NewEnergyNews: 11/01/2019 - 12/01/2019

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

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Policy Fight Now For Transportation Electrification
  • QUICK NEWS, November 18: Every Child Will Feel It; Tinder For New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: U.S. Ocean Wind Rising
  • Weekend Video: Big Storage Explained
  • Weekend Video: Climate Anxiety In Children
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Killing Power Of The Climate Crisis
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A World Defying White House Policy
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Best Places In The World For New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, November 14:

  • TTTA Thursday-The Pioneering Artist Climate-Heroes
  • TTTA Thursday-Tennessee Utility Powerhouse Undercuts Solar
  • TTTA Thursday-New EV Charging Rates Cut System And Driver Costs
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Diversifying the Northeast power mix with offshore wind and storage
  • --------------------------

    --------------------------

    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

    --------------------------

    --------------------------

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

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

    -------------------

    -------------------

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

    -------------------

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

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, November 19:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Trends In Distributed Solar Pricing and Placement
  • QUICK NEWS, November 19: Farms Can Lead Climate Crisis Solutions; Electricity Customers Saving With New Energy

    Tuesday, November 19, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Trends In Distributed Solar Pricing and Placement

    Tracking the Sun; Pricing and Design Trends for Distributed Photovoltaic Systems in the United States, 2019 Edition

    Galen Barbose, Naïm Darghouth, et al, October 2019 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory [LBNL])

    Executive Summary

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)’s annual Tracking the Sun report summarizes installed prices and other trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. 1 This edition focuses on systems installed through year-end 2018, with preliminary trends for the first half of 2019. As in years past, the primary emphasis is on describing changes in installed prices over time and variation across projects. This year’s report also includes an expanded discussion of other key technology and market trends, along with several other new features, as noted in the text box below.

    Trends in this report derive from projectlevel data reported primarily to state agencies and utilities that administer PV incentives, renewable energy credit (REC) registration, or interconnection processes. In total, data were collected and cleaned for 1.6 million individual PV systems, representing 81% of all U.S. distributed PV systems installed through 2018. The analysis of installed prices is based on the subset of roughly 680,000 host-owned systems with available installed price data, of which 127,000 were installed in 2018. A public version of the full dataset is available at trackingthesun.lbl.gov.

    Numerical results are denoted in direct current (DC) Watts (W) and real 2018 dollars. Non-residential systems are segmented into small vs. large nonresidential, based on a cut-off of 100 kW.

    Distributed PV Project Characteristics. Key technology and market trends based on the full dataset compiled for this report are as follows.

    • PV systems continue to grow in size, with median sizes in 2018 reaching 6.4 kW for residential systems and 47 kW for non-residential systems. Sizes also vary considerably within each sector, particularly for non-residential systems, for which 20% were larger than 200 kW in 2018.

    • Module efficiencies continue to grow over time, with a median module efficiency of 18.4% across all systems in the sample in 2018, a full percentage point increase from the prior year.

    • Module-level power electronics—either microinverters or DC optimizers—have continued to gain share across the sample, representing 85% of residential systems, 65% of small nonresidential systems, and 22% of large non-residential systems installed in 2018.

    • Inverter-loading ratios (ILRs, the ratio of module-to-inverter nameplate ratings) have generally grown over time, and are higher for non-residential systems than for residential systems. In 2018, the median ILR was 1.11 for residential systems with string inverters and 1.16 for those microinverters, while large non-residential systems had a median ILR of 1.24.

    • Roughly half (52%) of all large non-residential systems in the 2018 sample are groundmounted, while 7% have tracking. In comparison, 17% of small non-residential systems and just 3% of residential systems are ground-mounted, and negligible shares have tracking.

    • Panel orientation has become more varied over time, with 57% of systems installed in 2018 facing the south, 23% to the west, and most of the remainder to the east.

    • A small but increasing share of distributed PV projects are paired with battery storage, typically ranging from 1-5% in 2018 across states in our dataset, though much higher penetrations occurred in Hawaii and in a number of individual utility service territories.

    • Third-party ownership (TPO) has declined in recent years, dropping to 38% of residential, 14% of small non-residential, and 34% of large non-residential systems in the 2018 sample.

    • Tax-exempt customers—consisting of schools, government, and nonprofit organizations— make up a disproportionately large share (roughly 20%) of all 2018 non-residential systems.

    Temporal Trends in Median Installed Prices. The analysis of installed pricing trends in this report focuses primarily on host-owned systems. Key trends in median prices, prior to receipt of any incentives, are as follows.

    • National median installed prices in 2018 were $3.7/W for residential, $3.0/W for small nonresidential, and $2.4/W for large non-residential systems. Other cost and pricing benchmarks tend to be lower than these national median values, and instead align better with 20th percentile values (see Text Box 5 in the main body for further discussion of these issues).

    • Over the last full year of the analysis period, national median prices fell by $0.2/W (5%) for residential, by $0.2/W (7%) for small non-residential, and by $0.1/W (5%) for large nonresidential systems. Those $/W declines are in-line with trends over the past five years.

