NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

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

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While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: Global Warming In A Cold Winter
  • Weekend Video: New Energy Jobs Booming
  • Weekend Video: Cities Unite In Climate Fight
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-What’s Happening And What To Do About It
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World Ocean Wind To Quadruple by 2025
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Toward Europe’s Solar 3.0
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Storage For New Energy To Boom
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, January 11:

  • TTTA Thursday-Climate Change Is The Biggest Terrorist Of All
  • TTTA Thursday-Nuke Flop Sets So. Carolina Solar In Flight
  • TTTA Thursday-Denmark Demonstrates Year Of 43.6% Power From Wind Works
  • TTTA Thursday-Two Breakthroughs For Growing EVs
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What's Missing From The 100% Renewable Energy Debate
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Direction For The Debate Over Cost Shift And Value Of Solar
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The UK’s Record-Breaking New Energy Boom
  • QUICK NEWS, January 9: Interior Dept. Trades Public Lands For Profits; Energy Dept Plan To Boost Coal And Nukes Bloocked; Southeast Utility Giant Misguided on New Energy
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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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, January 15:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: States Step In On Utilities' Energy Plans
  • QUICK NEWS, January 15: “Stupendously” Expensive Climate Change; New Energy Almost half Of 2017’s New U.S. Generation; Record Competitive Prices For New Energy

    Monday, January 15, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: States Step In On Utilities' Energy Plans

    State Engagement in Electric Distribution System Planning

    Juliet Homer, Alan Cooke, et. al., December 2017 (Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium of U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories)

    Summary

    Electric distribution system planning is focused on assessing needed physical and operational changes to the local grid to maintain safe, reliable, and affordable service. While electric utilities have always engaged in this activity, the planning horizon has typically been short and involvement by state utility regulators minimal.

    Safety, reliability, and affordability remain top objectives for deeper state engagement in longer-term distribution system planning. Other drivers are proposed utility investments to replace aging infrastructure and modernize grids, opportunities to improve distribution system efficiency, enabling consumers to have greater control over energy costs and sources, and integrating higher levels of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as rooftop solar, distributed energy storage, and price-responsive demand.

    This report provides a snapshot of current state engagement in distribution system planning:

    • Part 1 describes activities in states that have adopted some advanced elements of integrated distribution system planning and analysis (see Figure S-1): California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York.3 It summarizes the impetus for early action, goals, regulatory requirements, additional state activities related to distribution system planning, and next steps.

    • Part 2 covers a broader array of state approaches. For example, some of these states have longstanding distribution reliability and performance codes, requiring regulated utilities to report regularly on poor-performing circuits and propose investments for improvements. Other states require regulated utilities to make filings related to proposed grid modernization investments.

    A growing number of states are beginning to consider comprehensive distribution system planning processes. This report documents activities in eight states with statutory or public utility commission requirements for electric distribution system or grid modernization plans, plus four jurisdictions with proceedings on such requirements underway or planned. We also cover activities in several additional states to provide a more accurate picture of the significant variation in approaches, in part stemming from differences in electricity market structure — states with restructured markets versus states where all utilities remain vertically integrated. Table S-1 provides a summary of these approaches.

    Table S-1 provides examples of states with longstanding requirements for utilities to report on reliability and resilience metrics and plans to improve on these measures, as well as states with storm-hardening requirements. Common emerging distribution system planning elements include DER forecasting, assessing DER locational value, analyzing hosting capacity, assessing non-wires alternatives, and engaging stakeholders (including third-party service providers) to comment on proposed planning processes and filed utility plans and help identify least-cost solutions to distribution system needs. Some states also are exploring new procurement mechanisms, such as competitive solicitations, to consider DERs as non-wires alternatives for load relief and other distribution system needs.

    Among the specific reasons PUCs are adopting these new planning and procurement practices are to facilitate higher penetration levels of DERs, harness these resources to provide grid services for customers, enable greater consumer engagement, and improve review of utility investments in distribution systems, particularly with respect to grid modernization.

    States can learn from each other and tailor successful approaches to their unique circumstances. Reviewing the broad range of legislative and public utility commission activities described in this report is a useful starting point…

    Conclusions

    While most states have not yet begun to directly engage in longer-term (five to 10 year) planning for electric distribution systems, New York, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Minnesota are early adopters. Several additional states, such as those featured in this report, are beginning to adopt long-term distribution system planning requirements for regulated utilities or are exploring such requirements. These efforts are building on existing distribution reliability and performance codes and PUC reviews of grid modernization investments proposed by regulated utilities.

    Beyond universal PUC interest in affordability and reliability, drivers for improved and more transparent distribution system planning processes include interest in more efficient operation of the distribution system, enabling greater consumer engagement, the need to replace aging infrastructure, opportunities to adopt grid modernization technologies for the benefit of consumers, addressing higher levels of DERs due primarily to cost reductions and public policies, and potential net benefits to customers for grid services provided by these resources.

    Approaches to state engagement in distribution system planning and grid modernization planning vary widely. They range from a cohesive set of requirements laid out in state statute or PUC orders, to an ad hoc requirement in a general rate case decision for the utility to file an initial long-term distribution system plan or grid modernization plan.

    Some PUC distribution planning processes are tied to greater utility assurance of cost recovery for proposed distribution investments that are included in approved plans.

    Common emerging distribution system planning elements include DER forecasting, assessing DER locational value, analyzing hosting capacity, assessing non-wires alternatives, and engaging stakeholders (including third-party service providers) in proposed planning processes and filed utility plans to help identify solutions to distribution system needs.

