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

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.



  • TTTA Thursday-U.S. Could Get Very Hot
  • TTTA Thursday-New York Needs Ocean Wind
  • TTTA Thursday-New York Needs Rooftop Solar

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Taking Energy Storage To The Markets

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Energy Storage Solutions For Medically Vulnerable Households In Power Outages
  • QUICK NEWS, July 16: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate; EVs As Energy Storage

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Cost Of Wind
  • QUICK NEWS, July 15: Key To The Climate Crisis Fight; Economics Send Red States To New Energy

  • Weekend Video: Bill Maher On Mars, Earth, And The Environment
  • Weekend Video: Extreme Midwest Weather And The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: The Lies That Became The ClimateGate Smear
  • --------------------------


    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish



    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




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


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

  • ---------------
  • FRIDAY WORLD, July 19:

  • A Climate Crisis Choice Worth Wrestling With
  • New Energy Around The World
  • New Energy Needs New Policy

    Friday, July 19, 2019

    A Climate Crisis Choice Worth Wrestling With

    Leaked UN science report warns of clash between bioenergy and food; Models suggest large areas of land are needed for forests and biofuel crops to halt climate change, but this risks worsening hunger, draft tells policymakers

    Natalie Sauer, 17 July 2019 (Climate Home News)

    “Blanketing the globe with monocultures of forests and bioenergy crops is no dream fix to the climate crisis. Models suggest large areas of land are needed to draw carbon dioxide out of the air to limit global warming to 1.5C, the most ambitious target in the Paris Agreement…[But a leaked draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)] warns this risks worsening hunger by competing with food production for space…Intensifying the production of bioenergy crops through the use of fertilisers, irrigation and monocultures could also erode soil and its capacity to soak up carbon in the long run…[Modern bioenergy could be an overlooked giant of renewables and is expected to] outpace solar, wind and hydropower in the next five years…

    [But] converting land to bioenergy production could deprive countries of valuable agricultural soil and displace crops and livestock to less productive regions. Populations most at risk of food insecurity were sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia…To minimise the conflict, scientists advised governments to limit the scale of bioenergy…[and] to protect and restore ecosystems known for their capacity to absorb carbon, including grasslands, peatlands and coastal wetlands, which affect smaller areas…On the food production side, [a shift sustainable farming that cuts waste and a shift to lower meat diets can also help to alleviate pressure on land…The current food system is responsible for over half of human-caused methane emissions and 25-30% of total greenhouse gas emissions…” click here for more

    New Energy Around The World

    The Global Energy Map Is Changing Faster Than You Think

    Enrique Dans, July 16, 2019 (Forbes)

    “…Australia’s 10 GW $20 billion Sun Cable to supply 20% of Singapore’s electricity needs through] a 3,800-kilometer submarine cable…[and its even bigger hybrid wind-solar Asian Renewable Energy Hub will transition Australia] from exporting mainly coal and natural gas to being a leader in clean energy…[F]illing the Sahara desert with windmills and solar panels could generate enough electricity to supply the energy needs of the entire world…[In the US, solar is already the fastest-growing new] source of energy, ahead of gas or wind, despite the tariffs imposed by its ignorant president on imported solar panels…[Morocco, India, China, Mexico, the US and the United Arab Emirates] will fill vast tracts of land and even the sea, with solar panels, completely changing the global energy map, with the concomitant geopolitical consequences…

    Renewable energy is already the cheapest and most logical way to produce energy without the need for subsidies. By introducing hydroelectric and geothermal energy into the equation, in addition to solar and wind energy, Costa Rica has already managed to go for 300 days in a row without burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. Portugal has managed four days with only renewable energy, the UK, a thousand hours without burning coal…The need to make this transition is becoming more urgent every day. Germany has already announced the closure of all its 84 coal-powered plants and India has canceled plans to build any more due to the plummeting cost of solar energy…[Only countries that update their generation policies can hope to win a place on the new global energy map.” click here for more

    New Energy Needs New Policy

    Politics not technology: what must change for the world to go 100% renewable by 2050

    J.P. Casey, 15 July 2019 (Power Technology)

    “…[With a surge in political will, and a desire to change the Earth’s energy habits across all levels of society, the] world can be entirely reliant on renewable energy sources by 2050, without significant technological advances…[Four and a half years of predictive modelling and analysis offered] a vision for the world where, by 2050, all human energy needs are met through renewable sources…[It does not require] a technological revolution, or insist on sudden social change…[T]he changes necessary to deliver a renewables-based future are not technological or industrial, but political and legislative…[G]overnments need to adopt national legislative acts that will ensure the swift uptake in the development of renewable energy, storage technologies, sector coupling, and smart energy systems…

    Frameworks should include favourable investment conditions for all actors, including businesses and communities…[Policymakers should impose] taxes on operations producing carbon, methane and radioactive waste, and parallel tariff laws to encourage investments…[I]nvestors are likely to see returns, with a renewable-driven future predicted to be cheaper than the present energy sector…[which should] attract support from a greater range of people, from traditional power executives and national governments to renewable start-ups…” click here for more

    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    U.S. Could Get Very Hot

    Climate crisis: US ‘on path to extreme heat’ in coming decades if emissions aren’t reduced, study says; Only mountainous regions will remain extreme heat refuges in 80 years if current emissions levels continue, scientists warn

