NewEnergyNews: 02/01/2019 - 03/01/2019


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.


  • TODAY’S STUDY: New Energy Beat Old Energy In The Polar Vortex
  • QUICK NEWS, February 19: So Many Ways To Be Wrong About Climate Change; The Fight For Transportation Electrification In 2018

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Fight For The Future Grid
  • QUICK NEWS, February 18: The Imaginative Climate Change Solution; Tech Giants Must Buy More New Energy – Greenpeace

  • Weekend Video: Act As If The House Is On Fire Because It Is
  • Weekend Video: Millenial Rising – Into A 2020 Run For President
  • Weekend Video: Wind Turbine Syndrome, Part 2

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Sense Of A Climate Threat Grows
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-100% New Energy Around The World
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy Takes The Waters


  • TTTA Thursday-A Valentine To The EPA
  • TTTA Thursday-White House Policy Flattens Solar Job Growth
  • TTTA Thursday-Biggest U.S. Solar-Plus-Wind Project Green-Lighted
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish



    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




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


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

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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, February 20:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar boom raises questions about coal in utility power mixes
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Questions about EV battery degradation refuted

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar boom raises questions about coal in utility power mixes

    Co-op solar boom raises questions about coal in utility power mixes; One of the largest power co-ops in the U.S. gets half its power from coal, but a new study finds it could save money by procuring more renewables.

    Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 6, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Since this story ran, more evidence has emerged that the low cost of renewables makes further spending on fossil fuel generation wasteful.

    A boom in solar at electric cooperatives is forcing one of the biggest such power providers in the U.S. to answer some hard questions about its power mix. Tri-State Generation and Transmission still gets half its power from coal, even as co-op owned and purchased solar is reaching nine times what it was in 2013. But a new report shows Tri-State, already the biggest supplier of solar among U.S. generation and transmission (G&T) co-ops, can lower customer bills by increasing its procurement of wind and solar, despite its existing coal investments. RMI found the costs of utility-scale solar and wind are so low that acquiring them can save Tri-State customers as much as $600 million through 2030 even if it continues paying for and running the coal plants.

    Tri-State does not doubt the importance of adding more solar and other renewables to its power mix. It does, however, question the accuracy and value of RMI's conclusions. But if the think tank is right, the remarkable boom in solar for co-ops, their power providers and other load serving entities may be just getting started. Less than 1% of co-ops had solar arrays bigger than 250 kW in 2014, but by mid-2018 the average co-op solar project is over 1 MW, half of U.S. co-ops have solar offerings, and cumulative co-op installed capacity will be over 1 GW by the end of 2018, according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Early deployed projects tested equipment and designs at a cost of $4.50 per peak watt DC, but recent projects came in at $1.30 per peak watt DC. The early growth driver was member demand for solar, but most co-ops now see it as cost-effective generation, but some co-ops now understand solar’s value for meeting challenges like peak load costs or resiliency needs… click here for more

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Questions about EV battery degradation refuted

    Face the heat: Should EV incentives be restructured for battery degradation? A new study advocates scaling electric vehicle incentives based on how quickly batteries wear out, but critics say it misses the bigger picture.

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 28, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: EV advocates believe the study research highlighted in this story was influenced by fossil fuel funding.

    The striking growth of electric vehicles (EVs) has been supported by policies intended to eliminate emissions and transform the transportation sector. A century after EVs fell out of the car market because gasoline-powered vehicles were cheaper to operate, forecasts show battery-powered transportation could take the market back because it is cleaner and becoming affordable. But a new paper proposes revising EV policy because batteries degrade over time, increasing costs and emissions. EV experts say the research is incomplete and outdated.

    EVs will be 24% of U.S. light-vehicle fleet in 2030, according to "Predictive modeling of battery degradation and greenhouse gas emissions" from Case Western Reserve University researchers. They will be 33% of the global feet in 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s 2018 forecast, and 30%, according to BP’s 2018 forecast. Transportation sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 28% of total U.S. GHGs in 2016 and cars and trucks were 83% of that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has targeted a 36.5% reduction in light duty vehicle fleet GHG emissions by 2025, the Case Western paper reports, but with degradation and internal resistance increases, the charge-discharge cycle becomes significantly less efficient. Emissions from EVs vary with the power mixes on the grids charging them between a 50 MPG equivalent and an 80 MPG equivalent, according to a 2018 assessment by Union of Concerned Scientists… click here for more


    Tuesday, February 19, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: New Energy Beat Old Energy In The Polar Vortex

    Performance review: nuclear, fossil fuels, and renewables during the 2019 Polar Vortex

    February 2019 (Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables)

    Key Takeaways

    -The 2019 Polar Vortex weather event was not as severe as the one in 2014, particularly for the gas market

    -Generator and fuel supply outages were much lower compared to 2014

    -On the whole, each asset class ran exactly as designed/expected.

    -Wind generation was intermittent and generally anti-correlated to load, performing well during portions of the event and displacing fossil fuels

    -Solar power exhibited expected diurnal intermittency, helping with average on-peak demand, but not during the morning and evening peak loads

    -Coal plants load-followed when needed, ran baseload when needed, and "absorbed" high wind generation by backing down when needed

    -Gas and Hydro/PS plants provided flexibility, ramping as needed and serving peak loads

    -Nuclear fleet ran at >98% capacity factor, with one outage at the Salem plant in New Jersey

    -In regions with high levels of wind capacity, (MISO, SPP) -- wind generation is often is a better indicator of directional changes in power prices than load

    -High wind generation = lower prices; low wind generation = higher prices

    -Transmission dynamics create big price differentials within and between ISO markets

    -MISO Central/North was the bullseye of the Polar Vortex in terms of load impacts and high power prices. Meanwhile, limited transmission capacity meant MISO South power prices remained low throughout.

    -As the cold abated in SPP, it was also unable to provide support to MISO and PJM due to transmission limitations

    -Replaying the 2019 polar vortex conditions with 100% renewables:

    -Any mix of wind and solar to serve load would require long-duration storage or optimization of multiple “stages” of shorter duration

    -Assuming no transmission constraints and unfettered access to a wider pool of resources, the market would require firm generation for durations ranging from 18 and 40 hours to backstop renewable intermittency

    -With long stretches of storage ‘charge’ and ‘discharge’, multi-day forecasting of intermittent output would be critical

    -Existing Nuclear reduces the magnitude of hourly generation imbalances

    -Distributed or demand-side technologies may help reduce peak load requirements and the need for utility-scale energy storage

    The 2019 Polar Vortex has similarities to the 2014 version, but several key differences, particularly in the gas market, mitigated its impacts

    -In 2014, the deep freeze extended further south in the US into larger gas demand centers

    -The extreme cold in 2019 was more localized to the Upper Midwest (lower gas demand region)

    -While not escaping the cold entirely, New York and New England were more akin to “normal cold” during this latest event, rather than “extreme cold” experienced in MISO Central/North

    -The 2014 event was more prolonged, lasting several days, whereas 2019 was acute but followed by a rapid warm-up

    -In 2019, grid operators were better prepared, and there were fewer power plant outages

    -A warm end of 2018 assuaged fears of low end-of-season natural gas storage levels…

    -…so the fears of natural gas stock out were minimal in 2019 compared to 2014, which had multi-day record cold and large storage withdrawals.