    • Over the longer-term, since 2000, installed prices have fallen by $0.5/W per year, on average, encompassing a period of particularly rapid declines (2008-2012) when global module prices rapidly fell. In many states, the long-term drop in (pre-incentive) installed prices has been substantially offset by a corresponding drop in rebates or other incentives.

    • Preliminary and partial data for the first half of 2019 show roughly a $0.1/W drop in median installed prices compared to the first half of 2018, though no observable drop relative to the second half of 2018. Those trends are based on a subset of states, consisting of larger markets, where price declines have recently slowed compared to other states.

    • Installed price declines reflect both hardware and soft-cost reductions. Since 2014, following the steep drop in global module prices, roughly 64% of the total decline in residential installed prices is associated with a drop in module and inverter price, while the remaining 36% is due to a drop in soft costs and other balance-of-systems (BoS) costs. For nonresidential systems, a slightly higher percentage of total installed price declines is attributable to BoS and soft costs.

    Variation in Installed Prices.

    This report highlights the widespread variability in pricing across projects and explores some of the drivers for that variability, focusing primarily on systems installed in 2018. The exploration of pricing drivers includes both basic descriptive comparisons as well as a more formal econometric analysis. Key findings include the following.

    • Installed prices in 2018 ranged from $3.1-4.5/W for residential systems (based on the 20th and 80th percentile levels), from $2.4-4.0/W for small non-residential systems, and from $1.8-3.3/W for large non-residential systems.

    • Installed prices within each customer segment vary substantially depending on system size, with median prices ranging from $3.3-4.3/W for residential, from $2.7-3.4/W for small nonresidential, and from $2.0-3.6/W for large non-residential systems, depending on size.

    • Installed prices also vary widely across states, with state-level median prices ranging from $2.8-4.4/W for residential, $2.5-3.7/W for small non-residential, and $1.7-2.5/W for large non-residential systems.

    • Across the top-100 residential installers in 2018, median prices for each individual installer generally ranged from $3.0-5.0/W, with most below $4.0/W.

    • Median prices are notably higher for systems using premium efficiency modules (>20%) and for systems with microinverters or DC optimizers. Comparisons between residential retrofits and new construction, and comparisons based on mounting configuration, are both less revealing, likely due to relatively small underlying sample sizes.

    • The multi-variate regression analysis, which focuses on host-owned residential systems installed in 2018, shows relatively substantial effects associated with system size (a $0.8/W range between 20th and 80th percentile system sizes) and with other system-level factors, including those related to module efficiency (+$0.2/W for systems with premium efficiency modules), inverter type (+$0.2/W for systems with either microinverter or DC-optimizers), ground-mounting (+$0.3/W), and new construction (-$0.5/W).

    • In comparison, the regression analysis found relatively small effects for various market- and installer-related drivers—including variables related to market size (a $0.2/W range between the 20th to 80th percentile values for market size), market concentration (a $0.1/W range), household density (a $0.2/W range), average household income (no effect), and installer experience (no effect).

    • After controlling for various system-, market-, and installer-level variables, the regression analysis still found substantial residual pricing differences across states (a $1.5/W range), indicating that other, unobserved factors significantly impact installed prices at the state- or local-levels.

    Declining State and Utility Cash

    Incentives Financial incentives provided through utility, state, and federal programs have been a driving force for the PV market in the United States. For residential and non-residential PV, those incentives have—depending on the particular place and time—included some combination of cash incentives provided through state and/or utility PV programs (rebates and performance-based incentives), the federal investment tax credit (ITC), state ITCs, revenues from the sale of solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), accelerated depreciation, and retail rate net metering.

    Focusing solely on direct cash incentives provided in the form of rebates or performance-based incentives (PBIs), Figure 18 shows how these incentives have declined steadily and significantly over the past decade. At their peak, most programs were providing incentives of $4-8/W (in real 2018 dollars). Over time, direct rebates and performance-based incentives have been largely phased-out in the larger state markets—including Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey—and have diminished to below $0.5/W in most other locations. This continued ratcheting down of incentives is partly a response to the steady decline in the installed price of PV and the emergence of other forms of financial support (for example, SRECs, as discussed in Text Box 4). At the same time, incentive declines may have also helped to motivate further cost and price reductions, as installers were forced to cut costs to remain competitive. The steady ratcheting down of incentives has thus likely been both a cause and an effect of long-term installed price reductions.

    From the perspective of the customer-economics of PV, however, one thing is clear: the steady reduction in cash incentives has offset reductions in (pre-incentive) installed prices to a significant degree. Among the five state markets profiled in Figure 18, the decline in incentives from each market’s respective peak is equivalent to anywhere from 66% to 100% of the drop in installed PV prices over the corresponding time period. Of course, other forms of financial support have simultaneously become more lucrative over this period of time—for example, the federal ITC for residential solar rose in 2009, and SREC markets emerged in many states; new financing structures have also allowed greater monetization of existing tax benefits. And while net metering rules and rate design for solar PV customers have come under greater scrutiny, most of the large state markets have yet to make any substantial changes to those structures. The customer economics of solar in many states thus has likely improved, on balance, over the long-term, but the decline in state and utility cash incentives has nevertheless been a significant counterbalance to falling installed prices.