    Harry Cockburn, July 16, 2019 (UK Independent)

    “…By 2050, hundreds of American cities could experience an entire month each year with US ‘heat index’ temperatures above 100F (38C) if nothing is done to tackle emissions and the resultant climate crisis…[According to new research from the Union of Concerned Scientists,] the US National Weather Service heat index scale starts topping out above temperatures of 127F (52C), depending on the combination of temperature and humidity…[O]nly a few mountainous regions would remain extreme heat refuges by the century’s end…[A failure to reduce emissions could set the country on a path] so far in excess of current climate trends they will surpass the heat index…

    …[The index] is a measure of how hot it feels when humidity is factored in with the air temperature…[Its coloured scale starts] with 80F (26C) which is yellow – caution, and rising through dark yellow beginning at 91F (33C) – extreme caution, orange at 103F (39.5C) – danger, and up to red beginning at 126F (52C) – extreme danger…The average number of days per year nationwide with a heat index above 105 degrees Fahrenheit would more than quadruple to 24 by mid-century and increase eight-fold to 40 by late century…Such ‘off-the-charts’ conditions could pose unprecedented health risks…” click here for more

    New York Needs Ocean Wind

    Twisting in the wind: The state must rise to the challenge of becoming a wind-power leader

    Roland Lewis, July 15, 2019 (New York Daily News)

    “…[New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) is] a groundbreaking law that will drastically lower the state’s carbon footprint while boosting our economy…[But there is a] race to become the central port of the East Coast for the multi-billion-dollar offshore wind industry. The winner gets thousands of permanent, good-paying jobs…[CLCPA calls for] nine gigawatts of energy through offshore wind by 2035…[The world’s largest wind farm companies, mostly European, are] looking to get involved…Gov. Cuomo has allocated $200 million to upgrade infrastructure in the Port of New York to accommodate this rapidly expanding maritime-based energy industry…[but] the funds are still waiting to be spent…[Meanwhile, up and down the East Coast, state governments are] making their moves…

    Massachusetts has funded the construction of the country’s first purpose-built terminal for offshore wind projects in the Port of New Bedford, and Vineyard Wind has snapped it up for $6 million per year in rent…[Vineyard Wind’s project will create 3,600 local, full-time jobs…Connecticut announced $93 million in revitalization plans for the Port of New London to embrace the offshore wind industry. New Hampshire is forming an offshore wind task force…[Off Rhode Island, Deepwater Wind brought the country’s first offshore wind farm online] in 2016…[and] New Jersey just awarded the biggest offshore wind energy contract in the country so far, to Ørsted for 1,100 MW…According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there could be 43,000 offshore wind jobs on the East Coast by 2030…” click here for more

    New York Needs Rooftop Solar

    How New York City Is Turning Its Thousands of Roofs Into Power Providers; Manhattan now has the country’s biggest array of solar panels on an apartment complex. The Bronx could soon have a bigger one

    Patrick McGeehan, July 10, 2019 (NY Times)

    “New York City is home to thousands of acres of rooftop, some of the most expensive electricity in the country and progressive leadership that has embraced efforts to combat climate change…[but it] has been slower than other big cities in tapping into one constant source of clean energy: the sun…[Now both state and city leaders are] making sweeping promises about swearing off using fossil fuels…[and] some of the biggest expanses of flat roof in New York are being turned into sources of cheap and green electricity…This year, the corporate owner of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan completed the installation of the country’s largest array of solar panels on an apartment complex. And soon, the Bronx could have an even larger one, at the massive Co-Op City complex…

    These broad-scale, privately funded projects could help New York catch up with big cities like Los Angeles and San Diego, which are national leaders in the solar power movement…[Building owners are taking advantage of incentives offered in support of the state’s goal for] 70 percent of its power to be generated from renewable sources by 2030…[and New York City’s ordinance requiring] most new buildings to be topped with solar panels or roofs covered in grass or other vegetation…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 17, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Taking Energy Storage To The Markets

    Enabling storage integration through market-driven procurements; Competitive solicitations could grow energy storage the same way as low-cost renewables.

    Herman K. Trabish, Feb. 25, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Demand for storage continues to rise and procurements through competitive solicitations, aka reverse auctions, are proliferating.

    Rising renewables growth shows mandates and incentives for them work. But continued demand for renewables is creating a need for more energy storage to stabilize the grid which is estimated to be significantly bigger than current build-out plans, driven by existing policies, are likely to achieve. Many say more use of the competitive auctions that have helped drive renewables growth can also accelerate the deployment of storage.

    In November 2018, 100 or more cities had 100% renewables commitments. Fortune 500 companies with 100% goals more than doubled in 2018 to 53. The storage incentives and mandates to reliably integrate such high levels of variable renewables into the grid are lacking, with some notable exceptions like California, New York and Massachusetts. But market-based auctions may propel procurement of energy storage.

    Energy storage "is particularly well suited" to cost-effectively meet the "critical challenge" to grid reliability created by high levels of variable renewables, according to a new study from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). It can store excess renewables generation when prices are low and dispatch the power on demand. It can also integrate rising levels of renewables by smooth the supply disruptions caused by “cloudy days or calm nights," David Hart, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) senior fellow recently wrote.