    Some states also are exploring new procurement mechanisms, such as competitive solicitations, and pricing programs to consider DERs as non-wires alternatives to meet certain distribution system needs (e.g., load relief) and ways to modify the utilities’ annual capital planning process to account for these options.

    Integration of distribution planning with other electric grid planning processes, including integrated resource planning (in states with vertically integrated utilities), transmission planning, and demand-side management planning, is of increasing interest. Such efforts are still nascent. Some early steps may include consistency in inputs, such as forecasts for loads and types and levels of distributed energy resources, scenarios, and modeling methods—updated in time—across these planning processes. The regulatory landscape is changing rapidly in this area. This report provides a snapshot of the early phase of adoption of new distribution system planning processes.

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    QUICK NEWS, January 15: “Stupendously” Expensive Climate Change; New Energy Almost half Of 2017’s New U.S. Generation; Record Competitive Prices For New Energy

    “Stupendously” Expensive Climate Change Unchecked climate change is going to be stupendously expensive

    Ryan Cooper, January 15, 2018 (The Week)

    “Climate change is first and foremost a threat to human society…[and one way that threat] is going to be expressed is through economic damage…[U]nchecked climate change is going to be terrifically expensive…[though] economic projections tend to be wildly inaccurate…[T]he amount of damage will depend greatly on what humans do in the future, and there have been few studies on what damage would be like under higher warming scenarios of 3 degrees or above…But we can say the damage is going to be very large — indeed, it's already quite bad. NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information estimates that 2017 was America's most expensive year for climate disasters of all time, with 16 disasters costing over $1 billion (more than three times the 1980-2017 average, after accounting for inflation) and a total cost of over $300 billion. That's about 1.5 percent of total GDP — or enough to pay for a $300 per month child allowance for every parent in America, with some left over…[And this] year is already off to a bad climate start…[T]he faster we move on climate policy, the cheaper it will be…[E]very year of delay adds $500 billion to the world total of necessary investment…” click here for more

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    New Energy Almost half Of 2017’s New U.S. Generation Nearly half of utility-scale capacity installed in 2017 came from renewables

    January 10, 2018 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

    “…EIA expects about 25 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to have been added to the power grid during 2017, nearly half of which use renewable technologies, especially wind and solar. Another 3.5 GW of small-scale solar net capacity additions are estimated to have come online in 2017…Of the renewable capacity additions in 2017, more than half came online during the fourth quarter…[largely] because of timing qualifications for federal, state, or local tax incentives…Monthly U.S. renewable electricity generation peaked in March at 67.5 billion kilowatthours, or 21% of total utility-scale electricity generation. In late spring, the melting snowpack from a winter characterized by higher-than-average levels of precipitation increased hydroelectric generation, while strong wind resources in March also produced a peak in monthly wind generation for the year…Most renewable generation in 2017 came from the Western census division…” click here for more

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    Record Competitive Prices For New Energy This is how coal dies — super cheap renewables plus battery storage; New Colorado wind farms with batteries are now cheaper than running old coal plants

    Joe Romm, January 10, 2018 (ThinkProgress)

    “Solar, wind, and battery prices are dropping so fast that, in Colorado, building new renewable power plus battery storage is now cheaper than running old coal plants. This increasingly renders existing coal plants obsolete…Xcel Energy [just] reported dozens of shockingly low bids it had received for building new solar and wind farms, many with battery storage…The median bid price in 2017 for wind plus battery storage was $21 per megawatt-hour, which is 2.1 cents per kilowatt-hour…[which is thought] to be lower than the operating cost of all coal plants currently in Colorado…The median bid price for solar plus battery storage was $36/MWh (3.6 cents/kwh), which may be lower than about three-fourths of operating coal capacity…[T]he average U.S. residential price for electricity is 12 cents/kWh…[B]y definition, half of the bids are below the median price…[There were] 87 bids for solar plus storage…There were 96 bids for wind power alone — at a median price of 1.8 cents/kwh…What XCel Energy has shown us is that the price for battery storage is dropping so fast, adding it to a solar or wind project increases the total price only modestly. And that’s a game-changer…” click here for more

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    Saturday, January 13, 2018

    Global Warming In A Cold Winter

    As the planet’s AVERAGE temperature is driven up by the accumulation of human-spewed emissions that traps the sun’s heat within earth's atmosphere, the climate changes in many ways. Many say the most accurate label is “global weirding.” From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

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    New Energy Jobs Booming

    Both the solar industry and the wind industry are producing job growth at over TWICE the pace of home health care, the industry with the third fastest-growing job growth rate. From Climate Reality via YouTube

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    Cities Unite In Climate Fight

    New markets and new ways of procuring supply now make it possible for cities to go all-in on the transition to New Energy. From Climate Reality via YouTube

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    Friday, January 12, 2018

    What’s Happening And What To Do About It

    What is climate change? The science and the solutions; The term “climate change” is bandied around a lot this days, but what actually is it, and how dangerous are its implications?

