NewEnergyNews: 09/01/2017 - 10/01/2017

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

  • 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 DAY BEFORE

  • 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: New Energy In The Midterms
  • Weekend Video: On The Algae Case In Florida
  • Weekend Video: Cleaning Up The Pacific Garbage Patch
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A Collection On Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global Energy Storage Boom
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU Wind Builders Target Beneficial Electrification
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY,:

  • TTTA Thursday-Voters Rejected Climate Change, New Energy Efforts
  • TTTA Thursday-The Heat Stays On Grid Mod Efforts
  • TTTA Thursday-Ways To Make Retail Energy Choice Work
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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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  • ORIGINAL REPORTING WEDNESDAY at NewEnergyNews, November 14:

  • Solar at the crossroads: Is utility-scale, distributed or both the way to go?
  • Solar has transformed into solar-plus-storage: What will net metering become?

    Saturday, September 30, 2017

    Bill Maher And Paul Hawken Talk Climate Solutions

    The sixth best solution to climate change is educating girls. The third best is not wasting food. From Real Time With Bill Maher via YouTube

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    The Dirt On Climate Change

    Organic farming allows healthy soil to hold carbon emissions and keeps the emissions from attacking the atmosphere. From The Organic Center via YouTube

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    Why New Energy Is Variable But Reliable

    System operators know exactly how to manage New Energy’s variability. It’s the same way cash flow is managed. From U.S. Dept. of Energy via YouTube

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    Friday, September 29, 2017

    Aussie TV WeatherFolks Can Help The Climate Fight

    How TV weather presenters can improve public understanding of climate change

    David Holmes, September 26, 2017 (The Conversation via PhysOrg)

    “…97% of [Australian TV weather presenters recently surveyed] thought climate change is happening…97% of respondents believed viewers had either ‘strong trust’ or ‘moderate trust’ in them as a reliable source of weather information…91% of respondents were comfortable with presenting local historical climate statistics, and just under 70% were comfortable with future local climate projections; and…97% of respondents thought their audiences would be interested in learning about the impacts of climate change…According to several analyses of where Australians get their news, in the age of ubiquitous social media, TV is still the single largest news source…[There are only 75 TV weather] presenters in Australia but they are] in an ideal position…to present simple, easy-to-process factual climate information…” click here for more

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    World’s Cities Must Lead On New Energy

    Cities must lead the clean energy drive, says report; A new study shows that poor households in cities spend 14 to 22 per cent of their income on energy. Plummeting prices of renewable energy promises to ease this burden.

    Nina Bhandari, 25 September 2017 (Eco-Business)

    “Cities must lead access to clean, affordable and uninterrupted energy since urban growth and living standards intensify per capita energy use in developing countries…[and] poor urban households often spend 14 – 22 per cent of their incomes on energy… [According to a new report from the World Resources Institute, cities] can implement three practical solutions to meet the needs of the urban under-served while charting development models that slow carbon emissions — shift to cleaner cooking fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), install renewable energy systems like solar panels and introduce building energy efficiency codes and appliance standards…City governments need to lead by supporting energy efficiency initiatives and regulations…The study calculates that the power generated by tripling the current installed capacity of solar panels across 60 countries would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 108 million metric tonnes…” click here for more

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    UK Wind Price Now Beats Nuclear

    Wind power is now cheaper than nuclear – the energy revolution is happening; Far-sighted government policy means the cost of offshore wind energy has halved. The benefits in terms of climate change and UK jobs will be enormous

    John Sauven, 26 September 2017 (UK Guardian)

    “…[Global offshore wind leader Dong Energy of Denmark] was involved in fossil fuel exploration and production. But in less than a decade it has become an 85% offshore wind company, and is divesting its coal, oil and gas interests. By 2023, Dong Energy will be very close to zero carbon…[Thanks to support from the UK government,] the price of offshore wind energy has dropped by half in less than two years. By the 2020s, it will be as cheap or cheaper than any other form of power generation. It’s just become much cheaper than nuclear, even taking into account the additional costs associated with the wind’s intermittency…[which] is less of an issue at sea where the winds are more constant…[History will see] 2016, 2017, 2018, as the inflection point…[when something happened for wind and solar energy] that completely changed the dynamic…Amid the gale of bad news that has blown through 2017, this was a good news story that needed shouting about from the rooftops…” click here for more

