Bill Maher Talks Hurricanes And Climate Change
The connection is simply undeniable. From Real Time With Bill Maher via YouTube
Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...
WEEKEND VIDEOS, October 13-14:
The connection is simply undeniable. From Real Time With Bill Maher via YouTube
His candidate is a mother with a great New Energy policy. From Climate Reality via YouTube
This is the science. It’s not simple, and it’s not good news, but it’s the truth. From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube
Climate change will make the next global crash the worst; The storm clouds are gathering, but the world’s economies now have far fewer shelters from disaster than they did in 1929
Larry Elliott, 11 October 2018 (UK Guardian)
“…[At almost the same time the IMF issued a warning about trouble ahead for the global economy, the UN intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC)] said the world had only a dozen years left to take the steps necessary to prevent a global warming catastrophe…[The message is: Get ready for combined economic failure and] ecological breakdown…For the past 10 years, the world economy has been surviving on a diet of low interest rates and money creation by central banks, but that stimulus is now being gradually withdrawn…[The price of crude oil] is heading steadily towards $100 a barrel. Every big recession in the global economy has been prefigured by a jump in the cost of crude…But the threat posed by global warming means the current crisis of capitalism is more acute than that of the 1930s, because all that was really required then was a boost to growth…
…[Some think the solution is] carbon-free growth, made possible by the dramatic fall in the cost of renewable energy…[A]lmost all politicians pay lip service to green growth. But then they act in ways that make achieving global warming targets harder – by building new roads and expanding airports…This is called a balanced approach…[But if the IPCC timeline is right,] speeding up the transition from fossil fuels to renewables is vital…[One of the winners of this year’s Nobel prize for economics says it can be done,] if policymakers get serious about a carbon tax set high enough to price oil, coal and gas out of the market…[But] the response to climate change looks similar to the response to the financial crisis: fail to recognise there is a problem until it is too late; panic; then muddle through…” click here for more
Renewable Energy Will Grow Massively Across The Globe by 2023, Says IEA Report; A new report points to (slightly) better climate news.
David Grossman, October 9, 2018 (Popular Mechanics)
“…[The good news is that the new IEA report shows New Energy] on pace for rapid expansion [in electrical power, heating, and transportation] across the globe, making up 40% of global energy consumption growth over the next 5 years……China, the United States, India and Japan lead the world in [solar] growth….[and] the European Union, China, the United States and Vietnam are seen as leaders [in wind]…
…[Modern bioenergy is primarily liquid biofuels produced from plants and biogas produced through anaerobic digestion of residues. Some call it] the overlooked giant of the renewable energy field…Its share in the world’s total renewables consumption is about 50% today…[Which is] as much as hydro, wind, solar and all other renewables combined…[It is controversial because some forms] emit more carbon per unit of energy than most fossil fuels…[but it may have a significant impact on air, rail, and ocean] transportation…By the end of 2023, the IEA expects that almost one-third of global transportation will run on renewables…” click here for more
Is The Global Energy Transition On Track?
Simon Flowers, October 12, 2018 (Forbes)
“…Renewable power and electrification of transport are the pillars of decarbonization…[Because of the sharp reductions in costs, wind and solar generation are] competitive with new build coal and gas…Renewables’ share of the global power market will triple by 2040 from its current level of 6%...The consumption side is slower, awaiting technological breakthrough. The lower battery costs needed for electric vehicles (EVs) to compete head on and displace internal combustion engine (IE) cars are some years away. These forces only start to have a significant impact on global carbon intensity in the 2030s…[which falls well short of the 2°C target…
…[New efforts are being launched to] clean air in cities…[to advance the] desulphurisation of global shipping…[with] liquefied natural gas…[and to radically decarbonize. Europe’s] 80% reduction in emissions compared with 1990 will embrace all sectors. Power and transport are already moving in this direction, but the legacy fuel mix in many other sectors will be disrupted, too…Near zero-energy buildings and homes might be possible with energy efficiency… Electrification, recycling and bioenergy could reduce fossil fuel use in energy intensive sectors like steel and aluminium…[This can] be game changing for Europe…[and] provide a template for a global roll out…” click here for more
10 ways to accelerate progress against climate change; From pricing carbon to shifting diets, here’s what we need to prioritize now.
