NewEnergyNews: 09/01/2019 - 10/01/2019

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, September 14, 2019

    Trevor Noah Talks To Greta

    She’s simply remarkable. The truth usually is. From Comedy Central

    Bill Maher On The Weather In Alabama

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but this president is mistaken in his belief that he is entitled to his own facts.From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube

    Conan O’Brien On The Weather In Greenland

    Ironically, the weather in a foreign language is more comprehensible than the weather reported by the president.From CNN via YouTube

    Friday, September 13, 2019

    To Meet The Crisis

    Global Leaders Call for Urgent Action on Climate Adaptation; Commission Finds Adaptation Can Deliver $7.1 Trillion in Benefits

    September 10, 2019 (Global Commission on Adaptation)

    “…[The] Global Commission on Adaptation report, finds that investing $1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 in five areas could yield $7.1 trillion in net benefits…The Commission is led by Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations, Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank…[C]limate impacts – such as super-charged hurricanes, floods, and wildfires – are becoming an increasingly urgent reality…[W]ithout action, millions of people will be pushed further into poverty, leading to increased conflict and instability…

    The report puts forward a bold vision for how to transform key systems to be more resilient and productive…[Adaptation in five areas] can produce significant economic returns…with benefit-cost ratios ranging from 2:1 to 10:1, and in some cases even higher…The five areas the report considers are early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and investments in making water resources more resilient. These areas represent only a portion of the total investments needed and total benefits available…Climate adaptation can also deliver a “triple dividend”— it avoids future losses, generates positive economic gains through innovation, and delivers additional social and environmental benefits…” click here for more

    Trillions Needed To Adapt As Climate Crisis Grows

    World 'gravely' unprepared for effects of climate crisis – report; Trillions of dollars needed to avoid ‘climate apartheid’ but this is less than cost of inaction

    Damien Carrington, 9 September 2019 (UK Guardian)

    "The world’s readiness for the inevitable effects of the climate crisis is ‘gravely insufficient’…[and this] lack of preparedness will result in poverty, water shortages and levels of migration soaring, with an ‘irrefutable toll on human life’…Trillion-dollar investment is needed to avert ‘climate apartheid’, where the rich escape the effects and the poor do not [according to a just-released UN study], but this investment is far smaller than the eventual cost of doing nothing…[The] greatest obstacle is not money but a lack of ‘political leadership that shakes people out of their collective slumber’…[because a] ‘revolution’ is needed in how the dangers of global heating are understood and planned for, and solutions are funded…

    Among the most urgent actions recommended are early-warning systems of impending disasters, developing crops that can withstand droughts and restoring mangrove swamps to protect coastlines, while other measures include painting roofs of homes white to reduce heatwave temperatures…The report says severe effects are now inevitable and estimates that unless precautions are taken, 100 million more people could be driven into poverty by 2030…[T]he number of people short of water each year will jump by 1.4 billion to 5 billion, causing unprecedented competition for water, fuelling conflict and migration. On the coasts, rising sea levels and storms will drive hundreds of millions from their homes, with costs of $1tn…[Cutting carbon emissions is vital,] but this has received nearly 20 times more funding than adaptation in recent years…” click here for more

    Global New Energy Investment To Triple

    Global renewables investment to triple this decade - U.N.

    Nina Chestney w/Dale Hudson, September 5, 2019 (CNBC)

    "Global investment in new capacity for renewable energy is on course to reach $2.6 trillion by the end of this decade, more than triple the amount of the previous decade…The figure excludes large hydropower projects and is equivalent to 1.2 terawatts (TW) of new renewable energy capacity…more than today’s entire U.S. electricity generation…The increase stems from a fall in interest rates in major economies] and a drop in the levelized cost of generating a megawatt hour of electricity, the upfront capital and development cost, the cost of equity and debt finance and operating and maintenance fees of] solar photovoltaics down 81%, onshore wind down 46% and offshore wind down 44% this decade…

    …[China] committed $758 billion between 2010 and mid-2019. Over the same period, Europe invested $698 billion and the United States spent $356 billion,.. Solar power has attracted the most investment this decade at $1.3 trillion. By the end of this year, there will be more solar capacity installed this decade - 638 gigawatts (GW) - than any other power generation technology…Despite the growth of renewables, global power sector emissions are likely to have risen by at least 10% by the end of this decade…” click here for more

    Thursday, September 12, 2019

    Hollywood Faces The Climate Crisis

    Is Hollywood Doing Enough to Fight the Climate Crisis?

    Cynthia Littleton, September 10, 2019 (Variety)

    “…The climate crisis has escalated to a terrifying degree …Climate scientists say the threat is existential and global…They are warning of an extreme tightening of the window of time — about 11 years — for countries to make massive changes that might limit the apocalyptic impact of rising air and ocean temperatures over the next 30 years…[But] there is growing criticism that mainstream TV news organizations and storytellers in Hollywood haven’t done enough to raise public awareness of the need for action…[The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)] is at the outset of a major outreach push to Hollywood screenwriters and showrunners that aims to bring more focus on climate change in popular entertainment beyond the apocalyptic scenarios…But even as scientists warn of doomsday scenarios on the horizon, media and entertainment’s major players are struggling with how exactly to respond…

    In the U.S., the politicization of the debate over climate change since the early 1990s has been an enormous impediment to action. More recently, the Trump administration’s agenda on environmental policies has been nothing short of horrifying, in the view of Hollywood’s prominent green activists…[Robert] Redford strongly believes that filmmakers — whether on Hollywood studio pictures or independently produced documentaries — will help galvanize the public on the need for urgent action in the years ahead…For years, mainstream TV news outlets saw stories about global warming and climate change as ‘viewer-repellent’…[But] research finds that in-depth environmental reporting is sought out by younger viewers…” click here for more

