NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

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

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: Earthrise by Amanda Gorman
  • Weekend Video: New Energy Will Make The World’s First Trillionaire
  • Weekend Video: The Climate Urgency, A Short Lecture
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Global Climate Emergency By The Numbers
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Europe’s Energy Transition Has Healed Its Environment
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, January 20:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Biden Energy Transition
  • TTTA Wednesday-Coming To New Energy In 2021
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Monday Study: New Energy Is The Smart, Low Cost Way Forward
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: New Energy Vs. Fossil Fuels, The Showdown
  • Weekend Video: An 80% New Energy System
  • Weekend Video: The Business Opportunity In The Climate Emergency
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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

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

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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, January 25:
  • New Energy’s Need To Connect

    Monday, January 25, 2021

    Monday Study: New Energy’s Need To Connect

    Disconnected: The Need For A New Generator Interconnection Policy

    Jay Caspary, Michael Goggin, Rob Gramlich, and Jesse Schneider, January 2021 (Americans for a Clean Energy Grid/Macro Grid Initiative)

    Executive Summary

    America’s system for planning and paying for the nation’s transmission grid is causing a massive backlog and delay in the construction of new power projects. While locally produced electric power is gaining in popularity, most of the lowest cost new power production comes from projects which are located in rural areas and, thus, depend on new electricity lines to deliver power to the urban and suburban areas which use most of the nation’s power. Project developers must apply for interconnection to the transmission network, and until the network capacity is expanded to accommodate the resources, the projects must wait in an “interconnection queue.” At the end of 2019, 734 gigawatts of proposed generation were waiting in interconnection queues nationwide.1

    This massive backlog has multiple negative impacts on the nation. First, it needlessly increases electricity costs for America’s homes and businesses in two ways: (1) it slows or prevents the adoption of new power sources which are cheaper than existing power generation; and (2) it also significantly increases the costs of each new power source. Americans for a Clean Energy Grid’s (ACEG) recent study demonstrates that a comprehensive approach to building transmission to connect remote power resources to electricity load centers in the Eastern half of the U.S. can cut consumers electric bills by $100 billion and decrease the average electric bill rate by more than one-third, from over 9 cents/kWh today to around 6 cents/kWh by 2050,

    Second, because the lowest cost proposed power projects are often located in rural areas, this backlog is blocking rural economic development and job creation. In addition, rural power projects expand the tax base of local communities and typically generate lease payments or other revenue for farmers and other landowners. New transmission in the Eastern half of the U.S. alone will unleash up to $7.8 trillion in investment in rural America and create more than 6 million net new domestic jobs. 3

    Third, almost 90 percent of the backlog is for wind and solar projects, thus blocking the resources which dominate new electricity production, reflecting the changing resource mix in the power sector and America’s abundance of high-quality renewable resource areas where the sun shines bright and the wind blows strong. 4 The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects wind and solar will account for 75 percent of new electricity generation in 2020. 5 Many states, utilities, Fortune 500 companies and other institutions have adopted large commitments or requirements to scale up their renewable energy use or reduce their carbon pollution and this backlog may delay or impede achievement of these commitments or requirements. In addition, delays in developing these projects unnecessarily exposes Americans, especially those in environmental justice communities, to the harmful impacts of smog, and nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, fine particulate and carbon dioxide pollution.

    Policies governing the interconnection of generators to the grid network stand in the way of accessing these remote resources. Interconnection policies and procedures governing transmission engineering studies, queuing, and allocating transmission upgrade costs are set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and implemented in detail by all of the hundreds of transmission providers around the country including the Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs).6

    Although FERC and the RTOs have undertaken worthwhile reforms to alleviate interconnection backlogs, the interconnection queues are costly, lengthy, and unpredictable. Power project developers are uncertain if their project will be approved and this risk significantly increases the cost of capital for generation developers, which increases the cost of energy for customers.

    The current process also places nearly all costs of network upgrades on the energy project developer, even though many others will benefit from the construction of the project. Until a few years ago, these interconnection charges for new renewable resources would comprise under 10 percent of the total project cost for most projects. In recent years - due to the lack of sufficient large-scale transmission build - these costs have dramatically risen and interconnection charges now can comprise as much as 50 to 100 percent of the project costs. The system has reached a breaking point recently as spare transmission has been used up. Presently in most regions, new network capacity is needed for almost all of the projects in the queues.