    Emma Sims, 12 January 2018 (Alphr)

    “…[Climate change is the] fluctuation that our planet’s climate undergoes over geological time…[The global average temperature is 15C…[but it has] been both much higher and lower in the past…[Now, driven by human-generated greenhouse gases (GHGs) that trap heat within the earth’s atmosphere, it is warming faster than ever before and having] environmental ramifications (melting ice caps, rising water levels, sinking ocean beds)…[GHGs from a variety of sources, including 57% from carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by fossil fuel use, have increased by over 30% since the beginning of the industrial revolution, causing 16 of the hottest years ever recorded in the 17 years of this century…[To reverse climate change, household] energy efficiency is one easy step…[Pushing utilities for renewable energy is another. Moving from a meat-based diet will reduce] methane emission and deforestation associated with cattle-rearing…[Avoid travel-related GHGs when possible. Recycling can reduce the landfill-produced] methane and CO2…[and, finally, a big contribution can come from more people moving to] environmental activism…” click here for more

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    World Ocean Wind To Quadruple by 2025

    Offshore Wind Energy Market’s Cumulative Offshore capacity is Expected To Reach To 49,931.6 MW By 2025…

    Steve Carl, January 4, 2018 (M.C. Today)

    “…[O]ffshore wind installations reduces the impact on real estate as in onshore installations…[and] wind speed is uniform and consistent in offshore installations, which increases the efficiency of electricity generation…[That makes offshore wind energy] highly attractive and more promising in terms of power generation and grid connections…[Restraining factors include exposure] to high humidity and salt contents, which affects service life of components due to corrosion, oxidation and increased repair and maintenance costs…[O]ffshore installation costs are much higher than onshore. The repair maintenance and overhauling operations are also high cost and time consuming…[According to Global Offshore Wind Energy Market– Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2017 – 2025,] the offshore wind energy market volume is expected to reach to 49,931.6 MW by 2025 [from today's 13,000 MW. Key trends include rising] investor confidence in the offshore wind energy market…[and deployment of 8MW and above wind turbine in European and Chinese farms…” click here for more

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    Toward Europe’s Solar 3.0

    Accelerating the path towards ‘solar energy 3.0’

    Stefan Degener, 12 January 2018 (EURactiv)

    “Europe is currently in the first stage of photovoltaic solar development. Moving to the next phases, 2.0 and 3.0, will require a smart new Green Deal that avoids the ‘boom-and-bust’ developments of the past and leverages private investment to achieve high renewable energy goals…[2018 could be the year in which the European Union moves toward] the recommended goal of having 35% of its electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030…By most accounts, upsizing the current commitment of 27% is the only feasible path to realising the region’s carbon-reduction obligations by 2030…[and] not unachievable…[C]oncerns remain about the so-called ‘ambition gap’…[and] shortfalls in national contributions…[A smart new Green Deal should recognize the need for new rules] for cross-border grid integration…[and] enabling the investments required…[Modernising electricity markets] would allow members states to use the power of private investment to absorb a significant amount of the expenditure needed…The next phase, 2.0, uses advanced plant control systems to strategically manage the output of a solar power plant to create spinning reserves and other ancillary grid services…[to enable] penetration of approximately 40%...Phase 3.0 delivers fully-dispatchable solar using energy storage and time-shift techniques…[with] the potential for as much as 80% penetration…” click here for more

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    Storage For New Energy To Boom

    Energy Storage for Renewables Integration; Energy Storage Integrated with Utility-Scale Solar PV, Utility-Scale Wind, and Behind-the-Meter Generation: Drivers, Barriers, and Global Market Forecasts

    4Q 2017 (Navigant Research)

    “The costs to develop new renewable energy projects continue to drop around the globe while policy incentives, target capacity mandates, and resilience demand for behind-the-meter (BTM) customers continue to increase. As a result, capacity for wind and solar PV continue to rise in all regions and market segments—from small residential systems to utility-scale systems…[But] the large-scale addition of these variable forms of generation presents challenges to an electrical grid…Energy storage systems (ESSs) can help mitigate potential grid concerns and integrate renewable energy resources without affecting grid reliability…[Asia Pacific is expected to lead all regions in deployment…[It is forecast to reach] annual installed power capacity of 11,180.0 MW in 2026…[Total annual revenue] is forecast to reach $23,201.0 million by 2026…” click here for more

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    Thursday, January 11, 2018

    Climate Change Is The Biggest Terrorist Of All

    America's Most Pressing Threat? Climate Change; The Trump administration is ignoring a huge threat to national security and global stability

    Retired Admiral James Stavridis, January 11, 2018 (Bloomberg News)

    “…[The newest U.S. National Security Strategy misses the mark on] the threats related to climate change and global warming, which were all but ignored…What makes climate change so pernicious is that while the effects will only become catastrophic far down the road, the only opportunity to fix the problem rests in the present…[Waiting to be ‘sure’ condemns us to a highly insecure future if we make the wrong bet…Water scarcity, droughts and resource struggles [have already led to wars and terrorism in] Syria, Sudan, Mali and the broad Arab world…Rising sea levels [are swamping] our ports and coastlines…[S]ome of our most vital military bases -- are at risk of flooding and eventually disappearing…[As Arctic ice inexorably melts, it] will generate geopolitical competition [and tension] between Russia and the five NATO countries that sit on the so-called Arctic Porch…[Economic impacts undermine] our ability to spend on defense…[The need to respond to repeated extreme weather crises] will continue to reduce overall defense readiness…[We must acknowledge the problem, re-take a leadership role, and] address climate change coherently across all agencies and departments…” click here for more

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    Nuke Flop Sets So. Carolina Solar In Flight

    Nuclear debacle energizes push for solar power expansion

    Sammy Fretwell, January 9, 2018 (The State)