    Booming U.S. Wind Faces Tax Credit Horizon

    US Wind to Peak in 2020 with 14.6 GW as Production Tax Credit Expires

    September 12, 2019 (Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables)

    “The U.S. wind market will add 14.6 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2020, according to Wood Mackenzie’s latest North America wind power outlook. The record-setting mark underlines the strength of the 23GW pipeline Wood Mackenzie has identified as currently under construction or contracted for commercial operation in 2020…The phase out of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) beginning in 2021 has developers rushing to complete projects in 2020, driving major bottlenecks in both logistics and interconnection queues… As a result, project delays are mounting, negatively impacting the amount and timing of wind capacity installations…[D]eals with virtually every offtaker type have increased dramatically in the last six to 12 months…

    Wood Mackenzie’s forecast assumes 6.6 GW of projects scheduled for 2020 will not reach completion by the end of this year but will connect to the grid in 2021…[R]oughly 1.5 GW of additional capacity will be cancelled outright – typically ahead of project construction – with any attached offtakers likely choosing solar PV resources for subsequent PPAs to replace the lost generation…Solar PV, which benefits from the 30% solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), is beginning to compete more effectively with onshore wind on cost…[W]ind will remain competitive in key states through 2021, [but] the negative cost impact associated with the PTC declining to 60% and then 40% of its original value will outpace cost of electricity reductions in 2022 and 2023…Wood Mackenzie forecasts the U.S. to add 12.3 GW of wind power in 2021, before bottoming out at 5.9 GW in 2024.” click here for more

    San Francisco Offers $2.5BIL For PG&E Electric Grid

    San Francisco city officials are offering to purchase PG&E's electrical grid in the city for $2.5 billion, according to a letter sent to the utility on Friday by Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

    Sonja Hutson, September 8, 2019 (KQED News)

    “…[San Francisco’s offer of $2.5 billion] for the PG&E equipment would come from bonds approved by voters in June 2018, and would be paid off by customers through their electric bill…[The bond issuance would allow rates to] be the same or lower than current PG&E rates…The city is also hoping the company's bankruptcy proceedings will provide additional incentive to accept the offer, by providing ‘significant cash infusion’ to debtors…[ The deal would require approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors, Public Utilities Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission. But PG&E doesn't see municipalization as in the best interests of] customers and stakeholders…

    Another potential barrier is pushback from the union representing PG&E workers, IBEW Local 1245. The city has offered to hire people who worked for PG&E in San Francisco if the deal goes through, which the union said would hurt their pensions…According to Michael Wara, an energy policy researcher at Stanford University, private energy companies hardly ever voluntarily sell their infrastructure to municipalities. More often, municipalities will forcibly take over the infrastructure by exerting eminent domain, and then pay the utility for it…[That] process could drag out the utility's bankruptcy proceedings because the sale would have to be final in order for the bankruptcy to be resolved. It could also delay payouts to victims of wildfires started by PG&E equipment…San Francisco is such a huge part of PG&E's customer base, according to Wara, the utility might not be a viable company without it.”click here for more

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: With faltering utilities, California backs 'tower of finance' solution to wildfire costs

    As California utilities falter, legislators, governor back 'tower of finance' solution to wildfire costs; A well-built catastrophic wildfire fund can both protect citizens and save utilities.

    Herman K. Trabish, April 26, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This has become part of California lawmakers’ response to the wildfire issue, was approved by the Assembly, and is working its way through the state's Senate.

    Wildfires scorched California in 2017 and 2018 and left two of its three dominant investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in dire financial straits. Meteorologists say this is the "new normal."

    If California does not control the costs of these events, it could drain ratepayers, utility shareholders and taxpayers, and make the state's climate and renewables goals unachievable. But a solution is in the works that could help manage the costs.

    Dubbed a "tower of finance," the model calls for finance strategies such as funding, commercial insurance and asset-backed bonds to be brought into use one method at a time to meet losses from costly climate catastrophes like wildfires. The idea is backed by the Governor's Strike Force report on wildfire mitigation solutions and is now making its way through the legislature.

    Assembly Bill (AB) 235, introduced January 18 by Assembly Member Chad Mayes, R, would create the California Wildfire Catastrophe Fund Authority to build such a tower of finance. The bill would require utilities to contribute to a fund that finances wildfire victim claims. The Authority's board could also issue and sell recovery bonds secured by the fund and its annual contributions.

    Wildfire costs have driven Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) into bankruptcy and are threatening Southern California Edison (SCE). Between the growing attention to AB 235 and the Strike Force endorsement, the "tower of finance" solution has begun to emerge as a possible way for California to move ahead safely and cost-effectively.

    California's utilities endorse variations of the tower of finance approach. "For damage above commercial insurance, there is a critical need for an alternative risk financing vehicle, such as a catastrophic wildfire insurance fund sanctioned by the state," SCE VP for Risk Management David Heller told the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Wildfires March 13. Both the bill and the 'tower of finance' model also have the cautious support of private insurers, victims' groups and environmental advocates… click here for more

    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, September 10, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: See Coal Collapsing

    Europe’s great coal collapse of 2019

    Dave Jones, August 2019 (Sandbag)

    Every January since 2015, Sandbag has published an update on “Europe’s Power Transition”, and for the first time, we provide a 6-month mini-review to help explain the extent and reasoning of the huge fall in Europe’s coal generation in 2019. To do this, Sandbag curated 20 gigabytes of power operator data from ENTSO-E, and then condensed the most important data to a handy 2MB excel to download from our website so you can also analyse it yourself - please let us know what you find.

