NewEnergyNews: 03/01/2019 - 04/01/2019

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 the climate crisis makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-To Meet The Crisis
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Trillions Needed To Adapt As Climate Crisis Grows
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global New Energy Investment To Triple
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, September 12:

  • TTTA Thursday-Hollywood Faces The Climate Crisis
  • TTTA Thursday-Booming U.S. Wind Faces Tax Credit Horizon
  • TTTA Thursday-San Francisco Offers $2.5BIL For PG&E Electric Grid
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • With faltering utilities, California backs 'tower of finance' solution to wildfire costs
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: See Coal Collapsing
  • QUICK NEWS, September 10: Climate Crisis Left Out Of Hurricane News; New Energy Needs New Finance Options – Wells Fargo
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Untapped Mid-Level Wind Potential
  • QUICK NEWS, September 9: The Dems’ Climate Crisis Conclave; U.S. New Energy Gains Market Share as Usage Dips
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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

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

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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, September 14-15:

  • Trevor Noah Talks To Greta
  • Bill Maher On The Weather In Alabama
  • Conan O’Brien On The Weather In Greenland

    Saturday, March 30, 2019

    Mayor Pete Talks To Bill Maher

    Afghanistan vet, openly gay, successful Midwestern Mayor from “the first generation on the business end of climate change,” this guy has pure political talent. How far can he go? From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube

    The Permafrost Methane

    Most of the methane in the permafrost can still be kept there – if the spew of fossil fuels causing acceleration of the greenhouse effect is stopped. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    New Energy Disruption Is Coming

    Warning to investors: The energy transition is coming. From Carbon Tracker Initiative via YouTube

    Friday, March 29, 2019

    62 Million Hit, Thousands Dead In 2018 Extreme Events – UN

    Fueled by climate change, extreme weather disasters hit 62 million people in 2018, U.N. says

    Doyle Rice, March 29, 2019 (USA Today)

    “…Extreme weather events, supercharged by climate change, affected some 62 million people around the world in 2018, [according to the annual "State of the Climate" report from] the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)…[T]he planet's biggest weather woes last year were floods (which swamped some 35 million people), and droughts, which affected another 9 million…[Since 1998, the study shows,] about 4.5 billion around the world have been hurt by extreme weather…[and] climate science has provided solid evidence of accelerating sea level rise, shrinking sea ice, increasingly acidic oceans, glacier retreat, shrinking polar ice, and extreme events such as heat waves…

    [Since the late 1800s, it adds, the global average temperature has risen almost 2 degrees (Fahrenheit) and] the past four years have been the warmest on record…[Science has established that the cause is burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas,] which releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the Earth's atmosphere and oceans…Levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere reached record levels in 2018…[and the] devastation continued in early 2019,] with Tropical Cyclone Idai, which caused devastating floods and tragic loss of life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi…[that killed at] least 750 people…” click here for more

    Record World Energy Demand

    Global energy demand at highest growth in a decade, emissions reach record high in 2018

    Phil Dzikiy, March 27, 2019 (Electrek)

    “Global energy demand grew [2.3%,] its fastest pace in the last decade in 2018, increasing CO2 emissions to a record high, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest Global Energy & CO2 Status Report…[High energy demand was] driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling needs in some regions…[It caused] a 1.7 percent increase in CO2 emissions to a new high of 33 Gigatonnes…Demand for all fuels increased across the board, but especially natural gas, which accounted for 45 percent of the rise in energy consumption…China, India, and the United States accounted for 85 percent of the net increase in emissions, while emissions declined for Germany, Japan, Mexico, France and the United Kingdom…Coal’s share in global energy continues to decline, and yet, overall demand increased again in 2018…[The IEA called electricity] the ‘fuel’ of the future…

    …[Global demand increased 4 percent in 2018, outpacing overall energy demand…[It] is nearing a 20 percent share in total final consumption of energy…[R]enewables increased by 4 percent in 2018, making up nearly a quarter of demand growth…[and] nearly 45 percent of the world’s overall growth…[Solar, wind, and hydropower were] nearly a third of that growth…[followed by] bioenergy…Renewable energy momentum is promising, but there’s clearly still a long way to go. An energy transition needs to happen quickly, and we need policies that will help accelerate the process…” click here for more

    Global Offshore Wind To Keep Growing

    As Global Energy Demands Grows, So Does Appetite For Offshore Wind

    Ariel Cohen, March 26, 2019 (Forbes)

    “…As fossil fuel emissions continue to exacerbate the effects of climate change, carbon-free solutions like nuclear, solar power, and wind power are becoming a more important part of the world energy demand equation…[Wind is booming and] offshore wind capacity is forecast to grow by over 80 gigawatts (GW) through 2024, achieving an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of more than 25%...Global wind energy capacity surpassed 600 GW in 2018 – with offshore accounting for just 23 GW of that…But thanks to a number of factors including technological breakthroughs in turbine technology and declining costs of transmission cables, offshore wind is becoming an increasingly attractive (clean) energy solution…

    …[Global growth in offshore wind energy will continue to accelerate, with total installed capacity rising from 19.2 GW in 2017 to 520 GW in 2050…[Cumulative investments in offshore wind are forecast to] reach $350 billion by 2030 and $1.47 trillion by 2050…[Britain plans] to derive 30% of its electricity from offshore wind by 2030…[The United States] could achieve over 20 GW by 2030 under favorable market and regulatory conditions… By 2030, China’s offshore energy capacity is expected to top 30GW, a huge climb from its 2017 capacity of 2.8 GW…China was responsible for almost half of the world’s $25 billion investment in offshore wind energy in 2018, spending $11.4 billion on 13 new offshore wind projects…Asian economies [led by China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam] have a cumulative 100GW of offshore wind capacity in the pipeline for 2030…” click here for more

    Thursday, March 28, 2019

    Concern About Climate Change Rising

    We Might Be Reaching 'Peak Indifference' On Climate Change

    Clive Thompson, March 25, 2019 (Wired)