    -Weekly gas withdrawal hit a high of 288 bcf in 2014 (with six total withdrawals in the 200s) during the winter of ‘13/14, while we estimate the latest event at 246 bcf. For comparison, the early January 2018 Bomb Cyclone saw an all-time record 359 bcf withdrawal.

    -As such, gas market volatility remained largely in check with muted basis compared to 2014

    -By extension, power prices also remained in check with a few exceptions

    -In the analysis presented in this Insight:

    -We analyze data published by the US RTOs primarily affected by the Polar Vortex

    -We refer to the combination of MISO, SPP, PJM, NYISO, and ISONE as the ‘Aggregate footprint’

    -Due to disparate weather patterns across MISO (North + Central vs. South), a limited impact of the Polar Vortex on the South region, and limited transfer capability between these two bulk regions, our references to “MISO” refer to the aggregate North + Central regions, except where otherwise noted…

    What would 100% renewables look like during the 2019 Polar Vortex event?

    Using actual market data we scale up to a 100% renewable energy mix over the week

    1.Align real-world market loads, wind and solar generation

    2.Scale up real-world wind and solar hourly shapes to a theoretical 100% renewable mix under three scenarios: 50-50% of wind & solar…75% wind & 25% solar…25% solar & 75% wind

    1.Calculate the resulting “net load” to be served after wind and solar generation

    2.Determine the longest streak of consecutive hours where net load is either all positive or all negative – this indicates the level of battery storage required to arbitrage periods of over-generation into periods of system need

    3.Determine the max generation output of wind and solar as an estimate for the installed capacity need

    4.Replicate this same analysis, but consider nuclear generation towards achieving 100% “clean”

    Key notes: This analysis assumes zero transmission, voltage, or spinning inertia constraints on a combined aggregate system of MISO/SPP/PJM/NYISO/ISO-NE...In reality, the ICAP values of wind/solar will be higher than those estimated as neither fleet produced at 100% during the week…This does not consider imbalances or analysis of the rest of the year…MISO and NY do not publish solar generation data. As a proxy we averaged SPP + PJM for MISO solar and used ISO-NE for NY solar

    QUICK NEWS, February 19: So Many Ways To Be Wrong About Climate Change; The Fight For Transportation Electrification In 2018

    So Many Ways To Be Wrong About Climate Change 11 Things Climate Change 'Dismissive' People Say On Social Media

    Marshall Shepherd, February 16, 2019 (Forbes)

    “It is clear that climate is changing, and there is a human component on top of the naturally varying system…[but there is always a certain percentage of people who are "Dismissive" and very sure climate change] is not happening…[Currently, they are] roughly nine percent…[but they use 11 "Dismissive" tactics on social media to impose a presence that is] often very loud, persistent, aggressive and vitriolic…[These include incorrect arguments about a disproven 1975 article about Ice Ages] and natural cycles…

    …[They reference an uninformed] "Grand Poobah"…or cast doubt on the motives of legitimate] scientists and grant money…[or question their] Credentialing…[or raise irrelevant] questions of deflection…[or say cold winters disprove] global warming…[though it is more accurate name use the term] climate change…[They often work anonymously, with] few followers…[or discredit the significance of suddenly recurring 500-year storms by claiming] Storms always happened…” click here for more

    The Fight For Transportation Electrification In 2018 The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: 47 States and DC Took Action on Electric Vehicles During 2018

    February 14, 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    “…[The 2018 annual review and Q4 2018 update of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles] finds that 47 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during 2018…with the greatest number of actions relating to DC fast charging station deployment, followed by Level 2 charging station deployment, rebate programs, and rate design for Level 2 charging…[The top electric vehicle trends of 2018 included..States clarifying Commission jurisdiction over electric vehicle charging stations...Utilities proposing demand charge reductions or alternatives for fast chargers…Governors establishing statewide zero-emission vehicle goals…

    States addressing the future of transportation infrastructure funding…Utilities collecting data on electric vehicle charging patterns…Utilities focusing on different methods to promote off-peak charging…Utilities and stakeholders finding agreement on electric vehicle programs…State agencies publishing spending plans for Volkswagen settlement funds...States and utilities investing in electric buses and charging infrastructure…and Utilities piloting vehicle-to-grid capabilities…A total of 424 electric vehicle actions were taken during 2018, representing an 87% increase over 2017…” click here for more

    Monday, February 18, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Fight For The Future Grid

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization: 2018 Review and Q4 2018

    February 7, 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary 2018 GRID MODERNIZATION ACTION

    In 2018, 44 states plus DC took a total of 460 policy and deployment actions related to grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 460 actions catalogued, the most common were related to policies (113), followed by deployment (81), and planning and market access (78).


    Ten states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization, or some of the most impactful actions, are noted below. New York New York adopted an energy storage target of 1,500 MW by 2025 and 3,000 MW by 2030, while the Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff developed a roadmap for achieving these targets. The PSC also approved interconnection standards for energy storage systems and a Hybrid Tariff for compensating eligible generators paired with energy storage. Several bills related to grid modernization were also considered during the year.

    Nevada The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approved distribution system planning rules in 2018, as well as a revised version of integrated resource planning rules. The Commission also finalized NV Energy’s energy storage rebate program, addressed interconnection issues for energy storage systems, and published an energy storage study, which found that 700 to 1,000 MW of utility-scale battery storage could be cost-effectively deployed by 2030.


    Hawaii’s investor-owned utilities filed their integrated grid planning report in 2018, proposing a new planning procedure that merges separate processes. The utilities also requested approval of their Phase 1 grid modernization projects, focusing on AMI, as well as multiple energy storage projects. Hawaii lawmakers enacted bills requiring a transition to performance-based ratemaking and directing the Public Utilities Commission to create a microgrid services tariff.

    New Jersey

    New Jersey lawmakers adopted an energy storage target of 2,000 MW by 2030 and initiated an energy storage study in 2018. Meanwhile, Atlantic City Electric, Jersey Central Power & Light, and PSE&G New Jersey proposed a variety of grid modernization investments and incentive programs. New Jersey is also developing its 2019 Energy Master Plan, which will incorporate several aspects of grid modernization.


