Trevor Noah On Climate Crisis Impacts
This is the way the climate crisis can ruin beer, coffee, and sex. From The Daily Show with Trevor Noah via YouTube
Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...
This is the way the climate crisis can ruin beer, coffee, and sex. From The Daily Show with Trevor Noah via YouTube
The passion is real in this explanation of why the infrastructure bill is a one-in-a-generation opportunity. From NationalSierraClub via YouTube
The energy transition means people transitioning to new lives. From American Clean Power Association via YouTube
In Response to Climate Change, Citizens in Advanced Economies Are Willing To Alter How They Live and Work; Many doubt success of international efforts to reduce global warming
James Bell, Jacob Poushter, Moira Fagan, Christine Huang, September 14, 2021 (Pew Research Center)
“A new Pew Research Center survey in 17 advanced economies spanning North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region finds widespread concern about the personal impact of global climate change. Most citizens say they are willing to change how they live and work at least some to combat the effects of global warming, [and 34% are willing to consider “a lot of changes” to daily life] but whether their efforts will make an impact is unclear…
…[T]he study reveals a growing sense of personal threat from climate change [with 72% having some concern that they will be personally harmed in their lifetimes]...Young adults, who have been at the forefront of some of the most prominent climate change protests in recent years, are more concerned than their older counterparts…Generally, those on the left of the political spectrum are more open than those on the right to taking personal steps…[T]he U.S. response to climate change is generally seen as wanting…China fares substantially worse…[T]he European Union’s response to climate change is viewed favorably by majorities…
The share who are very concerned climate change will harm them personally at some point during their lives has increased significantly since 2015 in nearly every country where trend data is available…[T]here is widespread sentiment that climate change is already affecting the world around them…Women are more concerned than men that climate change will harm them personally…” click here for more
Is 100% Renewable Energy Plan Possible for Africa?
Dipti Bhatnagar and Kwami Kpondzo, September 20, 2021 (Common Dreams via LA Progressive)
“…[The climate crisis] has been more rapid in Africa than the rest of the world…[and] is already having devastating impacts for people, their livelihoods, and ecosystems…[A new report shows that] public finance from the global North, ending tax dodging, and dropping the debt…[would fund and make financially and technically feasible achieving] a 100% renewable energy goal for Africa by the year 2050…while stemming] the climate crisis, supporting employment, gender justice, reducing inequality, and pushing for a just recovery…Africa needs approximately $130 billion a year between now and 2050…
The one thing that stands in the way of achieving this is lack of political commitment from states on the continent but also from the global North…The level of energy poverty in Africa is unacceptable…Three-quarters of those without access to electricity now live in sub-Saharan Africa, a share that has risen over recent years. The majority of all Africans do not have clean energy sources for cooking. The number of deaths from respiratory infections is enormous and avoidable…
[Covid-19 increased the numbers of people who could not access electricity and who went into energy poverty. Africa’s vast natural resources have been exploited for the benefits of others through transnational corporations and have left behind the majority of Africa’s peoples…[Africa needs] over 300GW of new renewable energy by 2030…and over 2000GW by 2050. The continent surpasses all other regions in having the most potential for renewable energy…[It can meet the need with] an annual investment requirement of around US$130 billion per year…[That would create] 7 million well-paid jobs in solar, wind, and clean people powered renewable energy…” click here for more
Xcel's record-low-price procurement highlights benefits of all-source competitive solicitations; The utility's Colorado division showed how competitive bidding benefits customers if regulators protect the quality of the process.
Herman K. Trabish, June 1, 2021 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: New Energy prices spiked slightly during the pandemic due to supply-demand and supply chain issues, but natural gases are rising even more rapidly.
New data shows Xcel Energy Colorado’s 2016-2017 all-source competitive solicitation (ASCS) secured even lower costs than power sector leaders previously thought, adding momentum to interest in this emerging approach to procurement.
Xcel’s ASCS returned a $0.0017/kWh bid for wind, a $0.023/kWh bid for solar, and a $0.03/kWh bid for solar-plus-storage, according to a February 2021 Xcel presentation to Michigan regulators. These prices, compared to Colorado’s average January 2021 residential electricity price of $0.126/kWh, have other utilities asking how they can use this procurement approach.
