New Energy Vs. Fossil Fuels, The Showdown
Fossil fuels dominates early, thanks to government subsidies. But New Energy has staying power. From Jessica Findley via YouTube
Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...
Fossil fuels dominates early, thanks to government subsidies. But New Energy has staying power. From Jessica Findley via YouTube
This utility will soon be running on 80% New Energy.From Greentech Media via YouTube
There are many ways to invest in urgently needed solutions and exponential transformation is coming. From The Economist via YouTube
Ten renewable energy trends to watch in 2021
Brian Eckhouse, Will Mathis, Dan Murtaugh, January 6, 2021 (World Oil)
“…[The breakout of sustainability and infrastructure] will likely continue into 2021, fueled in part by last year’s major turning points…China has now committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2060…Some analysts have started predicting that the U.S. power sector is approaching peak natural gas…Residential installations in the U.S. dropped nearly 20% in the second quarter of 2020 from the first—the most ever—as the pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders…[but] the sector bounced back and the country added 19 gigawatts of total solar power…Installations doubled in China…New battery-storage capacity in the U.S. more than doubled in the third quarter of 2020 from the second…
…[Spain’s use of solar] was up over 60% in 2020 compared to 2019…[European rtenewable power's 40%] share of the grid compared with 34% from plants burning fossil fuels…A 67-day period became Britain’s longest stretch without coal since the Industrial Revolution and helped make 2020 the country’s greenest year yet…India's debt-burdened utilities were further battered by the world’s largest lockdown in 2020…[Australia’s high] power prices and abundant sunshine have spurred a love affair with rooftop solar, with about 29% of households now outfitted…[Rising] costs for solar have so far not affected sales…[E]lectricity shutoffs prompted by wildfire risk has contributed to mounting U.S. homeowner interest in rooftop systems and batteries…” click here for more
Renewable Energy Stocks See Record Investments
Haley Zaremba, January 11, 2021 (OilPrice)
“…[M]aybe all we needed was a global apocalypse to finally catalyze the global clean energy transition…Organizations as respected as the World Economic Forum have advocated using the pandemic’s disruption as an opportunity to create a “new energy order” and a “great reset.” International agencies such as the United Nations, the International Energy Agency, and the European Union, are all drafting or already imposing green stimulus plans…[and] blue-chip companies are pushing for a green energy stimulus…Just this week, [the] $6.2 billion iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ticker ICLN) lured a record $691 million of inflows…
…[and] the $4.6 billion Invesco Solar ETF (ticker TAN) is on track to take in nearly $370 million…Fossil fuel tycoons and out-of-work laborers in the shale patch fear that the focus on developing green energy alternatives and diverting funds to [sustainability investing] will come at their expense. But there is a strong argument to be made that even in West Texas, clean energy is the way forward and the key to job creation…[C]limate change will be very, very expensive for all of us…[T]he data shows that it's also a great financial move regardless of your politics.” click here for more
Transmission troubles? A solution could be lying along rail lines and next generation highways; Multiple studies show the need for interregional transmission is growing and proposals to streamline siting will help, but cost allocation remains a barrier
Herman K. Trabish, Nov. 12, 2020 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: As the Biden moves from pandemic recovery to economic recovery, building a new national transmission system will get increasing attention.
Utility-scale renewables and flexible, distributed renewables, some of the basic elements of deep decarbonization, are growing rapidly, but the transmission system needed to deliver and integrate them is not. Recent studies, including the landmark and reportedly suppressed Department of Energy Seam study, show expanded transmission is critical.
But two key barriers — where to put the new lines and how to pay for them — still slow development, according to a June 2020 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report to Congress. Allocation of the new lines' costs remains unresolved, but new approaches to siting are attracting attention.
"Siting is one of the most intractable barriers," but "largely untapped" rights-of-way (ROWs) on already developed "brownfields," such as railroads and highways, could "alleviate the problem," former FERC Chair James Hoecker wrote on behalf of the Rail Electrification Council (REC) in a July filing with FERC on transmission planning incentives. Hoecker's filing defines brownfields as "land already developed for another industrial or ground-disturbing purpose" and notes that "there are many potential kinds of available brownfields that may be suitable for co-development, railroads and highways among them."
These railways and "next generation" highways, in which transmission lines, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and broadband/5G infrastructure are co-located, could bypass objections of private landowners on transmission siting and streamline deployment.
