NewEnergyNews

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.

YESTERDAY

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Alliance Calls For Global Green New Deal
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global New Energy 2021 Milestones
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, July 21:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Much Is Rooftop Solar Worth
  • TTTA Wednesday-Rooftop Solar Vs. A National New Energy System
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Today’s Study – The Consequences Of Electrifying Everything
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: The Talk Of The Solar World
  • Weekend Video: The Energy Transition Awakens In West Virginia
  • Weekend Video: Climate Crisis Spikes In The Amazon Rainforests
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Big Oil’s Climate Crime
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Big Oil Faces Big Rise In Global New Energy
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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

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

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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 24-25:
  • Colbert On The Cause Of The Climate Crisis
  • Global Weirding Is The New Normal
  • A New Hot Solar Technology

    Saturday, July 24, 2021

    Colbert On The Cause Of The Climate Crisis

    Blame the weird and terrifying weather on the supernatural deities? No, blame people. The good news: What people do, they can undo. From The Late Show with Stephen Colbert via YouTube

    Global Weirding Is The New Normal

    Action addressing the changing climate has been inadequate. It’s that simple. Now the challenge is daunting and global. It is past time to get busy. No more excuses. From MSNBC via YouTube

    A New Hot Solar Technology

    The challenge is the extremely high temperatures needed for industrial processes 24/7; the solution is a magnifying lens for concentrated solar and efficient storage strategies. From Big Think via YouTube

    Friday, July 23, 2021

    New Alliance Calls For Global Green New Deal

    Politicians from across world call for ‘global green deal’ to tackle climate crisis; New alliance urges governments to work together to deliver a just transition to a green economy

    Fiona Harvey, 18 July 2021 (UK Guardian)

    “…The Global Alliance for a Green New Deal is inviting politicians from legislatures in all countries to work together on policies that would deliver a just transition to a green economy ahead of Cop26 UN climate talks in Glasgow this November…[The alliance includes the UK, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia and the US among other countries…

    …[There are already] wildfires raging across the west coast [of the US], extreme hurricanes, heatwaves in Australia, massive flooding around the world…The alliance wants governments to put measures in place that would boost the green economy…Many government leaders have promised to “build back better”… but few countries are investing in the new infrastructure needed…[and] more than $3tn was being poured into measures and industries that actively harmed the environment, such as coal and other fossil fuels…

    As the consequences of the climate crisis become more and more alarming, inequalities are growing and the poorest are hit hardest by the impacts of a changing climate. If we want fair, systematic and effective climate policies, we need a radical shift…[according to the alliance, which] currently has 21 members from 19 countries…” click here for more

    Global New Energy 2021 Milestones

    The World Has Achieved Huge Milestones in 6 Areas of Renewable Energy So Far This Year

    Andy Corbley, July 1, 2021 (Good News Network)

    …[M]arket demand and private entrepreneurship is driving what can only be described as a revolution in renewable energy…[The] latest achievements might have been thought unbelievable when global climate change was first being discussed as a serious threat…[S]ix months into 2021, we have already seen some amazing progress in wind, solar, and EVs…Citizens from the [Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sengal, and Nigeria face low] rates of reliable electricity…[but] solar power plants are set to help this problem…

    …[For wind manufacturers and investors,] 2021 was the single best year on record…[According to the 2021 Global Wind Report the global industry added 93 gigawatts,] equaling a 53% increase since 2020…Through technology innovations and economies of scale, the global wind power market has nearly quadrupled in size over the past decade and established itself as one of the most cost-competitive and resilient power sources across the world…

    …[And] 74,000 of the 373,900 cars that left German assembly lines were either electric or hybrid vehicles…Germany is the fourth largest auto market in the world, and electric car registrations—that’s bought and driven EVs—grew from a 4% national market share in December 2019, to a whopping 26% market share just 12 months later. 24% of these EVs were made by Volkswagen…Hybrids also jumped from 3% to 13%, meaning that there are more hybrids and EVs on German roads than gasoline-powered cars…[Globally, EV purchasing climbed 40% during 2020… click here for more

    Wednesday, July 21, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Much Is Rooftop Solar Worth

    Amid rising rooftop solar battles, emerging net metering alternatives could shake up the sector; A “holistic product bundle” of DER could offer not "just a transition" but "a just transition,” tariff analysts say.

