NewEnergyNews: 05/01/2019 - 06/01/2019

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

    Friday, May 31, 2019

    The Climate Crisis And The EU Elections

    The single cause that won the EU elections: the climate crisis

    Akshat Rathi, May 27, 2019 (Quartz)

    The largest cross-country democratic exercise in the world has now concluded… Europeans voted in new members of the European parliament (MEPs)…[The 51% turnout of 400 million eligible voters was] a 20-year high…[The vote on the future of the EU produced] a confusing one: Voters abandoned the traditional center and swung further left (pro-EU) and further right (anti-EU)…The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, a pro-European alliance of parties, nearly doubled its presence in the parliament, gaining more than 40 seats. The six-week-old Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, won the highest vote share in the UK; far-right parties in France and Italy also saw major victories…But if there was one cause that won without a doubt, it was the climate crisis…Green parties across the EU member states grew their voter shares. The Germany green party came in second with 20% of the country’s votes, behind the historically dominant Christian Democratic Union.

    The Green party in the UK nearly tripled its vote share (from 4.2% to 12.1%) and nearly doubled its number of MEPs (up to seven from four previously). The alliance of green parties is expected to increase its presence to at least 70 seats, up from 52 in the previous parliament (out of a total 751 seats)…[The] polls overestimated the interest in far-right parties…[but] underestimated the importance voters are giving to the climate crisis. Since the United Nations in October published a dire report on just how far the world is from hitting climate goals, there has been renewed activism to get governments around the world to do more. Nowhere has the interest been higher than in Europe…The voter surge in green parties comes at a crucial point. The EU is mulling raising its climate goals, with the aim of hitting net-zero emissions as soon as 2050. With fewer MEPs in the center, the larger alliance of green parties would hope that it can play the role of kingmaker…” click here for more

    The New Energy Deal Get Even Better

    Renewable Energy Costs Take Another Tumble, Making Fossil Fuels Look More Expensive Than Ever

    Dominic Dudley, May 29, 2019 (Forbes)

    “The cost of renewable energy has tumbled even further over the past year, to the point where almost every source of green energy can now compete on cost with oil, coal and gas-fired power plants…Hydroelectric power is the cheapest source of renewable energy, at an average of $0.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh), but the average cost of developing new power plants based on onshore wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), biomass or geothermal energy is now usually below $0.10/kWh. Not far behind that is offshore wind, which costs close to $0.12/kWh…[These global averages] can vary hugely…However, all these fuel types are now able to compete with the cost of developing new power plants based on fossil fuels such as oil and gas, which typically range from $0.05/kWh to over $0.15/kWh [according to a new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report]…

    …The most attractive renewable energy sources, from a cost perspective, are onshore wind [at $0.03-0.04/kWh] and solar PV [at $0.03/kWh] in places with good natural resources and the right regulatory and institutional frameworks…Even the most expensive renewable energy technology, concentrated solar power (CSP) [$0.10/kWh to $0.27/kWh, with an average price of around $0.18/kWh], is competitive against fossil fuels in some circumstances…The ability of renewable energy to compete effectively against the older fossil fuel technologies is coming as a result of consistent falls in the cost of new plants. Last year alone, the global weighted-average cost of electricity from bioenergy fell by 14%, while solar PV and onshore wind costs dropped by 13% and hydropower fell by 11%. The sharpest fall came in the cost of CSP plants, which dropped by 26%. The cost of geothermal and offshore wind appeared to plateau though, with costs edging down by just 1%...” click here for more

    The Global Solar Potential Is Terawatts

    Terawatt-scale photovoltaics: Transform global energy

    Nancy M. Haegel, Harry Atwater Jr., Teresa Barnes, et al. , 31 May 2019 (Science)

    “…Global installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity exceeded 500 GW at the end of 2018, and an estimated additional 500 GW of PV capacity is projected to be installed by 2022–2023, bringing us into the era of TW-scale PV…[The speed of change in the PV industry toward the TW scale has surprised observers], both in terms of continued dramatic cost decreases and manufacturing-scale increases…Two years ago, we observed that if PV could continue on its historical learning curve, then PV module prices would reach $0.50/W and $0.25/W at a cumulative deployment of 1 and 8 TW, respectively… [but] by the end of 2018, with only 500 GW of PV installed, the global average module selling price was already below $0.25/W…

    In Germany, variable renewable electricity capacity (wind and solar) increased from 45 to 98 GW from 2010 to 2016, translating to an increase in grid penetration from 8 to almost 20%...In California, the fraction of electricity generated in-state from combined utility and residential PV increased from less than 1% in 2010 to ∼18% in 2018…Some research suggested that with current electricity generation operation practices, the value of PV will decrease as PV penetration increases. More recent analysis has identified how changes in operational practices of the existing generation fleet and PV systems themselves could enable much higher levels of PV in the electricity generation system. California is already implementing some of those operational practices, enabling annualized utility-scale PV plant curtailment to stabilize around 1 to 2%...” click here for more

    Thursday, May 30, 2019

    The Perils Of Farming In A Climate Crisis

    Climate Crisis Brings Historic Delay to Planting Season, Pressuring Farmers and Food Prices

    Eoin Higgins, May 29, 2019 (Common Dreams via EcoWatch)

    Farmers in the Midwest are watching the spring planting season shrink due to the climate crisis as damaging storms and flooding are making fields from Oklahoma to Arkansas impossible to sow, a situation that is driving grain prices up in futures markets in a way that could have devastating consequences…A lower yield of corn and soybeans is already jacking prices for the staple cereals up, which could lead to a ripple effect across the economy. And farmers can lose crop insurance if they don't hit growing planting deadlines, most of which are in late May and early June, a major source of recovery for struggling farmers in an already volatile economy…