Eliza Barclay and Umair Irfan, October 11, 2018 (VOX)
Climate scientists told us this week in a long-awaited United Nations report that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require a gargantuan global effort — and that we have roughly 12 years to do it…The emissions we need to focus on now are the ones at the industrial, corporate level, not at the individual level…[According to CDP’s 2017 report, 71%] of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 can be traced back to just 100 fossil fuel companies. Hitting the 1.5°C or 2°C goals means these corporations, their customers, and other large enterprises must phase out fossil fuels…[Strategies include…1) Price carbon emissions…2) Subsidize clean energy, and end subsidies for dirty energy…3) Close coal plants, and cut off the fossil fuel supply in other ways…4) Electrify everything and get more efficient…5) Invest in innovation…6) End production and sales of cars, trucks, and buses that run on fossil fuels…7) Require “zero deforestation” supply chains…8) Keep aging nuclear plants running…9) Discourage meat and dairy consumption, encourage plant-based diets…10) Remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere…” click here for more
The nearly five decades of Nobel Prize-winning work on the economics of climate change is just the beginning
Eshe Nelson, October 9, 2018 (Quartz)
“…[Yale University Professor William Nordhaus just won the 20128 Nobel Prize in economics (jointly with NYU’s Paul Romer) for decades of work on efforts that led to] a model used widely to understand the effects of climate change and energy- and environmental-policy interventions…[T]he Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences stipulated that the work] does not offer “conclusive answers”…but does provide a foundation for future economists. The gaps in our understanding about the economic impact of climate change is plaguing economists and breeding a whole new area of research…Nordhaus’s work is so celebrated because it took on the challenge of examining the feedback loop between human activity and the climate…[It] led Nordhaus to become an early advocate for a universal carbon tax…[and he continues to argue that policies are lagging far] behind the science and what needs to be done…” click here for more
Q3 2018 Solar Funding and M&A Report
October 2018 (Mercom Capital Group)
“…Total corporate funding into the solar sector, including venture capital funding and public market and debt financing in the first nine months (9M) of 2018, came to $6.7 billion compared to the $7.1 billion raised in 9M 2017. The number of deals in 9M 2018 dropped to 103 from 143 deals in 9M 2017… VC funding for the solar sector decreased in Q3 2018 with $359 million raised in 12 deals compared to $370 million in 15 deals in Q2 2018… Solar downstream technology companies accounted for 87 percent of the VC funding in Q3 2018 with $313 million in seven deals compared to 91 percent in Q2 2018 with $338 million raised in 11 deals…The top VC deals in Q3 2018 were the $200 million raised by Cypress Creek Renewables followed by the $54 million raised by Nexamp, and $50 million raised by Cleantech Solar…There were 18 solar M&A transactions in Q3 2018 compared to…18 transactions in Q3 2017…$1.8 billion in new renewable energy and solar-focused funds were announced in Q3 2018…” click here for more
Utilities take note: Hybrid renewables projects are coming; Solar, wind and battery storage are starting to gang up on fossil generation
Herman K. Trabish, April 3, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The use of hybrid projects continues to gain momentum but remains far from a significant factor in the renewables marketplace.
Only a few U.S. utilities are pursuing innovative hybrid projects that combine wind, solar and/or battery storage in various combinations. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) is operating a solar-plus-storage project that may be the first U.S. renewables-powered peaker plant. And Arizona Public Service (APS) just contracted with First Solar for what is said to be the first utility-scale renewables peaker plant. But it's an option whose time has come, Strategen Consulting Vice President Lon Huber told Utility Dive. “Wind-plus is probably in the $0.03/kWh range in many places, solar-plus is in the $0.045/kWh range, and their dispatchability adds enormous benefits,” he said. "Every serious developer in the renewables space will be arming with a storage-plus solution.”
While some analysts ask if hybrid project advantages are theoretical or real, Huber and others, including FTI Consulting's Feng Zhao, and Grid Strategies' Michael Goggin say such projects have advantages that make them cost-competitive with traditional generation. Unlike single renewables, hybrids offer load profiles that meet system needs across the day and the year, fuller use of transmission, and two-for-one bargains on the costs of interconnection, siting, and operations and maintenance. The global hybrid market could be $1.47 billion by 2024 and the U.S. market is projected to grow from 2015’s $195 million to more than $300 million by 2024, according to Global Market Insights. The appeal is that they operate similarly to baseload power and eliminate the choice between wind or solar or storage “by combining the best of all three,” Jean-Claude Robert, GE Renewable Energy’s Hybrids Leader, emailed Utility Dive… click here for more
Unnecessary complexity? Assessing New York and California's landmark DER proceedings; Stakeholders rethink the two leading efforts to build a better DER marketplace
Herman K. Trabish, April 4, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: These multi-faceted, complicated efforts to remake the energy sector continue to lumber ahead.
