NewEnergyNews: 02/01/2018 - 03/01/2018

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?

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Keys To Good Pilot Projects And A Re-Imagined Grid

    5 new strategies to design more effective utility DER pilots; A new RMI report uses insights from utility pilots and demonstration projects to form a roadmap for the energy transition

    Herman K. Trabish, July 20, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: A new paper from RMI identifies good pilot projects as a key stepping stone to the customer-facing utility of the future.

    The journey through the energy transition just got a new roadmap. Regulatory disputes across the country continue to stifle innovation and impede the emergence of new utility business models. But a new paper offers best practices from a variety of utility pilot projects to help regulators and stakeholders sort through the noise and make evidence-based decisions. “,” from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), offers recommendations for utilities, regulators, and DER technology providers about how to lead an informed energy transition.

    The skyrocketing growth of utility-scale renewables and distributed energy resources (DER) is stoking a need to develop new grid technologies, business models and customer programs. As a result, utilities face crucial decisions about investing shareholder and ratepayer money. Pilots are being used mainly to test the possibilities, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center Policy Manager Autumn Proudlove recently told Utility Dive. For the new pilot report, RMI partnered with Consolidated Edison (ConEd), Avista Utilities, and Arizona Public Service (APS). ConEd Director Jamie Brennan told Utility Dive debates about real data from pilots are less ideological, more analytical, and enable more effective stakeholder engagement… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Getting To The Future Of Customer-owned Resources

    Hiding in plain sight: Aggregated DERs in wholesale power markets; Distributed resources can't yet compete like traditional generators in US power markets, but demand response products allow them a foot in the door

    Herman K. Trabish, July 24, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Policy to support the wholesale market use of DER is still being developed.

    Two California energy storage providers successfully bid aggregations of automated load reductions into the California wholesale market multiple times during a June 2017 heat wave but the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) told Utility Dive that it did not have DER aggregations bidding into its market. The discrepancy is due to terminology. DERs include energy efficiency, behind-the-meter (BTM) storage, and distributed generation like rooftop solar. But they also include traditional demand response, which is the CAISO wholesale market product in which DER are being used. Demand response falls under the California statutory definition of DER and providing demand response is one path to the wholesale market for DER, though only for DER like storage that do not inject power into the grid.

    The other path is for aggregators of distributed resources to use the a separate tariff approved by regulators last year. But that introduces the more complicated issue of power delivered back into the grid, Tisdale told Utility Dive. Across the nation, DER providers and grid operators are facing similar issues that prevent aggregated resources from offering their full suite of benefits to the grid. New work to resolve the communications and operational issues could provide a way forward for DER, but in the meantime the resources are getting a foot in the door through the well-established role of demand response providers… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, February 27, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Fight For Plug-In Vehicles Right Now

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles; 2017 Review

    February 2018 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary

    Purpose

    The purpose of this report is to provide state and local lawmakers and regulators, electric utilities, the electric power industry, the transportation industry, and other energy stakeholders with timely, accurate, and unbiased updates about how states are choosing to study, adopt, implement, amend, or discontinue policies associated with electric vehicles. This report catalogues proposed and approved legislative, regulatory, and utility rate design changes affecting electric vehicles during the most recent quarter, as well as state and investor-owned utility proposals to deploy electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

    Approach

    The authors identified relevant policy changes and deployment proposals through state utility commission docket searches, legislative bill searches, popular press, and direct communications with stakeholders and regulators in the industry.

    Questions Addressed

    This report addresses several questions about the U.S. electric vehicle landscape, including:

    • How are states addressing barriers to electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment?

    • What policy actions are states taking to grow markets for electric vehicles and related infrastructure?

    • How are utilities designing rates to influence charging behavior of electric vehicle owners?

    • Where and how are states and utilities proposing deployment of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure?

    Actions Included

    This report focuses on cataloguing and describing important proposed and adopted policy changes related to electric vehicles. For the purpose of this report, the definition of electric vehicle includes all-electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs). In order to explore all policy actions related to electric vehicles, this report catalogs and describes actions related to the deployment of electric vehicle charging equipment, which is often referred to as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Additionally, the electric grid is impacted by electric vehicle charging, so legislative and regulatory actions related to electric utilities are included in this report.