    Per Reuters: ‘Excessive rain has caused U.S. planting to fall seriously behind schedule. Farmers still had 116 million acres of combined corn and soybeans left to plant as of May 19, far more than they ever had on the date. The previous high was 91 million acres in 1995.’…[Multiple sources suggest] the increasingly dangerous and damaging storms and flooding are likely due to the climate crisis…[Recent research shows] the severity of extreme hydrologic events, so-called 100-year floods, hitting 20 watersheds in the Midwest and Great Lakes region will increase by as much as 30 percent by the end of the century…Corn planting as of May 20 in 18 key U.S. states is off 38.75 percent compared to the five-year average…Soybean planting is off 59.5 percent of its five-year average…” click here for more

    More Proof New Energy Beats Old Coal

    Tri-State rebuffs offer from Guzman Energy to buy and close 3 coal plants

    Robert Walton, May 29, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    “Guzman Energy announced Tuesday it reached out to Tri-State Generation and Transmission with a ‘large-scale, transformative, economic proposal’ to help rapidly decarbonize the generation supply for dozens of rural electric cooperatives [and save money for electricity customers], but its offer was rejected…Guzman offered to purchase and shutter three coal-fired units owned by Tri-State, and replace the power with a mix of generation more than 70% renewable through a long-term fixed-price agreement…Tri-State officials indicated they are not currently interested in the proposal, but could revisit the idea…

    Rocky Mountain Institute turned up the heat on Tri-State last year when it issued a report concluding 1 million consumers could save more than $600 million through 2030 if Tri-State retired some of its fossil-fuel plants. Now Guzman Energy says it has sufficient capital to [move Tri-State to 70% New Energy and] retire 800 MW of coal generation…Tri-State supplies power to 43 rural electric cooperatives and some of those members have asked regulators to exit their supplier, seeking cheaper, cleaner power…Approximately half of Tri-State's generation comes from coal…[Guzman's proposal] would have provided Tri-State with a ‘substantial direct cash infusion’ to finance the early retirement of nearly half of the utility's coal generation not already slated for early closure…” click here for more

    Waves Of New Growth For Floating Solar

    Floating Solar Opens New Markets For Renewable Energy

    Mark Venables, May 28, 2019 (Forbes)

    “…[New technology] will enable large-scale solar developments on coastal seawater, lakes, and reservoirs…[The flagship ‘floater’] has a diameter of 72m with an area of approximately 4000m2…[Floaters use] utility type, dual-glass, crystalline silicon modules with a customized junction box, cables, and attachment features…The modules can be rapidly and securely attached to the membrane enabling good thermal contact with the waterbody. The membrane itself is non-permeable and is a barrier against the waterbody, designed to withstand mechanical stress and sun exposure…[The] product is best suited within 45 degrees latitude…[Target] areas are some of the hottest regions on the planet such as Australia, the Sahara Desert, and the Middle East…

    According to data from the World Bank, these contain nearly 400,000 square kilometers of man-made reservoirs alone…[A tiny portion of these vast areas of water surfaces would be a two-terawatt] $2 trillion business, assuming approximately one dollar per watt installed…[A prototype floater] has been on trial for two years… Statkraft ordered a floating solar plant with a maximum capacity of 2 MW for the Banja reservoir in Albania. The solar park will consist of four floating units of 0.5 MW each, with a total investment cost of €2.3 million…[It] is the first major commercial contract for the system…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 29, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Grid Mod Gets Bigger And Smarter

    As grid mod accelerates and regulators push back, Duke and others retool proposals; Within this whirlwind of activity, some utilities are responding well and some are struggling to meet pressure from regulators and stakeholders to justify spending proposals.

    Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 20, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Grid modernization efforts continue to expand and become more important as the U.S. power sector builds in more flexibility and distributed generation and cut back on emissions.

    Grid modernization is a concept that covers utility and other investments in distribution and transmission system technologies that improve the grid's reliability, resilience and efficiency. They range from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to distributed energy resources (DER) to smart grid and automation hardware and software. The appeal of these advanced technologies to customers, policymakers and utilities is clear, but utilities are beginning to get "pushback on the price tag of some proposals," according to the ScottMadden Fall 2018 Energy Industry Update. Grid modernization investments may run into the billions of dollars, and regulators and stakeholders are beginning to question the rate impacts of these expenditures…

    Pushback based on inadequate justification of costs led to regulators' recent denials of AMI proposals in Kentucky and New Mexico, according to both ScottMadden and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center's (NCCETC) Q3 grid modernization policy update. In Q3 2018, utilities proposed at least $2.36 billion in spending for AMI and smart grid deployment and another $7 billion for energy storage deployments, according to NCCETC. "Regulators are increasingly requiring that utilities make the business case," NCCETC Senior Research Manager Autumn Proudlove told Utility Dive. Utilities need to clarify their objectives, validate new technologies, prioritize investments and show a cost-benefit analysis that justifies proposed grid modernization expenditures, ScottMadden advised. Two of NCCETC's top trends in Q3 grid modernization policy activity show utilities responding to the pushback. First, utilities are using regulatory proceedings to propose an increasingly wide variety of metrics for measuring performance, NCCETC reported. This can lead to collaboration with stakeholders on justification of expenditures… click here for more

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Breaking Out In The Southeast

    How policies can make or brake solar development in the Southeast; Third party financing can enable solar growth, but faces hurdles in several states. Some utilities are not compensating for solar's value on the grid and leveling charges specific to solar owners.

    Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 20, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Driven by some of the hardest working and most thankless policy wonks in the nation, the sunny South is finally starting to grow solar. The most recent SACE reports shows growth accelerating.

    Utilities in the sunny Southeast face challenging policy questions from the region's spiking demand for solar. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) expects the region's cumulative 6 GW at the end of 2017 to reach 15 GW by 2021, driven largely by utility-scale solar. But this growth confronts utilities with big questions about costs and benefits. The Rates of Solar website, launched in October by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) shows that many Southeastern utilities have policies that limit distributed solar growth, and finds two trends that impact the solar value proposition, SELC Staff Attorney Lauren Bowen told Utility Dive. "One is that many utilities charge small solar owners extra fees and the other is that they do not compensate solar's full value.” The focus of policy “should be on encouraging the market because consumers want solar, but some utility policies put the brakes on market growth," she added.

