NewEnergyNews: 01/01/2017 - 02/01/2017/


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

    Tuesday, January 31, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: A Microgrids Primer

    Microgrids: Expanding Applications, Implementations, and Business Structures

    Nadav Enbar, Dean Weng, Ryan Edge, and John Sterling, December 2016 (Smart Electric Power Alliance and Electric Power Research Institute)

    Executive Summary

    Historically, microgrids have been employed to provide an additional layer of electricity supply reliability for customers in remote locations with limited access to the grid, or for large institutions managing campus-style energy systems. However, new interest in these systems is now emerging, driven by the changing energy landscape, specifically: nEfforts to modernize the electricity system to more effectively leverage rising penetrations of interconnected distributed energy resources (DERs)

    nDesire to accommodate increased customer choice

    nNeed to provide critical or emergency services, and enable greater grid resiliency in response to more frequent extreme weather events.

    This report characterizes the latest developments in microgrid deployment, the expanding capabilities of these systems, the business models being used in their deployment, and the obstacles and opportunities that lie ahead.

    Because the term “microgrid” is often used to refer to a range of distributed energy systems, for this report we use the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) definition, which is considered the standard for the industry.

    The DOE defines a microgrid as: “. . . a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (DERs) within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid, and that can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid-connected and ‘island’ mode.”

    The microgrid concept is not new; it is simply a reformulation of local power systems as they were originally designed. Like the traditional, centralized electric grid, microgrids generate, distribute, and regulate the supply of electricity to customers, but do so locally and on a much smaller scale. However, the systems themselves and interest in them have evolved.

    Microgrid Drivers

    nSuperstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events in recent years have underlined the need for enhanced resiliency and reliability for critical public services—ranging from hospitals to police stations to military bases. Microgrids offer the capability to “island,” or to operate disconnected from the grid, for long periods of time and provide uninterrupted power to mission critical entities or remote rural communities.

    nThe falling cost of solar power and battery storage make these technologies a compelling economic choice for microgrid installations. Additionally, they do not introduce the risk of fuel cost volatility.

    nAdvances in software control systems and the desire to integrate “smart” loads—such as networked thermostats, lighting and occupancy-sensing controls, and building energy management systems—have resulted in improving microgrid control systems. These systems can collectively optimize interconnected DERs to provide a range of energy and grid services.

    Microgrid Implementation Types and Business Models

    nMicrogrids are customized to their purpose and location—ranging from commercial or industrial, to military, to remote rural systems—thus, the details of their design and construction vary significantly.

    nWhile the different use cases for microgrid installations are multiplying, and individual technologies are not exclusive to any one installation. Most are built to increase reliability and resiliency.

    nUntil recently, a large portion of microgrids have been third-party installations serving a single customer. However, utility-owned microgrids are also being developed, primarily due to statelevel policies and directives, in tandem with technology maturity and expanding applications for these systems. A small number of hybrid, “unbundled” microgrids are also emerging.

    Microgrid Barriers And Challenges

    Although the technology and equipment necessary for creating microgrids are available today, off-the shelf commercial solutions are rare. A number of technical, economic, and regulatory issues must be addressed to unlock the full potential of microgrids. For example:

    nTechnical: Considerable technical challenges exist when toggling a microgrid between gridconnected and islanded modes. For example, during transition to island mode, phase and frequency drift is highly likely, which could cause loads and DERs to trip. Without a finely calibrated synchronization process, grid reconnection could damage generators and loads within the microgrid and in surrounding systems.

    nEconomic and regulatory: Determining standardized methods for valuing microgrids—from either the customer or utility perspective—is difficult due to an intersecting and fluid set of economic and regulatory issues. For example, regulatory and market uncertainties affect the upfront costs and life-cycle economics of microgrids and associated DER technologies.

    A second challenge is that a microgrid’s costs and benefits can be difficult to monetize, or nonmonetizable, thus complicating value stream calculations.

    nStandards:Current technical standards offer guidance for microgrid development, but do not address more nuanced issues germane to system design. For example, further definition is required for protocols governing advanced protection coordination, multilayer-device communications and controls, microgrid-to-grid interactions, and grid resynchronization.

    Looking Ahead

    Microgrids can be justified across a wide variety of use cases based on a specific set of major drivers.

    Behind these use cases, the ownership and control of the component technologies range along a continuum between the extremes of customer and utility control. Since no two markets or utilities are alike, microgrids will continue to proliferate based on unique served loads, targeted drivers, and deployed technologies.

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    QUICK NEWS, January 31: Trump Country Farmers Fight Climate Change And Deny It; Politics Can’t Hold Back New Energy; New Energy Grows Jobs Way Faster Than The Economy

    Trump Country Farmers Fight Climate Change And Deny It In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’

    Hiroko Tabuchi, January 28, 2017 (NY Times)

    Editor’s note: This is a long article entirely work some time. But is it about resisting reality or extreme reality?

