NewEnergyNews: 05/01/2017 - 06/01/2017

NewEnergyNews

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

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-More Climate Change=Less Water=Less Sanitation=More Disease
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global Energy Transition Moves Ahead
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU Leaders Approve 32% New Energy By 2030
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, November 15:

  • TTTA Thursday-Images Bring Climate Change Horror Home
  • TTTA Thursday-More States Doing More To Grow EVs
  • TTTA Thursday-Astonishing Things About New Energy, Part 2
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar has transformed into solar-plus-storage: What will net metering become?
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Many Values Of Solar Power Plants
  • QUICK NEWS, November 13: This Is What It Looks Like; Astonishing Things About New Energy, Part 1
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Testing Grid Modernization State By State
  • QUICK NEWS, November 12: What Big Oil Is Doing About Climate Change; A Tale Of New Energy In Two States
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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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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, November 17-18:

  • Does Anybody Know If This Lady Won?
  • From The Fire’s Front Lines
  • Now It’s Time For New Energy

    Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Better Way To Measure The Value Of DER

    Time & place: How a new locational DER metric helps utilities defer grid investments; Central Hudson is using a simplified valuation scheme to deploy pilots and integrate DER into utility planning

    Herman K. Trabish, October 18, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Since this piece ran, both California and New York have moved closer to implementing regulations requiring a broader valuation of distributed energy resources.

    Heated debates are emerging about the best method for valuing distributed energy resources (DER) that echo the still undecided fights over distribute solar. Utilities in New York and California, driven by regulatory imperatives, have taken bids from private sector DER providers that avoid or defer distribution system investment. That is one way to set value, but mandated competitive bidding is a poor vehicle to set simple, replicable standards for DER valuation. More comprehensive efforts at valuing DERs are emerging, but many rely on complex locational valuation schemes that also fail the simplicity and replication tests. There is, however, a new, simpler metric defined in a white paper from global energy consultant Nexant and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) — “load carrying capacity factor” (LCCF).

    Unlike the initial efforts to calculate a value for distributed solar, the LCCF is not a DER value expressed in cents/kWh. Instead, LCCF is the numeric value of a DER that describes how effectively it can reduce the peak load at a specific location with a specific load profile. It is like a capacity factor or availability factor for DER, based on each DER’s unique operating characteristics. It quantifies the DER’s ability to address a specific distribution system need at a specific location at a specific time. The complexities of incorporating valuation into distribution planning, bulk power planning, and customer strategies remain to be resolved, the paper adds… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Make A Good Community Solar Law

    Keep it simple, states: Community solar developers say complex regulations stifle growth; Community solar is supposed to be a renewable energy panacea, but developers say extensive rules could constrain growth

    Herman K. Trabish, October 20, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Community solar developers say the policies governing this emerging “solar for the other half” continue to be too complex.

    Community solar’s dilemma is described in the old saying that a giraffe is a horse designed by a committee. Community solar, also referred to as “community shared solar” or “community solar gardens,” allows utility customers who cannot access rooftop solar to own a portion of a central-station array located near their power supplier’s distribution system. It was supposed to be the “promised land” where utilities, solar advocates, and environmentalists could forget bickering over net energy metering (NEM) and fight together for economically-viable clean energy. But instead of a boom, there are mostly unresolved debates over policies that seem to distort the promise.

    The total U.S. installed community solar capacity will reach 1.5 GW by 2020 and grow four times over that between 2020 to 2025, Navigant Research reported in March 2016. Many say this underestimates the potential. Yet the total installed community solar capacity at the end of 2015 was only an estimated 88 MW. While Navigant estimated an addressable market potential of up to $2.5 billion by 2020, it found a U.S. market valued at only $175 million today. Given the segment’s immense potential, the statistics beg the question: why? Experts say big part of the answer is that state policy is crucial to growth because it impacts the economics of all customer solar options but state policies are not yet effectively driving growth. There are now community solar laws, rules, or policies completed or in development in 17 states and DC, and investor-owned utilities (IOUs), municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives in other states are pursuing individual plan approvals from regulators… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why Arizona's long-awaited value of solar schemes pleased no one

    Why Arizona's long-awaited value of solar schemes please no one; A year of hearings and a new recommended order leave the ACC right where it began — with utilities and solar at odds

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 24, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This Arizona ruling, subsequently affirmed by the Commission, was controversial but it led to a groundbreaking settlement between the parties early this year.