    “As the fight continues over whether South Carolinians should get their [nearly $2 billion] back for [the failed V.C. Summer nuclear expansion] project, another battle is developing that could affect monthly electricity bills…South Carolina is nearing a state-set limit on solar energy that would curtail the expansion of rooftop solar systems for homeowners, industry officials say…In the next two years, SCE&G and Duke Energy are expected to reach the state-mandated limit, making it harder for people to add solar panels to their roofs…The Solar power industry is lobbying the South Carolina legislature to order state counties to give it tax breaks. The tax breaks, the industry says, are necessary to attract solar investment to the state…Since the Legislature voted in 2014 to ease some restrictions on solar power, the industry has added about 2,000 new jobs…dramatically increasing the number of home solar systems…[But the] utilities, fearful a wholesale move to solar power could cut into their profits, negotiated a limit on the expansion of solar energy…[To save jobs and grow solar, advocates say the cap must be] increased or eliminated…” click here for more

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    Denmark Demonstrates Year Of 43.6% Power From Wind Works

    Wind energy hits new record in Denmark

    8 January 2018 (Climate Action)

    “[Just-released energy statistics reveal] that in 2017 wind turbines delivered the equivalent of 43.6 percent of Denmark’s total electricity consumption, hitting a new milestone for the clean energy transition in the country…[T]otal wind output reached approximately 14,700 gigawatt-hours (GWh)…[The previous record was 2015’s] 42 percent of the country’s electricity needs…[Denmark has been] a pioneer in wind energy…[I]n 2000, wind turbines were already providing more than 12 percent equivalent of the country’s annual electricity consumption….[T]he country has a capacity of approximately 5.3 gigawatts (GW)…By 2020, wind power is anticipated to provide more than 50 percent of Denmark’s electricity consumption. Including solar and biomass energy, renewable energy sources are expected to hold a share of 80 percent in the country’s electricity mix.” click here for more

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    Two Breakthroughs For Growing EVs

    Maybe It’s Not As Hard As We Thought To Solve The Electric Charging Infrastructure Problem

    Ryan Felton, January 10, 2018 (Jalopnik)

    “…[The currently tiny EV market isn’t going to grow without a serious boom in fast charging infrastructure. But it might be an easier problem to solve than most think…It’s a weird conundrum: if carmakers want to succeed in attracting new EV buyers, there needs to be fast charging infrastructure in place…[But carmakers] aren’t keen on building infrastructure…Tesla’s the only one to really tackle the problem…[But that will] change as more EVs hit the road…[ChargePoint, the largest charging network for electric vehicles, just] integrated Amazon’s Alexa for its home charging suite…[allowing EV owners] to start and stop charging using the virtual assistant…[Most charging is done] at home or at work…[The big issue is] the gap in fast-charging highway stations…[That will be resolved by] a network that’s plotted smartly along all major highway routes…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, January 10, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: What's Missing From The 100% Renewable Energy Debate

    What's missing from the 100% renewable energy debate; Media coverage of a scholarly feud over fuel mix transition misses the broader implications of cross-sector decarbonization

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 3, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Following the debate highlighted in this story, the discussion has increasingly turned in the direction described.

    The news media can be distracted by stories that seem more important than they are. An example is the recent debate between Stanford professor Mark Jacobson and former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist Christopher Clack over whether the U.S. can be powered entirely by renewable resources in 2050. The New York Times headlined it “Fisticuffs.” The Washington Post called it a “bitter and personal feud.” A 2015 paper written by a Jacobson-led team argued electrification of all U.S. energy sectors can be done by 2050 with almost 100% wind, water, and solar (WWS) resources, plus energy storage. That supply mix and demand response can keep the U.S. grid “stable at low cost,” it concluded. But Clack, now CEO of renewable energy software firm Vibrant Clean Energy, argues that 100% renewables is a “valuable hypothetical aspiration” but should not be presented as a scientific article because it overlooks “technical and economic barriers” needed to get to 100% renewables.

    Jacobson responded by arguing Clack's critique was “riddled with intentional misinformation” and does not invalidate his conclusions. Media reports focused on the dispute about the resource mix and often overlooked how the energy system is evolving. But other researchers have begun to address the possibility of coupling together the many sectors of the economy that consume energy. They are thinking about new efficiencies from using electricity generated by renewables for heating and cooling and transportation. Many power system analysts agree that a 100% renewables penetration is technically feasible, but will require technology advances and new approaches like “cross-sectoral coupling,” now emerging in Europe and states where penetrations are growing fast, will electrify the transportation, industrial, and heating and cooling sectors of the economy to make the system more efficient, economical, and reliable… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Direction For The Debate Over Cost Shift And Value Of Solar

    NARUC rate design manual reignites debate over cost shift, value of solar; A new guidebook for state regulators runs into familiar contentions among utilities and the solar sector

    Herman K. Trabish, August 4, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Rate design complexities are now the weapons on the battleground where utilities and advocates are fighting about distributed energy resources

    Regulators around the country are refereeing heated debates between utilities and distributed resource advocates. Traditional utility and regulatory models are under pressure from the growth of distributed energy resources (DER), reports the Manual on Distributed Energy Resources Compensation, a new guidebook commissioned by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to help guide the debate over the new investments, new ways of allowing utilities to recover their costs, and new understandings of customer demand that will be necessary to meet the challenge.

