NewEnergyNews: 10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015/


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.



  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The IRA And The New Energy Boom
  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The IRA And the EV Revolution

  • Weekend Video: Coming Ocean Current Collapse Could Up Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: Impacts Of The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current Collapse
  • Weekend Video: More Facts On The AMOC

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 15-16:

  • Weekend Video: The Truth About China And The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: Florida Insurance At The Climate Crisis Storm’s Eye
  • Weekend Video: The 9-1-1 On Rooftop Solar

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 8-9:

  • Weekend Video: Bill Nye Science Guy On The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: The Changes Causing The Crisis
  • Weekend Video: A “Massive Global Solar Boom” Now

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 1-2:

  • The Global New Energy Boom Accelerates
  • Ukraine Faces The Climate Crisis While Fighting To Survive
  • Texas Heat And Politics Of Denial
  • --------------------------


    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish



    WEEKEND VIDEOS, June 17-18

  • Fixing The Power System
  • The Energy Storage Solution
  • New Energy Equity With Community Solar
  • Weekend Video: The Way Wind Can Help Win Wars
  • Weekend Video: New Support For Hydropower
  • 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




      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.

  • ---------------
  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, August 24-26:
  • Happy One-Year Birthday, Inflation Reduction Act
  • The Virtual Power Plant Boom, Part 1
  • The Virtual Power Plant Boom, Part 2

    Saturday, October 31, 2015

    The Great Bacon-Climate Conspiracy Conspiracy

    The climate change conspiracy comes up near the end of this typically uninformed Fox News diatribe. Two points from the doctor: (1) That those not genetically pre-disposed to a particular type of cancer can get away with extensive exposure to a carcinogen is not proof it is not a carcinogen. (2) Most carcinogens require extensive exposure even for the vulnerable. An annual or semi-annual indulgence is not at issue. But because a proven threat tastes good or feels good is no reason to continuously indulge. Smokers and heroin addicts use that excuse. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Worse Than The Benghazi Committee

    The misguided ideologues on the House Science Committee are doing something much worse than wasting taxpayer money on partisan spectacle hearings like the Benghazi circus. It is leading an attack on funding for the Department of Energy that supports research in the technologies needed to build a New Energy future. From greenmnbucket via YouTube

    For Lack Of A Clean Power Plan And An EPA

    To those who find EPA regulations oppressive and the EPA too rigid: Consider China’s air quality. From CNN via YouTube

    Friday, October 30, 2015


    The ‘driest place on Earth’ is covered in pink flowers after a crazy year of rain

    Angela Fritz, October 29, 2015 (Washington Post)

    “The Atacama Desert in Chile, known as the driest place on Earth, is awash with color after a year’s worth of extreme rainfall [associated with the currently severe El Nino that research suggests is due to climate change]…Arica, Chile, in the northern Atacama holds the world record for the longest dry streak, having gone 173 months without a drop of rain in the early 20th century…In March, heavy thunderstorms brought 0.96 inches of rain in one day to parts of the Atacama Desert…[It] was a huge rainfall event for the desert — over 14 years of rain in one day…Flooding killed at least nine people…The malva (or mallow) flowers on the floor of the Atacama desert bloom every five to seven years, usually coinciding with El Nino. But they have been taking advantage of this year’s particularly rainy conditions…” click here for more


    REmap 2030: Renewable Energy Prospects for Poland

    October 2015 (International Renewable Energy Agency)

    "Poland can increase its share of renewable energy in power generation to nearly 38% by 2030 (compared to only 7% in 2010) [according to REmap 2030: Renewable Energy Prospects for Poland]… Under current policies, the share of renewables in Poland’s total final energy consumption would increase to just 15.5% by 2030. This could feasibly reach 25% if investments in renewable energy doubled to USD 4.5 billion annually, the REmap analysis indicates. The envisaged energy transformation would reduce Poland’s carbon dioxide emissions and could save up to USD 2 billion per year by 2030 when taking into account externalities related to health and environmental costs…Poland’s renewable energy use to date has been dominated by biomass. To achieve higher shares, the country must tap its vast wind power resources, improve its power transmissions and scale-up grid development…[And] opportunities to scale up renewables are not limited to the power sector; the renewable share of energy applications in buildings could nearly triple, to almost 35%, while the industry and transport sectors could see their shares double…” click here for more


    Morocco Is Building The Largest Solar Power Plant The World Has Ever Seen

    Chloe Olewitz, October 28, 2015 (Digital Trends)

    “…[Quarzazate, Morocco] is also about to become the home to the largest consolidated solar power plant in the world…[T]hrough a combination of solar, hydro, and wind power, Morocco will source more than half of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020. Currently, Morocco imports 94% of its energy as fossil fuels from resource-rich regions around the world…Such a high import level is costly, [especially for a mostly desert land and] solar has started to look like an enormous environmental and economic opportunity…The first phase, Noor 1, involves the installation of more than 500,000 mirrors arranged in 800 rows to track the sun as it passes across the desert sky each day…Noor 2 and 3 are scheduled to begin in 2017. The final four plants that will make up the completed [$9 billion] renewable energy complex by 2020 will take up as much space as Morocco’s capital city of Rabat…[and will] generate up to 580 Megawatts of electricity…” click here for more


    World Bank-backed Project To Study Wind Energy Potential In African Countries

    Smiti Mittal, October 27, 2015 (Clean Technica)

    “…Under the Energy Sector Management Assessment Program (ESMAP) [backed by the World Bank], DNV GL is working to determine wind energy potential in Zambia, Tanzania, and the Maldives. The first phase of the project — which begun in June, 2014, and finished earlier this year — included preliminary investigation of wind flow to build an initial wind energy potential atlas. DNV will also set up workshops to train professionals to interpret the wind atlas. Workshops will also be held for government officials, decision makers, and other stockholders…In the second phase, DNV will train professionals to set up and maintain wind masts for collecting wind potential data over a period of two years. The final phase will include creating a redefined and validated [wind atlas in the three countries]…” click here for more

    Thursday, October 29, 2015


    Persian Gulf may be too hot for human survival by 2090. Here’s what this means for your city.