The nation-leading New York and California regulatory proceedings to create a marketplace opportunity for renewable and distributed generation have become almost encyclopedic in their complexity, prompting the question: Did it have to be that way? The New York Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is now into its third year and second phase. According to the New York Public Service Commission (NY PSC), it spans at least 16 major proceedings, along with the investor-owned utilities’ rate cases. There are also four related proceedings, as well as proceedings at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the PSC emailed Utility Dive earlier this year.
The California Public Utility Commission's (CPUC) work on distributed energy resources (DER) has evolved into twelve major proceedings as well as those overseen by the California Energy Commission and the California Independent System Operator. The CPUC last year published a seven-page DER Action Plan summarizing its efforts into three categories and 15 "strategic directives" with four "objectives" through 2018. The NY PSC is working on a roadmap for REV intended to offer the same overview. What if New York and California started all over again and the regulators, policymakers, and utility and non-utility stakeholders knew then what they know now? Could it be less complicated? Pace Energy and Climate Center Executive Director Karl Rabago, a former Texas utility commissioner, has been an expert witness in the REV and other regulatory proceedings across the country. He has concluded the transformation to distributed energy resources (DER) could not be stopped and, therefore, complex questions about how to integrate DER into the marketplace and give them fair valuation without imposing an unfair burden on utilities or non-DER-owning utility customers were inevitable… click here for more
NO QUICK NEWS
The Future Of Transportation Electrification: Utility, Industry And Consumer Perspectives
Lisa Schwartz, et. al., August 2018 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
While the residential, commercial and industrial sectors of the U.S. economy are heavily electrified, the transportation sector today uses little electricity.1 Pure battery-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs each represented less than 1 percent of the nation’s total vehicle sales in 2017.
A recent comprehensive assessment of transportation electrification looking out to the year 2040 made the following observations:
• Battery costs, and thus EV prices, will continue to decline over time, especially with substantial gains in technology learning and economies of scale, as well as robust research and development.
• A modern power system that supports vehicle-to-grid communication and time-of-use pricing will be a vital component of a future where plug-in EVs make up a large fraction of the light-duty vehicle fleet.
• EV adoption seems to be greatest when multiple actions are taken in parallel, such as improving consumer awareness, providing direct subsidies and making infrastructure investments.
• Public charging is a critical component for encouraging consumer adoption of EVs.5
The role of utilities in providing EV charging infrastructure to support increased transportation electrification is a strongly debated issue. This report presents differing viewpoints on several key questions:
1. What are the potential benefits and risks of transportation electrification — to electric utilities, to retail electricity customers and to society?
2. What roles should utilities versus competitive providers play in accelerating deployment of EV infrastructure? What infrastructure investments are others making, and how should utilities complement those investments?
3. Who will use EVs — and how?
4. What types of utility infrastructure will be needed to serve EV users, who should pay for it, and how will utilities recover their fixed costs?
5. What incentives should EV customers face to encourage right-time charging and discharging?
6. What policy and regulatory approaches will:
’ • Encourage efficient siting of charging stations — including fast-charging
• Enable utilities to participate in infrastructure deployment
• Foster competition by competitive EV charging providers
• Establish enforceable standards to facilitate consumer adoption of EVs
• Address underserved markets
• Protect consumers
Authors representing diverse perspectives provide their responses:
• Utilities – Philip B. Jones, Alliance for Transportation Electrification (Chapter 1)
• Third-party service providers – Jonathan Levy, EVgo/Vision Ridge (Chapter 2)
• Consumers – Jenifer Bosco, John Howat and John W. Van Alst, National Consumer Law Center (Chapter 3)
Jones calls for policy and regulatory measures that enable utilities to play a significant role in closing the infrastructure gap for EV charging. He lays out a comprehensive path, from mandates for vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency, to stakeholder processes and studies, and to public utility commission decisions that balance incentives for utilities to accelerate capital investments in charging infrastructure with affordable retail rates, while ensuring charging services are accessible to all communities, rate classes and potential EV owners. He outlines the market transformation process that is needed for EV infrastructure to overcome market barriers and leap over the “valley of death,” striking comparisons with challenges that energy efficiency technologies have faced and the strong utility roles that helped the efficiency industry gain a more secure foothold in the market. With the EV infrastructure “pie” growing quickly, Jones recommends a focus on increasing the size of the pie, rather than arguing who gets a particular slice (or the crumbs). Finally, he discusses actions several states are taking to prepare for an electrified transportation future and provides a regulatory toolbox for public utility commissions to consider, as well as short case studies of state activities.