    “…Doug Palen, a fourth-generation grain farmer on Kansas’ wind-swept plains, is in the business of understanding the climate. Since 2012, he has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust…To adapt, he has embraced an environmentally conscious way of farming that guards against soil erosion and conserves precious water. He can talk for hours about carbon sequestration — the trapping of global-warming-causing gases in plant life and in the soil — or the science of the beneficial microbes that enrich his land. In short, he is a climate change realist. Just don’t expect him to utter the words ‘climate change.’…Here in north-central Kansas, America’s breadbasket and conservative heartland, the economic realities of agriculture make climate change a critical business issue. At the same time, politics and social pressure make frank discussion complicated. This is wheat country, and Donald J. Trump country, and though the weather is acting up, the conservative orthodoxy maintains that the science isn’t settled…So while climate change is part of daily conversation, it gets disguised as something else…” click here for more

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    Politics Won’t Hold Back New Energy Why Donald Trump won't hold back solar and wind power

    Tom DiChristopher, 24 January 2017 (CNBC)

    “President Donald Trump's full-throated support for fossil fuel production and his climate change denial have raised concerns about the future of renewable energy projects in America, but some investors believe the president cannot hold back solar and wind energy deployment — or alternative energy stocks…[because] goals adopted by more than half of U.S. states are what's driving growth in renewable energy projects, and Trump will have little effect on these…

    [Also,] more corporations are pledging to draw power from renewable sources, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle last month renewed subsidies for solar and wind energy firms…In its latest Annual Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information administration projected renewable energy consumption will grow faster than any other source through 2040, because capital costs fall as more solar and wind farms crop up and federal and state policies encourage their construction…” click here for more

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    New Energy Grows Jobs Way Faster Than The Economy Renewable Energy Is Creating Jobs 12 Times Faster Than the Rest of the Economy

    Kate Samuelson, January 27, 2017 (Fortune)

    “The solar and wind industries are each creating jobs at a rate 12 times faster than that of the rest of the U.S. economy, according to [Now Hiring: The Growth Of America’s Clean Energy & Sustainability Jobs…It reports] that solar and wind jobs have grown at rates of about 20% annually in recent years, and sustainability now collectively represents four to four and a half million jobs in the U.S., up from 3.4 million in 2011…The renewable energy sector has seen rapid growth over recent years, driven largely by significant reductions in manufacturing and installation costs. Building developers and owners have been fueled by state and local building efficiency policies and incentives…[T]hese gains are in contrast to Trump's support for fossil fuel production, his climate change denial and his belief that renewable energy is a ‘bad investment’…[A report author said the new president’s approach ignores an entire industry that has grown up over the decade]…” click here for more

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    Monday, January 30, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: New Energy Jobs On The Rise

    U.S. Energy and Employment Report

    January 2017 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    Executive Summary


    The 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country.

    The 2017 USEER analyzes four sectors of the U.S. economy. The first two of those sectors make up the Traditional Energy sector:

    • Electric Power Generation and Fuels

    • Transmission, Distribution and Storage

    • Energy Efficiency

    • Motor Vehicles Electric Power Generation and Fuels technologies directly employ more than 1.9 million workers. In 2016, 55 percent, or 1.1 million, of these employees worked in traditional coal, oil, and gas, while almost 800,000 workers were employed in low carbon emission generation technologies, including renewables, nuclear, and advanced/low emission natural gas. Just under 374,000 individuals work, in whole or in part, for solar firms, with more than 260,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind firms across the nation. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.

    The 2017 USEER also identifies about 2.3 million jobs in Transmission, Distribution, and Storage, with approximately 982,000 working in retail trade (gasoline stations and fuel dealers) and another 830,000 working across utilities and construction. Exclusive of the retail trade sector, Transmission, Wholesale Trade, Distribution and Storage firms —our country’s energy infrastructure—added over 65,000 jobs primarily by utility and construction companies, as they invested in hardening the nation’s energy infrastructure and building new transmission and distribution lines. Overall, 31.5 percent of respondent employers working in this sector reported that a majority of their revenues come from grid modernization or other utility-funded modernization projects.

    The 2017 USEER also shows that 2.2 million Americans are employed, in whole or in part, in the design, installation, and manufacture of Energy Efficiency products and services, adding 133,000 jobs in 2016. (Energy Efficiency employment is defined as the production or installation of energy efficiency products certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program or installed pursuant to the ENERGY STAR® program guidelines or supporting services thereof). Almost 1.4 million Energy Efficiency jobs are in the construction industry. In addition, construction firms involved in the Energy Efficiency sector have experienced an increase in the percentage of their workers who spend at least 50% of their time on Energy Efficiency-related work, rising from 64.8 percent in 2015 to 74.0 percent in 2016. Finally, an improved USEER survey methodology identified almost 290,000 manufacturing jobs, producing Energy Star® certified products and energy efficient building materials in the United States.