    Participant funding for new grid connections is no longer a “just and reasonable” policy and violates FERC’s “beneficiary pays” principle and the Federal Power Act. Relying on the interconnection process to identify needed transmission leads to a piecemeal approach and inefficiently small upgrades, raising costs to consumers. The incremental reforms at the RTO-level over the past decade have only served to treat symptoms of this fundamental issue – the lack of alignment between regional planning processes and the interconnection process.

    There is a better way. RTOs could conduct comprehensive transmission planning which would identify the transmission lines to connect many new energy projects to the grid and deliver the greatest benefits for consumers. It is time for FERC and RTOs to undertake a fundamental re-thinking of interconnection and transmission planning policy based on different circumstances than those that existed when these policies were developed. Full participant funding should no longer be allowed in RTO or non-RTO areas.

    More broadly, FERC and RTOs should pursue planning reforms. Consumers would benefit from more efficient transmission at a scale that brings down the total delivered cost, rather than continuing the current cycle of incremental transmission built in the project-by-project or generator-only cost assignment regime. That shift will not happen in the current interconnection process. Instead, FERC should fundamentally reform the regional and inter-regional transmission planning process to require broader pro-active and multi-purpose transmission planning…

    Key Findings

    » The current system for planning and paying for expansion of the transmission grid is so unworkable and inefficient it is creating a huge backlog of unbuilt energy projects. At the end of 2019, 734 gigawatts of proposed generation were waiting in interconnection queues nationwide.

    » This backlog is needlessly increasing electricity costs for consumers by delaying the construction of new projects which are cheaper than existing electricity production. » Because most of these projects are located in remote rural areas, this backlog is harming rural economic development and job creation.

    » Almost 90 percent of the backlog is for wind, solar, and storage projects. The backlog may delay or prevent achievement of commitments that states, utilities, and Fortune 500 companies have made to scale up their renewable energy use or reduce their pollution.

    » The risk from the uncertainty of the interconnection process significantly increases the cost of capital for generation developers, which increases the cost of energy for customers.

    » Although Regional Transmission Orginizations (RTOs) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have undertaken worthwhile attempts to alleviate interconnection backlogs, the interconnection queues remain costly, lengthy, and unpredictable.

    » The current “participant funding “policy that places nearly all costs of shared large network upgrades on the interconnection customer violates FERC’s “beneficiary pays” principle and is therefore no longer a “just and reasonable” policy and violates the Federal Power Act.

    Key recommendations

    » FERC should discontinue the policy of participant funding for new generation. Shared network upgrades resulting from generation interconnection requests provide economic and reliability benefits to loads and reduce congestion to improve grid efficiencies and operational flexibility, and therefore should not be fully assigned to interconnection generators.

    » FERC and planning authorities should expand and improve regional and inter-regional transmission planning processes to be pro-active, incorporating future generation additions and retirements and the multiple benefits, and spread costs to all beneficiaries.

    Saturday, January 23, 2021

    Earthrise by Amanda Gorman

    Another rallying cry from the inauguruation poet: “…it’s getting the facts straight that gets us to act and not to wait…” From via YouTube

    New Energy Will Make The World’s First Trillionaire

    New Energy just made Elon Musk the world’s richest person and there are far more riches to be made. From CNBC Television via YouTube

    The Climate Urgency

    This short lecture leaves skepticism behind and describes the “minefield” and how to get through it. From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    Friday, January 22, 2021

    The Global Climate Emergency By The Numbers

    These 6 numbers define the climate challenge in a changing U.S.; Joe Biden takes office during an increasingly obvious and destructive climate crisis. To rein it in, he’ll have to keep these 6 numbers in mind.

    Alejandra Borunda, January 19, 2021 (National Geogrpahic)

    “…2020 tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record, a clear sign of a planet in distress…[These six numbers] define the challenge……[1.25°C or 2.25°F is] how much higher Earth’s average temperature was in 2020 compared to the late 1800s…[At the current 0.2ºC per decade rate of warming, Earth would exceed the Paris Agreement 2°C or 3.6°F goal within] a few decades exceed…[945 gigatons of] carbon dioxide remains in the “carbon budget” that would give Earth a 66 percent chance of warming less than 2ºC above pre-industrial temperatures…[In 2020, the world added about] 40 gigatons (billion tons) of CO2…[That rate would use the] remaining budget in less than 25 years……[In 2020, there were 22 U.S. billion dollar weather-and-climate disasters] in the U.S. in 2020…and that number is only going to increase until climate change is controlled…