Levy stresses the need for utilities to work with EV charging companies, policymakers, regulators and other stakeholders to address opportunities and challenges in the marketplace today. The critical areas for utility focus in his view are EV charging tariff structures, “make-ready” infrastructure,6 expeditious interconnections for charging stations and consumer education. Levy urges a driver- and rider-centric approach to charging infrastructure that avoids a patchwork of utility programs across the country, along with policy and regulatory approaches that enable a robust and sustainable private charging industry. He sees the relationship between utilities and EV charging companies as “coopetition”: While at times a utility may “undercut” other market participants, the utility also will benefit by working with experienced EV charging companies that have sited, installed and operated charging solutions for customers — and EV charging companies can benefit from utilities as customers. He suggests that utilities seek out gaps in the market and complement investments by others that rely on a broad base of infrastructure to benefit drivers broadly. Specifically, he recommends that utility investment focus in the area between private and public capital — for example, make-ready investments that advance the public good, facilitate the utility’s pursuit of additional customer demand, and buy down some capital costs to attract more private capital.
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) examines the implications of transportation electrification for consumers, particularly low-income households, and explores policy approaches to address equity and access concerns and maintain public support for electrification. NCLC suggests that transportation electrification policy should aim to achieve the following:
• Increase transportation access and security for low-income consumers
• Equitably allocate costs and benefits for low-income consumers
• Address the disproportionate air pollution burden that low-income communities face from power generation and transportation sources
NCLC calls for pursuing EV infrastructure investments in a way that lessens the impact on ratepayers and shields low-income households from unaffordable rate increases, while providing sufficient infrastructure to support broad EV adoption. Among the strategies NCLC recommends are the following:
• Bill payment assistance programs to reduce the burden on vulnerable customers
• Rate designs that preserve affordability for low-income consumers
• Separate EV charging rates, possibly accompanied by separate meters, to spread a manageable amount of early costs among EV drivers, but at a rate that is not so high that it would serve as a disincentive to low- and moderate-income drivers as they consider whether to drive EVs
• Time-of-use and other rate design options to optimize charging times and help lower the cost of electricity for all consumers
• Incentivizing infrastructure for public transportation and school buses to spread benefits
• When charging stations are to be installed, placing them in locations that are responsive to community needs and can be used by low-income communities and low-income residents of multifamily buildings
• Incentives to increase private investment in charging stations that serve the needs of low-income communities
Applying consumer protection strategies to ratepayers more broadly, the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel recently proposed principles for considering utility proposals for EV infrastructure investments, in order to balance multiple considerations, such as grid optimization, interoperability, underserved communities, public needs and the competitive market, as well as potential ratepayer benefits.7 Cited potential gains from utility EV programs include demonstrable system benefits, managing EV loads to reduce energy costs, aggregation of EV demand for dispatch as a distributed energy resource, and fostering coordinated regional planning.
According to the People’s Counsel, design and implementation of utility EV programs should:
• result in a more efficient grid through load management;
• align with and balance the state’s various policy goals, including targets for reducing air pollution and energy waste;
• with respect to size, scope and costs, be based on reasonable analysis and alignment with policy objectives;
• result in optimally sited EV infrastructure; and
• use effective evaluation, measurement and verification practices to encourage transparency and inform ongoing program design and improvement.
A recent resolution by the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates also highlights the need for careful consideration of utility EV investments in order to minimize the impact on ratepayers.8 The resolution in part calls for “states to continue to evaluate and analyze key electric vehicle adoption issues with an emphasis on the core responsibilities of public utilities, a specific focus on the efficient integration of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure into their systems, the avoidance of adverse impacts on the system from electric vehicle loads, the development of alternative rate designs if appropriate, the adaptation of distribution planning to minimize system risks and provide the opportunity for longer term system and cost benefits for their ratepayers, and the equitable sharing of any costs and benefits.