    The Motor Vehicles and Component Parts industry employs just over 2.4 million workers, exclusive of auto dealerships. Currently, more than 259,000 employees work with alternative fuels vehicles, including natural gas, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, all electric, and fuel cell/hydrogen vehicles, an increase of 69,000 jobs in 2016. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all electric vehicles make up over 76 percent of this number, supporting 198,000 employees. Over 489,000 employees of Motor Vehicles Parts companies are now contributing to more fuel efficient vehicles. One-sixth (17%) of all firms involved in Motor Vehicle component parts derive all of their revenue from products that increase fuel economy for Motor Vehicles. At least 710,000 jobs in the Motor Vehicle sector are focused on increasing fuel economy or transitioning to alternative fuels.1

    Overall, firms covered by the survey anticipate roughly five percent employment growth for 2017. Energy Efficiency employers project the highest growth rate over the next 12 months (nine percent), followed by Electric Power Generation (seven percent); Transmission, Distribution, and Storage (six percent), and Motor Vehicles (just over three percent, although manufacturing will remain flat). The Fuels sector reported an expected decline of about three percent over the next 12 months.

    These energy-related sectors are relatively less diverse compared to the overall national workforce. Women are a smaller portion of the workforce in these sectors, ranging from 22 to 34 percent, compared to the overall economy, where women make up 47 percent of the workforce. The percentage of ethnic and racial minorities is slightly lower than the national average for Hispanic or Latino workers (14 percent versus 16 percent) and Black or African American workers (eight percent versus 12 percent). Veterans, however, comprise about one in ten workers, higher than the national average of seven percent. About 22 percent of the workforce is 55 years of age or older; this proportion is significantly higher in Fuels and Motor Vehicles, but lower in Generation; Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; and Energy Efficiency.

    Almost three-quarters of employers across these sectors (73 percent) reported difficulty hiring qualified workers over the last 12 months; 26 percent noted it was very difficult.


    As reported in the findings of the 2017 USEER, the country’s Traditional Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Motor Vehicle sectors have contributed significant gains to the U.S. economy and now represent more than 6% of all jobs nationwide. Rebuilding our energy infrastructure and modernizing the grid, diversifying our energy mix, and reducing our energy consumption in both our built environment and motor vehicles, America’s labor markets are being revitalized by our new energy and transportation technologies.

    But within this overall story of growth is also an uneven trajectory where some states experience new jobs and others grapple with decline. States such as California and Texas, which have abundant solar, wind, and fossil fuel resources, have shown dramatic employment gains, despite some losses linked to low fossil fuel prices. Coal-dependent states, such as West Virginia and Wyoming, have seen declines in employment since 2015. This is the challenge that the 2017 USEER and its successor reports are designed to address at the national and local level. Evidence-based approaches are essential to ensuring a competitive energy economy and a workforce that is adaptable to meet 21st Century challenges. The data in the 2017 USEER provides federal, state, and local leaders critical labor market metrics to realize this vision. The report also finds that firms covered by the survey anticipate roughly five percent employment growth for 2017, representing a significant source of economic growth and development for both local communities and the nation.

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    QUICK NEWS, January 30: Energy Dept’s Solar Program Gagged; New Energy Is Red, Blue, And Green In Texas; The New Energy In The Oceans

    Energy Dept’s Solar Program Gagged The White House Silences the DOE Solar Energy Team on Twitter; SunShot has been shut out.

    Mike Brown, January 27, 2017 (Inverse)

    “…[An internal email to the Department of Energy’s SunShot solar program is telling employees to not post anything to Twitter or Facebook about work ‘until further notice.’ The note, sent to the 50 staff members working on the project, relayed an order given by Steven Chalk, deputy assistant secretary for renewable energy…[He writes: ‘…we are PROHIBITED from any social media post (from personal or business handles) regarding your work, attendance at any meeting, etc until further notice…’ SunShot is an initiative [launched in 2011] aimed at driving down the cost of solar energy and offering grants for research and development…[and getting] solar cost-competitive with traditional energy by the year 2020…[It helped drive the cost of residential solar photovoltaics (PV) from $0.42/kWh in 2011 to ,$0.18 in 2016 and was targeting $0.09 by 2020…The EPA, National Park Service, and Forest Service have been given orders by the new administration to stop tweeting…[There are now a] number of unofficial accounts claiming to be employees from these agencies tweeting…” click here for more

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    Wind Is Red, Blue, And Green In Texas Why a red state is the No. 1 wind energy producer in America; Lone Star state wind boom: Energy generation can be an economic issue, as much as a partisan one.