    Coal generation in the EU collapsed by 19% in the first half of this year, with falls in almost every coal-burning country. Half of coal’s fall was replaced by wind and solar, and half was replaced by switching to fossil gas. If this continues for the rest of the year it will reduce CO2 emissions by 65 million tonnes compared to last year, and reduce EU’s GHG by 1.5%. Coal generation already had fallen 30% from 2012 to 2018. Even if these falls continued in 2019, coal generation is still likely to account for 12% of the EU’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions.

    Dave Jones, Electricity Analyst at Sandbag, commented: “2019 may mark the beginning of the end for coal power in Europe. The biggest falls are by those countries encouraging wind and solar and planning for a coal phaseout. Now that carbon pricing is finally working with price approaching €30 per tonne, the economics have already shifted not only from coal to gas generation, but also from coal to clean generation. And now the economics have changed, policy-makers will now find it much easier to support wind and solar, and to plan for a full transition from coal to clean. Every country could achieve a 2030 coal phaseout, if they put their mind to it.”

    Where did coal collapse?

    All western European countries saw big percentage falls, from 22% in Germany to 79% in Ireland. There were times of zero or near-zero coal generation in many western European countries: coal was less than 2% of the electricity mix in Ireland, France and the UK, and only 6% in Spain and Italy, in the first half of 2019. The UK had two weeks in May with all its coal plants switched off for the first time since the Industrial Revolution began. Europe’s coal phase-out is truly underway, although the rate of closures is quite slow…

    Why did coal collapse?

    There were three primary drivers: 1. Wind and solar replaced coal 2. Fossil gas replaced coal as carbon pricing begins to work 3. Coal plant closures…

    OUTLOOK: Unfortunately, 2019’s coal collapse is not the “new norm”, unless there is a strong policy push:

    Coal-gas switching has most likely reached its peak. 2019 has likely already seen full coal-gas switching for hard coal, so the economics could only reverse back to more coal again. The biggest concern is that the carbon price is robust to the collapse in coal generation: 35% of EU ETS emissions were from coal power plants in 2018, so more ETS tweaks might be needed to keep carbon price from falling. Having said that, lignite-gas switching hasn’t reached its full potential yet in Germany, so a continued rising carbon price would result in a speedier lignite phase-out.

    Wind and solar deployment is not fast enough in key lignite countries. The key lignite countries of Poland, Czechia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece will not see falling generation unless they speed up wind and solar deployment. Additionally, as electricity consumption begins to rise from electric cars and other electrification, renewables will need to be deployed at double-speed in all countries, to ensure that coal falls at the same historical rate.

    Coal plants need to close faster. Only 3% of coal plants closed in 2018. However, big progress is being made behind the scenes in many countries in planning for a coal phase-out. All countries in western Europe have a date by which to phase-out coal, and this is needed also for eastern countries. But many other preparations are also needed:

    • All stakeholders must work together with workers to ensure a just transition and a speedy transition. If compensation must be paid to close coal plants, it should recognise that these coal plants are unlikely to be profitable today, and likely to be even more-so tomorrow.

    • Governments need to tilt the playing field away from coal, by tightening air pollution limits, embracing higher carbon pricing, and not subsidising coal through capacity payments. Unsustainable coal-to-biomass conversions continue to be a threat in the future; inefficient coal plants need to be closed not converted to burning trees.

    • Governments must encourage investment not only into wind and solar, but also electricity storage, interconnectors and demand response, and engage grid operators to speed the phase-out of coal. So will governments embrace the swing in economics from coal to clean, and accelerate their coal to clean revolution?...

    QUICK NEWS, September 10: Climate Crisis Left Out Of Hurricane News; New Energy Needs New Finance Options – Wells Fargo

    Climate Crisis Left Out Of Hurricane News New Report: ABC, CBS, NBC Covered Climate Crisis Connection to Hurricane Dorian Only Once in 216 Segments on Storm; "Climate change is fueling storms like Hurricane Dorian. But you wouldn't know that from watching broadcast TV news."

    Eoin Higgins, September 7, 2019 (Common Dreams)

    Even as Hurricane Dorian tore through the Bahamas and crept up the southeastern U.S. seaboard, broadcast news networks were loathe to connect the powerful storm's strength to the climate crisis in spite of the science linking warmer sea surface temperatures to increased frequency of strong hurricanes…[Though the hurricane consumed the newscycle,] only CBS aired a segment tying climate change to hurricane activity like Dorian's…The storm delivered a catastrophic near 48 hour sustained hit on the Bahamas on Sunday and Monday and made landfall on Thursday in North Carolina's Outer Banks region…

    Broadcast TV news shows aired 216 segments on Dorian from August 28 through September 5, according to Media Matters. CBS led with 84, followed by ABC with 73, and NBC with 59. The only segment that discussed climate in the context of the storm aired on the September 4 episode of ‘CBS This Morning’…ABC's only mention of climate change at all during this period was in a segment about Prince Harry's travel sustainability project, which continues the network's trend of prioritizing coverage of the British royal family over the climate crisis. CBS also aired a segment about Prince Harry that mentioned climate…” click here for more

    New Energy Needs New Finance Options – Wells Fargo Wells Fargo’s Hopkins: As Renewable Tax Credits Phase Out, Industry Must Develop New Financing Structures

    Betsy Lillian, September 5, 2019 (North American Windpower)