Using existing ROWs is a feasible way to build the urgently-needed interregional transmission described in the Seam study, transmission authorities agreed. But to resolve the cost allocation barrier, stakeholders must recognize high voltage transmission's economic, reliability and resilience benefits, and its importance to deep power system decarbonization, they said. New transmission that links the now largely disconnected halves of the U.S. power system can benefit customers and the environment, according to the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Seam study.
New high voltage alternating current (HVAC) or direct current (HVDC) transmission can increase the "transfer capability" across the seam separating the Eastern and Western Interconnections. That would deliver more and better renewable generation to system operators on both sides and allow "substantial energy and operating reserve sharing," the study found. DOE officials impeded release of the study's findings because of potential impacts on fossil fuel industries, InvestigateWest reported in August. But other studies have reached the same conclusions… click here for more
Bill Gates: Climate change could be more devastating than Covid-19 pandemic—this is what the US must do to prepare
Catherine Clifford, January 8, 2021 (CNBC)
As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse.” So says billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates…To prevent the deaths, damage and destruction that will come with a warming planet requires innovation, he said…[And the relatively small decline in emissions this year shows flying and driving less] is not enough, Gates said…And innovation to fight climate change must start urgently…To do that, the United States needs to have the equivalent of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for energy innovation, Gates said…
…[A National Institutes of Energy Innovation is the] most important thing the U.S. can do to lead the world in innovations that will solve climate change…[and] NIH should serve as a model for the proposed National Institutes of Energy Innovation because the NIH has been so successful, according to Gates…Specifically, Gates suggested the National Institutes of Energy Innovation should be composed of institutes with specific areas of focus, and each group would work to take an idea from the research lab to market…” click here for more
California’s Clean Energy Roadmap
January 6, 2021 (American Clean Power California)
RELIABLE CLEAN POWER FOR CALIFORNIA
All Californians need electric power during every hour of every day, particularly as we experience more extreme and intense climate events. There can be no backsliding on reliability. A diverse portfolio of clean technologies over a larger footprint will deliver affordable reliability without compromising air quality or decarbonization. We are committed to working with California’s leaders to quickly address the basic need for reliable power.California will ensure electric system reliability while achieving climate mitigation and public health goals by investing in a diverse portfolio of clean resources such as utility-scale solar, storage, land-based wind and offshore wind, deployed in a manner responsive to disadvantaged communities, and with an eye toward powering California’s building and transportation sectors.
ACTIONS MUST KEEP PACE WITH AMBITIONS
The State is falling behind on much needed clean capacity to power California homes and businesses. To prevent future power outages and to set the pace to achieve our 100% clean energy objective, California’s agencies, and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) must coordinate to establish consistent long-term goals and take immediate, decisive action to require procurement and deployment of renewable energy and storage. We can safely, reliably, and affordably address our need for clean power with existing technologies; what is required is enhanced leadership to marry California’s long-term ambitions with immediate action.California must take immediate action to:
• Overcome regulatory barriers to new renewable energy and storage deployment targeted for operation in 2021-2023.
• Order immediate procurement of 13-24 GW of additional renewable energy and storage to provide replacement power for planned retirements in 2024-2025.
• Initiate market reforms to optimize reliability from wind, solar, and storage resources.
• Signal the need for offshore wind in California and develop a statewide implementation plan for permitting, transmission, and supply chain development.
• Set a consistent and aggressive greenhouse gas reduction target for use in all statewide energy planning efforts.
IMMEDIATE SOLUTIONS TO THE NEAR-TERM CAPACITY SHORTFALL
Expedite approvals, interconnections, and upgrades to prevent future outages
All relevant agencies must fast-track statewide, local, and utility processes associated with interconnection and permitting of renewable energy and energy storage resources to address supply deficiencies and mitigate the impact of outages.
Identify and procure renewable energy and storage to replace planned retirements
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) should direct procurement of at least an additional 13-24 GW of nameplate capacity (7-11 GW of net qualifying capacity) of additional renewable and storage resources by 2025, beyond what has already been ordered by the CPUC, to replace conventional resources (gas and nuclear) slated for retirement.
Enable renewable energy and storage projects to provide essential grid services
Ensure that renewable energy and storage receive full value for these contributions, inclusive of an assessment and timeline to ensure alignment across all relevant agencies and the CAISO. Redesign California’s reliability rules and procurement practices to reflect California’s changing resource mix, ensuring that renewable energy and storage at all scales receive their full and fair value for their ability to contribute to resource adequacy, provision of grid services, and resiliency.
