners can generate new, self-consistent DPV adoption forecasts but it does not completely eliminate uncertainty… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Big Benefits In Wind

    Economic Development Impacts Of Wind Projects; Jobs And Economic Impacts Resulting From U.S. Wind Projects 2017-2020

    March 2017 (Navigant)

    Executive Summary

    The U.S. wind market will be in the 8-10 GW/year range through 2020.

    Total U.S. wind employment will reach 248,000 jobs in 2020. Total new wind economic impact will peak at $24 billion in the same year.

    The U.S. wind market will continue to grow through 2020, largely due to the extension of the Production Tax Credit…

    Conclusions

    Wind MW Forecast

    »There will be 35 GW of new wind installations in 2017-2020.

    »Annual U.S. wind installations will reach 10 GW in 2020.

    Wind Employment and Economic Impact

    »In 2017-2020, there will be 865,000 wind-related job-years of total employment.

     Manufacturing: 116,000 job-years of direct and indirect employment; 215,000 job-years of total employment.

     Construction and O&M: 396,000 job-years of direct and indirect employment; 650,000 job-years of total employment.

    »In 2017-2020, there will be $85 billion in total U.S. wind-related economic impact.

     Manufacturing accounts for $40 billion

     Construction and O&M account for $37 billion

     Sales, Income and Property taxes account for $8 billion.

    »TX, CO, & IA will experience highest employment. TX, IA, & CO will receive the most economic impact

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    QUICK NEWS, May 16: Why New Energy Won’t Be Stopped; Silicon Valley Takes On Laptop Wind; Floating Solar To Cut Costs

    Why New Energy Won’t Be Stopped 6 Reasons Trump Can’t (Totally) Derail Progress on Climate; Falling prices for renewables and a growing sustainability movement from the bottom up have changed the global picture.

    Laura Parker and Craig Welch, May 16, 2017 (National Geographic)

    “…[The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum announced is converting to solar. To save money…Eighty solar panels on the museum’s roof saves almost $10,000 on the yearly electric bill…[As the world watches to see if or how far the U.S. steps back from its leadership role in the climate fight, there are reasons to believe it doesn’t matter]…1. Solar and wind are cheaper than coal…2. Corporate America is on board [and driving New Energy growth]…3. States and cities are stepping up [with spending to back their 100% New Energy commitments]...4. It’s not just blue states and tree-huggers [that benefit economically from New Energy] …5. The influence center [is shifting] from Washington to Sacramento…6. [There is a] brighter global picture…[but even] if Trump kept all of Obama’s plans, the U.S. would fall short of its own target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Obama’s strategy always relied on the U.S. ratcheting emissions down more in coming years…” click here for more

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    Silicon Valley Takes On Laptop Wind Small Turbines From Silicon Valley Firm May Shift Wind Energy Market

    Betty Yu, May 12, 2017 (CBS TV News)

    “While wind energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the world, wind farms provide less than five percent of the energy in the U.S…[A] Silicon Valley startup is aiming to change the market’s direction…[Semtive] opened its U.S. headquarters at NASA Research Park..[to perfect smaller, distributed wind turbines] made for low wind speeds…[Instead of the 30 miles per hour wind speeds needed for utility-scale turbines, Semtive’s] blades are designed to allow the turbines to keep spinning at low [10 miles per hour] wind speeds…Semtive says the turbines are ideal for urban and rural areas. They are made of aircraft-grade aluminum…Installation on a rooftop or balcony takes less than an hour…[Semtive says the] smallest model starts at $4,600, [the turbines] qualify for green tax rebates and incentives from the state and federal government…[and] one medium-sized turbine can generate 100 percent of [an average residential customer’s] energy usage…” click here for more

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    Floating Solar To Cut Costs Floating solar panels possible wave of future

    Jamie Chambers, May 15, 2017 (Fox TV News)

    “…[The] floating solar panels at the Olivenhain Reservoir…[will be the first solar array of its kind and] has been billed as a triple technology threat by producing energy and water saving and cutting costs all at the same time…The plan is to cover 10 percent of the Olivenhain Reservoir with solar panels that would generate roughly 6 megawatts of power annually, which translates to powering 1,500 houses a year…According to officials, no tax dollars are needed, so rate payers would not be burdened by the floating solar panels…[And covering the reservoir will reduce] evaporation…The idea still has hurdles to jump through, like an environmental report and getting the neighbors to climb on board. So far most locals seem to be supporting the idea…[It] might come on line as soon as 2018.” click here for more

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