NewEnergyNews: 06/01/2020 - 07/01/2020

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

  • MONDAY STUDY: Making Buildings Into New Energy Assets
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Trevor Noah Talks Climate Crisis Politics
  • Weekend Video: A Detailed Picture Of The Climate Crisis Solution
  • Weekend Video: China’s Energy SuperHighway
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Climate Crisis Impacts Will Hit Everyone
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- Oil Major Moves Toward New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, September 16:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: Don’t Stop Thinking About Recovery
  • TTTA Wednesday-Only A Price On Carbon Will Save The U.S. Economy
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • MONDAY STUDY: Electricity Needs For Electric Vehicles
  • --------------------------

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

    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.

  • ---------------
  • THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, September 23:
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Interested In San Diego
  • New Energy Made Twitter Buzz In August

    Monday, June 29, 2020

    The Possibility of a Zero-Carbon Economic Recovery

    U.S, Stimulus Strategy; Recommendations for a Zero-Carbon Economic Recovery

    Ben Holland, Greg Hopkins, Uday Varadarajan, et al, June 2020 (Rocky Mountain Institute)

    Executive Summary

    In response to the economic fallout from the Coronavirus outbreak, Congress acted swiftly in providing critical fiscal support to American households, business owners, healthcare providers, and key industries. Congress’ actions have provided much-needed aid to many in need.

    However, the consequences of COVID-19 continue to ripple through the US economy, leaving many industries with uncertain futures. The past decade has seen significant growth in clean-tech, advanced buildings, and sustainable transportation—industries that are poised to grow further and provide significant job opportunities to a diverse group of Americans. However, these and other industries with great potential to decarbonize our economy face a challenging road ahead.

    As Congress considers another stimulus package, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recommends that our nation’s leaders consider providing financial assistance for industries, technologies, and practices that are proven to improve public health, decrease costs, create enduring job opportunities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    To jumpstart the economy, address equity, and advance a low- or zero-carbon future for the United States, RMI encourages policymakers to pursue the following key programs:

    Build Back Better Buildings

    A comprehensive national building retrofit program can catalyze residential and commercial building improvements at an unprecedented scale—putting money back into consumer pockets, creating new jobs, and improving equity and health outcomes for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the systemic challenges it is exposing. The program would include four components: mobilize the workforce to increase the energy retrofit rate tenfold, accelerate construction productivity breakthroughs, expand access to capital for all (especially underserved market segments), and bolster the workforce and project pipelines.

    Enhance Access and Electrify Mobility

    The United States needs a comprehensive approach for decarbonizing transportation that includes strategies for supporting the growth of the electric vehicle market while prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit over the automobile. Such an approach would increase equitable access and convenience of mobility, while maximizing the opportunities for emissions reductions from this sector.

    RMI’s proposal would involve funding to build and improve infrastructure to enhance modes of transportation including bicycling, walking, and public transit that have lower or no emissions, including prioritizing “complete streets” programs. In parallel, it would provide the investment necessary to propel the US transportation system into an electric future, by launching a nationwide deployment of charging infrastructure for personal and commercial electric vehicles and accelerating domestic electric vehicle and battery manufacturing to support that transition.

    Debt Forgiveness for a Sustainable Recovery

    Linking verifiable, additional emissions reductions to debt forgiveness could be a simple way to simultaneously ease the financial consequences of COVID on industries and workers while building a more economically and environmentally resilient future. A competitive process to provide such relief requiring a plan for worker transition support could provide economy-wide incentives to spur investment that can help support a more just, financially secure, and sustainable recovery.

    Economic Recovery Facility for Financing Low- and Zero-Carbon Activities

    The Economic Recovery Facility would accelerate the clean recovery for all Americans by providing necessary financial tools and know-how and by crowding in private investment to multiply public dollars for clean projects across the country. It creates a federal “bank” focused on clean projects with unique financing needs.

    Assuming the facility is capitalized at $5 billion, RMI estimates that it would create 388,000 clean jobs in the first eight years and reduce energy costs for nearly 800,000 homes and businesses during the same period based on the impacts of the Connecticut Green Bank.

    Introduction

    In the ten years since the previous financial crisis, clean energy industries, technologies, and practices have grown to great prominence in the United States. Thanks in part to emergency funds and seed investments made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), clean tech, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation solutions are helping transition our economy to a low-carbon future. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic raises a great deal of uncertainty for future progress, as the country heads into the unknown territory of another economic crisis.

    More so than the industries, it is individual Americans that face the most significant challenges and uncertainty in the months and years to come. In just three months, over 40 million Americans lost their jobs, as the US unemployment rate rose to levels not seen since World War II. This reality should remind us that any stimulus recommendations we put forth should ultimately reduce costs and increase equitable access to clean energy, better quality housing, and sustainable mobility options.

    RMI recently released a paper, Global Stimulus Principles: The Economy We Build Should Not Be the Same Economy We Decarbonize, that provides a framework for planning and evaluating future stimulus efforts. This report emphasizes four priorities: create jobs and grow the economy; support public health and reduce air pollution; enhance economic, energy, and climate resilience; and decarbonize.

    There are several possibilities for US federal policy that can address recovery from the societal and economic impacts of COVID-19 and climate change at the same time. Based on potential scale of impact and urgency, RMI has identified top four concrete policy recommendations for both short-term stimulus and long-term recovery efforts, which can be used to inform federal policy as well as state- or municipal-level implementation of federal funds.

    We must not only rebuild from this crisis, but also build back better, to create a cleaner, more resilient, and more fair and humane economy and society…

    Conclusion

    The full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be fully understood for years to come. However, we are already bearing witness to the catastrophic impact that this virus and its economic fallout pose for the industries, technologies, and practices that are most critical for achieving a sustainable US economy. Given the many competing interests that will inevitably seek stimulus support across the energy sector, US leadership must act decisively to ensure that the clean energy progress we have made to date continues to accelerate in the years to come.

    The stimulus programs recommended here are by no means meant to be all-inclusive of the full breadth of programs capable of driving a clean energy future, nor should the absence of other potential options suggest a dismissal of other opportunities. Rather, these ideas reflect Rocky Mountain Institute’s current perspectives on urgent projects with potential for near-term job growth and long-term potential for decarbonizing the US economy.