    Just as Solomon’s decision to split the baby displeased both mothers claiming it, the long-awaited preliminary decision in Arizona’s value of solar proceeding displeases both utilities and solar advocates. In October of last year, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) attempted to stem two years of contention between utilities and solar companies over the value of residential solar energy to the grid by ordering a new evidentiary proceeding on whether a cost of service valuation, a cost-benefit analysis, or another methodology best captures the value of rooftop solar to the utilities paying for it. The hope was that the value determined in the proceeding would replace the retail rate net metering program now used to compensate rooftop solar owners for the power their systems send back to the grid.

    On Oct. 7, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Teena Jabilian issued “Recommended Opinion and Order” (ROO) to the commissioners that called for a shorter-term valuation for rooftop solar customers and recognized their right to be compensated for their generation. It signals a tectonic shift in the Arizona solar market, calling unequivocally for the end to net metering. In upcoming utility rate cases, the longstanding NEM retail rate credit must be replaced, and “[t]he value of DG exports should be used to inform compensation rates to be paid to DG customers for their exports.” Some 30 parties took part in the VOS proceeding, including Arizona’s investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives, and public power providers. Vote Solar, The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), Western Resource Advocates, and other environmental and solar advocates also participated, as did the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO), and other consumer, labor, and industrial power user advocates. There were significant divisions on the ALJ’s decisions… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, May 30, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Right Hardware For A Smart Grid

    Grid Modernization Technologies: Key Drivers of a Smarter Energy Future

    Jonathan Blansfield and Adam Cooper, May 2017 (Edison Foundation Institute for Electric Innovation)

    Introduction

    Technology is a key driver of the ongoing transformation of the electric power industry – it changes what we can do, how we do it, and what it costs. The U.S. electric power industry is investing billions in smarter energy infrastructure to enhance the reliability, resiliency and security of the energy grid; to integrate and manage growing numbers of distributed energy resources (DERs) and other devices; and to improve grid efficiency and optimization. In 2016 alone, investor-owned electric companies invested about $53 billion in the energy grid – $21 billion in the transmission grid and $32 billion in the distribution grid. Today, more than 70 million digital smart meters are deployed across the United States, covering more than 55 percent of all households. While smart meters are a key building block to a smarter energy grid, digital meters represent only a fraction of the grid modernization technologies being deployed across the country today.

    As electric companies engage in grid modernization initiatives, it’s important that policy makers, regulators, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders understand what this means. This report discusses electric company investments in smarter energy infrastructure from the substation to the customer meter – largely digital technologies that are the building blocks of the future energy grid. It provides a non-technical overview of today’s grid modernization technologies – not future technologies – and covers the following:

     Why are electric companies modernizing the energy grid?

     What does smarter energy infrastructure achieve?

     What technologies are being deployed today?

     What is the role of data analytics?

     What is the future of grid modernization?

    Why Are Electric Companies Modernizing the Energy Grid?

    Grid modernization is unfolding state-by-state – at different paces and in different ways – across the country through investments in smarter energy infrastructure. What is new to one company may be business-as-usual for another, but grid modernization is largely driven by the need to: (1) enhance resiliency, reliability, and security; (2) integrate and manage DERs; and (3) improve grid efficiency and optimization.

    Enhance Resiliency, Reliability, and Security

    Electricity is central to the everyday lives of all Americans. In today’s digital world, customers need and expect safe, affordable, highly reliable, and increasingly clean energy for quality of life and well-being. Grid modernization is about ensuring that electric companies are able to deliver the energy customers need, when they need it. Electric companies across the United States are building a more resilient and more reliable energy grid by investing in both physical asset modernization and technology upgrades. Physical asset investments include conductor upgrades, improved insulation, concrete poles, automated switches, and others. Technology upgrades enhance outage detection and restoration capabilities, energy grid visibility and power management, and customer communications.

    Integrate and Manage Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)

    Today, electric companies are investing in digital technologies to ensure seamless integration of DERs, to enable two-way power and information flows, and to utilize DERs as energy grid assets. Digital technologies – like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), smart inverters, power line monitors that enable Volt/VAR optimization, and micro-phasor measurement units that facilitate real-time voltage and current measurements and visibility into energy grid conditions – are increasingly used to integrate and manage DERs.