    …[By 2035, Arctic sea ice may vanish in the summer] for the first time in 2 million years or so—a potential “tipping point” in the region that could reshape the entire planet…[Others] hover uncomfortably close…[28% of the world’s electricity comes from New Energy and] renewables will soon outstrip coal and natural gas…[And may be] the largest source of energy globally by 2025…[But to] meet net-zero emissions targets, renewable electricity will have to almost completely supplant coal and gas [and gasoline] by mid-century…[51%] of Americans under 45 say climate change has influenced their decision about where to live..[That’s a big deal and can] propel climate action…” click here for more

    Europe’s Energy Transition Has Healed Its Environment

    Shift to renewable energy eases key environmental burdens, EU says; Renewable power generation in the EU has nearly doubled since 2005, producing 34% of electricity in 2019 compared with 38% from fossil fuels

    Kate Abnett with Hugh Lawson, 18 January 2021 (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

    “Europe's shift from fossil fuel-based electricity to renewable sources has reduced environmental problems while also cutting the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change…Renewable power generation in the European Union has nearly doubled since 2005, producing 34% of EU electricity in 2019 compared with the 38% produced by fossil fuels like coal and gas…The EU's switch from fossil fuel-based power production to sources like wind and solar since 2005 has "significantly decreased" emissions…

    …[It has also yielded] "clear improvements" in key environmental problems…These include soil acidification, eutrophication - where freshwater becomes overloaded with nutrients, causing algal blooms and low oxygen levels - and the formation of particulate matter, a type of air pollution linked to 379,000 deaths in Europe in 2018…Meeting EU emissions-cutting goals will require an even faster expansion of renewable sources, requiring a power sector based 70% on renewables by 2030…” click here for more

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Biden Energy Transition

    Fact Checking Trump’s and Biden’s Energy Transition Plans

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 26, 2020 (cacurrent)

    In the presidential candidates’ final debate, President Trump said Vice President Biden’s energy plan could cost tens of millions of jobs. Wind is “extremely expensive” and solar “doesn’t quite have it yet,” he added. Trump avoided answering a question about the health impacts of polluting industries.

    There is “a moral obligation” to address the climate crisis and transition to net zero emissions electricity by 2035, Biden countered. That will create “millions of new good paying jobs” as polluting industries are transitioned to wind and solar.

    Under an analysis of the candidates’ plans by the U.C. Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy 2035 Report, its “No New Policy” scenario can represent the White House plan because it is based on current policies and 55% emissions-free electricity in 2035, said Quantum Energy founder and research scientist Daniel Howard. The report’s “90% Clean” scenario, which assesses feasibility of achieving 90% emissions-free electricity by 2035, can represent the Biden plan.

    The 2035 study modeled Biden’s proposed transition by 2035 to a generation mix of 70% wind and solar, 20% hydropower and nuclear, and 10% natural gas. It concluded the proposal would protect reliability, add 500,000 more jobs every year, avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in health and environmental costs, and would lower wholesale electricity costs 10%. In the debate, the president condescendingly raised doubts about those projections but Howard’s study and the 2035 study show those doubts are baseless.

    The Biden environmental and health policy costs would total $592 billion and decline substantially when a 90% emissions-free infrastructure was in place in 2035. Total health and environmental costs under Trump policies were projected to be $969 billion and they would be unlikely to change because emissions and pollutants would change little, Howard said.

    That is the key finding, he said. The $810 billion total cost of Biden’s policies through 2035 are 30% less than the $1.161 trillion total cost of Trump policies. Once 90% of emissions and pollutants from electricity generation are eliminated, “it will be far cheaper.” And “if we don’t make that change, we are going to face devastating impacts from the climate crisis on the quality of life of our children and grandchildren.” click here for more

    Coming To New Energy In 2021

    Renewable Energy Trends to Expect in 2021

    Emily Folk,14 January 2021 (Renewable Energy Magazine)

    “…[These trends will contribute in 2021 as] renewable energy industry continues to grow…1. Corporations Will Go Green…[Corporations expanding their sustainability efforts] isn’t a consumer fad. It’s becoming an expected part of everyday life…2. Scope 3 Emissions Will Decrease…[They result from partnering and supply chain organizations and corporations] will likely focus on these emissions to reduce their carbon footprint…3. Geothermal Heat Will Warm Neighborhoods…[H]omeowners will save money by drawing on heat from the ground…[G]round temperatures average around 55 degrees Fahrenheit…The constant ground heat is cost-efficient and highly effective…

    ...4. Innovation Will Drive Green Efforts…[New innovative solutions will make renewable energy] easier for long-term goals and profitability…5. Companies Will Leverage Tax Credits…to make the sustainable switch, build consumer trust and maintain a greener future for their business operations…6. Traditional Energy Companies Will Diversify…[Oil, gas and electric companies will invest in biorefinery efforts and green technology to stay afloat…[These renewable energy trends in 2021] will begin their industry takeover, transforming the planet…” click here for more