Climate Change And The Emperor’s New Clothes Why We Keep Ignoring Even the Most Dire Climate Change Warnings
Jeffrey Kluger, October 8, 2018 (Time Magazine)
“…Humans have always been an exceedingly risk-averse species—which is how we came to survive…[So when it comes to the loss of the entire planet, well, we ought to take action. And yet we don’t…[In the wake of an announcement by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that a] distant future of an Earth best by floods, droughts, wildfires and typhoons isn’t distant anymore, but as little as 12 years away…the public reaction—again, as always—has been meh…[because] climate change checks almost every one of our ignore-the-problem boxes…[It lacks the absolutely critical component—the “me” component…
Immediate concerns will always trump eventual concerns—which is one more trick of species survival…We establish that kind of distance from risk not just temporally but geographically and culturally…Finally, there’s a sense of futility…[Climate change is] arguably the biggest of all problems—and that makes individual action seem awfully pointless…Of course, every great human enterprise has called on people not to do things they want to do or to do things they don’t—paying taxes, volunteering for military service…[I]t has helped ensure the success of the larger human project and the survival of the next generations…[If we don’t act on climate change,] we’re going to owe those generations an explanation—and an apology.” click here for more
The Way To More New Energy Commitments to renewable energy are a great start — what comes next?
Priya Barua, Celina Bonugli and Emily Kaldjian, October 2, 2018 (GreenBiz)
“In the past five years, private energy buyers have made significant commitments to reaching 100 percent renewable energy and have voluntarily brought about 14.2 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy into the electricity market…To maximize these renewable energy commitments and ensure that they are contributing to decarbonizing the electricity grid, we are entering a new era of collaboration, in which utilities will need to play an important role…[by using a portfolio of New Energy technologies like electric vehicles, large batteries and demand response strategies in] achieving net GHG emission reductions, while maintaining reliability, grid efficiency and affordability…
…[Utilities can advance solutions by collaborating] with customers to identify opportunities to retire existing power plants faster…[i]ntegrating customer energy efficiency and renewable energy goals into their long-term plans and strategies…[and designing solutions that take a portfolio approach to recognize and monetize various grid resources…Utilities and customers must continue collaborating to expand the scope of utility solutions and achieve the reduced carbon emissions from our electricity market…[They] must clearly communicate their respective sustainability and clean energy goals with…the intention of collaborating and connecting often…[and stakeholding communities] should prioritize metrics that support this broader definition of leadership…” click here for more
The Role Of Distributed Energy Resources In Today’s Grid Transition
August 2018 (GridLab and GridWorks)
Electricity grids across the nation are undergoing a rapid transition. The principal contributor to this transition is the increased deployment of renewable energy resources by utilities, driven in part by declining costs of these resources relative to conventional, fossil-fired resources. A second factor contributing to the current grid transition is increased adoption of distributed energy resources (DER) by customers. This trend is driven by customers who see value in DER, which provide them with choice in their energy source and the ability to proactively manage their energy use. Effective integration of renewable resources into electricity supplies and grids is the central challenge of our industry, both from a technical and from an economic point of view. This paper is about the role DER plays in addressing that challenge.
Many view the trends of increased reliance on renewable energy resources and customer DER adoption as separate and distinct. Some even perceive DER adoption by customers as a barrier to continued large-scale renewable deployment by utilities. But a handful of utilities and policy-makers are finding a better way forward, recognizing that DER can provide key grid services, including flexibility, that will complement, not frustrate, the deployment of large-scale renewables. These regulators and utilities are showing how to strategically pivot away from legacy systems to enable a more efficient, environmentally benign energy sector.
In this paper, we define and identify the capabilities of DER, with emphasis on how those capabilities facilitate the integration of large-scale renewable deployment. Next, we identify potential services DER may provide a utility and its customers. Building on existing literature, we further consider how DER provides utilities and grid operators with new flexibility in meeting grid needs. Finally, we identify three case studies wherein utilities are embracing the capabilities of DER. Based on these case studies, we conclude DER can complement large-scale renewable energy resources and provide new services to utilities and customers.