    Joby Warrick, October 28, 2015 (Washington Post)

    “A study predicting deadly heat waves in the Persian Gulf by the century’s end has underscored concerns about the effects of rising global temperatures on cities in other parts of the world, including the United States…[According to Future temperature in southwest Asia projected to exceed a threshold for human adaptability] Persian Gulf cities could experience extreme summer temperatures that are literally too hot for human survival…[as climate change inevitably leads] to hotter, longer heat waves and higher rates of heat-related deaths across large swaths of the planet including the U.S…[The 1998 Chicago hot spell was] blamed for the deaths of 700 people…[Danger will come from a temperature of 115 degrees F.] and humidity above 50 percent…The Persian Gulf region is already notorious for oppressive heat, with temperatures regularly surpassing 110 degrees F in the summer and heat-index values that contribute to high rates of heatstroke among outdoor workers…The study’s authors say the worst impacts could be avoided if the world’s countries can find the will to curb emissions of greenhouse-gas pollution…” click here for more


    For the future of solar, we’ve got the tech—it’s the economics, stupid; California's push for renewables may provide a preview of our changing grid.

    John Timmer, October 28, 2015 (Ars Technica)

    “…The price of solar power has plunged—for utility scale solar, it can be cheaper to build and operate a plant (given existing incentives) than it is to simply supply fuel to a natural gas plant…[S]olar power is likely to be a truly disruptive technology. And it's likely to cause some destruction in the process…[The biggest challenge] is overgeneration…At half renewables, there's a staggering 20GW of overproduction…The simplest [solution] is storage...[or] diversifying the mix of renewables…[But they come] at a cost…

    “…[Renewable adoption could be challenging] for utilities…Fossil fuel plants must have the electricity they sell cover the cost of the fuel burned to create it. Once built, renewables get their electrons nearly for free. As a result, they can always undercut the price of electricity generated by fossil fuel plants…[T]hose facilities were built with expectations [of return]…To meet those expectations on fewer hours of operation, the only real option is to charge more…[T]hat will drive further [renewables growth]…These economic changes will probably have to extend to how consumers pay for their access to the grid…None of these transitions will necessarily be easy or occur without some economic disruption…” click here for more


    The U.S. Tax Breaks That Clean Power Doesn't Seem to Mind Losing

    Mark Chediak and Chris Martin, October 28, 2015 (Bloomberg News)

    “The most significant U.S. tax credit for solar power will expire at the end of next year, and the biggest one for wind power already has. Renewable-energy developers aren’t losing much sleep over it…The need for tax breaks, which once underpinned the economics of wind and solar projects, is fading as prices fall and the technologies become more competitive with electricity produced from fossil fuels. At the same time, other federal policies such as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan are creating new incentives for renewable energy plants...

    "Developers are planning now for the day when they will no longer receive the credits…The end of the [2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour federal] production tax credit for wind power will lead to ‘only a temporary blip’ in the market [and solar will remain competitive without its 30% federal investment tax credit, according to] NextEra’s renewable development unit]…” click here for more


    The Key to Cheap Electric Cars? Ditch the Steering Wheel

    Clint Finley, October 18, 2015 (Wired)

    “…With Tesla focusing on the luxury market, [Mark Frohnmayer] saw a big need for an affordable electric vehicle…[The result] is the SRK, a two-seat, three-wheeled electric vehicle that looks like the spawn of a golf cart and an ATV. The company plans to begin selling it in late 2016 or early 2017. It’s officially classed as a motorcycle…[but it] has a protective shell, and, for an additional fee, it can be upgraded to a fully enclosed model. The prototype’s 12 kilowatt lithium ion battery has a range of about 70 miles, and can hit speeds of at least 85 miles per hour. And it can hit them fast: it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in only 7.5 seconds. It’s only 105 inches long, which means you can park it like a motorcycle…[The battery and drivetrain are at the bottom of the vehicle [to insure safety and for comfort and efficiency] they replaced the steering wheel with handlebars…[Its $12,000 price] may be too expensive…[but research suggests it] is the sweet spot in the US…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015


    Florida utility battles pit solar advocates against natural gas expansion; Critics of the state's utilities say they are too reliant on gas generation

    Herman K. Trabish, April 8, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    As utilities increasingly move away from coal fired generation, perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the shift has been natural gas. Growth in natural gas generation outpaced all other generation sources in the first half of 2014, according to the latest aggregated data from EIA, and is projected to continue its steady growth in 2015.

    In that natural gas boom, few states have been as enthusiastic as Florida. As EIA data shows, the state added more than 1200 MW of natural gas capacity in the first half of 2014 alone, significantly more than any other state.