    “…Three years ago, only 49 percent of Republicans thought [climate change is real], but by last December it was 64 percent…Last year, the percentage of those who say they’re ‘very worried’ about global warming shot up from 21 percent to 29 percent…[Those who’ve studied this shift say it’s because] the problem is now knocking on everyone’s front door: record-breaking heat and cold, ravaging hurricanes, rampaging wildfires in overdry forests…[Indifference seems to have peaked and started to diminish because climate change has] become too big to ignore…Often, when society is facing a problem that’s terrible but slow-growing, [w]e’re indifferent to the problem. Climate change isn’t the only example (think of digital privacy or income inequality), but it’s perhaps the toughest to crack…[because it seems that as] the crisis grows, our indifference grows too…

    …[But at some point, indifference] begins to decline—and panic emerges…[This may not help fix the problem if indifference becomes nihilism. There may] only a brief window to sell the public on a plan…This is why the stakes are so high in the debate over the Green New Deal…Six Democratic presidential candidates and] 81 percent of all Americans support the general concept, including—remarkably—57 percent of conservative Republicans…[But political] barriers to action loom. More Republicans may believe in climate change, but they don’t think it’s caused by humans…[and many say the Green New Deal lacks] tough-to-sell policy specifics (zero-emission transportation, job guarantees) or financial costs that the public might dislike…[But] all of us who want action on this, have to push hard now. It’s only when you reach the peak that you can see where you need to go.” click here for more

    Saying Goodbye To Nuclear

    40 Years After The Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident: Nuclear Power Passes Its High-Water Mark As Its Share Of Electrical Output, Generating Capacity, And Energy Production; All Decline While Renewables Grow And Overtake Nuclear Power

    March 27, 2019 (Sun Day)

    “…[The partial core meltdown of reactor number 2 at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,] dramatically slowed what had - until then - been dramatic growth by the nuclear industry -- 51 U.S. reactors were canceled between 1980 and 1984 and no new nuclear reactors were authorized to begin construction until 2012…[M]ost existing reactors continued to operate and many of those then under construction eventually came on-line…[but the] retirement of aging and costly reactors and their displacement by renewable energy sources - especially wind and solar - as well as natural gas strongly indicate that nuclear power in the U.S. peaked in 2018

    …EIA data show that the number of U.S. nuclear reactors hit its peak in 1990…Only one new reactor has come into service since 2000…[At the beginning of 2019,] the U.S. had 98 nuclear power reactors at 60 plants…U.S. nuclear capacity could fall by 10.5 GW by 2025 from the closings of twelve reactors…[and] the only new reactors under active construction are units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle nuclear plant…Notwithstanding the record production in 2018, EIA expects that U.S. nuclear power output will decline in the near future as more nuclear plants close…[It projects] net electricity generation from U.S. nuclear power reactors could fall by 17% by 2025…Meanwhile, renewable energy's share [of U.S. power generation] has been increasing rapidly -- expanding from 15.97% in 2013 to 20.98% in 2018…” click here for more

    U.S. Ocean Wind Sees $70BIL Boom

    US offshore wind: a US$70Bn opportunity

    David Foxwell, 27 Mar 2019 (Offshore Wind Journal)

    “America's fast-growing offshore wind industry, which is projected to generate 18.6 GW of power in seven states on the Atlantic seaboard by 2030, presents a near US$70Bn revenue capex opportunity…[According to a Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) white paper, key] industry components required to achieve an almost US$70Bn utility-scale build-out of America's offshore wind power capacity by 2030 include more than 1,700 offshore wind turbines and towers (US$29.6Bn); more than 1,750 offshore turbine and substation foundations (US$16.2Bn); more than 8,000 km of upland, export and array cables (US$10.3Bn); more than 60 onshore and offshore substations (US$6.8Bn); and marine support, insurance and project management (US$5.3Bn)…

    Market visibility of growing state commitments is generating economies of scale and driving sustained industry momentum. These include: New Jersey 3.5 GW; New York 9.0 GW by 2035 (7.73 GW); Massachusetts 3.2 GW; Connecticut 2.0 GW; Rhode Island 1.0 GW; Maryland 1.2 GW; and Virginia 1.2 GW…” click here for more

    Wednesday, March 27, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: DER grid services must be compensated for the value they deliver

    True Value: To get to tomorrow's grid, DER grid services must be compensated right today; Enabling and compensating the true value of all the services storage offers is no easy matter.

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 1, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Policy debates about the locational and temporal values of distributed resources are spreading.

    The accelerating transformation of the solar industry into the solar-plus-storage industry was clear at Solar Power International (SPI) 2018, making questions about the true value of aggregating the resources to serve customers and the grid more urgent. Much conference chatter surrounded getting technology, markets and policy for solar, storage and distributed energy resources (DERs) to work together. Developers that expect real market penetration to follow policy solutions brought some of the hottest questions regarding the advancement of DER. Solar-plus-storage is likely to supplant standalone solar over time. "How fast it happens depends on the underlying compensation and rate design," former Maryland public utilities commissioner Anne Hoskins, now Chief Policy Officer for leading distributed solar-plus-storage builder Sunrun told Utility Dive.

    Most storage today is at transmission system scale. But behind-the-meter storage and other DERs have grown rapidly and are forecast by industry leaders to play a bigger role. Compensation must recognize the 13 monetizable services of behind-the-meter services and grid services offered by resources paired with storage, industry leaders said in panel discussions and private interviews. As present, storage's true value proposition is only fully realized by compensation for many services not yet established in rates, contracts or utility-led programs. Compensation for customer-owned technologies' full range of capabilities will be increasingly important as developers aggregate them and seek to monetize the grid services they can deliver… click here for more

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: What utilities can learn from Amazon and Netflix about ratemaking

    Business Models: What utilities can learn from Amazon and Netflix about the future of ratemaking; Electricity rates will include time and performance factors, unless subscriptions take over.

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 15, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Momentum is slowly gathering behind voluntary trials of subscription rates.

    The future of electricity ratemaking will give individual customers more control of their own utility bills. Maybe much more. Policymakers are already designing and deploying time- and location-based price signals to customers to guide usage. More ambitious plans would incentivize utility performance that meets customer demand. Performance-based regulation (PBR) is gaining traction "all over the world" as an alternative to cost-of-service regulation (COSR), Jim Lazar, senior advisor for the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), told Utility Dive. But PBR may not satisfy emerging consumers whose demand has been shaped in the subscription e-commerce market, according to Navigant Director Lon Huber and Tucson Electric Power Manager for Pricing and Analytics Richard Bachmeier. Their cutting-edge proposal offers a complete paradigm shift: Based on communications and entertainment industry subscription packages, it would offer customers subscriptions for electricity services.