    In general, this report considers an “action” to be a relevant (1) legislative bill that has been introduced, (2) executive order, or (3) 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 electric vehicles specifically, or electric vehicles as part of a broader grid modernization study or investigation.

    Regulation

    Changes to state rules related to electric vehicles, including registration fees, homeowner association limitations, and electricity resale regulations affecting vehicle charging.

    Utility Rate Design

    Proposed or approved changes to investor-owned utility rate design for electric vehicles, including new electric vehicle tariffs and significant changes to existing electric vehicle tariffs.

    Market Development

    New state policy proposals or changes to existing policies aimed at growing the electric vehicle market.

    Financial Incentives

    New state or investor-owned utility incentive programs or changes to existing incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

    State and Utility Deployment

    ‘Utility-initiated requests, as well as proposed legislation, to deploy electric vehicles or charging infrastructure.

    Actions Excluded

    This report currently excludes actions taken by utilities that are not state-regulated, such as municipal utilities and electric cooperatives in many states. The report also excludes actions related to grid modernization without an explicit electric vehicle component, as well as actions related to general time-varying rates not specific to electric vehicle charging; these types of actions are tracked in the 50 States of Grid Modernization report series.

    2017 Electric Vehicle Action

    In 2017, 43 states plus DC took a total of 227 legislative and regulatory actions related to electric vehicles. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions occurring during 2017. Of the 227 actions catalogued, the most common were related to Regulation (70), followed by Financial Incentives (53), and Market Development (36).

    Top Electric Vehicle Policy Trends Of 2017

    Six of the year’s most notable electric vehicle policy trends are noted below.

    Policymakers and Regulators Addressing Barriers to Charging Infrastructure Development

    Many state legislatures and regulatory commissions are working to address existing barriers to charging infrastructure development. Some legislatures considered bills to prohibit homeowner associations from restricting charging installations, while other legislatures and commissions addressed rules relating to public utility regulation and the resale of electricity.

    Investigation of Electric Vehicles as Part of Broader Grid Modernization Efforts

    As many states initiate broad investigations into grid modernization, electric vehicles are frequently being addressed in these discussions. Working groups or presentations related to electric vehicles were included as part of several of these proceedings, including those in Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

    Funding for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Moving Beyond Level 2 Charging

    Funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure is moving beyond support for Level 2 charging, with several states and utilities considering new funding for DC fast charging. Efforts to fund medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles are also underway, as broader electrification of the transportation sector is considered.

    Utilities Proposing Dedicated Electric Vehicle Charging Rates

    Increasing attention is being paid to rate design for electric vehicle charging, with utilities working to encourage electric vehicle owners to charge their vehicles during periods of low system peak demand, while avoiding charging during periods of peak demand. Several utilities proposed new charging tariffs or the extension of pilot tariffs during 2017, while some states are directing utilities to develop tariffs for electric vehicle charging.

    Expanding Incentives for Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure

    States and utilities took a total of 53 actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during 2017. While a small number of these actions aimed to reduce or shorten existing incentive programs, the majority of these actions would create new financial incentives, or extend or expand the eligibility requirements for existing incentive programs.

    States Considering Additional Fees for Electric Vehicle Owners

    The most common type of action taken in 2017 was the consideration of additional fees for electric vehicles. Many states are facing declining gasoline tax revenue, due to increasing vehicle efficiency and adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, and are looking to make up this shortfall by establishing additional registration or other fees for electric and hybrid vehicles.

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    QUICK NEWS, February 27: The High Cost Of The Cold On The Mid-Atlantic Grid; Southeast’s Utilities Starting To See The Sun

    Newest Voters Want Action On Climate Change Poll: Millennials Embrace Action to Combat Climate Change

    Steve Michaels, February 26, 2018 (NewsMax)

    “Millennials overwhelmingly believe human-caused climate change is real and that steps must be taken to slow it…[ A new poll shows] 77 percent of millennials think the U.S. should take steps to slow or stop climate change…80 percent say they are more concerned with pollution than gun violence (70 percent) and immigration (58 percent)…70 percent think climate change will affect them in their lifetimes…62 percent believe human activity is responsible for climate change…51 percent of Republicans are concerned about climate change…[and] 57 percent of millennials believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction on the climate change issue…” click here for more