    Saturday, June 27, 2020

    Wrong On The Virus, Wrong On Climate – The Fox Folks

    Fox said there was no danger from Covid just like they have long preached there is no danger in the climate crisis. How many chances do they get to be on the wrong side of history? From Stop funding Heat via YouTube

    New Energy Can Lead The Recovery

    “How we rebuild is how we will be remembered.” From American Conservation Coalition Campus via YouTube

    Economic Recovery Gone Wrong

    Some Australians don’t like their government’s plan to drive economic recovery by supporting the natural gas industry. From thejiucemedia via YouTube

    Friday, June 26, 2020

    Now Is The Time To Beat The Climate Crisis With New Energy

    The pandemic won't fix the climate crisis. This $3 trillion recovery plan could

    Charles Riley, June 18, 2020 (CNN)

    “…[The International Energy Agency] is calling on governments to invest $3 trillion in a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic...[Its blueprint] recommends governments spend big over the next three years on technology and infrastructure projects to create millions of jobs and make 2019 the definitive peak in global emissions…The collapse in travel and other activity triggered by pandemic lockdowns could slash carbon emissions this year by a record amount. But they're already rising fast again as economies begin to open up…

    Failure to act now risks a repeat of the aftermath the 2008 global financial crisis, when governments did not prioritize stimulus spending on climate, allowing CO2 emissions to bounce back…[Governments should] overhaul electricity grids, upgrade hydropower facilities, promote electric cars, extend the life of nuclear power plants and retrofit buildings to make them more energy efficient…[Taking these and a large array of other actions] would cut 4.5 billion tonnes out of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2023 and put the world on a path to achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement…

    [It] would also help the global economy bounce back from its worst downturn since the 1930s…[D]irecting stimulus money to fighting the climate crisis would save or create 9 million jobs and boost global economic output by 1.1 percentage points each year…[Among the countries that have delayed decisions on clean energy are] Chile, China, Germany, Ireland and Portugal…[But Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden] have used the crisis to push ahead with climate initiatives…” click here for more

    New Energy’s Cutting Edge

    Unique Ways to Generate Renewable Energy in The Future

    Benjamin Roussey, June 16, 2020 (Clean Energy Authority)

    “…[G]lobal renewable power generation capacity is expanding rapidly, and has almost doubled from 2008 to 2020…[S]tartups around the world are increasingly focusing on renewable energy production…[Among the] best alternative methods is Rainergy…[Its nine meter tall device with four moving parts, an electric generator, a rainwater collector, a tank, and a battery, would] generate power from [falling] rain to fulfill the energy requirements of low-income nations…[It] is not as efficient as traditional renewable power sources…[but] can definitely prove to be a boon for underprivileged families residing in rural areas…

    …[Fervo Energy and Eavor would overcome one] of the major limitations of geothermal energy resources…[They] are only found around tectonic plate boundaries…[Fervo Energy uses] horizontal directional drilling…[and Eavor’s concept] does not require much heat…[WaveRoller] generates electricity by converting ocean wave energy…[The Finnish company’s device captures the] movement of water…[It] operates in areas close to shores…within waters at depths ranging from 8 to 20 meters to ensure better grid connectivity around the clock… Taking the current global energy trends into consideration, it would be safe to say that the world's dependence on renewable power sources will significantly increase…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 24, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Use The billions Invested In AMI Deployment

    Slowed pay-off from billions in AMI investment puts the technology's future in doubt; Regulators have approved billions for utilities to roll out advanced metering infrastructure but they expected new customer and system benefits, not just lower utility operation costs.

    Herman K. Trabish, February 20, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Efforts continue to get electricity providers to assimilate and use AMI data to the power system more flexible

    As utility proposals grow for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployments, power system regulators are demanding evidence that the real-time distribution system data AMI produces justify the billion-dollar costs, causing deployment to slow.

    But some utilities have begun demonstrating granular AMI data can be used to lower customer bills and lower power system costs, utilities, private sector partners and analysts told Utility Dive. "AMI is a whole new world for utilities, and they have to update systems and train people about the new possibilities," American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Policy Program Fellow Dan York told Utility Dive. "It is a powerful feedback to customers and utilities that can guide important changes in how and when energy is used."

    Impediments to getting pay-offs from huge AMI investments have been significant, AMI advocates told Utility Dive.

    Utilities and providers need to evolve data processing software capabilities in a regulatory system that favors hardware investments over software expensing. But leading utilities are showing they can meet regulators' demands to justify AMI costs as they gain access to the right capabilities, stakeholders said.

    AMI is the combination of smart meters, "communications networks, and data management systems that collect, transmit, and record electricity consumption data in daily or shorter intervals," a January 9 ACEEE study reported.

    There were over 88 million smart meters installed at the end of 2018, serving "nearly 70% percent of U.S. households," according to a January 2019 Edison Foundation report. Cumulative distribution system investments of $39 billion in 2019 brought estimated deployment to 98 million by the end of the 2019 and could reach 107 million by the end of 2020… click here for more

    New Energy Returns Beat Old Energy Bets

    Just How Good An Investment Is Renewable Energy? New Study Reveals All

    David Vetter, May 28, 2020 (Forbes)

    “Renewable energy investments are delivering massively better returns than fossil fuels in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, but despite this the total volume of investment is still nowhere near that required to mitigate climate change…[An Imperial College London and International Energy Agency analysis over a five- and 10-year period] found renewables investments in Germany and France yielded returns of 178.2% over a five year period, compared with -20.7% for fossil fuel investments. In the U.K., also over five years, investments in green energy generated returns of 75.4% compared to just 8.8% for fossil fuels…

    In the U.S., renewables yielded 200.3% returns versus 97.2% for fossil fuels…Green energy stocks were also less volatile across the board than fossil fuels, with such portfolios holding up well during the turmoil caused by the pandemic, while oil and gas collapsed. Yet in the U.S., which provided the largest data set, the average market cap in the green energy portfolio analyzed came to less than a quarter of the average market cap for the fossil fuel portfolio—$9.89 billion for the hydrocarbons versus $2.42 billion for renewables…[But, despite the chaos in the fossil fuel markets in recent years and months, investors are] finding it hard to let go of hydrocarbons…” click here for more

    Monday, June 22, 2020

    Designing A More Flexible 21ST Century Power System

    FixedBill+ Making Rate Design Innovation Work for Consumers, Electricity Providers, and the Environment

    June 2020 (The Brattle Group and Energy Impact Partners)

    A fixed billing solution that benefits consumers, electricity service providers, and the environment

    A new trend has emerged in residential electricity rate design. Colloquially referred to as subscription pricing or “Netflix pricing,” the approach involves pricing electricity in the same way as a growing number of subscription-based consumer goods. Rather than charging customers based directly on the amount of electricity they consume each month, customers are offered a fixed monthly bill that is guaranteed to remain constant for a specified term (typically a year). Interest in this fixed-bill idea among electricity service providers (including utilities, competitive retail suppliers, and other third parties) was initially driven by the observation that many customers prefer simplicity and freedom from managing their energy use.