    Both Phil Moeller, a senior vice president at the Edison Electric Institute, and Sean Gallaher, director of state policy at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) praised the manual, though their member companies often find themselves at odds in state rate design debates. Both also urged special attention to the question of a cost shift (or cross-subsidy) from customers with distributed generation (DG) to those without. Utilities say customers with rooftop solar and other DG often do not pay their fair share for grid upkeep, while solar companies say their systems provide grid benefits utilities do not recognize. Confronted with that question, general agreement on the approach of the NARUC manual turned to disagreement, leaving the question unresolved. But beyond persistent debates over the cost shift and value of DERs, the NARUC manual provides some vital guidelines for when utility regulators should take action on rate design for distributed resources… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, January 09, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: The UK’s Record-Breaking New Energy Boom

    Energy Trends December 2017

    December 2017 (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

    Section 6 – Renewables

    Key results show:

    Renewables’ share of electricity generation was 30.0 per cent in 2017 Q3, up 4.6 percentage points on the share in 2016 Q3, with increased renewable capacity and availability (as well as lower overall generation), outweighing slightly less favourable weather conditions for renewable generation (lower wind speeds). However, this was down 0.7 percentage points on 2017 Q2’s record 30.7 per cent…

    Renewable electricity generation was 22.3 TWh in 2017 Q3, an increase of 15 per cent on the 19.3 TWh in 2016 Q3, though 11 per cent lower than the peak quarterly generation of 2017 Q1 (25.1 TWh)…

    Bioenergy generation rose by 23 per cent (1.4 TWh), the highest increase across the technologies, to 7.6 TWh, due to increased availability at Drax, following outages one year ago. Onshore wind generation increased by 20 per cent, from 4.6 TWh in 2016 Q3 to 5.6 TWh in 2017 Q3, while offshore wind increased from 3.6 TWh to 3.9 TWh, an increase of 10 per cent…

    Renewable electricity capacity was 38.9 GW at the end of 2017 Q3, a 13 per cent increase (4.4 GW) on a year earlier, and a 2.1 per cent (0.8 GW) increase on the previous quarter, with half of the annual increase coming from onshore wind, and around one quarter from offshore wind…

    In 2017 Q3, just 62 MW of capacity eligible for the Feed in Tariff scheme was installed, increasing the total to 6.2 GW, across 914,560 installations…

    Liquid biofuels consumption fell by 4.5 per cent, from 385 million litres in 2016 Q3 to 368 million litres in 2017 Q3. Bioethanol consumption increased by 0.7 per cent while biodiesel consumption decreased by 9.5 per cent. In 2017 Q3, liquid biofuels represented 3.1 per cent of petrol and diesel consumed in road transport, down from 3.2 per cent a year earlier…

    Renewables’ share of electricity generation increased from 25.4 per cent in 2016 Q3 to 30.0 per cent in 2017 Q3. However, compared to 2017 Q2, renewables’ share was 0.7 percentage points lower…The increased share on a year earlier reflects the increase in renewables generation in addition to a decrease (2.2 per cent) in total electricity generation…Total electricity generated from renewables in 2017 Q3 was 22.3 TWh, an increase of 3.0 TWh (15 per cent) compared to 2016 Q3, but 11 per cent lower than the record of 25.1 TWh in 2017 Q1…Overall electricity generation fell by 2.2 per cent (1.6 TWh) from 76.1 TWh in 2016 Q3 to 74.4 TWh in 2017 Q3. This decrease accounted for 0.6 percentage points of the 4.6 percentage point increase in the share of renewable generation…

    In 2017 Q3, generation from bioenergy1 , at 7.6 TWh, was up by 1.4 TWh (23 per cent) on a year earlier. Within this, generation from plant biomass was up 35 per cent (1.2 TWh), due to increased availability at Drax, following extensive outages a year earlier; this was offset slightly by reduced generation from landfill gas…In 2017 Q3, electricity generated from onshore wind increased by 20 per cent, from 4.6 TWh in 2016 Q3 to 5.6 TWh, with generation from offshore wind up by 10 per cent to 3.9 TWh. Large increases in capacity over the year, particularly for onshore wind, more than out-weighed reduced wind speeds during the quarter. Wind speeds in 2017 Q3, at 8.0 knots, were down 0.3 knots on 2016 Q3…Generation from solar photovoltaics increased by 4.2 per cent (0.2 TWh) to 3.9 TWh, compared to 2016 Q3, due to increased capacity…Hydro generation rose by 8.3 per cent on a year earlier to 1.2 TWh; average rainfall (in the main hydro catchment areas) fell by 9.5 per cent during the quarter; however, within this, rainfall in the more critical first two months was up 2.8 per cent (including the wettest August since 2004), following the wettest June in the last 17 years (over double that of a year earlier)…Bioenergy had the largest share of generation (34 per cent) with, 25 per cent from onshore wind, 18 per cent from each of offshore wind and solar PV, and 5.6 per cent from hydro.

    At the end of 2017 Q3, the UK’s renewable electricity capacity totalled 38.9 GW, an increase of 13 per cent (4.4 GW) on that installed at the end of 2016 Q3, and 1.8 per cent (0.7 GW) higher than the previous quarter…At the end of 2017 Q3, solar PV, at 12.6 GW, represented just over 32 per cent of all renewable capacity, the highest share of renewable technologies. This was followed by onshore wind (32 per cent), offshore wind (16 per cent) and bioenergy (15 per cent)…Compared with 2016 Q3, onshore wind capacity increased by 2.2 GW (21 per cent), and offshore wind by 1.0 GW (20 per cent). During 2017 Q3, offshore wind capacity increased by 456 MW, with the final 162 MW (of 402 MW) installed at Dudgeon and a further 282 MW installed at Race Bank (with 360 MW of the final 573 MW now operational). Additionally, the first two (of five) 6 MW turbines at the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind (in Scotland), became operational. Meanwhile, onshore wind capacity increased by 240 MW, mainly in Scotland: a further 83 MW installed at Bhlaraidh (just short of the 110 MW final capacity), 77 MW at Kilgallioch (increasing capacity to 194 MW, of the final 239 MW), and the opening of the 61.5 MW Brockloch Rig…Solar PV increased by 0.9 GW on a year ago, with over half deployed in 2017 Q1, with the closure of the Renewables Obligation (RO) to the remaining new (grace period) solar schemes on 31 March 2017. During 2017 Q3, just 63 MW was deployed, with reduced RO/FiT support levels…Although bioenergy capacity was broadly unchanged on the previous quarter, across the year, it increased by 208 MW, with almost half from plant biomass and around one quarter each from energy from waste and (mainly FiT-supported) anaerobic digestion plants.