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    The High Cost Of The Cold On The Mid-Atlantic Grid PJM Report on Cold Weather Performance Shows Grid Performed Well, Need for Pricing Reform

    Feb. 26, 2018, (PJM Interconnection)

    “…The grid connecting 65 million people in Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states served well during this winter’s cold snap…Though not as severe as the 2014 Polar Vortex, the cold snap demonstrated [the PJM Interconnection’s system remains] reliable, according to PJM Cold Snap Performance…On Jan. 5, 2018, demand reached 137,522 megawatts, which is the sixth highest overall winter peak demand…[but even] during peak demand, PJM had excess reserves and capacity…[However, the report adds, the 11-fold increase in uplift charges] during the cold snap shows the need to reform pricing for energy and reserves…Uplift is paid to generators when locational marginal prices do not cover the costs of units needed to serve load. Over the last several years, uplift charges have been relatively low in PJM, averaging approximately $389,000 per day. By contrast, during the peak days of the cold snap, uplift charges averaged approximately $4.3 million per day…” click here for more

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    Southeast’s Utilities Starting To See The Sun Solar in the Southeast: New Report Highlights Solar Data and Trends Throughout the Southeast

    February 27, 2018 (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

    “…[Using the metric “watts per customer,” which looks at the amount of installed solar relative to the total number of customers served, a new report provides] detailed information at the regional, state, and utility level…[about solar in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It shows Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Carolinas, and Georgia Power as] the region’s current solar leaders…[It recognizes] seven utilities with the highest forecasted solar growth by 2021…[and] identifies three major utility systems - Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Santee Cooper, and Seminole Electric Cooperative – as laggards…for low levels of solar development over the next four years…Leading states like North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia have enacted strong policies…[U]tilities in other Southeastern states – particularly Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi – continue to operate in a public policy vacuum…” click here for more

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    Monday, February 26, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: How To Use All The New Energy Tools

    Demand Flexibility; The Key To Enabling A Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Grid

    Cara Goldenberg, Mark Dyson Boulder, and Harry Masters, February 2018 (Rocky Mountain Institute)

    Highlights

    • Wind and solar energy costs are at record lows and are forecast to keep falling, leading to greater adoption, but the mismatch of weather-driven resources and electricity demand can lead to lower revenues and higher risks of curtailment for renewable energy projects, potentially inhibiting new project investment.

    • Using an hourly simulation of a future, highly-renewable Texas power system, we show how using demand flexibility in eight common end-use loads to shift demand into periods of high renewable availability can increase the value of renewable generation, raising revenues by 36% compared to a system with inflexible demand.

    • Flexible demand of this magnitude could reduce renewable curtailment by 40%, lower peak demand net of renewables by 24%, and lower the average magnitude of multihour ramps (e.g., the “duck curve”) by 56%.

    • Demand flexibility is cost-effective when compared with new gas-fired generation to balance renewables, avoiding approximately $1.9 billion of annual generator costs and 20% of total annual CO2 emissions in the modeled system.

    • Policymakers, grid operators, and utility program designers need to incorporate demand flexibility as a core asset at all levels of system planning to unlock this value

    Introduction

    The Merit-Order Effect, And The Opportunity For Demand Flexibility

    More than half of the electricity generation capacity added to the U.S. grid in 2016 and 2017 came from renewable resources, largely driven by the precipitous price decline of wind and solar projects. While this scale of renewable generation has translated into millions of tons of avoided carbon emissions, this increase in supply also has implications for wholesale electricity markets. Because of its very low marginal costs, renewable generation displaces more-expensive producers, resulting in lower wholesale clearing prices, and in some circumstances leading to curtailment; i.e., forced reduction in power output. As the penetration of variable renewables increases and the risk of curtailment grows, new renewable capacity is exposed to lower prices. This value deflation can reduce the revenues of renewable projects, making the investment in and development of new renewable projects less attractive.

    However, leveraging opportunities to shift load to better match the supply of renewables can mitigate the impacts of this value deflation. For years, utilities and market operators have used traditional demand response programs to send signals to consumers to reduce electricity consumption at times of high stress on the grid. Now, a new generation of communication and control technologies can enable “demand flexibility,” allowing major loads to continuously respond to changing renewable supply levels and other market signals.

