NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: WHY UTILITIES AND SOLAR ADVOCATES CAN'T AGREE ON WHAT SOLAR COSTS

NewEnergyNews

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

December 7, 1941: Time to forgive but not forget.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How To Balance Competing Solar Interests
  • QUICK NEWS, December 6: Sliver Of Hope? Al Gore In Climate Change Meet With Donald Trump; The Opportunity In New Energy; Google Seizing New Energy Opportunity
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Way For New Energy To Meet Peak Demand
  • QUICK NEWS, December 5: Trial Of The Century Coming On Climate; The Wind-Solar Synergy; The Still Rising Sales Of Cars With Plugs
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Trump Truth And Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: The Daily Show Talks Pipeline Politics
  • Weekend Video: Beyond Polar Bears – The Real Science Of Climate Change
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Aussie Farmers Worrying About Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 1
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 2
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy And Historic Buildings In Europe
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, December 1:

  • TTTA Thursday-First Daughter Ivanka May Fight For Climate
  • TTTA Thursday-Low Profile High Power Ocean Wind Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-A Visionary Solar Power Plant
  • TTTA Thursday-EVs Have A Growth Path
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How The Clean Power Plan Drove The Utility Power Mix Transition
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Utilities Are Answering The Distributed Energy Resources Challenge
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Looking At New Rates To Unlock The Utility Of The Future
  • --------------------------

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

    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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

    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • 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

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

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

      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.

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, December 7:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Turning Distributed Energy From Threat To Opportunity
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Policy Action Heats Up
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Maine’s Almost Solar Policy Breakthrough

    Wednesday, August 05, 2015

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: WHY UTILITIES AND SOLAR ADVOCATES CAN'T AGREE ON WHAT SOLAR COSTS

    Why utilities and solar advocates can't agree on what solar costs; A solar advocate called Tucson Electric Power's solar calculations "total crap"

    Herman K. Trabish, February 26, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    As board members of Arizona municipal utility Salt River Project gather to vote on a slate of controversial solar energy charges for consumers, the second-largest IOU in the state is catching heat from renewable energy supporters for how it calculates the costs of rooftop solar. It's a spat that illustrates the difficulties for both industries in how to deal with the shift toward more renewables and distributed generation.

    Solar advocate John Farrell last week charged Tucson Electric Power (TEP) with inflating the cost of the resource during his speech in the city.

    “TEP’s 2014 integrated resource plan (IRP) estimates the cost of new natural gas generation at between $0.088 per kWh and $0.119 per kWh. For solar generation, they suggest, the cost is over $0.16 per kWh,” Farrell, the Energy Director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, told the audience. “That includes ‘system integration costs’ of $0.052 per kWh.”

    An audience member with high-level knowledge of TEP operations offered Utility Dive an insider’s rebuttal of Farrell’s remarks on the condition of remaining unnamed.

    “He confused the $5.20 per MWh for integration costs in the TEP IRP with the '$0.052 per kWh' that he based his presentation on,” the source explained. “That’s off by a factor of 10.”

    “He is technically correct,” Farrell said. “I should have said integration PLUS back-up costs were about $0.05 per kWh. It was my mistake for not explaining that.”

    Farrell identified the IRP chart from which he drew his numbers (below). In the bar indicating the levelized cost of electricity for fixed PV solar, the two factors — integration and back-up capacity — seem to add up to around $50 per MWh, at least roughly fitting Farrell's estimate of $50 (or $0.05 per kWh).

    That is high, Farrell said, because the utility doesn’t actually have to build that much back-up. It has power plants already built and available as back-up reserves.

    “The reserve margin for the regional grid, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, is over 33% of the system peak demand,” he said.

    Grid operations

    Citing the WECC statistic shows a lack of understanding of grid operations and grid integration in the West, the TEP source said.