    Florida, Sunrun, one of the biggest national solar installers, won a major victory at the Public Service Commission (PSC) in April by getting a form of third party ownership of solar approved. "Third-party ownership of solar has driven residential solar market growth across the country, but Florida did not allow it," Sunrun Chief Policy Officer Anne Hoskins, a former Maryland utility commissioner, told Utility Dive. "After the PSC rejected our initial proposal for a no-upfront-cost leasing program, we used their feedback to develop a proposal that fits state statutes and satisfied the commission." Sunrun expects third party ownership to drive new residential solar growth in Florida, while the SELC is keeping an eye on compensation and charges leveled by utilities on solar owners… click here for more

    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, May 28, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Falling Costs Of Wind And Solar

    Q1 2019 PPA Price Index

    May 2019 (Level 10 Energy)

    Overview

    The Level Ten Q1 2019 PPA Price Index is the fourth edition of this report. To bring more transparency to the market, every quarter, LevelTen Energy provides an in-depth look at PPA offer price averages submitted through the LevelTen Marketplace, for both wind and solar projects, in five independent system operator (ISO) regions, including CAISO, ERCOT, MISO, PJM and SPP.

    This quarter, in addition to reporting on how much prices have changed, we also examined why they changed. We conducted a survey of renewable energy project developers to find out which market factors impacted their offer prices the most. We also explored whether or not changes to federal tax credits would affect future renewable energy project development. Read on for the results.

    Renewable Energy Market Developments: Q1 2019 We identified six major market developments that could increase or decrease wind and solar PPA offer prices in Q1 2019 (summary below). To find out which of these market factors impacted prices the most, we conducted a survey of all active wind and solar developers in the U.S. and Canada on LevelTen’s Marketplace, and received 40 responses. The results of that survey follow.

    Changes in Engineering, Procurement & Construction

    Costs The cost of wind turbines is generally declining, although iron and steel tariffs have tempered that decline slightly. Similarly, while the cost of solar panels has declined dramatically over the past five years, the impending Investment Tax Credit phase-down has increased demand for panels, resulting in higher costs for developers who have not yet secured panels.

    Increased Demand from Corporations

    Corporations are continuing to invest in renewable energy through PPAs. In Q1, we saw PPA announcements from companies spanning multiple industries, including Facebook, General Mills, Microsoft, The Home Depot and the deal that LevelTen facilitated with Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc., Salesforce and Workday. This increased demand could lead to higher prices.

    Increased Competition Among Developers

    There was a 17% increase in the number of active projects submitted to the LevelTen Marketplace from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019. More active projects in the Marketplace means that developers are facing more competition from other developers, which could contribute to continuing price declines.

    Increased Demand from Utilities

    Many states have passed Renewable Portfolio Standards, with deadlines spanning from 2020 to 2040. To meet these standards, utilities are entering into PPAs with renewable energy projects at increasing rates. The increased demand could lead to increased prices.

    Emerging PPA Structures & Deal Terms

    C&I buyers are incorporating more riskmitigating structures into their PPAs, and these terms, including $0 price floors and collars, increase risk for developers. In response, developers may add premiums to their PPA price offers. Another dynamic we observed throughout 2018 and into Q1 2019 is the proliferation of attractive financial hedge opportunities for solar projects in markets such as ERCOT and PJM, which put upward pressure on C&I PPA prices.

    Tax Credit Expiration/Reductions

    The Production Tax Credit (PTC) will expire in 2020 for wind projects that have not commenced construction by 2019. For solar projects, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will be reduced from 30% in 2019 to 26% for projects that commence construction in 2020. While these changes could be expected to raise PPA prices, potentially slowing development altogether, the elimination of tax equity investors from a project’s capital stack is anticipated to reduce capital costs and soften the PPA price impact…

    PPA Price Index Overview

    To determine how PPA offer prices have shifted from Q4 2018, we analyzed data on 1,100+ price offers from 340+ renewable energy projects across the country.

    The following are a handful of key takeaways from Q1 2019:

    • Across markets, an evenly-weighted index of P25 wind and solar prices decreased $0.39/MWh, or 2.3% quarterover-quarter. • Solar prices decreased in all markets except MISO, with the largest decreases coming from CAISO, PJM and ERCOT, and only moderate decreases in SPP.

    • Wind prices also decreased, but not as significantly as solar prices. ERCOT and SPP saw material decreases in their prices, while CAISO, MISO and PJM saw slight increases. We made a few changes this quarter:

    • The number of price offers that we analyzed for this quarter’s Index increased from 700 to 1,100 due to a change in the LevelTen Marketplace that made it easier for developers to submit multiple offers (at different contract terms) for the same project.

    • We added a few new hubs to the Index: wind prices in NP15 and Palo Verde in CAISO, as well as solar prices at Michigan hub in MISO…

    Solar: The P25 Index for solar prices dropped in all markets except MISO, which increased by 4%. CAISO saw the biggest drop, with a 15% decrease in prices from Q4 to Q1…

    Wind: The P25 Index for wind prices increased moderately in three markets (CAISO, MISO and PJM), but a large decrease of 8% in ERCOT and a moderate decrease of 1% in SPP pushed the overall index down…

    QUICK NEWS, May 28: When Change Becomes Crisis; Replacing NatGas With Solar – The Math

    When Change Becomes Crisis Should We Be Calling Climate Change a 'Climate Crisis'?