    Solar photovoltiacs’ (PV’s) impact on the grid most clearly illustrates the potential mismatch between renewable supply and end-use demand—and the opportunity for demand flexibility to address this mismatch. While solar generation reaches its peak around midday when the sun is high in the sky, peak demand usually occurs later in the afternoon and early evening as temperatures peak and families return home. To adjust this misalignment, demand flexibility technologies can shift electricity consumption from times of high load to hours with high renewable availability.

    This load shift reduces overgeneration, lowers peak demand, and mitigates the steep ramping needed to serve high midafternoon electricity needs as the sun goes down. Previous RMI work has shown that demand flexibility can result in significant benefits at the household level. Figure 1 illustrates how a simulated residential customer in Hawaii could shift household electricity consumption to the middle of the day when PV generation peaks by using a suite of technologies, including battery energy storage, managed electric vehicle charging, and smart air conditioning controls.

    Figure 1’s two different load profiles show how using automated communication and control technologies can shift electricity use across hours of the day, without any significant impact on the quality of service that a customer would receive from those end-use loads, and without requiring that customers are at home in the middle of the day waiting to use their washing machine during opportune times. At the household level, these demand flexibility technologies can lead to increased self-balancing and retail bill savings between 10% and 40%; at the level of a regional grid, the same technologies can significantly mitigate the price impacts of renewable energy.

    Figure 2 below uses a representative dispatch curve for ERCOT’s service territory to show both the regional impact of renewable energy on clearing price in the wholesale market, as well as the mitigating effects of demand flexibility. The long blue arrow shows the impact renewable energy has on the clearing price: variable renewable energy reduces load that must be met by thermal generators, and the marginal cost to meet load declines accordingly, causing generator revenue to fall. However, increasing demand at times of high renewable availability, as illustrated by the red arrow, can raise this price, increasing revenues for renewable generation.

    The Evolving Role Of Demand Flexibility

    Utilities and system operators have decades of experience in deploying demand flexibility technologies to provide value to the grid, and increasingly to integrate variable renewable energy. Over 600 utilities have already deployed rate structures that reflect a more granular value of consumption, allowing customers that adopt flexibility technologies (e.g., smart thermostats) to realize sizeable bill savings as well as cost benefits at the system level.

    Utilities across the U.S. are now considering demand flexibility as an important component of “non-wires alternatives” that can defer large infrastructure investments. For example, Central Hudson’s CenHub Peak Perks program compensates customers residing in key geographic areas to reduce energy use during times of peak demand using a Wi Fi-enabled smart thermostat or a program efficiency switch. Both Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in California have initiated a number of projects focused on non-wires alternatives to support distribution system reliability and to address natural gas leaks, retirement of nuclear power plants, and particular areas of significant load growth. In Washington, Bonneville Power Authority recently gave up a long-term effort to build over $1 billion worth of new transmission and will be addressing this need with procurement of non-wires alternatives instead.

    Table 1 describes a number of programs that have leveraged the capabilities of demand flexibility technologies to bring value to the grid. These offerings differ from traditional demand response programs as they are not designed to simply curtail consumption during times of high load; rather, the objective of these programs is to explicitly shift consumption to different times of the day, while maintaining the same level of daily electricity use…

    Implications And Conclusions

    Our analysis suggests that demand flexibility can play an important role in a low-cost, low-carbon grid. Near-term action in five areas can lay the groundwork for fully capturing this value:

    • Include demand flexibility as a core resource in grid planning to avoid stranded generator investment. Demand flexibility can avoid significant investment and operational costs that would otherwise be spent on natural gas-fired generation to meet peak loads and balance renewable variability. However, without proactive planning that includes demand flexibility, there is a significant risk of duplicative investment in natural-gas power plants that may become stranded as demand flexibility becomes more cost-effective and commonplace. Utility planners, system operators, and regulators can mitigate this risk by improving planning processes and utilizing software tools that fully reflect the capabilities and value of demand flexibility.