    In 2017 Q3, onshore wind’s load factor fell by 0.6 percentage points, from 21.0 per cent in 2016 Q3 to 20.4 per cent, due to lower onshore wind speeds. Offshore wind’s load factor fell by 1.6 percentage points, from 31.9 per cent in 2016 Q3 to 30.3 per cent in 2017 Q3…Compared with 2017 Q2, onshore wind’s load factor was down by 3.0 percentage points, while offshore wind’s load factor was 2.5 percentage points lower, with wind speeds 0.4 knots lower, at 8.0 knots…Hydro’s load factor in 2017 Q3 increased by 1.5 percentage points, from 29.0 per cent in 2016 Q3 to 30.5 per cent, due to higher rainfall in the first two months of the quarter, and a seventeenrecord high rainfall in June. Compared with 2017 Q2, hydro’s load factor in 2017 Q3 was 8.6 percentage points higher, with 63 per cent more rainfall in the main hydro areas…For bioenergy, the load factor in 2017 Q3, at 59.2 per cent, was up by 8.9 percentage points on a year earlier, but down by 0.8 percentage points on 2017 Q2, with one Drax unit, the largest generator within the bioenergy category, on outage in September.

    At the end of 2017 Q3, 6,206 MW of capacity was installed and eligible for the GB Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme4 . This was a 3.6 per cent increase on that installed at the end of 2016 Q3, but just 1.0 per cent (62 MW) up on the previous quarter…In terms of number of installations, at the end of 2017 Q3, there were over 914,000 installed and eligible for the FiT scheme, a 4.0 per cent increase on the number installed a year earlier…Solar photovoltaics (PVs) represent the majority of both installations and installed capacity on FiTs, with, respectively, 99 per cent and 80 per cent of the total. The majority of FiT-eligible PV installations are sub-4 kW retrofitted schemes, 2,454 MW (49 per cent) across 851,000 installations at the end of 2017 Q3…Renewable installations eligible for FiTs (all except MicroCHP) represented 16 per cent of all renewable installed capacity…

    In 2017 Q3, 368 million litres of liquid biofuels were consumed in transport, a fall of 4.5 per cent (17 million litres) on the total in 2016 Q3…In 2017 Q3, biodiesel accounted for 2.3 per cent of diesel, and bioethanol 4.4 per cent of motor spirit. The combined contribution of the two fuels was 3.1 per cent, 0.2 percentage points lower than 2016 Q3’s share…Bioethanol consumption increased by 0.7 per cent, from 189 million litres in 2016 Q3 to 190 million litres in 2017 Q3, while biodiesel consumption fell by 19 million litres (9.5 per cent), to 177 million litres over the same period…Biofuel consumption was split broadly equally between bioethanol and biodiesel, with bioethanol taking the slightly larger share at 52 per cent…

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    QUICK NEWS, January 9: Interior Dept. Trades Public Lands For Profits; Energy Dept Plan To Boost Coal And Nukes Bloocked; Southeast Utility Giant Misguided on New Energy

    Interior Dept. Trades Public Lands For Profits The Interior Department Has Cleared the Way for Energy Developers to Destroy Natural Habitats; And opened the door for lots of lawsuits.

    Elizabeth Shogren, January 6, 2018 (Mother Jones)

    “…[The Interior Department has] quietly rescinded an array of policies designed to elevate climate change and conservation in decisions on managing public lands, waters and wildlife…[Order 3360] explains that the policies were rescinded because they were ‘potential burdens’ to energy development…[It prioritizes energy development and de-emphasizes] climate change and conservation…[in] a department that manages a fifth of the nation’s land, 19 percent of U.S. energy supplies and most of the water in the 12 Western states. It fulfills a high-profile executive order by Trump and a secretarial order from [Interior Secty. Ryan] Zinke…[and the Bureau of Land Management just announced] a related policy change that makes it easier for companies to develop oil and gas [on 67 million acres of prime sage grouse habitat across 10 Western states] that were protected in 2015 as part of an unprecedented conservation initiative…[and there are] dozens of policy changes in the works to remove barriers to energy development…” click here for more

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    Energy Dept Plan To Boost Coal And Nukes Bloocked Energy regulator rejects Perry's plan to boost coal

    Darius Dixon and Eric Wolff, January 8, 2018 (Politico)

    “…[The the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to prop up struggling coal and nuclear power plants, a major defeat for the former Texas governor and the coal companies…[Perry wanted approval for an order] to guarantee financial payments to the plants that could be facing retirement because of the rise of natural gas and renewable energy, a strategy that many critics said would undermine the power markets the regulator has spent decades building…[But the 5-0 FERC decision] axed Perry’s proposal and instead ordered the nation’s regional grid operators to submit information about ‘naturally occurring and man-made threats’ to their systems within 60 days…Perry said he was pleased his proposal had sparked a national debate [about ‘marketplace distortions’ of the nation’s power system]…But FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur criticized Perry's effort for failing to show the grid was in danger…The effort to support coal power plants has been a central theme for Perry in his first year at DOE…” click here for more

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    Southeast Utility Giant Misguided on New Energy Clean Line: A TVA Failure of Clean Energy and Environmental Leadership