    Getting the United States to very high levels of renewables could take 10,000 GWh of battery storage, but a December 2018 Wood Mackenzie-Energy Storage Association (ESA) report found the total U.S. installed battery energy storage capacity at just over 500 MWh. Recent renewables procurements have reversed the traditional auction structure of a single seller and multiple buyers. Instead, one utility buyer has solicited bids from multiple sellers. These market-driven procurements, designed to maximize competition, have long been used by utilities to procure resources. In recent solicitations, they have unexpectedly delivered not just low-cost renewables but low-cost renewables-plus-energy storage products…” click here for more


    Tuesday, July 16, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: Energy Storage Solutions For Medically Vulnerable Households In Power Outages

    Home health care in the dark; Why Climate, Wildfires and Other Emerging Risks Call for Resilient Energy Storage Solutions to Protect Medically Vulnerable Households from Power Outages

    Marriele Mango and Annie Shapiro, June 19, 2019 (Clean Energy Group)


    Every day, power outages are a fact of life in America’s health care system. Outages compromise the delivery of health care to millions of residents reliant on electricity for in-home medical equipment. Even short-term power outages can adversely affect public health; more often than not, the elderly, the sick, and the poor are most negatively impacted. For residents dependent on electricity for in-home medical equipment, an outage can be potentially fatal.2

    Solar and energy storage technologies can protect vulnerable populations in the event of an outage. With the right policies, incentives and market designs in place, these resilient power technologies can serve all in need of reliable and resilient power systems.

    Battery storage systems, which can store electricity for use when grid power is unavailable, can prevent a home health care routine from being upended by an outage, but few people are aware that residential battery storage is a resilient power option. For many that would benefit the most from this technology, high upfront costs remain a barrier. As outages become more commonplace and the need for home health care continues to grow, obstacles to accessing home battery storage will need to be addressed and solutions prioritized to ensure that medically vulnerable households can safely withstand a power outage.

    This report examines the risks associated with power outages for individuals reliant on electricity for in-home medical and mobility equipment. An overview of existing data systems illustrating the demographics of this population is provided and the mitigation strategies currently used to assist these individuals during emergencies are described. A set of recommendations is included to suggest concrete opportunities to improve access to resilient power technologies.

    What is Resilient Power?

    First and foremost, resilient power is the ability to deliver continuous, reliable power even when the electric grid goes down for an extended period of time. Truly resilient power should be generated onsite, should not be dependent on supply chains that may be disrupted during catastrophic events, and should provide benefits throughout the year, not just during emergencies.

    Solar PV paired with battery storage (solar+storage) represents a clean, reliable alternative to traditional generators, one that isn’t prone to fuel supply disruptions and can deliver savings through the year. When the grid is running normally, a resilient solar+storage system produces energy to meet onsite electricity use, manages demand for grid electricity, and can even generate revenue by participating in utility and grid services programs. When there is a power outage, a resilient system disconnects from the grid and operates independently as a microgrid, a process known as islanding, powering critical loads until grid power is restored. This combination of savings and resilience benefits, along with falling technology costs, has led more and more building owners to consider and implement solar+storage as a cost-effective resilient power solution.

    While solar combined with battery storage is an ideal resilient power technology combination, battery storage can also store power from the main grid for use during an outage.

    Executive Summary

    Home health and home care are on the rise, as more people opt to receive care at home rather than in an institution such as a hospital or nursing home. For many, home health care means relying on electricity-dependent medical equipment, such as oxygen concentrators and nebulizers. There are currently at least 2.5 million individuals reliant on electricity for in-home medical equipment in the United States. There are potentially millions more who rely on electricity-dependent devices and other services to aid in their daily “home care” living tasks, such as climbing up the stairs, bathing, or making a meal. For these households, reliable power can be a matter of life or death. Even a short-term power outage can quickly become a life-threatening situation. Despite this heightened risk, there are limited opportunities for low-income, medically vulnerable populations to access in-home backup power systems.

    Natural disasters and severe weather are resulting in more frequent and longer duration power outages. Electric power outages almost doubled in duration in 2017, compared to 2016.4 Five months after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure, 400,000 people remained without power. 5 In 2018, Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence each left upward of a million people in the dark across the Southeast United States.

    For individuals reliant on electricity for home care and home health services, an inability to access power can result in a medical crisis. Health care complications, including outage-related issues like medical device failure, accounted for almost one-third of the estimated 4,645 additional deaths in the three months following Hurricane Maria.8

    New utility strategies for wildfire prevention also threaten to disrupt home health care routines for already vulnerable residents. Wildfires have become rampant in states like California, where drought and high winds can exacerbate forest fires. In order to avoid another Camp Fire catastrophe, some California utilities are looking to de-energize, or shut down, the grid for periods of time when transmission lines and utility equipment are most likely to spark a fire. Deemed “public safety power shutoffs” by some utilities, de-energizing the grid as a preventative measure would leave customers in the dark for hours, days, or even a week at a time, even if there is no fire.9

    Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), California’s largest utility, has already indicated that the 2019 wildfire season could result in five to 15 grid shutoffs.10 For medically vulnerable households, these precautionary outages could result in an inability to operate critical medical devices.