    This paper – which reflects the perspectives of researchers from industry, investing, academia, and consulting – presents a compelling opportunity to improve on the conventional fixed bill approach. Our proposal is referred to as FixedBill+. It combines the simplicity of a conventional fixed bill with the flexibility benefits, environmental benefits, and cost savings from energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR) programs. Enrollment in FixedBill+ would be contingent on customer acceptance of certain EE and DR measures. FixedBill+ could be offered on an opt-in basis and the fixed bill amount would be individually tailored to each customer’s usage history.

    As a result, our proposed FixedBill+ approach could reduce customer bills relative to today’s typical residential rates, while improving electricity service providers’ profit margins, due to system cost savings resulting from the EE and DR measures. Under the illustrative but plausible assumptions in this paper, customers could expect a 3% (around $40 per year) discount in a FixedBill+ offer, relative to their standard rate. These savings are coupled with complete bill stability – a feature that does not exist in standard volumetric rate offerings. At the same time, FixedBill+ is an opportunity for electricity service providers in regulated and non-regulated markets to improve profit margins. FixedBill+ affords electricity service providers the opportunity to charge a reasonable hedging premium in order to accept the risks that are inherent in a year’s worth of energy supply and demand. The provider could also share in some of the cost savings achieved through EE and DR measures. The result is a win-win for consumers and service providers.

    The environment wins as well. In our illustrative example, 100,000 participants in a FixedBill+ offering could be expected to reduce their energy use by over 1 million MWh.

    For a largely natural gas-based electricity system, that is the carbon equivalent of more than 100,000 gasoline-powered cars being taken off the road for a year. Figure 1 highlights the attributes of FixedBill+ versus those of conventional fixed bills and the standard volumetric rate in which most residential customers are currently enrolled.

    While these illustrative benefits are significant, the devil is in the details for this innovative rate concept. There are still areas of uncertainty. Market research, regulatory innovation, and pilot programs will pave the way for electricity service providers to roll out FixedBill+ at scale. In particular, in order to safeguard the societal benefits of FixedBill+ model, regulators will need to develop appropriate mechanisms to ensure that the right incentives are in place to maximize cost-effective EE and DR. We recommend further work in these areas as a next step toward introducing the FixedBill+ as a new addition to the menu of rate offerings available to consumers.

    Identifying the problems with current rate offerings

    Although the way we generate electricity is changing, and the way we use electricity is changing, the way we pay for electricity has largely remained the same for decades. Recently, though, electricity service providers1 have begun to explore an alternative way to price electricity that may better align with both consumer preferences and the needs of the power system. This new pricing mechanism is commonly referred to as a “fixed bill.”

    At its core, a fixed bill is what it sounds like: a single, flat bill that does not change from month to month based on how much energy you use. For example, you might pay $100 per month regardless of your energy consumption (in kilowatt-hours (kWh)) or your peak demand (in kilowatts (kW)).

    In the past, competitive energy retailers have marketed these types of pricing schemes as “all-you-can-eat” energy plans – targeting customers who wanted to consume lots of power, and were willing to pay a premium to avoid thinking about it. Many consumers are drawn to the predictability and simplicity of these plans, but the concept has drawn sharp criticism from advocates of EE and demand-side flexibility. These advocates point out that fixed bills remove the marginal price signal that efficiently harmonizes supply and demand. Basically, standard fixed bills give consumers no reason to try to conserve.

    In this paper, we present a variation on the conventional fixed bill offering that would still provide the same predictability and simplicity to consumers, while tending to reduce energy costs (both financial and environmental) and giving electricity providers a stake in all of these benefits. We refer to this concept as FixedBill+, with the ‘+’ being vital to making sure that this delicate balance holds.2 Here are the three key elements embedded within that symbol.

    1. Comprehensive energy management FixedBill+ involves a quid pro quo between an electricity consumer, their electricity service provider, and society. In exchange for the convenience and stability of a fixed bill, the consumer must permit the provider to reach beyond the electricity meter, into their home, and take limited control of a set of agreed-upon energy-related functions. For example, FixedBill+ customers might be required to allow their energy provider infrequent control of their home or business HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, which can be achieved through occasional adjustment of a connected thermostat. This would allow the energy provider to time power use more efficiently to take advantage of natural ebbs and flows in electricity demand. Collectively we will refer to these actions as demand-side management (DSM), which includes both EE and flexible DR.

    2. Periodic adjustments At first blush, there seems to be a dichotomy between fixed billing and variable billing, but there is not. Instead, they should be considered points on a spectrum – a range of timeframes along which an electricity service provider might offer to take on the risk and responsibility for managing energy costs on behalf of a customer. As such, the initial fixed bill offer must be individually tailored to each customer’s historical electricity usage. Of course, no provider can offer to fix a customer’s bill forever, because of the myriad uncontrollable factors that affect the cost of supplying energy and the evolution of customer demand. Imagine, for example, if a fixed-bill customer buys a new electric vehicle (EV), or perhaps even a small fleet of electric space heaters. And even the best DSM portfolio is unlikely to hold back a customer who is truly committed to an all-you-can-eat mentality. So, pricing in a FixedBill+ system will need to rise or fall based on average consumption over some period. For example, the FixedBill+ offer might peg a consumer’s fixed bill for the coming year to the price that it cost to serve that consumer over the preceding year (weather adjusted).

    In addition to restraining customers’ all-you-caneat instincts, these periodic adjustments create an incentive for consumers to invest in long-term efficiency upgrades, such as new, more efficient appliances – for which buying decisions are more difficult for a third-party energy manager to influence. In fact, annual adjustments create an ideal opportunity for the provider and customer to motivate (and finance) major efficiency investments, the same way wireless companies now use contract expiration as an opportunity to re-evaluate each customers’ service package and equipment.