ASCSs identify "market-based portfolios that meet utility needs on both cost and risk from the full range of options," said 3rdRail Managing Partner Fredrich Kahrl, lead author of a March 2021 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) ASCS study. The study outlines 11 ASCS proceedings from investor-owned utilities from 2011-2019, including Xcel Colorado and Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO).
This resource-neutral approach, which can include utility self-build proposals, can be "a valuable strategy for utilities to address uncertainty in a time of rapid technological change," Kahrl said. Unlike single resource requests for proposals (RFPs) to meet planning needs, ASCSs consider all offers that meet a utility’s criteria from all bidders, representatives of Xcel Colorado and NIPSCO added.
Single resource RFPs were the norm when utilities typically chose between hydropower, fossil fuels and nuclear generation and prices were well-known. In the last decade, ASCSs are gaining in use because of the price and availability feedback they provide on emerging technologies like wind and solar.
Xcel Colorado's ASCS showed regulators "carefully regulated competitive planning and solicitations drive quality up and prices down and benefit consumers," added former Colorado Public Utilities Commission (COPUC) Chair Ron Lehr. However, regulators must ensure ASCSs’ "fairness and transparency," beginning with oversight of utility planning, LBNL’s research emphasized. It described regulators' critical role in keeping valuation of the benefits and risks of traditional and renewable generation, distributed energy resources (DERs), energy storage and utility-owned resources open and equitable to protect the process… click here for more
An Outdated Grid Has Created a Solar Power Economic Divide; Utilities have upgraded the infrastructure for rooftop power in richer neighborhoods, but low-income areas don't have the same capacity.
Eric Niiler, September 16, 2021 (Wired)
“…[Inequitable access to distributed energy resources due to grid infrastructure limits in California finds some low-income and minority neighborhoods might be left behind, mainly because utilities haven’t upgraded the electrical grid equally everywhere…[Where rooftop solar isn’t as common, transformers that connect power lines to each home or business] are not built to carry extra power generated from rooftop panels in the opposite direction. Any extra current flow would be turned into heat, which can damage or destroy the transformers…[This] might also make it tougher to charge electric vehicles at home…
Upgrades to an electric grid take years to complete and must be approved by each state’s public utilities commission. The cost is usually spread out among all ratepayers…Experts say it could cost up to $4.5 trillion, or about $35,000 per household, in the next 20 years to fully upgrade or “decarbonize” the existing US electric grid, according to a 2019 report by the energy consulting firm Wood MacKenzie. And a 2019 analysis by SCE says California alone will need to spend $33 billion a year until 2045 in order to reach its carbon-neutral climate goal, boost solar and other renewable forms of energy, harden the grid against wildfires and other effects of climate change, and modernize the grid to handle increased capacity…
…[The just-released US Department of Energy Solar Futures report plans to increase solar to 40 percent of the nation’s generating capacity by 2035…[and] is developing new kinds of power current inverters that make two-way flow of electricity cheaper and easier, but that the upgrades aren’t happening as quickly as necessary…[An alternative to rooftop solar is] community solar, in which [renters, low-income residents, and homeowners without solar-suitable roofs] subscribe to a solar farm located outside the residential area…” click here for more
Battery Storage in the United States: An Update on Market Trends
August 2021 (Energy Information Administration/U.S. Department of Energy)
Electric power markets in the United States are undergoing significant structural change that we believe, based on planning data we collect, will result in the installation of the ability of large-scale battery storage to contribute 10,000 megawatts to the grid between 2021 and 2023—10 times the capacity in 2019.
Energy storage plays a pivotal role in enabling power grids to function with more flexibility and resilience. In this report, we provide data on trends in battery storage capacity installations in the United States through 2019, including information on installation size, type, location, applications, costs, and market and policy drivers. The report then briefly describes other types of energy storage.
This report focuses on data from EIA survey respondents and does not attempt to provide rigorous economic or scenario analysis of the reasons for, or impacts of, the growth in large-scale battery storage.
Growth across U.S. electric power market regions
The number and total capacity of large-scale battery storage systems continue to grow in the United States, and regional patterns strongly influence the nation-wide market structure:
• At the end of 2019, 163 large-scale battery storage systems were operating in the United States, a 28% increase from 2018. The maximum energy that could be stored at these sites (energy capacity) was 1,688 megawatthours (MWh), and the maximum power that could be provided to the grid from these sites at any given moment (power capacity) was 1,022 megawatts (MW).