    Monday, January 18, 2021

    Monday Study: New Energy Is The Smart, Low Cost Way Forward

    2035 – The Report; Plummeting Solar, Wind, And Battery Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Electricity Future

    June 2020 (U.C. Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy)

    Executive Summary

    Global carbon emissions must be halved by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5°C and avoid catastrophic climate impacts. Most existing studies, however, examine 2050 as the year that deep decarbonization of electric power systems can be achieved—a timeline that would also hinder decarbonization of the buildings, industrial, and transportation sectors. In light of recent trends, these studies present overly conservative estimates of decarbonization potential. Plummeting costs for wind and solar energy have dramatically changed the prospects for rapid, cost-effective expansion of renewable energy. At the same time, battery energy storage has become a viable option for costeffectively integrating high levels of wind and solar generation into electricity grids. This report uses the latest renewable energy and battery cost data to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of achieving 90% clean (carbon-free) electricity in the United States by 2035. Two central cases are simulated using state-of-the-art capacityexpansion and production-cost models: The No New Policy case assumes continuation of current state and federal policies; and the 90% Clean case requires that a 90% clean electricity share is reached by 2035.

    Key Findings

    Strong Policies Are Required To Create A 90% Clean Grid By 2035

    The 90% Clean case assumes strong policies drive 90% clean electricity by 2035. The No New Policy case achieves only 55% clean electricity in 2035 (Figure ES-1). A companion report from Energy Innovation identifies institutional, market, and regulatory changes needed to facilitate the rapid transformation to a 90% clean power sector in the United States.

    The 90% Clean Grid Is Dependable Without Coal Plants Or New Natural Gas Plants

    Retaining existing hydropower and nuclear capacity (after accounting for planned retirements), and much of the existing natural gas capacity combined with new battery storage, is sufficient to meet U.S. electricity demand dependably (i.e., every hour of the year) with a 90% clean grid in 2035. Under the 90% Clean case, all existing coal plants are retired by 2035, and no new fossil fuel plants are built. During normal periods of generation and demand, wind, solar, and batteries provide 70% of annual generation, while hydropower and nuclear provide 20%. During periods of very high demand and/or very low renewable generation, existing natural gas, hydropower, and nuclear plants combined with battery storage cost-effectively compensate for mismatches between demand and wind/solar generation. Generation from natural gas plants constitutes about 10% of total annual electricity generation, which is about 70% lower than their generation in 2019.

    Electricity Costs From The 90% Clean Grid Are Lower Than Today’s Costs

    Wholesale electricity costs, which include the cost of generation plus incremental transmission investments, are about 10% lower in 2035 under the 90% Clean case than they are today, mainly owing to low renewable energy and battery costs (Figure ES2). Pervasiveness of low-cost renewable energy and battery storage across the United States requires investment mainly in transmission spurs connecting renewable generation to existing high-capacity transmission lines or load centers. Hence, additional transmission-related costs and siting conflicts are modest. Relying on natural gas for only 10% of generation avoids large investments for infrequently used capacity, helping to avoid major new stranded-asset costs. Retaining natural gas generation averts the need to build excess renewable energy and long-duration storage capacity—helping achieve 90% clean electricity while keeping costs down. While still lower than today’s costs, wholesale electricity costs are 12% higher under the 90% Clean case than under the No New Policy case in 2035. However, this comparison does not account for the value of emissions reductions or job creation under the 90% Clean case.

    The 90% Clean Grid Avoids $1.2 Trillion In Health And Environmental Damages, Including 85,000 Premature Deaths, Through 2050

    The 90% Clean case nearly eliminates emissions from the U.S. power sector by 2035, resulting in environmental and health benefits largely driven by reduced mortality related to electricity generation (Figure ES-3). Compared with the No New Policy case, the 90% Clean case reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 88% by 2035. It also reduces exposure to fine particulate (PM2.5) matter by reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 96% and 99%, respectively.1 As a result, the 90% Clean case avoids over $1.2 trillion in health and environmental costs, including 85,000 avoided premature deaths, through 2050. These savings equate roughly to 2 cents/kWh of wholesale electricity costs, which makes the 90% Clean case the lowest-netcost option when environmental and health costs are considered.