Troubleshoot and expedite permitting of renewable energy and storage infrastructure
Prioritize renewable energy and storage projects needed urgently to meet system needs, identify and troubleshoot siting and permitting issues, and work together to shepherd projects simultaneously through multiple permitting processes with the shared objective of permitting the renewable energy, storage, and associated distribution and transmission upgrades necessary to decarbonize California’s economy in a timely manner.
IMMEDIATE ACTIONS FOR A SUSTAINED TRANSITION TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY
Recalibrate greenhouse gas planning goals for consistent statewide planning
The California Air Resources Board (CARB), California Energy Commission (CEC), and CPUC should work together to ensure consistency and accuracy of greenhouse gas planning targets to yield the results necessary to achieve 100% clean energy.
Initiate planning and development of transmission infrastructure to meet SB 100
Improve the relationship between the Integrated Resource Planning process and Transmission Planning process to ensure timely and sufficient approval and development of distribution and transmission infrastructure to deliver a diverse suite of renewable energy and storage resources to meet California’s 2030 and 2045 requirements.
Signal California’s commitment to offshore wind with 2021 action
Communicate support for a lease auction for California offshore wind in 2021 to the Biden-Harris Transition Team and Administration as a priority item for early federal agency climate action and encourage the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to hold a lease auction for offshore wind in the Morro Bay and Humboldt Call Areas by the end of 2021. To deploy offshore wind in the mid-2020s, immediate engagement and coordination with federal agencies is necessary.
Plan for deployment of offshore wind at scale
Develop an implementation plan to achieve an offshore wind development goal of at least 10,000 megawatts by 2040, with an interim target of 3,000 megawatts by 2030, as part of the State’s overall renewable and greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements, and as indicated by SB 100 Joint Agency planning; addressing permitting, transmission planning, economic development, and sea-space identification for offshore wind.
This climate turmoil is anything but normal. It is happening right now at home and around the world and impacting people in devastating ways.From NationalSierraClub via YouTube
These steps are not new. The news is that the crisis has become an emergency because the steps were not taken. It is time to get crazy busy, From Oregon State University via YouTube
With generation, storage, and grid management technologies coming together, New Energy is ready to step into this moment.From CNBC Television via YouTube
The Climate Emergency: 2020 in Review; Despite some promising developments, the need for action has grown even more urgent William J. Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M. Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R. Moomaw, January 6, 2021 (Scientific American)
“The climate emergency has arrived and is accelerating…[The adverse effects] are much more severe than expected, and now threaten both the biosphere and humanity. There is mounting evidence…The year 2020, one of the hottest years on record, also saw extraordinary wildfire activity in the Western United States and Australia, a Siberian heat wave with record high temperatures exceeding 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) within the Arctic circle, a record low for October Arctic sea ice extent of 2.04 million square miles, an Atlantic hurricane season resulting in more than $46 billion in damage, and deadly floods and landslides in South Asia that displaced more than 12 million people…[There are now ove 13,700 scientist-signatories to a paper] showing vital signs of very troubling climate change trends with little progress by humanity…
As we move into 2021 and beyond, we need a massive-scale mobilization to address the climate crisis…Swiftly phasing out fossil fuels is a top priority… Quickly cutting emissions of methane, black carbon (soot), hydrofluorocarbons and other short-lived climate pollutants is vital…We must restore and protect natural ecosystems such as forests, mangroves, wetlands and grasslands, allowing these ecosystems to reach their ecological potential for sequestering carbon dioxide…A dietary shift toward eating more plant-based foods and consuming fewer animal products, especially beef, would significantly reduce emissions…We must transition to a carbon-free economy…Exploitation of ecosystems for profit absolutely must be halted for long-term sustainability…The global human population, growing by more than 200,000 people per day, must be stabilized and gradually reduced…[There are glimmers of hope and aggressive] transformative change, if framed holistically and equitably, will accelerate broad-based restorative action and avert the worst of the climate emergency…” click here for more