    QUICK NEWS, November 19: Farms Can Lead Climate Crisis Solutions; Electricity Customers Saving With New Energy

    Farms Can Lead Climate Crisis Solutions Helping American agriculture go from climate crisis to ‘net zero’

    November 18, 2019 (AgDaily)

    “…[Progress has been made on increasing overall soil carbon (which has positive effects on soil quality and could result in increased productivity, agricultural resilience, and yield stability, especially on carbon-depleted soils)…[But] overall the U.S. agricultural production sector has increased its GHG emissions and climate impact over the past few decades…[This is largely due to on] increasing use of liquid manure storage lagoons found on concentrated animal feeding operations [CAFOs], which emit more methane than dry-stacked or composted manure [according to a new study from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition]…

    Key issues analyzed include: the impact of CAFOs on climate and environment; the relationship between the climate crisis and overproduction; how the structure of the federal crop insurance system contributes to overproduction and by extension climate change; and impactful sustainable production practices, including perennial cropping systems, resource-conserving crop rotations, and management intensive grazing…[T]he paper puts forward nearly 30 detailed public policy recommendations…” click here for more

    Electricity Customers Saving With New Energy California utility reports savings for ratepayers by offering renewable energy

    Billy Ludt, November 14, 2019 (Solar Power World)

    “…[A] record number of local governments in Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano Counties, that have switched to [energy supplier MCE’s 100% renewable energy service and shown steady growth in customers taking advantage of MCE’s rooftop solar and electric vehicle incentive programs…22 of the 34 city, town and county governments in MCE’s service area have taken the lead on local climate action by choosing to enroll their municipal electric accounts in Deep Green, MCE’s 100% renewable energy service option…for their public buildings, streetlights and civic services — 100% of it from California solar and wind energy sources…

    MCE now has over 470,000 electricity accounts in the Bay Area, providing renewable energy to more than 1 million customers and businesses. Ratepayers have saved more than $50 million on their monthly bills after switching to MCE, compared to customers who have remained with PG&E…More than 33,000 MCE customers have invested in rooftop solar…There are now more electric vehicle charging stations than gas stations in Marin County…12 new renewable energy projects in MCE’s service area are now providing a collective capacity of approximately 25 MW of clean electricity, enough energy to power over 12,000 homes annually…” click here for more

    Monday, November 18, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Policy Fight Now For Transportation Electrification The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: Q3 2019

    November 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Q3 2019 ELECTRIC VEHICLE ACTION

    In Q3 2019, 40 states plus DC took a total of 298 actions related to electric vehicles. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions occurring during Q3 2019. Of the 298 actions catalogued, the most common were related to Financial Incentives (75), followed by Market Development (58), and Deployment (49).

    TOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE ACTIONS OF Q3 2019

    Five of the quarter’s most notable electric vehicle actions are noted below.

    North Carolina Department of Transportation Releases Zero-Emission Vehicle Plan

    In late September 2019, the North Carolina Department of Transportation released its final Zero-Emission Vehicle Plan, as required by Executive Order 80. The plan identifies four action areas to support zero-emission vehicle adoption: education, convenience, affordability, and policy. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Qualify released a Clean Energy Plan in September, which addresses transportation electrification.

    Arizona Regulators Approve Electric Vehicle Implementation Plan

    The Arizona Corporation Commission approved its Electric Vehicle Policy Implementation Plan in July 2019. The plan establishes guidelines for utility electric vehicle programs and directs the utilities to develop a joint, long-term comprehensive transportation electrification plan by December 31, 2019. The plan also clarifies that charging stations are not classified as public utilities.

    Maine Public Utilities Commission Issues Beneficial Electrification RFP

    In August 2019, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a request for proposals (RFP) for pilot programs to support beneficial electrification of the transportation sector, as required by legislation enacted earlier in the year. Proposals may address load management, utility investment in infrastructure for fast charging, fast charging fees, and customer engagement and awareness. The Commission is accepting responses from utilities, non-utility entities, and Efficiency Maine.

    Portland General Electric Files Transportation Electrification Plan

    Portland General Electric filed its transportation electrification plan with Oregon regulators in late September 2019. The plan includes activities to address passenger electric vehicle adoption and fleet electrification, such as rate reform, infrastructure investments, financial incentives, and outreach. Planned efforts include vehicle-only time-of-use rates, demand charge relief, make-ready equipment deployment, and leasing of charging infrastructure.

    Iowa Utilities Board Exempts Charging Infrastructure Served by Behind-the-Meter Generation from Utility Regulation

    The Iowa Utilities Board issued a decision in September 2019, exempting all electric vehicle charging stations, including those served by behind-the-meter generation, from utility regulation. The Board adopted rules in April 2019 exempting charging stations that purchase electricity from the utility only from regulation. The revised rules specify that electricity sold for the purpose of vehicle charging at a commercial or public station does not constitute a resale of electricity.

    TOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE POLICY TRENDS OF Q3

    2019 States and Utilities Focus on Rebate Programs for Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure

    The most commonly addressed topic of Q3 2019 was financial incentives for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, with the majority of incentives under consideration being rebate programs. Hawaii lawmakers enacted legislation creating a new rebate program for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in July 2019, while the Vermont General Assembly enacted a bill establishing a new incentive program for electric vehicles last quarter. In New Jersey, the Board of Public Utilities took steps toward developing an electric vehicle incentive program. Several utilities have filed proposals for rebate programs, typically as part of broader transportation electrification initiatives. Duke Energy has requested approval for charging station rebates in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina, while Indiana Michigan Power has filed rebate proposals in both Indiana and Michigan.

    Utilities Proposing Programs to Address Multiple Charging Types and Locations

    Many of the utilities requesting approval for transportation electrification initiatives are proposing a portfolio of programs addressing multiple charging types (such as Level 2 or DC fast charging) and locations (such as single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, businesses, and workplaces). The majority of the residential and commercial programs under consideration take the form of incentive programs and new rate offerings, while the majority of the fast charging programs involve utility deployment or new rate designs to reduce the impact of demand charges. Duke Energy’s newly proposed pilot programs in Indiana and Kentucky include programs for fast charging, electric transit buses, residential charging, and commercial charging. Recently approved programs in DC, Delaware, and Maryland also address several different charging segments.

    Utilities Proposing Innovative Electric Vehicle Pilot Projects

    A number of utilities are proposing innovative electric vehicle pilot projects to demonstrate and study new technologies and applications. Dominion Energy Virginia requested approval to deploy a limited number of DC fast charging stations to study and support electrification of the rideshare segment. A Commission order on Georgia Power’s integrated resource plan requires the utility to develop a pilot project that uses battery storage for a grid-connected charging system. As part of Portland General Electric’s transportation electrification plan, filed in September 2019, the utility indicated that it will be pursuing an electric truck demonstration charging sandbox. Last quarter, the Utah Public Service Commission approved Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed project that will test a power balance and demand response system at a transit hub in Salt Lake City.

    QUICK NEWS, November 18: Every Child Will Feel It; Tinder For New Energy

    Every Child Will Feel It The climate crisis will profoundly affect the health of every child alive today, report says

    Jen Christensen, November 13, 2019 (CNN)

    “…If the world continues to produce the same amount of carbon emissions, a child born today could be living in a world with an average temperature that's 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) warmer by their 71st birthday, according to the medical journal The Lancet…[It] would be devastating for our health…A warmer world means more disease, famine, early death from natural disasters such as fire and heat waves, and more major mental health problems. Everyone will be affected, but the most vulnerable will be disproportionately threatened: children, the elderly, people with underlying health conditions and the poor…

    …[I]f the world takes bold action to curb carbon emissions, this dire future could be avoided…To limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, global greenhouse gas emissions have to be cut by at least 45% of 2010 levels by 2030. They had to get to net zero by 2050…A child born in London today would no longer use electricity generated by coal by their 6th birthday…A child born in France today wouldn't be driving a gas- or diesel-fueled car by their 21st birthday…[The world has yet to see a response from governments that matches the scale of the challenge, but China] is continuing to reduce its reliance on coal…Europe saw improvements in air pollution levels from 2015 to 2016…Globally, more people are driving electric cars…” click here for more

    Tinder For New Energy New study helps regions find their renewable energy soul mates

    Zoya Teirstein, October 29, 2019 (Grist)

    “…By looking at a number of variables in 10 regions across the U.S. and the costs and operational requirements of three types of renewables — utility-scale solar, rooftop solar, and wind power — [researchers have shown] which region stands to gain the most from which kind of renewable…[It is like a dating site] for geography and renewable energy compatibility…The Upper Midwest, Lower Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, and Great Lakes regions stand to experience the greatest reductions in CO2 by replacing coal with clean energy…In the Upper Midwest, the economic and health benefits of installing 3,000 megawatts of wind energy top $2.2 trillion, the highest out of any region…

    Solar is highly compatible with the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions, where it would produce $113 of economic and health benefit per megawatt-hour of electricity produced…California and the Southwest generally stand to gain the least from renewables, in part because those regions don’t have a lot of dirty fossil fuels to displace…[B]enefits of renewables outweigh the benefits of carbon capture and sequestration…Installing carbon capture technology on a coal plant, where it can stash away carbon before it’s released into the atmosphere, was about as cost-effective as installing renewables in many places in the U.S. — but that’s only when you’re comparing purely economic benefits…” click here for more

    Saturday, November 16, 2019

    U.S. Ocean Wind Rising

    Europe and China have proven offshore wind is viable and can be cost-competitive and the U.S. is finally getting in the game. From American Wind Energy Association via YouTube

    Big Storage Explained

    Grid-scale battery energy storage is sometimes called “the Swiss army knife of the grid” because it has so many applications. From ClearPath via YouTube

    Climate Anxiety In Children

    They call it “ecoanxiety” and it reportedly touches 90% of children over the age of 10. From Sky News Australia via YouTube

    Friday, November 15, 2019

    The Killing Power Of The Climate Crisis

    How the Climate Crisis Is Killing Us, in 9 Alarming Charts; A new report from over 100 experts paints a devastating picture of how climate change is already imperiling human health.