    Scaling-Up Renewables To Achieve 90% Clean Energy By 2035 Is Feasible

    To achieve the 90% Clean case by 2035, 1,100 GW of new wind and solar generation must be built, averaging about 70 GW per year (Figure ES-4). Recent U.S. precedents for natural gas and wind/solar expansion suggest that a renewable energy buildout of this magnitude is challenging but feasible. New renewable resources can be built cost-effectively in all regions of the country

    The 90% Clean Grid Can Significantly Increase Energy-Sector Employment

    The 90% Clean case supports a total of 29 million job-years cumulatively during 2020–2035. Employment related to the energy sector increases by approximately 8.5 million net jobyears, as increased employment from expanding renewable energy and battery storage more than replaces lost employment related to declining fossil fuel generation. The No New Policy case requires one-third fewer jobs, for a total of 20 million job-years over the study period. These jobs include direct, indirect, and induced jobs related to construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance, and the supply chain. Overall, the 90% Clean case supports over 500,000 more jobs each year compared to the No New Policy case.

    Accelerating The Clean Energy Future

    Establishing a target year of 2035, rather than the typical 2050 target, helps align expectations for power-sector decarbonization with climate realities while informing the policy dialogue needed to achieve such an ambitious goal. Aiming for 90% clean electricity—rather than 100%—by 2035 is also important for envisioning rapid, cost-effective decarbonization. By 2035, emerging technologies such as firm, low-carbon power should be mature enough to begin to replace the remaining natural gas generation as the nation accelerates toward 100%, crosssector decarbonization. Reaching 90% zero-carbon electricity in the United States by 2035 would contribute a 27% reduction in economy-wide carbon emissions from 2010 levels.

    Saturday, January 16, 2021

    New Energy Vs. Fossil Fuels, The Showdown

    Fossil fuels dominates early, thanks to government subsidies. But New Energy has staying power. From Jessica Findley via YouTube

    An 80% New Energy System

    This utility will soon be running on 80% New Energy.From Greentech Media via YouTube

    The Business Opportunity In The Climate Emergency

    There are many ways to invest in urgently needed solutions and exponential transformation is coming. From The Economist via YouTube

    Friday, January 15, 2021

    Things To Come In Global New Energy

    Ten renewable energy trends to watch in 2021

    Brian Eckhouse, Will Mathis, Dan Murtaugh, January 6, 2021 (World Oil)

    “…[The breakout of sustainability and infrastructure] will likely continue into 2021, fueled in part by last year’s major turning points…China has now committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2060…Some analysts have started predicting that the U.S. power sector is approaching peak natural gas…Residential installations in the U.S. dropped nearly 20% in the second quarter of 2020 from the first—the most ever—as the pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders…[but] the sector bounced back and the country added 19 gigawatts of total solar power…Installations doubled in China…New battery-storage capacity in the U.S. more than doubled in the third quarter of 2020 from the second…

    …[Spain’s use of solar] was up over 60% in 2020 compared to 2019…[European rtenewable power's 40%] share of the grid compared with 34% from plants burning fossil fuels…A 67-day period became Britain’s longest stretch without coal since the Industrial Revolution and helped make 2020 the country’s greenest year yet…India's debt-burdened utilities were further battered by the world’s largest lockdown in 2020…[Australia’s high] power prices and abundant sunshine have spurred a love affair with rooftop solar, with about 29% of households now outfitted…[Rising] costs for solar have so far not affected sales…[E]lectricity shutoffs prompted by wildfire risk has contributed to mounting U.S. homeowner interest in rooftop systems and batteries…” click here for more

    Global New Energy Runs With The Bulls

    Renewable Energy Stocks See Record Investments

    Haley Zaremba, January 11, 2021 (OilPrice)

    “…[M]aybe all we needed was a global apocalypse to finally catalyze the global clean energy transition…Organizations as respected as the World Economic Forum have advocated using the pandemic’s disruption as an opportunity to create a “new energy order” and a “great reset.” International agencies such as the United Nations, the International Energy Agency, and the European Union, are all drafting or already imposing green stimulus plans…[and] blue-chip companies are pushing for a green energy stimulus…Just this week, [the] $6.2 billion iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ticker ICLN) lured a record $691 million of inflows…

    …[and] the $4.6 billion Invesco Solar ETF (ticker TAN) is on track to take in nearly $370 million…Fossil fuel tycoons and out-of-work laborers in the shale patch fear that the focus on developing green energy alternatives and diverting funds to [sustainability investing] will come at their expense. But there is a strong argument to be made that even in West Texas, clean energy is the way forward and the key to job creation…[C]limate change will be very, very expensive for all of us…[T]he data shows that it's also a great financial move regardless of your politics.” click here for more