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    Green Buildings Will Work For United Arab Emirates

    UAE needs more green-efficient buildings, says report; Emirates Green Building Council report calls for move to Nearly Zero Energy Buildings standard

    Derek Baldwin, Septrember 27, 2017 (Gulf News)

    “A new and improved eco-standard to make buildings greener and more efficient to cut energy costs is set for implementation in the UAE to help the country cut its greenhouse gases…With up to 80 per cent of UAE’s electricity consumed by buildings for essentials such as air conditioning in a hot desert climate, moving to what are called Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs) to save energy and cut consumption is an important step into the future…[Nearly zero buildings produce no carbon and, with almost] a quarter of UAE buildings deemed energy inefficient, the country is working to align itself with a global timeline to adopt the latest green building nZEBs concept…[Dubai aims to reduce] its energy and water consumption by 30 per cent by 2030 and boost its use of clean energy to 75 per cent by 2050…[It also should aim to get buildings to] a site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) less than 90 kWh per square metre per year…” click here for more

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    Thursday, September 28, 2017

    Poll Shows Climate Change Linked To Hurricanes

    Most now see climate change as responsible for hurricane severity (POLL)

    Sofi Sinozich, September 28, 2017 (ABC News)

    “More than half of Americans now see climate change as responsible for the severity of recent hurricanes – an about-face from 12 years ago, when most attributed it to happenstance…The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds a near-universal shift in this direction, even among formerly skeptical groups, albeit with smaller gains among Republicans and Republican-leaning groups…[A 2005 poll after Hurricane Katrina found that only] a quarter of Americans thought climate change likely was responsible…[In 2006, it grew to] 45-49 percent…[In this September 18-21, 2017, poll], 55 percent mainly blame climate change…The shift is highly partisan…” click here for more

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    Evaporation Power?

    Study claims evaporation could provide 70 per cent of US energy; A new report from Columbia University has claimed that energy harvested from evaporation of water in US lakes and reservoirs could provide power for about 70 per cent of the country.

    September 28, 2017 (The Engineer)

    “…[An] ‘evaporation engine’ draws power from the expansion and contraction of bacterial spores in the presence of humidity. The spores are placed on plastic strips, and collectively these strips act like muscles, opening and closing a shutter to control humidity while also providing a continuous source of power…[In Potential for natural evaporation as a reliable renewable energy resource, researchers have calculated how much energy could theoretically be produced if evaporation engines were used on bodies of water across the US…[Not only could the technology provide more than two-thirds of the country’s power demands, it could also help save about 25 trillion gallons of water per year. Because it]packs more energy in warm and dry conditions,] drought-prone states like California, Nevada and Arizona could benefit most…[The energy generated through evaporation would also help smooth] the intermittency of other renewable sources such as solar and wind…” click here for more

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    Protectionism Will Cripple U.S. Solar

    President Trump wants protectionist measures against Chinese solar power. That’s going to hurt U.S. firms.

    Jonas Meckling and Llewelyn Hughes, September 25, 2017 (Washington Post)

    “…[T]he U.S. International Trade Commission] ruled that U.S. solar manufacturers are being injured by solar product imports. This gives the Trump administration an opportunity to increase duties on imported solar equipment, which would raise the costs of solar energy for companies and households in the United States…[The decision to grant relief to domestic manufacturers would hamper climate mitigation and] ignores the fact that many U.S. firms benefit from participating in global supply chains that govern the production of solar panels…[It would be] making trade policy on the basis of outdated assumptions about how products are made…[The] cost of utility-scale solar in the United States has fallen to 6 cents per kilowatt hour and the cost of household solar power is also falling rapidly…[making solar energy] competitive with more traditional fossil-fuel-based sources of power, such as coal and natural gas…[Protectionism] threatens to undermine these advances…[but the] case presents a political opportunity for President Trump to follow through on his threat to get tough with China on trade. It also gives him a chance to undermine the competitiveness of a key source of renewable energy…[For a president who touts the benefits of] fossil fuels, this may be too tempting to pass up…” click here for more

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    New Wind For South Dakota