• As of the end of 2019, more than 60% of the large-scale battery system capacity to store energy or provide power to the grid in the United States was located in areas covered by regional grid operators PJM Interconnection (PJM) and California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Historically, these areas attracted capacity additions because of favorable market rules promoting energy storage.
• Starting in 2017, regions outside of PJM and CAISO have also seen installations of large-scale battery energy storage systems, in part as a result of declining costs.
• A breakout of installed power and energy capacity of large-scale battery by state is attached as Appendix C.
Small Scale Battery Storage
Small-scale battery storage also continues to grow, especially in California, but also in other regions of the United States:
• In 2019, 402 MW of small-scale total battery storage power capacity existed in the United States.
• California accounts for 83% of all small-scale battery storage power capacity.
• The states with the most small-scale power capacity outside of California include Hawaii, Vermont, and Texas.
Lower installed costs
The costs of installing and operating large-scale battery storage systems in the United States have declined in recent years.
• Average battery energy storage capital costs in 2019 were $589 per kilowatthour (kWh), and battery storage costs fell by 72% between 2015 and 2019, a 27% per year rate of decline.
• These lower costs support more capacity to store energy at each storage facility, which can increase the duration that each battery system can last when operating at its maximum power.
More direct support from solar power
Most large-scale battery energy storage systems we expect to come online in the United States over the next three years are to be built at power plants that also produce electricity from solar photovoltaics, a change in trend from recent years.
• As of December 2020, the majority of U.S. large-scale battery storage systems were built as standalone facilities, meaning they were not located at sites that generate power from natural resources. Only 38% of the total capacity to generate power from large-scale battery storage sites was co-located with other generators: 30% was co-located specifically with generation from renewable resources, such as wind or solar PV, and 8% was co-located with fossil fuel generators.
• We expect the relationship between solar energy and battery storage to change in the United States over the next three years because most planned upcoming projects will be co-located with generation, in particular with solar facilities. If all currently announced projects from 2021 to 2023 become operational, then the share of U.S. battery storage that is co-located with generation would increase from 30% to 60%.
Additional accelerated growth
Based on planning data we collect, an additional 10,000 megawatts of large-scale battery storage’s ability to contribute electricity to the grid is likely to be installed between 2021 and 2023 in the United States—10 times the total amount of maximum generation capacity by all systems in 2019.
Almost one-third of U.S. large-scale battery storage additions will come from states outside of regional grid operators PJM and CAISO, which led in initial development of large-scale battery capacity…
Without aggressive action to deploy New Energy, these kinds of displacements could lead to unimaginable disruptions. From the World Bank via YouTube
Building New Energy infrastructure and building to protect against future storms and wildfires are both necessary. The nation will get the climate resilience it is willing to pay for. From MSNBC via YouTube
Because of the increasing urgency to stop greenhouse gas emissions, a lot of smart people are taking a new look at nuclear power. But is it the answer? From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube
Climate change could trigger internal migration of 216 mln people - World Bank
Andrea Shalal, September 13, 2021 (Reuters)
“Without immediate action to combat climate change, rising sea levels, water scarcity and declining crop productivity could force 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050…[According to the World Bank’s Groundswell Part 2 : Acting on Internal Climate Migration,] climate migration ‘hotspots’ will emerge as soon as 2030 and intensify by 2050, hitting the poorest parts of the world hardest…
Sub-Saharan Africa alone would account for 86 million of the internal migrants, with 19 million more in North Africa… 40 million migrants were expected in South Asia and 49 million in East Asia and the Pacific…[S]ea-level rise threatens rice production, aquaculture and fisheries, which could create an out-migration hotspot in Vietnam's low-lying Mekong Delta. But the Red River Delta and central coast region, where those people are likely to flee, face their own threats, including severe storms…
Conflicts and health and economic crises such as those unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic could compound the situation…And the number of climate migrants could be much higher since the report does not cover most high-income countries, countries in the Middle East and small island states, or migration to other countries…[If regional and national governments and the global community] act now to reduce greenhouse gases, close development gaps and restore ecosystems…[it] could reduce that migration number by 80% to 44 million people…” click here for more
ICLN: Clean Energy Is The Internet 10 Years Ago
September 4, 2021 (Loft Capital Management)
“…In 2009, only 26% of the world population used the internet. Today, 60% of the global population has access to internet, a 131% increase. Recent data illustrates that renewables make up ~26% of global electricity generation. That number is expected to increase to 45% by 2040…The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQ: ICLN) provides investors the opportunity to diversify their money across 83 companies that produce energy from solar, wind, and other renewable sources. The global renewable energy market was valued at $928B in 2017 and is anticipated to be $1.5T in 2025…
…ICLN could make investors money both in the short and long term; however, those who buy and hold for the long haul will benefit the most…Founded in 2008, ICLN spotlights five primary sectors, which are the following: Electric Utilities (39% of portfolio), Semiconductor Equipment (15% of portfolio), Renewable Electricity (14% of portfolio), Heavy Electrical Equipment (14% of portfolio), and Electrical Components and Equipment (9% of portfolio). As of September 1st, ICLN has $6.3B assets under management and bears an expense ratio of 0.41%...