    Florida Power and Light (FPL), Florida’s dominant electricity provider, says its increased use of natural gas is the right thing for its customers. Earlier this year, it entered uncharted territory as it asked regulators to approve direct investments in natural gas exploration and drilling — necessary, the utility says, to combat price volatility.

    But now activists of every political stripe are speaking out against the increased reliance on gas. Conservatives, renewable industry advocates, scientists and an unprecedented coalition of environmentalists and tea partiers have come together to push for more solar energy and less emphasis on gas. Their pressure is setting up another utility showdown in the Sunshine State.

    “FPL’s percentage of natural gas increased from 51.9% in 2007 to 67.4% in 2013,” said FPL Public Affairs Director Mark Bubriski. “Since 2001, FPL’s investments in natural gas energy have saved our customers more than $7.5 billion on fuel and prevented more than 85 million tons of carbon emissions…[and] enabled us to cut our use of foreign oil by more than 99%.”

    FPL’s 2014 10-Year Site Plan projects the need for “approximately 1,000 megawatts of [additional] firm capacity” by mid-2019.

    “The reality is that U.S.-produced natural gas is one of the lowest-cost options,” according to Bubriski. “High-efficiency natural gas centers that use about one-third the fuel per unit of energy…[are] projected to remain a prominent component of our fuel mix.”

    FPL’s natural gas capacity makes it “well-positioned” to comply with the proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP)because “our CO2 emissions rate is 35% lower than the national average,” Bubriski added.

    Gas, emissions and price volatility

    “FPL and other Florida utilities are moving away from coal and oil and towards lower carbon sources and that is a good thing,” said Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Senior Energy Analyst Jeff Deyette, co-author of the report, "The Natural Gas Gamble: A Risky Bet on America's Clean Energy Future."

    Using natural gas for Clean Power Plan compliance is where the UCS study sees potential over-reliance on the resource.

    “Florida is already at risk, with 68 percent of its total electricity generation coming from natural gas in 2012,” the study reports. If, in pursuit of mandated emissions cuts, Florida bumps its plants’ 52% capacity factor up to 70%, “it will depend on natural gas for 89% of its power.”

    FPL investments in natural gas pipelines, Oklahoma exploration and production ventures, and new combined cycle facilities recently approved by Florida regulators will make meeting demand possible, the study says. “But they could also lock in additional carbon emissions and crowd out investments in new zero-carbon renewable and energy efficiency technologies.”

    Bubriski called the UCS study’s assertions an “anti-utility attack.” Its claim that natural gas could reach 90% of Florida’s energy mix “is an attempt to intentionally mislead,” he argued.

    “No legitimate entity would suggest such a wildly fictional scenario…[especially because] we’ve already announced plans to add more nuclear and solar, so we’re obviously not just adding natural gas.”

    “This is not an anti-utility attack,” Deyette said. “We weren’t saying FPL is going to 90% natural gas. We were saying if it decided to comply with the Clean Power Plan entirely by maximizing its natural gas generators, it would be on a pathway to 90% natural gas.”

    By displacing coal and oil, natural gas offers pollution and health benefits. As a more flexible fuel with faster ramping capabilities, it provides benefits to the grid and can help integrate renewables. And it has helped drive power prices down, Deyette said. But gas is still a fossil fuel that emits CO2 at the smokestack, and it comes with price volatility risks.

    “In the modeling of a transition to a low carbon economy, the scenario that prioritized renewables and efficiency had lower costs, more emission reductions, and stronger price stability for electricity consumers,” Deyette said. “That is the path we should be going down. Natural gas will continue to be used over the next two decades or so to help balance variable renewables like wind and solar and make them more reliable.”

    According to Deyette, Florida can get its emissions reductions with renewables and efficiency.

    “Florida is the sunshine state and the cost of solar has come down and the technology has improved. It should be investing heavily," he said. "It should also be investing more aggressively in energy efficiency technologies. And there is no reason Florida can’t use transmission to import Texas and plains state wind like Alabama Power, Southern Power, and Gulf Power.”

    The conspicuous lack of solar in the Sunshine State

    “In the past few years, we’ve built three large-scale solar plants, including a PV plant that was the largest of its kind in the nation when it opened in 2009, and the world’s first solar-natural gas hybrid plant,” Bubriski pointed out. FPL’s Site Plan announced “several community-based solar installations” as well as “plans to install commercial-scale arrays.” By the end of 2016, the company will complete three 74 MW utility-scale solar power plants, it also announced, increasing its present 110 MW installed solar capacity to 332 MW while keeping its typical customer bill “well below the national average.”

    The just-announced 10-Year Site Plan from Duke Energy Florida, the state’s other major electricity provider, includes the addition of “up to 500 MW of utility-scale solar in Florida by 2024.”

    Duke will begin construction of a 5 MW project in 2015 and intends to complete 35 MW of new solar capacity by 2018. “The new solar,” the utility announced, “will complement already planned investments” in a new combined-cycle natural gas plant, an upgrade to an existing combined-cycle plant, and the purchase of another existing plant. FPL and other Florida utilities have, Deyette acknowledged, made positive strides by investing in solar. “But it is the state’s main domestic resource and they should be tripling down on it.”

    On that point — that Florida should be investing even more heavily in solar — there appears to be agreement across the political spectrum. Representatives of the ad-hoc Green Tea Coalition, a loose alliance of greens and conservatives formed to support solar in 2013 in Georgia, created Floridians for Solar Choice early this year to demand policy supportive of rooftop solar.