    Matt Simon, November 13, 2019 (Wired)

    “…The collective implications [of 41 indicators, including extreme weather like droughts, energy trends like fuel use, and agricultural impacts like changing growing conditions, studied by over 100 experts in The Lancet’s 2019 report on climate change and human health] are ugly: A child born today, the authors note, could live in a world that’s 4 degrees warmer than in preindustrial times…

    …It’s not too late to reverse some of these trends or dodge the worst outcomes…[because by understanding] the problem, and we can better see the solutions…for the collective health of humanity…[These charts show] what inaction looks like…Failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions will lead to yet more damage, loss of life, degradation of human health, and weakening of Earth’s interconnected systems.” click here for more

    A World Defying White House Policy

    ‘The World Is Moving Forward:’ Global Energy Trends Are Defying Trump’s Climate Agenda

    Vivienne Walt, November 14, 2019 (Fortune)

    “…[The U.S. president] has railed against the Paris Agreement on climate change, which virtually every country in the world (the U.S. included) signed in 2015 to commit to reining in carbon emissions. He has vowed to boost coal production and bring back coal miners’ jobs. He’s repeatedly expressed his distaste for wind farms, and his White House has sought deep cuts to renewable energy funding…[But this noise ]appears to have little impact on where the U.S. and the world are headed…

    …[Rich countries, including the U.S., are] sharply increasing their use of renewable energy, like solar and wind power and electric vehicles, between now and 2040. The world’s use of renewable energy has doubled since 2000 to 1,391 million metric tonnes last year. Even if governments take no action on climate, it will double again to 2,740 million metric tonnes by 2040…[T]here appears to be no saving U.S. coal…” click here for more

    The Best Places In The World For New Energy

    Study shows where global renewable energy investments have greatest benefits; New metrics can guide investors and policymakers working to reach sustainable development goals

    November 12, 2019 (Science Daily)

    “…[T]he amount of climate and health benefits achieved from renewable energy depends on the country where it is installed. Countries with higher carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and more air pollution, such as India, China, and areas in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, achieve greater climate and health benefits per megawatt (MW) of renewable energy installed than those operating in areas such as North America, Brazil, and parts of Europe…[The Harvard School of Public Health study] measured two types of benefits -- climate benefits (reductions in carbon emissions) and health benefits (decreased mortality attributable to harmful air pollution)…

    …[C]limate benefits are greatest in countries where the electricity grid is largely powered by coal with less-efficient plants, including Mongolia, Botswana, Estonia, Iraq, and Australia. Health benefits are greatest in countries with higher population densities where people are living downwind of emissions sources, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, and large parts of Eastern Europe…[The study showed a renewable energy company which operates mostly in India] saves about 250 lives per 1000 additional MW of wind energy installed per year [while companies that provide the same amount and type of New Energy but] operate mostly in North America and Europe save only 25 lives…” click here for more

    Thursday, November 14, 2019

    The Pioneering Artist Climate-Heroes

    The artist-activists who predicted the climate crisis

    Lydia Figes, 12 November 2019 (Dazed)

    “…[B]efore climate change became a central marketable subject matter for major blockbuster exhibitions, there were artists creating a visual vocabulary for the perilous effects of human action on the environment…Initially stemming from the aesthetic principles of minimalism, environmental art, earthworks, or land art, first emerged as a concept in the 1960s and 1970s, when artists like Walter De Maria, Nancy Holt, and Robert Smithson, among others, approached landscape as a raw, sculptural material…

    [NILS-UDO has been active in the field of environmental art since the 1960s…[and sensitizes viewers to the ephemerality and endangerment of nature…[HELEN & NEWTON HARRISON took on climate change with] ‘The Survival Pieces’ (1970–1972) or ‘Greenhouse Britain’ (2007–2009) – an exhibition about rising sea levels…[ALAN SONFIST’s ‘Time Landscape’ (1965–1978–present) was] a ten-year project that acted as a ‘living monument’ to the indigenous botany of New York…

    [BETTY BEAUMONT’s 1978 to 1980 ‘Ocean Landmark’] transformed 500 tons of coal-waste – an ocean pollutant – into a lush underwater ‘fish garden’ for marine life off the coast of Long Island, New York…[JOSEPH BEUYS’ 1978 and 1982 works were manifestos] against capitalist consumer culture, and proposed policies now adopted by Green political parties…[AGNES DENES] work represented a capitalist, profit-driven economy against a broader backdrop of world poverty and hunger – a system of inequality that has been the driving force behind global warming…

    [Since the 1970s, BUSTER SIMPSON] has been creating environmental artwork whose aim is not just to present problems but to offer ecological solutions…[Beginning in the 1990s, MEL CHIN expressed] growing concerns with environmental pollution…[From 2006, DIANE BURKO] has used scientific data [and the traditions of 19th-century romantic landscape painting] to show the rapid disappearance of glaciers and coral reefs…” click here for more

    Tennessee Utility Powerhouse Undercuts Solar

    TVA Proposes to Axe Customer Solar Program Maggie Shober and Bryan Jacob, November 12, 2019 (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

    “…The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has released proposed changes to its 2007 Green Power Providers (GPP) incentive for residential solar which compensates businesses and homeowners] for every kilowatt hour generated…[A]t the end of 2019, the GPP program will be closed to new applications…[Solar projects for large corporate customers like Facebook and Google is the] only significant solar in TVA’s pipeline for the next five years…[Its recent long-term resource plan] misled the public about how much solar TVA actually intends to include on its system…[TVA claims GPP is underutilized, but TVA’s data] shows a clear correlation between the number of residents that install solar and the amount those residents are paid for their generation. As TVA has decreased that amount, the number of residents installing solar has dropped...