    3. Incentives for energy providers to reduce costs The easiest way for energy providers to profit from a fixed bill is to charge a risk premium above their expected cost to serve each customer. Yet, FixedBill+ will only be a boon for society if energy providers are also incentivized to reduce the actual total cost of service for each customer. That means all of the “upstream” links in the energy value chain – such as wholesale energy markets and distribution utilities – need to pass on truly costreflective signals to the retail level. It also means giving retail energy providers – whether they are utilities, competitive suppliers, or other third parties – a stake in the cost savings.

    The alignment of incentives to reduce costs and carbon emissions, while maximizing electricity provider earnings, is a particularly important dimension of the FixedBill+ proposal. Of course, the regulatory changes required for this alignment differ between areas where customers are serviced by vertically integrated electric providers and areas with retail choice. We will spend some time discussing these differences later in this paper.

    First, it is worth asking: Why care about the fixed bill model at all? And why focus on it now?

    Why fixed billing?

    Two distinct forces in the electricity market are propelling arguments in support of fixed bills. One set of forces is on the supply side of the market; the other, demand.

    STARTING WITH THE SUPPLY SIDE

    At an aggregate level, the generation mix is gradually transitioning from fossil-fuel-based power plants to renewable energy wind and solar plants. This is a key factor because fossil-fuel-based power is affected by variable costs (i.e., price per megawatt-hour, or $/ MWh) dependent on fuel prices, whereas renewable energy plants require substantial up-front investment but have very few costs that can truly be considered variable (because their “fuel” is free). In other words, the cost of the electricity supply is becoming increasingly fixed in the short-to-medium term. Hence, fixed billing will increasingly align with the underlying nature of the cost of energy in this regard.

    Somewhat more urgently, simple per-kWh pricing for the transmission and distribution (T&D) portion of the bill is also becoming a poor mechanism for cost recovery – mostly owing to the growth of distributed generation and the potentially massive changes in electricity demand caused by rooftop solar, distributed energy storage, EVs, and other possible avenues of electrification. The costs of T&D are mostly sunk. In the short-to-medium term they are essentially fixed, much like the costs of renewable energy, while in the longer term they are driven by local peak demand conditions. But these costs have historically been recovered through almost entirely variable rates.

    Our goal with this paper is not to wade into our industry’s ongoing debate about how to compensate distributed generation, or exactly how to balance short-term versus long-term price signals for T&D. However, it is important to note one benefit of FixedBill+ in the context of this debate: It inherently makes price signals to consumers more reflective of the largely sunk nature of T&D costs, while still providing a framework that encourages the cost-effective deployment of distributed energy resources (DER).

    MOVING ON TO THE DEMAND SIDE

    On the demand side, the primary driver of interest in fixed bills is consumer preference. In other aspects of their lives, consumers have come to think of fixed bills as a form of subscription pricing, and they have come to like it. From music, to TV, to razors, many consumers are demonstrating a strong preference for fixed bill pricing schemes for certain types of products. What do these products have in common? Consumers have a fairly consistent, predictable demand for these products, and do not want to spend time thinking about every microtransaction. Electricity fits into that category pretty snugly.

    In some ways, electricity could be an even better fit for ‘subscription’ pricing than music or TV, because consumers tend to enjoy spending time selecting pop songs and prestige dramas much more than they enjoy spending time managing energy costs. In fact, consumers’ general distaste for thinking about their energy consumption is one of the few consistent axioms of the energy industry. Our energy costs today are higher than they ought to be because so many of us value our time more than we do the potential savings or environmental impacts we could achieve.

    Therein lies an important “carrot” for policymakers and regulators in the FixedBill+ model. Properly implemented, it takes the responsibility for DSM off the shoulders of consumers, and places it on sophisticated electricity service providers and regulators. Electricity service providers are paid to find electricity markets fascinating, and they can be motivated to extract small amounts of value from large numbers of consumers.

    Technology makes the “+” possible

    What makes this moment so ripe for experimentation with FixedBill+? One answer is that consumers are increasingly accustomed and attracted to the idea of subscription pricing. But this demand “pull” would not be sufficient on its own. Electricity service providers also need the right technology to make the model work. Today, that technology is available through smart meters, smart energy devices, and DER management systems.

    1. Smart meters

    Meters yielding hourly or sub-hourly interval data have been rolled out to more than half of US households. These meters enable energy providers to calculate the actual cost of service for each individual customer. In non-regulated markets, this hypothetically enables load-serving entities to be billed according to the specific load profile of their individual customers, rather than an average load profile for each customer class. While this practice has not yet been implemented in every market, there is no longer a technical limitation to doing so. For FixedBill+, the importance of this technical capability cannot be overestimated. 3 Disclosure: AutoGrid is an EIP portfolio company.

    2. Smart energy devices

    The cost to make a device “smart” (connected to a network, and running at least basic software applications) has fallen dramatically, so there are now smart options for most major sources of energy demand. Thermostats are the first to achieve lift-off in the market, but other devices are following suit – such as EV chargers, household battery systems, pool pumps, and even hot tub controls. Energy providers can be granted some measure of control over these devices in order to achieve the first and most important tenet of FixedBill+: comprehensive energy management.

    3. DER management systems

    Software tools from companies like AutoGrid3 enable energy providers to manage resources for hundreds of thousands of consumers at once, all coordinated towards the needs of the grid as a whole. And increasingly, the makers of smart energy devices like those described above are building energy management functionality into the devices themselves.

    A recent study by The Brattle Group found that there will be 200 GW of cost-effective load flexibility potential in the US by 2030, worth more than $15 billion annually and driven largely by the technological advancements described above. The FixedBill+ could be one compelling way to unlock that potential. Figure 2 summarizes the factors driving the FixedBill+ opportunity…

    Illustrating the FixedBill+ concept…FixedBill+ business models…

    Saturday, June 20, 2020

    A Surprising Climate Solution

    This is the best kind of New Energy. From CTForum via YouTube

    The Huge New Energy In Ocean Winds

    The cost of offshore wind keeps coming down and the technology keeps getting bigger and better. From NeoScribe via YouTube

    Is Tesla’s Battery Revolution Real?