    Brian Kahn, May 21, 2019 (Gizmodo)

    “…[Leading voices say it is time to move from ‘climate change’ to the more accurate ‘climate crisis’ label but some say the new label] has the potential to alienate some readers…Terms like climate crisis and emergency connote a value judgment…[They] are well borne out by the facts. Climate change is creating crises around the world…But the terms still blur the line between subjective and objective, a move that could have unintended consequences…People who don’t share the opinion that climate change is a crisis are, by and large, conservatives, who deny the problem’s existence at higher rates than the general populace…

    Numerous lines of research show that the denial doesn’t stem from a lack of intelligence, but rather from a worldview that climate change—a global problem that requires cooperation and government intervention to solve—directly threatens…[It is not necessary to pander to conservatives but] finding terms that most people can relate to is the key way to building engagement…[There may be] terms that can convey the urgency of the issue without the added value statement…[On the other hand, change may have become a crisis because] a concerted misinformation campaign…Clearly the status quo hasn’t exactly been working…[and the new label is] a step toward being real about the situation humanity is facing.” click here for more

    Replacing NatGas With Solar – The Math How Many L.A. Rooftop Solar Panels to Replace a Natural Gas Power Plant?

    Andrew Burger, May 27, 2019 (Solar Magazine)

    “…[Market-leading residential solar energy systems installer Sunrun proposes replacing] a Los Angeles natural gas power plant scheduled for retirement by aggregating the power generated by solar-plus-storage systems installed in city homes…[The ‘virtual power plant’ (VPP) could replace peak capacity and] save nearly $60 million…[The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the] largest municipal utility in the U.S….[could deploy battery storage and solar on] roughly 150,000 homes and 5,000 apartment buildings…The ability to generate and manage emissions-free electricity at gigawatt-scale with the reliability, and at a cost that matches, or beats, grid-connected, natural-gas power generation could be a genuine game-changer when it comes to advancing the renewable, zero-carbon energy transition…

    [Power utilities could leapfrog and avoid investing in a new generation of natural-gas power plants, thereby avoiding all the carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions, other types of environmental pollution and water resources use that comes with them…Installed in homes, businesses and government facilities and then networked to create a virtual power plant (VPP), solar-plus-storage systems have the advantage of being modular and quick to deploy with small physical footprints…They offer an unprecedented amount of flexibility when it comes to the range of grid services they can provide, from ancillary grid services, such as frequency or voltage regulation, to primary, spinning and reserve grid generation capacity… Sunrun recently won a bid to provide regional transmission organization (RTO) ISO New England (ISO-NE) with energy capacity at wholesale rates by aggregating electrical power produced by home solar-plus-storage systems distributed across the region…” click here for more

    Monday, May 27, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: A Pathway To Net Zero Emissions

    Net Zero; The UK's contribution to stopping global warming

    May 2019 (Committee on Climate Change)

    Executive Summary

    The UK should set and vigorously pursue an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to 'net-zero' by 2050, ending the UK's contribution to global warming within 30 years.

    Reflecting their respective circumstances, Scotland should set a net-zero GHG target for 2045 and Wales should target a 95% reduction by 2050 relative to 1990.

    A net-zero GHG target for 2050 will deliver on the commitment that the UK made by signing the Paris Agreement. It is achievable with known technologies, alongside improvements in people's lives, and within the expected economic cost that Parliament accepted when it legislated the existing 2050 target for an 80% reduction from 1990.

    However, this is only possible if clear, stable and well-designed policies to reduce emissions further are introduced across the economy without delay. Current policy is insufficient for even the existing targets.

    A net-zero GHG target for 2050 would respond to the latest climate science and fully meet the UK's obligations under the Paris Agreement:

    • It would constitute the UK's 'highest possible ambition', as called for by Article 4 of the Paris Agreement. The Committee do not currently consider it credible to aim to reach net-zero emissions earlier than 2050.

    • It goes beyond the reduction needed globally to hold the expected rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C and beyond the Paris Agreement's goal to achieve a balance between global sources and sinks of greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century.

    • If replicated across the world, and coupled with ambitious near-term reductions in emissions, it would deliver a greater than 50% chance of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

    Now is a crucial time in the global effort to tackle climate change, with revised pledges of effort currently being considered ahead of the UN climate summit in late-2020. An ambitious new UK target would encourage increases in ambition elsewhere, including the adoption of other netzero GHG targets, such as the 2050 target currently under consideration by the European Union.

    In committing to a net-zero GHG target, Parliament must understand that, while many of the policy foundations are in place, a major ramp-up in policy effort is now required:

    • The foundations are in place. Policy development has begun for many of the components needed to reach net-zero GHG emissions: low-carbon electricity (which must quadruple its supply by 2050), efficient buildings and low-carbon heating (needed throughout the building stock), electric vehicles, carbon capture and storage (CCS), diversion of biodegradable waste from landfill, phase-out of fluorinated gases, increased afforestation and measures to reduce emissions on farms. These policies must be strengthened and they must deliver action.

    • A net-zero GHG target is not credible unless policy is ramped up significantly. Most sectors will need to reduce emissions close to zero without offsetting; the target cannot be met by simply adding mass removal of CO2 onto existing plans for the 80% target.

    ‒ Delivery must progress with far greater urgency. Many current plans are insufficiently ambitious; others are proceeding too slowly, even for the current 80% target:

     2040 is too late for the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars and vans, and current plans for delivering this are too vague.

     Over ten years after the Climate Change Act was passed, there is still no serious plan for decarbonising UK heating systems and no large-scale trials have begun for either heat pumps or hydrogen.

     Carbon capture (usage) and storage, which is crucial to the delivery of zero GHG emissions and strategically important to the UK economy, is yet to get started. While global progress has also been slow, there are now 43 large-scale projects operating or under development around the world, but none in the UK.

     Afforestation targets for 20,000 hectares/year across the UK nations (due to increase to 27,000 by 2025), are not being delivered, with less than 10,000 hectares planted on average over the last five years. The voluntary approach that has been pursued so far for agriculture is not delivering reductions in emissions.

    ‒ Challenges that have not yet been confronted must now be addressed by government. Industry must be largely decarbonised, heavy goods vehicles must also switch to low-carbon fuel sources, emissions from international aviation and shipping cannot be ignored, and a fifth of our agricultural land must shift to alternative uses that support emissions reduction: afforestation, biomass production and peatland restoration. Where there are remaining emissions these must be fully offset by removing CO₂ from the atmosphere and permanently sequestering it, for example by using sustainable bioenergy in combination with CCS.