    The left-right alliance against natural gas

    Over-reliance on natural gas is the result of “misguided state energy policy,” said Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) Florida Energy Policy Attorney George Cavros. “This is what you get: Utilities doubling down on natural gas.”

    A ballot petition proposed by Floridians for Solar Choice is moving rapidlytoward eligibility for the state’s 2016 ballot. It would legalize unregulated third party sales of solar energy-generated electricity for Florida that has jumpstarted residential and commercial-industrial solar markets from New England to the West Coast.

    “Too much reliance on natural gas is risky for utility customers because the price is so volatile,” agreed Conservatives for Energy Freedom (CFEF) Director Debbie Dooley. “I find it deplorable that Florida utilities are not taking advantage of Florida’s biggest natural resource, the sun. This shows they are not looking out for ratepayers, but for their stockholders.”

    Regulator-approved investments in combined cycle plants, pipelines, andfracking ventures allow utilities to earn guaranteed ratepayer-funded profits, Dooley pointed out.

    To minimize that risk, State Rep. Dwight Dudley (D), the ranking member on the Florida House’s Energy and Utilities Subcommittee, has introduced a bill that would prevent utilities like FPL from passing gas exploration costs onto their ratepayers. The bill is still under consideration.

    When he introduced the measure, Dudley told Platts that he was concerned FPL wants ratepayers to "subsidize its investments in a highly speculative business," and called the PSC's decision to approve the gas exploration investments "a dangerous precedent."

    "We have to make sure ratepayers aren't left holding the bag," he said at the time. Dooley says that possiblity of ratepayer subsidies for the exploration is exactly why FPL proposed the idea in the first place.

    “That is why they want to invest in the most expensive technology," she said. "Their profit margin is usually 10% to 11%. The investment in solar is minimal.”

    “Less than one tenth of 1% of Florida’s electricity is generated with solar energy,” Cavros said. “We need a robust residential and commercial market. We have 9 million electricity customers and we have about 6,600 rooftop solar installations. New Jersey has 5 times that number with half the electricity customers, in a less sunny state.” Dooley’s CFEF wants the utilities deregulated.

    “They are taking advantage of the privileges they were given when they were allowed to form monopolies,” Dooley said. “You never put all your eggs in one basket. That is investment 101. And particularly when it comes to energy. But the Florida utilities will make more profit by investing in natural gas from out of state than in taking advantage of Florida’s natural resource, the sun.”

    For Carvos, responsibility for the over reliance on natural gas and slow solar growth rests as much with the PSC as it does with the utilities themselves.

    “Without leadership from the legislature, regulators, or the state’s largest power companies, you end up with bad policy and the power companies essentially run the show,” Cavros said. “It is the commission that regulates them. If it doesn’t hold them accountable, they will keep making resource decisions that maximize shareholder value.”

    The nuclear option and the smart decision

    Nuclear power is also important in FPL’s plan. A years-long, $3 billion upgrade of its nuclear units has been completed, it reports, “thanks to Florida’s nuclear cost recovery system.”

    New units are “a critical component of the company’s long-term plans.” But Nuclear Regulatory Commission-imposed delays and changes to the cost recovery law are impeding progress.

    “Given the scale of the climate crisis, we can’t take nuclear power off the tableas a low carbon solution,” Deyette said. “But right now new nuclear can’t compete economically with new solar or new wind or energy efficiency. If the state wants to build nuclear, it should demonstrate that can be done cost-effectively.”

    “The more capital expenditure, the larger the profit at the expense of utility customers,” Dooley said. “They socialize the costs but privatize the profits. In many cases, the utility customers are the ones left holding the bag. There is no incentive for utilities to make wise investments and there is every incentive for them to invest in projects that are costly.”

    “Smart decisions today about investment in renewables and efficiency and the needed infrastructure, that is the path to focus on,” Deyette said. “That scenario has natural gas supplying as much as a quarter of the U.S. power generation in 2040. It isn’t going away.

    We just don’t want it to be a runaway train.”


    U.S. OFFSHORE WIND EMERGES The U.S. dips a toe in the offshore windfarm water

    Aaron Heinrich, October 15, 2015 (GizMag)

    “Offshore wind farms have been creating electricity off the coast of [Europe] since 1991…[but] until recently there were no [U.S.] offshore wind farms…[but last summer the] 30 megawatt, 5 turbine Block Island Wind Farm project [started construction] in Rhode Island…[It is] scheduled to go online next year, producing enough electricity to power 17,000 homes…US projects [are] currently in various stages of proposal, review, and approval, mostly off the East Coast, and [a few off the California and Hawaii coasts]…The reasons for the lag by the US…can roughly be attributed to the high cost of construction, changing regulations, and personal lobbying…[but the] National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates a gross wind potential of 4,223 gigawatts (GW) off the coast of the United States alone – roughly four times the generating capacity of the entire US electric grid…Many industry experts and government officials say that the potential for increased energy production inherent in offshore wind farms would offset those costs. This argument, which appears to have held up in other parts of the world, is about to be tested in the US…” click here for more

    ELECTRIC ROADS FOR CARS WITH PLUGS Researchers developing roads that charge your electric car while you're driving

    Lucas Merian, October 27, 2015 (ComputerWorld)