    Xcel Energy to build 300-megawatt wind farm north of Watertown

    Megan Raposa, September 27, 2017 (USA Today – Argus Leader)

    "Xcel Energy is bringing more wind power to South Dakota…[Its new 300-megawatt Dakota Range I and II wind] project will produce enough energy to power more than 157,000 homes…[This is] the second major wind farm Xcel is building in South Dakota…[Its 600-megawatt Crown Ridge Wind Project] is expected to have more than 100 wind turbines and produce enough energy to power more than 300,000 homes…Dakota Range is expected to be in service in 2021, pending state and local regulatory and permit approvals…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How California lawmakers plan to align renewable generation with power demand

    How California lawmakers plan to align renewable generation with power demand; Two new bills present distinct approaches in matching wind and solar output with electricity load

    Herman K. Trabish, March 30, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This bill was passed by the Assembly in June but did not get out through the Senate before the 2017session ended.

    An innovative Arizona concept to align renewable energy output with electricity demand could hit the bigtime in California. Proposed legislation from key California lawmakers would require an increasing proportion of peak demand electricity to be served by renewable resources like wind and solar.If enacted, backers say the bills would drive growth for renewables, battery storage and demand management, as well as help the state reduce the need for fossil fuel peaker plants. The bill and its Senate companion (SB 338) echo Arizona’s Clean Peak Standard (CPS), a proposal introduced last year by the state consumer advocate that would amend the state’s renewable portfolio standard to require utilities to obtain a specific portion of their peak demand generation from “clean peak resources.”

    In Arizona, the CPS would address peak demand growth costs. In California, it would use renewable over-generation to mitigate the costs and emissions of flexibility and reliability services from fossil fuel generation. Early reaction to the CPS concept from sector stakeholders, particularly renewable and distributed energy providers, has been largely positive. But California policymakers are still debating how to proceed. In recent months, the concept has also attracted attention in several other states as a way to accomplish two things with one policy. It would add more renewables and it would add renewables when the system most needs capacity, saving ratepayers money when electricity prices are highest…” click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How New York is incentivizing utilities to interconnect DERs under REV

    How New York is incentivizing utilities to interconnect DERs under REV; Regulators want to reward utilities for better performance on key tasks like DER interconnection — the question is how?

    Herman K. Trabish, April 6, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The most recent discussions from New York and California have begun to include questions about how to simplify and stream policy complexities

    New York regulators continue to work to perfect a mechanism to reward the state’s utilities for the accelerated interconnection of distributed energy resources. If regulators and stakeholders can come to a consensus, it could mark a big step forward in evolving how New York utilities make money, supporting a directive from the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) in the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative to remake the utility business model. Streamlined interconnection of DERs is one of the areas regulators identified early in the REV process as an opportunity for utilities to make extra revenue based on their performance. The March order (Case 16-M-0429) aims to make that new ratemaking a reality.

    Regulators are weighing input from utilities and DER providers on how to measure utility performance. In their order, they rejected elements of proposals from utilities and solar advocates and directed the parties to resubmit better ideas about Earning Adjustment Mechanism (EAM) metrics to reward utilities for getting distributed resources online faster. Interconnection performance is the first EAM topic to be tackled by New York stakeholders, but regulators said in earlier orders that other performance incentives will involve data sharing, customer engagement, efficiency offerings and more. In response to a 2016 commission order, the state’s utilities proposed metrics and a survey of developer satisfaction to measure performance on the interconnection of DER projects. But regulators, in their new ruling, said the plan for the survey and metric does not go far enough. The state’s utilities still see merit in the concept and solar developers agree… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, September 26, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: How Chocolate Threatens The Environment

    Chocolate’s Dark Secret; How the Cocoa Industry Destroys National Parks

    Etelle Higonnet, Marisa Bellantonio, and Glenn Hurowitz, September 2017 (Mighty Earth)

    Chocolate is everywhere. It is the afternoon pick-me-up, the sensual indulgence, the accoutrement to seduction. Lovers gift truffles, skiers sip on rich hot chocolate, and connoisseurs savor the tiniest, richest bite of single origin dark chocolate. The ancient Aztecs believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac, and the emperor Montezuma was reported to gorge himself on chocolate in advance of his trysts.