    California utilities requested approval for several energy storage and demand response projects in 2018. State lawmakers also enacted a bill to establish microgrid interconnection and compensation rules, and regulators considered distribution system planning, default timevarying rates, utility energy storage rebates for low-income customers, modifications to the Self-Generation Incentive Program, and more.


    The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) concluded its PowerForward grid modernization investigation in 2018, opening three new dockets that relate to ongoing stakeholder efforts (the PowerForward Collaborative), distribution system planning, and data access. PUCO also considered smart grid and energy storage investment proposals from Ohio Power Company, Duke Energy Ohio, and Dayton Power & Light.


    The Massachusetts General Court adopted the country’s first clean peak standard in 2018, while also expanding the state’s energy storage target from 200 MWh by 2020 to 1,000 MWh by 2025. The Department of Public Utilities issued a decision on grid modernization investment plans from the state’s three investor-owned utilities and considered performance-based incentive mechanisms for Eversource and National Grid.


    The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) published a report on performance-based regulation and also considered distribution system planning rules and customer data access standards during 2018. Consumers Energy and DTE filed distribution investment and maintenance plans, and Upper Peninsula Power Company filed an AMI deployment proposal. The PSC is also investigating interconnection and demand response aggregation issues.


    The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved interconnection standards for energy storage systems, as well as integrated distribution planning requirements. The Commission is also working to develop performance incentive mechanisms and issued a decision on proposed grid modernization investments from Xcel Energy. State lawmakers considered several bills related to energy storage during 2018.


    The Arizona Corporation Commission considered a broad Energy Modernization Plan put forward by Commissioner Tobin in 2018, later opening a rulemaking docket addressing several different energy modernization issues, including energy storage and blockchain technology. The Commission also worked to develop interconnection standards for energy storage and directed Tucson Electric Power and UNS Electric to file data access plans and rate tariffs for customers with multiple types of distributed energy resources.


    States and Utilities Undertaking Distribution System Planning Efforts Regulators in several states, including Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, and Washington, considered distribution system planning rules in 2018. The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada formally adopted rules, while the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission established integrated distribution planning requirements. Regulators in Delaware and Ohio initiated dockets on distribution system planning in 2018 as well.

    States Studying the Value of Energy Storage and Policy Options

    Three states – Maryland, Nevada, and North Carolina – completed studies focused on energy storage in 2018, while New York published an energy storage roadmap. Although each study has a different goal, they all consider policy options to encourage storage development. Legislation was enacted in New Jersey and Virginia in 2018 initiating energy storage studies.

    Regulators Rejecting and Scaling Back Utility Grid Modernization Proposals

    Many of the grid modernization investment plans put forward by utilities in 2018 were rejected or significantly scaled back by regulators. AMI proposals in Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Mexico were rejected, while expansive grid modernization plans put forward by utilities in North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia were scaled back substantially, with some regulators urging utilities to present revised plans and budgets for the rejected elements.

    Growing Movement Toward Performance-Based Regulation

    States are increasingly considering performance-based regulation as an alternative to traditional cost-of-service regulation. Massachusetts regulators evaluated performance incentive mechanisms put forward by Eversource and National Grid, and the Hawaii State Legislature enacted a bill requiring a transition to performance-based ratemaking. Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island also saw action related to performance-based regulation in 2018.

    Utilities Requesting Special Ratemaking Treatment for Grid Investments

    Several utilities requested special ratemaking treatment for grid modernization investments in 2018. Duke Energy Carolinas requested approval for a new grid rider for its PowerForward grid investment plan in North Carolina, which regulators rejected in 2018. Three New Jersey utilities – Atlantic City Electric, Jersey Central Power & Light, & PSE&G New Jersey – all proposed new riders in 2018 as well, which are currently under consideration.

    States Concluding Grid Modernization Investigations, Identifying Next Steps

    Ohio and Oregon concluded their grid modernization investigations in 2018, publishing final reports with findings and recommended next steps. The Illinois Commerce Commission also published a draft final report on its NextGrid initiative in 2018. Proceedings in Colorado and Connecticut are also ending, and rulemakings and decisions have been coming out of Maryland’s PC 44 proceeding.

    States Establishing Clear Standards for Energy Storage Interconnection

    Several states are reexamining interconnection rules in order to create clear requirements for energy storage systems. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved revised rules including energy storage provisions in 2018, and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada resolved certain energy storage interconnection issues. Rulemaking proceedings are also open in Arizona and Maryland, where energy storage interconnection standards are under consideration.

    Regulators Considering Rules for Access to Customer Usage Data

    Rules governing access to customer energy usage data are coming under consideration in several states, especially as AMI is more fully deployed. The Michigan Public Service Commission required utilities to file data privacy tariffs, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio opened a new proceeding on data access in 2018. A proceeding is also open in Maryland, and Arizona regulators directed certain utilities to develop a data access process for customers.

    Utilities Proposing AMI Opt-Out Tariffs and Fees

    As utilities continue to deploy AMI, the issue of opt-out options for customers is being addressed more frequently. In 2018, regulators considered opt-out tariffs for at least 11 utilities, with upfront opt-out fees ranging from $0 to $170 and monthly fees ranging from $5.00 to $25.89. Some utilities are also proposing additional provisions, such as requiring customers to provide meter readings or requiring statements from medical physicians.

    Wholesale Market Operators Revising Rules to Expand Energy Storage Participation

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Order 841 in February 2018, directing wholesale market operators (Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations) to establish rules that enable energy storage resources to participate in energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets. ISOs and RTOs filed their plans to comply with the order in December 2018, and the changes will need to be implemented by December 3, 2019.

    IN COMPARISON: 2017 VS. 2018

    Total grid modernization action increased by 60% over the past year, with states and utilities taking approximately 288 actions in 2017 and 460 actions in 2018. In 2018, activity increased in every category tracked by this report by the following amounts: Studies & Investigations: 70%, Planning & Market Access: 73%, Utility Business Model & Rate Reform: 68%, Policies: 85%, Incentives: 31%, and Deployment: 29%. The number of states taking actions in each grid modernization category also increased from 2017 to 2018.


    In the fourth quarter of 2018, 39 states plus DC took a total of 280 policy and deployment actions related to grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. Table 2 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 280 actions catalogued, the most common were related to policies (58), followed by deployment (52), and planning and market access (52).


