NewEnergyNews: FERC OUTLINES, APPROVES SMART GRID

NewEnergyNews

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

Hey, hey, Ms. Abby!!! Go get 'em!!!

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: THE IMPACT ON REAL PEOPLE OF RISING POWER PRICES
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 22: SCHOOLS SAVE W/GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; BUILDING FOR NEXT-GEN U.S. BIOFUELS; ENERGY STORAGE MARKET EMERGING
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: WHERE U.S. OFFSHORE WIND WILL CONNECT
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 21: SOLARCITY TO CROWDFUND WITH $1,000 BONDS; NEW JERSEY LOOKS AT OCEAN WIND; SMART LED LIGHTING MRKT TO DOUBLE
  • -------------------

    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

    -------------------

    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSMISSION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 20: ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY; YAHOO BUYS WIND; SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: The Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-HOTTEST SEPTEMBER EVER; WORLD’S HOTTEST MONTHS STREAK AT SIX
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU WIND BEATS FOSSIL, NUKE ENERGY PRICES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-DESERTEC SUCCUMBS TO MIDEAST TURMOIL
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-JAPAN UPS PUSH FOR GEOTHERMAL
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 16:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE MILITARY FALLS FOR THE HOAX
  • TTTA Thursday-FORTUNE 100 BUSINESSES BOOST SUN
  • TTTA Thursday-IOWA UTILITY BUYS WIND TO CUT COSTS
  • TTTA Thursday-GETTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY FROM THE CLOUD
  • --------------------------

    --------------------------

    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

    - -------------------

    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

    -------------------

    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

    -------------------

    Your intrepid reporter

    -------------------

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

    -------------------

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

  • ---------------
  • Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    FERC OUTLINES, APPROVES SMART GRID

    FERC Adopts Policy to Accelerate Development of Smart Grid
    Mary O’Driscoll, July 16, 2009 (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)

    SUMMARY
    The Smart Grid Policy Statement, from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, sets priorities for Smart Grid standards. It is a step toward a modern, more efficient and more reliable transmission system capable of new cost- and energy-saving functions.

    State and federal regulators, the utility industry and utility customers agree - as they do on little else - that there is tremendous potential in a Smart Grid. A lack of standards and clear regulatory jurisdictions have prevented its implementation and deployment. FERC wants to change that and is proceeding methodically.

    click to enlarge

    The Smart Grid will apply digital technologies to the electricity transmission system, beginning with advanced meters and reaching to sophisticated electronic control systems. The Smart Grid will make possible 2-way communication between the power suppliers and the power consumers. Real-time coordination of information between power generators and the consumers on the demand side of the equation will make it possible to adjust use to fit supply and efficiency goals. The overall power system will become more efficient and the consumer will save.

    New Energy sources of generation, new energy storage technologies and widespread battery electric vehicle (BEV) use will be integrated into the system.

    FERC’s Policy Statement identifies goals and means to the goals. The proposed means will help promote the wider implementation of demand response technologies by bringing the newest cost saving capabilities to consumers while protecting the implementing utilities from financial harm for trying out new tools in the absence of established standards.

    click to enlarge

    The Policy Statement closely follows a proposed policy issued in March. It:
    (1) ...defines the priorities that will need to be respected if there are to be Smart Grid standards for large-scale systems and individual devices that are to have interoperability and secure function.
    (2) ...initiates planning for the integration into the transmission system of New Energy sources of generation, new technologies to allow for storage of New Energy-generated electricity and initiates planning to adapt the transmission system (the “grid”) for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology and the widespread use of BEVs.

    click to enlarge

    (3) ...defines FERC policy to allow the utilities that act early to adopt Smart Grid technologies to recover the costs they will incur.
    (4) ...incorporates more than 70 sets of comments from interested groups that supported the proposed policy.
    (5) ...and commits FERC to not interfering with states’ implementation of Smart Grid technologies and commits it to the jurisdictional boundaries between federal and state regulators established by the Federal Power Act on rates, terms and conditions of transmission and the sale of electricity.

    The FERC Policy Statement becomes official 60 days after official publication.

    The Policy Statement is an interim measure that will necessarily be altered by final interoperability and cybersecurity standards.

    click to enlarge

    COMMENTARY
    The Policy Statement establishes priorities for the development of key interoperability standards, which are the foundation of the Smart Grid. Without interoperability, there is no guarantee that PC can talk to Mac, that USB plugs work in USB ports, that grid operators can work with grid-served consumers.