    But chocolate is truly a guilty pleasure. Thousands of miles away from the American and European homes where the majority of the world’s chocolate is devoured, lies the denuded landscape of West Africa’s Ivory Coast. The nation is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, the raw material for chocolate. As its name suggests, elephants once abundantly roamed the rainforests of Ivory Coast. Today’s reality is much different: many of the country’s national parks and conservation lands have been cleared of their forest to make way for cocoa operations to feed demand from large chocolate companies like Nestlé, Cadbury, and Mars.

    Mighty Earth conducted an in-depth global investigation into the cocoa that provides the raw material for chocolate. These companies purchase the cocoa for their chocolate bars from large agribusiness companies like Olam, Cargill, and Barry Callebaut, who together control around half of global cocoa trade.

    Most strikingly, the investigation found that for years the world’s major chocolate companies have been buying cocoa grown through the illegal deforestation of national parks and other protected forests, in addition to driving extensive deforestation outside of protected areas. In the world’s two largest cocoa producing countries, Ivory Coast and Ghana, the market created by the chocolate industry has been the primary driver behind the destruction of forests.

    Many of Ivory Coast’s national parks and protected areas have been entirely or almost entirely cleared of forest and replaced with cocoa growing operations. In neighboring Ghana, the situation is similar: according to our analysis, 291,254 acres of protected areas were cleared between 2001 and 2014. In that same time, Ghana lost 7,000 square kilometers of forest, or about 10 percent of its entire tree cover; approximately one quarter of that deforestation was connected to the chocolate industry. Without action, Ghana stands to lose all remaining forests outside its national parks in the next decade. Chimpanzees, elephants, and other wildlife populations have been decimated by the conversion of forests in both countries to cocoa; in Ivory Coast, only 200-400 elephants remain from an original population of hundreds of thousands.

    Now, the chocolate industry is bringing its unsustainable model of production to new forest frontiers in other parts of Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Fortunately, the world’s largest chocolate companies have begun to publicly acknowledge their responsibility to address deforestation. In early 2017, 34 leading chocolate companies joined Prince Charles to pledge that they would announce a plan in November 2017 to end deforestation in the industry. However, they provided no details about their plan. It may be premature to be optimistic, as previous cocoa sustainability initiatives have been too weak to produce significant industry-wide results. This report shows that the chocolate industry must immediately end its illegal and destructive practices, remediate past damage, and take concrete action to ensure that its mistakes in Ivory Coast are not repeated…

    A Sweeter Future?

    The tragedy of this deforestation is that it is entirely avoidable. Instead of driving investment in expansion into forests or national parks, cocoa companies should be focusing their resources on shade-grown cocoa production and yield improvement.

    In West Africa, the chocolate industry has mostly relied on clearing forests and growing cocoa in full sun to boost short-run productivity. However, shade-grown cocoa (cocoa grows naturally under the forest canopy) promotes nutrient cycling, erosion control, water regulation, nitrogen fixing, crop pollination, and reduced weed growth. And shade-grown systems can actually have higher average productivity over the full life cycle of a cocoa tree. Additionally, large cocoa companies can do more to improve productivity through better water distribution and grafting techniques, among other best practices.

    To the extent that any additional expansion on new land is still necessary, there are more than 300 million acres of previously deforested lands across the tropics where crops like cocoa can be grown without threatening new deforestation. Large parts of the palm oil, paper, sugar, soy, and rubber industries have adopted a strict methodology, known as the High Carbon Stock Approach, to target development onto degraded land. Cocoa and chocolate companies including Cargill, Olam, Nestle, Mondelez, Mars, Ferrero Rocher and Hershey already apply that criterion to their palm oil purchases. Deforestation for cocoa is no more acceptable than deforestation for other commodities, which is why these companies should immediately extend their High Carbon Stock conservation commitments to cocoa as well.

    Based on similar situations in other commodities, the cost for these improvements is unlikely to cost more than a few additional cents for every chocolate bar. Indeed, companies that shift to deforestation-free agricultural production often identified significant efficiencies that allowed them to increase profitability. Many traders shifting to sustainable production also attracted increased market share from manufacturers willing to pay for environmentally responsible raw material supplies.