    The idea of electricity subscriptions elicits mixed reactions. Lazar questions it because it bypasses regulators' ability to impose the pricing discipline of competitive markets. But it "takes seriously the idea of electricity as a service and gets the economics of the value proposition right," according to Purdue University Associate Professor of Economics and rate design authority Lynne Kiesling. "As technology evolves, we will learn what customers will do, embrace, tolerate and eschew," Lazar told Utility Dive. "As the green power revolution unfolds, we'll need a lot of rate design innovation." But the technology unlocked a subscription revolution through e-commerce platforms," the paper reports. "It is a complete paradigm shift," Huber told Utility Dive. But if the utility provides a compelling value proposition, its load will fall while its revenue from subscriptions does not, Huber said. That could be the ideal performance incentive, perfectly aligning customer and utility interests… click here for more

    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, March 26, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Persistence Of Solar In 2018

    Solar Market Insight Report 2018 Year In Review

    March 13, 2019 (Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie)

    Key Figures

    In Q4 2018, the U.S. solar market installed 4.2 GWdc of solar PV, a 139% increase from Q3 2018 and a 4% increase from Q4 2017. This brought the annual total to 10.6 GWdc, 2% lower than 2017.

    For the sixth straight year, solar was one of the top two sources of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S.

    Cumulative operating solar photovoltaic capacity now stands at 62.4 GWdc, about 75 times more than was installed at the end of 2008.

    After a year in which residential solar experienced 15% contraction, 2018 marked a year of rebound as the market grew by 7%. Q4 was the largest quarter for the residential solar segment in two years, a sign that the residential market is stabilizing. In total, 314,600 new residential PV systems were installed in 2019.

    Non-residential PV saw an annual decline of 8%, mainly due to policy shifts in states like California and Massachusetts.

    There were 6.2 GWdc of utility solar installed in 2018, accounting for 58% of total U.S. annual capacity additions.

    After the uncertainty of the Section 201 tariffs passed, 13.2 GWdc of utility solar PPAs were signed in 2018, though mostly with expected commercial operations dates in years after the tariffs have stepped down. The contracted pipeline peaked in Q3 2018 at 25.3 GWdc, the highest in the history of U.S. solar.

    Wood Mackenzie forecasts 14% growth in 2019 compared to 2018, with over 12 GW of installations expected.

    Total installed U.S. PV capacity will more than double over the next five years, with annual installations reaching 15.8 GWdc in 2021 prior to the expiration of the residential federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and a drop in the commercial tax credit to 10% for projects not yet under construction.

    Introduction

    In 2018, the U.S. solar market installed 10.6 gigawatts direct current (GWdc) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, a 2% decline from capacity additions in 2017. After a year in which the residential sector experienced 15% contraction, 2018 marked a year of rebound as the residential market grew by 7%. Conversely, non-residential PV saw a slight annual decline of 8%. Utility solar also saw slight annual contraction, due to the impacts of Section 201 tariff uncertainty earlier in the year and shifting project timelines based on the tariff schedule. Overall, in 2018, solar PV has accounted for 29% of new electricity generating capacity additions – a lower share compared to 2017 due to a surge in new natural-gas plants in early 2018.

    Residential PV rebounded in 2018 as the market begins to reach maturity

    After experiencing volume contraction last year, the residential solar market regained its footing in 2018 with steadily increasing installation volumes. The fourth quarter of 2018 was the largest quarter for the residential segment in two years. Five quarters of modest growth now suggest the market is adopting a more sustainable growth profile with a mix of local and regional installers operating alongside national installers.

    With 2018 in the books, a few key themes have emerged about the state of the residential solar market.

    Installation growth and market penetration levels suggest major states have moved past early adopters. Among the highest-penetration markets in the nation, residential growth rates were mixed in 2018. The one exception to this was Nevada, which experienced 3x growth once net metering was reinstated in 2017 after being revoked in 2016, which caused the market to contract by 61% from 2016 to 2017.This political turmoil led to abnormally high installations in 2018 based on pent-up demand. Outside the stabilizing large markets, growth in low-penetration emerging markets, such as Texas and Florida, continues to add to the geographic diversity of the residential market outside of California and the Northeast.

    Legacy markets are no longer the primary engines of growth. Though California is forecasted to be the largest market for the foreseeable future due to the sheer size of the state, the regional growth landscape began to shift and diversify in 2018. Of the top 10 markets in 2017, six markets experienced annual contraction in 2018 while two experienced double-digit percentage growth. Meanwhile, a handful of states are leapfrogging developed markets. Both Texas and Florida saw installations that surpassed legacy markets Maryland and Massachusetts last year, signaling new state-level leadership on residential solar development. In 2018, we saw a pivot away from legacy, incentive-driven markets and the emergence of low-penetration markets with limited third-party ownership options, good PV resources, and low electricity rates – a trend we expect to continue.

    Residential PV continues to be constrained by high costs of customer acquisition. Outside of overhead and margin, customer-acquisition costs remain the highest expense for installers of all sizes averaging 20% of the total system pricing. This reaffirms our view that at existing prices, sales and marketing is a vital part of continued residential market development. High customer-acquisition costs are directly related to high overall cost of installation, which also suggests a virtuous cycle of reduced costs. One target area for the industry to reduce costs is through streamlining the permitting and inspection processes, as permitting delays lead to customer attrition and other expenses. SEIA and the Solar Foundation, along with numerous companies, are working together to address these issues. New construction and roof replacement markets also represent an opportunity to address both customer-acquisition and permitting costs. However, at existing price levels, the high cost of customer-acquisition will slow growth in the near-term.