    ‒ Clear leadership is needed, right across Government, with delivery in partnership with businesses and communities. Emissions reduction cannot be left to the energy and environment departments or to the Treasury.1 It must be vital to the whole of government and to every level of government in the UK. Policies must be fully funded and implemented coherently across all sectors of the economy to drive the necessary innovation, market development and consumer take-up of low-carbon technologies, and to positively influence societal change.

    • Overall costs are manageable but must be fairly distributed.

    ‒ There have been rapid cost reductions during mass deployment for key technologies (e.g. offshore wind and batteries for electric vehicles). As a result, we now expect that a net-zero GHG target can be met at an annual resource cost of up to 1-2% of GDP to 2050, the same cost as the previous expectation for an 80% reduction from 1990.

    ‒ The transition, including for workers and energy bill payers, must be fair, and perceived to be fair. Government should develop the necessary frameworks to ensure this. An early priority must be to review the plan for funding and the distribution of costs for businesses, households and the Exchequer.

    The background for this report is one of increased awareness of climate risks and falling lowcarbon technology costs, but where global emissions continue to rise:

    • Global average temperature has already risen 1°C from pre-industrial levels and climate risks are increasingly apparent. The Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018 emphasised the critical importance of limiting further warming to as low a level as possible and the need for deep and rapid reductions in emissions to do so.

    • Current pledges of effort from countries across the world would lead to warming of around 3°C by the end of the century. This is an improvement on the warming of over 4°C expected when the UK Climate Change Act was passed, but it is well short of the Paris Agreement's long-term goal to limit the rise to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to 1.5°C.

    • While the UK has demonstrated that it is possible to cut emissions while growing the economy, global emissions continue to rise.

    • However, falling costs for key technologies mean that the future will be different from the past: renewable power (e.g. solar, wind) is now as cheap as or cheaper than fossil fuels in most parts of the world.

    This report responds to a request from the Governments of the UK, Wales and Scotland, asking the Committee to reassess the UK's long-term emissions targets. 2 The UK Government has already committed to reducing UK emissions to net-zero3 - the key question for this report is by when.

    We do not start from an assumption that the world will meet the Paris Agreement's temperature goal. Instead, we have sought to identify a UK target that is within reach and best supports an increase in global effort, consistent with bringing the expected temperature rise down from the current trajectory. Success will bring huge benefits for the world and for the UK by limiting some of the worst climate risks.

    In developing our advice we have consulted widely, issued a public Call for Evidence, and compiled an extensive evidence base. Our new emissions scenarios draw on ten new research projects, three expert advisory groups, and reviews of the work of the IPCC and others.

    We also make recommendations for the statutory frameworks in Scotland and Wales, which are contingent on the UK adopting a net-zero GHG target for 2050, given the importance of reserved UK policy levers alongside devolved action…

    Is now the right time to set a net-zero target?

    A net-zero target requires deep reductions in emissions, with any remaining sources offset by removals of CO₂ from the atmosphere (e.g. by afforestation). Net emissions, after accounting for removals, must be reduced by 100%, to zero.

    The Paris Agreement (Article 4) includes an objective in order to achieve its long-term temperature goal, which is widely interpreted as requiring net-zero GHG emissions globally in the second half of the century (expressed as 'a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks'). The UK Government has also recognised the need to reach netzero GHG emissions in the UK, a position with which the Committee agreed in our 2016 report on UK climate action following the Paris Agreement.

    In 2016 we advised that the Government should not set a net-zero target at that time, but should instead keep a target under review as the evidence develops. We now conclude that the evidence supports setting a net-zero target in the UK and that this evidence is robust: a net-zero target should now be set. It is also an important moment for the UK to make a positive international impact…

    Should the net-zero target be for CO₂ or all GHGs?

    All greenhouse gases (GHGs) contribute to climate change and must be reduced substantially to meet the Paris temperature goal. To stabilise global temperatures, emissions of long-lived gases like CO₂ must be reduced to net-zero. Emissions of short-lived gases like methane must be stabilised, but need not reach net-zero. We develop scenarios in this report that reduce UK emissions of CO₂ and other long-lived gases to net-zero. Alongside cuts in methane emissions these would result in a UK reduction across greenhouse gases of around 97% relative to 1990.4 This would end the UK's contribution to rising global temperatures…

    When should the UK reach net-zero GHGs and what should the longterm targets be for the UK, Scotland and Wales?

    The Governments asked for advice on when the UK should achieve a net-zero GHG target and on what the long-term emissions targets should be for the UK, Scotland and Wales.

    • UK. We recommend that the UK should achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 (i.e. a 100% reduction from 1990). This would be an appropriate UK contribution to the Paris Agreement. Based on our current understanding, it is the latest date for the UK credibly to maintain its status as a climate leader and the earliest to be credibly deliverable alongside other government objectives.

    • Scotland (Box 2) has different capabilities, notably its larger land area per person and its significant CO2 storage potential, meaning it can credibly reach net-zero GHGs earlier. We recommend that Scotland legislates for net-zero GHGs in 2045.

    • Wales (Box 3) has less opportunity for CO2 storage and relatively high agricultural emissions that are hard to reduce. On current understanding it could not credibly reach net-zero GHGs by 2050. We recommend it sets a target for a 95% reduction in emissions by 2050 relative to 1990. This would still cut Welsh net emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases to below zero and therefore end Wales's contribution to rising global temperatures…

    How can the UK reach net-zero GHGs?

    Scenarios for UK net-zero

    GHGs in 2050 It is impossible to predict the exact mix of technologies and behaviours that will best meet the challenge of reaching net-zero GHG emissions, but our analysis in this report gives an improved understanding of what a sensible mix might look like. The scenarios (Figure 2 and Box 4) include:

    • Resource and energy efficiency, that reduce demand for energy across the economy. Without these measures the required amounts of low-carbon power, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) would be much higher. In many, though not all, cases they reduce overall costs.