    According to Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford and member of California’s Wildfires Blue Ribbon Commission, “Everyone who lives in wildfire country in California, which is something like 20 percent of the state, needs to be thinking about this problem as something they need to solve. . . . It’s not going to be something that the utility can really solve for them in the near term.”11

    Hospitals and other medical institutions are required to install and regularly test alternate backup power sources to ensure the facility will be prepared in the event of an outage; however, for home health care patients, only those with financial means can invest in a backup power system.12

    Diesel generators, the most readily available residential backup power option, require frequent refueling, often emit pollutants, are prone to failure, and can lead to sickness or death when used improperly. 13 Generators can also be difficult to operate and refuel, especially if an individual is weak, mobility impaired and living independently.

    Battery storage is a safe and reliable emergency power resource. When combined with solar PV, it can provide a longer duration of backup power than storage alone. Places like Puerto Rico have already begun to see the value of resilient energy. A combination of donated and purchased systems doubled rooftop solar installations in Puerto Rico in the year after Hurricane Maria and resulted in 10,000 new residential battery systems.14 Increased resiliency was the leading motivation for the installations.

    Programs to assist electricity-dependent households in gaining access to battery storage remain limited to regional pilot projects. As extreme weather trends persist, and power outages become more frequent events, those responsible for the well-being of medically vulnerable communities will need to build on existing resilient power programs and recognize battery storage as essential to emergency preparedness. In doing so, electricitydependent residents will be able to confidently shelter in place or safely wait for evacuation in the event of severe weather and power outages.

    Key Recommendations for Advancing Battery Storage for Medically Vulnerable Individuals

    Support research. So far, the impact that outages have on medically vulnerable households remains only narrowly explored, and even fewer resources are available regarding the role of battery storage in mitigating those impacts. Energy security and resilience in home health care should be funded as a priority research field within public health, including issues regarding low-income access to technology innovation and the public health benefits of installing resilient power systems in home health care settings.

    Develop better data. The lack of a comprehensive, publicly available dataset makes it difficult to determine the exact size and demographic characteristics of the in-home, electricity-dependent population. In order to determine the size and scope of the electricity-dependent population, agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid should pool resources, coordinate data, and fund researchers to develop more reliable information into a single, unified source.

    Technology innovation and market development. There is no market today for third-party providers to offer solar and storage technologies to home health care households. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive market development effort that will focus on technology innovation to develop suitable products and bring down costs.

    Utility administered residential battery storage programs. In addition to maintaining a database of electricity-dependent residents, utilities should provide battery storage to homes to protect against outages as part of new residential battery storage services. States should consider requiring utilities to provide these critical technologies as a service for customers who depend on electricity to power medical equipment in their homes. Expanding utility energy efficiency programs to include battery storage also would establish a steady stream of funding for low-income battery storage programs.

    Expand Medicare coverage to include in-home battery storage. If battery storage was included in the list of Medicare eligible durable medical equipment (DME), doctors would be able to prescribe battery storage. Medical device providers would then supply resilient power systems to home health care residents dependent on electricity for medical equipment…

    QUICK NEWS, July 16: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate; As Energy Storage

    What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate What shapes your beliefs about the climate crisis? It’s not just left vs. right.

    Kate Yoder, July 12, 2019 (Grist)

    “Unless you’ve lost your home to a super-charged hurricane, evacuated from wildfire country, or survived some other kind of climate disaster, it’s not too hard to [to ignore scientific conclusions and forecasts and] live as if we weren’t in the middle of a planetary crisis…[It’s more difficult] to brush off your friends and family when they start talking about climate change…Liberals and conservatives alike shift their opinions on the subject to align with the people closest to them…[New studies confirm that the influence of close relationships was ‘massive’…

    [T]he more people discuss the topic with friends and family, the more convinced they become that climate change is happening, caused by humans, and something to be worried about…[Those] discussing the climate more often had developed a slightly better grasp of the scientific consensus around climate change…[and people] who had a better understanding of the scientific agreement ended up discussing climate change more, in a self-reinforcing cycle…There’s one problem here: Most people aren’t talking about climate change at all, so they’re not part of this feedback cycle…[Y]ou don’t have to be fluent in the science to discuss climate change…[It is only necessary to] connect the dots between the values people already have and why they would care about a changing climate…” click here for more

    EVs As Energy Storage Electric cars could form battery hubs to store renewable energy; By 2050, National Grid predicts, 35m electric cars will supply energy when needed

    Jillian Ambrose, 10 July 2019 (UK Guardian)

    A fleet of 35m electric vehicles could help the UK reach its net-zero carbon target by forming large battery hubs to store renewable energy…[The country’s energy system operator] predicts that, by 2050, millions of electric cars will use wind and solar power to charge up within minutes to act as battery packs for when the grid needs more energy…[L]ong-range energy forecasts predict that smart charging systems will use algorithms to help cars balance demand and supply on the grid, while making the most of renewable energy and saving customers money…