    “…Earlier this year, Wells Fargo named Phil Hopkins to lead its renewable energy and environmental finance business…Wells Fargo made its first tax equity commitment to a wind project in 2006 and, shortly thereafter, began investing in distributed generation solar…[Its has since supported over 400 projects with] over $7.5 billion of tax equity financing…[It provided approximately $1.5 billion in tax equity financing to U.S. renewable energy projects in 2018…[That included its] first combined debt/tax equity financing…[This year, it expects to invest more and close its first fuel cell transaction and its] first utility-scale solar and storage project…[Wells Fargo has investments in 30 U.S. states and territories – from Hawaii to Maine to Puerto Rico – with heavy solar concentration in the Southwest and Northeast and wind investments concentrated in the Central states…

    …[The 2015 legislation that established a gradual phase-out of the federal tax credits and other detailed provisions, Wells Fargo found] a more consistent supply of financing opportunities. And while tariffs have put upward pressure on both modules and steel prices, these cost increases largely have been offset by falling costs in other aspects of development, construction and financing…[It now sees wind and solar technologies as proven, but sees the] need to develop new and different financing structures…[Investment is needed for] energy storage, demand response programs and the other innovative technologies to be part of the solution…[As the sole leader of the renewable energy and environmental finance business, Wells Fargo wants] to continue providing the full spectrum of financial products and services…” click here for more

    Monday, September 09, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Untapped Mid-Level Wind Potential

    Analysis Of Commercial And Industrial Wind Energy Demand In The United States

    Dan Shreve, August 2019 (American Wind Energy Association and Wood Mackenzie)

    Executive Summary

    On June 19, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, placing added pressure on state legislatures and corporate America to lead the fight on climate change.

    United States commercial and industrial (C&I) firms have answered the bell, signing agreements facilitating the buildout of more than ten GW of renewable power generation through 2018. This comes after a record setting 2018, where more than six GW of power purchase agreements (PPAs) were inked by industry leaders such as AT&T, General Motors and Facebook. Wood Mackenzie estimates that up to 85GW of renewable energy demand exists within the Fortune 1000 through 2030.

    Activity within the C&I sector has been on the rise for years, due in large part to consumer buying behaviour and the excellent project economics and hedging opportunities afforded by production tax credit (PTC)-enabled wind and investment tax credit (ITC)-enabled solar projects. The scale and breadth of C&I procurement is spreading as financial instruments supporting the sector become more sophisticated and help limit the risks of corporate power purchase agreements. Pioneering companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook have blazed a trail for scores of companies seeking to shrink or eliminate their carbon footprints and served as a catalyst for the development of peer groups such as the RE100 and EPA Green Partners Program. These programs have become increasingly important to the development of the C&I sector as corporate branding is increasingly harnessing the environmental stewardship activities of industry leaders around the world.

    The question at hand is whether this momentum can be maintained over the long term. A myriad of challenges lies ahead, most notably the loss of the PTC, which lessens the economic attractiveness of wind energy projects and further exposes those plants to the vagaries of a power grid undergoing a substantial transition towards increased renewables penetration. C&I demand has been focused thus far in areas where renewables penetration is highest, and thus will be exposed to increased volume and shape risk, which can prove highly detrimental to project economics.

    Storage is emerging as a potential remedy to this situation, however storage deployment trends are favouring solar power over wind given ITC access, smaller project size and a more predictable generation profile.

    A separate but similar concern is the ability to engage smaller electricity consumers. Transactional costs associated with C&I engagement in the renewables sector are not insignificant, and no clear line of sight exists to the development of “cookie-cutter” contracts. Credit risk also looms large for smaller companies and hedging that risk with shorter engagements or increased yields may limit the attractiveness of the proposal for the developer and end user, respectively. Utility green tariff programs may be able to solve this issue and aid in catalysing C&I market growth.

    Finally, there is an interesting dynamic associated with the greening of the grid via RE100 initiatives. A sweeping federal initiative on decarbonization would serve as a short-term disruptor to the C&I movement. However, any such federal action would create a ground swell of new renewables demand that would far outstrip the current outlook for C&I focused renewables procurement. This RE100 scenario is not considered in this report.

    In summary, many of the puzzle pieces are in place. Corporate peer pressure is building, especially in the United States where the failure of federal policy has galvanized the efforts of industry leaders. The cost of renewable energy continues to fall, offering a tremendous long-term hedge against power price inflation. The advent of new financial instruments is further reducing operational risks associated with renewable energy power generation and allowing smaller corporations to join the fray. The energy transition is progressing, and the electrification of transportation, HVAC and a variety of industrial processes will increasingly focus corporate attention on how they procure power. Wind is well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.

    C&I Wind And Solar Demand Forecast Through 2030

    Power market dynamics and the continued reduction of solar power’s LCOE are suppressing wind energy demand in the long term. Long-term regional outlooks that inform our analysis are as follows:

    ERCOT

    The ERCOT market has undergone tremendous change over the last few years. The market will see a continued increase in wind farm development to maximize remaining tax incentives and increasingly leverage hedging instruments. Solar capacity will exponentially increase as economics only look to improve over the forecast. Changes to market design are expected to be needed to properly assign value to thermal generators and incent new capacity to cope with sustained electricity demand growth and shrinking reserve margins.

    Transmission limitations are increasingly causing ERCOT West to price lower than the rest of the market, with additional pressure in the Panhandle through 2021. Surplus wind generation drives this discount through the mid term, with solar additions compounding this impact in the long term.