    Incentives and net metering remain important market enablers but show diminishing rates of return. While utility attempts to roll back net metering have been an issue in years past, this was not the case in 2018. No substantial revisions were made to residential NEM values in 2018 other than in Connecticut. In prior years, impending changes to NEM, other state-level incentives, or rate structures have created demand pull-in. Despite anticipated changes to incentives and NEM in 2019-2020, the major Northeast markets collectively saw no growth in installation volumes. This suggests that while changes to NEM policy and other incentives have greatly impacted growth in years past, 2018 marks a year of market maturation. While strong NEM policy remains an essential foundation for rooftop solar adoption, future growth across legacy markets will require technology and business-model innovation to tap into new customer demographics.

    Meanwhile, California’s new home solar mandate may signal the next phase of solar market adoption. The California Energy Commission’s decision in early 2018 to require solar PV on all new homes beginning in 2020 significantly insulates our long-term forecasts by adding an additional gigawatt of residential demand from 2020-2024E. While it remains to be seen whether other states will follow suit, some municipalities have created solar mandates for new buildings. Meanwhile, major national installers are spending considerable resources building relationships with housing developers to comply with California’s mandate while also aiming to capitalize on one-off housing developments outside of state mandates. With several newly announced entrants into the space, new home solar, whether mandated or voluntary, could provide an opportunity to bridge the cost of customer acquisition gap that has constrained growth.

    Non-residential PV falls 8% as policy cliffs materialize in 2018

    Unlike the case of residential PV, a handful of state-specific regulatory cliffs and policy reforms took effect in 2018, which led to a decline in non-residential build-out in the major markets of California and Massachusetts. Despite California’s market falling 17% year-over-year, the decline was not as severe as previously anticipated, as the extent of California’s pipeline of projects grandfathered in under solar-friendly time-of-use rates has been higher than previously assumed. However, Massachusetts witnessed 64% year-over-year decline in capacity installed as the industry awaited the start of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program. Combined, these two states saw a year-over-year decrease of more than 450 MW of installed non-residential PV capacity.

    New York bucked the national trend, experiencing record installations in 2018. This was the result of a waning pipeline of grandfathered remote net-metering projects becoming interconnected, despite being constructed in 2017. Meanwhile, community solar continues to support non-residential PV. Minnesota and Massachusetts contributed to well over 500 MW of community solar being installed this year. And while we won’t begin to see projects from New Jersey’s new community solar program until late 2019 at the earliest, the state is making significant strides in establishing the program, which technically kicks off in Q1 2019.

    Module tariffs dampen 2018 utility-scale installs, but post-announcement procurement breaks records

    Utility PV continues to hold the largest share of annual installations in the U.S. solar market with a total of 6.2 GWdc in 2018, accounting for 58% of total U.S. annual capacity additions. Lower-than-expected installation volumes in Q4 are primarily attributed to Section 201 module tariffs set in January 2018 and implemented in February 2018, which caused project sponsors to reassess a handful of project timelines and push out target commercial operation dates (CODs) from 2018 into 2019. In addition to tariff-related delays, interconnection delays for PURPA projects in the Carolinas contributed to lower-than-expected Q4 deployments.

    U.S. utility solar procurement has grown considerably with a number of utilities, such as Hawaiian Electric Company and Entergy Mississippi, announcing plans to add more utility PV to their generation portfolios due to the pure economic competitiveness of solar. In 2018, 13.2 GWdc of utility solar PPAs were signed, driving the contracted pipeline to 28.3 GWdc – the highest point in the history of U.S. solar. Most of these PPAs will be fulfilled with products imported after significant declines in the Section 201 tariffs.

    Voluntary procurement remains the largest driver of new PPAs signed and is expected to drive 51% of 2019 capacity additions. While commercial and industrial (C&I) off takers only accounted for 153 MW of actual capacity additions in 2018, C&I procurement drove 21% of all new PPAs signed last year. Meanwhile, new renewable portfolio standards are poised to drive additional utility PV.

    Section 201 update

    Many utility PV projects suffered disruption, delay and even cancelation due to the uncertainty leading up to the imposition of the Section 201 tariffs. The impacts can be seen in the volume of installations in 2018, which were down 7% year-over-year for utility-scale PV. However, since the tariffs were announced, the industry has pushed out timelines to account for the tariff stepdown schedule and has benefited from faster-than-expected declines in global module pricing. These price declines are mostly due to changes in China’s feed-in tariff policy that has resulted in a supply glut. While the Section 201 tariffs are still imposing a significant opportunity cost on the U.S. solar industry, new project procurement is moving forward thanks to strong industry fundamentals.

    Cell and module tariffs dropped from 30% to 25% in February 2019. Tariffs will drop to 20% in February 2020 and 15% in February 2021 before their scheduled expiration in February 2022. The International Trade Commission (ITC) will conduct a mid-term review of the tariffs starting in January 2020, at which point the President will have the opportunity to continue, modify, or terminate the tariffs. The ITC will begin data collection for that review this summer.

    Photovoltaics…2.1. Market Segment Trends…2.2. National solar PV system pricing…2.3. Component Pricing…

    2.4. Market Outlook

    After modest decline in 2018, the national solar PV market will resume growth in 2019-2020, primarily driven by continued growth in the residential segment and a rebound in the utility PV sector.

    For utility PV, the downside to our 2018 forecasts benefits 2019 - the 2019 forecast has been increased from 7.2 GWdc to 7.8 GWdc as projects have pushed out target completion dates, and 2.1 GWdc of capacity is already under construction. The forecasts for 2020 and 2021 have increased to 10 and 10.4 GWdc, respectively. Of the projects announced in 2019, 68% have 2020 or 2021 target CODs, significantly boosting confidence in the near-term forecast. And we expect to see at least half of 2023 capacity additions leverage a 22% or higher ITC. Finally, growth will continue into 2024, driven by current utility IRPs for solar capacity along with the economic fundamentals of utility solar projects.

    After examining the risks of advanced procurement, many project developers now seem more open to anchoring projects in 2019 to claim the 30% ITC and bringing them online in 2021 or later. Still, several developers have suggested they will assess each project on a case-by-case basis.