    Several chocolate companies have launched small-scale sustainability initiatives through the years; however, as this investigation shows, those initiatives have been inadequate to stop even the most egregious industry practices like sourcing from legally protected forests. Even certification programs that chocolate companies use to promote their products as sustainable were found to have mostly failed to make a significant difference on a national level, according to a 2016 study by the Bureau for the Appraisal of Social Impacts for Citizen Information (BASIC).

    Fortunately, many major cocoa companies are beginning to acknowledge the need for more comprehensive action. In the first half of 2017, Prince Charles launched an initiative with 34 of the world’s biggest chocolate and cocoa companies to end deforestation. However, the companies have not provided any details about their plans, which are due out later this year. For instance, they have not committed yet to ensuring that any future expansion is done without deforestation in order to protect High Carbon Stock landscapes or what they’ll do in already denuded areas like the Ivory Coast’s national parks and protected areas.

    The Ivorian government has also stated its strong interest in supporting conservation despite their past practices. The government has joined the United Nations program on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (UN-REDD) and created a national program on climate change.5 It has also committed to producing zero deforestation cocoa as of 2017 through the Cocoa Carboneutre initiative, but this has not been realized nor has it achieved any tangible results on the ground.

    Although promises on paper have yet to translate into a reality of forest protection, there is room for optimism that the Ivorian government would support robust industry action in the immediate future to save forests. The Ghanaian government has also shown greater willingness to protect forests than in the past…

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    QUICK NEWS, September 26: Organic Farming’s Role In The Climate Fight; New Update Tracks U.S. Solar; Battery Storage Needs Rules That Allow Stacking

    Organic Farming’s Role In The Climate Fight Organic Farms Could Help Fight Climate Change

    Shaun Chavis, September 25, 2017 (HowStuffWorks)

    “Agriculture is one of the more significant contributors to global warming. Nitrogen-based fertilizers and farm animals generate greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide. Conventional farming depletes soil of carbon, while planting and managing forests can help offset carbon emissions…[and] organic farming fights climate change by trapping temperature-raising carbon in soil, keeping it from contributing to the greenhouse effect [according to a new study]. Organic farming can also help offset carbon by storing it in soil…[Over 650 topsoil samples from organic farmers in 39 U.S. states were compared with] more than 725 conventional soil samples from the continental U.S. The results showed soil from organic farms is 26 percent better at retaining carbon — and retaining it for longer periods of time — than soil that's farmed with conventional methods and synthetic fertilizers…[It is because the] matter that organic farmers use, such as compost, green manure, animal matter and others — as well as the living things in healthy soil, such as microorganisms, earthworms and other components — gives soil humic acids…” click here for more

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    New Update Tracks U.S. Solar Berkeley Lab Releases Tracking the Sun 10

    September 25, 2017 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    “…National median installed prices [of photovoltaic solar systems] in 2016 fell year-over-year by 2% to 8%, depending on customer segment [according to Tracking the Sun 10 The Installed Price of Residential and Non-Residential Photovoltaic Systems in the United States]. These were the smallest annual declines in recent years. However, data for the first half of 2017 suggest that installed prices for the current year are on pace to fall by at least 10% for each customer segment, similar to long-term average rates of decline…Over the long-term, both hardware and non-hardware (i.e., soft) costs have fallen substantially, contributing in almost equal measure…More recently, however, hardware costs have been the dominant driver…Among residential systems installed in 2016, 20% were priced below $3.2 per watt (W)-the 20th percentile value- while 20% were above the 80th percentile at $5.0/W. Non-residential systems exhibit similar spreads…The potential causes for this variability are numerous, including differences in project characteristics, installers, and local market or regulatory conditions. These wide pricing distributions serve to demonstrate the potential for low-cost installations...” click here for more

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    Battery Storage Needs Rules That Allow Stacking California’s energy storage value ‘significantly’ boosted by stacking benefits, study says Andy Colthorpe, 13 September 2017 (Energy Storage Association)

    “…The value of a front-of-meter battery energy storage system in California could be doubled or even trebled, by adding more than one revenue stream to the project…[According to Stacked Benefits: Comprehensively Valuing Battery Storage in California, it could cost between US$200 and US$500/kW-year to deploy a 1kW / 4kWh battery…[But] the benefits, when stacked, could be around US$280 annually…[B]ig variations exist between technology types and system configuration. At the uppermost level modelled, this could be around US$328/kW-year. The biggest values are to be found in three areas: avoided capacity cost, frequency regulation and in energy price arbitrage…[The report stresses that there are] different ‘depths’ of opportunity to these applications…” click here for more