3 Things to Watch in Renewable Energy in 2021; This year could be a big one for the renewable energy market.
Matthew DiLallo, January 2, 2021 (Motley Fool)
“…[T]he global economy installed a record amount of new renewable capacity in 2020, primarily powered by surging demand in the U.S. and China. Overall, 90% of the new electricity generating capacity added in 2020 was renewable energy…[and] 2021 could be an even stronger year for renewable energy…[First, pandemic] headwinds should fade in 2021…[New] tailwinds should grow stronger…[By Q3 2021,] the European Union and India will join the U.S. and China in accelerating their shift toward renewables…[Second, the] cost of battery storage has fallen dramatically over the years. A decade ago, it cost between $71 to $81 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for a four-hour battery storage adder to a wind or solar energy project. But by 2020, the cost of adding a battery storage component had plummeted to between $6 to $12 per MWh. And it's currently on track to fall to a range of $4 to $9 per MWh by 2022…
…Only 28% of the utility-scale solar projects built in 2019 had battery storage, but most projects developed in 2021 will likely feature it…[and] companies will likely also retrofit more existing ones with it…[Third, emissions-free green hydrogen will begin to replace natural gas…Several companies are investing in this emerging technology…[and there will likely be] more project announcements and partnerships in 2021…The global economy continued its transition toward renewable energy in 2020, and that trend shows no signs of slowing in 2021…” click here for more
As conflict rises over utility DER ownership, a Duke Florida program could offer a way forward; Regulators must decide how to separate regulated and private markets as both see ownership of rooftop and community solar.
Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 23, 2020 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Efforts like this one to equitably drive the growth of solar will grow in importance as the fight against the climate crisis accelerates.
Utilities are pushing for a bigger role in integrating distributed energy resources (DER) in their service territories, saying their ownership would benefit customers. They also see economic opportunity and other advantages in the flexibility of DER, which is becoming vital in today's power sector transition.
"Utilities are now critical in decarbonization and, as power grid experts, they are leading innovation," said Duke Energy Vice President of Rate Design and Strategic Solutions Lon Huber. "All clean energy options should be on the table, and if a program is structured in a way that provides benefits to all customers — participants and non-participants — it is a win-win that should be pursued."
Meanwhile, a new study from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds benefits of utility DER ownership, though private sector advocates say the data may not tell the whole story.
Utilities competing against private providers exposes shareholders to unnecessary risk, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Jon Wellinghoff said, reaffirming his 2015 position, which was cited in the LBNL study. Utilities should instead "host" the "grid marketplace" and "allow third parties to bear the risk of selling DER to end customers," Wellinghoff wrote in a 2015 op-ed.
Though many regulators have accepted utilities' move from traditional, centralized generation to utility-scale renewables, until recently states such as Mississippi and Florida have seen utility DER ownership as intruding in the private market. But a Florida debate led by Rábago Energy Principal Karl Rábago, a former Assistant Secretary of Energy and Texas utilities commissioner over whether utilities should be allowed to own community solar may foreshadow a shift in power sector dynamics.
Utility-owned rooftop solar programs could increase total shareholder earnings by 2% to 5% over 20 years, LBNL modeling found, compared to an estimated 2% loss over 20 years from the same amount of customer-owned or leased rooftop solar. Shareholder benefits come largely from ratepayer-paid returns for utility capital expenditures on solar and from limiting compensation to private, net-metered solar owners, LBNL found.
Under LBNL's scenario, rates increase due to additional utility spending, but only by 2%, comparable to the 2.2% bill increase non-rooftop solar customers would see because of net metering compensation and other costs, LBNL Research Scientist and study co-author Galen Barbose said. "Shareholders win and customers break even in our base case assumptions," Barbose said. Less certain assumptions could further improve the value proposition for utilities, he added… click here for more
New EIA And FERC Reports Show New Capacity Additions And Growth In Electrical Generation By Solar & Wind Are Expanding Faster Than Natural Gas; Trend Expected To Accelerate Over Next Three Years
Ken Bossong, December 21, 2020 (SUN DAY Campaign)
“…[A]nalysis of recently released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), electrical generation by solar and wind is beginning to close the gap with natural gas and the trend is accelerating…[W]ind accounted for 7.9% of U.S. electrical generation during the first nine months of 2020. Solar - including small-scale solar PV (e.g., rooftop systems) provided another 3.4%. By comparison, natural gas provided 40.6%...[And] the increase in new electricity from wind and solar was actually greater than the increase in electrical generation by natural gas…
...[D]uring the first three-quarters of 2020, solar and wind increased their electrical generation by 45,285 gigawatt-hours (GWh) compared to the same period in 2019…[E]lectrical generation by natural gas increased by only 45,254 GWh. While it continued to provide the largest of the nation's electrical output, natural gas grew by only 3.8% during the first nine months of 2020 and actually dropped by 5.5% in the month of September…[W]ind grew by 12.2% and solar by 22.1%...Over the past half decade, electrical generation by wind has increased by 80.0% while that from solar is more than triple what it was in September 2015…[Natural gas increased] by only 23.6%...Wind and solar are projected to further narrow the gap with natural gas over the next three years…” click here for more