DEFINITION AND CAPABILITIES
Distributed Energy Resources is a term applied to a wide variety of technologies and consumer products, including distributed generation (DG), smart inverters, distributed battery energy storage, energy efficiency (EE), demand response (DR), and electric vehicles (EVs). These resources each have distinct strengths and capabilities. Some of the most popular DER in use today include:
Distributed Generation (DG): DG refers to small-scale power resources that generate energy. DG systems are decentralized and typically connected to the distribution grid, compared to traditional centralized large-scale infrastructure which is connected to the transmission system. DG encompasses many forms of generation including, but not limited to, solar photovoltaics (PV), small wind systems, cogeneration/ CHP systems, and fuel cells. The most prominent and growing technology in recent years, buoyed by falling technology costs and favorable policies, is distributed solar PV installed at the customer’s location.
DG’s greatest capability is the ability to generate energy locally, closer to end users compared to traditional generators. This can reduce demand for costly, large-scale utility infrastructure, such as highvoltage transmission lines. DG also reduces line losses experienced due to the transmission of power across large distances.
Finally, adoption of DG, and in particular solar PV, often catalyzes greater utility customer engagement. Utility customers who choose to install DER gain greater insight into their energy usage and often go on to install other DER technologies or utilize utility energy efficiency programs. Customers who adopt DER can be engaged on an ongoing basis in a manner that has the potential to provide additional benefits for the grid.
Battery Storage: Distributed energy storage systems can be used to both store and discharge energy. This allows batteries to act as both a generator and a source of load. Batteries can be integrated as standalone systems, used in support of other distributed resources (e.g., solar plus storage), and are becoming widely deployed in electric vehicles.
Energy storage can provide additional capabilities above and beyond distributed generation. First, batteries can provide dispatchable generation because charging behavior and battery output can be controlled. This capability allows batteries to shift energy generation by discharging at times of high demand or peak load. When energy prices vary temporally, batteries can be programmed to respond to price signals in order to both meet grid needs and reduce customer bills. For example, batteries can be programmed to charge when excess power is available and discharge at times of peak demand. Batteries can also respond instantaneously to changing load conditions, enabling battery systems to serve as a demand response resource to meet load.
Batteries can also provide important voltage regulation and frequency regulation services to improve power quality on existing grid infrastructure. In contrast to traditional utility infrastructure (e.g., transformers, regulators, etc.), storage systems can be paired with smart inverters, described in further detail below, to control the battery’s energy output autonomously in response to changing conditions on the grid. Battery storage can be programmed to ramp up or down rapidly in response to voltage and frequency conditions on the grid, which can help to stabilize and manage the grid.
Smart Inverters: Inverters are devices that convert direct current produced by a generator to alternating current used by the grid. In the past, inverters used by DG and battery systems were designed to switch off when the system experienced a grid disturbance, such as the sudden loss of a large generating resource. With more DER on the system, this can amount to a large loss of generating capacity at once, further disturbing grid conditions.
Inverters are now deployed with advanced functionalities which are capable of intelligently managing the output of the DG system, which can mitigate the impact of distributed generation on the grid. In fact, smart inverters can contribute to resolving grid constraints by providing voltage support, frequency regulation, and ramp rate control. These capabilities support the grid by allowing distributed generation to help stabilize voltage and frequency on the grid, and to “ride through” a minor voltage or frequency disturbance and remain online rather than tripping offline.1
Energy Efficiency: Energy efficiency refers to customer-sited technologies and behaviors that reduce a consumer’s end-use energy consumption. Energy efficiency can target residential, commercial, and industrial customers, and is most often focused on building efficiencies, such as lighting or insulation improvements, mechanical improvements of heating, cooling, appliance, and industrial systems, or passive measures that monitor and control energy consumption.
Energy efficiency primarily provides load and demand reductions by enabling and encouraging consumers to use less energy. Customers invest in energy efficiency measures, often supported by utility incentives or rebates, thus altering energy consumption patterns. Utilities can drive energy efficiency to achieve specific goals in two ways. First, utilities can target specific parts of the distribution network which face capacity constraints and encourage specific types of energy efficiency in response. Second, utilities can deploy energy efficiency measures broadly to reduce system peaks and avoid or defer future need for additional generating capacity.2 Energy efficiency is also being used to reduce demand at specific times, or even to shift demand. The chart above illustrates different energy profiles for various common energy end-uses. By targeting a specific energy end-use, utilities can choose to deploy efficiency technologies that will achieve demand reduction during a specific time period.3 For example, incentivizing energy efficient space heaters would reduce the evening peak illustrated above.