    …[P]rogram participation increased in 2019 as TVA held the generation credit steady…[TVA claims] that customer-installed solar shifts utility costs onto customers without solar. This claim has been disproved in numerous studies…TVA’s proposal presents a false choice between large-scale solar and the distributed solar that customers install on homes and businesses…[Both] offer energy (MWh) and capacity (MW) value to the system – and both provide environmental benefits…[and a combination] is necessary if TVA wants to further reduce its carbon emissions more than the current trajectory of 6% in the next 20 years...The alternatives TVA considered to replace the GPP are entirely insufficient. Customers deserve a solar program that compensates them equitably for the power they generate and supply to their local utility…” click here for more

    New EV Charging Rates Cut System And Driver Costs

    SEPA Report: Residential EV Time-Varying Rates That Limit System Peaks; Customers on EV-Specific Time-Varying Rates are More Likely to Charge Off-Peak Compared to Generic Counterparts

    November 13, 2019 (Smart Electric Power Alliance)

    “Without a thoughtful approach to encourage off-peak residential charging, the predicted rapid growth in electric vehicle (EV) adoption could lead to costly distribution system impacts and infrastructure upgrades for utilities…[but EV time-varying rates effectively incentivize off-peak charging, and] customers are interested in using them…[A new analysis shows that] successful rate offerings do not necessarily require a large peak to off-peak price differential, and that utilities may engage broader segments of their customer base and achieve higher enrollment rates by offering multiple distinct EV rate options…[It also shows customers] on an EV-specific time-varying rate were more familiar with the rate rules and more likely to charge off-peak compared to their generic time-varying rate counterpart…

    Where utilities have proactively developed residential EV rates, enrollment has been more than twice as high as rates that were required or recommended by customers, governance boards, or legislatures…Designing rates that save customers money, require limited up-front fees, and have limited barriers to enrollment can lead to participation rates that roughly double those of other EV rate offerings…72% of non-enrolled customers indicated that they were willing and able to charge their EV during off-peak hours if the rate resulted in bill savings and was convenient to use…EV time-varying rates are an effective first step for utilities to develop strong customer relationships and trust which can serve as a bridge between passive and active managed charging in the future…The best utility opportunity for customer engagement is immediately after an EV purchase…” click here for more

    Wednesday, November 13, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Diversifying the Northeast power mix with offshore wind and storage

    Diversifying the Northeast power mix: Is offshore wind + storage key to the region's reliability? As more New England states roll out offshore wind mandates, bringing the technology to scale is a portfolio priority.

    Herman K. Trabish, July 2, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Both offshore wind and battery storage continue to attract investor interest that is driving prices down.

    Offshore wind and battery storage are about to come into the Northeastern power mix in a big way. With more states requiring offshore wind targets, almost 18 GW are mandated to come online by 2035 in states across New England. But how that intermittent capacity will fit into an increasingly clean energy mix, how it will impact system reliability and whether the region's utilities are ready for more change, remains in question.

    The answer, stakeholders told Utility Dive: It depends. "In the beginning, the objective was to produce low-cost renewable energy credits, regardless of production profile, location or intermittency, but penetrations are becoming too high for that," Navigant Director Lon Huber told Utility Dive. "Now, we need a diversity of resources and price signals to developers to shape their offerings to handle each region's specific idiosyncrasies."

    As the Northeast power system evolves toward reliance on large scale renewables, storage, distributed energy resources (DER) and other load balancing strategies will be essential, say stakeholders. And offshore wind and storage may be a better answer for the reliability challenges of the Northeast's dark winters than solar-storage hybrid projects, but a diversity of resources will be essential.

    "These technologies are not competitive, they are complementary, and will be part of a portfolio with demand response, load reduction programs and transmission for wind," Public Service Electric and Gas-Long Island (PSEG-LI) VP for Power Markets Paul Napoli told Utility Dive. "It is not about home runs. Each part of the portfolio has to get on base. That's how we win the game."

    There is a need for a portfolio of zero emission resources that maintains high reliability, Huber said. Initially, over-procurement of renewables to protect against variability, with economic curtailment when necessary, may be the least cost solution. Hydropower and existing pumped storage can fill gaps, and "solar and newly added storage will be supplements," he said.