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    Monday, September 25, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Getting The System Ready For Distributed Energy

    Improving Distribution System Planning To Incorporate Distributed Energy Resources

    Dave Gahl, Brandon Smithwood, Rick Umoff, July 2017 (Solar Energy Industries Association)

    Executive Summary

    Built during the last century, the United States electric grid was primarily designed to transport electricity from large central station power plants to end-use customers. But with rapid growth of distributed energy resources, such as solar, resulting from falling costs and technological advances, customers are increasingly taking charge of their own energy. These resources offer the promise of a more innovative, economic, and cleaner electric grid.

    This is a future in which distributed energy resources (DERs), such as solar power, will play an important role providing power and grid services where they are needed most. To reach this goal, however, distribution grid planning must evolve from a largely closed process (a “black box”) to one which allows transparency into system needs, plans for distributed energy resources growth, and ensures that the capabilities of distributed energy resources are fully utilized.

    This paper is the second in SEIA's series on grid modernization and focuses on distribution planning and operations, which is foundational to various facets of grid modernization. We start by reviewing the utility distribution system planning process today and identify key processes and concepts. Next, we discuss how two leading states are attempting to modernize distribution planning to both plan for distributed energy resources as well as leverage their capabilities.

    Opening The Black Box: Understanding The Current Practice Of Distribution Planning & Operations

    Distribution system planning is the process utilities undertake to evaluate their system needs based on forecasting demand, anticipating load shapes, and considering the tools available to them to meet system needs. The process includes two overlapping cycles: a multi-year review and funding cycle in utility general rate cases before a public utilities commission, and an annual planning process undertaken by utility distribution engineers. The former is an arcane regulatory process with some outside input from intervening parties, and the latter has been the sole purview of the utility.

    Utilities upgrade their distribution grids based on forecast loads and replacement of aging equipment. Utilities annually review their distribution systems against load forecasts to identify areas where distribution system functioning may be challenged by new loads. They also use an ongoing asset management process to ensure that equipment, such as wooden poles, capacitor banks, and transformers, are replaced as they reach the end of their useful lives.

    As part of the planning process, utilities evaluate whether an issue can be addressed by reconfiguring their distribution system. This reconfiguration involves shifting load through switches in the distribution system, moving load served by a substation and feeder to another feeder potentially served by another substation. If reconfiguration is insufficient to address the forecast need, the utility will plan investments in new infrastructure, such as substation upgrades, replacement of capacitor banks, or reconductoring of a feeder. Over the course of an annual planning cycle some investment needs will fall away while others will emerge as new system conditions arise.

    With the advent of distributed energy resources, the basic tenets of this process remain intact. However, customers are not simply passive loads. Rather they increasingly have distributed energy resources. Where customers adopt these resources and how they are operated could mean substantially different utility needs in specific locations of the distribution grid over time. As distributed energy resources become more widespread distribution planning must move from simply planning, in a deterministic manner, based on forecast loads, to planning that is based on scenarios of distributed energy resource adoption and includes processes for guiding distributed energy resources to provide alternatives (“non-wire alternatives”) to traditional utility investments.

    Data Is Critical To Modernizing Distribution System Planning…Improvements In Distribution Planning Underpins New Methods Of Valuation And Tools For Interconnction…Leading State Efforts To Reform Utility Distribution Planning…

    Conclusion

    Utility distribution planning has begun to move from a focus on meeting passive loads to anticipating distributed energy resources, both in terms of how many DERs can be expected on the system and where these resources are likely to be located. To benefit ratepayers and unlock the full value of a modernized grid, updated distribution planning must leverage DERs, such as solar, to meet distribution needs where they may have traditionally used utility installed, owned, and operated equipment. Some states are leading the way toward reforming distribution planning, but much more work must be done. A key for regulators will be to guard against over-investment by utilities under the rationale of enabling distributed energy resources in the marketplace. Distribution planning done correctly will create opportunities for solar firms and other distributed energy resources, better value for customers, and help state’s meet their energy and economic development goals.