    [T]he plug-in car fleet could hold a fifth of the electricity produced by the UK’s solar panels, which [is expected by 2050 to] quadruple…[making the UK’s net zero emissions by 2050] achievable because it helps cut carbon from the energy and transport sectors…[Electric vehicles are expected to be] the most popular form of transport between 2030 and the early 2040s. It also predicts that many more homes and communities will generate their own electricity through solar panels or micro windpower projects…” click here for more

    Monday, July 15, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Cost Of Wind

    Benchmarking Wind Power Operating Costs in the United States: Results from a Survey of Wind Industry Experts

    Ryan Wiser, Mark Bolinger, Eric Lantz, January 2019 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)


    This paper draws on a survey of wind industry professionals to clarify trends in the operational expenditures (OpEx) of U.S. land-based wind power plants. The paper also highlights key drivers of those trends. We find that average all-in lifetime OpEx has declined from approximately $80/kW-yr (~$35/MWh) for projects built in the late 1990s to a level that is approaching $40/kW-yr (~$11/MWh) for projects under construction in 2018. Turbine operations and maintenance (O&M) costs—inclusive of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance—represent the single largest component of overall OpEx and the primary source of cost reductions over the last decade. We observe wide ranges of OpEx over time; for example, survey respondents cite a range in average expected costs for projects commissioned between 2015 and 2018 from $33/kW-yr to $59/kW-yr. Notably, these broad ranges include high levels of variability in both turbine O&M costs and non-turbine OpEx. Potential technical and strategic drivers of this variability are highlighted. We also use historical OpEx learning rates, showing a 9% OpEx reduction for each doubling of global installed wind capacity, to project a further $5–$8/kW-yr (12%– 18%) OpEx reduction from 2018 to 2040. When compared with the broader literature, these findings suggest that continued OpEx reductions may contribute 10% or more of the expected reductions in land-based wind’s levelized cost of energy. Moreover, these estimates may understate the importance of OpEx owing to the multiplicative effects through which operational advancements influence not only O&M costs but also component reliability, performance, and plant-level availability—thereby affecting levelized costs though OpEx reduction and by enhancing annual energy production and plant lifetimes. Given the limited quantity and comparability of previously available OpEx data, the data and trends reported here may usefully inform OpEx assumptions used by electric system planners, analysts, modelers, and research and development managers. The results may also provide useful benchmarks to the wind industry, helping developers and asset owners compare their OpEx expectations with historical experience and other industry projections.


    The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of wind power plants is driven by five primary parameters: upfront capital expenditures (CapEx), operational expenditures (OpEx), project performance, financing and tax assumptions, and project life. Among these factors, long-term OpEx has been understudied. While a robust and growing literature on turbine and component reliability exists (e.g., Echavarria et al. 2008; Spinato et al. 2009; Keller et al. 2016; Sheng 2017; Artigao et al. 2018), data on OpEx trends are limited.

    More specifically, extensive literature on land-based wind CapEx has tracked trends over time and across countries (IRENA 2018; Wiser and Bolinger 2018; IEA Wind 2018), established data-driven costreduction trajectories based on learning curves (Wiser et al. 2011; Lindman and Söderholm 2012; Rubin et al. 2015; Samadi 2018), and developed engineering models to understand past and possible future cost-reduction options (Sieros et al. 2012). A growing literature also emphasizes improvements in wind project performance, especially as turbine rotor diameters and hub heights have increased (IRENA 2018; Wiser and Bolinger 2018). Facilitating the development of these literatures has been the availability of substantial project-level data on land-based wind CapEx and performance (IRENA 2018; Wiser and Bolinger 2017; IEA Wind 2018).

    Project-level data on land-based wind plant OpEx, on the other hand, are not widely available (IRENA 2018; Wiser and Bolinger 2018; BNEF 2015a) owing to the proprietary nature of the data and the fact that lifetime OpEx data are only available after the full life of plants, which can be 20 years or more. Few plants have been operating for 20 years, and those that have are using turbine technology of vastly different scale and sophistication compared with modern projects. As a result, OpEx for early plants may not be relevant for estimating OpEx for newer plants (IRENA 2018; Wiser and Bolinger 2018; Poore and Walford 2008). A lack of standardization in both intra- and inter-firm data collection and management (e.g., limited tracking of specific costs that result from specific maintenance issues) has further hindered the development of OpEx datasets and intelligence (DNV KEMA 2018).

    Even when wind OpEx data are available, they can be hard to interpret. In some cases, data are reported as actual realized costs; in other cases, as long-term cost expectations. The number of years covered by the data, relative to expected wind project life, may vary. Costs are often reported in $/kW-yr terms, but also as $/MWh, $/turbine, or $/project. Costs may vary by project size, location, and other factors. Turbine operations and maintenance (O&M) is sometimes contracted out to the turbine manufacturer or an independent service provider with varying servicing terms and durations. In other cases, O&M is self-provided by the wind plant owner. Turbines are typically under manufacturer warranty during the first years of operations, so costs due to unscheduled maintenance may be embedded in turbine purchase agreements, thereby reducing annual O&M costs for the project owner. Finally, a wide and diverse set of costs can be embedded within the OpEx category: turbine O&M (scheduled and unscheduled), balance of plant (BOP) O&M, land costs, property or other local taxes or payments, grid and electrical use, insurance, asset management and administration, and others. Less mature turbines have sometimes required extensive and costly in-field retrofits (e.g., gearboxes) due to premature component failures, which may or may not be considered part of OpEx. Absent clarity on what costs are included, establishing clean comparisons across various sources of OpEx data is impossible.