    • Some societal choices that lead to a lower demand for carbon-intensive activities, for example an acceleration in the shift towards healthier diets with reduced consumption of beef, lamb and dairy products.

    • Extensive electrification, particularly of transport and heating, supported by a major expansion of renewable and other low-carbon power generation. The scenarios involve around a doubling of electricity demand, with all power produced from low-carbon sources (compared to 50% today). That could for example require 75 GW of offshore wind in 2050, compared to 8 GW today and 30 GW targeted by the Government's sector deal by 2030. 75 GW of offshore wind would require up to 7,500 turbines and could fit within 1-2% of the UK seabed, comparable to the area of sites already leased for wind projects by the Crown Estate.

    • Development of a hydrogen economy to service demands for some industrial processes, for energy-dense applications in long-distance HGVs and ships, and for electricity and heating in peak periods. By 2050, a new low-carbon industry is needed with UK hydrogen production capacity of comparable size to the UK's current fleet of gas-fired power stations.

    • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) in industry, with bioenergy (for GHG removal from the atmosphere), and very likely for hydrogen and electricity production. CCS is a necessity not an option. The scenarios involve aggregate annual capture and storage of 75-175 MtCO₂ in 2050, which would require a major CO₂ transport and storage infrastructure servicing at least five clusters and with some CO₂ transported by ships or heavy goods vehicles.

    • Changes in the way we farm and use our land to put much more emphasis on carbon sequestration and biomass production. Enabled by healthier diets and reductions in food waste, our scenarios involve a fifth of UK agricultural land shifting to tree planting, energy crops and peatland restoration…

    What are the expected costs and benefits of a UK net-zero GHG target for 2050?

    In considering the costs of a net-zero GHG target for the UK, we are interested in the overall cost and its distribution: costs to the Exchequer and the risks of an unfair burden on vulnerable people or of undermining UK competitiveness. Against these there will also be large benefits, including reduced climate risks and cleaner air.

    Our assessment integrates changes across the energy system, including the need to provide low-carbon electricity and hydrogen and to strengthen networks so that they reach consumers when needed. We exclude taxes and subsidies from our assessment - these constitute a transfer from one part of the economy to another while we are interested in the extra resource cost for the economy as a whole…

    Next Steps

    Setting the net-zero target and determining the cost-effective path

    The Committee expects to advise on the sixth carbon budget (covering the years 2033-2037), once Parliament has considered the setting of a new long-term target. The advice of the Committee on the sixth carbon budget is due in 2020. The net-zero GHG target for 2050 should be set in legislation as soon as possible - and before the end of 2019 to allow time to develop advice on the cost-effective path to the new target.

    We do not recommend changes to the fourth or fifth carbon budgets at this time, but note that both were set on the path to the existing 80% target and therefore are likely to be too loose.

    We already recommend that the Government aim to out-perform the legislated budgets based on revisions to our estimate of the cost-effective path to the 80% target.9 We reiterate that recommendation and we will consider whether the fourth and fifth carbon budgets should be tightened in legislation as part of our advice on the sixth carbon budget…

    Conclusion

    There have been significant changes in the decade since the Climate Change Act was passed. Those changes can be accommodated within the Act, but they require an increase in the headline ambition.

    We now have an understanding of how UK emissions can be reduced by 100% to net-zero and expect it to be delivered within the costs previously agreed by Parliament, provided all parts of government act quickly, effectively and in a coordinated fashion. Many businesses in the UK are ready to implement it; some have already set net-zero targets of their own.

    A new UK target for net-zero GHGs by 2050, backed by a robust set of plans to achieve it within the UK’s strong and widely-respected legislative framework, would send a strong international signal at a critical time. It can act as the benchmark for developed nations and position the UK as a progressive climate leader on the global stage.

    The changes required are substantial, but the foundations are already in place. Strong leadership is now required from governments throughout the UK, beginning with acceptance of the need to ramp up policy effort significantly and a rapid adoption of our recommendations by the Parliaments of the UK…

    QUICK NEWS, May 27: Bringing Climate Crisis Resistance Home; A New Energy Bet To Watch

    Bringing Climate Crisis Resistance Home 5 ways you can personally fight the climate crisis

    James Mack, 27 May 2019 (World Economic Forum)

    “…There are many ways to take action…We all have a unique reach and can create a ripple effect across our spheres of influence…[to] play a role in battling the greatest challenge of our time…[1] Research shows that the average individual makes about 35,000 decisions every day…When you consider the climate crisis in your decision-making, others notice. Discussion begins, and the effect of your decision is multiplied…[2] Someone within your network may have the influence or power to effect change…If you recognize an environmental challenge but are not in a position of power to enact the necessary change, you may be connected to a decision-maker who is. Speak up and inspire action…

    [3] The more you learn about existing policies (those that help and those that damage the environment), the more you will realize how regulations and legislation can play a critical role in supporting the adoption of clean technology…[4] When Greta Thunberg caught the attention of the cameras at Davos with her cry for adults to ‘wake up and act like the house is burning,’ people took to the streets…It is important to look for the ‘Gretas’ within your community, and to amplify their voices…[5] We must support the positive efforts of others – whether big or small…[no matter their] level of knowledge about climate science…To fight the climate crisis, we need as many people as possible working in unison…” click here for more

    A New Energy Bet To Watch Put This High-Yield Renewable Energy Stock on Your Watch List Now; Clearway Energy's results are being impacted by the ongoing PG&E bankruptcy, but it's likely to emerge unaffected. That could make it an excellent buy, if management can fix some other problems.