    Commercial and industrial procurement is expected to remain a strong driver of utility solar over the next several years as the number of companies pledging to meet 100% renewables or zero-carbon targets increases. Renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) are also poised to see a resurgence as a driver of utility PV. Many of the newly elected governors are in states that have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance or campaigned on a pledge to join the Alliance and commit to the Paris Agreement in lieu of federal participation. Six of the governors have proposed increases to RPS targets, while three (Colorado, Nevada, and Illinois) have proposed 100% RPS mandates. This is in addition to California’s 100% RPS, Hawaii’s 100% RPS, and New York’s 50% RPS. If all states where elected governors campaigned on RPS increases were to achieve 50% RPS compliance by 2030, it could drive up to 37.0 GWdc of additional solar.

    Wood Mackenzie’s utility PV five-year forecast has increased 2.3 GWdc since our last report as more projects are announced, utilities include more solar in long-term resource planning, and development is driven increasingly by C&I offtakers.

    For residential PV, after seeing 7% growth in 2018, we expect flat to tempered growth in 2019, primarily due to major market maturation resulting in limited long-term growth opportunities in major Northeast markets. Meanwhile, the approval of a super off-peak rate in Southern California Edison territory – the second-largest utility in the nation for solar PV – takes effect in 2019, which severely limits the economic attractiveness of solar-only products. That said, growth resumes in 2020-2021 as the ITC step-down is expected to pull in demand in both legacy and emerging markets before declining in 2022. Growth resumes in 2023 and continues into 2024 based on economic fundamentals as the market adjusts to the post-ITC reality. In the long-term, residential capacity growth will be driven by California’s new home solar mandate – with upside potential from other states adopting similar mandates – a robust incentive program in Illinois, emerging markets like Texas and Florida becoming the new engines of retrofit growth, and the proliferation of solar-plus-storage.

    Meanwhile, the non-residential PV market is on track for another down year as the segment acclimates to a reduced incentive environment across major state markets in 2019. However, this will be incrementally offset starting in 2020 as the next wave of states with robust community solar mandates – New York, Maryland, Illinois and New Jersey – begin to see the realization of those pipelines. Increasing solar-plus-storage viability will also begin to have an impact on non-residential demand.

    By 2023, roughly 30% of non-residential PV will come from community solar, and ~20% will come from solar-plus-storage projects.

    By 2020, 28 states in the U.S. are expected to have 100+ MWdc annual solar markets, with 25 of those states being home to more than 1 GWdc of operating solar PV. This compares to only two states with 100+ MWdc annual solar markets in 2010…

    QUICK NEWS, March 26: Parenthood In A Time Of Climate Change; Study Shows New Energy The Cheapest Buy

    Parenthood In A Time Of Climate Change War, famine and drought: More women say they won't have children because of climate change

    Elizabeth Weise, March 26, 2019 (USA Today)

    “…Is the future simply too horrific to bring children into? Some couples, frightened by the prospect of droughts, wars, famines and extinctions brought on by climate change, are making that decision…A Facebook group for women to discuss the idea launched this month, and [#Birthstrike is adding 70 supporters daily] in Europe and the United States…Conceivable Future, a U.S.-based group, has held more than 50 house parties in 16 states in recent years where women worried about global warming discuss forgoing motherhood…[P]eople in 13 of 26 countries polled by the Pew Research Center last month [said] it is the top international threat…And women more than men are worried…[with 66 percent of women and 51 percent of men citing] global climate change as a major threat…

    [The latest UN report showed even the least impacts will include] more wildfires, more droughts, more floods, rising sea levels and the loss of almost all coral reefs…Whether that’s affecting women's family planning isn’t known. The U.S. birthrate has been falling for years, and in 2017 was [the lowest since record-keeping began in 1909 at] just 60.3 births per 1,000 women…[American women have not been polled but] 22 percent of 6.500 Australian women in their 30s said that because of climate change] they were considering having [no children] or no more children…To be sure, the decision to not have children isn’t a full-on movement; it's more a discussion that’s beginning to bubble up…The goal isn’t to get women and men to pledge not to have children, but instead to provide a place to talk about a topic that most people don’t want to discuss even as humanity barrels into what they believe will be a dark and dystopian future…” click here for more

    Study Shows New Energy The Cheapest Buy More bad news for coal: Wind and solar are getting cheaper

    Matt Egan, March 25, 2019 (CNN)

    “The simple laws of economics threaten to doom America's remaining coal power plants. Wind and solar costs have plunged so rapidly that 74% of the US coal fleet could be phased out for renewable energy -- and still save customers money…[According to an Energy Innovation report, 86% U.S. coal plants are at risk] by 2025 as solar and wind costs continue to plunge…[The report shows it is] increasingly more expensive to operate existing coal plants than build clean energy alternatives…[Despite the White promise to revive the beleaguered coal industry, 211 gigawatts of existing US coal capacity -- or 74% of America's fleet -- was at risk [in 2018] from local wind or solar [within 35 miles of plant locations] that could more cheaply churn out just as much electricity…

    North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Texas are the US states that have the greatest amount of coal plants at risk…By 2025, Midwestern states including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin are expected to have high amounts of coal capacity under pressure from renewable energy…[Though it may be economically feasible to shut down a coal plant and replace it with wind or solar, state] regulators must sign off on such decisions. And many power plants will decide to pass the extra costs on to customers…[And] coal is still a major employer in parts of Appalachia, making any shutdown potentially damaging to the local economy…[But] the share of total power generation from coal-fired power plants plunged from 48% in 2008 to just 28% last year…” click here for more

    Monday, March 25, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: 3.3 Million Jobs Now In New Energy

    Clean Jobs America; Nearly 3.3 Million Clean Energy Jobs

    March 13, 2019 (E2)

    In every region and every state in America, clean energy is creating jobs and careers. Nationwide, nearly 50,000 new clean energy jobs were created in 2018, bringing the total number of Americans who work in clean energy to 3.26 million.

    While jobs in solar declined in part because of tariffs on steel and solar panels, wind energy jobs grew by nearly 4 percent and now competes with fossil fuels in many markets.2

    Energy efficiency continues to lead the clean energy sector in total number of jobs, growing 3.4 percent to 2.3 million jobs.

    But the big story in 2018 was around clean vehicles and storage.