    The Tesla-Maxwell Technologies partnership is working to increase battery life and boost battery density to either lower cost or increase range to over 600 miles. Plans also would expand grid-battery capabilities. From EV Source via YouTube

    Friday, June 19, 2020

    Juneteenth New Energy For The World – Dylan’s New One

    Bob Dylan Has Given Us One of His Most Timely Albums Ever With ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’; At 79, he’s still channeling cosmic American mysteries like no one else in music

    Rob Sheffield, June 15, 2020 (Rolling Stone)

    “…[The man who asked how many roads a man must walk down over hlf a centuyryt ago] has brilliantly timed his new masterwork for a summer when the hard rain is falling all over…[with] a plague, a quarantine, revolutionary action in the streets, cities on fire…Rough and Rowdy Ways is his first batch of new songs in 8 years, and it’s an absolute classic…

    You can hear all the rolling thunder in his 79-year-old voice—as he sings in a catch-your-breath moment from “Mother of Muses,” “I’ve already outlived my life by far.” But the man offers no words of comfort—he just spins these outlaw tales with the cold-blooded wit and sardonic passion that keeps him pressing on…

    “…[His 17-minute epic “Murder Most Foul,” dropped in] the early weeks of the pandemic, a few end-of-the-world meltdowns ago. It sets the tone for the whole album—a hallucination of American history as a jukebox, a late-night musical tour of the Desolation Row where we find ourselves right now. All over Rough and Rowdy Ways, he mixes up Chicago blues, Nashville twang, Memphis rock & roll. His voice sounds marvelously nimble and delicate, whether he’s preaching doom, pitching woo, or cracking jokes…

    The singing here is a revelation—Dylan still busts out the gruff Howlin’ Wolf snarl he perfected on Tempest, but he sounds far more loose and limber, full of finesse. In raw blues stomps like “Goodbye Jimmy Reed,” “False Prophet,” and “Beyond the Rubicon,” he’s a master of deadpan comic timing; in ballads like “Key West (Philosopher Pirate),” he’s all breathy calm…[He] now he revels in how fierce and tender he can sound with sixty years of road dust in his lungs…

    Dylan spends the album rambling through hard times all through the land, in portraits of rovers, gangsters, thieves, sinners…When Dylan observes that it’s darkest right before the dawn—not the first time this weatherman has made that point—he follows with a throwaway “oh god” that can really chill your bones…“Key West (Philosopher Pirate)” is the highlight from an album full of highlights: a poignant 9-minute accordion noir about an old desperado heading off to Florida to make his last stand, brooding over the end times, with only his radio as a reminder of the life he left behind…

    “Murder Most Foul” ends the album with a boom—the song was already powerful as a stand-alone single, but it hits even harder as the finale here…Like so many of the past decade’s finest songs about the country—Lana Del Rey’s “The Greatest,” Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta,” Nick Cave’s “Higgs Boson Blues”—it’s a litany of cherished national myths and icons falling apart…But it’s also a song about how the music is part of the turmoil.

    … Dylan never stays in one spot too long…But he refuses to rest on his legend. While the world keeps trying to celebrate him as an institution, pin him down, cast him in the Nobel Prize canon, embalm his past, this drifter always keeps on making his next escape. On Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan is exploring terrain nobody else has reached before—yet he just keeps pushing on into the future.” click here for more

    Climate Crisis Outrunning New Energy’s 10-YR Triumph

    Renewable Power Will Soon Come Out on Top; A new report on global energy developments shows how far wind and solar have come—and hints at how far they’ll go.

    Nathaniel Bullard, June 11, 2020 (Bloomberg News)

    More than $2.7 trillion has been invested in building up renewable energy capacity over the past decade. In those same 10 years, renewables more than doubled their share of the global power mix, from 5.9% in 2009 to 13.4% last year…[But, according to Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment, more] investment is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, and governments and industry groups are touting clean-energy investment as an essential part of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic…

    An extraordinary amount of capital for clean energy has been deployed to the developing world—the vast majority to China, with a lesser chunk going to India. At the peak year, in 2017, developing economies as a group saw almost $200 billion in new investment in renewable energy capacity. While investment in China and India has tapered off since then, investment in the rest of the developing world has been growing, and hit a record of almost $60 billion last year…

    …Developing economies have received more than half of all dollars invested in clean energy for five years in a row…From 2010 to 2019, the world’s electricity system added more solar power generation capacity than anything else. Coal is next, but after that comes wind, which exceeded gas…We can—and should—expect a massive transformation in the energy sector over the years to come. But it’s also important to note how much of that is already underway. That goes for capital allocation, the building of energy assets, and increasingly for the energy mix itself…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 17, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Cheap Renewables Block Climate Goals

    Geothermal's surprise: Cheap renewables could keep states from achieving climate goals; Planners must think beyond the levelized cost for renewables to the value that each resource brings to the grid.

    Herman K. Trabish, January 27, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The need for baseload generation continues to grow with the penetration of variable and distributed generation and the value of California’s lithium supplies also continues to grow with the acceleration of transportation electrification.

    Surprisingly, the plunging cost of some renewables could keep states from reaching ambitious climate goals if planners fail to recognize the higher value in some higher cost renewables.

    States like New York, Massachusetts and California with ambitious 2030 renewables and 2045 emissions reduction mandates are starting to find a tension between cost and value. Offshore wind's reliability and emissions reduction values have raised its profile, though it remains more expensive than onshore wind. Now California policymakers are beginning to see the potentially extraordinary, but so far unrecognized value of its geothermal resources.

    "We overbuilt natural gas and then we built so much solar that we have solar over-generation, so we have fallen in love with batteries," Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) Executive Director V. John White told Utility Dive. "Batteries are great, but planning is too driven by costs, and not enough by the value in meeting grid needs, and not having a balanced resource portfolio could be the Achilles heel of our climate effort."

    A debate between the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is driving a new look at geothermal energy. Unlike solar and wind, geothermal is fully dispatchable. Like offshore wind in New England, it is abundant in the West but has gone underused because of development costs. Those costs, though, may be outweighed by a high capacity factor that can allow it to provide a wide range of grid services, and its brine's potential, being pursued by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy and others, to be an unmatched source of lithium for batteries.