    Improve Grid Efficiency and Optimization

    Installing intelligent grid devices for sensing and analytics can provide visibility into distribution grid operations, similar to the extensive visibility that exists for bulk power markets and the transmission grid. These devices can improve situational awareness to help identify the source of technical losses along the distribution system, allowing for right-sizing of electrical equipment based on customer load profiles. Advanced sensing and voltage management technologies also can increase solar photovoltaic hosting capacity on certain feeders.

    What Does Smarter Energy Infrastructure Achieve?

    Investments in smarter energy infrastructure to date are enabling the following: energy grid optimization; optimized power quality and power flow; data systems integration; grid visibility and diagnostics; automated outage management and service restoration; and DER integration and management. These are described briefly below

    1. Energy Grid Optimization. More intelligent control and dispatch of generation and distributed energy assets as a result of real-time grid-edge visibility, data analytics, and increased substation or circuit capacity to integrate variable generation.

    2. Optimized Power Quality and Power Flow. Use of digital sensing and control technologies to monitor line conditions, enable bi-directional power flows, ensure power quality to certain customers, and increase variable energy resource hosting capacity.

    3. Data Systems Integration. Integration of data sets and systems into an enterprise-wide database to realize operational and customer benefits (e.g., merging operations technology and information technology systems).

    4. Grid Visibility and Diagnostics. More frequent and granular visibility into grid conditions out to the grid edge enables real-time, efficient, and decentralized decision making, including the ability to predict and prevent anomalies and service disruptions and improve system utilization.

    5. Automated Outage Management and Service Restoration. Use of “self-healing” outage technologies that autonomously detect faults, isolate/island outages, more quickly dispatch work crews, and provide near real-time service restoration updates to customers. 6. DER Integration and Management. Supports increased DER integration by solving feeder and circuit-level issues, and provides visibility into resource availability and performance.

    Grid Modernization Technologies

    Whether electric companies are just beginning to invest in smarter energy infrastructure or are embarking on the next phase of grid modernization, a key question is: which technology investments will yield the greatest customer and/or system benefits? Grid modernization investments fall into three broad categories: AMI; power flow management technologies; and distribution automation and outage management technologies…

    Conclusion

    Today, the U.S. electric power industry is investing more than $100 billion annually in smarter energy infrastructure and cleaner generating assets. These investments are paving the way for the energy grid of tomorrow. Over the past 10 years, electric companies have made great progress. But more remains to be done.

    In some states, smart meters are fully deployed, and the focus is now on integrating larger numbers and greater concentrations of DERs. In some states, DER penetration is low, and the focus is on optimizing grid operations and enhancing resiliency. And, in other states, grid modernization is just beginning.

    It is critical that, as the electric power industry moves toward realizing the digital energy grid of the future, all stakeholders – electric companies, technology providers, regulators, policy makers, governments, consumer advocates, venture firms, and other private investors – understand what it will take: strategic deployment of technologies combined to achieve specific capabilities over the medium-to-long term. These technology investments must deliver cost savings and operational efficiencies today, and be flexible enough to accommodate the changing conditions of tomorrow. It’s a complex and dynamic task, but has resulted in significant benefits already and will continue to yield benefits well into the future.

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    QUICK NEWS, May 30: Global Call For Carbon Tax; New Energy Boom Getting Bigger; Solar Could Be Worth Nearly Three TRILLION $$$

    Global Call For Carbon Tax Sky-high carbon tax needed to avoid climate catastrophe, say experts; Economists, including Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern, say taxes of $100 per metric tonne could be needed by 2030

    Phillip Inman, 29 May 2017 (UK Guardian)

    “…[T]he world risks catastrophic global warming in just 13 years unless countries ramp up taxes on carbon emissions…[A report backed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and endorsed by experts] including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said governments needed to move quickly to tackle polluting industries with a tax on carbon dioxide at $40-$80 per tonne by 2020…A tax of $100 a tonne would be needed by 2030 as one of a series of measures to prevent a rise in global temperatures of 2C…[P]oor countries could aim for a lower tax since their economies are more vulnerable…The aim of a tax on carbon would be essential to meet the targets set by the Cop21 Paris Agreement in 2015…The Trump administration has rejected calls to introduce a carbon tax in the United States, saying it would cost jobs…” click here for more

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    New Energy Boom Getting Bigger Forty Years Ahead Of Eia's Forecast, Renewables Double Their Share By Providing 19.35% Of U.S. Electricity. Wind Tops 7%; Solar Reaches 1.5%