    The result is not only a wide array of OpEx estimates in the literature but, more importantly, a general lack of fidelity and confidence in those estimates. Lacking solid data, for example, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have assumed no change in land-based wind OpEx in the United States since 2014 (Stehly et al. 2017; DOE 2015). During the years leading up to 2014, their OpEx estimates rose as they were adjusted to account for anecdotal data suggesting that actual costs were higher than originally forecast, in part due to premature component failure for certain turbines (Tegen et al. 2013; DOE 2008). The U.S. Energy Information Administration has similarly assumed an increasing cost of wind plant OpEx in successive versions of its Annual Energy Outlook (e.g., EIA 2011, 2015, 2018), reflecting uncertainty in and lack of solid historical data on OpEx as well as recognition that realized OpEx was coming in higher than previous expectations.

    Understanding past and current land-based wind plant OpEx is important for several reasons. First, OpEx represents a sizable and potentially growing share of LCOE, especially as wind’s LCOE declines owing to lower upfront costs and better performance. Ten years ago, analysts often attributed up to 20%–25% of land-based wind LCOE to OpEx (Blanco 2009; EWEA 2009; Walford 2006), associating approximately half of OpEx directly with turbine O&M (Blanco 2009; DNV KEMA 2018). Recent data suggest that OpEx accounts for 25% to more than 35% of overall LCOE (IEA Wind 2018; Stehly et al. 2017).

    Second, operational practices and OpEx have important connections to other parameters that influence wind’s LCOE. Specifically, turbine O&M practices directly influence turbine component reliability and related downtime, turbine performance, and overall wind plant availability (Echavarria et al. 2008; Spinato et al. 2009; Keller et al. 2016; GL Garrad Hassan 2018; DNV KEMA 2018; Artigao et al. 2018; van Kuik et al. 2016), thereby affecting annual production and project lifetime. CapEx and OpEx are also related, because higher-cost, more reliable turbines may yield lower long-term OpEx, and vice versa.

    Third, OpEx represents an important lever for wind plant LCOE reductions. IEA Wind (2018), for example, found that OpEx reductions accounted for 9%–11% of overall land-based wind LCOE reductions from 2008 to 2016 in Norway, Germany, and Denmark, 17% in Sweden, and 0% in Ireland. Wiser et al. (2016) reported on a survey of wind experts, who collectively anticipated that OpEx would decline 9%, on average, by 2030; the experts expected that the lower OpEx would account for 11% of the overall decline in land-based wind LCOE from 2014 to 2030, with plant lifetime extensions (related to OpEx, as noted above) accounting for another 14%. Dykes et al. (2017) forecasted a 25% reduction in OpEx for plants built in 2030, contributing to 13% of the projected overall LCOE reduction from 2015 to 2030; they also expected project lifetime extensions accounting for another 22% of the LCOE reduction.

    Finally, OpEx for older plants can dictate the economics and timing of plant refurbishment and repowering, which are increasingly important as the wind fleet ages (Ziegler et al. 2018; Mertes and Milligan 2018; Rubert et al. 2018). Though past work has generally found OpEx decreasing over time— with new generations of wind technology—and with increasing turbine size, studies also show that OpEx can increase as projects age (Wiser and Bolinger 2018; IEA Wind 2018; Blanco 2009; EWEA 2009; BNEF 2018; Briggs 2017; Lemming et al. 1999; Rademakers et al. 2003; Vachon 2002; Hahn 1999; Lillian 2018).

    Recognizing that wind plant OpEx is an important but sometimes overlooked driver of overall LCOE trends for land-based wind, this paper draws from a survey of senior members of the U.S. wind industry to clarify past and current trends in land-based wind OpEx as well as key drivers of those trends.1 We supplement the survey with a review of literature containing empirical OpEx data for U.S. wind plants. We compare our resulting estimates for average OpEx with other U.S. and global OpEx benchmarks. Finally, we extrapolate historical data to estimate future land-based wind OpEx, and we compare those estimates of potential cost reductions with other recent assessments.

    Our core contributions to the broader literature are twofold. First, using an industry survey methodology, we seek consistent historical and recent data on OpEx and clarity on the drivers of OpEx. Given the limited quantity and comparability of previously available data, the data and trends reported here may usefully inform OpEx input assumptions used by electric system planners, analysts, and modelers. The results may also provide useful benchmarks to the wind industry, helping developers and asset owners compare their OpEx expectations with historical experience and other industry projections. Second, we project future OpEx based on historical learning rates. To our knowledge, ours is the first attempt to document a learning rate for OpEx, and to use those findings to forecast a future range in OpEx. These results too may help inform planners, analysts, modelers, research and development managers, and others—and can be compared to and inform other attempts to project future wind power OpEx.