    “At least two universities are testing or preparing to test wireless charging stations embedded along roadways that will incrementally recharge vehicles as they drive over them…Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) in Greenville, S.C., has been testing stationary wireless vehicle charging and is now preparing to test mobile wireless recharging for vehicles…[Its] stationary wireless charging technology uses magnetic resonance to create a field between a ground charging coil and a copper coil embedded in a vehicle through which electricity can pass. Key to the technology is the Wi-Fi communications system, created by researchers at Oak Ridge that allows the ground and vehicle charging systems to talk to one another…

    “Stationary wireless vehicle charging is an emerging technology already commercialized by Evatran and Bosch. The two companies unveiled their PLUGLESS vehicle charging system at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The PLUGLESS charger is available for the Chevrolet Volt for $2,998 and the Nissan LEAF for $3,098…In the U.K., the government is expected to perform off-road trials of dynamic wireless charging that it acquired from researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU)…The NCSU research suggests that vehicles driving on roadways with dynamic wireless charging stations could increase their driving range anywhere from 62 miles to about 310 miles…” click here for more

    NYC WANTS BIOFUELS FOR HEAT, SCHOOL BUSES Council members, oil lobby square off in tense hearing on biofuel bills

    David Giambusso, October 26, 2015 (PoliticoNewYork)

    “Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration tacitly endorsed two bills to increase the use of biofuel citywide…[but] oil lobby representatives showed up to challenge them…Intros 642 and 880 would expand the use of biofuel — a plant-based fuel that can be mixed with petroleum-based products and is responsible for lower greenhouse gas emissions — in home heating oil and city school buses respectively…[The currently-used 5-percent biofuel blend vehicle fuel and 2 percent heating biofuel introduced under former mayor Michael Bloomberg have] reduced greenhouse gas emissions…the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road…[The two new bills mandate] that all buildings still heated by oil must use at least 5 percent biofuel by 2016 and 20 percent biofuel by 2030, and that the city's school buses use ultra low-sulfur diesel with at least 5 percent biodiesel…[But the New York State Petroleum Council argued] the biofuel bills would pose a costly alternative to traditional petroleum-based products and would expose consumers to higher fuel prices and more expensive food…[I]t set off a shouting match between Council members and panelists…” click here for more

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015


    Regional Coordination in the West: Benefits of PacifiCorp and California ISO Integration

    October 2015 (Energy and Environmental Economics)

    Executive Summary

    Changes in the electricity industry across the Western U.S. are creating new opportunities for cooperation and coordination among electric utilities. As populations and economies throughout the region continue to grow, utilities are increasingly looking to regional solutions to meet their customers’ needs at a reasonable cost. State and federal environmental policies and changing customer preferences are driving a transformation of the region’s generation mix, significantly increasing its reliance on renewable energy. Regional coordination will help Western utilities respond to these changes at a lower cost to customers while maintaining high levels of reliability.

    The benefits of regional coordination have already begun to spur collaborative initiatives among the West’s balancing authority areas. In November 2014, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) and PacifiCorp established a joint energy imbalance market (EIM). The new market generated $21 million in customer benefits in the first eight months of operation, in line with initial estimates. NV Energy is on schedule to begin participating in the EIM in November 2015 and two additional utilities — Puget Sound Energy and Arizona Public Service — have announced their intention to participate in the EIM in fall 2016. Portland General Electric and Idaho Power Company have both recently announced plans to explore steps to possible participation in the EIM.

    In April 2015, PacifiCorp and the ISO announced a memorandum of understanding to explore PacifiCorp becoming a full participating transmission owner (PTO). As part of this process, PacifiCorp engaged Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) to preliminarily assess the potential incremental benefits1 beyond those already captured through participation in the EIM, of further integrating PacifiCorp and the ISO, where PacifiCorp becomes a PTO and the ISO becomes a more regional organization through changes in its governance. This report presents an overview of our findings.

    Full integration of the PacifiCorp and ISO systems would provide a number of operating, investment, and regulatory cost savings, incremental to those achieved by the EIM, which are summarized in the table below.

    In this report, we develop quantitative estimates for four of these benefits: (1) more efficient unit commitment and dispatch, (2) more efficient overgeneration management, (3) lower peak capacity needs, and (4) renewable procurement savings. The other benefits listed in Table 1 represent important potential sources of additional value for PacifiCorp and existing ISO customers but are more difficult to accurately quantify. Figure 1 shows a range of quantified incremental benefits for PacifiCorp and ISO customers in 2024 and 2030.

    We estimate that integration of PacifiCorp and the ISO’s balancing authority areas would yield significant incremental annual savings that increase over time. In 2024, we estimate incremental savings of $62 to $122 million (2015$) for PacifiCorp, rising to $200 to $272 million in 2030 (Table 2). For ISO customers, we estimate incremental cost savings of $92 to $213 million in 2024, rising to $203 to $894 million in 2030 (Table 3). Over its first full 20 years, assumed here to be 2020 to 2039, we estimate that PacifiCorp and ISO integration would yield $1.6 to $2.3 billion (2015$) in total present value incremental savings for PacifiCorp, and $1.8 to $6.8 billion for ISO customers.

    The large range in benefits for 2030, particularly for ISO customers, reflects the significant upside potential for jointly planning transmission to access low-cost renewable resources across the combined footprint, thereby creating an opportunity for California to achieve a portion of its 50% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) target at a reduced cost. This study assumes high-quality wind resource potential in Wyoming is used to meet a portion of the California RPS targets as a means to measure the benefits of joint transmission planning for renewable development strategy, recognizing that alternative transmission and supply options for renewable development exist.