    Stephen A. Smith, Janaury 8, 2018 (CleanEnergy.Org)

    “It has become increasingly clear that the Tennessee Valley Authority is taking a hostile position towards renewable energy. TVA’s recent decision to ignore, or flat out reject, renewable energy from the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project is the latest in a string of anti-renewable energy positions…[It is woefully behind peer utilities like Duke Energy North Carolina, Georgia Power, and FPL in Florida]…The Plains and Eastern Clean Line project was the largest renewable energy project proposed for the Southeast…[and] would have delivered 3,500 megawatts of exceptionally low-cost, high capacity factor wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to a converter station in TVA territory…TVA could have netted carbon-free energy for about two cents per kilowatt hour…a locked-in price, lower than the fuel prices of natural gas…[But it needed] utility power purchase agreements to financially anchor it…[TVA President Bill Johnson’s] track record at Progress Energy and now at TVA is one of building large natural gas projects and supporting troubled nuclear projects; he does not understand renewable technologies, thinks they are a threat to the traditional utility business model, and brings this narrow thinking to his leadership position at TVA…” click here for more

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    Monday, January 08, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: How To Get More Distributed Energy On The Grid Faster

    Optimizing the Grid: A Regulator's Guide to Hosting Capacity Analyses for Distributed Energy Resources

    Sky Stanfield and Stephanie Safdi, December 2017 (Interstate Renewable Energy Council)

    Executive Summary

    From coast to coast, states are experiencing unprecedented growth in distributed energy resources (DERs) – resources located on the electric distribution system, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage. With much of this activity being driven by consumers, changes to the nation’s outdated electric system are underway. To ensure that the benefits of these DERs are fully optimized, there is a need to proactively integrate them into grid planning, operations and long-term investment decisions. Rather than simply “tolerating” DERs, there is an opportunity to utilize a new tool known as Hosting Capacity Analysis (HCA), which can help more Americans enjoy the benefits and full potential of these resources on the grid.

    The term “hosting capacity” refers to the amount of DERs that can be accommodated on the distribution system at a given time and at a given location under existing grid conditions and operations, without adversely impacting safety, power quality, reliability or other operational criteria, and without requiring significant infrastructure upgrades.

    HCAs allow utilities, regulators and electric customers to make more efficient and cost-effective choices about deploying DERs on the grid. If adopted with intention, HCA may also function as a bridge to span information gaps between developers, customers and utilities, thus enabling more productive grid interactions and more economical grid solutions.

    Utility regulators play a key role in ensuring HCAs are deployed strategically, prudently and for the benefit of all energy customers. Optimizing the Grid: A Regulator’s Guide to Hosting Capacity Analyses for Distributed Energy Resources will assist state regulators in guiding and overseeing utilities as they conduct hosting capacity analyses on their distribution circuits, as part of a broader grid modernization or distribution planning efforts and/or in support of their state’s near- and long-term energy policy goals.

    Based on lessons from the handful of states and utilities that have begun to prepare HCAs, this guide focuses on the process that will help regulators realize HCAs’ full promise in their respective states. The experiences and key takeaways from the states and utilities undertaking these analyses, including California, New York, Minnesota, Hawaii and Pepco Holdings, Inc., provide important insights for other states and utilities to take into consideration as they pursue similar efforts. Details on each can be found in Appendix A of the full guide.

    Hosting Capacity Analysis Use Cases

    There are two principal applications, or use cases, for an HCA: 1) assist with and support the streamlined interconnection of DERs on the distribution grid; and 2) enable more robust distribution system planning efforts that ensure DERs are incorporated and reflected in future grid plans and investments. A third, complementary function of an HCA could be to inform pricing mechanisms for DERs based on separate analyses to assess the benefits of DERs based on their physical location on the grid and their performance characteristics (see Figure ES-1). To achieve an effective HCA, regulators and utilities should carefully consider and articulate their goals and use cases at the outset of an HCA effort.

    Use cases can be selected to reflect the unique characteristics and identified goals of states and utilities. These use cases should inform and guide the development of an HCA methodology and its implementation. A process should also be in place to refine the selected use cases as new regulatory, social, and technological conditions emerge. The two major HCA use cases—interconnection and planning—as well as the complementary function of optimizing the locational benefits of DERs are discussed in detail in Section III of the full guide.

    Hosting Capacity Analysis Methodologies

    A well-considered methodology for determining hosting capacity is necessary given the variety of factors that affect the grid’s ability to host a wide range of DERs. IREC has identified three principle categories of methodologies that are currently being tested and employed by utilities to analyze hosting capacity, generally known as the stochastic, iterative, and streamlined methods. This paper describes these methodologies, including the tradeoffs between them that may make them more or less suited to the various use cases that regulators may select. Briefly, the three methodologies are characterized as follows:

    The streamlined method applies a set of simplified algorithms for each power system limitation (typically: thermal, safety/reliability, power quality/voltage, and protection) to approximate the DER capacity limit at nodes across the distribution circuit.

    The iterative method directly models DERs on the distribution grid to identify hosting capacity limitations. A power flow simulation is run iteratively at each node on the distribution system until a violation of one of the four power system limitations is identified. The iterative method is also sometimes referred to as the detailed method.

    The stochastic method starts with a model of the existing distribution system, then new solar PV (or other DERs) of varying sizes are added to a feeder at randomly selected locations and the feeder is evaluated for any adverse effects that arise from this random allocation. This essentially results in a hosting capacity range.

    Different methodologies can result in different hosting capacity values due to different technical assumptions built into the models, and the methodological choices in an HCA can significantly impact whether the results are sufficiently reliable and informative for grid-related planning and decision-making. Section IV of the full guide outlines several key considerations when evaluating and selecting HCA methodologies.