    • Account for demand flexibility when setting targets for highly renewable supply mixes. Many studies of highly renewable grids find a limit for renewable adoption, above which the marginal value of new renewable resources falls below their investment costs. Our analysis demonstrates that demand flexibility can significantly improve the revenue and system-level value of renewable energy, and suggests that the limit to renewable energy adoption is not fixed, and can rise dramatically if demand flexibility strategies are taken into account during planning and system operation. Policymakers, regulators, and utilities should carefully consider the potential of demand flexibility to help meet renewable energy-adoption targets of 50% and higher across the U.S.

    • Pursue portfolios of renewables and demand flexibility to improve project economics. In some areas of the U.S, including California and the Midwest, revenues realized by renewable generation are already falling due to rising renewable adoption, grid congestion, and the inflexibility of other generators. Project developers and/or off-takers thus face price risks, and are increasingly bundling battery energy storage with renewables projects to mitigate exposure and increase value. Our analysis suggests that demand flexibility, as part of a broader resource portfolio, can also address these same price risks. Project developers and utilities should carefully evaluate the economics of resource portfolios composed of renewables and demand flexibility in order to optimize system value.

    • Adjust utility earnings opportunities to encourage noncapital investments. Traditional cost-ofservice regulation rewards utilities for investments in capital they can include in their rate base. However, new regulatory tools, such as performance-based ratemaking, can allow utilities to still earn returns when using lower-cost and/or third party-owned demand flexibility as a grid resource. By addressing the incentives driving the utility business model, policymakers have the opportunity to significantly expand the role of demand flexibility in utility procurement decisions.

    • Create customer incentives to increase flexibility-technology adoption and influence electricity consumption. The deployment of demand flexibility technologies depends on customer purchasing decisions and willingness to participate in new utility programs. Creating the right incentives, such as rebates or bill savings through time-varying rates, will be key to encouraging customer involvement in demand flexibility programs. Increased use of automation and control technologies and programs that promote participation of aggregated resources can improve the customer experience, providing nonmonetary incentives for customer participation.

    Demand flexibility can be an important grid resource in the long run, cost-effectively balancing renewable energy to ease the transition to a low-carbon grid. Near-term action can lay the groundwork for scaled deployment of demand flexibility technologies in a future highly renewable grid, and address the uncertainties around technology costs and performance that are critical to planning for a reliable, low-cost, and low-carbon grid.

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    QUICK NEWS, February 26: World’s Women Are A Key To The Climate Fight; The Market’s Picks For Best Wind Turbine Makers; Solar’s Rising Star In The Stock Market

    World’s Women Are A Key To The Climate Fight Climate Change: Women Will Save the World

    February 26, 2018 (The Mark News via The Bogata City Paper)

    “…The human and economic costs of failing to act [to stop climate change] are too high…[and acting] presents a great opportunity…Climate action can lift people out of poverty and ensure their needs are met, even as the world’s population creeps towards 10 billion by 2050…[But national] governments alone cannot deliver lasting prosperity…[It will require the transformation of] our societies and our economies…Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls [is among the top ten solutions]. Including and empowering women and girls to develop and implement climate solutions is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do…[But] gender equality and women’s empowerment in the field of climate change and sustainable development…[faces cultural, structural and institutional barriers] across all sectors of the economy – in private enterprise, public and political institutions and entrepreneurship. It is a dynamic we can and must change…” click here for more

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    The Market’s Picks For Best Wind Turbine Makers Vestas Holds the Top Spot in Global Wind Turbine Supplier Ranking in 2017; FTI Intelligence Releases Preliminary Findings from Its Global Wind Market Update – Demand & Supply 2017

    February 26, 2018 (Nasdaq/Globe Newswire)

    “…[Preliminary rankings for the world’s top five wind turbine manufacturers found Denmark’s Vestas to be] the world’s largest supplier of wind turbines in 2017, due to the Danish supplier’s wide geographic diversification strategy and strong performance in the U.S. market…[Global new wind installations dropped 5% in 2017, primarily] due to a slowdown in installations in China. However, Europe installed more than 16 GW last year, representing [a record 16%] growth..[Solar photovoltaic (PV) was] the No. 1 non-hydro renewable energy source for the second year in a row. Global solar PV installations in 2017 reached nearly 100 GW, which is almost double the installations that wind achieved in 2017…Auctions are becoming the norm. 2017 saw auctions occur in more than 15 markets, with more than 20 GW of onshore wind and nearly 5 GW of offshore wind awarded contracts in the past 12 months. However, such transition has caused near-term market volatility, as seen in India and Germany…Mexico’s latest auction set a new world record for onshore wind with the average awarded price of USD$18.68/MWh…” click here for more

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    Solar’s Rising Star In The Stock Market Is This Solar Energy’s New Growth Stock? SunPower may be growing faster than you think.