    Herman K. Trabish, March 18, 2021 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Stakeholders say this debate will be decided in California this year.

    The costs to non-solar owning customers of net energy metering (NEM) policies that support rising levels of rooftop solar in more than 29 states have created division between utilities and DER advocates, but elements of a new policy that can balance the cost shift with system benefits for all customers are emerging, power system analysts say.

    Distributed solar owners in many states pay only for the net kilowatt-hours on their meters after compensation for exported solar-generated kilowatt-hours is deducted at the retail electricity rate. This NEM policy does not significantly shift system costs to other customers at low solar penetrations, but the accelerating growth of distributed energy resources (DER) is creating growing concerns about a cost shift from customers who own solar to those who don't.

    NEM "is a useful tool, but it's just a tool," Edison Electric Institute (EEI) General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Clean Energy Emily Fisher told a Feb. 9 National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Winter Summit audience during one of three panels on NEM. "There are ways to reform it to allow even greater benefits from DER and still avoid imposing a cost shift."

    DER advocates at the conference agreed NEM must evolve. DER can be "leveraged for many grid services critical to achieving zero emissions goals," Strategen Managing Director for US Consulting Matt McDonnell said. But "rate designs need to evolve to more fully integrate DER for those services or we will miss taking advantage of customer investments, overbuild the system, and fewer customers will face larger fixed costs."

    Discussions about an NEM successor tariff to sustain DER growth has, until recently, led only to controversy. But NARUC summit presentations suggested there may be some emerging consensus on policy elements like adding incentives for storage. And a new South Carolina proposal involving Duke Energy offers a "holistic product bundle" that could lead to "new possibilities," according to summit panelists.

    An NEM successor tariff becomes important when DER penetrations of over 5% of system peak load threaten to impose significant costs for system infrastructure on non-solar owning customers, "and more states are moving toward that level," said North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Senior Policy Program Director Autumn Proudlove. Legislative and regulatory policy actions on distributed solar steadily increased from 2015 to 2020, Proudlove told the NARUC summit. In 2020, DER compensation was the focus of 92 actions in D.C. and 34 states, up from just 41 actions in 26 states in 2015… click here for more

    Rooftop Solar Vs. A National New Energy System

    More Power Lines or Rooftop Solar Panels: The Fight Over Energy’s Future; The choices that lawmakers, energy businesses and individuals make in the next few years could lock in an energy system that lasts for decades.

    Ivan Penn and Clifford Krauss, July 12, 2021 (NY Times)

    “The nation is facing once-in-a-generation choices about how energy ought to be delivered…On one side, large electric utilities and President Joe Biden want to build thousands of miles of power lines to move electricity created by distant wind turbines and solar farms to cities and suburbs…On the other, some environmental organizations and community groups are pushing for greater investment in rooftop solar panels, batteries and local wind turbines…[The intense policy struggle] could lock in an energy system that lasts for decades…

    Most energy experts agree that the United States must improve its aging electric grids…[to] replace coal and natural gas power plants with large wind and solar farms hundreds of miles from cities…[Opponents] argue that solar panels, batteries and other local energy sources should be emphasized because they would be more resilient and could be built more quickly…

    …[The Biden] administration supports rooftop solar and microgrids, but believes] decentralized approaches would not be sufficient to achieve the president’s goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 2035…[The response by rooftop solar and storage during the August 2020 outages showed they] can become mini power plants, potentially earning as much from supplying energy as they pay for electricity they draw from the grid…

    But the utility industry argues that new transmission lines are needed to get to 100% clean energy and power electric cars and trucks. Those high costs will be offset by the money saved from switching from fossil fuels to cheaper solar panels and wind turbines…Many Americans resist transmission lines for aesthetic and environmental reasons… click here for more

    Monday, July 19, 2021

    Today’s Study – The Consequences Of Electrifying Everything

    Who Will Pay for Legacy Utility Costs?

    Lucas Davis and Catherine Hausman, July 6, 2021 (Energy Institute at Haas/ University of California, Berkeley)

    Growing and Shrinking Utilities

    The current push for building electrification is still in its early stages, so it is too soon for an empirical analysis of how utility behavior responds to this policy push. Instead, we use historical evidence from growing and shrinking utilities as a proxy. Although mostly driven by population change, not building electrification, this evidence is a valuable opportunity to learn what happens when large numbers of customers enter and exit.

    The figure below shows residential customer counts for a random set of U.S. natural gas distribution utilities during the period 1997-2019. The utility business is often thought of as stable and predictable, but we show that utilities have experienced a surprisingly large amount of recent change. We observe, for example, 320 utilities that experienced five or more consecutive years of customer growth, and 250 utilities that experienced five or more consecutive years of customer loss.

    The shrinking utilities may seem surprising. But even though the total number of U.S. natural gas customers has increased 25% over this time period, many specific regions have lost population. Many utilities have lost customers, especially in rural areas, parts of the Southeast, Rust Belt, and Appalachia. Customer loss is particularly pronounced for small municipal utilities, but we also see it in cities like Philadelphia, PA and Birmingham, AL.

    Utility Operations

    In the paper we use evidence from these growing and shrinking utilities to understand how utility operations and finances change with customer entry and exit. The single largest asset for these utilities is the pipeline infrastructure. Accordingly, we compile data on the total number of pipeline miles operated by each utility, and we examine how this responds to changes in the customer base.

    As the figure below illustrates, we find that when utilities are growing, they add pipelines. A 10% increase in the number of residential customers on average leads to a 4% increase in pipeline miles. However, when utilities are shrinking, they do not remove pipelines. A 10% decrease in the number of residential customers has a precisely estimated 0% effect on pipeline miles.

    Thus, utilities *expand* the distribution network during years of customer growth, but rarely *shrink* the network during years of customer loss. This makes sense. When a gas utility loses a customer, it generally doesn’t retire gas mains because other customers are still on that pipeline.

    Utility Finances

    We next perform a similar analysis using data on utility revenues. Utilities collect revenue from customers to pay for capital and operating costs, and we want to understand how these revenues respond to changes in the customer base. Part of our motivation for the paper is that many categories of utility expenditures are likely to be “legacy costs” that don’t necessarily disappear as customers leave the system.

    This is exactly what we find. Similar to the pattern for pipeline miles, we find an asymmetric relationship between utility revenue and the size of the customer base. A 10% increase in residential customers leads to 10% increase in revenues. However, a 10% decrease in customers leads to only a 5% decrease in revenues. This pattern implies that some costs do stick around after customer exit and that remaining customers make up half the lost revenue through increased rates.

    This same dynamic is likely to play out in response to increased building electrification. During such a transition, it won’t be easy to retire pipelines until everyone in the network has discontinued service. Moreover, in addition to maintaining pipelines, the utility will still need to pay for legacy costs including past capital expenditures, pensions, and ongoing operations and maintenance.

    Cost Shift

    Finally, we use our empirical estimates to simulate future bill impacts for different levels of building electrification.

    Recent studies assume roughly a 15% reduction in natural gas residential customers by 2030; 40% by 2040; and 90% reduction by 2050. Our estimates imply that customer losses of this magnitude would mean annual bill increases of $30, $120, and $1,600 per remaining residential customer, respectively.

    The figure below summarizes our results. The cost shift starts out modest but then increases sharply as legacy costs become concentrated on an increasingly small number of remaining customers.

    Did Somebody Say Utility Death Spiral?