    Driven by growing consumer demand, the number of jobs in clean vehicles manufacturing increased by 16 percent. About 254,000 Americans now work at companies building hybrid, electric and other clean vehicles, while another 486,000 Americans work in companies that manufacture parts that make vehicles more efficient.

    Energy storage saw a 14 percent increase in jobs as utilities, businesses and consumers deployed more batteries in EVs and with solar and wind installations, while grid modernization jobs grew by 3.3 percent.

    Smart state policies continue to drive much of the growth in clean energy and the jobs and investments that come with it. But with a new Congress comes new opportunities to pass meaningful legislation on a federal level to keep these jobs growing nationwide. See sidebar for more.

    WANTED: FEDERAL ACTION ON CLEAN ENERGY

    To continue creating tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans across the country, Congress should:

    // Make sure any infrastructure bill includes policies to modernize the grid and expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure to keep grid and storage jobs growing.

    // Stop rollbacks to fuel economy (CAFE) standards that are saving business and consumers money with every visit to the pump and also are driving jobs and American innovation in the clean vehicles sector.

    // Upgrade and extend expired energy efficiency tax credits for commercial and residential buildings; clarify the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to apply to energy storage and offshore wind and lift the cap on the electric vehicle tax credit to create more jobs in these sectors.

    // Properly fund R&D investments in clean energy innovation and efficiency at the U.S DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Loan Programs Office, and programs such as ARPA-E, and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program.

    CLEAN VEHICLES 255,000 JOBS

    Clean vehicles now account for about 13 percent of all the jobs in the motor vehicles industry

    // 15.4 percent nationwide job growth in 2018

    // 42 states saw double-digit job growth in 2018, with 15 seeing above 20 percent growth

    // 486,000 additional employees in the motor vehicle industry work with parts making vehicles more fuel efficient

    GRID & CLEAN STORAGE 139,000 JOBS

    9 percent job growth in 2018, with employers projecting growth of 4.4 percent in 2019.

    // Grid modernization industries added over 2,000 jobs, a 3.3 percent growth rate.

    // California and Texas lead the U.S. in Grid & Clean Storage jobs again, but Nevada saw biggest rise in rankings—jumping from 25th to 4th thanks to a 380 percent job surge in 2018.

    SOLAR + WIND 446,000 JOBS

    335k SOLAR JOBS

    // Solar provides the largest share of electric power generation in the U.S., 100,000 more than the next two sectors combined.

    // Solar jobs fell 4.2 percent in 2018—after nearly a decade of growth—but employers are projecting job growth of over 8 percent in 2019.

    // 89 percent of solar job losses were in maturing in states of MA and CA. In 18, solar jobs increased.

    // 66 percent of solar jobs (224k) are involved in manufacturing and construction.

    // Clean vehicles now account for about 13 percent of all the jobs in the motor vehicles industry

    // 15.4 percent nationwide job growth in 2018

    // 42 states saw double-digit job growth in 2018, with 15 seeing above 20 percent growth

    // 486,000 additional employees in the motor vehicle industry work with parts making vehicles more fuel efficient

    // 9 percent job growth in 2018, with employers projecting growth of 4.4 percent in 2019.

    // Grid modernization industries added over 2,000 jobs, a 3.3 percent growth rate.

    // California and Texas lead the U.S. in Grid & Clean Storage jobs again, but Nevada saw biggest rise in rankings—jumping from 25th to 4th thanks to a 380 percent job surge in 2018.

    111k WIND JOBS

    // Wind provides the 3rd largest share of electric power generation jobs, about 1,500 fewer employees than natural gas.

    // Jobs grew 3.5 percent last year, with employers projecting job growth of nearly 5 percent for 2018

    // All but five states (and D.C.) saw job growth in wind energy in 2018

    // 56 percent of wind jobs (63k) are involved in manufacturing and construction.

    ENERGY EFFICIENCY 2.3 MILLION JOBS

    76,000 The number of new jobs added by energy efficiency companies in 2018—accounting for over half of all new energy jobs

    7.4% Expected job growth in 2019 by employers, the highest across the entire energy sector

    1.4 M The number of energy-efficiency jobs in construction

    321,000 The number of manufacturing jobs in energy efficiency, an increase of 2 percent

    1 in 3 More than one out of every three employees working in the energy sector (from traditional energy to motor vehicles) is involved in energy efficiency

    1 in 4 In 2018, ENERGY STAR appliances employed more than 1 out of every 4 energy efficiency workers, largest category of employment…

    CLEAN ENERGY INVESTING A TRILLION DOLLAR MARKET WAITING TO BE UNLEASHED

    With the right support and policies, U.S. investors could turn clean energy into an economic powerhouse and unlock a market with near unlimited potential.

    A TURNING POINT OPPORTUNITY:

    Renewable energy resources are now expected to be the fastest-growing source of U.S. electricity generation for at least the next two years, with growth forecasts of 10 percent in 2019 and 17 percent in 2020.20

    Roughly 18 percent of U.S. energy generation is now supplied by renewable sources, up from 11 percent in 2009.21

    By the year 2035, renewable energy is expected to become the world’s ominant power source. And by 2050, renewables are expected to supply 75 percent of the world’s energy.22

    A GROWING MARKET

    Financial institutions in the U.S. (including banks, asset managers, and private-equity firms) are expected to double planned investments in renewable energy, with the potential to mobilize $1 trillion in cumulative private capital by 2030.23

    Corporate contracts for clean energy technology more than doubled in 2018 to 13.4 GW (up from 6.1GW in 2017), totaling now more than 32 GW since 2008— the generation capacity of the Netherlands.24

    The U.S. is beginning to dominate a new global market, accounting for 60 percent of global corporate clean energy purchases in 2018.