    "It can be more expensive to add cheap solar than to add expensive geothermal," David Olsen, a member of the CAISO Board of Governors, told Utility Dive, citing a CEERT study that substituted 1,250 MW of geothermal from California’s already developed Salton Sea resource for 3,800 MW of solar in modeling a 50% renewables portfolio.The unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for utility-scale solar is between $32/MWh and $44/MWh and geothermal is between $69/MWh and $112/MWh, according to a 2019 Lazard analysis.

    But geothermal’s three times higher capacity factor would save California "$662 million per year in energy and ancillary service costs, $44 million per year in system resource adequacy costs, and $29 million per year in flexible resource adequacy costs," the 2016 CEERT study reported. It would also lower overall "California energy costs" $75/MWh. Even with new storage, geothermal is "over $20/MWh more valuable than solar," the study added. "The PUC’s focus is ‘least-cost resources,’ but California’s grid operator is concerned about meeting the state’s growing early evening peak demand when solar generation is diminishing, Olsen said. The CPUC "is directing the addition of low cost solar, which has almost no value when the grid needs it most."

    To meet peak demand, CAISO uses natural gas and imported electricity, Olsen said. Natural gas peaker plants, with LCOEs between $150/MWh and $199/MWh, are costly and exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions. Imports may also increase costs or emissions, but, more significantly, may not be available, he added. Relying on natural gas is "counter" to California’s renewables and zero emissions goals, and "availability of imports are uncertain," affirmed CAISO Vice President for California Regulatory Affairs Mark Rothleder in a December 19, 2019, presentation to the CAISO board… click here for more

    The Rising Value Of New Energy

    Time To Overweight Renewable Energy

    Frank Holmes, June 11, 2020 (Forbes)

    “…[Despite the 88% spike in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price in May from $18.84 per barrel to $35.50,] global oil demand may never fully recover to pre-coronavirus levels…[T]his makes alternative and renewable energy producers even more attractive from a long-term investment point of view…Some see the rise of remote working as the biggest threat to oil demand going forward…[because about 45%] of each barrel of refined oil is used to make gasoline…And that’s before we factor in the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EV)…

    [2019 also saw] electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar surpassed coal for the first time in over 130 years…U.S. coal consumption fell for the sixth straight year…while renewable energy consumption rose for the fourth straight year…Even in the age of President Donald Trump, who favors fossil fuels such as coal, major renewable energy projects in the U.S. continue to move forward…[Clean energy stocks have] already pulled ahead of traditional fossil fuel companies…The S&P Global Clean Energy Index was up almost 45% for the two-year period through June 5, compared to the S&P Global Oil Index (negative 29%) and S&P 500 Energy Index (negative 35%)…” click here for more

    Monday, June 15, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: Numbers Show Energy Efficiency Is Key To Cutting NatGas

    Cost of saving natural gas through efficiency programs funded by utility customers: 2012–2017

    Steven R. Schiller, Ian Hoffman, Sean Murphy, Greg Leventis, Lisa C. Schwartz, May 2020 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    Executive Summary

    Energy efficiency programs for customers of natural gas utilities provide multiple benefits, including improving energy affordability and resilience and easing gas pipeline constraints. Policymakers, state public utility commissions, utilities, and other program administrators rely on cost performance metrics, such as the cost of saved energy (CSE), to assess energy savings potential and design and implement programs in a cost-effective manner. In resource planning and implementation processes, accurate assessments of efficiency cost performance help ensure reliability at the most affordable cost.

    Berkeley Lab earlier conducted an analysis of the cost of saving natural gas for the 2009–2011 period (Billingsley et al. 2014) through energy efficiency programs funded by customers of investor-owned utilities (IOUs). In this new study, Berkeley Lab collected publicly available cost and savings data for 2012-2017 reported by IOUs and other program administrators (PAs) in a dozen representative states (AR, CA, CT, IA, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OK, RI and UT) that provide geographic representation in all four U.S. Census regions. Our analyses focus on estimating the PA levelized cost of saved energy (PA CSE) for three core sectors for natural gas: residential, low income, and commercial and industrial (C&I). We also aggregate these sectors to provide regional and national values.

    We report savings-weighted averages and unweighted medians and interquartile ranges of the levelized PA CSE for natural gas in constant $2017/therm (Figure ES 1). The savings-weighted average PA CSE for gas efficiency programs in these 12 states over the 2012-2017 period was $0.40/therm. This is similar to our earlier estimate for the period 2009 to 2011—$0.38/therm.

    For context, this figure represents the avoided costs for the natural gas commodity, plus transportation, delivery, and any storage costs. Some jurisdictions also consider additional avoided costs, including environmental factors and reduction in price risk.

    Other findings include the following, subject to additional research:

    • C&I programs provided the lowest savings-weighted average cost of gas savings ($0.18/therm), yet represented a minority of overall spending (about 20%). The cost of savings for residential and low-income programs was $0.43/therm and $1.47/therm, respectively. Residential and low-income programs accounted for about three-quarters of national gas program spending in our dataset.1

    • The PA CSE for gas programs in our dataset varied by geographic region, with the largest differences between the Midwest ($0.25/therm) and the West ($0.59/therm). Some of this difference is probably driven by the large amount of spending on low-income programs in our Western regional dataset and perhaps the difference in savings opportunities between cold versus temperate regions.

    • Within our dataset, the average PA CSE for natural gas trended downward from 2012 to 2017. Part of the driver for this change appears to be a shift toward longer-lasting measures. Verifying this shift would require additional data collection and analyses.

    Within each state, the number of PAs studied varies from one to a dozen. The number of programs and PAs for which data were collected also varies each year due to changes over time in state policy, PA reporting or data availability. Depending on the year, the Berkeley Lab dataset covers 32 to 37 PAs that account for about 50% to 70% of annual national spending on natural gas efficiency programs.2

    We made significant efforts to ensure accurate representation of PA-reported costs and savings in our database. However, we experienced several data quality and data screening challenges, similar to those indicated in prior Berkeley Lab reports.3 Thus, the CSE values provided in this report should be considered estimates for the PAs sampled.

    With respect to data collection and analyses, we were able to generate defensible estimates for the PA cost of saving natural gas covering a large share of national program spending, despite some data challenges. Reporting of gas program data has improved in many states, but significant and meaningful opportunities remain for greater transparency, rigor and comprehensiveness, including estimating and reporting savings and measure lifetimes.