    Kenneth Bossong, May 30, 2017 (Sun Day)

    “…[New Energy] sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar - inc. small-scale PV, wind) accounted for 19.35% of net U.S. electrical generation during the first quarter of 2017. Of this, conventional hydropower accounted for 8.67%, followed by wind (7.10%), biomass (1.64%), solar (1.47%), and geothermal (0.47%). Combined, non-hydro renewables accounted for 10.68% of total generation…[In 2012, EIA forecast non-hydro New Energy would get to only 9% by 2035…[It is now clear that solar, wind, and the other New Energies,] now providing almost one-fifth of the nation's electrical production, are vastly exceeding expectations…[Actual New Energy generation] is 9.70% greater than just a year ago…” click here for more

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    Solar Could Be Worth Nearly Three TRILLION $$$ Solar Energy’s Potential $2.8 Trillion Prize; A new projection put the opportunity in solar at $2.8 trillion and there's plenty of money to go around.

    Travis Hoium, May 27, 2017 (Motley Fool)

    “…[There is a clear path] to $2.8 trillion in solar power investments globally between now and 2035…[taking solar to] 17% of the world's energy, up from around 2% right now…[According to Shayle Kann of GTM Research, that amount of investment is a reasonable] assumption, given how cost effective [solar] already is today. If that happens, the industry's annual sales will grow from the approximately $87 billion made in 2016 to about $250 billion in 2035, leading to a cumulative installation over that period of 3,000 GW of solar power systems at a cost of $2.8 trillion…[Whether] from a dollar or volume perspective, that suggests enormous growth opportunities ahead for companies [like SunPower, First Solar, and Canadian Solar] that can build strong market shares in solar…[But solar projects] need to be financed in such a way that their investors can make money on them…[and] that hasn't always been easy for solar developers…[U]tilities are seeing solar as a bigger and bigger option for growth…” click here for more

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    Monday, May 29, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Action In Grid Modernization Right Now

    50 States of Grid Modernization; Q1 2017 Quarterly Report

    Autumn Proudlove, Brian Lips, David Sarkisian, Achyut Shrestha, May 2017 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Overview

    What Is Grid Modernization?

    Grid modernization is a broad term, lacking a universally accepted definition. In this report, the authors use the term grid modernization broadly to refer to actions making the electricity system more resilient, responsive, and interactive. Specifically, in this report grid modernization is intended to be inclusive of the following topics: (1) smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure, (2) utility business model reform, (3) regulatory reform, (4) utility rate reform, (5) energy storage, (6) microgrids, and (7) demand response…

    Actions Included

    This report focuses on cataloguing and describing important proposed and adopted policy changes related to grid modernization and distributed energy resources, excluding solar technologies. While some areas of overlap exist, actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design are tracked separately in the 50 States of Solar and are generally not included in this report.

    In general, this report considers an “action” to be a relevant (1) legislative bill that has been introduced or (2) a regulatory docket, utility rate case, or rulemaking proceeding. Only statewide actions and those related to investor-owned utilities are included in this report. Specifically, actions tracked in this issue include:

    Studies and Investigations

    Legislative or regulatory-led efforts to study energy storage, grid modernization, utility business model reform, or alternative rate designs, e.g., through a regulatory docket or a cost-benefit analysis.

    Planning and Market Access

    Changes to utility planning processes, including integrated resource planning, distribution system planning, and evaluation of non-wires alternatives, as well as changes to state and wholesale market regulations enabling market access.

    Utility Business Model and Rate Reform

    Proposed or adopted changes to utility regulation and rate design, including performancebased ratemaking, decoupling, time-varying rates, and residential demand charges. Time-varying rate and residential demand charge proposals are only documented if they are being implemented statewide, the default option for all residential customers of an investorowned utility, or a notable pilot program intended to soon become a default option. Actions related to inclining or declining block rates are not included in this report.

    Grid Modernization Policies

    New state policy proposals or changes to existing policies related to grid modernization, including energy storage targets, clean peak standards, and energy storage compensation policies.

    Financial Incentives for Energy Storage and Advanced Grid Technologies

    New statewide incentives or changes to existing incentives for energy storage, microgrids, and other advanced grid technologies.

    Deployment of Advanced Grid Technologies

    Utility-initiated requests, as well as proposed legislation, to implement demand response programs or to deploy advanced metering infrastructure, smart grid technologies, microgrids, or energy storage.