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    QUICK NEWS, September 25: Survey Shows Millennials Acting Against Climate Change; Why Big Buyers Want New Energy; Wind Works, DOE Study Concludes

    Survey Shows How Millennials Act On Climate Change Breaking: Millennials Think About Climate Change Differently Than Anyone Else

    Emma Loewe, September 25, 2017 (MindBodyGreen)

    “…[Much of the burden for easing climate change] is placed on millennials…[Because environmental issues went mainstream as] they were growing up, and their future is less certain than that of generations past, it makes sense that 20- and 30-somethings are tasked with such a big responsibility…[A new study asked thousands of millennials how they're taking action] and their answers were a mixed bag. While millennials are reportedly less inclined to take small personal actions like recycle, ditch plastic water bottles, and adjust the thermostat to save energy, they are significantly more likely to support companies that they perceive to have strong environmental values…[The survey authors think it is because millennials are] looking outward from their own abilities to effect change to see who else can help them make it happen better and faster…[82 percent of millennials] are concerned about how it will influence their children's quality of life. But for many, this concern seems to have morphed into a slight helplessness…Therefore, they seek out companies that value environmental stewardship and employee treatment practices…” click here for more

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    Why Big Buyers Want New Energy Study: What Drives Corporate Renewable Energy Purchases?

    Betsy Lillian, September 14, 2017 (Solar Industry)

    “…[While the continually improving economics of utility-scale wind and solar are helping convert corporate commitments into a decision to buy, companies are determining their own definition of value in the procurement process…[But the cheapest option is not necessarily the best strategic fit or the only factor in corporate buyers’ decision-making, according to State of Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement…More than 150 respondents from companies with annual revenues of greater than $250 million participated…[The survey showed] the market sees sustainability in terms of decarbonization and industry leadership, not just a renewable version of the business-as-usual commodity deal that maximizes market timing…The report found that the primary drivers of corporate renewable energy goals are addressing emissions targets (70% of respondents) and demonstrating corporate leadership (65%)…” click here for more

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    Wind Works, DOE Study Concludes DOE Grid Study Highlights Wind’s Benefits, Need for Transmission

    Isak Kvam, September 15, 2017 (Morning Consult)

    “…[Wind energy makes the electric grid more reliable and] additional investment in transmission lines is essential to unlocking more renewables across the nation [according to Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability]…Wind provides important grid services like voltage control and frequency regulation, which help grid operators ride through disturbances better than any other fuel source. That increases resilience, helping the grid bounce back from disruptions like cyberattacks and storms…Wind energy is fuel-free and needs no cooling water, unlike fossil plants, so grid operators consider wind energy to be a resilient resource. Wind also provides a lot of electricity during periods of extreme weather, when other electricity sources have struggled in the past…The DOE study agrees with grid operators and other experts that investing in transmission infrastructure helps [cheaper power reach more people]…” click here for more

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    Saturday, September 23, 2017

    The Daily Show On Eclipses And Climate Change

    At about 2:45, Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains why the eclipse proved climate change deniers are wrong. From Comedy Central

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    The President Plays A Fossil Fool

    The Rump talks his usual nonsense about beautiful coal and plentiful gas. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

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    The Age Of New Energy Storage Is At Hand

    Access to cost-effective energy storage changes the whole game. From Bloomberg via YouTube

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    Friday, September 22, 2017

    When Countries Will Be Uninhabitable (From The Onion)

    New Climate Change Report Just List Of Years Each Country Becomes Uninhabitable

    September 21, 2017 (The Onion)

    …[New research from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] consists solely of an alphabetized list of every country on earth and the years each of them will become uninhabitable. ‘Albania, 2035; Algeria, 2027; American Samoa, 2024,’ read the two-page report, divided into two columns containing no text other than the names of the more than 200 countries and sovereign territories on the planet alongside the date by which that location’s inhabitants will no longer be able to survive the conditions brought on by global warming. ‘Cameroon, 2029; Canada, 2049... Japan, 2041... United States of America, 2033.’ When reached for comment, the committee expressed its hope that the report would be used by governments around the globe to help them make forward-thinking, evidence-based decisions about how and when to euthanize their populations.” click here for more

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