    Travis Hoium, February 26, 2018 (The Motley Fool)

    “…[SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) may] be a growth story in the solar industry. After years of struggling with costs that were higher than competitors' and a foundering project-finance business, the company is focusing on its roots as a solar manufacturer -- and the strategy may pay off with growth as early as this year…[but] it's where SunPower is growing that will also be important for investors…[SunPower's growth plans in 2018] included a wide range of potential deployments of between 1.5 GW and 1.9 GW of solar panels this year…The wide range comes from SunPower's joint venture (JV) in China…Growth could really start kicking into high gear in 2019. Management recently said that China's JV capacity will be [up from a maximum in 2018 to] nearly 2 GW, and still ramping…[SunPower is already in the process of transitioning] to a next-generation solar cell (NGT)…But Sunpower’s full-year] guidance of $1.8 billion to $2.2 billion of non-GAAP revenue may fall short of 2017's $2.13 billion of revenue…[because its transition may not] drive revenue growth until 2019…” click here for more

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    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    Why New Energy Works For Everybody

    The idea that New Energy is not affordable is “already a myth” and the falling cost of energy storage is making it an even better deal. “The times are changing fast.” From Global Weirding with Katherine Hayhoe via YouTube

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    How To Talk Climate Change With Conservatives

    There will be costs. But the costs of not acting are three times the costs of acting. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

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    The Future Of Wind

    From the wind project to the wind power plant. From U.S. Dept of Energy via YouTube

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    Friday, February 23, 2018

    Ten Billion Tree Movement Hits One Million Mark

    Trees for Trump: 1m plants pledged to offset U-turn on climate change; Environmentalists say forest the size of Kentucky could compensate for ‘monumental stupidity’ of US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement

    Eleanor Ainge Roy, 19 February 2018 (UK Guardian)

    “More than 1million trees have been pledged for Trump Forest, a bid by environmentalists to offset the US president’s curtailing of Obama-era clean energy initiatives by planting 10 billion trees around the globe…The project was launched last March and in less than a year over a million trees have been pledged from people around the world, but particularly in the US and Europe…The donated trees are to go towards offsetting the 650m tonnes of CO2 that will be released into the atmosphere by 2025 if the president’s plans to backtrack on US climate commitments go ahead…The figure of 650m tonnes – equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of 33 million Americans – is calculated from Trump’s decision to roll back the US 2015 Paris agreement pledge to lower emissions by at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025…It would take 10 billion trees – covering a landmass roughly the size of the state of Kentucky – to offset the full amount…” click here for more

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    Double New Energy And EU Economy Can Boom

    EU Doubling Renewables by 2030 Positive for Economy, Key to Emission Reductions; New IRENA report outlines how increasing share of renewables to 34% can boost economy, and help meet emission reductions goals

    20 February 2018 (International Renewable Energy Agency)

    “The European Union (EU) can increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 34 per cent by 2030 – double the share in 2016 – with a net positive economic impact…[According to a new study,] achieving higher shares of renewable energy is possible with today’s technology, and would trigger additional investments of around EUR 368 billion until 2030 – equal to an average annual contribution of 0.3 per cent of the GDP of the EU. The number of people employed in the sector across the EU – currently 1.2 million – would grow significantly under a revised strategy…Raising the share of renewable energy would help reduce emissions by a further 15 per cent by 2030…[and] bring the EU in line with its goal to reduce emissions by 40 per cent compared to 1990 levels…[The increase in renewables would result in savings of between EUR 44 billion and EUR 113 billion per year by 2030, when accounting for savings related to the cost of energy, and avoided environmental and health costs…” click here for more

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    Netherlands Building Solar On The Sea

    Netherlands Planning a Massive Solar Energy Farm at Sea; Armed with a nine-member consortium, the government of the Netherlands hopes to successfully develop one of the world’s largest floating solar energy farm.