    This work could be strengthened and supplemented with the following additional research:

    • Expand data collection to other states for fuller geographic representation, larger sample size and greater confidence in the results

    • Provide technical guidance and support to states and PAs for more consistent reporting and improvements in evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) and estimation of savings from natural gas efficiency programs

    • Conduct analyses to identify the drivers of a downward trend in the average PA CSE from 2012 to 2017, as well as factors such as climate that drive differences in the cost of saving gas across states

    • Analyze PA CSE for gas by efficiency program type (e.g., residential new construction, industrial process, commercial heating, ventilating and air-conditioning)

    • Develop a cost curve for gas efficiency programs

    • Assess the potential impact of PA size on cost

    • Estimate the Total CSE for natural gas programs, including participant costs

    Program, Sector and Portfolio Years

    Program years represent spending and savings data for a single program for a single year. For example, data covering four years of spending and savings for a particular program represent four program years.

    We rolled up all program year data to the market sector level for each program administrator to create sector years—the administrator’s total spending and savings data for all programs targeting a market sector for a specific year. The market sectors include Residential, Commercial and Industrial, Low Income and Cross Cutting (for programs and spending that span two or more sectors). We then aggregated the sector years by region and for the full dataset.

    At the sector level, costs and savings are weighted averages of individual program costs and savings. Sector-level CSE values therefore reflect the influence of higher-volume programs in that sector and can be pulled up or down by those programs.

    Sample sizes (n) in charts and tables are in portfolio years for results for the full dataset or all data for a region. Sample sizes are in sector years for results by market sector.

    Observations and potential next steps

    This targeted collection and analysis of natural gas efficiency program data in 12 states demonstrates the potential for estimating, evaluating and reporting the cost of saving gas at national and regional scales and for multiple market sectors. This information could serve as an important new resource for utilities, state and national decision-makers, and the energy industry as a whole. We are not aware of other, geographically representative estimates for the cost of gas savings.25 Furthermore, while this effort underscores continuing challenges with completeness and rigor in savings estimation and program reporting, it also highlights opportunities for improvements as well as examples of exceptional estimation and reporting practices.

    We observed wide ranges in the cost of gas savings by region and among market sectors. Yet within the residential and C&I sectors in most regions, we see fairly tight ranges. Identifying the nature of regional variability was beyond the scope of this study, but may be the result of just a few drivers, such as climate and the scope of low-income efficiency programs. We also noted relatively small differences between savings-weighted averages and medians at the market sector level, which suggests that the relationship of the reported costs and savings is roughly similar among PAs, regardless of size.

    Further examination of the relationship of gas prices and efficiency program cost-effectiveness could provide meaningful insight into future gas savings from voluntary programs as an energy resource and source of savings for utility customers. In particular, this work could be expanded and enriched in several ways:

    1. Expand data collection and analysis – Collecting additional states’ data would provide fuller geographic representation, larger sample size, more diversity and greater confidence in results.

    2. Provide technical guidance and support to states or utilities for improved reporting – More comprehensive, consistent and rigorous reporting pays dividends for utilities, public utility commissions, program implementers, trade allies and other stakeholders (including researchers). Technical support could address improved reporting as well as underlying issues in EM&V, estimation of assumed savings and measure lives, and allocation of dual-fuel program costs by fuel and portfolio-level costs to programs. Berkeley Lab created guidance documents with recommendations on data collection and reporting for efficiency programs (Rybka et al. 2015).

    3. Analyze drivers of cost trends – Analysis is needed to explain the drivers of the downward trend in the average PA CSE we observe from 2012 to 2017. In addition, analysis of heating degree days for states or PA territories could help isolate how much of the variation in the cost of gas savings is attributable to climate versus other factors.

    4. Estimate PA CSE for gas by efficiency program type – Utility filings collected for this project contain data at the program level. Much of the data in major states (e.g., CA, NY, MA) were collected and standardized prior to sorting by sector and analysis. Thus, the data could be analyzed at the program level. A national program-level analysis would require additional time for data collection, not resolution of new challenges, and yield insight into the magnitude of savings and cost performance of various submarkets, measure classes and implementation strategies. We perform and publish such programlevel analysis for electricity efficiency programs.

    5. Develop a cost curve for gas efficiency programs – In 2018, Berkeley Lab introduced a cost curve for electricity efficiency programs that simultaneously depicts the magnitude of savings for individual program types and the cost of acquiring those savings (Hoffman, et al. 2018). A similar waterfall chart for gas efficiency programs would illustrate where PAs rely most for savings, how cost performance of those programs stacks up against gas prices, and how magnitude of savings might change in the future.

    6. Analyze costs by PA size – Annual energy savings tend to be correlated with the size of the utility—its retail electricity load. Similar to our most recent comprehensive study of electricity efficiency programs (e.g., Hoffman et al. 2018), we could segment PAs into groups by annual energy savings to assess the potential impact of PA size on the cost of saving a therm.

    7. Estimate the Total CSE for natural gas programs – Participating customers typically pay for a portion of efficiency project costs. In some cases, participants pay a significant share. Similar to our studies for electricity efficiency, a future study could collect participant costs for natural gas programs to develop estimates of the Total CSE—PA CSE (administrative costs and incentives) plus participant costs.

    Saturday, June 13, 2020

    The Sunset Of Fossil Fuels

    Demand has dropped 10% in 2020. Is this the “terminal decline” or will fossil fuels rise again? From Front Page Live via YouTube

    One Windy Day

    Wind energy is already a big part of daily life, from manufacturing breakfast foods to powering Google searches. From American Wind Energy Association via YouTube

    Solutions In Solar’s Future

    The innovation keeps coming: Agrivoltaics and flotovoltaics, trackers, solar windows and materials, and storing solar in fuels. From SciShow via YouTube

    Friday, June 12, 2020

    Covid Recovery Can Be The Climate Crisis Recovery

    The COVID-19 recovery can be the vaccine for climate change

    Maria Mendiluce and Jose Siri, 9 June 2020 (World Economic Forum)