    Midwest

    A loss of industrial load, energy efficiency and distributed generation restrain growth. The market remains overbuilt throughout much of the next decade, with capacity prices failing to rise until new firm capacity is eventually needed post 2030. Solar and wind generation increase market share through the forecast period (from 4% in 2019 to almost 20% by 2040) due in large part to long-term carbon pricing impacts on coal. Wind capacity is expected to double between 2019 and 2040, while solar increases around 20x, albeit from a very small level.

    Siting/permitting/NIMBY issues are hindering long-term transmission expansion, resulting in significant congestion in COMED, Dominion, BG&E, and PJM East and driving significant increases in energy storage deployment. Transmission issues also hamper wind growth in the region.

    Southeast

    Southeast demand grows at a healthy average growth rate, but load growth minus renewables remains flat and begins to decline over the forecast period once carbon begins to be priced in. In particular, SERC Southeast and FRCC grow by more than 8% on average above the national growth rate, while demand in SERC North lags the regional average.

    On the supply side, the generation mix changes from being a predominantly gas + coal + nuclear-based mix to a gas + solar mix due in large part to the poor wind resource in the region. SERC remains a net importing region with underutilized, abundant and low-cost gas generation flowing from PJM, Dominion, MISO South and SPP South.

    Northeast

    The Northeast power markets already have some of the lowest carbon intensity in NERC yet many of the states and provinces in this area have some of the most aggressive goals in North America for continued decarbonisation. New York and New England will find it challenging to meet their renewable energy and decarbonisation goals. Poor insolation means that solar has relatively low capacity factors, particularly during winter months. Onshore wind farms and transmission lines are frequently opposed by the public, even though the public supports renewable energy as a concept. There is great potential for offshore wind power.

    Excluding hydropower, natural gas is the primary dispatchable generation resource in the Northeast. However, natural gas infrastructure also faces public opposition, and a lack of pipeline capacity during winter months leads to very high gas prices at times, particularly in New England. During these periods, both markets have a strong preference to import power rather than run native gas-fired generation.

    WECC

    Decarbonisation efforts will erode the total addressable market for both new and existing thermal resources. Coal is largely on the way out with cheap minemouth plants in the Rockies being the final stronghold. Gas generation continues to grow with growing flexibility needs but will be perpetually capped by renewables additions.

    Incremental growth in demand will overwhelmingly be met with new renewable additions. However, as solar load-carrying capabilities falter in saturated markets, resource adequacy requirements will incent a combination of gas and battery storage. Capacity values in WECC are already undergoing an evolution to reflect the value of flexibility and possibly resiliency. Improved operational data for solar and wind will likely uncover even more reliability shadow costs to be accounted for.

    Solar and wind generation are complimentary and largely grow together in WECC, albeit in a fairly segregated manner. Initiatives such as CAISO EIM aim to reap the benefits of diverse generation patterns across large swaths of geography. However, native renewable requirements continue to reshape hourly flow patterns, which will likely strand many assets built to serve CAISO from afar.

    In summary, the regional biases for solar demand are largely as expected with demand surpassing wind in the southeast and southwest of the U. However, solar’s strength in the Midwest is eye-opening. The ability for wind to overcome regional resource bias in the southeast is extremely limited without the aid of long-haul transmission, while activities in the southwest will be challenged simply due to the strength of the solar resource in the region

    A core focus on increasing wind’s competitiveness in the Midwest through the adoption of taller tower technology and larger turbines may aid in recouping market share, but Wood Mackenzie LCOE assumptions are already bullish for this region. Northeast renewables will largely be dominated by offshore wind, where there may be the potential to farm down equity share to multiple large-scale C&I buyers, but the higher cost of offshore wind energy limits that likelihood until the sector further matures post-2030.

    Absent of a step change in turbine performance or cost reductions, it is increasingly obvious that for wind to compete amidst ever increasing renewables penetration, a longterm energy storage solution must be developed to cope with wind’s weekly and seasonal boom/bust cycle. Pumped hydro resources are ideal, but rather limited in the United States. Gravity storage solutions are emerging as a means to provide “synthetic hydro”. This technology along with thermal and compressed air storage are in their infancy, however, and are not likely to impact demand in the current forecast period. Power-to- gas applications may also be a boon to wind energy but are likewise post-2030 developments.

    A reduction in solar’s market share could also be realised if the ITC were to expire or existing tariffs against solar modules were to be maintained long term. To date, the solar market has been able to overcome tariff impacts, but the market will be tested as the ITC phases out.

    QUICK NEWS, September 9: The Dems’ Climate Crisis Conclave; U.S. New Energy Gains Market Share as Usage Dips

    The Dems’ Climate Crisis Conclave 10 key lines from CNN's climate crisis town hall

    September 5, 2019 (CNN)

    “…[When 10 of the 2020 Democratic candidates took questions directly from a live CNN studio audience September 4, this was] the key takeaway from each candidate'…[Julián Castro wants to address environmental racism because] too often times it’s people that are poor, communities of color, who take the brunt of storms that are getting more frequent and more powerful…[Andrew Yang wants to replace gross domestic product as a measure of national success and replace it with measures of] environmental sustainability…[Kamala Harris would] direct the Department of Justice to go after oil and gas companies who have directly impacted global warming…Amy Klobuchar called for a reversal to the Trump administration's move to rollback regulations on methane emissions…

    …[Joe Biden pledged to always prioritize the future] over big business…[Bernie Sanders committed to] roll back Trump administration plans to overturn requirements on energy saving lightbulbs…[Elizabeth Warren agreed and also committed to banning plastic straws and cutting down on red meat but said the focus must be the fossil fuel industry’s] impact on climate change…[Pete Buttigieg said combating climate change might be “more challenging than” winning World War II and] ‘the hardest thing we will have done in my lifetime’…[Beto O’Rourke] would spend federal dollars to help people in flood-prone areas move to higher ground…Vegan Cory Booker] won’t try to get other Americans to stop eating hamburgers…” click here for more