    Higher retail prices for natural gas will also accelerate the transition away from natural gas, prompting further customer exits, and thus additional price increases. While these dynamics will not last forever, an energy transition of this magnitude affects a large number of U.S. households and businesses, so it is critical to trace out the implications for both efficiency and equity. Figuring out the right set of policies to provide a path for decarbonization without hurting low-income households or pipeline safety will be challenging, and our paper provides some suggestions for policymakers.

    We also see similarities between natural gas and electricity. There is a similar dynamic with electricity in that rooftop solar lowers utility revenues and can push fixed cost recovery onto low-income customers. However, buildings with rooftop solar generally don’t completely leave the grid. The mechanism in natural gas is different — customers depart entirely. Thus the standard rate reforms that are frequently suggested for rooftop solar, which assume that customers stay connected, would not address the fixed cost recovery and equity issues that arise with natural gas.

    Fundamentally, cost recovery and natural gas utility operations and investment will need to be rethought so that the electrify everything movement is equitable.

    Saturday, July 17, 2021

    The Talk Of The Solar World

    DOE’s new software tool could be solar’s first red tape cost-cutting breakthrough. From U.S. Department of Energy via YouTube

    The Energy Transition Awakens In West Virginia

    New Energy now offers West Virginia a viable choice for a just transition away from its coal addiction. From WOWK 13 News via YouTube

    Climate Crisis Spikes In The Amazon Rainforest

    CO2 levels are up in the Amazon rainforest, suggesting its capability to protect the climate by absorbing greenhouse gases has been expended. From CBS News via YouTube

    Friday, July 16, 2021

    Big Oil’s Climate Crime

    Big Oil’s lies about climate change—a climate scientist’s take

    Adam Sobel, July 9, 2021 (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

    “…[Calling fossil fuel companies’ culpability for the climate crisis crime might seem] too extreme…[because] Exxon and the others were just working within our legal, economic, and political systems to provide a commodity we all use every day. They may have known that global warming posed a risk, but people accept all kinds of risks in exchange for the many benefits of living a relatively affluent life in a modern, industrialized economy…It comes down to the scale of the harm; the willful, systematic, and sustained nature of the lying; and the leading role the climate denial movement has played in the sustained assault on democracy…

    …[T]he legal system so far seems ill-equipped to grasp it...But the moral case, at least, is clear…We know now that fossil fuel company researchers understood early on, from their own work as well as that of academic and government researchers, that warming due to human emissions of greenhouse gases posed risks at the planetary scale…[It is almost certain that economists, and consequently also politicians,] have historically grossly underestimated the sheer scale of the harm, because economics as a discipline is based on assumptions that don’t fit global-scale environmental crises…

    …[Fossil fuel executives] could argue that they have worked within the legal system…[and fulfilled] their fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value…[But they] have systematically, cynically misrepresented and suppressed the facts. Their jobs didn’t require them to do this…[and it] is well documented and widely known…And they’re still doing it: perhaps not all of them, and perhaps in some cases with different tactics, but fossil fuel companies are still funding denial groups and politicians who act on the denial agenda…Having learned that propaganda can make a decent fraction of the population believe lies on a large scale with no consequence, it’s hard for these bad actors not to keep doing it…” click here for more

    Big Oil Faces Big Rise In Global New Energy

    Highlights From The BP Statistical Review Of World Energy 2021

    Robert Rapier, July 11, 2021 (Forbes)

    “…[Typically comprehensive summary of energy trends, disruptions by COVID make the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021 less indicative] of these trends…[Oil demand fell dramatically last year, but] has largely recovered…Primary global energy consumption fell by 4.5% last year, which was the largest annual decline since 1945. About three-fourths of the decline came from oil…Small declines were also reported in coal, natural gas, and nuclear consumption, while renewables and hydropower recorded gains…[Oil still had] a 31.2% share of all energy consumption…[followed by] coal (27.2%), natural gas (24.7%), hydropower (6.9%), renewables (5.7%), and nuclear power (4.3%)…

    …[Fossil fuels] accounted for 83.1% of the world’s primary energy consumption in 2020…There were consumption declines in over 95% of the countries, and] the U.S., India, and Russia contributed the largest annual declines…China was one of the rare exceptions, growing energy consumption by 2.1% over 2019. Still, that was well below China’s 3.8% average growth over the previous 10 years…Global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 6.3% in 2020…[This was] the largest decline since 1945… Despite the massive decline in global energy demand, global renewable energy consumption grew by 10% in 2020…

    …Solar capacity increased by 127 gigawatts (GW), while wind capacity grew 111 GW. The growth in wind capacity was nearly double the highest prior annual increase. Together, wind and solar power now have a global capacity of 1,441 GW…[In 2010, it was 221 GW…China was the largest individual contributor…Nuclear consumption fell in 2020 by 4.1%...[I]t's more than obvious that the growth story for wind and solar power has many years to run. This will be especially true if the world continues to electrify its transport systems as expected…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 14, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Causes of California’s Rising Power Costs

    CPUC and Stakeholders Strive to Stop Spiking Rates

    Herman K. Trabish, March 9, 2021 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: Electricity might seem expensive but live without it for a couple of days and see what value it has.

    California will not let its skyrocketing electricity rates threaten reliability or its policy goals, California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told stakeholders during a Feb. 24 full commission hearing.

    The costs of California’s policy mandates are driving rates up faster than inflation and straining the budgets of customers made more vulnerable by the recession, stakeholders and CPUC Staff agreed during the day-long session. Additionally, the costs of Net Energy Metering and other distributed energy resources incentives are taxing the budgets of vulnerable customers, making new approaches to affordability urgent.

    Protecting ratepayers “will require aggressive actions,” CPUC Staff’s “Evaluation of Electric Costs, Rates and Equity Issues” reported. Utilities proposed ways to cut wildfire costs and raise revenues outside rates. Stakeholders proposed ways to financially support distributed energy resources and electric vehicle growth. Breakthrough rate designs could ease the burden of rising costs on low and moderate income customers.

    Residential energy costs and rates began rising faster than inflation in 2013 and bills continue to grow annually, staff reported. By 2030, residential rates for PG&E will be 40% higher than if they had risen at the rate of inflation from 2013. SCE rates would be 20% higher and SDG&E rates would be 70% higher.

    Distributed energy and EVs can reduce customers’ utility bills but up-front costs are a barrier to low income customer participation, staff found. The middle class may soon need help because “rates are growing so much faster than wages,” Jennifer Dowdell, a senior energy expert with The Utility Reform Network, warned.

    Wildfire mitigation costs, transmission development costs, rising transmission use charges, and the state’s increasingly ambitious emissions reduction goals drive up rates. Another growing factor is the cost of the state-mandated Net Energy Metering 2.0 program compensating customers for electricity their distributed resources send to utilities. Net metered generation exceeded the private utilities’ residential electricity consumption in 2019, recent research showed… click here for more

    Big Benefits From Clean Energy Standard – Study

    Estimated Climate Benefits Of Clean Energy Standars Are Large, Outweigh Costs

    July 12, 2021 (Clean Energy Futures Project)

    “…[An illustrative 80×30 clean electricity standard (CES)] shows that achieving the Biden Administration’s clean electricity goal through a CES would have modest costs and large benefits…[and if congress shifts costs] to the federal government,] electricity rates would likely fall…[The illustrative 80×30 CES has the largest total benefits, climate-related net benefits, and health benefits of eight policies examined.

    The present value of the estimated climate benefits through 2050 ($637 billion) outweigh the estimated costs ($342 billion)…[It would] generate estimated present value health benefits of $1.13 trillion due to cleaner air, bringing the estimated present value net benefits to $1.43 trillion for 2020 to 2050…compared to a no-policy reference case…” click here for more