    QUICK NEWS, February 18: The Imaginative Climate Change Solution; Tech Giants Must Buy More New Energy – Greenpeace

    The Imaginative Climate Change Solution How sci-fi could help solve climate change

    Zoe Sayler, February 18, 2019 (Grist)

    “…Is there science fiction out there right now, sitting on some library bookshelf, that could pave a yellow brick road to a better future? And, if there isn’t, shouldn’t there be?...[W]hile dystopian fiction can be a jarring wake-up call…scholars and writers are increasingly calling for stories that help us rise above our most intimidating challenges…[We have H.G. Wells to thank for the rocket. Star Trek inspired the first mobile phone. Climate fiction could] dramatize our hopes and offer us different visions of the future…[In “Better Worlds,” The Verge’s recent series of optimistic science fiction short stories and videos, several stories] explore themes of climate and social justice…

    ...[Arizona State University’s] Center for Science and the Imagination has published anthologies spotlighting climate literature, optimistic sci-fi, or both, and is set to release a new anthology this spring called The Weight of Light, which pairs visions of a solar future with scientific essays that describe and analyze the premise behind the prose…[We need more big, risky, earth-shattering ideas from science fiction writers. Sci-fi author Neal Stephenson blames a dearth of forward-looking science fiction for what he calls “innovation starvation”… But does optimistic climate fiction sell?...Journalist Dan Bloom, who coined the term cli-fi in 2008…[Others think] sci-fi video games could have a positive impact…[Thunderbird Strike, a game by Elizabeth LaPensée about the harms of oil drilling,] makes an overwhelming problem feel like a game that anyone can win.” click here for more

    Tech Giants Must Buy More New Energy – Greenpeace Is Amazon breaking 100% renewables commitment? Greenpeace report says yes

    Michelle Froese, February 13, 2019 (Windpower Engineering and Development)

    “…Amazon Web Services, already one of the largest electricity customers in the [Virginia], appears to have abandoned its commitment to renewable energy, with evidence of a dramatic expansion in Virginia over the past two years without any additional supply of renewable energy [according to Clicking Clean Virginia – The Dirty Energy Powering Data Center Alley…[Unless Amazon and other cloud computing giants stop further fueling climate change with new demand for dirty energy, the] growing use of the internet could lead to more pipelines, more pollution and more problems…[About 70% of the world’s internet traffic passes through Northern Virginia’s ‘data center alley,’ the largest data center hub in the world]…

    Of the data center operators included in the analysis, Facebook has achieved 37% renewables in Virginia, Microsoft 34%, while Google and Digital Realty are at 4% renewables. Apple and Salesforce do not own data centers in Virginia, but have offset 100 and 44% of their colocation leases with renewables, respectively. Amazon’s data centers in Virginia are powered by only 12% renewable energy…[Total power demand of existing data centers and those under development in Virginia is] approaching 4.5 GW…[Amazon Web Services has] 1.7 GW of power demand across 55 Virginia data centers operating or under construction, representing an increase of nearly 60% in the past two years alone… Facebook, Microsoft, and Google all operate or are building their own data centers in the Commonwealth and have not matched this demand with local renewables…” click here for more

    Saturday, February 16, 2019

    Act As If The House Is On Fire Because It Is

    This is not good news from Peter Sinclair. It reports 26 "once-in-500-years storms" in the last decade. “The only way we are going to get out of this situation is by choosing to be courageous.” – AOC From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    Millenial Rising – Into A 2020 Run For President

    This Afghanistan veteran, openly gay, two-term Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was a college friend of Mark Zuckerberg and was called "the future of the Democratic party" by Barak Obama. He speaks here for “the first generation to be on the business end of climate change.” From The Late Show with Stephen Colbert via YouTube

    Wind Turbine Syndrome, Part 2

    Continued from last Saturday, this video completes a summary of the controversy over the impact of wind turbines on the health of those who live nearby (and finds there is no significant impact). From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Friday, February 15, 2019

    The Sense Of A Climate Threat Grows

    Climate Change Seen as World's Greatest Threat; Fears over U.S. power and influence record the greatest jump in a public opinion study conducted in 26 countries.

    Sintia Radu, February 10, 2019 (U.S. News and World Report)

    “Climate change is seen as the greatest threat to international security, according to a sweeping new survey of public opinion in 26 countries that also cites worries about cyberattacks, terrorism, North Korea, Russia – and the United States…[P]eople surveyed in 13 of the countries view climate change as the top international threat…In eight countries, terrorism – specifically the Islamic State militant group – is seen as the top global threat…[P]eople in four countries, including the U.S. and Japan, rate cyberattacks as the top risk…

    …[I]n 2013, before the Paris climate agreement was signed, an average of 56 percent of people in 23 countries listed global warming as a top threat...[But France, Mexico, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Spain, Canada, Kenya, Poland and South Africa have recorded big] increases in public concern…[In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] warned of serious short- and long-term concerns about the impact of climate change…[and] said people around the world need to make immediate changes in the way they eat, travel and live or face even more extreme weather…[The] past 18 years have been the warmest on record for the planet since the 1850s, when measurements began. Scientists say greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, are the primary causes…” click here for more

    100% New Energy Around The World

    Is Mark Jacobson’s Plan to Use 100% Renewable Energy Feasible? A review on one of the most debatable renewable energy studies of our times.

    Kashyap Vyas, January 22, 2019 (Interesting Engineering)

    “…[Roadmaps for 139 different countries to be powered by 100% New Energy by 2050 have been proposed by Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson and colleagues. It would be about 37.1 percent wind and 67.6 percent solar and the rest from] geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal and wave combined…[The plan breaks the the 139 countries into 20 regions with each using] the most appropriate energy storage resolution…[Technically, it] is possible…but it comes with a great level of risk and demands a significant amount of effort…

    …[One of the biggest challenges is] unwillingness to adopt the change…[Many] would resist…[And for] the plan to be effective, a major structural and political change is required…[to give innovators and entrepreneurs] access to the right resources and markets, so that commercialization of sustainable solutions can be made possible…[Solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are there New Energies that would provide most of the 100%. Transitioning will have impacts and face hurdles, but it turn back] global warming, increased pollution levels, ozone layer depletion, damage to public health, wildlife and natural habitat and much more…It’s high time to address these issues before it’s too late…” click here for more

    New Energy Takes The Waters

    Is wave energy the most reliable renewable? Energy from tides and waves could satisfy the world’s power needs, yet harnessing it on a commercial scale remains a dilemma for many of the tech startups in the space

    Oliver Balch, February 12, 2019 (Raconteur)