    Jason Hall, May 26, 2019 (Motley Fool)

    “…The dividend yield of New Energy developer Clearway Energy (NYSE:CWEN) (NYSE:CWEN-A) appears to] put its shares among the highest-yielding yieldco stocks, currently outyielding Pattern Energy Group (NASDAQ:PEGI), Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP), TerraForm Power (NASDAQ:TERP), and NextEra Energy Partners (NYSE:NEP)…[But the ongoing bankruptcy of one of its biggest customers, PG&E (NYSE:PCG), forced it] to cut its quarterly dividend to $0.20 per share in late 2018, and the forward yield is 5.4% at recent prices…It could be some time before there's resolution on this issue, even as PG&E continues to pay Clearway at agreed-upon rates, and could emerge from bankruptcy sooner than expected. That keeps Clearway off the buy list…

    But it's on my watchlist… [T]here are other things Clearway must correct to get its cash flow moving in the right direction…[It must improve its balance sheet and grow] its portfolio of projects, and the company is making progress in this regard…[Though there must also be some resolution to the PG&E bankruptcy, the long-term result is likely] to be minimal impact for Clearway…[But] until the company demonstrates it can generate more cash from the rest of its assets, the dividend remains at risk…[M]anagement should be able to resolve this in due time…[Until then, yieldco Brookfield Renewable has] shown it can make money and steadily grow its dividend.” click here for more

    Saturday, May 25, 2019

    Bill Maher Talks Climate Crisis Economics

    A congressperson from Ohio explains an economic approach to the climate crisis: “You better align the environmental incentives with the financial incentives.” From Real Time With Bill Maher via YouTube

    Denier Transformed

    Why a Republican climate crisis denier saw the light.From Niskanen Center via YouTube

    The New Nuclear Question

    Should next-gen nuclear power be part of the Green New Deal? Nuclear comes with catastrophic risk and can’t be built any faster than New Energy and next-gen battery energy storage. From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    Friday, May 24, 2019

    Record Numbers In Student Climate Crisis Strike

    Global Climate Strike: Record number of students walk out

    Isabelle Gerretsen, May 24, 2019 (CNN)

    "Hundreds of thousands of school students around the world walked out of class on Friday to urge their governments to take greater action in slashing greenhouse gas emissions…Climate protests are planned in more than 1600 towns in over 125 countries and organizers say the number of strikers is expected to surpass the 1.6 million people who took part in the first Global Climate Strike in March…Inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's weekly protests, the global youth climate movement has swept the globe in recent months…The protests on Friday started in New Zealand and Australia, which recently experienced its hottest summer on record…[and] are planned in countries across every continent, from Nepal to Nigeria…

    Despite increased awareness about the climate crisis, activists say governments have been too slow to implement policies to curb global warming…Ahead of the Global Climate Strike in March, youth activists told CNN about their personal experiences of climate change -- ranging from wildfires in California to rising sea levels in Mauritius…Last year, global carbon emissions reached a record high and a UN report warned that unprecedented global action is needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels…Scientists warned earlier this month that one million species are threatened with extinction due in part to climate change and pollution caused by humans.” click here for more

    Access To Electricity And New Energy Are Growing

    Global electricity access grows—but we're not on track for 2030 sustainable energy goals; International report points to progress on electricity access, but finds clean cooking solutions and renewable energy in transportation and heating need to be bolstered.

    Brian Bienkowski, May 22, 2019 (Environmental Health News)

    “More people on the planet have access to electricity than ever before, however, the world is on pace to fall short on the goal of affordable and sustainable energy for all by 2030…[Meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for electricity access] will require innovative solutions— such as solar lighting and full-home systems, as well as mini-grids—to serve the poorest and hardest to reach people…[The Energy Progress Report found about 840 million people (about 11 percent of the people on the planet) now live without electricity, which is down from 1 billion in 2016, and 1.2 billion in 2010. Most of the progress over the past few years in connecting people was made in India, Bangladesh and Kenya…

    …[T]here is still a rural-urban divide: with the rural access rate at 79 percent, compared to 97 percent in urban areas…A bulk of those without electricity—573 million—are in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to the 20 countries with the lowest rates of electricity…Each year between 2015 and 2017 about 153 million people gained access to electricity. If this rate continued, the 2030 UN goal of universal electricity would be reached…[But] the latest projection places the access rate in 2030 at 92 percent, leaving 650 million people around the world without access to electricity…[A]bout 17.5 percent of global energy consumed in 2016 was from renewable sources, which was up from 16.6 percent in 2010. The number of renewables used in electricity grew at its fastest rate in nearly 30 years—largely driven by Latin America hydropower, China's ‘record-level’ wind capacity added in 2015; and solar growth in China and the U.S…” click here for more

    China Accelerates New Energy Move

    Policy Initiatives To Trigger Massive Growth Of Renewable Energy In China

    Gaurav Sharma, May 21, 2019 (Forbes)

    “New policy initiatives in China will trigger an increase in the consumption of renewable energy and lower curtailment rates, while at the same time also create challenges for the country's coal-fired power producers, who will see utilization declines…[The final China National Energy Administration renewable portfolio standard (RPS)] will become effective in 2020 for five years…[It sets the 2030 foundational share of non-fossil fuels at] 20% of primary energy consumption…[It was 14.3% in 2018, which was almost the] 15% set in [China’s] 13th five-year plan for 2016-2020…

    China is already the world's largest wind power producer, with 211,392MW of installed capacity, more than all of the European Union combined…[C]urtailment rates for wind and solar power dropped to 7% and 3% in 2018 on supportive government policies, and should in all likelihood fall further as consistency increases across Chinese provinces in their dispatch of renewable energy…The other side of China's evolving energy mix is that as renewables thrive, the new policy creates challenges for coal-fired power producers, as intensifying competition from renewable energy companies will result in declining utilization, and ultimately lower average tariffs.” click here for more

    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    High Water Rising

    Sea levels may rise much faster than previously predicted, swamping coastal cities such as Shanghai, study finds

    Sareena Dayaram, May 21, 2019 (CNN)