    Survey Methods…Land-Based Wind Power OpEx Trends and Drivers…Comparisons with Other Recent Benchmarks…Estimating Future OpEx for Land-Based Wind…


    Wind plant OpEx is an important but sometimes overlooked driver of overall LCOE trends for land-based wind. This paper draws primarily from a survey of senior members of the U.S. wind industry to describe historical and current trends in land-based wind OpEx and to provide insights into drivers of those trends. We compare the resulting estimates for average OpEx with other U.S. and global OpEx benchmarks, and we extrapolate the historical data to estimate future land-based wind OpEx, comparing the resulting estimates with other recent assessments.

    We find that average all-in lifetime OpEx in the United States has declined from roughly $80/kW-yr (~$35/MWh) for projects built in the late 1990s to levels approaching $40/kW-yr (~$11/MWh) for projects under construction in 2018. Turbine O&M costs—inclusive of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance—represent not only the single largest component of overall OpEx, but also the primary source of OpEx reductions over the last decade.

    Reductions in OpEx are attributed to several factors. Wind turbines, wind plants, and owner-fleets have all increased in size, and each increase has reduced costs through economies of scale. In addition, wind technology and operational practices have matured, which has made components more reliable, made widespread the use of automated 24/7 monitoring and condition-based monitoring equipment, and improved predictive and preventative maintenance. Competitive forces, including a diversity of improved OEM service offerings and a growing market for third-party service providers and owner selfprovision of O&M, have also placed downward pressure on OpEx.

    Actual OpEx for plants built from the late 1990s through about 2010 were substantially higher than expected OpEx at the time of plant commissioning, resulting in year-over-year increases in OpEx expectations even as actual OpEx declined. Premature component failures, especially gearbox failures, were a key cause of these discrepancies, particularly for some plants and specific turbines. It is believed that a convergence between actual and expected OpEx occurred around 2010.

    Though all-in OpEx has declined over time, each point in time contains a wide range of OpEx estimates. For projects commissioned between 2015 and 2018, average lifetime expected costs are reported (often for large fleets of projects) to range from $33/kW-yr to $59/kW-yr ($9–16/MWh). This range is driven roughly equally by variations in turbine O&M costs and all other OpEx categories combined. Some drivers of OpEx variability are more technical in nature, including turbine, project, and fleet size; wind project location; turbine maturity and assumed rates of component failure; wind resource; and local tax rules. Other drivers are strategic in nature, including the choice between OEM versus self-provision of O&M services as well as tradeoffs between the cost and value of enhanced O&M practices.

    The all-in OpEx values presented in this paper are often within the range of other recent U.S. and global benchmarks, but they may also inform upward or downward adjustments to some of these benchmarks where limited data are otherwise used. We find a 9% reduction in U.S. wind plant OpEx for each doubling of cumulative global installed wind capacity—that is, a learning rate of 9%. This OpEx learning rate is at the high end of the CapEx learning rate range (6%–9%), suggesting that historical advancements to reduce OpEx have been “doing their share” to reduce the LCOE of wind energy.

    We apply the 9% historical learning rate to estimate future land-based wind OpEx reductions under business as usual conditions, finding a possible $5–$8/kW-yr (12%–18%) reduction in all-in OpEx from 2018 to 2040, which would reduce the LCOE of land-based wind by as much as $2/MWh. This estimate is broadly consistent with other projections, with notable exceptions.

    These findings suggest that continued OpEx reductions—primarily related to turbine O&M—could contribute 10% or more of the overall land-based wind LCOE reductions expected in the future. Moreover, these estimates may understate the importance of OpEx owing to the multiplicative effects through which operational advancements influence not only O&M costs but also component reliability, performance, and plant-level availability—thereby affecting levelized costs though OpEx reduction and by enhancing annual energy production and plant lifetimes.

    Given the limited quantity and comparability of previously available OpEx data, these findings can inform OpEx assumptions used by electric system planners, analysts, modelers, and research and development managers. The results may also provide useful benchmarks to the wind industry, helping developers and asset owners compare their OpEx expectations with historical experience and other industry projections. That said, the estimates presented here are not reliable or precise enough to enable detailed comparisons. Additional effort is clearly required to systematically collect standardized data on wind project OpEx to ensure the comparability of varying data sources and to better understand the differences that remain in OpEx expectations.

    QUICK NEWS, July 15: Key To The Climate Crisis Fight; Economics Send Red States To New Energy

    Key To The Climate Crisis Fight The most important thing you can do right now to fight climate change, according to science; It is "massively important" we all start talking about climate change, a Yale researcher explains.

    Joe Room, July 11, 2019 (ThinkProgress)

    Americans rarely talk about climate change with family and friends…Tragically, research shows that this climate silence reinforces the dangerously wrong belief that climate change isn’t an existential threat requiring urgent action…[J]ust discussing the issue with friends and family leads them to learn more facts about the climate crisis, which in turn leads to greater understanding and concern…[Climatologist Michael Mann said the study shows that the] more people actually understand about the science of climate change, the more they are likely to accept the scientific consensus — that climate change is real, human-caused, and a threat to human civilization…

    [M]ost Americans ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ talk about climate change with family and friends…[which, according to the research,] leads the public to underestimate how many other Americans realize climate change is happening…[A 2018 study found that] only 11 percent of the U.S. public correctly estimate the scientific consensus on climate change as higher than 90 percent…[Yelling people how big the actual consensus is] increases their perception of the scientific norm by 16.2 percentage points on a 100-point scale…[By tracking awareness over time, the new study showed] increased perceptions of scientific agreement led to increases in discussions about climate change…[and] climate conversations can initiate a positively reinforcing cycle between learning, worry, and further conversation…” click here for more