    “…[Though the path to controlling and subduing the coronavirus is treacherous and full of hard choices, the] application of humanity’s collective ingenuity will certainly pull us through…[But if] we fail to appreciate our collective vulnerability and responsibility to act accordingly, the consequences will shape human lives and civilization for millennia…Over longer timeframes, COVID-19 will have serious physical and mental health consequences…The World Bank currently estimates that 40-60 million people will be driven into extreme poverty in 2020, a loss of about three years’ progress in poverty reduction…[But climate change threatens to produce shocks of greater magnitude that play out over longer timeframes…Heat itself may cost global economies more than $2 trillion by 2030, with losses in some countries of 6% or more of GDP…

    Globally, greenhouse gas emissions are projected to fall by 5.5% this year, a consequence of the confinement of 3 billion people at home and the corresponding economic jolt…[But addressing the climate crisis] would require a 7.6% reduction per year. The transformations required are truly colossal…[If COVID-19 is a precautionary tale, it is also a crash course in the possible…[and] created a policy window for climate action…In the next year, trillions of dollars will be spent on recovery plans, stimulus packages and company bailouts. During this historic moment, governments can change the course of the future…[They can adopt] science-based net-zero strategies… and address current and future health risks…[and redesign] cities for better lives…[We] are not condemned to repeat the present, if only we can recognize and remember its lessons…” click here for more

    Three Ways To Grow A Green Post-Covid World

    How to Grow Green

    June 9, 2020 (Bloomberg News)

    “…[Generating energy] is 31% of global greenhouse gas emissions…Renewable energy is already cheaper than nonrenewable energy in lots of markets, but [there are three things governments could do to] speed things along…After the 2008 financial crisis, South Korea put almost 80% of its stimulus spending toward climate-friendly policies, including significant investments in energy efficiency and development of its renewables industries. A few years later, the International Monetary Fund dubbed the country’s recovery one of the swiftest and most successful in the world, in large part because of those investments…[It has already devoted $185 million] to subsidies for home rooftop solar installation as part of its coronavirus recovery…

    New smart grid infrastructure would be able to respond to ¬consumers and suppliers, allowing for a more effective and less wasteful flow of power…Government ¬subsidies could speed that along and also encourage businesses to reduce their usage during times of high demand…[The methods used to produce green hydrogen] are still too expensive to be deployed at scale…[W]ith government incentives, prices could fall to about $1 per kilogram by 2050. That would make it competitive with natural gas in many parts of the world…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: New state action due on customer empowering rate designs and business models

    2020 Outlook: New state action on customer empowering rate designs and business models; Regulators, utilities and stakeholders will pilot simple price signals and work toward agreement on a performance-based framework, but California may be in for a surprise.

    Herman K. Trabish, January 23, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Policymakers are moving forward with rate designs that will be the financial foundation of a future power system.

    In 2020, the way utilities charge customers and the business models they use could change electricity users’ role in the energy transition and support the enhanced adoption of new technologies.

    Only about 6% of U.S. electricity customers now pay through rates that give them a role in the types of energy they use and when they use it. The rest use a rate that discourages customer interest, encourages no change in the power mix and gives utilities no motive to evolve, according to advocates for more dynamic rates. But 2020 promises major advances by state regulators in rate design and power provider incentives.

    Efforts by state regulators and legislators in 2020 will show "the power of the states over the future of the electricity system in the absence of federal action," Energy Innovation (EI) Director of Electricity Policy Michael O’Boyle told Utility Dive. "States can and will move on their own and they are creating a framework and a foundation for change."

    Utilities can now use new technologies, like smart meters and solar+storage, and new power system dynamics, like the shifting time of peak energy demand, to benefit their customers and their systems. In 2020, advanced rates with price signals to direct electricity use and business model reforms to align customer and provider needs could begin delivering big benefits. But one of 2020's biggest steps forward, to be taken by California, may be a misstep, a leading rate design authority said.

    In Q3 2019, "28 states plus D.C. took actions to reform rate designs, regulatory structures or utility business models," the newest quarterly policy update from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) reported. Rate design reforms were considered in 21 states and utility business model or ratemaking adjustments were undertaken in D.C. and 22 states.

    Decisions and implementations of time of use (TOU) and other time-varying rates, including critical peak pricing, peak time rebates, and demand charges, and of simple subscription rates and of performance-based regulation (PBR) are coming in 2020, NCCETC Senior Policy Research Manager and quarterly lead author Autumn Proudlove told Utility Dive. These rates’ price signals discourage customer electricity usage during peak demand periods and support utility model evolution… click here for more

    New Energy Was 100% of U.S. New Generation In April

    Latest Ferc Data Show Renewables Are Sole Source Of New U.S. Generating Capacity In April; Renewables Are 56.3% Of New Capacity In 1st Third Of 2020; Over The Next Three Years, Renewables Will Add Over 53,000-Mw Of New Capacity; Wind And Solar Will Each Provide More New Capacity Than Natural Gas

    Ken Bossong, June 8, 2020 (Sun Day)

    “…[W]ind, solar, and hydropower provided 100% of the 1,328 megawatts (MW) in new U.S. electrical generating capacity added in April 2020…[and] renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) have accounted for 5,113 MW - or 56.3% - of the 9,082 MW added during the first four months of this year [according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)]…FERC also reported 3,964 MW (or 21 units) of new natural gas capacity, which accounted for most of the balance. There have been no new capacity additions by coal, oil, nuclear power, or geothermal energy since the beginning of the year…Renewable energy sources now account for 22.87% of the nation’s total available installed generating capacity and continue to expand their lead over coal (20.32%)…

    [F]ive years ago, FERC reported that total installed renewable energy generating capacity was 17.05% of the nation's total with wind at 5.74% (now 9.08%) and solar at 1.05% (now 3.79%)…[C]oal's share was 27.50% (now 20.32%), nuclear was 9.14% (now 8.71%), and oil was 3.92% (now 3.29%)…[Only natural gas expanded, from 42.23%] to 44.64% today…[By April 2023, wind] is expected to have] a projected net increase of 26,867 MW while solar is foreseen growing by 24,083 MW…[N]et growth for natural gas will be only 20,657 MW…[A]ll renewables will add more than 53 gigawatts (GW) of net new generating capacity…That is nearly 50 times the net new capacity (1.1 GW) projected to be added by natural gas, coal, oil, and nuclear power combined…[and]renewable energy generating capacity should account for more than a quarter of the nation's total available installed generating capacity…” click here for more