    U.S. New Energy Gains Market Share as Usage Dips Why U.S. Renewable Energy Production Declined 1.1% in the First Half of 2019

    Maxx Chatsko, September 7, 2019 (Motley Fool via Yahoo Finance)

    “…[In the first half of 2019, zero-carbon energy production] declined 1.1% from the year-ago period…[but it should be only a short-term setback and the U.S. EIA data included] other promising details…[including the collapse] of coal-fired power plants…[The U.S.] generated 399 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity from renewable sources in the first half of 2019, compared to 404 GWh in the same period of 2018…[but built] 8% more installed wind power capacity…

    …[The U.S. also] generated 11% more electricity from solar panels in the first half of 2019 compared to the year-ago period. Growth was about evenly split between utility-scale and small-scale installations…[In June 2019, U.S. coal generation was] just 78 GWh, a 23% decline from June 2018…Electricity from natural gas generation grew 6%, but it had grown] 14% this time last year…[Most significantly, the U.S.] generated 2.3% less total electricity in the first half of 2019…For those with a long-term mindset, headlines about the recent decline in renewable energy generation mean] relatively little…” click here for more

    Saturday, September 07, 2019

    Trevor Noah’s Solution For The Burning Amazon

    Spoiler alert: It’s a hilarious solution. From Comedy Central

    Need To Know – DER

    DER is “distributed energy resources” this brief explanation of what they are and why they are important comes from Australia, which has seized DER and is racing into energy’s future. From Australian Renewable Energy Agency via YouTube

    AOC Is Exactly Right

    Truth in the eye of the beholder: This video is meant to ridicule AOC’s argument, but she is exactly right.From MRCTV via YouTube

    Friday, September 06, 2019

    Food Producers In Climate Crisis Denial

    Global food producers 'failing to face up to role' in climate crisis; Report urges meat, dairy and seafood companies to address impact of industry’s deforestation, use of antibiotics and emissions

    Harriet Grantm, 4 September 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “The world’s biggest producers of meat, dairy and seafood are failing to tackle the enormous impact they are having on the planet through deforestation, the routine use of antibiotics and greenhouse gas emissions…The producers are the ‘hidden’ supply chain, providing meat and dairy to global brands including McDonald’s, Tesco, Nestlé and Walmart…[Among other failings, the [Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index 2019 found] two-thirds of producers do not even measure all their greenhouse gas emissions let alone set targets to reduce them. These include Hormel Foods in the US, a supplier to McDonald’s…

    …Also included is Cal-Maine Foods. Cal-Maine is the largest producer of fresh eggs in the US and a supplier to Walmart and Nestle. Nestlé, McDonald’s and Walmart have all publicly committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions…The research argues that some of the companies, who between them have a value of $300bn (£248bn), are already suffering the costs of the deepening climate crisis…Cal-Maine Foods reported a 30% decline in revenues in the last quarter of the year alone due to extreme weather…” click here for more

    New Energy’s Decade-Long Boom Goes On

    Global renewable energy has quadrupled over past decade; With solar leading the way, clean energy capacity growth is helping the planet avoid billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

    Brian Bienkowski, September 5, 2019 (Environmental Health News)

    “Renewable energy capacity quadrupled across the planet over the past decade and energy from solar power increased 26 times from what it was in 2009…The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2019 report finds renewables [excluding hydropower] accounted for 12.9 percent of global electricity in 2018—up from 11.6 percent in 2018…[It added 1.2 terawatts of New Energy capacity over 10 years, more than today’s entire U.S.] electricity generating fleet…This continued growth—led by solar, which accounts for about a quarter of all renewable energy and was the most added energy source of any kind during the period studied—gave the planet a reprieve from an estimated 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions last year…[Global investments reached] more than $2.6 trillion…

    China led the way in renewable investment, committing about $758 billion between 2010 and early 2019. The U.S. was second to China, committing less than half that amount over the same time—$356 billion…Japan was third, investing $202 billion, and Europe, as a whole, invested about $698 billion…Developing countries, excluding China and India, invested about $47.5 billion in added capacity in 2018—a 22 percent increase over the previous year and the highest total for a single year ever…Vietnam's renewable energy capacity investment, for example, increased ninefold from 2017 to 2018, reaching $5.2 billion…[S]ustained renewable energy progression needs to continue if the planet is to avoid the worst potential impact from climate change…” click here for more

    Better Solar With New Science

    Space age solar solution moves toward production; A consortium of European research institutes has received €10.6 million in EU funding to establish pilot production of a high efficiency module concept developed by Swiss startup Insolight. The module combines high efficiency multijunction cells with a solar concentrator lens and has previously demonstrated 29% efficiency

    Mark Hutchins, September 4, 2019 (PV Magazine)

    “…[The European Union awarded €10.6 million to Hiperion consortium of 16 European research institutes and companies for] a pilot production line of a novel PV technology developed by Insolight, a Swiss startup spun out of the renowned École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne…[The four-year project will] demonstrate the technology can be produced cost effectively and integrated into crystalline silicon manufacturing…[The technology] is based on what it describes as ‘space-grade’ multijunction solar cells] mounted on a conventional silicon back plane…

    The module is topped with a layer of [1 square mm] optical lenses which concentrate sunlight onto the cells…[with a ‘microtracking’ process which moves] horizontally a few millimeters per day to keep the concentrated light beams aligned with the cells…[It] has demonstrated 29% module efficiency and cell efficiencies in the lab have been measured at 36%...[The concept] can be adopted as a standalone solar module or used as an additional layer on a module…[to allow it to] perform efficiently in cloudy conditions with little direct sunlight…[P]roduction lines can be adapted to [mass] produce modules incorporating Insolight’s technology…” click here for more

    Thursday, September 05, 2019

    Will Climate Voters Vote?

    The growing power and anger of climate change voters

    Maeve Reston, September 4, 2019 (CNN)

    “The voter passionately motivated by climate change was once something of an anomaly. But that is changing as [the White House] has systematically unraveled the nation's environmental regulations…[while the nation watched] fires in the Amazon, hurricanes that churn with increasing fury and record-shattering temperatures and weather events…Climate change got little attention in the 2016 presidential campaign. But there was a notable shift during the 2018 midterm election…Candidates alarmed by Republican inaction were drawn into congressional races across the country…The growing alarm is most pronounced among younger voters… [Earlier this year, Gallup found] climate change is becoming a bigger motivator for a larger group of people…[as they watch the current administration’s] systematic elimination of environmental regulations…

    Historically, younger voters have been more concerned about climate change than older age groups -- and while concern is growing among older Americans, that gap still remains…60% of Americans 18 to 34 believe global warming will pose a significant threat in their lifetime, compared with only 35% of older Americans….Overall, 66% of US adults said they believed global warming is caused by human activities…The alarm among younger voters is particularly pronounced: 79% of adults 18 to 34 said they worry a great deal or a fair amount about global warming, compared with 62% of those 55 and older…There is still a strong partisan divide…[Only 12% of Republicans said they were ‘a great deal’ concerned about global warming, compared with more than two-thirds of Democrats (69%)…” click here for more

    U.S. New Energy’s Impressive Acceleration

    New study: U.S. clean energy use has accelerated during the past decade; Report shows marked progress in solar, wind, electric vehicles, energy storage and efficiency

    August 22, 2019 (Environment America)

    “Since 2009, the United States has increased its solar power generation 40-fold and upped its electric production from wind by more than 270 percent,,,[There was also] an 18-fold increase in utility scale battery storage and more than 360,000 all-electric vehicles sold in 2018, up from virtually none in 2009 [according to Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future]…[Electric energy efficiency programs saved] more than twice as much energy in 2017 as in 2009…

    Key factors that have led to rapid growth in each category since 2009 include innovative policies, improved technologies and lower costs…The report comes as a diverse group of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions are committing to 100 percent renewable energy. There are now six states that have made commitments to 100 percent clean electricity. At the local level, 131 American cities, led by a mix of Republican and Democratic mayors, have committed to that goal. In addition, more than 190 major companies, including Bank of America, Google and Anheuser-Busch have committed to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy…” click here for more

    White House Dims Lights On Efficiency

    DOE Rollback of Energy-Saving Light Bulb Standards is Senseless and Illegal

    Noah Horowitz, September 4, 2019 (Natural Resources Defense Council)

    “…[The Department of Energy (DOE) will proceed with a roll of back energy-saving standards for everyday light bulbs that will lead to more electricity use and] higher energy bills for homes and businesses, plus significantly more pollution harming our health and the environment…The decision comes almost 12 years after President G. W. Bush and Congress passed legislation to phase out inefficient incandescent and halogen light bulbs by 2020, which would have cut consumer energy bills by billions of dollars and prevent millions of tons of carbon pollution…[Without any sound technical, economic, or legal justification, DOE] will delete the updated definition published in 2017 that brought several types of everyday light bulbs into the scope of this regulation…

    As a result, the billions of reflector bulbs in recessed cans and track lighting, the candle- shaped bulbs used in chandeliers and sconces, three-way bulbs, and round globe bulbs used in bathroom vanities will no longer have to meet the 2020 energy efficiency standards for light bulbs that should have gone into effect…[DOE will also not] update the efficiency standards as ordered by Congress back in 2007 for the bulbs that remained within the scope of the definition, such as the ubiquitous pear-shaped bulbs used throughout our homes. Bottom line: DOE is hell-bent on blocking the lighting energy efficiency standards from going into effect as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2020, despite the fact that yesterday’s bulbs are so much less energy efficient than the new LED bulbs that could replace them…” click here for more

    Wednesday, September 04, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Best Practices For Interconnecting EV Chargers

    Utilities, charger vendors find interconnection best practices to propel EV growth; Collaboration and transparency pioneered in solar interconnections can fast-start delayed transportation electrification ambitions

    Herman K. Trabish, April 22, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: It is becoming clear that the key to growing the EV industry is getting chargers connected.

    Gasoline-fueled vehicles would not get far without easy-to-access gas stations and, for the same reason, electric vehicles (EV) will need easy-to-access charging stations for the U.S to transform its transportation system.

    Transportation electrification is widely seen as crucial to decarbonizing the U.S. economy. But charging vendors say avoiding utility interconnection delays is necessary to maximize EV deployment. Such delays remain common, they add, but best interconnection practices are emerging.

    Best interconnection practices begin with the utility making clear what information it needs to prepare the site, charger builders told Utility Dive. Utilities must also be clear about when the site will be ready for installation of the charging infrastructure. Finally, charger builders and utilities must have clear channels of communication throughout the process.

    "One of the first things EV buyers want to know is where charging stations are," EVgo Executive Vice President of Business Development Julie Blunden told Utility Dive. Resolving delays that can add six months to utility interconnection is "critical" to maintaining that pace, she said.