    Economics Send Red States To New Energy Daily on Energy: Red states lead the switch to renewables

    John Siciliano and Josh Siegel, July 09, 2019 (Washington Examiner)

    “State energy regulators in Republican strongholds are forcing utilities to look at the improved economics of solar and wind, facilitating the switch to an electric grid that is reliant on mostly renewable energy…The red states of Iowa and Texas lead the nation as the largest generators of electricity from wind…[Natural gas power plants are dominating the national power mix,] and that will likely continue because of the low cost of shale gas compared to many other resources. Natural gas is also lower in carbon emissions and other pollutants than coal power plants, which makes it even more important for states looking to cut their emissions through 2050…

    [But] in places like the coal-heavy state of Indiana, state commissions are beginning to second guess the natural gas boom, and are making the decision to transition to more renewables…Coal was officially dethroned as the nation’s top power provider in 2016 when natural gas took its place as the dominant fuel for electricity production…[Now,] states are following in Indiana’s path, with Arizona placing a moratorium on new natural gas plants in order to take into consideration the cost reductions coming from solar and wind energy. State energy regulators in Colorado, Virginia, California, and others have taken similar steps to promote energy storage devices like big batteries combined with solar and other low-cost renewable energy…” click here for more

    Saturday, July 13, 2019

    Bill Maher On Mars, Earth, And The Environment

    Maher to the White House: “Instead of going to Mars, how about we just stop treating earth the way Led Zeppelin treated hotel rooms?” From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube

    Extreme Midwest Weather And The Climate Crisis

    Weather and climate collided this past Spring in the Midwest. From Yale Climate Connections via YouTube

    The Lies That Became The ClimateGate Smear

    The worst part of the lies that created climategate is that the liars got away with it and continue to sell their propaganda - while the planet writhes with fever. From BBC Newsnight via YouTube

    Friday, July 12, 2019

    Education Institutions Declare Climate Emergency

    Higher and Further Education Institutions across the globe declare Climate Emergency

    10 July 2019 (Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education)

    “…[A letter to the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit from [networks representing more than 7,000 higher and further education institutions from 6 continents announced that they are declaring a Climate Emergency, and agreed to undertake a three-point plan to address the crisis through their work with students…

    The three-point plan includes: Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest; Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation; Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus and community outreach programmes…” click here for more

    China Policy Quakes Global New Energy

    Global Renewable Energy Investment Falls In Wake Of Chinese Policy Shift

    Dominic Dudley, July 10, 2019 (Forbes)

    "Renewable energy investment fell back in the first half of 2019, with a 14% drop in funding for clean energy schemes around the world compared to the same period last year…The total amount of financing from January to June was $117.6 billion, significantly below the record high of more than $160 billion seen in the second half of 2017…[The temporary fall in investment is thought to be] largely due to a change in approach by the Chinese government, which is in the middle of a move away from government-set tariffs to holding competitive auctions for new wind and solar capacity – an approach increasingly favoured by governments around the world as it leads to lower costs…

    …[A 39% drop in renewable energy investments to $28.8 billion in the first half of the year did not change China from] the world’s biggest market for renewable energy investment…[But it was] the lowest for any half-year period in China since 2013…China invested] almost $80 billion in the first half of 2017…Other major markets have seen mixed fortunes…[Dubai made a major investment in solar, China made some big investments in wind, but investment in the U.S. dropped by 6% year-on-year to $23.6 billion, while Europe saw a 4% fall to $22.2 billion…” click here for more

    Global New Energy Overtaking Nuclear Power

    Renewables Catching Nuclear Power In Global Energy Race

    Robert Rapier, July 7, 2019 (Forbes)

    “…BP's Statistical Review of World Energy 2019 separates renewables into two categories called Hydroelectric and Renewables…[and, together, are on the cusp of overtaking nuclear globally… [F]rom 2007 to 2017, global electricity generated by coal grew at an annual average of 1.7%. Nuclear generation over that time actually declined annually by 0.4%, a consequence of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. Hydropower generation grew at an average annual rate of 2.8%…[Renewables] grew at an average annual rate of 16.4%. But within that category, power from geothermal and biomass grew at an annual average of 7.1%. Wind and solar power, by contrast, grew at an annual average of 20.8% and 50.2%, respectively, over the past decade…

    The world's leading producer of solar power in 2018 was once again China, with a 30.4% share globally. China maintained a blistering growth rate in 2018, with solar generation increasing by 50.7% over 2017. From 2007 to 2017, China increased solar generation at an average annual rate of just over 100%...The U.S. remains in second place globally with a 16.6% share. U.S. solar power generation increased by 24.4% over 2017, and over the decade the U.S. has increased solar power at an average annual rate of 53.2%...China was also the top producer of wind power with a 28.8% global share. Again, the U.S. was second with a 21.9% share…Nuclear power remains ahead of renewables, but just barely…[And its 22% lead on renewables in 2017 feel in 2018 to] less than 9%...[Modern renewables will likely] surpass nuclear power production either this year or next year…” click here for more