    Regulatory Process Underpinning Hosting Capacity Analyses

    The process underpinning HCA efforts is key to ensuring that the HCA tool is deployed to support relevant state policy goals and sufficiently reflects the input from stakeholders, ultimately enhancing the benefits for all ratepayers. Still an emerging grid modernization tool, the benefits and drawbacks of different HCA methodologies are being revealed, and likely will become even more apparent with time. However, rather than wait for the perfect HCA methodology to emerge, regulators can take initial steps to gain familiarity and understanding of the different HCA methodologies, their function, their capabilities, and their limitations. Given the substantial investment in time, energy and resources that HCA efforts require, there is value in taking the time early in the process to ensure that the tool being developed is capable of meeting identified objectives. Questions or concerns about what an HCA can do should be addressed before widespread implementation, lest substantial resources be invested in something that proves invaluable or ambiguously useful. This paper identifies the key process steps and considerations therein, summarized as follows:

    Establish a stakeholder process to work with utilities and other interested stakeholders to select, refine and implement the HCA. Ideally, this process should involve one or more working groups consisting of utility and nonutility participants with oversight from regulators to guide the HCA development. Regulators should also retain a process to improve on the selected HCA methodology over time and establish clear timelines for utilities to meet near and long-term HCA goals. Figure ES-2 outlines best practices for stakeholder engagement, drawing from lessons learned in states such as California, Minnesota and New York.

    Select and define the use cases for the HCA with input from diverse stakeholders, ensuring they are clearly designed to address and achieve identified goals, including state energy policy goals. These use cases should inform and guide the development of an HCA methodology and its implementation. As regulators and utilities consider undertaking an HCA, it is critical that all stakeholders carefully consider and select desired use cases for HCA together at the beginning of the process. Defining use cases ensures that the cart is not put before the horse and will also prevent potentially costly and inefficient undertakings that do not produce useable results.

    Identify criteria to guide implementation of the HCA at the outset. Working through the established stakeholder process to identify and answer key questions regarding the scope, duration and other key elements of the HCA can help ensure a more efficient process throughout (and greater buy-in from all involved). The frequency of updating the HCA results, the extent of the grid covered by HCA, and criteria for ensuring transparency in the selected HCA methodology and its results are all important to discuss and define. In addition, regulators may consider whether to create a phased roadmap for implementation of HCA, depending on the level of sophistication of the utilities and the timeline for achieving state energy goals. However, care should be taken not to create an endless implementation timeline that quickly becomes obsolete or fails to miss near term opportunities for deployment and use.

    Develop an HCA methodology (or methodologies) most appropriate to the use cases. Regulators will need to provide sufficient guidance for utilities to clarify what HCA should be capable of doing and how it can be used to support identified goals, such that the final tool is designed appropriately to meet such goals. This can be accomplished by providing clear and specific guidance and ensuring that the methodologies and assumptions are transparent and informative to all involved stakeholders and end-users. Regulators should ensure that the HCA methodology is scalable so that, even under an incremental approach, the full grid and range of DERs can eventually be analyzed. Different methodologies can result in different hosting capacity values due to different technical assumptions built into the models. Given the variety of factors that affect the grid’s ability to host a wide range of DERs, it is necessary to select a well-considered methodology for determining hosting capacity based upon its intended use.

    Validate the results of the HCA over time. As with any model or analysis, real-world validation can help improve accuracy and functionality over time. Transparency in the methodology and assumptions and ready access to HCA results will ensure that they can be easily validated and any problems with the methodology identified and resolved. Ideally, sufficient information about the methodology should exist so that a third party could perform an independent analysis to validate the results reached by utilities. Regulators will need to consider the most useful manner for utilities to publish and display hosting capacity data, and set milestones over time to evaluate the performance of the HCA, relative to identified goals.

    As regulators oversee the implementation of HCAs, there are other key considerations to keep in mind, noted throughout the guide. For example, requiring consistency in approaches and methodologies among utilities (where there are multiple utility services territories within a state) will help simplify the implementation and oversight process, while also ensuring a more consistent and efficient utilization of this tool among DER project developers and customers. Data sharing is another key factor shaping the evolution of the electricity grid, and the data collected and generated as part of an HCA will help utilities, regulators, and DER customers better capture the diverse value streams of DERs. Concerns surrounding data sharing can and should be managed proactively and should not be a reason to not pursue HCAs or related efforts.

    In addition, given swift changes to technologies, performance and markets, HCAs should be agnostic to the type of DER analyzed to ensure that it remains useful over time. Technology agnosticism can also help utilities identify opportunities to expand hosting capacity with other DERs and deploy non-wires alternatives as part of utility grid upgrades and investment plans.

    Perhaps most importantly, HCAs should not be developed or implemented in a vacuum, and should be considered in the context of other policy choices and how they may impact how DERs are deployed. As consumers and the market responds to new programs, policies and price signals, so too should the HCAs reflect the anticipated and planned changes to DER adoption. More robust DER forecasting methodologies will need to be developed in order to provide greater accuracy of the HCA.

    Ultimately, as utilities plan for and pursue (or solicit from third parties) grid infrastructure improvements over time, HCAs can help ensure that DERs are optimized, not discouraged, on the system as an integrated and functional feature of affordable, quality and reliable electricity service provided to all ratepayers.

    With this guide in hand, regulators can provide the leadership and direction needed to ensure the process, function, and implementation of HCA supports and enables the critical grid transformations underway across the country.

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