    Actions Excluded

    This report excludes utility proposals for grid investments without a modernization component, as outlined above, as well as projects that have already received legislative or regulatory approval. Actions related exclusively to pumped hydroelectric storage or electric vehicles are not covered by this report. While actions taken by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are not comprehensively tracked in this report, particularly noteworthy or high-impact actions will be covered. The report also excludes changes to policies and rate design for distributed generation customers; these changes are covered in the 50 States of Solar quarterly report.

    The U.S. Electricity System In Transition

    The U.S. electricity grid is in a state of transition. The system has traditionally been a “one-way street”, with power flowing from utility-owned centralized generation, via utility-owned transmission and distribution lines, toward end-use customers. However, the electric system is increasingly becoming more of an interconnected web, with small but growing numbers of enduse customers also generating electricity with small-scale, distributed systems that are capable of providing various services to the grid.

    Technology is making rapid advancements, continuing to offer new benefits to the electric system. Policy, however, has not kept pace with the speed of technical energy advancements, with most U.S. electricity policy still focused primarily on the traditional one-way, centralized system model and its institutions. This is changing, though, with more and more states initiating investigations into advanced grid technologies and proposing policy and regulatory changes intended to enable the development of a modern electric system.

    Grid Modernization

    Grid modernization is an expansive topic, capturing the many individual pieces of the transition occurring in our nation’s energy system. A major element of this transition is the deployment of new technologies, such as advanced metering infrastructure and smart grid technologies, including communications and control technologies for managing distributed energy resources of all kinds. These technologies offer the opportunity to bring new benefits to both utilities and consumers, including economic, environmental, reliability, security, and consumer experience benefits.

    The deployment of advanced grid technologies is already underway. The market for distributed generation, namely solar photovoltaics, is already scaling rapidly, while the energy storage market is expected to grow from an expected 6 GW of annual installed capacity in 2017 to over 40 GW in 2022.1 Utilities had already deployed nearly 65 million smart meters by the end of 2015, covering over 50% of U.S. households, and more installations are underway.

    But before advanced grid technologies can be utilized to their fullest extent, regulatory structures must be reformed in order to remove existing barriers to deployment. By reexamining regulatory frameworks, business models, and rate designs, an energy system that allows for fair evaluation of technological options, greater market participation, and full and open compensation may be created.

    Over half of U.S. states are currently examining these regulatory frameworks or actively working to deploy advanced grid technologies. This activity is expected to continue, much like the ongoing evaluation of state solar policies, as states and utilities conduct studies, try new approaches, and learn from each other to achieve a more modern grid…

    Top Five State Grid Modernization Developments of Q1 2017

    Maryland Legislature Advances State Tax Credit for Energy Storage

    The Maryland State Senate passed a bill adopting a state tax credit for energy storage systems in March 2017, which the State House later passed in early April and the Governor signed into law in May. The credit would be equal to 25% of installed costs, up to $5,000 for residential systems and $500,000 for commercial systems.

    Illinois and Ohio Launch Grid Modernization Proceedings

    In March 2017, the Illinois Commerce Commission initiated a grid modernization proceeding – called NextGrid – aimed at creating a 21st century regulatory model that supports innovation, empowers customers and communities, drives economic development, and optimizes the electric utility industry. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio also launched a grid modernization proceeding, called PowerForward, in March 2017. PowerForward is aimed at charting a path forward for grid modernization projects and innovative regulations to improve the consumer experience.

    New Hampshire Completes Multi-Year Grid Modernization Investigation

    In March 2017, New Hampshire’s Grid Modernization Working Group submitted its final report to the Public Utilities Commission. The report includes many areas of consensus among stakeholders, as well as distinct stakeholder viewpoints on areas of non-consensus. The proceeding covered distribution system planning, advanced metering functionality, rate design, customer data and education, and utility cost recovery and financial incentives.

    Washington Commission Issues Draft Policy Statement on Energy Storage in Integrated Resource Planning

    Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission issued a draft policy statement on the role of energy storage in the integrated resource planning process in March 2017. In the statement, the Commission noted that utilities will be required to fully evaluate the costs and benefits of energy storage as an alternative to new resource investments, and the state will move forward with a transition to sub-hourly modeling.

    New York Public Service Commission Issues Monumental Order on DER Compensation

    The New York Public Service Commission issued an order in its Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) proceeding in March 2017, which includes examination of compensation for behind-the-meter energy storage systems that are paired with renewable generation. While these systems will not be compensated through the VDER tariff yet, the intent is for new installations at some point to be compensated with a value-based approach.