    OSW "seems an obvious choice if there is transmission to deliver it into load pockets because, in the right offshore locations, it can help cover peak demand," Huber added. In the near term, if U.S. offshore wind proves to be low in cost and aligns with peak demand, "economic curtailment may be cheaper than storage." The right price signals will "mature" technologies for directly addressing peak demand and atypical extreme weather events, he said. An example is Massachusetts' Clean Peak Standard (CPS), a concept Huber created, that would compensate technologies for peak demand reductions and load shaping… click here for more

    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Solar Policy Debate Right Now

    The 50 States of Solar: Q3 2019 October 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary

    OVERVIEW OF Q3 2019 POLICY ACTION

    In the third quarter of 2019, 42 states plus DC took a total of 150 actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design (Figure 1). Table 1 provides a summary of state actions related to DG compensation, rate design, and solar ownership during Q3 2019. Of the 150 actions cataloged, the most common were related to DG compensation rules (53), followed by residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (40), and community solar (27).

    TOP FIVE SOLAR POLICY DEVELOPMENTS OF Q3 2019

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

    Louisiana Public Service Commission Approves Net Metering Reforms

    The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved a net metering successor tariff in September 2019, which will provide avoided cost compensation for all energy exported to the grid, beginning in January 2020. Existing net metering customers will be grandfathered for 15 years, and the new rules also authorize the development of community DG facilities, which will be credited at the avoided cost rate.

    Connecticut DEEP files Proposed Shared Solar Program Rules

    The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection filed proposed program requirements for the state’s shared clean energy facility program in early July 2019. Under the proposed rules, utilities would conduct an annual solicitation of up to 25 MW for six years for shared clean energy facilities. Projects would be required to be 4 MW or under and have at least 10 subscribers, with subscribers either making a one-time payment or monthly payments.

    Xcel Energy Proposes Changes to Value of Solar Methodology in Minnesota

    Xcel Energy filed a petition in August 2019 to modify its value of solar methodology. The utility is seeking to change the way avoided distribution capacity costs are calculated. Under the current methodology, which serves as the basis for community solar credits, the value of solar is scheduled to increase from its 2019 rate of 11.09 cents per kWh to 24.84 cents per kWh in 2020.

    Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Opens New Proceeding on DERs

    The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission opened a new proceeding in September 2019 to investigate the technical, economic, and policy issues associated with DERs for the HECO companies. The proceeding will consider new DER programs, the future of existing DER programs, advanced rate designs, interconnection improvements to facilitate DER integration, and legacy equipment.

    Massachusetts Regulators Reject National Grid’s Minimum Monthly Reliability Contribution

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an order in National Grid’s general rate case in late September 2019, rejecting the utility’s proposed minimum monthly reliability contribution (MMRC) for net metering customers, which would have taken the form of an additional fixed monthly fee. The DPU instead encouraged the state’s three investorowned utilities to work toward developing a standardized MMRC structure.

    THE BIG PICTURE: INSIGHTS FROM Q3 2019

    Utilities Proposing More Modest Residential Fixed Charge Increases

    Utilities are, in general, proposing more modest residential fixed charge increases than they have in recent years. In Q3 2019, the median residential fixed charge increase requested (among only requests to increase such charges by at least 10%) was $3.00. In 2018, the median requested increase was $3.87, while the median request was $4.00 in 2017 and $4.07 in 2016. Many utilities are also filing general rate case applications that keep the residential fixed charge at its current level. At least 18 utilities currently have rate case applications pending with either a proposed fixed charge increase of less than 10%, no fixed charge increase, or a fixed charge decrease.

    States Considering Credit Adders for Community Solar Projects Serving Low-Income Customers

    While a broader trend continues of states considering how to encourage low-income participation in community solar programs, several states have recently been specifically considering credit adders for community solar projects serving low-income customers. Designing community solar programs that provide a financial benefit to subscribers has been a challenge in building low-income customer participation, so some states are considering credit adders as a method of ensuring the program provides a financial benefit. The Governor of New Hampshire signed a bill in July 2019 establishing an adder for low and moderate income community solar projects. Advocates proposed adders for residential and low-income subscribers for the second phase of Hawaii’s community-based renewable energy program. The existing Solar Massachusetts Renewable Energy Target (SMART) program also provides a credit adder for community solar projects serving low-income customers.

    Stakeholders Reaching Agreements on Net Metering Reform in Some States, But Not Others

    While stakeholders in some states, such as South Carolina, are reaching major compromise agreements on net metering reform, stakeholders remain divided in other states. In Arkansas’ net metering successor proceeding, the net metering working group was tasked with submitting a filing of agreed-upon rules, but the group reported that it was unable to reach consensus on any of the rules. In Louisiana, the Public Service Commission adopted a net metering successor tariff in September 2019, but this decision is not supported by many of the proceeding’s stakeholders, with some already filing petitions for rehearing and reconsideration. A settlement conference had been held in Louisiana, but parties were unable to reach consensus.

    QUICK NEWS, November 12: Directing Smart Money For The Climate Fight; Power Plants All Over

    Directing Smart Money For The Climate Fight How should billionaires spend their money to fight climate change? I asked 9 experts. Is it better to invest in developing clean energy technologies, say, or in trying to get a Democrat elected president?