    As the results suggest, PacifiCorp and ISO customers will benefit differently from integration. PacifiCorp’s largest source of incremental benefits will be operating cost savings — savings in fuel and energy procurement costs that result from participating in the ISO’s day-ahead market and importing renewable energy when California has excess supply. ISO customers will realize incremental benefits primarily from investment cost savings — savings from procuring lower cost renewable energy and from reducing the need to replace overgeneration with additional renewable energy to meet policy goals.

    Benefits increase significantly over time, particularly for ISO customers facing a 50% RPS target by 2030. Consequently, it is important for stakeholders to take a long-term perspective when evaluating the benefits of PacifiCorp and ISO integration. The high-value, longer-term savings described in this report are linked to planning and investment decisions that require long lead times and clear guidance. Importantly, PacifiCorp and ISO integration in the nearer term would provide the joint processes and certainty that enable more strategic and efficient longer-term investment decisions.

    The quantified benefits for both PacifiCorp and ISO customers are sufficient to support continued progress toward PacifiCorp and ISO integration. Over a longer-term horizon, the integration of the PacifiCorp and ISO balancing authority areas would provide PacifiCorp and ISO customers greater flexibility to respond to ongoing changes in state and federal environmental policies, to develop renewable energy, and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a lower cost. Additionally, the regional transmission organization created through PacifiCorp and ISO integration would lay a foundation for broader participation by other balancing area authorities in the West. While the initial benefits analysis presented in this report indicates there is an opportunity for significant benefits, ultimately, a successful integration will require PacifiCorp and the ISO customers to each have net benefits. The upcoming stakeholder process will provide the guidance for any necessary changes to the ISO tariff and inform the determination of overall costs and benefits. A description of the key cost categories, while not quantified, are included in Section 3 of this report.

    The remainder of this report is organized into four sections. Section 1 provides context for the assessment, describing expected changes in the Western Interconnection over the next 15 years. Section 2 presents the benefits assessment, including qualitative descriptions of how different parties stand to benefit and quantitative estimates of a subset of those benefits. Section 3 describes cost categories. Section 4 summarizes key conclusions. A separate technical appendix describes the methods and assumptions used to develop the quantitative benefit estimates.


    NEW ENERGY 60% OF U.S POWER GROWTH IN 2015 60% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity In First Three-Quarters 2015 Is From Renewables; Wind Is Largest Source Of New Capacity, Beating Out Natural Gas

    Ken Bossong, October 27, 2015 (Sun Day Campaign)

    “…[R]enewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for…[60.20%] of the 7,276 MW of new electrical generation placed in service in the United States during the first nine months of 2015…[according to the September Energy Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…[W]ind accounted for 2,966 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity…[and 40.76%] of all new capacity year-to-date…[S]olar followed with 1,137 MW…[N]atural gas contributed 2,884 MW…FERC reported no new capacity for the year-to-date from nuclear power and just 9 MW from six units of oil and 3 MW from one unit of coal. Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources during the first three-quarters of 2015 is 1,460 times greater than that from coal while new capacity from wind alone exceeds that from natural gas…Renewable energy sources now account for 17.40% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S…Renewable electrical capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.19%) and oil (3.87%) combined…” click here for more

    RECORD-BREAKING 37% OF TEXAS POWER FROM WIND Texas hits new wind power milestone…

    Jordan Blum, October 22, 2015 (Fuel Fix)

    “The Texas electric grid hit a new record for wind power use [October 22 when]…the main Texas grid operator reported that nearly 37 percent of demand was met with wind power. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, which manages nearly 90 percent of the state’s electric needs, said it used 12,237.6 megawatts of wind power at the time. That bested a previous record set on Sept. 13 of 11,467 megawatts…The new record came the same day as the American Wind Energy Association reported Texas accounted for nearly half of the nation’s wind power growth in the third quarter of the year…Texas now has about 16,400 megawatts of wind power…which is about 10,000 megawatts more than the second and third windiest states, California and Iowa…Texas is expected to exceed 20,000 megawatts next year. Further growth after 2016 may depend on whether Congress extends the production tax credit for wind projects…” click here for more

    THE FINANCIAL STATE OF SOLAR What to Look For When Solar Energy's Big 3 Report; SolarCity, SunPower, and First Solar all report earnings this week. Here's what you need to watch for.

    Travis Hoium, October 26, 2015 (Motley Fool)

    “…[SolarCity, First Solar, and SunPower, three] of the biggest and most important companies in the solar industry report earnings later this week and what they say will give us an indication of where the industry is heading…[T]he key for SolarCity to remain competitive when the investment tax credit drops in 2017 is to keep cost reductions coming…[and] slow growth spending…so a slower rate of planned growth in the future would be a prudent plan given the current uncertainty in the future of residential solar…First Solar's incredible efficiency improvement and strengthening financials [need to continue and it needs to continue to report a] 21% to 22% gross margin and $3.30 to $3.60 per share in earnings… so any improvements on those levels would be welcome for investors...[SunPower needs to take back its module efficiency lead and continue showing] solid margins on the products it is installing and improving margins in commercial solar…” click here for more

    Monday, October 26, 2015


    Before-and-after pictures show how climate change is destroying the Earth

    Dina Spector, October 26, 2015 (Business Insider)

    Almost all scientists now agree that global climate change is caused by humans. In late September, the British government pledged £5.8 billion to tackle the problem in developing countries, and many other governments worldwide are also pouring money into solving the problem.