    Mario L. Major, February 18, 2018 (Interesting Engineering)

    “…[Project Solar-at-Sea, a first of its kind in the world floating solar energy farm, is being developed in the Netherlands by Oceans of Energy…[Solar farms are already being deployed at inshore water bodies] but a project at sea has never been done before…[It is much more challenging because of the] destructive wind and wave forces…The project will receive $1.48 million in government funding…A pilot project for assessing the feasibility of the plan (including equipment, weather conditions, and environmental impact) will include roughly 30m2 of solar panels…The end goal is to have 2,500 square meters of solar panels in place by 2021…[During some periods the panels will be underwater and will wobble and the] impact of those dynamic shifts in tilt angle hasn’t yet been studied…” click here for more

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    Norway’s Floating Wind Gets 65% Capacity Factor

    World’s first floating wind farm performing better than anticipated

    Lacy Cooke, February 21, 2018 (Inhabitat)

    “…[Norwegian wind giant Statoil’s] 30 megawatt Hywind Scotland floating wind farm started operating last fall, and…[has] performed better than expected in its first three full months in production…[It has] survived a winter storm, a hurricane, and wave heights of around 27 feet while powering around 20,000 households in the United Kingdom…[Its 65 percent of max theoretical capacity performance is greater than the typical offshore wind project’s] 45 to 60 percent…[Statoil New Energy Solutions has targeted a 40 to 60 Euros per megawatt-hour by 2030 cost and is seeking new opportunities for the technology] in Europe, Asia, and North America’s west coast…” click here for more

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    Thursday, February 22, 2018

    Using Music In The Climate Fight

    Climate change expert uses art, music to communicate scientific concern

    Leia Larsen, February 18, 2018 (Standard Examiner)

    “…[The Crossroad Project merges] science with music and art for a moving performance about climate change and the way humans are impacting their planet…[Its “Rising Tide” has performed around the nation by Utah State University Department of Physics Associate Professor Rob Davies and] the Fry Street Quartet…[Davies’ goal is to help close the gap] between what the science understood about climate change and what the public understood…[Davies said recent polling shows more than two-thirds of the public] are either somewhat or very concerned about climate change and that number hasn’t changed…[though] this administration has done their best to stymie efforts, certainly at the federal level, to address the problem…[But, Davies said,] the vast majority of meaningful efforts are at the city, local and state level...[and they are] beginning to grow and amplify and overlap…” click here for more

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    Biggest U.S. Wind Nears Go In Oklahoma

    Nation's Largest Wind Farm Coming to Oklahoma

    February 22, 2018 (EcoWatch)

    “The Wind Catcher Energy Connection project, which includes a massive 800-turbine wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma panhandle, is getting closer to lift-off…Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), a subsidiary of major utility American Electric Power, [just announced] a settlement with various parties, including Walmart, allowing the $4.5 billion project to move forward…SWEPCO agreed to provide a number of guarantees, including a cap on construction costs, qualification for 100 percent of the federal Production Tax Credits, minimum annual production from the project, and others…The project is subject to approval by utility commissions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…Wind Catcher is expected to deliver wind energy to customers in the four states by the end of 2020…The 2,000-megawatt facility [will be the largest single-site wind farm in the U.S. and will also involve] building a 360-mile extra high-voltage 765 kilovolt power line to connect two new substations, one located at the wind facility and a second near Tulsa, Oklahoma…” click here for more

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    Wave Power From The Heart

    Efficient wave power device is inspired by the human heart

    13 February 2018 (Institution Of Mechanical Engineers)

    A device that harvests energy from waves and is inspired by the mechanics of the human heart is being tested…[CorPower Ocean’s C3 wave energy converter system [could] bring renewable power to remote islands and inlets, and produce five times more power per tonne than other systems…The C3 is a type of point absorber system. It consists of a buoy that absorbs energy from the waves, and a drivetrain to convert the motion of the buoy into electricity. [It is] based on patents by Swedish cardiologist Stig Lundback, inspired by his research into heart pumping and control functions…[It] employs a special ‘gearbox’ which works like rack-and-pinion steering on a car, converting the horizontal motion of the bobbing buoy into a sideways action that generates electricity, and, in conjunction with flexing units, allows the system to handle high forces and high velocities at the same time…” click here for more