Demand Response (DR): DR is defined as a coordinated reduction in electric load in response to specific system conditions or market incentives.4 Demand response can be controlled by a customer, a third party or directly by the utility. Demand response capabilities allow a utility to curtail or shift load in response to a scarcity of power supplies or other various grid conditions, including changes in generating capacity, peak load scenarios, ramping requirements, transmission or distribution constraints, or voltage irregularities.
Demand response can be used to shape and shift load. DR programs can reshape customer loads over time through rate structures or energy efficiency measures that encourage better utilization of grid resources.5 Similarly, demand response programs can shift periods of high energy demand to periods of low demand. For example, DR programs can be used to encourage electric vehicle charging or heavy appliance operation during times when power supplies are abundant. DR can also be used to shed load during peak load events, for example, by incentivizing consumers to turn down air conditioning units during system peaks. Finally, demand response can be used to provide ancillary grid services, such as rapidly smoothing load or regulating voltage in response to sudden grid disturbances.
Electric Vehicles (EV): EVs primarily provide mobility, and consumers rarely (if ever) purchase them for the additional grid services they can provide. However, intelligent EV charging enables load shaping and shifting in response to grid conditions. Such “smart charging” is expected to provide significant flexibility in the near term as EV deployment grows. Grid operators can effectively utilize an aggregated network of EVs and EV chargers to respond to certain grid events, using both real-time and day-ahead pricing, and demand signals. For example, grid operators can shape demand by encouraging charging at certain hours of the day, particularly when ample solar or wind resources are available. Similarly, operators can shed load by turning off or throttling EV chargers at peak demand hours. In just one case, experts have modeled how grid integrated vehicles can mitigate the California duck curve through peak shaving, valley filling, and ramping mitigation.6
In the medium- to long-term, vehicle-to-grid services could provide capabilities similar to energy storage by not only shifting charging, but allowing EVs to generate power to the grid at key times to alleviate grid stress. EVs are a particularly effective customer engagement tool that provide an added demand response resource and aggregated energy storage technology.
BETTER TOGETHER: LEVERAGING PORTFOLIOS OF DER
In addition to the individual capabilities of each DER, distributed energy resources can be combined to maximize their value to the grid and the adopting customer. For example, a customer-sited solar and storage installation, paired with an electric vehicle and regulated by a smart inverter, can generate power when needed, store and discharge that power in response to grid conditions, energize the transportation needs of the customer, and contribute to the grid operator’s regulation of voltage at the point of interconnection. In this way, individual distributed energy resources complement one another to provide greater service to the adopting customer while also contributing to grid needs.
DER can also be deployed in portfolios where large aggregations of DER are coordinated to meet grid needs. In such cases, the DER adopted by customers — in some cases hundreds of thousands of customers — are brought together by utilities and third parties. Aggregating resources in this way provides new opportunities. First, drawing on the relative strengths of different technologies, these portfolios offer services to the grid which exceed services that each technology can offer on a standalone basis. Additionally, a portfolio approach allows for risk management strategies that are not possible for single DER resources. As is the case with an investment portfolio, risk can be managed through diversification. For example, to meet new capacity needs, a utility can combine energy efficiency, demand response, and distributed storage, engaging a range of residential, commercial and industrial customers. Aggregated, the technologies and customers can contribute to a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts.
DER are capable of providing a wide range of services to the grid whether they are used as individual resources (like DG or EE), combinations (such as solar and storage), or aggregated into portfolios of diverse technologies and customers. The following section identifies services DER can provide and describes how the capabilities of DER match both traditional and new grid needs. Building on existing literature, this paper contributes new perspectives on a growing grid need, flexibility.
AVOIDED TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM INVESTMENTS…AVOIDED GENERATION…FLEXIBILITY…CASE STUDIES…
As demonstrated in this paper, properly leveraged Distributed Energy Resources can provide significant benefits to the grid and utility customers. There are initial steps that utilities, regulators, and policy makers can take to capture the benefits of DER for the grid.
1 | The first step towards capturing the benefits of DER is to develop a full understanding of DER technologies, capabilities, and the various value streams they provide. This understanding is important to ensure DER continued growth in a manner that benefits the grid. There are an ever increasing number of publications about DER and non-wires solutions. Included with this document is an annotated bibliography describing relevant recent studies.