    But it's not just charging station vendors who want more build-outs sooner. Some utilities are also pushing for quicker deployment. "California needs 7 million electric vehicles by 2030 to meet its climate goals, and we need to move faster to make charging infrastructure available for that transportation electrification," Southern California Edison (SCE) Director of eMobility Katie Sloan told Utility Dive.

    Though some utilities have been obstructive, SCE's interconnection procedures "have evolved into best practices," according to Blunden. Its procedures include clear application requirements, predictable timelines and access to utility authorities when clarifications are needed. As EV penetrations rise, other utilities "can leapfrog some of the trial and error by using those best practices," said Ram Ambatipudi, vice president of business development and utility engagement at EV Connect, an EV charging company… click here for more

    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, September 03, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: California’s Ocean Wind Opportunity

    The Economic Value of Offshore Wind Power in California

    August 2019 (Energy + Environment Economics)

    Executive Summary

    Offshore wind power is growing rapidly around the world, driven by dramatic cost reductions and increased interest in carbon-free energy sources. While most offshore wind projects to date have utilized fixed-base platforms, there is growing commercial experience with floating-base applications that will unlock wind resources in deeper waters, such as those off the coast of California.

    California is a large potential market for offshore wind due to its ambitious clean energy policies and economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. While California leads most states in renewable energy deployment, it will need several times more renewable energy capacity than is currently installed to meet its long-term policy commitments.

    While California has studied optimal pathways and different scenarios for meeting its clean energy goals, it has yet to fully investigate its offshore wind potential. California’s long-term planning studies, which inform the state’s energy procurement, transmission investment, and associated policy decisions, have not formally modeled offshore wind as a future supply option for GHG-free energy. For this reason, Castle Wind has asked E3 to study the economic value of offshore wind in meeting California’s policy goals and to determine the potential market size and systemwide cost savings if offshore wind were to be deployed at scale. This study seeks to close a longstanding information gap by investigating the potential role of offshore wind to help meet California’s long-term policy goals.

    In this study, E3 used its RESOLVE model – a resource planning tool used in many groundbreaking renewable energy studies in California and nationwide – and analyzed offshore wind economics using key input assumptions provided by Castle Wind. The RESOLVE model was given an unlimited amount of offshore wind potential in order to estimate the optimal capacity without regard to current federal offshore wind call areas or to existing onshore transmission limitations. The study finds that offshore wind could be a valuable and significant resource for meeting the state’s long-term climate goals:

    É Our analysis finds that the least-cost portfolio for meeting the state’s energy goals would include 7-9 GW of offshore wind by 2040. This represents enough energy to power four million homes and meet approximately 10 percent of the state’s electricity needs.

    É Modeling results across all scenarios found that including offshore wind in the state’s energy mix would produce ratepayer savings of approximately $1 to $2 billion on a net present value (NPV) basis.

    É Potential ratepayer savings from offshore wind increase over time. Floating offshore wind becomes part of the least-cost portfolio by 2030, with demand increasing consistently in subsequent years as California’s policy goals become more stringent.

    É The study also evaluates offshore wind relative to other resource options including out-of-state onshore wind (e.g., from Wyoming or New Mexico), and finds that offshore wind remains a valuable and least-cost resource option even if out-of-state wind is developed in the future. This is due to offshore wind’s proximity to in-state electricity demand and existing transmission infrastructure.

    While this study identifies the economic opportunities presented by offshore wind, it does not make any policy recommendations or purport to answer questions related to offshore wind transmission needs, lease areas, future performance and cost improvements, supply chain and infrastructure development, and associated investment and job creation, each of which may merit more detailed studies. Instead, this report focuses on the high-level economics of offshore wind and the potential scale at which this resource may help achieve California’s long-term policy goals…

    Conclusions

    When envisioning a power system with large amounts of variable renewable energy, system planners must include information on the least-cost manner of reliably operating that system, in both the present and future. Full consideration of all resource options is important when planning for a future grid with different technical needs and economic considerations than the grid of today. Based on this study, offshore wind could be a valuable and significant resource for meeting the state’s long-term policy goals in the least-cost manner.

    The latest cost estimates for floating-base offshore wind suggest that it could play a major role as an economic renewable resource under California’s clean energy and GHG reduction policies, with at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind by 2035 and a total of 7–9 GW by 2040 across all scenarios studied. If developed at this scale, offshore wind has the potential to save ratepayers approximately $1 to $2 billion on an NPV basis. Savings would increase over time to approximately $150 to $190 million per year in 2040. 32

    Offshore wind development would directly offset the state’s projected reliance on solar PV and battery storage, with each megawatt of offshore wind replacing the need for approximately 1.7 MW of solar and 1.1 MW of storage. In the low GHG scenario (30 MMT case) modeled, 8.8 GW of offshore wind installed by 2040 would offset the need for 14.9 GW of solar generation plus 9.6 GW of battery storage.

    The addition of offshore wind would therefore help diversify the state’s future energy mix. Given the unpredictable nature of resource costs in the future (e.g., see solar PV module tariffs or the volatile prices of oil and gas), offshore wind appears to be a valuable and significant resource that warrants further consideration for its ability to help meet California’s long-term decarbonization goals in the most costeffective way possible while diversifying the state’s energy supply and mitigating risks from heavy reliance on two specific technologies (i.e., solar PV and battery storage). If existing challenges associated with onshore renewable energy and transmission development persist or grow more restrictive in the future, offshore wind may provide the scalable resource option California needs to stay on track towards its 2050 goals.