    “…In an era of rapid anthropogenic climate change, the race is on to find alternatives to oil, gas and other energy-dense hydrocarbons…With per-kilowatt prices dropping by the day, solar and wind power look like an increasingly viable bet..[but they are variable. Tidal and wave energies are more consistent and powerful. The question] is whether these natural assets can be effectively and efficiently harnessed…[A recent report] forecasts revenues from tidal and wave energy are set to rise more than tenfold over the next five years…

    …[Marine energy] is flush with startups, all with promising technologies…[But wave energy, tidal energy, ocean and fresh water current energy, and temperature differentiation energies all] face the same tricky combination of high capital costs, limited site availability, technological uncertainty and possible environmental impacts…Now the nascent sector is encountering perhaps its biggest challenge…The falling costs of offshore wind makes it very difficult for tidal and wave energy of all types to be price competitive…[But, given its huge potential, the marine] energy industry has good reason to remain committed…” click here for more

    Thursday, February 14, 2019

    A Valentine To The EPA

    Dear EPA: Please love the planet! From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    White House Policy Flattens Solar Job Growth

    Solar Jobs Down 3 Percent Nationwide in 2018, But Some Key States See Job Growth; Uncertainty over tariffs, state policy impacts contribute to jobs reduction nationwide

    February 12, 2019 (The Solar Foundation)

    “The U.S. solar industry employs 242,343 workers as of 2018, a decline of nearly 8,000 jobs (3.2 percent) compared to 2017, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2018…This marks the second year in a row that solar jobs have declined after seven years of steady growth…[S]olar jobs increased in 29 states in 2018, including in many states with emerging solar markets…States with the highest employment gains include Florida, Illinois, Texas, and New York State. Other states that saw job growth include Ohio, Washington State, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Virginia, and Tennessee…Overall, solar employment has grown 159 percent since the first Census was released in 2010, adding nearly 150,000 well-paying jobs across all 50 states…

    …[T]he jobs decline in 2018 reflects a slowdown in installed solar capacity…[Tariffs on solar panels and cells] led to reduced capacity growth and fewer jobs in the first three quarters of 2018…Approximately 155,000 solar jobs, or two-thirds of the total, are in the installation and project development sector. Of these, about 87,000 jobs (56 percent) are focused on the residential market segment. The non-residential segment includes 46,000 jobs (30 percent), including about 12,500 jobs in community solar. The utility-scale market comprises 22,000 jobs (14 percent)…” click here for more

    Biggest U.S. Solar-Plus-Wind Project Green-Lighted

    PGE will spend $160 million on massive renewable energy project in eastern Oregon

    Mike Rogoway, February 13, 2019 (Oregonian via OregonLive)

    Plans for a giant renewable energy project combining wind and solar power generation with battery storage, in the works for nine years, were filed by] Portland General Electric…[It would build the project with] NextEra Energy, subject to approval by NextEra management and sign-off by the Oregon Public Utility Commission…[The] proposed Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility will combine 300 megawatts of wind energy with 50 megawatts of solar power and 30 megawatts of storage…

    [When the wind, scheduled to be online by the end of 2020, and the solar and battery storage, scheduled for construction starting in 2021, are complete. Wheatridge] would be the largest [project] in North America integrating those three technologies…Clean energy advocates say battery technology is an important component of long-term plans to reduce atmospheric emissions that cause climate change…[because of the variability of New Energy] sources, including wind and solar…[PGE will spend $160 million to] own 100 megawatts of wind power generated by Wheatridge…[and contract for] the remaining output from NextEra in a 30-year agreement…” click here for more

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The unfolding fate of California utilities and the customer choice movement

    Exit fee: Deciding the fate of California's utilities and customer choice movement; The future of California's biggest utilities may depend on how much customers have to -pay to leave them.

    Herman K. Trabish | Aug. 14, 2018, Updated Aug 16, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The final CPUC ruling increased the charge described here, leaving the customer choice movement dissatisfied.

    Promised more renewables and lower utility bills, customers in California are flocking to newly-emerging Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs and Direct Access (DA) providers. But the transition — and the savings — are not that simple. Someone has to pay for the power that investor-owned utilities (IOUs) procured to serve the customers moving to new load serving entities (LSEs). The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) determines how ratepayers should compensate utilities for procured generation if they move to customer choice organizations. The Aug. 2 CPUC proposed decision redefined the charge CCAs and DAs have to pay when customers migrate to them from traditional investor-owned utilities. It did resolve the impasse in procurement of new renewables that has existed since customer migration to new LSEs accelerated over the last two years.

    State law requires departing customers to pay IOUs a cost for moving to new LSEs. That cost, known as the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), promises to be intensely disputed between choice advocates and the IOUs. The PCIA is intended to "equalize cost sharing" between customers who leave their IOUs for new LSEs, called "departing load," and those that stay with their IOUs, called "bundled load," California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) administrative law judge Stephen C. Roscow wrote on issuing the proposed decision. Direct Access providers must similarly maintain fairness to all customers, he added. If the PCIA is too high, the new LSEs are not certain they can fulfill promises of lower customer bills. But the IOUs say a lower PCIA would not compensate them fairly for generation procured in the expectation it would be needed to serve customers who now are moving to new LSEs… click here for more

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Modernizing renewables mandates

    Modernizing renewables mandates is no longer about the megawatts; Some states are increasing renewables mandates, but others are reinventing the concept

    Herman K. Trabish | Aug. 16, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The discussion about evolving the design of state mandates has quieted since the current president took office.

    State mandates, called renewable portfolio standards (RPS), set a standard for the renewable MWs that state load serving entities (LSE) must have in their portfolios by a specified date. RPSs, mandated in D.C. and 29 states, are at least partially responsible for 56% of the 120 GW of renewables built since 2000, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). RPSs were conceived as a means to drive the market for renewables to achieve policy goals like reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and increasing power system reliability through resource diversity. As the supply of renewables has expanded, ideas like Massachusetts' Clean Energy Standard (CES) and Arizona's Clean Peak Standard (CPS) are gaining momentum as policymakers come to understand the need for ways to evolve the RPS concept.

    "The premise that every kWh of renewables will reduce greenhouse gas emissions is just incorrect," V. John White, executive director for the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, told Utility Dive. The power system is being transformed from reliance on coal and nuclear generation to reliance on natural gas and utility-scale renewables. That transformation is driven primarily by low natural gas and renewables prices, but the mandates that drove renewables prices down are, despite their success, being reconsidered. For example, while California has 11.4 GW of solar and 6.3 GW of wind, the state's goal to "just build MWs" should shift focus to servicing the grid and meeting the state's climate goals, White said. The RPS concept has succeeded but its future may be as a Clean Energy Standard (CES) or a Clean Peak Standard (CPS)… click here for more


    Tuesday, February 12, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Nationwide Fight For Solar Rules

    The 50 States of Solar: Q4 2018 & Annual Review

    January 31, 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary


    State and utility solar policies continued to undergo review in 2018, with nearly every state in the country considering policy or rate design changes – a trend which is likely to continue through 2019 and beyond. Table 1 provides a summary of state actions related to DG compensation, rate design, and solar ownership during 2018. Of the 264 actions cataloged, the most common were related to residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (77), DG compensation policies (71), and community solar policies (39). The actions occurred across 47 states plus DC in 2018 (Figure 1). The states that saw the most solar policy action, or the most impactful actions, during 2018 are highlighted below.