    “[Farrell] uses a WECC value of 33% reserve margin as if, somehow, all of the utilities have all of their facilities operating at the same time and can serve each other without regard to transmission constraints,” he explained. “There are only three EHV integration points for TEP’s system load, two out three are constrained, and there is limited transmission availability on the third line to import energy. How does Mr. Farrell expect to get that reserve energy into Tucson?”

    “It is a fair point. It seems TEP operates like an island. But each utility has to have reserves,” Farrell responded. “What reserve margin do they have in their service territory? What variability will solar introduce to require such a high back-up cost? The IRP puts solar at about 10% to 15% of the total load.”

    The percentage of utility total annualized sales has very little to do with solar integration when actually operating the grid, the source said. “TEP has a little less than 200 MW of utility scale solar, either operational or under construction. This summer, when load peaks somewhere between 2,000 MW to 2,400 MW, it’s fairly easy to control as it’s only 8% to 10% of total peak load.”

    But, the source stressed, next November when the Tucson weather is perfect and no air conditioners or heaters are running and peak load is between 1,000 MW and 1,100 MW, then solar will be around 20% penetration. With 50-90 MW of wind in operation, between 25% and 30% of load will be served by intermittent resources. That’s when the utility has to have additional resources and reserves on line to manage renewables.

    Shutting down coal

    TEP’s plan is to shut down coal plants and replace them with natural gas, the source said.

    The utility was 80% coal last year but it is down to 68% now and by 2019 plans to be at or below 50%.

    A number of studies show geographic dispersion of solar substantially reduces the kind of variability from cloud cover that causes the fluctuation in the daytime load that is the problem, Farrell said. The concern is not backup power but the ability to ramp fast enough to keep pace with the cloud cover.

    TEP has power plants to meet Tucson’s daytime and nighttime load so adding solar will not require new resources, Farrell reasoned. But coal does not ramp fast so the proposal to replace coal with natural gas makes sense because more solar will require resources more flexible than coal.

    “The real question is do you have enough controllable load and enough fast response generation or storage?” Farrell added. “Where is the controllable loadto manage the ramp rate? Where is strategic energy storage to manage the ramp rate? Where does conservation fit?”

    Building renewables

    TEP expects to be at 20% renewables in 10 years even though the state mandate is for 15% by 2025,” the TEP source said.

    “This is not an overnighter. This is a u-turn in an aircraft carrier ... Higher levels of penetration make managing the grid much more challenging. Just because the state has a renewables standard doesn’t make NERC reliability rules go away. Does it mean additional resources are necessary? Absolutely.”

    “We keep thinking about this in terms of turning a big ship but is a big ship really what we want to be sailing?” Farrell laughed. “I am not limited by the notion that the way we do it tomorrow is the way we did it yesterday and I find it hard to believe costly back-up and a 50% higher cost for solar is the solution. What are the low budget solutions we haven’t tried?”

    “I cannot get on board with something that disregards physical limitations of the infrastructure as it exists today,” the source said. “More renewables and storage and/or more geographic dispersion are wonderful concepts and I would love for them to be there but they are not.”

    The way things are, the way things can be

    In his Tucson presentation, Farrell called the utility's solar cost calculations "total crap."

    Asked to reconsider that, Farrell said, “The output from our utility system is the result of the rules and regulations we have in place cementing the power of conservative, monopoly institutions. Solar and distributed power are creating fundamental change, so what looked like sensible output in 1975 has a different name in 2015."

    “TEP has long been a leader in promoting solar and will continue to be, long into the future,” the source said. “It will always have critics, but very few of them ever take the time to really learn about the utility or how the grid works.”

    Farrell doesn't lay the blame solely at the feet of utilities, however. He says the way established the regulatory structure across the nation is more of the issue.

    “The utility’s lack of imagination is not its fault,” Farrell said. “It is the way we structured the system. We gave them a monopoly and didn’t encourage them to innovate.”

    0 Comments:

    Post a Comment

    << Home

  • >