2 | Transparent Integrated Distribution Planning processes will allow utilities and regulators to evaluate the full implications of all available energy resources, including DER such as energy storage projects, demand response initiatives, and energy efficiency measures. Clear and proper evaluation of non-wires solutions, including detailed cost-benefit analyses that compare traditional utility investments with DER, are necessary to ensure customers are receiving the benefits from the full range of energy options available to them at the lowest cost. Non-wires solutions, such as adoption of solar with smart inverters or demand response programs in place of expensive transformer or transmission upgrades, often provide a multitude of grid services at lower cost. Nonwires solutions, in the context of effective Integrated Distribution Planning and avoided T&D, will often deliver a greater combination of services to the grid than a traditional infrastructure upgrade while also reducing costs for end-use consumers.
3 | Regulators can urge the adoption of smart inverters for new distributed energy sources. Smart inverters enable a host of additional services to support the grid, as highlighted above. Not only do smart inverters provide a number of ancillary grid services, such as voltage support or soft-start capabilities, but they similarly help avoid costly T&D investments. Increasing the adoption of smart inverters will inevitably lead to a more flexible, resilient electric grid.
Distributed energy resources offer a means to leverage private investment to the benefit of the grid while satisfying the desire among some customers to choose the source of their power and proactively manage their energy usage. Not all customers wish to make such a choice, but the number is growing due in large part to decreasing costs and increasing availability of DER. This trend is likely to accelerate as EVs become more mainstream, and as the cost of solar, battery storage, and smart energy management devices continues to fall.13
As shown through the case studies highlighted in this paper, utilities and their regulators are increasingly recognizing the capabilities of DER to address challenges emerging from the grid transition. DER are demonstrating their capability to provide services to reduce peak demand, avoid transmission and distribution investments, and provide voltage and frequency support. DER also provide an important new service, flexibility. In doing so, they provide enhanced value to utilities and their customers. This progress invites policymakers to think of DER as a complement to the grid transition, rather than a frustration. Once the full capabilities of DER are recognized, policymakers can value the resource accordingly, and consider approaches to incentivizing DER to unlock that value.
Climate Report 1 - New Energy “would have to increase to as much as 67 percent…” Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040
Coral Davenport, October 7, 2018 (NY Times)
“A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has ‘no documented historic precedent’…[It] describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population…The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change…The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark…Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years…[If not avoided, the] damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion…
...[It remains] technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming…[but heavy taxes or prices on carbon dioxide emissions] would be required…[That] would be almost politically impossible in the United States, the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China. Lawmakers around the world, including in China, the European Union and California, have enacted carbon pricing programs…President Trump, who has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, has vowed to increase the burning of coal…Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040…[To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming,] greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050…[and] use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to between 1 and 7 percent. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which make up about 20 percent of the electricity mix today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent…” click here for more
Climate Report 2 - “The transformation described in the document is breathtaking…” The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say; “There is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of changes required, the body found.
Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis, October 7, 2018 (Washington Post)
“The world stands on the brink of failure when it comes to holding global warming to moderate levels, and nations will need to take ‘unprecedented’ actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade, according to a landmark report by the top scientific body studying climate change…With global emissions showing few signs of slowing and the United States — the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide — rolling back a suite of Obama-era climate measures, the prospects for meeting the most ambitious goals of the 2015 Paris agreement look increasingly slim. To avoid racing past warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels would require a ‘rapid and far-reaching’ transformation of human civilization at a magnitude that has never happened before, the group found.
‘There is no documented historic precedent’ for the sweeping change to energy, transportation and other systems required to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius…[but] the report is being received with hope in some quarters because it affirms that 1.5 degrees Celsius is still possible — if emissions stopped today, for instance, the planet would not reach that temperature. It is also likely to galvanize even stronger climate action by focusing on 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than 2 degrees, as a target that the world cannot afford to miss…The transformation described in the document is breathtaking, and the speed of change required raises inevitable questions about its feasibility…The upshot is that humans are allowed either 10 or 14 years of current emissions, and no more, for a two-thirds or better chance of avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius…[T]he world’s percentage of electricity from renewables such as solar and wind power would have to jump from the current 24 percent to something more like 50 or 60 percent…” click here for more
”They have their proudest moments right before they fall…”From Paul McCartney via YouTube
Scientists talk about the emotions that come from an experience of trauma – or from the realization of what is happening to the world’s climate. “Denial is a psychological defense…” but “…this is not hopeless…” From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube
From Bloomberg via YouTube