    A steadily-warming planet affects the environment in many different ways. Rising global temperatures, largely due to man-madegreenhouse gases, are the source of widely-discussed observable changes to the Earth like melting glaciers, rising sea levels, warming oceans, and more extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, forest fires, and floods.

    In the pictures that follow, we take a look at howclimate-change-related events have affected regions around the world, whether directly or indirectly.

    ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK BEFORE: Healthy pine trees stretch for tens of millions of acres in the northwestern United States and western Canada.

    ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK NOW: A hillside of dead pine trees killed by Mountain Pine Beetles shows the effects of warming temperatures in the mountain ranges. In the past, freezing temperatures reduced insect populations. The beetles are now able to survive the milder winters leading to devastating infestations.

    THE GREAT BARRIER REEF BEFORE: Considered one of the most biologically-diverse regions in the world, Australia's Great Barrier Reef covers around 135,000 square miles, or an area that's nearly the size of Texas. Ocean acidification and temperature increases from climate change are the reef's biggest long-term threat.

    THE GREAT BARRIER REEF NOW: Warmer water temperatures trigger widespread coral bleaching, when coral turns white and is much more susceptible to death. Coral is vital to supporting ocean life.

    THE DANUBE RIVER BEFORE: The Danube, Europe's second longest river, flows eastward from its source in Germany to the Black Sea in Romania. The Danube river basin is critical to supporting industry, transport, agriculture, and fishing.

    THE DANUBE RIVER NOW: Between 2011 and 2012, a persistent drought led to record-low water levels along the Danube, stranding boats and paralyzing parts of the busy waterway.

    THE ALPS BEFORE: Matterhorn, one of Europe's tallest peaks, located in the Alps on the border between Italy and Switzerland, is pictured with a blanket of snow and ice on Aug. 16, 1960.

    THE ALPS NOW: The Swiss peak, pictured on Aug. 18, 2005, is eroding as a result of melting glacier water at the summit. The water sinks into cracks and creates even bigger fissures after several cycles of freezing and thawing. The disintegration of Matterhorn is anecdotal of the effects of climate change in most of the Alps.

    MUIR GLACIER BEFORE: A late-19th century photograph of Alaska's Muir Glacier shows many icebergs — some nearly 7-feet wide — in the foreground.

    MUIR GLACIER NOW: By 2005, Muir Glacier had retreated more than 31 miles. Although this picture was taken from the same location as the early black-and-white photograph, the glacier is completely out of view. There's an abundance of vegetation looking to the west, and the beach in the foreground is now covered by pebbles, which came from sediment deposited by Muir Glacier and by melting icebergs on the ground.

    CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS 2003: An infrared image from July 2003 shows the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The red areas indicate that carbon dioxide concentration is at or above 380 parts per million.

    CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS 2007: The same image of the globe, taken exactly three years later in July 2007, shows that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising. The color bar used for 2003 had to be adjusted to account for the increase in carbon dioxide around the globe. Otherwise, the "2007 map would be saturated with reddish colors, and the fine structure of the distribution of carbon dioxide obscured," explains NASA.


    GEOTHERMAL TAKEOVER? Geothermal Energy Could Soon Stage A Coup In Oil And Gas

    Gaurav Agnihotri, 21 October 2015 (

    “Geothermal energy is one of the most widely available green energy sources in the world today. In spite of its availability, its consumption is almost miniscule when compared to wind and solar energy mainly due to high drilling costs…Oil and gas drillers can play an important part in developing geothermal energy…Every single barrel of oil also brings out close to seven barrels of boiling hot water which can be utilized to generate electricity through geothermal turbines…The current [oil] market turmoil has created a once in a generation opportunity for savvy energy investors…Whilst the mainstream media prints scare stories of oil prices falling through the floor smart investors are setting up their next winning oil plays…A report released in April this year stated that Continental Resources and Hungary based MOL group were testing a system that could generate electricity by using hot water that is present in the oil well. With close to 25 billion gallons of water used by U.S. drillers on an annual basis, this system (if developed commercially in the near future) could generate electricity, which would be the equivalent to three coal fired plants running 24 hours a day, thereby reducing overall costs…” click here for more

    WIND DEALS BEAT NAT GAS Xcel CEO: Wind energy cheaper than natural gas

    October 23, 2015 (Bloomberg News via Finance & Commerce)

    “Xcel Energy Inc., the biggest U.S. provider of wind power, expects long-term contracts for the technology to beat the cost of natural gas, another sign of the rapid transformation of the power market…[Xcel] is receiving bids for 20-year power-purchase agreements at about $25 a megawatt-hour for wind energy, Chief Executive Officer Ben Fowke said…While gas prices are close to historic lows, he doesn’t see them remaining there forever, and Xcel expects prices for electricity from the fossil fuel to be closer to $32 a megawatt- hour over the same period…Fowke has plans to add 1,600 megawatts of wind energy over the next 15 years or so, partly to replace output from at least two coal-fired plants that are being retired. He also expects to exceed requirements in its largest states, Minnesota and Colorado, to get 30 percent of Xcel’s power from renewable resources…” click here for more

    UTILITIES DISCOVERING SOLAR How Utilities Are Profiting From Solar Energy; Instead of seeing it as a threat, utilities are finding ways to partner on solar developments.

    Travis Hoium, October 24, 2015 (Motley Fool)

    “For years, the solar industry has been creeping up behind the electric utility industry. At first, it was a small nuisance that utilities had to deal with but rapid cost cuts and growth made it a threat many utilities could no longer ignore…[Some utilities are now finding ways to profit off residential and commercial-scale solar. The ones that do will pave a path to long-term profit and lower the risk in their business model…Utilities have long bought solar energy from solar projects, but until recently they weren't big buyers of projects themselves. But that's changed recently as utilities see the long-term cash flows and low risk as a model that fits well within a utility…The next solar boom to watch is in community solar. These are projects built around cities that residents can buy electricity from and utilities usually play a major role in their operations. It's like buying power from the solar system…on your roof, except the project is built in a field instead of on a roof…” click here for more

    Saturday, October 24, 2015

    The Sounds Of Skeptics

    “…Propaganda that you spread for the average Joe/it steals the show/and promotes the sound of skeptics.” From Jeremy Hoffman via YouTube

    The Boom In New Energy

    There IS good news. It’s that simple. From 3BL Media via Vimeo

    More, Please

    The need is for more and the more the world does, the better the economy will get. It’s time for “a massive scale-up” of New Energy. (Thanks to N-E-N reader and inspiration Sherrell Biggerstaff Cuneo for turning this video up.) From The Climate Mobilization via YouTube

    Friday, October 23, 2015


    Snow leopards at risk as Himalayas face climate change 'crisis'; Warming temperatures could cause over a third of the endangered big cats’ habitat to become uninhabitable, conservationists have warned

    23 October 2015 (The Guardian)

    “More than a third of the snow leopard’s mountain habitat could become uninhabitable for the endangered big cat because of climate change, conservationists have warned…Warming temperatures could cause the tree line to shift up the mountains and cause farmers to plant crops and graze livestock at higher altitudes, squeezing the snow leopards into smaller ranges where they are more likely to come into conflict with humans…Conflict with communities in the high mountains of central Asia, who see the leopards as a threat to livestock and human lives, along with poaching, habitat loss and a reduction in numbers of prey have seen numbers of the ‘ghost of the mountains’ fall 20% in 16 years…[W]ith numbers as low as 4,000, snow leopards would face increasing pressure from climate change, which could reduce them to unsustainable numbers…” click here for more


    Only Solar Energy Will tackle Africa’s Chronic Deficit in Electricity – Kofi Annan

    October 23, 2015 (Naija247 News)

    “At least 620 million Africans lack access to electricity and 96 million of them are from Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world…[S]olar energy will make electricity available to them [according to Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN, and Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo]…Anan said that African leaders have no choice about tackling the region’s chronic deficit in energy generation and access…He said low carbon development had the potential to enhance economic development of the continent…[T]he harsh effects were felt by households and investors while countries were losing out from failure to harness productive technologies to broaden their developmental base…[and, Annan said, African leaders have] the unique opportunity to deliver on the promise of energy for all…” click here for more


    Mexico Planning $46 Billion Coast-to-Coast Wind-Energy Push

    Vanessa Dezem and Adam Williams, October 21, 2015 (Bloomberg News)

    “Mexico is planning to quadruple its wind-power capacity as part of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s effort to transform the country’s energy industry…The country expects to have about 10 gigawatts of turbines in operation within three years spread across almost every region, up from 2.5 gigawatts in 2014…A total of 22 gigawatts of wind power will be added over the next 25 years, requiring $46 billion in investment. The wind push is due to…Mexico’s historic shift from a state-controlled energy monopoly, and its efforts to transform a grid that relies on fossil fuels for three-fourths of the nation’s electricity…[Mexico] was the first developing country to submit its plan to reduce carbon emissions before a United Nations conference in Paris in December…[It] pledged to reduce 22 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030…[Renewables] will jump to 51 percent of total installed capacity by 2040, from 14 percent now…” click here for more


    Renewables bring down the wholesale cost of energy, finds new study

    October 19, 2015 (Blue & Green Tomorrow)

    “…[Concerns over the cost of renewable subsidy schemes have led to significant policy changes and cast doubt over future deployment of renewables. Whilst these support mechanisms ultimately increase consumer bills in the short term, renewables also act to reduce them by driving down wholesale electricity prices – a phenomenon described as the Merit Order Effect. Studying it shows renewables are cutting the wholesale price of energy and lessening the impact of subsidies on bill payers. Wind and solar reducing consumer bills An investigation into the Merit Order Effect from Good Energy] shows that wind and solar brought down the wholesale cost of electricity by £1.55 billion in 2014…That meant an overall net cost for supporting the two renewable sources last year was £1.1 billion, 58% less than the cost reflected in the capped budget set for green subsidies…Experts from the University of Sheffield have backed the report…” click here for more

    Thursday, October 22, 2015


    Does climate change affect income? New study sees robust link; In the runup to a global climate conference in Paris, study finds evidence that economic performance in all regions is tightly linked to climate change

    Pete Spotts, October 21, (Christian Science Monitor)

    “If global warming continues unabated, it could slash income around the world by more than 20 percent by century's end, compared with a world without global warming, according to [ Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production]…Some industrial countries would share in the losses, but the heaviest hits would come to developing countries in the tropics and subtropics, widening an already large gap between rich and poor nations…Overall, 77 percent of the countries on the planet would see per capita income fall…[This is reportedly] the first data-driven evidence that economic performance in all regions is tightly linked to climate…The results are sobering…[E]conomic costs linked to unabated warming are 2.5 to 100 times larger than estimates in previous studies…” click here for more