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    EVs Are A Win For Everybody

    5 Ways Electric Vehicles Can Help the Grid

    Constance Douris, February 19, 2018 (Inside Sources)

    “…Electric vehicles could account for half of all new cars sold by 2040..[That will allow enough scale for the EVs to] serve as a grid resource…[EV batteries could be used to stabilize the grid by providing] power when demand exceeds supply or absorb excess electricity when it surpasses demand…More renewable energy can be used on the grid…[because it can] be absorbed by the batteries and stored for later use…[The increased use of stored energy] could also reduce the amount of money utilities spend on infrastructure upgrades due to less wear and tear…[A grid stabilized by EV batteries would have less steep spikes in peak demand and face fewer] power outages…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Common Ground In Texas On How To Drive Utilities To New Energy

    Texas stakeholders find common ground in utility revenue recovery for DERs State power sector players say DER growth should not hurt utility finances, but consensus over rate design reform remains elusive

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 2, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This story is part of the national effort to reform the utility business model that makes the power system more New Energy-friendly.

    A broad coalition of stakeholders in the Texas grid say investor-owned utilities (IOUs) should not have to risk their revenues to meet the demands of 21st century power consumers. Regulated utilities that advance energy efficiency and distributed energy resources (DERs) should have incentives or a rate structure that keeps them financially whole, according to a new consensus statement from the South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER). SPEER members include top executives with Texas transmission and distribution (T&D) utilities, competitive electricity retailers, and advocates for efficiency, distributed resources, and energy management software. Though the group broke new ground by that regulated utilities have the right to financial protection, it could not agree on a specific remedies in the ratemaking process, SPEER CEO Bob King told Utility Dive.

    DERs — including demand response (DR), energy efficiency, storage and on-site generation like rooftop solar — can help relieve system congestion and avoid traditional infrastructure costs, King said. But because of a “complex and multidimensional” set of disincentives embedded in traditional ratemaking, “utilities have no incentive to invest in them, even if they reduce overall costs.” T&D utilities are obligated to their shareholders make investments on which they earn a rate of return by the hundred-year-old regulatory construct that was created to drive investments. Today, utilities need to use new, customer-owned energy efficiency resources that reduce customer costs and strengthen the system but on which they do not earn a rate of return that benefits their shareholders. There is no financial incentive for utilities to do that...click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Are Electricity Customers Ready For Dynamic Pricing?

    Beyond TOU: Is more dynamic pricing the future of rate design? Analysts say sending stronger price signals to residential ratepayers could help reduce peak demand, but consumer advocates are leery

    Herman K. Trabish, July 17, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Surprisingly, the wonky topic of utility rate design is becoming cool as more people realize it could be the key to bringing New Energy into the power system.

    Innovative ratemaking is the talk of the town. Trials of time-of-use rates, demand charges and time varying pricing are playing a growing role in the transformation of the electric power sector. California will deploy default time-of-use (TOU) rates in 2019 at an unprecedented scale. Landmark regulatory debates across the country have been resolved in recent months by stakeholder agreements to explore new ways to use rates to control spiking peaks. And research is beginning to point toward what works and what doesn’t. The magnitude of a TOU rate’s impact on peak demand depends on the off-peak to on-peak price ratio, Brattle Group Principal Ahmad Faruqui told Utility Dive. He also concluded that TOU rates are just a hint of how rate design can be used to lower electricity customer costs and integrate more clean energy. The better solution is dynamic pricing, he said.

    Faruqui’s conclusions are based on a Brattle study of 300 TOU pilots and trials. Unlike TOU rates, which include a modest price differential on each day, dynamic pricing involves alerting customers to steeper increases in per-kWh rates in advance of specific peak demand events. Instead of a small differential every day, the larger gap between peak and off-peak pricing is meant to drive more significant reductions during the highest demand days. Jayant Kairam, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) California Clean Energy Director, sees TOU rates as a way the state can reliably and cost-effectively deploy DER. Research done for state regulators showed TOU rates could help save up to $700 billion annually by 2025. But Faruqui argues that advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and dynamic pricing has the potential to better align pricing and costs with price signals that guide customer usage… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS