NewEnergyNews: 03/01/2020 - 04/01/2020

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, the administration's position on the climate crisis makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Therefore, until November 2020, the NewEnergyNews theme song:

YESTERDAY

  • Colbert And Greta, Part 2
  • Weekend Video: New Energy For Recovery
  • Weekend Video: Energy Storage Changes The Game
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Four Deniers To Avoid
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy Keeps Growing
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, August 5:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: Big money to utilities: Face climate risks or lose market value
  • TTTA Wednesday-The Threat And Opportunity From Transportation Electrification
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • MONDAY STUDY: Policy Design For Hybrid Renewables
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: Greta – What Leadership Looks Like
  • Weekend Video: China’s Greta
  • Weekend Video: This Is Leadership?
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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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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, August 10:
  • The World’s New Energy Right Now

    Monday, March 30, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: Ocean Energy Grows On

    An Overview Of Ocean Energy Activities In 2019

    March 2020 (Ocean Energy Systems)

    Executive Summary

    Introduction

    The Technology Collaboration Programme (TCP) supports the work of independent, international groups of experts that enable governments and industries from around the world to lead programmes and projects on a wide range of energy technologies and related issues. The experts in these collaborations work to advance the research, development and commercialisation of energy technologies. The scope and strategy of each collaboration is in keeping with the IEA Shared Goals of energy security, environmental protection and economic growth, as well as engagement worldwide.

    The Technology Collaboration Programme was created with a belief that the future of energy security and sustainability starts with global collaboration. The programme is made up of 6,000 experts across government, academia, and industry dedicated to advancing common research and the application of specific energy technologies.

    Ocean Energy Systems (OES) is the short name for the Technology Collaboration Programme on Ocean Energy Systems under the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    The OES connects organisations and individuals working in the ocean energy sector to accelerate the viability, uptake and acceptance of ocean energy systems in an environmentally acceptable manner. The work of the OES covers all forms of energy generation in which sea water forms the motive power through its physical and chemical properties, i.e. wave, tidal range, tidal and ocean currents, ocean thermal energy conversion and salinity gradients.

    This Annual Report presents an overview of progress made by the OES, including summaries of new, ongoing and recent projects, as well as updated country reviews prepared by the Delegates.

    Interest and outreach for new membership within OES continued in 2019. The OES is always looking for new members across the globe, and key representatives from potential new member countries are encouraged to attend meetings as Observers.

    The OES has 25 members, which provide a broad international base of information, sharing experience and knowledge and further a diversified representation of interests: members are from governmental departments, utilities, universities and research organizations, energy agencies and industry associations. This is one of the benefits of joining OES: participants gain an international perspective on ocean energy issues, opportunities and present challenges.

    The OES international co-operation facilitates:

    • Securing access to advanced R&D teams in the participating countries;

    • Developing a harmonized set of measures and testing protocols for the testing of prototypes;

    • Reducing national costs by collaborating internationally;

    • Creating valuable international contacts between government, industry and science;

    • Sharing information and networking.

    This Executive Summary provides a brief summary of the OES Annual Report for the year 2019. It synthesizes the main achievements in the OES collaborative activities and presents relevant policies, R&D activities and deployments in the water by each OES member country.

    OES has a close link with the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE), held every two years, and leads a competitive process to select the host team for this conference. In 2019, the host for the 8th edition of ICOE was approved by the OES Executive Committee: ICOE 2020 is scheduled to take place on May 19-21 2020 at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Hydropower Association (NHA), a nonprofit North-American national association dedicated to promoting the growth of clean, affordable waterpower in all of its forms, ranging from conventional hydropower to pumped storage to marine energy.

    ES Key Achievements in 2019

    The Technology Collaboration Programme was created with a belief that the future of energy security and sustainability starts with global collaboration. The programme is made up of 6,000 experts across government, academia, and industry dedicated to advancing common research and the application of specific energy technologies. ANNUAL REPORT 2019 The OES held two ExCo Meetings in 2019: The 36th and 37th meetings were convened in Riviera Maya, Mexico (26 – 27 March 2019), hosted by Cémie-Oceano, and in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland (2 - 3 October), hosted by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and organised in the same week as the annual Ocean Energy Europe Conference and Exhibition, one of the most important events on Europe’s ocean energy calendar that took place in Dublin.

    During 2019, the task on environmental issues has been renamed to OES-Environmental (OES-E). Fifteen nations participate in this task, led by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and implemented by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Over the year information has been collected from baseline data and monitoring efforts around deployed marine energy devices; Tethys1, the publicly accessible knowledge management system has been continuously updated with papers, reports, and other media on environmental effects of marine energy devices; there has been several actions towards outreach and engagement to the ocean energy community, with particular emphasis on researchers, regulators, and developers.

    On the Cost of Energy for Ocean Energy Technology, a new study led by Tecnalia from Spain was concluded in 2019. This new study monitors the evolution of ocean energy costs and assesses the impact of different drivers on the LCOE, by taking into account historical trends, future developments and differences among technologies and countries. The findings of this study have been shared with the IEA for their modelling work in renewable energies.

    OES has two tasks dedicated to the modelling verification and validation of ocean energy technologies, one led by Ramboll in Denmark, for wave energy, and a second one, for tidal energy, led by the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. These groups have been engaging with a number of experts from universities, research institutions and companies and comparing results among different numerical codes.

    A group of member countries – Japan, India, China, France and The Netherlands – have been working together on OTEC to assess the potential around the world and discuss the present status and plans for OTEC projects. A workshop with the support of OES has been organised during the 7th International OTEC Symposium in Busan, Republic of Korea.

    OES has been developing efforts on the topic of international performance evaluation of ocean energy technologies with strong inputs from the European Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy and from Wave Energy Scotland, aiming to support the definition of a fully defined set of metrics and success thresholds for wave energy technologies and develop an internationally accepted approach. A draft report discussing the benefits of common evaluation approaches in the ocean energy sector and the use of common language has been prepared to help build consensus. It details the evaluation process and how it changes throughout the technology development process.

    In 2019, the ExCo commissioned a new study to assess the number of jobs related to the development of the ocean energy sector, coordinated by France Energies Marines. The assessment of the number of jobs related to the development of the ocean energy sector has reached utmost importance for decision makers. Some figures have been announced but an accurate assessment of existing jobs directly related to the sector needs specific attention. One difficulty to properly assess the number of jobs relies on the methodology applied. The proposed project thus aims to provide both a methodology and actual figures of job assessment with an indication of the robustness of the models used, their limitations and the quality of their outputs.

    A third workshop on ocean energy in insular conditions, aiming to discuss barriers and opportunities, was organised at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA (2-3 May 2019) by the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), with the support of OES.

    OES also supported in 2019 a workshop on open-sea testing organized by the International WaTERS network at EMEC on Orkney Islands, Scotland, to exchange information and experience on all aspects of planning, development and operation of open-water test facilities. The International WaTERS network brings together operational and planned test sites from around the world to discuss common issues and agree actions for collaborating for the good of marine energy…

    Country Highlights in 2019…

    Open Sea Test Sites

    There are many open sea test sites established across the world and each has its own challenges, such as consenting issues, resource and operating environments. Test centres also provide very different service offerings to industry.

    The development of open sea testing facilities encourages ocean energy development by enabling practical experience of installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning activities for prototypes and farms, as well as on services and streamlining procedures…

    Saturday, March 28, 2020

    The Guy Who Opposed The Stimulus Bill

    Bad judgment seems to be Kentucky Republican Representative Massie’s thing. From NBC News via YouTube

    A New Energy Primer

    The basics. From Arey6076st via YouTube

    New Energy Can Be A Rainmaker

    Here’s how New Energy can increase rainfall in the Sahara Desert. From SciShow via YouTube

    Friday, March 27, 2020

    The Opportunity In Acting, The Risk In Delaying

    Delay is deadly: what Covid-19 tells us about tackling the climate crisis; Rightwing governments have denied the problem and been slow to act. With coronavirus and the climate, this costs lives

    Jonathan Watts, 24 March 2020 (UK Guardian)

    “…Like global warming, but in close-up and fast-forward, the Covid-19 outbreak shows how lives are lost or saved depending on a government’s propensity to acknowledge risk, act rapidly to contain it, and share the consequences…Governments willing to intervene have been more effective at stemming the virus than laissez-faire capitalists…International comparisons suggest this could be making infection and death rates steeper…[Delayed responses in the U.S. response, Brazil, and the resulted in sharply rising cases and daily deaths but where more interventionist governments in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand] have acted more quickly and shared the burden of risk more widely and flattened the coronavirus curve…This pandemic has amplified the importance of assessing and controlling risk before it gets out of hand…

    No leader can deny the science, nor can they endlessly delay action as they have done on global heating… If state intervention and scientific advice is effective in dealing with the virus, the same principles should be applied more aggressively towards the still more apocalyptic threats of climate disruption…The pandemic has proved that delays are deadly and expensive…Our conception of what is “normal” will have to change…First though, we need to accept – and share – risk. Instead of deferring risks to future generations, weaker populations and natural systems, governments need to transform risks into responsibilities we all bear. The longer we hesitate, the fewer resources we will have at our disposal, and the more risk we will have to divide.” click here for more

    Five Years Of Global Wind Growth Ahead

    Global Wind Power Market to Grow with a CAGR of 7.9% from 2020 to 2025

    March 24, 2020 (Business Wire via Yahoo Finance)

    “…The market for wind power is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 7.9% during the forecast period of 2020-2025…[Major drivers] include the favorable government policies, the increasing investment in wind power projects and the reduced cost of wind energy…[I]ncreasing adoption of alternate energy sources, such as gas-based power and solar power, are likely to hinder the market growth…[C]umulative onshore installed wind power capacity is estimated to witness an addition of 8.33% in 2018 as compared to the previous year's capacity…

    [But the offshore sector has been gaining momentum] and is expected to witness the fastest growth in the near future…In 2018, the installed capacity from the offshore sector represented a 26% increase in cumulative installed capacity as compared to the previous year. Europe accounted for more than 80% of the global cumulative offshore wind installed capacity, by the end of 2018…China's offshore industry is finally gaining momentum…India is also focusing on offshore developments…North America is the most mature and competitive region in the wind power market…” click here for more

    Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: U.S. wind, solar finance alternatives

    US wind, solar finance alternatives rise as sector rushes against looming tax credit expiration; Resources are being rapidly deployed ahead of the post-2020 phase-out, but political uncertainty makes turmoil unavoidable.

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 15, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The renewables industries are beginning to grow nostalgic for the days when all they had to worry about was their tax credits. But the good old days will return. Keep the faith.

    Expiring tax credits for wind and solar projects offer near-term promise and long-term uncertainty, with the U.S. wind industry on track to become the nation's fastest growing source of electricity generation by the end of 2020 and the solar industry potentially soon following.

    Both face bursting bubbles due to the loss of tax incentives, analysts told Utility Dive. But the resources have other advantages and ideas are emerging on how to finance the projects, which could propel them into the next decade.

    One developing finance approach would take advantage of potentially "billions of dollars" waiting to go into U.S. wind and solar projects from foreign and other investors without a use for tax credits. Another would channel investor funds to portfolios of smaller wind and solar projects that are more difficult to manage when tax credits have to be apportioned within the portfolio.

    Alternatively, a range of new technology-neutral tax credit proposals could incline lawmakers to establish long-term certainty for innovative resources that would open the way to a renewed power sector. But first, money is expected to flow like never before to wind projects through 2020 and to solar projects in the early 2020s to take advantage of existing tax credits one last time.

    Wind's 14% year-on-year growth forecast for 2020, driven by a rush to get projects underway before the terminating federal production tax credit (PTC), is not sustainable, analysts and advocates told Utility Dive. Momentum is likely to shift to solar energy before its federal investment tax credit (ITC) starts phasing out in 2022.

    Amid rapidly evolving political and industry developments, innovative policy proposals are emerging for wind and solar, Utility Dive recently reported. One, for technology neutral tax incentives that would create a level playing field for all sources of electricity generation, continues to attract support. But bubbles will burst before these valuable post-2020 ideas are put in place, analysts said… click here for more

    Pandemics And Distributed Generation

    Does Energy Democracy Have Meaning in a Pandemic?

    John Farrell, March 16, 2020 (Institute for Local Self Reliance)

    “…[These thoughts about how decentralized and democratized energy systems might help us weather things like the COVID-19 pandemic come] from my living room couch, my kids out of school and doing a “home school” schedule while my wife and I try to work. We’re trying to be kind to one another and ourselves, realizing that none of what we do will live up to our ordinary standard in an extraordinary time…[D]istributed energy like rooftop or community solar can help reduce energy bills…While almost trivial against the nature of the threat, [a savings of about $65 per month in reduced electricity use (at national average prices) is] still a meaningful monetary benefit…

    Fortunately, most utilities are suspending disconnections for 30 days during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the need is likely to extend far beyond 30 days…[Resiliency against an extreme weather event of natural disaster] might transform under threat of a pandemic….[D]istributed energy resources can help us in a dual disaster situation by allowing us to gather in smaller numbers…Distributed energy can’t solve a pandemic, but it helps to spend a few minutes trying to make sense of how energy democracy can have meaning at a time of unprecedented disruption.” click here for more

    Monday, March 23, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: Getting To 80% New Energy In New England

    ACCELERATING TO 80: Driving the Northeast’s Deep Decarbonization Targets

    Sean Burke and Sheri Qualters, March 2020 (Mintz, the Northeast Clean Energy Council, and The Brattle Group)

    INTRODUCTION

    Concerns about climate change and its potential to cause catastrophic damage to communities, infrastructure, and natural areas are increasing across the globe, but many of the changes necessary to mitigate its impact must be driven at a more regional level. In New England, most of the states have pledged to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, with a few states, including elsewhere in Northeast, committing to more expansive targets or a faster timeline. Last year, Governor Janet Mills of Maine signed an executive order to achieve carbon neutrality in the state by 2045, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued a plan to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050, and New York passed legislation to mandate a zero-carbon emission electric sector by 2040.

    Yet it’s not completely clear how to attain such a massive reduction. Many possible solutions have major political and market-related hurdles, and also require changes in consumer behavior. Overcoming these obstacles, while ensuring that there is enough clean energy supply to meet expected increases in demand, will require cooperation across jurisdictions and among competing business interests and constituencies.

    In order to brainstorm ideas for what would be an unprecedented undertaking and to set the stage for regional coordination efforts throughout the Northeast, Mintz, the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC), and The Brattle Group convened an invitation-only summit of senior-level clean economy leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The event brought together over 30 thought leaders and stakeholders from a broad range of invested constituents: local and state governments, utility companies, industry associations and trade groups, advocacy groups focused on the environment and transportation, and venture capital and project finance funds that invest in sustainable businesses, and private companies ranging from green energy start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

    MOVING TOWARDS DECARBONIZATION

    To kick off the discussion, Jürgen Weiss, a leading energy and industrial organization economist and a principal at The Brattle Group, reviewed several scenarios and takeaways detailed in The Brattle Group’s September 2019 report, Achieving 80% GHG Reduction in New England by 2050. According to the study, there has been a significant upswing in clean energy deployment across the Northeast since 2010, but much more is needed to meet regional climate commitments.

    Over the last decade, an average of 280 megawatts of renewable energy capacity has been installed across the six states each year — and the region is on track to more than double that activity by deploying an average of 830 megawatts of renewable resources each year until 2030. These investments provide a solid foundation, but according to the report, New England needs annual renewable energy deployments of four to eight times the current level, or an approximately nine percent annual increase in installations, through 2050 to reach 80 percent emissions reductions. That’s an achievable target given that the region’s clean energy buildout is already accelerating. By comparison, annual global deployments of wind energy projects have increased by more than 11 percent per year over the past 20 years while global solar energy installations have increased by 41 percent per year during the same period. Three primary approaches will enable the region to meet emissions targets: reducing electric sector emissions, expanding energy efficiency of new and existing buildings and vehicles, and adopting electric-powered technologies, including electric vehicles (EVs) and clean heating systems for buildings.

    If the region takes these steps, The Brattle Group projects that demand for electricity will likely double in New England by 2050. In examining that conclusion and the underlying economic scenarios, attendees discussed a number of concerns and related issues. These include technical difficulties associated with storing wind- and solar-generated power, the lack of available land in the region for large-scale solar projects, and stranded or unrecoverable costs related to investments in new technologies that fail to establish a foothold. Utilities may incur stranded costs related to transmission pipes that deliver natural gas to buildings for any structures that convert to a new source of heating energy. Using clean gas derived from hydrogen, biogas, or other net zero sources with the existing infrastructure could avoid that obstacle, a possibility described in more detail in the report. An additional concern is the possibility of increased consumer demand for electricity if technological changes lead to price drops.

    Underlying these questions and the overarching issue of whether the region can expand clean energy capacity quickly enough was a shared recognition that technology breakthroughs would change the variables in any GHG reduction plan. Although planning over such a long term is difficult, taking ambitious steps now to cut GHG emissions is critical because we can’t simply count on technology to close the gap. In the event that technological improvements are slower or smaller in scope than expected, an aggressive plan will help ensure that the region meets its 2050 goals.

    With these issues in mind, the attendees engaged in a candid discussion of challenges the region faces in meeting the 2050 goal as well as a broad spectrum of potential solutions. Before adjourning the summit, they began the arduous process of outlining next steps to ensure that the region stays on track to meet its emissions goals…

    SIGNIFICANT HURDLES… TRANSFORMATIONAL SOLUTIONS…

    NEXT STEPS

    To leverage the momentum and cautious optimism generated by the brainstorming session on solutions, the organizers closed the summit with a discussion on next steps.

    An early suggestion — to pick two or three of the proposed solutions and create working groups tasked with developing road maps for implementation — revealed the importance of continued dialogue. Other proposals included working to secure early wins on high-impact short-term projects, inviting environmental justice groups and community representatives to participate in any ongoing process, and exploring how to structure a clean energy wholesale market. One stakeholder recommended stress-testing using financial modeling tools in order to evaluate options for expanding the region’s solar power and the cost of power if demand for electricity doubled. Another proposed using a network of demonstration and early adopter sites, possibly at universities, to generate excitement for clean energy innovations.

    Building on an idea germinated during the solutions session of the summit, one participant said that designing government programs that can offer one-stop shopping for consumers interested in purchasing green technology should be a priority. In response, another attendee suggested working with companies and activists over a two-to-five-year period to develop programs to promote clean technology through attractive incentives for companies and consumers.

    The group also weighed broader questions, including whether to concentrate on Massachusetts issues or retain a regional focus. There was widespread consensus that regional efforts are essential, given that states face common challenges and the regional grid benefits from the ongoing buildout of offshore wind power and early efforts to transform the clean transportation sector, which operates in many ways as a regional market. One attendee noted that regional collaboration doesn’t mean every state must adopt a particular solution at the same time.

    In a deliberation about possible breakout groups, attendees proposed a number of categories: offshore wind, solar, buildings, transportation, the electric generation sector (including wholesale market reforms, grid modernization, and the utility role in interconnection), and alternative fuels. There was also a strong counterargument for forming groups around broad topics, such as finance issues and the consumer perspective, to avoid creating silos of participants from the same industry.

    CONCLUSION

    Although the unknowns in this massive, decades-long undertaking are many, government and other stakeholders need to agree on and embark on a number of initiatives that will radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving this regional goal is almost certain to disrupt energy markets, consumers, and employees in the sector, but only teamwork that leverages the expertise of energy sector decision makers and sustained effort can bring this vital goal to fruition.

    Saturday, March 21, 2020

    Innovations In New Energy

    The future begins with possibilities like these. From Innovative Tech via YouTube

    Scientists Talk Feelings About The Climate Crisis

    This is how people who know what the data shows respond emotionally. But remember: “The future is not written yet” because responding is “absolutely within our control…” From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    From Offshore Drilling To Offshore Wind

    The offshore wind energy industry is transforming offshore oil drilling’s turmoil to “a steady future.” From American Wind Energy Association via YouTube

    *

    Friday, March 20, 2020

    World’s Banks Failing Climate Fight

    Study: global banks 'failing miserably' on climate crisis by funneling trillions into fossil fuels; Analysis of 35 leading investment banks shows financing of more than $2.66tn for fossil fuel industries since the Paris agreement

    Patrick Greenfield and Kalyeena Makortoff, 18 March 2020 (UK Guardian)

    The world’s largest investment banks have funneled more than [$2.66 trillion] into fossil fuels since the Paris agreement…JP Morgan Chase, whose economists warned that the climate crisis threatens the survival of humanity last month, has been the largest financier of fossil fuels in the four years since the agreement…[Analysis of the 35 leading global investment banks found] that financing for the companies most aggressively expanding in new fossil fuel extraction since the Paris agreement has surged by nearly 40% in the last year…[but the last 12 months has seen many investment banks announce financing restrictions on coal, Arctic oil and gas, and tar sands extraction…[Alongside JP Morgan Chase, the US banks Wells Fargo, Citi and Bank of America account] for nearly a third of the £2.2tn of financial services since the Paris agreement…

    [Big banks overall have increased their funding in the four years since Paris to companies with significant Arctic oil and gas reserves…Barclays, which has been under increasing investor pressure over its environmental stance, has been the top European financier of fossil fuels in the last four years… Fracking has been the focus of intense business activity by investment banks since the Paris agreement, with JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America leading £241.53bn of financing, much of it linked to the Permian basin in Texas…The Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Dominion led financing for tar sands crude oil projects in Alberta, north-west Canada, which have caused widespread damage to ecosystems…[The big-four Chinese banks have dominated financing for coal mining and coal power] and have no policies restricting business practices…” click here for more

    The New Energy Economy Is Now

    Wind and solar plants will soon be cheaper than coal in all big markets around world, analysis finds; Report raises fresh doubt about viability of Australia’s thermal coal export industry

    Adam Morton 11 March 2020 (UK Guardian)

    Building new wind and solar plants will soon be cheaper in every major market across the globe than running existing coal-fired power stations…[While some countries are moving faster than others, the analysis by the Carbon Tracker Initiative] found renewable power was a cheaper option than building new coal plants in all large markets…and was expected to cost less than electricity from existing coal plants by 2030 at the latest…Solar photovoltaics and wind energy were already cheaper than electricity from about 60% of coal stations, including about 70% of China’s coal fleet and half of Australia’s plants…[In Japan], wind power was found to cost less than new coal plants and was expected to be cheaper than existing coal by 2028. Solar power in Japan was forecast to be a better option than new coal by 2023 and existing coal by 2026…

    In China, wind was already cheaper than any coal power, and solar electricity was forecast to on average cost less than existing coal later this year. Renewable energy in South Korea was expected to be cheaper than existing coal within two years…[The report acknowledged] some governments were effectively incentivising or underwriting new coal power through regulatory programs that either directly subsidised coal operators or passed the higher cost on to consumers…It called on governments to block new coal projects and phase out existing coal plants, in part by changing regulations to allow renewable energy to compete on a level playing field…[C]oal-fired electricity fell about 3% in 2019, the biggest drop on record after more than four decades of near-uninterrupted growth in which coal power has been a primary driver of the climate crisis. China’s use of coal plants continued to climb while generation in the US and Europe fell by 16% and nearly a quarter…” click here for more

    Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: CCAs And New Energy

    As CCAs take over utility customers, local renewable generation emerges as the next big growth driver; The demand for customer choice has the potential to quicken the power system's transition toward cheaper, cleaner electricity, and is moving beyond California.

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 8, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: All the tensions of load disaggregation – AND all the opportunities – remain.

    On the heels of an explosion of customer choice in California over the last three years, the slowly growing aggregation market in Massachusetts is accelerating. In New York, a new version of aggregation is emerging. Customers in traditional markets like Illinois and Ohio are looking for new services from their aggregators. And national community choice aggregation (CCA) organizations want to bring the choice to more states.

    CCAs led by municipal governments were created to leverage the buying power of large groups of electricity users to get lower electricity prices and meet other customer demands. In deregulated power market states, the newest aggregations are demanding the power sector meet grassroots customer demand for renewable, distributed and — increasingly — local generation.

    "Customers want more choice and more ways to green the grid, and aggregations offer both," Shawn Marshall, executive director of national aggregation advocacy group LEAN Energy, told Utility Dive. "Overturning the status quo is not easy, but we are seeing a lot of interest."

    In states with legislation that enables aggregation, momentum is growing. Aggregation's popularity is softening utility resistance. Renewables developers' initial concerns about its creditworthiness are transmuting into commitments to make deals happen. One conflict aggregation still must face is the gap between the power system's reliance on bulk and diversitfied generation and the dream of a power system comprised entirely of local resources.

    Aggregation of investor-owned utility (IOU) customers is often called "public power lite" because responsibility for the delivery infrastructure and billing remain with the IOU but, like a publicly owned utility, the aggregation's generation mix is selected, controlled by and priced to the needs of customers instead of the utility business. Aggregation has so far been done only in states with fully or partially deregulated power markets, where generation can be purchased from retail electricity providers (REPs) or independent power providers.

    The ultimate objective is CCA version 3.0, Fenn and Marshall said. In version 1.0, aggregations rely largely on market power, renewable energy certificates (RECs), and streamlined operations to lower utility bills. Around year three, aggregations begin version 2.0 by offering programs and incentives for zero emissions electricity. So far, version 3.0 is only partially realized, and only in California, Fenn said… click here for more

    There Will Be An Opportunity In This Crisis

    As Congress mulls stimulus, Trump should avoid Obama's 2009 mistake

    Reed Hundt, March 17, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    “…Like the 2008 financial crisis, Washington appears poised to respond with a stimulus package, largely of necessary short-term cash to citizens who have felt the brunt of the Coronavirus…[But if President Donald Trump stops there, he would miss] the opportunity to create long-term infrastructure investment…[and] complete the transition to a clean economy…The 2009 stimulus fell short because the government largely just addressed the financial sector by bailing out the banks. To just address health care in this crisis would make the same mistake…We need short-term measures…

    [But] Congress must provide long-term infrastructure investment. Included in that should be a robust down payment for the National Climate Bank…[to finance projects alongside the private sector and reinvests] loan repayments in future projects…If Congress provided funds for a national green bank, they could be issued at a near-zero rate. Because that is a rate well below inflation, repayment is nearly guaranteed…Because we were timid in 2009 on long-term infrastructure investment, China took the lead as the driver of global investment…

    It will take a lot to regain that position, but a good start would be to put money into infrastructure and a robust deposit into a national green infrastructure bank…[O]ur economy remains too exposed to the volatile price of carbon. The cost for building renewable power to replace carbon power would be the lowest it has ever been in our lifetime…If we don't take this opportunity, the American people and future generations will look back wondering why…” click here for more

    Monday, March 16, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: Who Buys Rooftop Solar?

    Income Trends among U.S. Residential Rooftop Solar Adopters

    Galen Barbose, Sydney Forrester, Naïm Darghouth, and Ben Hoen, February 2020 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    Overview

    A new Berkeley Lab annual report dedicated to describing income and other demographic trends of residential solar adopters

    • Pairs Berkeley Lab’s Tracking the Sun dataset and other sources of PV addresses with householdlevel income data

    • Focuses on residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, with an emphasis on 2018 installations

    • This edition focuses primarily on income, though later editions may include trends related to other demographic attributes

    • Analysis is descriptive in nature: intended to track basic trends and to serve as a foundational resource for further analyses and support for market participants

    • Report is published in slide deck form with accompanying online data visualizations that allow users to further explore the data (see solardemographics.lbl.gov)

    Key Findings

    Income distribution of 2018 residential solar adopters:

    •15% have household incomes

    • 50% of 2018 solar adopters are below the corresponding OO-HH median income

    • Low-to-moderate income households: 6% of 2018 solar adopters have incomes…

    Solar-Adopter Household Income Distributions

    • Solar adopters span all income ranges

    • Distribution peaks between $50-100k, but has a long upper tail

    • Among 2018 solar adopters:  15% have household (HH) incomes

    Income Distribution of Solar Adopters vs. U.S. Population

    • Comparing to Census data requires that we consolidate the income bins, as shown here

    • Solar-adopter incomes skew high relative to all U.S. households  Income disparities are most pronounced at the low and high ends  Whereas HHs with incomes in the $50-100k range are proportionately represented

    • Skew is less pronounced if comparing to just owner-occupied households (OO-HHs)  Solar adoption occurs primarily among singlefamily owner-occupied homes (due to ownercontrol of rooftop, owner/tenant split incentive)  Illustrates how home-ownership can be a key driver for income disparities between solar adopters and the broader population…

    Solar-Adopter Income Trends over Time

    • Solar adoption has been slowly migrating toward lower incomes (at least since 2010*)  Sample share of HHs with incomes…

    Solar-Adopter Income Distributions Across States

    • Solar-adopter income distributions vary across states, but in general, roughly:  30-40%* of 2018 solar adopters have HH incomes in the $50-100k range  10-20% have incomes ≥$200k  10-25% have incomes…

    Solar-Adopter Credit Scores over Time

    • Credit scores are often a key determinant to a HH’s ability to obtain solar financing

    • The share of adopters with lower credit scores has grown over time, based on block-level medians (see figure notes)

    • That said, solar adopters generally have high credit scores  Almost 90% of 2018 solar adopters have either Prime or Super-Prime credit scores  This distribution can vary across states (see appendix slide 43); Louisiana has a particularly large share of low credit-score solar adopters

    • Compared to the broader population, solar adopters credit scores skew high  Among 2018 solar adopters, 35% had credit scores below their respective state median…

    Conclusions

    • Solar adopters span all income ranges, and include LMI households in all states

    • Solar-adopter incomes skew high relative to the broader population, though less so when compared to just owner-occupied households, and less so when compared on a more localized basis

    • Solar adopters also skew high in terms of other financial measures—namely, home value and credit score

    • Income and other disparities between solar adopters and the broader population have been diminishing gradually over time, reflecting both a broadening and a deepening of U.S. solar markets

    • The degree of disparity varies significantly across states and local markets, and some markets exhibit income parity between solar adopters and the broader population

    Saturday, March 14, 2020

    A Message Of Hope From Sierra Club

    Great things have been done. Coal is closing, New Energy is growing, 100% commitments are everywhere. Take a breath and keep the faith. From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    The 4TH Biggest Battery In The World

    It is not a battery that will start a car, but it IS the solution to renewables overgeneration. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Europe’s Trillion Dollar Supergrid

    The power of being connected will save more than it costs. From Real Engineering via YouTube

    Friday, March 13, 2020

    Global COVID-19 Effort Shows The Way On Climate

    Coronavirus should give us hope that we are able to tackle the climate crisis

    David Comerford, March 9, 2020 (UK Conversation)

    Coronavirus has disrupted everyday life throughout the world …More than 10 million Italians have been banned from travelling, and all public events cancelled. In China, 30 million people are still under lockdown…The Japanese prime minister has requested that all schools close for the entire month of March…But coronavirus is not the only global crisis…[and the climate crisis] is expected to be more devastating…[but] the response to the two crises is starkly different…Both are characterised by an escalating probability of disaster…Tackling either problem will disrupt our lifestyles…In both cases there is a coordination problem…And in both cases, authorities acknowledge the urgency of acting…

    [But COVID-19] impresses as a clear and present danger that requires action now…[The threat of climate change seems to be] a vague problem that will be encountered in the future… [Advocacy and lobby groups must link consumer behaviour, carbon emissions and a changing climate to] facilitate a sense of responsibility and agency…[C]limate change is universal…If we get the messaging right, this universality should motivate even greater coordination than we have seen in response to coronavirus…[Also, controlling coronavirus is always costly, but climate change mitigation offers economic and health] opportunities …[One final lesson from coronavirus: People] can still work together to do the right thing…” click here for more

    Oil And New Energy

    Green Energy’s $10 Trillion Revolution Faces Oil Crash Test

    Akshat Rathi (w/Ewa Krukowska and Laura Millan Lombrana), March 9, 2020 (Bloomberg News)

    “…Some $1.2 trillion has been poured into renewable energy, and global electric vehicle sales reached 2 million last year. Bloomberg NEF expects as much as $10 trillion poured into clean energy by 2050…[The Paris agreement and the environment movement have shaped] politics from Germany to India…[The Saudi Arabia-Russia oil price war looks] like the major oil-producing nations reasserting their supremacy but] may prove to be another step in a longer-term trend toward ending oil’s power…The price of a barrel of oil remains an important economic indicator…[But it may be overtaken by] the imperative to combat global warming…Oil’s fall to [near $30/barrel] has major implications for addressing climate change. Low prices incentivize more use of oil; it squeezes the budgets of oil companies, putting clean-energy projects in doubt; and some governments feel pressured to prop up struggling oil companies. All that drives up emissions, which is bad news for global warming…

    …[But] if low prices are sustained this time, there might be big positives for fighting climate change…Renewable energy is a more mature industry…[It has attracted big investors while] oil exploration is becoming less viable economically, with an increased risk that even those projects that go ahead no longer yield good returns and with worries about stranded assets growing...[A number of large investors have come together] to demand companies put sustainability at the heart of their business models, and that isn’t likely to change…[Low oil prices offer one reason] to end fossil-fuel subsidies or to raise taxes on consumption of fossil fuels…[Some of the money can be] diverted to renewable-energy subsidies…” click here for more

    Wednesday, March 11, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: 3 state commissions upending the way utilities do business

    3 state commissions upending the way utilities do business; Oregon, Illinois and Hawaii regulators are disrupting the traditional utility cost-of-service model to incentivize bringing more distributed energy resources online.

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

    Editor’s note: As debates expand for bringing distributed resources into the power system, regulators more frequently stress the need for advocates to build a record on which they can make the right decisions.

    State utility commissions across the country are working on innovations for the regulatory process to better respond to the rise of variable renewable generation and distributed energy resources (DER). Dockets are seeking ways to change the way utilities do business. Illinois and Oregon commissions are shifting away from traditional cost of service (COS) valuation, and Hawaii's performance-based regulation (PBR) proceeding would transform the regulatory paradigm, regulators told an audience last week at the 2019 Solar Power International (SPI) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    "The business of generating, distributing and using electricity is at a crossroads," Commissioner Brien Sheahan of the Illinois Commerce Commission said. Policymakers, regulators and utilities must respond to "the game changing trends" of the sector without losing sight of "public interest, consumer cost, and overall value." Sheahan, as well as Hawaii's and Oregon's commissioners, spoke about how their states are targeting utility compensation to address the growing impacts of new customer demand for renewables and DER. And they are seeking stakeholder voices to guide them.

    To optimize the modern grid, "computing power will be needed on a scale that's only economically feasible through cloud computing," Sheahan said at SPI. In response, the Illinois commission is working to allow utilities to be compensated for using cloud computing in the same way they are compensated for investments in on-premises computer technology. But more innovation is needed.

    "Innovation in the regulatory space is not an oxymoron," Oregon Commissioner Letha Tawney told the SPI audience. "It cannot produce Silicon Valley disruption because a stable and transparent regulatory environment is crucial, but it can reduce risk for innovators, investors and early adopters, and help eliminate the information asymmetry between incumbents and new entrants.

    Oregon is working "on how to step back from individual pricing for individual technology solutions and start thinking about pricing around value," Tawney said. "Because we don't know which technologies will be winners, price signals that compensate their services to the grid can stimulate competition between technologies, which will be better for customers." It will also allow customers to bring value to the system, she said. "The multi-billion-dollar question is what the price signal is that compensates the service as opposed to the technology."

    Hawaii's unique challenges make regulatory innovation more urgent, Commissioner Jennifer Potter said at SPI. Its isolated island grids are stressed by especially large and rapidly growing penetrations of new clean energy technologies driven by electricity prices twice as high as any other state and dependence on imported bunker oil. Mechanisms to address these challenges, like an energy efficiency standard, a mandate for utility competitive solicitations, and performance-based ratemaking have had varying success, she said. Hawaii’s answer is the leading U.S. effort to institute performance-based regulation… click here for more

    2019’s New Energy Was Over 18% Of U.S. Power Generation

    EIA's 2019 Year-End Report: Electricity From Non-Hydro Renewables Increased By 8.5%, Provided 11.6% Of Total U.S. Production; Solar Expanded 14.9% - Wind Grew By 10.1%

    February 27, 2020 (Sun Day)

    “Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 18.2% of net domestic electrical generation during 2019…A year earlier, renewables' share was 17.5%...[S]olar and wind both showed continued, strong growth, expanding faster than all other energy sources…Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, grew 14.9% compared to 2018 and accounted for almost 2.6% of total electrical output. Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) - which increased by 18.6% - provided nearly a third (32.7%) of total solar electrical generation. The growth rate of distributed solar was greater than that of any other energy source…U.S. wind-generated electricity increased by 10.1%, accounting for 7.2% of all electricity produced…

    …Combined, wind and solar accounted for almost a tenth (9.8%) of U.S. electrical generation through the end of December. In addition, biomass provided a bit more than 1.4% and geothermal contributed almost 0.4% (with the latter reflecting 0.3% growth)…In total, non-hydro renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) accounted for 11.6% of total U.S. electrical production during 2019 and grew by 8.5% compared to 2018…By comparison, nuclear-generated electricity increased by just 0.3% while that from coal plummeted by 15.7%...[Natural gas] grew by 7.7%...” click here for more

    Monday, March 09, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: Action To Bring Transportation Electrification Expands

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: 2019 Review and Q4 2019

    February 2020 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary

    PURPOSE

    The purpose of this report is to provide state and local lawmakers and regulators, electric utilities, the electric power industry, the transportation industry, and other energy stakeholders with timely, accurate, and unbiased updates about how states are choosing to study, adopt, implement, amend, or discontinue policies associated with electric vehicles. This report catalogues proposed and approved legislative, regulatory, and utility rate design changes affecting electric vehicles during the most recent quarter, as well as state and investor-owned utility proposals to deploy electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

    APPROACH

    The authors identified relevant policy changes and deployment proposals through state utility commission docket searches, legislative bill searches, popular press, and direct communications with stakeholders and regulators in the industry.

    Questions Addressed

    This report addresses several questions about the U.S. electric vehicle landscape, including:

    • How are states addressing barriers to electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment?

    • What policy actions are states taking to grow markets for electric vehicles and related infrastructure?

    • How are utility companies designing rates and electric vehicle supply equipment companies designing charging equipment and controls to influence charging behavior of electric vehicle owners?

    • Where and how are states and utilities proposing to deploy or pay for electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure?

    ‘Actions Included

    This report focuses on cataloguing and describing important proposed and adopted policy changes related to electric vehicles. For the purpose of this report, the definition of electric vehicle includes all-electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs). In order to explore all policy actions related to electric vehicles, this report catalogs and describes actions related to the deployment of electric vehicle charging equipment, which is often referred to as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Additionally, the electric grid is impacted by electric vehicle charging, so legislative and regulatory actions related to electric utilities are included in this report.

    In general, this report considers an “action” to be a relevant (1) legislative bill that has been introduced, (2) executive order, or (3) regulatory docket, utility rate case, or rulemaking proceeding. Only statewide actions and those related to investor-owned utilities are included in this report. Specifically, actions tracked in this issue include:

    Studies and Investigations

    Legislative or regulatory-led efforts to study electric vehicles specifically, or electric vehicles as part of a broader grid modernization study or investigation.

    Regulation

    Changes to state rules related to electric vehicles, including registration fees, homeowner association limitations, and electricity resale regulations affecting vehicle charging.

    Utility Rate Design

    Proposed or approved changes to investor-owned utility rate design for electric vehicles, including new electric vehicle tariffs and significant changes to existing electric vehicle tariffs.

    Market Development

    New state policy proposals or changes to existing policies aimed at growing the electric vehicle market.

    Financial Incentives

    New state or investor-owned utility incentive programs or changes to existing incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

    State and Utility Deployment

    Utility-initiated requests, as well as proposed legislation, to deploy electric vehicles or charging infrastructure.

    Actions Excluded

    While actions taken by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are not comprehensively tracked in this report, particularly noteworthy or high-impact actions are included. The report also excludes actions related to grid modernization without an explicit electric vehicle component, as well as actions related to general time-varying rates not specific to vehicle charging; these types of actions are tracked in the 50 States of Grid Modernization report series.

    2019 ELECTRIC VEHICLE ACTION

    In 2019, 49 states plus DC took a total of 601 policy and deployment actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 601 actions cataloged, the most common were related to regulation (154), followed by financial incentives (141), and market development (118).

    TOP TEN MOST ACTIVE STATES OF 2019

    Ten states taking the greatest number of actions related to electric vehicles, or some of the most impactful actions, are noted below.

    California…Minnesota…Maryland…Oregon…Vermont…Arizona…Colorado… Michigan…New Jersey…District of Columbia…

    TOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE TRENDS OF 2019

    States Requiring Utilities to Develop Transportation Electrification Plans

    Policymakers and regulators in several states directed utilities to develop comprehensive transportation electrification plans during 2019. Lawmakers in New Mexico and Washington passed bills related to transportation electrification plans during the year. Oregon regulators established guidelines for utility transportation plans, and Minnesota regulators directed utilities to file plans before July 2019. The Arizona Corporation Commission required utilities to file a statewide transportation electrification plan by the end of 2019.

    State Legislators Adopting Additional Registration Fees for Electric Vehicles

    Legislators in ten states – Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming – approved additional registration fees for electric vehicles in 2019. These fees are typically adopted in order to make up for reduced gasoline tax revenues associated with increased use of electric and hybrid vehicles. Twenty-eight states currently have additional registration fees for electric vehicles, which range from $50 to $225.

    State Regulators Considering Utility Ownership of Charging Infrastructure

    Utility regulators across the country are considering whether utilities should be permitted to own and operate electric vehicle charging infrastructure. DC regulators issued a decision allowing Pepco to own make-ready equipment only, while the Maryland Public Service Commission regulators authorized utilities to own a limited number of charging stations to jumpstart the development of a public charging network.

    States Exempting Charging Stations from Utility Regulation

    In 2019, nine states – Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Vermont – clarified that electric vehicle charging stations are not subject to utility regulation and may resell electricity to the public. Iowa regulators also specified that charging stations powered by behind-the-meter generation are covered by this exception, and Michigan regulators removed the prohibition of sales of electricity for resale from DTE Electric’s Charging Forward tariff.

    Lawmakers Adopting Zero-Emission Vehicle Procurement Targets for State Fleets

    A number of states considered legislation adopting zero-emission vehicle or electric vehicle procurement targets for state fleets during 2019. Connecticut lawmakers adopted a requirement that 50% of light-duty state vehicles be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, while Oregon legislators enacted a bill requiring 25% of state agency light-duty vehicle purchases and leases to be zero-emission vehicles. Legislators in Vermont and Maryland also adopted electric vehicle and zero-emission school bus procurement targets, respectively.

    Utilities Developing Rate Designs to Promote DC Fast Charging

    Utilities continued to develop new rate structures to encourage fast charging station development by mitigating the impact of demand charges. Maryland utilities proposed distribution demand charge credits for fast charging stations, and Michigan regulators approved a five-year demand charge holiday for DTE Electric. New York regulators approved an incentive for fast charging stations that is intended to offset the impact of demand charges.

    Utilities Proposing Individual Programs to Address Different Market Segments

    Utilities are frequently filing proposals for multiple electric vehicle programs, with each targeting a specific market segment, such as residential charging, workplace charging, multi-family buildings, fleets, public charging, fast charging, and buses. States considering such targeted proposals during 2019 include California, DC, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina, among others.

    Growing Interest in Subscription Pricing Pilots for Electric Vehicle Charging

    States and utilities showed growing interest in subscription rates for electric vehicle charging in 2019. Minnesota regulators approved a subscription rate pilot for Xcel Energy during the year, which will provide unlimited off-peak charging to participating residential customers for a fixed monthly fee. California regulators also approved a subscription rate for Pacific Gas & Electric including a fixed charge and time-of-use energy rates for commercial charging.

    Utilities Working to Accelerate Transit and School Bus Electrification Many utilities proposed programs aimed at transit and school bus electrification during 2019. Duke Energy proposed electric bus programs in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina, while Dominion Virginia Energy announced plans to deploy electric school buses. Regulators also considered electric bus programs proposed by utilities in California, DC, Michigan, and New York.

    States and Utilities Adopting New Incentives for Electric Vehicles and Charging Equipment

    State policymakers and utilities established several new incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging equipment during 2019. At the state level, significant new incentives were adopted in Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont, while regulators also approved new utility incentives in California, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Oregon.

    IN COMPARISON: 2018 VS. 2019

    Total electric vehicle action increased by 42% over the past year and 165% over the past two years, with states and utilities taking approximately 227 actions in 2017, 424 actions in 2018, and 601 actions in 2019. In 2019, activity increased in every category tracked by this report by the following amounts compared to 2018: Studies & Investigations: 28%, Regulation: 51%, Rate Design: 4%, Market Development: 51%, Incentives: 58%, and Deployment: 31%. The number of states taking actions in each electric vehicle category also increased from 2018 to 2019.