    While nearly every state in the country took some type of action on distributed solar policy or rate design during 2018, some states were particularly active, taking many different actions or especially impactful actions. The following states stood out in 2018 for their solar policy activity:

    1. Michigan The Michigan Public Service Commission approved a net metering successor tariff in 2018, which will move the state to an “inflow/outflow” compensation structure, with exported energy being credited at either the locational marginal price or power supply rate. The change is currently being implemented in DTE’s and UPPCO’s general rate cases, with the utilities both also proposing additional fees based on distributed generation system capacity.

    2. South Carolina South Carolina legislators considered bills addressing the state’s aggregate cap on net metering and a successor tariff, although the proposals did not move forward. Later in the year, Duke Energy announced that it reached the aggregate cap and would be closing net metering to new customers. Duke Energy and stakeholders later reached an agreement that keeps net metering open until March 2019. Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress also filed general rate cases in 2018, with proposals to increase their residential fixed charges to $28.00 and $29.00.

    3. New York The New York Public Service Commission continued to consider refinements to its Value of Distributed Energy Resources tariff and approved a “Hybrid Tariff” in late 2018 for solar facilities paired with energy storage. The Commission also considered options to increase low-income participation in the Community Distributed Generation program and approved a reduction in Central Hudson Gas & Electric’s residential fixed charge.

    4. Massachusetts Massachusetts regulators approved the first mandatory demand charge for residential distributed generation customers of an investor-owned utility in early 2018. The charge was part of Eversource’s Monthly Minimum Reliability Contribution (MMRC). However, legislation enacted later in the year rendered the design of this demand charge no longer permissible. In November 2018, National Grid proposed an MMRC, with the charge taking the form of a fixed fee.

    5. Arizona The Arizona Corporation Commission issued a decision on Tucson Electric Power’s and UNS Electric’s distributed generation rate design proposals in 2018, approving initial export rates of 9.64 cents per kWh and 11.5 cents per kWh, respectively, while rejecting the additional fees put forward by the utilities. Later in the year, Salt River Project proposed two new rate options for distributed solar customers, including one without a demand charge component.

    6. Connecticut The Connecticut General Assembly enacted legislation in 2018 creating a new shared clean energy program and requiring a transition to a net metering successor tariff, in addition to increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority opened proceedings to implement the legislation and is also conducting a broad review of distribution system issues.

    7. Maine Maine’s Governor vetoed proposed legislation making substantial changes to the state’s new solar compensation policy in 2018. The Public Utilities Commission approved significant changes to the policy, though, first amending the date of implementation and later addressing metering costs and restoring traditional net metering for medium and large non-residential customers. The Commission also considered general rate cases from Emera and Central Maine Power.

    8. New Jersey In 2018, New Jersey became the 19th state to adopt a community solar policy with the enactment of A.B. 3723. The Board of Utilities worked to establish many of the program details throughout the remainder of the year. A.B. 3723 also increased the aggregate cap on net metering and enabled public entities to host remote net metering projects. The Board also considered general rate cases from Atlantic City Electric and PSE&G New Jersey.

    9. Virginia Legislation enacted early in 2018 initiated a stakeholder process to consider changes to the state’s net metering and community solar programs, and the group’s facilitator published a final report later in the year. The Virginia General Assembly also considered legislation related to thirdparty power purchase agreements, and the State Corporation Commission approved net metering rule changes related to small agricultural generators and meter aggregation.

    10. Montana NorthWestern Energy published its net metering cost-benefit study in 2018, finding a cost shift from net metering to non-net metering customers. Later in the year, NorthWestern Energy filed a general rate case, including a proposal to place residential net metering customers into a separate customer class and apply a demand charge to these customers. NorthWestern Energy also held a series of workshops throughout 2018 as part of its Customer Vision stakeholder process.


    Compensation Frameworks and Program Designs Growing Increasingly Complex

    A record number of states considered net metering changes in 2018, with compensation structures becoming increasingly complex. Some programs feature separate rates for energy imports and exports, while others include time-varying rates, value-based rates, and locational components. Some community solar programs are also adopting more complex credit structures.

    States Expanding Opportunities for Low-Income Customer Participation in Community Solar Programs

    Much of the community solar activity occurring in 2018 focused on expanding opportunities for low-income customers to participate in these programs. New community solar rules in Connecticut and New Jersey include provisions to encourage low-income participation, while states with existing programs, such as Colorado and New York, considered changes to increase the number of low-income subscribers.

    Policymakers and Regulators Authorizing Solar-Plus-Storage Net Metering

    A growing number of states are considering the net metering eligibility of solar facilities paired with energy storage. In 2018, New York approved a tariff with multiple compensation options for systems paired with energy storage, and a proposed decision in California establishes equipment requirements for larger solar-plus-storage facilities to participate in net metering. Legislation enacted in Colorado also permits solar-plus-storage projects to net meter, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities is currently considering the issue.

    Regulators Approving Residential Demand Charges for Distributed Solar Customers

    Until 2018, investor-owned utilities’ requests to adopt mandatory demand charges for residential solar customers were continually denied. However, regulators approved three utilities’ (Kansas City Power & Light – KS, Westar Energy – KS, and Eversource – MA) residential demand charge proposals in 2018. The Massachusetts General Assembly enacted legislation creating new requirements for demand charges, though, effectively repealing Eversource’s charge.

    Companies Seeking Clarity on Solar Leasing Legality

    Although solar leases are commonly used in many states, the legal status of solar leasing is still unclear in some states. In 2018, solar companies filed petitions for declaratory rulings on the legality of their residential solar equipment leases in Florida and Wisconsin. The Florida Public Service Commission approved two companies’ leasing agreements, while a decision is pending in Wisconsin.

    Requests to Significantly Increase Residential Fixed Charges Slowing

    Since 2016, the number of investor-owned and large public power utilities proposing residential fixed charge increases of at least 10% has steadily declined. In 2016, 47 utilities filed such requests, while this number dropped to 41 in 2017 and 34 in 2018. The median increase requested has also decreased since 2016. Among proposals filed in 2016, the median requested increase was $4.07, while the median request was $4.00 in 2017 and $3.87 in 2018.