    GOOD JOBS FOR VETERANS

    Clean energy employs a greater percentage of veterans than most industries—including oil and gas. Percentage of veterans in the workforce of: 10% WIND, 9% SOLAR PV. 10% ENERGY EFFICIENCY, 8% CONCENTRATED SOLAR POWER, 6% NATIONAL AVERAGE, 6 to 9% FOSSIL FUEL AND NUCLEAR…

    QUICK NEWS, March 25: Big Oil Millions Block Climate Action; Three Ways New Energy Is A Good Bet

    Big Oil Millions Block Climate Action Oil And Gas Giants Spend Millions Lobbying To Block Climate Change Policies

    Niall McCarthy, March 25, 2019 (Forbes)

    “Every year, the world's five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy. This has caused problems for governments seeking to implement policies in the wake of the Paris Agreement which are vital in meeting climate change targets. Companies are generally reluctant to disclose such lobbying expenditure…[but the best available records suggest] BP has the highest annual expenditure on climate lobbying at $53 million, followed by Shell with $49 million and ExxonMobil with $41 million. Chevron and Total each spend around $29 million…

    …[Part of the spend] goes towards sophisticated efforts to engage politicians and the general public on environmental policies that could impact fossil fuel usage…[A recent example is BP campaign] to reframe the climate crisis as a ‘dual’ energy challenge…[The five companies] support their lobbying expenditures with a financial outlay of $195 million annually for focused branding activities which suggest they support action against climate change…[by] drawing attention to low carbon, positioning the company as a climate expert and acknowledging climate concern while ignoring solutions…[Only 3% of spending is] directed to low carbon projects…” click here for more

    Three Ways New Energy Is A Good Bet 3 Trends to Watch in Renewable Energy in 2019; Wind and solar power will continue to elbow their way onto the electric grid this year, but that's just the beginning.

    Maxx Chatsko, March 23, 2019 (The Motley Fool)

    “…[For the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, the U.S. agreed to voluntarily cut total carbon emissions at least 26% from 2005 levels by 2025. By the end of last year it had reduced energy-related carbon emissions -- the great majority of total emissions -- 13% from that benchmark…The bulk of the reduction to date has come from retiring coal-fired power plants and replacing the generation with [New Energy and] natural gas…The decarbonization gains should continue for the foreseeable future thanks to the flood of electric vehicles that are about to hit the market and a nearly insatiable appetite for renewable energy projects among electric utilities…The United States counted over 96,000 megawatts of installed wind power and 64,000 megawatts of solar power at the end of 2018. That generated close to 10% of the country's total electricity production, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the share of modern renewables in the grid to accelerate going forward.

    Wind and solar could reach 11% of total electric output in 2019 and 13% in 2020…[E]nergy storage markets are developing virtually overnight…[T]he United States installed a record 311 megawatts of energy storage in 2018, which should double in 2019 and triple in 2020…[Most forecasts] fail to include two next-generation renewable power sources likely to emerge by 2030: offshore wind power and enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)…The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that over 23,000 megawatts of offshore wind projects could be put into production by 2030, enough to generate about 3% to 4% of the country's total electricity…EGS is still in the earliest stages of development…[but] DOE thinks the United States has at least 100,000 megawatts of next-generation geothermal potential…” click here for more

    Saturday, March 23, 2019

    The World Youth Climate March

    It was 1.6 million people in 2200 cities. That is the grassroots. From via YouTube

    The Many Ways EVs Can Impact The Grid

    EVs can make the grid stronger – if utilities allow it. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    What Coal Can Ruin

    The freshwater springs that once were: “They’re gone. Long gone.” From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    Friday, March 22, 2019

    Next Up For The Global Youth Climate Strikers

    It's Literally Our Future.' Here's What Youth Climate Strikers Around the World Are Planning Next

    Suyin Haynes, March 29, 2019 (Time)

    “…[An estimated 1.6 million students in over 120 countries] left school on March 15 in protest of adult inaction on climate change…The school climate strikes started with teen activist Greta Thunberg standing vigil outside Sweden’s parliament one Friday last August…Thunberg’s idea has grown into a global movement…[T]he lack of a centralized organizational hub makes it easy for teenagers to arrange actions in their own towns and cities; rallies took place in more than 2,200 towns and cities worldwide…Their most pressing hope is for immediate policy measures to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement, limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5° celsius this century, as well as specific local action…

    …[The effort] has changed the discourse…[F]or now, that’s all they can change; the youth that draws them to the cause is also an obstacle. Most of the movement’s participants are not just battling the obvious challenges of political inertia, powerful fossil fuel lobbies and disbelieving critics—they are also too young to play a bigger role in business or politics…[But] they are determined to continue the Friday strikes…It’s up to the world’s politicians to act.” click here for more

    World's New Energy In Record Acceleration

    Renewable Energy Initiatives Accelerate as Countries Reevaluate Traditional Sources

    March 20, 2019 (PR Newswire)

    “…[Non-renewable resources such as fossil fuel, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power have a] negative environmental impact…[and] are limited in quantity…[That is driving] demand for alternative energy…[Clean energy resources like solar, wind, and hydro] are renewable…[They are also] more beneficial for the environment…[Efforts to implement and expand clean energy and government initiatives are creating] one of the fastest growing global marketplaces. According to data by BP's Energy Outlook, the global renewable energy market could potentially grow by 400% by 2040…

    …[By 2040, renewables may] account for 14% of the global energy demand…[though] rapid development in countries like China and India could yet expand the prevalence…[T]he robust growth is enabled by the sharp decline in prices…[Wind and solar] are already marginally cheaper than non-renewable resources…[and] costs can decline even lower…[BP projects that carbon emissions will increase by 10% by 2040, significantly less than the 55% they have grown] in the past 25 years…” click here for more

    Global Wind Keeps Growing

    Wind power to 'grow 723GW by 2028'; Wood Mackenzie report says 50.2GW of new capacity was added last year

    19 March 2019 (RENews)

    “Global wind energy growth will see about 723GW of new capacity added in the next 10 years, according to a new report… 50.2GW was added in 2018, up 4% on the previous year, boosted mainly by growth in China…[Growth in China’s northern provinces] unlocked development, contributing to a 37% uptick year-on-year in the country (+5.6GW)…[Expiration of legacy subsidy programs led to downturns in Northern Europe (-26% YoY) and Western Europe (-36% YoY)… 2019 to 2021 will see 48% of the US's 10-year outlook come online in order for developers to fulfill production tax credit obligations…

    In Asia, aggressive renewables targets in India and offshore wind growth in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will drive a 10-year CAGR of 12.2%, excluding China…Cumulative offshore capacity will grow to 19GW in 2028 from 111MW at the end of 2018…The annual share of offshore wind in China will average 18% of annual capacity from 2022 to 2028…In Europe, about 20GW a year is expected to be added over the next 10 years, with offshore wind the driving force…” click here for more

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    The Leverage In The Green New Deal

    How the Green New Deal Is Forcing Politicians to Finally Address Climate Change

    Justin Worland, March 21, 2019 (Time Magazine)

    “…[E]nvironmental activists are being welcomed by Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill and, after years of quiet on climate change, leaders on both sides of the aisle are acknowledging the issue, despite White House denial. The] shift has been a long time coming. Scientists have understood for decades that climate change is happening and that humans are causing it…[and] more than 70% of Americans now understand that…Into this new political reality came the Green New Deal–equal parts policy proposal and battle cry…The response was mixed…But in D.C., where climate has long been relegated to third-tier status, lawmakers could no longer avoid the issue…Within weeks of the proposal’s release, Democrats competed to burnish their green credentials…

    Nearly every Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential nomination has endorsed the Green New Deal. Washington Governor Jay Inslee entered the race on a climate-themed campaign–something unthinkable just a few years ago…[Behind the scenes, Republicans are grasping] for a solution…Love the Green New Deal or hate it, the conversation it has unleashed represents a shift in the discussion surrounding climate policy…[It may have created] an opportunity to push real legislation…A carbon tax–once anathema to the right–is an unlikely beneficiary…[M]ajor oil-and-gas companies would rather see a conservative approach [like a carbon tax] than a paradigm-shifting program like the Green New Deal…[It would be easy to dismiss] climate activists as noisy but dreamy, idealists…[But social movements, from civil rights to gay rights, look] naïve until they come to look like instigators…” click here for more

    U.S. Doubled New Energy In A Decade

    U.S. renewable electricity generation has doubled since 2008

    Cara Marcy, March 19, 2019 (Energy Information Administration)

    "Renewable generation provided a new record of 742 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2018, nearly double the 382 million MWh produced in 2008. Renewables provided 17.6% of electricity generation in the United States in 2018…Nearly 90% of the increase in U.S. renewable electricity between 2008 and 2018 came from wind and solar generation. Wind generation rose from 55 million MWh in 2008 to 275 million MWh in 2018 (6.5% of total electricity generation)…U.S. solar generation has increased from 2 million MWh in 2008 to 96 million MWh in 2018. Solar generation accounted for 2.3% of electricity generation in 2018…In 2018, 69% of solar generation, or 67 million MWh, was utility-scale solar.

    Increases in U.S. wind and solar generation are driven largely by capacity additions. In 2008, the United States had 25 gigawatts (GW) of wind generating capacity. By the end of 2018, 94 GW of wind generating capacity was operating on the electric grid…[I]nstalled solar capacity grew from an estimated less than 1 GW in 2008 to 51 GW in 2018. In 2018, 1.8 GW of this solar capacity was solar thermal, 30 GW was utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV), and the remaining 20 GW was small-scale solar PV…Growth in renewable technologies in the United States, particularly in wind and solar, has been driven by federal and state policies and declining costs…As more wind and solar projects have come online, economies of scale have led to more efficient project development and financing mechanisms, which has led to continued cost declines…” click here for more

    New Energy Cuts Customer Electricity Bills

    Renewable energy reduces the highest electric rates in the nation

    Kelley Christensen, March 14, 2019 (Phys.Org)

    “…As renewable energy technologies and access to distributed generation like residential solar panels improve, consumer costs for electricity decrease. Making electricity for yourself with solar has become more affordable than traditional electricity fuel sources like coal…[but, while utility fuel mixes are slowly shifting away from fossil fuels toward renewable sources, U.S. utilities broadly] continue a relationship with fossil fuels that is detrimental to their customers [according to new research]…[The study found that 70% of U.S. coal plants run at a higher cost than New Energy and all coal plants will run at a higher cost] by 2030…

    …[In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, residential customers who purchase distributed solar] could see savings of approximately 7 cents per kilowatt hour. Assuming the average residential consumer uses 600 kilowatt hours of electricity monthly, this is a savings of $42 per utility bill…Downstate, the average savings per utility bill under the researchers' model is approximately $30 monthly…[A]s this study demonstrates, if utilities allow customers to generate their own power in addition to the power they consume from the grid, residential customers would see a substantial decrease in their electric rate…” click here for more

    Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: 'Not your grandma's DER': Distributed resources modernize, prove value to grid

    'Not your grandma's DER': Distributed resources modernize, prove value to grid; New, smart DER can go beyond customer benefits to help stabilize utility systems.

    Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 27, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Innovation has not stopped and regulation is falling farther behind as efforts to define locational value flounder.

    Proof is emerging that distributed energy resources (DER) can deliver services to the power system in addition to the customers who buy and install them. DER advocates say the resources can respond quickly to the grid's need to ramp generation up or down, store over-generation and control system frequency changes and local voltage fluctuations. Pilots are in place across the country to prove DER can fulfill these promises, and interest from utilities and system operators, driven by market factors and policy mandates, is growing fast. "DER is not just rooftop solar anymore, it's also storage, demand response and smart inverters, and it is smarter and costs less. This is not your grandma's DER," said Ric O'Connell, executive director of GridLab and co-author of a new paper on how DER can be used to meet grid needs. According to the paper from GridLab and GridWorks, one word explains the rising interest in DER as grid services: flexibility.

    The evolving system's variable demand and supply, and two-way power flows create an unprecedented need for the fast on-off flexibility that DER, and especially battery energy storage, offer. "Storage is changing the DER landscape," the paper reports. Commercial-industrial customers are using it to shift their usage, cut demand charges or participate in demand response (DR) programs. Residential customers are pairing storage with solar to reduce their usage when rates make electricity more expensive. The grid's use of DER falls into three broad categories. First, DER can be a non-wires solution (NWS) that replaces a more costly build or upgrade of transmission and distribution (T&D) system infrastructure. Second, customer-sited DER across a distribution system can meet system-wide frequency or ramping needs. Third, distributed generation (DG) of any kind can be paired with storage to maintain a normal production curve on systems with high renewables penetrations, despite disruptions like clouds and demand spikes… click here for more