    The Policy Statement also signals for utilities to go ahead with implementation because they can expect to recover their costs in regulated rates instead of being forced to carry the stranded costs of turning yesterday’s transmission into Smart Grid systems.

    click to enlarge

    The Policy Statement proposes interim rates for utilities that implement Smart Grid technologies early. To qualify, utilities must demonstrate that their Smart Grid proposals have 4 capabilities:

    (1) The Smart Grid facilities being implemented must advance the concept.
    (2) The Smart Grid facilities being implemented must not interfere with the overall system’s reliability and cyber-security.
    (3) The Smart Grid facilities being implemented must minimize stranded costs and obsolescence.
    And, most critically, (4) The impacts, successes and failures of the Smart Grid facilities being implemented must be shared with the Department of Energy (DOE) Smart Grid Clearinghouse. A responsive, interactive, and transparent implementation process will make it possible for state and federal regulators to incorporate the information gained from early projects into future decisions on proposed Smart Grid projects.

    click to enlarge

    The assumption is that the more information there is available, the more success there will be to build on, despite the Smart Grid’s many complexities and moving parts. The more success there is to build on, the more investment there will be in Smart Grid implementation.

    The Policy Statement is designed to create a progressively more coordinated effort and commitment from federal agencies, state agencies and all other stakeholders, eliminating the jurisdictional disputes of the past and creating higher and higher levels of successful deployment.

    click to enlarge

    FERC wants responsive, interactive, and transparent implementation that does not compromise fair regulatory treatment to both consumers and utilities. Coordination between wholesale and retail markets and between federal and state regulators should protect both sides.

    The Policy Statement encourages utilities to invest in Smart Grid technology by striking a balance between competing interests:

    (1) Utilities and product developers are incentivized to develop and install Smart Grid technology even though interoperability and cybersecurity standards are not yet finalized. This will begin delivering the benefits of Smart Grid technology to consumers as soon as possible. Delay stymies innovation whereas growth creates economies of scale that bring costs down and drive further innovation.

    (2) Consumers are protected from profligate spending by well-defined parameters for development of interoperability and cybersecurity standards.

    click to enlarge

    Full implementation will not be achieved until there are Smart Rates. The whole purpose of Smart Grid technologies is to make it possible for regulators and consumers to quantify demand and usage. Smart Rates will necessarily follow, rates that encourage electricity use and grid use that is efficient. Evenutally, regulators will customize rates and services to conform use to the larger, more desired purposes of meeting users’ needs with a higher quality of service at lower prices.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Jon Wellinghoff, Chair, FERC: “The Smart Grid Policy Statement that we vote on today will help to inform and accelerate the Smart Grid standards development process so that proposed standards will be submitted for Commission review and approval in an expeditious manner…When the Commission issued our Proposed Policy Statement on the Smart Grid in March of this year, I said that I expected that the increased efficiency, reliability and flexibility of a “smart” electric system will result in long-term savings for consumers…The Policy Statement adopts the priorities that we proposed in March. The Policy Statement also protects consumers while providing cost recovery assurances to early moving utilities that invest in Smart Grid technologies that meet specified criteria…”
    - Suedeen G. Kelly, Commissioner, FERC: “The electrical grid faces daunting challenges that cannot be addressed by our existing technologies. While digital technologies have transformed other industries, we have only recently focused on the urgent need to modernize the grid by developing and implementing a range of new technologies. Today’s Policy Statement provides a roadmap to transforming the old grid into the grid of the future, better known as the Smart Grid.

    click to enlarge

    - Marc Spitzer, Commissioner, FERC: “…I think it appropriate that we encourage utilities to invest in Smart Grid technologies and to modernize their operations and the services they provide based on the new technologies. I also believe that there remains a critical role for the states and the industry in developing standards and then designing Smart Rate programs consistent with new technology. The Commission is not interested in usurping traditional state jurisdictional authority. Indeed, the Policy Statement does not alter Federal and state ratemaking jurisdiction…”
    - Philip D. Moeller, Commissioner, FERC: “It’s our responsibility to help protect the security and reliability of the nation's electric grid by adopting effective cyber-security standards for the Smart Grid…If we do that right, consumers can look forward to exciting new products and services from a smarter, safer and more efficient grid.”

    0 Comments:

    Post a Comment

    << Home

    *