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    QUICK NEWS, May 29: 100 Things To Do About The Climate; Hints About The DOE Grid Study Emerging; Farmers, Tree Huggers Unite Behind Wind

    100 Things To Do About The Climate 100 Practical Ways to Reverse Climate Change; You know some of them—use renewable energy, eat less meat—but others will surprise you.

    Simon Worrall, May 28, 2017 (National Geographic)

    “…Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming [brings] together geologists, engineers, agronomists, climatologists, biologists, botanists, economists, financial analysts, architects, NGOs, activists, and other experts…[and offers 100 actionable] solutions to reverse global warming…[Hawken says the tendency has been] to silver bullet the problem, which is to look for the big solution…[which leaves out] a great number of salient, important solutions…[One of Hawken’s favorites is repopulating the mammoth steppe, the subarctic region that used to stretch from Alaska across Europe to Russia, with animals that were originally there to reduce the temperature of the soil in the subarctic and enhance the ability of that area to retain its permafrost…” click here for more

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    Hints About The DOE Grid Study Emerging What We Know So Far About Rick Perry’s Power Grid “Study”

    Jim Marston, May 26, 2017 (Environmental Defense Fund Blog)

    “…[Many are concerned that Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s 60-day] ‘study’ of whether any policies or regulations have led to the premature retirement of coal or nuclear plants…60 days is barely enough time to fill job vacancies in a new administration, much less conduct a thorough analysis of America’s complex energy policies…Perry’s coal propaganda has nothing to do with reliability and everything to do with giving the pollution industry what it wants. The ‘grid reliability’ angle is a ruse, and one Perry used a decade ago when he tried to fast track new coal plants in Texas. This issue has been studied relentlessly by grid operators and government agencies around the country, and the grid is handling coal’s decline just fine. The Trump administration is using the reliability argument as cover to distract the American people from their close ties with the coal industry…[Perry’s] Chief of Staff, who will manage the study, worked for the Edison Electric Institute – where he led its anti-solar campaign…” click here for more

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    Farmers, Tree Huggers Unite Behind Wind Wind Energy Unites Enviros And Farmers

    Gregory Dennis, May 28, 2017 (Vermont Digger)

    “…[Environmentalists] put a priority on preventing damage to the ecosystems that support us. Property rights [advocates remind] us that there should be limits to what the government can force owners to do…But as Vermont moves haltingly toward cleaner energy, ‘Greens’ and some property rights advocates, especially farmers, now find themselves on the same side…[Both oppose regulatory constraints on sound levels of] wind turbines…[Greens want to push the state rapidly toward its 90% renewables by 2050 goal and farmers and others want to be able to erect low-noise wind turbines to meet their energy needs…A group of 40 farms last year called on Vermont officials to protect property owners’ rights to install solar and other energy…Wind already employs over 325 workers in Vermont and could provide many more jobs if there’s a market…” click here for more

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    Saturday, May 27, 2017

    How Climate Scientists Know

    They arrive at the same answer over and over again because ice has no ideology, it just melts. From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

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    Save The Fish

    There are all kinds of good reasons to fight to turn back climate change – and NO good reasons not to. From ONgov via YouTube

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    Making Going Solar Go Easier

    This is about how SunShot backed an online marketplace that streamlines the buying and selling of solar. It is also about what will be lost if the Energy Department pulls its support for New Energy. From U.S. Department of Energy/SunShot via YouTube

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    Friday, May 26, 2017

    Obama Talks Global Food In A Time Of Climate Change

    Barack Obama on food and climate change: ‘We can still act and it won’t be too late’; The former president addresses the greatest challenges facing the world, and what we can do about them

    Barak Obama, May 25, 2017 (UK Guardian)

    (Editor’s Note: President Obama’s essay is worth reading in its entirety)

    “During the course of my presidency, I made climate change a top priority, because I believe that, for all the challenges that we face, this is the one that will define the contours of this century…No nation, whether it’s large or small, rich or poor, will be immune from the impacts…We are already experiencing it…Our changing climate is already making it more difficult to produce food, and we’ve already seen shrinking yields and spiking food prices that, in some cases, are leading to political instability. And when most of the world’s poor work in agriculture, the stark imbalances that we’ve worked so hard to close between developed and developing countries will be even tougher to close. The cost will be borne by people in poor nations that are least equipped to handle it…[T]he good news is that there are steps we can take that will make a difference…The path to a sustainable food future will require unleashing the creative power of our best scientists, and engineers and entrepreneurs, backed by public and private investment, to deploy new innovations in climate-smart agriculture. Better seeds, better storage, crops that grow with less water, crops that grow in harsher climates…” click here for more