    Solar Policies Being Addressed Within the Broader Scope of Grid Modernization

    States are increasingly taking a more holistic view to energy policy discussions, with several states considering solar policy issues as part of expansive grid modernization proceedings. For example, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, and New York are considering distributed solar as part of their grid modernization efforts. Furthermore, states are often considering policies applicable to distributed energy resources more broadly, rather than considering solar exclusively.

    Mixed Decisions on Separate Customer Classes for Distributed Generation Customers

    Several states and utilities are considering the option of placing distributed generation customers into a separate customer class. Regulators are reaching mixed decisions on this concept, though, with Idaho and Kansas regulators approving requests from Idaho Power and Kansas City Power & Light for a separate customer class, and the Iowa Utilities Board rejecting Interstate Power & Light’s proposal. The Michigan Public Service Commission also determined, in its April 2018 net metering decision, that a separate customer class was not warranted.

    Increasing Customer Choice in Distributed Generation Rate Options

    Several states and utilities are creating multiple compensation and rate options for distributed solar customers to choose from. In Massachusetts, the new Alternative On-Bill Credit mechanism provides an alternative to net metering. In Arizona, Salt River Project proposed two new rate options for solar customers, including a demand charge free option. Arizona and Maryland are rolling out pilots featuring time-varying credit rates, and New York’s new hybrid tariff for facilities paired with storage includes four compensation options.

    Exploring the Locational Value of Distributed Generation

    In 2018, several states made efforts to determine the locational value of distributed generation, with the goal of eventually incorporating locational value into compensation frameworks. Regulators in Missouri, Nevada, and Washington considered distribution system planning rules addressing locational value, and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission decided to undertake a distribution-level locational value study. United Illuminating in Connecticut also rolled out a pilot program providing an adder for distributed resources on particular circuits.

    LOOKING BACK: 2015 – 2018

    Distributed solar policy action has steadily increased over the past few years, with states and utilities taking approximately 175 actions in 2015, 212 actions in 2016, 249 actions in 2017, and 264 actions in 2018. Figure 4 shows the total number of solar policy actions taken in each year, by category, while Figure 5 displays the number of states taking action in each category. Note that several actions were considered over multiple years.

    In 2018, activity increased in most categories. There was a slight decline in proposals to increase residential fixed charges by at least 10%, while actions related to third-party ownership held constant from 2017. Community solar is the only category showing a consistent increase in actions from 2015 to 2018.

    Distributed generation compensation is the only category showing a consistent increase in the number of states taking action from 2015 to 2018, with consideration of net metering successor tariffs, in particular, spreading to new states. The number of states considering demand and solar charges declined in 2018, although the number of actions increased. This is largely attributable to the high number of proposals under consideration from three Arizona utilities, Tucson Electric Power, Salt River Project, and UNS Electric. Although the number of states where utilities proposed significant increases in residential fixed charges grew, the number of new proposals filed in 2018 declined from previous years.


    In the fourth quarter of 2018, 43 states plus DC took a total of 152 actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design (Figure 6). Table 2 provides a summary of state actions related to DG compensation, rate design, and solar ownership during Q4 2018. Of the 152 actions catalogued, the most common were related to residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (41), followed by DG compensation rules (39), and community solar (29).


    Five of the quarter’s top policy developments are highlighted below.

    Maine PUC Restores Net Metering for Medium and Large Customers

    In December 2018, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) exempted medium and large non-residential customer-generators from the gross metering provisions of the state’s new distributed generation compensation rules. The PUC found that the cost of installing a second meter to implement the gross metering provisions is not justified for these customers, due to the demand charge component of their bills.

    Wisconsin Regulators Consider Residential Solar Leasing

    In December 2018, Sunrun filed a request for a declaratory ruling on the legality of its residential solar equipment lease. Currently, the legality of solar leasing and third-party power purchase agreements is unclear in Wisconsin. In 2017, the Public Service Commission determined that the issue of third-party power purchase agreements would be better addressed by the state legislature.

    New York PSC Approves Compensation Tariff for Solar-Plus-Storage Systems

    The New York Public Service Commission approved a new “Hybrid Tariff” for customers with value stack eligible generators that are paired with energy storage. The Hybrid Tariff includes four options based on different usage models and distinguishes between renewable and nonrenewable energy injected into the grid, so that renewable energy injections may receive compensation for environmental benefits.

    Kansas Regulators Approve Mandatory Demand Charge for KCP&L Residential DG Customers

    The Kansas Corporation Commission approved Kansas City Power & Light’s request to implement a mandatory demand charge of $9.00 per kW (summer) / $2.00 per kW (winter) for residential distributed generation customers in December 2018. This is the third mandatory residential solar customer demand charge approved in 2018, although Eversource’s charge has since been overturned by legislation enacted in August.

    Salt River Project Proposes New Rate Options for Customer-Generators

    Salt River Project, a large municipal utility in Arizona, proposed two new rate options for customergenerators in December 2018. Currently customer-generators are required to pay a demand charge based on maximum monthly demand during system peak hours. One of the new options includes a demand charge based on an average of daily demand, while the other option does not include a demand charge, but provides a reduced credit rate for energy delivered to the grid.

    QUICK NEWS, February 12: The Green New Deal Debate Heats Up; Two New Energy Bets To Consider

    The Green New Deal Debate Heats Up Ocasio-Cortez Team Flubs a Green New Deal Summary, and Republicans Pounce

    Coral Davenport, February 11. 2019 (NY Times)

    “Days after introducing her Green New Deal — a plan to combat climate change that has won the endorsement of several Democratic presidential candidates — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found the proposal enmeshed in confusion when her staff published a summary that included provisions not endorsed by the candidates…[Her staff backed away from it but] Republicans pounced on the plan…The plan, written by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman Democrat from New York, and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, was modeled on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and embraced by several presidential candidates, including Senators Kamala Harris, Democrat of California; Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York; and Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey…

    …[The non-binding goal-setting resolution, also endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, calls for elimination of new greenhouse gas emissions by 2030] was also signed by more than 60 House and Senate Democrats…Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has promoted the plan as a blueprint for the eventual Democratic presidential nominee…[But Republicans have turned the mistake] into a campaign moment, saying it reveals extreme] priorities…” click here for more

    Two New Energy Bets To Consider 2 Renewable Energy Stocks to Buy in February; Two well-managed renewable energy businesses are not getting much love from Wall Street right now, but the high-yield stocks are great long-term buys.