    Sigal Samuel, November 12, 2019 (VOX)

    “…Some megadonors are already trying to help us avert the climate crisis…[Nine top climate experts — scientists, activists, policy entrepreneurs —proposed] the most effective way to spend…[Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and co-founder of 350.org, said] spend the money helping build the climate movement…[Jessica Lovering, energy program director, the Breakthrough Institute, said] set up a competitive prize to demonstrate small, factory-produced nuclear reactors…[Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist, Natural Resources Defense Council, said] focus on making the state of Kansas, where I currently live, into a model state for clean energy] over the next five years…[Alan Robock, environmental science professor, Rutgers University, said] it’s more important to change your leaders than to change your lightbulbs…[The fossil fuel industry has captured the Republican Party so I would spend to get] Democrats elected…

    …[Kate Marvel, associate climate research scientist, Columbia University and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said the key is] investing everything in girls’ schools and women’s leadership…[Kerry Emanuel, atmospheric science professor, MIT, said invest heavily in] new high-temperature, fuel-efficient [nuclear] reactors expected to be deployed in the 2030s…[Adrienne Hollis, senior climate justice and health scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists, said focus on] community-building and resiliency opportunities…[Kelly Wanser, principal director, Marine Cloud Brightening Project, proposed spending to] catalyze geoengineering innovation…[Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, North America director, 350.org, proposed investment to back] the Green New Deal…” click here for more

    Power Plants All Over No wind? No sun? This power plant solves renewable energy's biggest problem

    Hannah Ziady, November 7, 2019 (CNN)

    “…By supplying electricity from renewable sources even when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, virtual power plant technology could help tackle the climate crisis…[Unlike conventional power plants, New Energy is] weather dependent and therefore much more difficult to control…[Virtual power plants (VPP) resolve that] by connecting disparate sources of renewable production, generation and storage. By pooling those resources, engineers can make them behave like a conventional power plant…[A] virtual power plant might be connected to 10 geographically dispersed wind farms to smooth the variability in output of each one. It could also include an energy storage component, so that if production from the wind farms outstrips demand a fleet of batteries can be charged so they can supply more power later…

    …Norwegian company Statkraft's 12,000 MW VPP, running in Germany since 2011,] uses a cloud-based artificial intelligence platform to connect more than 1,500 wind, solar and hydropower plants across Europe with electricity generation and storage facilities, such as batteries…Power generation forecasts and actual electricity production data are continuously fed into the virtual power plant from the connected plants. This is supplemented with market prices for energy, enabling Statkraft to match demand with supply in real time…” click here for more

    Monday, November 11, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: New Energy Through 2024

    Renewables 2019; Market analysis and forecasts to 2024

    October 17, 2019 (International Energy Agency)

    Context

    • Despite stalling in 2018, global renewable capacity additions are set to rebound in 2019 by 12%, with solar PV driving their strongest increase in four years.

    • Wind and solar PV costs continue to decline rapidly, improving their cost competitiveness versus new coal and natural gas plants.

    • Distributed PV systems in homes, commercial buildings and industry have almost tripled since 2014, transforming the way electricity is generated and consumed.

    • The share of renewables in world electricity generation reached 25% last year while remaining at 10% in heat and below 4% in transport demand.

    • Decarbonising electricity production is a key step, but there is also an urgent need to transform “hard to abate” sectors: transport, buildings and energy-intensive industries (iron & steel, cement etc.).

    Highlights

    Renewables expand by 50% through 2024, with distributed PV alone growing as much as onshore wind. The IEA forecast is 14% higher than last year due to improved policies and increasing competitiveness

    Over the next five years, China’s distributed PV capacity becomes the world’s biggest, growth in the EU resumes, and other countries such as India emerge as new markets

    Economies of scale + better match between PV output and electricity demand in commercial/industrial applications enable higher self-consumption, saving more on electricity bills than in case of residential

    Continuing decline of solar PV costs widens the gap with retail electricity prices, increasing distributed PV’s economic attractiveness for private investors

    With improved policies, lower costs and rapid adoption, total distributed PV capacity more than doubles by 2024. However, this represents only 6% of the global technical potential.

    With improved policies, lower costs and rapid adoption, total distributed PV capacity more than doubles by 2024. However, this represents only 6% of the global technical potential.

    New policies and market reforms are needed to find a balance between the opposing interests of distributed PV owners, energy & distribution companies, and electricity consumers in general

    By addressing grid integration, policy uncertainty and financing challenges, governments can accelerate renewables growth by one-quarter, putting renewable electricity on track with sustainable energy goals

    Conclusions

    • Solar PV and wind account for 70% of global power capacity expansion over the next five years, calling for policies targeting their cost-effective and secure integration in power systems.

    • Distributed solar PV is responsible for almost half of total solar PV growth, expanding as much as onshore wind through 2024.

    • Commercial and industrial applications drive distributed PV expansion globally, as their supply and electricity demand are better matched than for residential, enabling larger savings on retail bills.

    • Distributed PV growth requires policies that find the best compromise between attracting investment, securing enough revenues for grids and ensuring a fair allocation of grid costs for all consumers.

    • Governments can put renewables on track with climate, air quality & energy access goals through stable policies addressing system integration & investment risk and focusing more on transport and heat.