    “Global sea levels could rise more than two meters (6.6 feet) by the end of this century if emissions continue unchecked, swamping major cities such as New York and Shanghai and displacing up to 187 million people, a new study warns…[S]ea levels may rise much faster than previously estimated due to the accelerating melting of ice sheets in both Greenland and Antarctica…[I]n the worst case scenario under which global temperatures increase by 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, sea levels could rise by more than two meters (6.6 feet) in the same period…The researchers found that under the extreme-case scenario, about 1.79 million square kilometers (691,120 sq miles) -- an area more than three times the size of California -- would be lost to the sea…[placing] up to 187 million people at risk, which is about 2.5% of the world's total population…

    [The chance of a worst-case scenario is about 5%, but] should not be discounted…[H]umankind had quite a narrow window of opportunity to avoid some of the worst consequences, such as very high sea level rise…The United Nations climate panel's last major report in 2013 predicted that sea levels would rise between 52 and 98 cm (20.4 inches and 38.5 inches) by 2100 at the current trajectory. But many experts saw those findings as conservative…Scientists are worried that the current models used to predict the influence of massive melting ice sheets have flaws, and fail to capture all of the uncertainties…Scientists say there is still time to avoid the worst if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in the coming decades…” click here for more

    Climate Crisis Driving New Energy Boom

    Amid climate crisis, renewable energy poised for rapid growth

    Lynn Jurich, May 22, 2019 (The Hill)

    “…[There are only have about 12 years to act before [climate crisis] damage is irrevocable. The good news is that we have the technology and solutions…and the public is overwhelmingly supportive…Thanks to federal clean energy tax incentives and supportive state policies…[New Energy} already accounts for 18 percent of our electricity production, up from 9 percent just a decade ago…Solar capacity has almost tripled since 2015, from 19,000 megawatts to 48,000 megawatts in 2018…Wind production has also almost tripled since 2009, from 35,000 megawatts to more than 90,000 megawatts in 2018…In combination, total solar and wind potential is more than 14 million megawatts – or 14 times current electric power capacity…Companies are deploying battery storage today, and prices are dropping quickly, falling by 76 percent between 2012 and 2018…

    …[S]tate policymakers should continue their leadership enacting policies that maintain our country’s clean energy momentum…We will still need to have a transmission grid, and large-scale centralized renewable power, but we also need to increasingly deploy local energy resources if we are to achieve a fully decarbonized grid…Ten years ago, few Americans could have imagined a nation powered by renewable energy. But, renewable energy now provides nearly 20 percent of our electricity and we have more than enough capacity to produce all of our energy from wind and solar, according to the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory…We simply have to choose the policies that accelerate the transition…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: California utilities prep nation's biggest time-of-use rate roll out

    California utilities prep nation's biggest time-of-use rate roll out; Over 300 time-varying rates in 62 pilots have shown consumers can "understand and respond," but California’s three IOUs are dealing with more than 20 million people.

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

    Editor’s note: It is too soon for news on the California TOU rate rollout but the utility world is watching.

    Many utility tests of time varying rates have led to billORIGINAL REPORTING: California utilities prep nation's biggest time-of-use rate roll out savings and lower peak loads, but California has begun the biggest test yet by putting over 20 million consumers on time-of-use (TOU) rates. Properly designed and deployed TOU rates can help customers save money by shifting their use away from high-priced time periods. The rates can help utilities reduce their expenditures by lowering the highest demand they must meet. And TOU rates often move customer use toward periods when low cost renewables are in greater supply on utility systems, which saves costs for customers and utilities. The challenge in designing TOU rates is aligning the high prices for customers with high system costs and low prices for customers with low system costs. The challenges with deploying TOU rates are in helping customers understand them and in using the price signals to get customers to pay attention to when they use electricity.

    In 2015, in response to a number of successful pilot programs, including a landmark Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) 2012 to 2014 TOU rate pilot, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered the state's three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to transition to "default" rates by 2019, requiring customers pay TOU rates unless they opt out. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) began moving its customers in March, and Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) were given until October 2020 in order to prepare their billing systems. SMUD began another system-wide rollout of default TOU rates in October 2018. A dozen or more states are working on TOU rates, which charge more for electricity when it costs more to deliver. If customers shift their usage to the lower cost times, they can lower their bills and utilities can see lower peak demand. A Brattle Group Principal Ahmad Faruqui. But Brattle's survey of customer responses to over 300 time-varying rates in 62 pilots shows sufficiently prepared customers "understand and respond" to TOU rates… click here for more

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: PacifiCorp and other analyses point to more coal shutdowns as replacement demands rise

    As PacifiCorp and other analyses point to more coal shutdowns, replacement questions rise; A recent PacifiCorp analysis points to a growing trend among utilities, and analysts are watching to see how modeling and reliability issues can best be addressed as retirements continue.

    Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 13, 2018 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Evidence continues to mount that buying new low-cost renewables and shuttering existing coal can save customers money.

    The economics of coal took another hard hit in Oregon on Dec. 3. A report to the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (OPUC) from PacifiCorp confirmed that the bulk of its coal units cost more to run than to close and replace. The analysis joins a host of other analyses finding, among other things, that despite White House efforts to support coal, consumption is decreasing and the fuel is no longer a cost-effective option. But while closing coal plants early could save money, it would result in capacity shortfalls. Pacificorp sees addressing that challenge as a next step in the process and industry analysts have a number of ideas on how to do so, such as securitization.

    PacifiCorp's analysis marks the first time the utility "has publicly revealed its data showing early coal plant retirements could bring hundreds of millions of dollars in net benefits to customers," Stanford University Precourt Energy Institute Research Scholar and Rocky Mountain Institute Principal Uday Varadarajan told Utility Dive. PacifiCorp's analysis not only provides critical economic justification for the growing transition away from coal, but also addresses legitimate questions of reliability costs and modeling that more utilities may be able to take example from as coal retirements continue. Over 133 GW of U.S. coal capacity has been shuttered or is scheduled to be shuttered since 2010. More retirement announcements expected in 2019 and 2020 will leave an estimated 150 GW of operating coal generation, according to the Sierra Club. Utilities like PacifiCorp are leading this transition and the key driver is economics… click here for more

    NO QUICK NEWS