    Maxx Chatsko, February 11, 2019 (Motley Fool)

    “…[The U.S. got at least 15% of its electricity from New Energy in 2018 and many expect the trend to] become undeniable in the next decade…[Wind will overtake hydropower as the top New Energy in 2019 and some forecasts put solar soon in the U.S. lead because] battery prices are falling at such a precipitous rate…[By 2030, wind and solar are projected to be] as much as 30% of its electricity…[G]rowth-minded investors may want to begin searching for profitable businesses…NextEra Energy Partners (NYSE:NEP) and Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP) are good places to start…

    NextEra Energy Partners is the renewable energy yieldco of NextEra Energy, the world's largest publicly traded utility ranked by market cap…[It] has strategic access to the country's largest renewable energy project backlog, which will hit 40,000 megawatts by 2020…Units of Brookfield Renewable Partners had a rough 2018, but the business turned in another solid year of operations…The renewable energy yieldco generates most of its funds from operations (FFO) from hydropower assets in North America and Brazil…[and it acquired] new wind, solar, and energy storage assets across its portfolio…[Long-term investors] looking to inject growth, income, and a little renewable energy into their portfolios should find NextEra Energy Partners and Brookfield Renewable Partners attractive investments…” click here for more

    Monday, February 11, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Science On Wind Turbines And Health

    Wind Turbines And Health Peter S. Thorne, David Osterberg, Kerri Johannsen, January 2019 (Environmental Health Sciences Research Center/Iowa Policy Project/Iowa Environmental Council)


    Wind produced electricity has made an extraordinary expansion. In just over 20 years, global wind electricity generating capacity has increased almost 100 fold (6,100 megawatts (MWs) in 1996; 539,123 MW in 2017).1

    While Asia, Europe, and North America all contain countries that lead in wind-produced electricity (China, Germany, U.S.), just 10 countries are responsible for more than 80 percent of all production.2 Specifi c states within the United States are responsible for the majority of production. Iowa has 10 times the capacity of neighboring Wisconsini and five times the capacity of better wind-resourced Nebraska.3

    Internationally and within the United States, the availability of renewable resources (e.g., wind, solar, hydro, geothermal), the cost of renewables compared to traditional generating sources, and government policy drive the amount of renewable electricity produced. Citizen support also impacts the development of renewable energy and such support is infl uenced by public perceptions about the benefi ts and risks related to wind power, the largest source of new renewable electricity in the U.S.

    This joint statement from the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center at the University ofiowa College of Public Health, Iowa Policy Project, and the Iowa Environmental Council summarizes the results of the best research available and concludes that there is little scientifi c evidence that sound from wind turbines represents a risk to human health among neighboring residents…

    Reputable Reviews Of Wind Turbine Exposures And Hazard Potential

    Two authoritative peer-reviewed, critical reviews have been done on the topic of wind turbines and health.ii Perhaps the most thorough review on the subject was published in 2015 by the Council of Canadian Academies. That organization “is an independent, not-for-profi t organization that supports independent, science-based, authoritative expert assessments to inform public policy development in Canada.”4 The Council review summarized here was written by an expert panel of nine university professors and an engineering fi rm CEO and was extensively peer reviewed.

    The expert panel started by looking at a wide range of relevant peer-reviewed journal articles, web pages, legal decisions, and the grey literature (non-peer-reviewed publications such as websites) on wind turbine health e ects. They compiled a list of 32 symptoms and health conditions referenced in this literature and found that the health e ects most commonly blamed on turbine sound include: annoyance, sleep disturbance, and stress-related conditions.5 The authors used this list as a starting point to assess whether there are any causal links between exposure to wind turbine noise and health impacts. Next, they reviewed the available literature to evaluate the claims.

    The expert panel’s evaluation of the scientific evidence regarding various complaints led to the following overall conclusions:

    • Current evidence is sufficient to establish a causal relationship between a person’s exposure to wind turbine noise and feelings of annoyance. iii

    • Current evidence is limited for a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and sleep disturbance. iv

    • Current evidence is inadequate to determine whether there is a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and stress or other health outcomes. v

    • There is evidence of no causal relationship between hearing loss and exposure to noise at any distance at the sound pressure levels that are associated with wind

    While the expert panel found sufficient evidence the wind turbines can cause annoyance, they also noted that current evidence is not sufficient to establish whether the level of annoyance is related to the visual impact of the turbines or other factors such as personal attitudes. Studies completed so far do not measure noise independently from these factors.

    There is also a lack of data about baseline levels of annoyance without the turbines, the size of the annoyance ect, and how the impact changes in di erent wind and weather conditions.6 There is also a question in the scientifi c literature about the magnitude of citizen concern and about how that compares to energy production from alternative sources. According to one of the papers evaluated by the expert panel, noise complaints between the years 2007 and 2011 in the Province of Alberta were fewer than complaints about other energy activities such as oil and gas operations.7

    The second critical review, published in 2014, is by Robert J. McCunney, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and several others.8 The authors state that their work received funding from the Canadian Wind Energy Association but that the funder “did not take part in editorial decisions or reviews of the manuscript.” MIT conducted an independent review of the work and determined there was academic independence and the work was without bias.

    This review found no evidence that people residing close to wind turbines experience disease outcomes but did fi nd that some people experienced annoyance with the turbines or turbine noise, similar to the fi ndings in the Council of Canadian Academies review. However, this review also found that the percent of participants expressing annoyance varied across the studies they reviewed…

    Confounding Factors

    When people experience symptoms of compromised health, yet there is not enough evidence to fi nd more than annoyance and no other health e ects, it is reasonable to look for other explanations, including confounding factors. Confounding factors are things that can “muddy” the results of otherwise well-designed scientifi c studies. One such factor is the “nocebo e ect.” Related to the similar-sounding placebo e ect, the nocebo e ect comes into play, in this case, when people are predisposed to believe they will experience health consequences from wind turbines coming to their area…

    …nocebo [noh-see-boh] noun A detrimental e ect on health produced by psychological or psychosomatic factors such as negative expectations of treatment or prognosis…


    There is no authoritative evidence that sound from wind turbines represents a risk to human health among neighboring residents. The only causal link that can be identifi ed is that wind turbines may pose an annoyance to some who live near them. However, annoyance is likely infl uenced by a person’s feelings about the impacts of wind turbines on viewsheds, whether they get an economic benefit from the turbines, whether they have had a say in the siting process, and attitudes about wind power generally.

    ’ Given the evidence and confounding factors, and the well-documented negative health and environmental impacts of power produced with fossil fuels, we conclude that development of electricity from wind is a benefit to the environment. We have not seen evidence that wind turbines pose a threat to neighbors. We conclude that wind energy should result in a net positive benefit to human health.