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    Global New Energy Jobs Keep Booming

    Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017

    May 2017 (International Renewable Energy Agency)

    “…Jobs in renewables excluding large hydropower increased by 2.8%, to reach 8.3 million in 2016. China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs [according to Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017]. The shift to Asia continued, with 62% of the global total located in the continent…Solar photovoltaic (PV) power was the largest employer, with 3.1 million jobs, up 12% from 2015. The growth came mainly from China, the United States and India, whereas jobs decreased for the first time in Japan, and continued to decline in the European Union. New wind power installations in the United States, Germany, India and Brazil, meanwhile, contributed to the increase in global wind employment by 7%, to reach 1.2 million jobs…Liquid biofuels (1.7 million jobs), solid biomass (0.7 million) and biogas (0.3 million) were also major employers, with jobs concentrated in feedstock supply. Brazil, China, the United States and India were key bioenergy job markets…” click here for more

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    Record-Breaking Solar Sales In India

    2 Solar Power Records In 2 Days In India

    Saurabh Mahapatra, May 25, 2017 (Cleantechies via Cleantechnica)

    “Two marathon competitive auctions for a cumulative solar power capacity of 750 megawatts yielded new record-low solar tariff bids in India this month…[Both auctions for solar power capacity offered at the Bhadla solar power park in the western state of Rajasthan] beat the previous lowest tariff bid of Rs 3.15/kWh (4.9¢/kWh)…The first auction, for 250 megawatts, received at least 14 bids in the range of Rs 2.62/kWh (4.1¢/kWh) and Rs 3.59/kWh (5.6¢/kWh). South Africa’s Phelan Energy and India-based Avaada Energy secured 50 megawatts and 100 megawatts at Rs 2.62/kWh (4.1¢/kWh) while SoftBank-backed SB Cleantech won rights to develop 100 megawatts at Rs 2.63/kWh (4.1¢/kWh)…These bids were 9.2% lower than the previous lowest solar power tariff in India…Within two days, the record of Rs 2.62/kWh (4.1¢/kWh) was shattered…Acme Cleantech Solutions secured 200 megawatts at Rs 2.44/kWh (3.8¢/kWh) while SB Cleantech won rights to develop 300 megawatts at Rs 2.45/kWh (3.8¢/kWh)…” click here for more

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    China Wind Will Re-Train U.S. Coal Workers

    Chinese company offers free wind energy training to former US coal miners

    Jacob Snyder, May 25, 2017 (WISTV)

    “…[Chinese wind-turbine manufacturer Goldwind Americas, looking for workers to take permanent jobs on the Wyoming wind farms they supply, is planning] a free training program for one of the United States' fastest-growing jobs: the wind farm technician. The program is aimed at former coal miners who are having trouble finding work, as well as professionals from other industries. It's called ‘Goldwind Works,’ and will begin next month with a series of informational seminars and safety training at a wind farm in Montana…Goldwind Americas has an agreement to supply nearly 850 wind turbines to a site in Wyoming, where the state's first coal mine opened a century ago. After construction is finished, up to 200 workers will be needed to work at the plant…The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the national employment for miners and geological engineers will grow by 6 percent over the next decade, while those working in wind energy will enjoy a growth rate of 108 percent.” click here for more

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    Thursday, May 25, 2017

    New Study Explicitly Refutes Trump EPA Head’s Denial

    Scientists just published an entire study refuting Scott Pruitt on climate change

    Chris Mooney, May 24, 2017 (Washington Post)

    “In a sign of growing tensions between scientists and the Trump administration, researchers published a scientific paper…conceived and written as an explicit refutation to an assertion by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt about climate change…[It tests Pruitt’s claim that data shows warming has leveled “over the past two decades” and refutes it. After reviewing temperature trends contained in three satellite data sets going back to 1979, the paper concludes that the data sets show a global warming trend — and that Pruitt was incorrect…The study wades into an ongoing and highly fraught debate over how to interpret the temperature records of the planet’s lower atmosphere, or troposphere, provided by polar orbiting satellites…[T]he new study finds that all of the three satellite data sets — kept by Remote Sensing Systems, the Center for Satellite Applications and Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University of Alabama at Huntsville — show a long-term warming trend in the middle to upper part of the troposphere…” click here for more