…2020 was a very strong year for clean energy ETFs as a whole, with ICLN returning ~140%. This was predominantly a result of President Biden's vocal support of the clean energy sector. ICLN has yielded -18% YTD, placing the fund in a group of the 100 lowest YTD ETF performers out >2,200 U.S. ETFs…[and] clean energy is still very young… [Three other strong funds are] First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (QCLN), Alps Clean Energy ETF (ACES), and Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (PBW)…” click here for more
CPUC and Stakeholders Strive to Stop Spiking Rates
Herman K. Trabish, March 9, 2021 (California Current)
Editor’s note: The latest installment in the universal regulatory discussion of the “you get what you pay for” principle.
California will not let its skyrocketing electricity rates threaten reliability or its policy goals, California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told stakeholders during a Feb. 24 full commission hearing.
The costs of California’s policy mandates are driving rates up faster than inflation and straining the budgets of customers made more vulnerable by the recession, stakeholders and CPUC Staff agreed during the day-long session. Additionally, the costs of wildfires, Net Energy Metering (NEM) and other distributed energy resources incentives are taxing the budgets of vulnerable customers, making new approaches to affordability urgent.
Protecting ratepayers “will require aggressive actions,” CPUC Staff’s “Evaluation of Electric Costs, Rates and Equity Issues” reported. Utilities responded with ways to cut wildfire costs and raise revenues outside rates and stakeholders proposed ways to financially support distributed energy resources and electric vehicle growth.
Breakthrough rate designs could ease the burden of rising costs and rates on low and moderate income customers which began rising faster than inflation in 2013 and bills continue to grow annually, staff reported. By 2030, residential rates for PG&E will be 40% higher than if they had risen at the rate of inflation from 2013. SCE rates would be 20% higher and SDG&E rates would be 70% higher…
Distributed energy and EVs can reduce customers’ utility bills but up-front costs are a barrier to low income customer participation, staff found. And the middle class may soon need help because “rates are growing so much faster than wages,” Jennifer Dowdell, a senior energy expert with The Utility Reform Network, warned.
Wildfire mitigation costs, transmission development costs, rising transmission use charges, the state’s increasingly ambitious emissions reduction goals and the state-mandated NEM 2.0 program compensating customers for electricity their distributed resources send to utilities drive up rates… click here for more
How A Colorado Coal Plant Could Become A Massive Battery For Renewable Energy
Sam Brasch, September 7, 2021 (Colorado Public Radio)
“…The Hayden Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant owned by Xcel Energy, accounts for more than half the property tax base for the local school district, fire district and cemetery district…[and a source] of high-paying jobs…The town could soon test whether a buzzy new idea could help it ditch coal without losing its economic benefits…Xcel Energy has proposed transforming the power plant into a massive battery to bank electricity generated by renewable energy…
If the idea works, it could be a case study for other communities trying to preserve jobs and property taxes as the world shifts to cleaner electricity…There’s no question coal is on the way out…Last January, Xcel announced it would accelerate the retirement of the power plant…[from 2036 to 2030 and rapidly expand wind, solar, and] energy storage in Colorado…
…[A] remodeled Hayden Station could help solve the renewable storage problem…[by adding] a tank full of salt and melt it at times when the grid fills with excess renewable energy…When energy demand outpaces supply, one of the existing steam turbines could then transform the stored heat back into [150 MW for 10 hours of] electricity…[The key is structuring the plan for Xcel to assume the risk of failure have customers pay when the project] produces green energy…” click here for more