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    Solar Jobs Lead U.S. Economy

    Report: Solar jobs grow 17 times faster than US economy; Cost of solar energy comes down dramatically

    Matt Egan, May 24, 2017 (CNNMoney via CentralIllinoisProud)

    “…Solar employment expanded last year 17 times faster than the total U.S. economy…Overall, more than 260,000 people work in the solar industry, up by 24 percent from 2015…[According to a new report, the] solar business has benefited from the falling cost of solar energy and generous federal tax credits that make it more affordable for businesses and homeowners to install solar panels…Awareness is also up as Americans concerned about climate change look for cleaner energy options…Most solar workers are in the installation business…Other leading jobs include manufacturing, project development, sales and research-and-development…Men have most of the jobs in solar, but that is starting to change, especially in the sales business. Women now hold 28 percent of solar jobs, up from 19 percent in 2013…” click here for more

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    Wind Gets Endorsement From U.S. Utility Giant

    Wind energy's watershed moment; U.S. cumulative wind and hydro energy capacity, 1900-2016

    Amy Harder, May 25, 2017 (Axios)

    “…[Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke said high penetrations of wind do not threaten the reliability of the grid and is “very comfortable” with getting over a third of his utility’s power from wind. He was answering] questions appeared aimed at preemptively rebutting an Energy Department study examining the reliability of the U.S. electric grid in a way that the administration has presented as favoring fossil fuels and nuclear power over intermittent sources like wind and solar…Xcel Energy is one of the more forward-thinking power companies…[and daily balances] wind with natural gas, hydropower and other sources of electricity. It has a goal to achieve 35% wind in its mix by 2021, [up from today’s] 17%. Coal still dominates its mix at 37%...” click here for more

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    New Incentives To Grow Battery Energy Storage GTM: Policy study focuses on energy storage incentives in Hawaii and Maryland

    Danielle Ola, 22 May 2017 (Energy Storage News)

    “…[California’s Self-Generation Incentive Programme (SGIP) will boost energy storage but] new bills from Hawaii and Maryland provide insights on how state storage incentives are moving beyond the Golden State…Hawaii is already an ideal market for solar-plus-storage projects; with its rural Island grid connectivity issues and high penetration of solar and equally high electricity rates. Therefore, there is definitely market demand for storage incentives…[Its proposed] incentives increase IRR between 110 basis points and 140 basis points with a net present value by almost US$1,000 for a typical residential customer…Secondly, Maryland’s SB 758 earmarks US$750,000 annually in tax credits for behind-the-meter energy storage systems, which could amount to 150 residential or 10 commercial systems (or a mix of both)…[It] would really establish Maryland’s energy storage market, with the state most well-known for its community solar efforts…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Surging, States Responding

    As the solar industry matures, business gets a little more complicated; While solar got a much-needed boost when Congress extended the 30% ITC, state policy changes are slowing down growth in the residential market

    Herman K. Trabish, October 6, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Since this story ran, the new administration in Washington has provoked a completely new look at the role of states in the future of New Energy.

    The solar industry is quickly maturing and moving with unprecedented speed into the mainstream energy world. But while business is getting better, it’s not getting any easier. Growth in the residential solar market continues to slow. Solar got a much-needed boost when Congress extended the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) at the end of 2015, but state-level policy changes are impeding the market. Reducing solar’s net energy metering (NEM) and other incentives have damaged thriving solar markets like Hawaii and Nevada. California policy changes are fundamental to the slowed growth, setting the stage for potential implications as similar policy changes continue to be debated in many other states.

    California’s eventual transition to time-of-use rates as part of its NEM 2.0 proceeding is one major policy change. Explaining how rates can vary by times of the day and how they will affect the return on new systems complicate the rooftop solar sales discussion with homeowners. Such complications also make it difficult to set the right price for loans and leases. “The more there has to be policy in the sales pitch to the homeowner, the more complicated it becomes," said GTM Research Senior Solar Analyst Cory Honeyman. Complications could be harder to overcome if potential new customers are no longer the more easily convinced early adopters, Honeyman added. The addressable market in sunny California is still big but the “low hanging fruit” may have already been picked… click here for more

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