    Charlie Wood, January 27, 2017 (Christian Science Monitor)

    “…In 2013, the Lone Star state produced 36 million megawatt hours, more than twice that of runner up Iowa, although Iowans can still brag that wind satisfies almost a third of their state’s energy needs. California came in third…Texas is a big producer of energy in general: number one overall in 2014, pumping out a whopping one fifth of the country’s energy…[In 2005,] then-Gov. Rick Perry signed on for a goal of generating 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025…[upping] a previous target of 2,000 megawatts set by George W. Bush as part of a 1999 deregulation of the power market. In April of last year, the state was already making 19,000…[The growth drivers have been its competitive rate and…[reducing the risk in the natural gas price volatility…Bush’s 1999 deregulation paved the way…Texas also invested heavily in energy infrastructure, connecting the windy and sunny western panhandle with cities with a higher demand…” click here for more

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    The New Energy In The Oceans Green Energy from the Blue Ocean

    24 January 2017 (Military Technologies)

    “…There is vast potential for using [the energy in waves, tides, and currents in the ocean] to provide clean, renewable energy to…the nearly half of the U.S. population that lives within 50 miles of the coastlines…[Estimates suggest that the amount of energy that could feasibly be captured from U.S. waves, tides and river currents is enough to power over 67 million homes and the country could be producing 13,000 MW of power from hydrokinetic energy by 2025, which would be equivalent to displacing 22 new dirty coal-fired power plants, according to the Union of Concerned Scienists]…The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) [marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies program recently announced $20 million in funding for projects…[Its $2.25 million, 20-month Wave Energy Prize challenge was won by AquaHarmonics, CalWave Power Technologies, Waveswing America…” click here for more

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    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    Bill Maher Talks About The Environment

    ”We are screwing up this planet…”From Marc Haneburght via YouTube

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    China Makes Major Move To New Energy

    China is now poised to own the global EV market and this announcement, combined with an expected withdrawal of support by the incoming administration, should allow China to take global New Energy market dominance by the end of this decade. From China Humanrights via YouTube

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    Be Local, Vocal, And Don’t Back Down

    The remarkable Peter Sinclair speaks out: “In America…the highest constitutionally defined office…is the citizen…” From greenmanbucket via YouTube

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    Friday, January 27, 2017

    The Global Climate Changes Charted

    Climate Change Is the World’s Biggest Risk, in 3 Charts

    Brian Kahn, January 12, 2017 (Climate Central)

    “…[World Economic Forum experts] ranked extreme weather as the most likely risk and the second-most impactful [risk facing humanity], trailing only the use of weapons of mass destruction. Climate change is responsible for driving an increase in the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather events, notably heat waves…Failing to adapt to or mitigate climate change and a host of other climate-connected risks including water and food crises and involuntary migration also rank in the top 10…[Climate change has] been a fixture in the top 5 threats in terms of likelihood and impact since 2011…There were 15 disasters that cost the U.S. $1 billion or more in 2016, trailing only 2011 for a record number of billion-dollar disasters…

    The impacts of climate change are becoming clearer…[T]he world just had its hottest year on record, Arctic sea ice is in sharp decline, and sea levels are rising and threatening coastal cities…Scientists have warned about knock-on effects ranging from increased risk of drought and conflict, changes to animal migration patterns and in the case of extreme weather, the potential for widescale human suffering after a storm passes…[But] there’s also a clear-cut path to reduce the risk…[by cutting carbon pollution and the freefall of solar panel costs, the rise of battery technologies and the record-setting pace of investment in renewables [are] signals that a new Industrial Revolution is already underway…” click here for more

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    India Coal Giant To Try New Energy

    NLC to give fillip to solar, wind energy

    January 27, 2017 (The Hindu)

    “Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) India Ltd is in the process of giving a major push to solar and wind energy initiatives alongside lignite and coal fired power plants…NLC was in the process of putting up solar installations of about 500 MW in Tamil Nadu and 250 MW in Odisha and 1000 MW each in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra…Plans were also afoot to add 200 MW wind power in Tamil Nadu…

    NLC was working towards capacity addition of 1980 MW at a coal based thermal plant through a joint venture at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and a 500 MW green field project…NLCI has planned a capacity addition of 4000 MW in Coal Based Power Generation. It has also proposed a capacity addition of 1320 MW (2x660 MW) lignite based power generation in Neyveli which was in an advanced stage…[and planned] to add 1320 MW (2x660 MW) in the second phase…” click here for more

    China Brings Hi-Perf Tesla Challenge EV To Mrkt

    China’s Answer to Tesla Is Hopeful Entrant to Global Car Market

    Michael Schuman, January 26, 2017 (NY Times)

    “…[China’s Qiantu K50 electric vehicle (EV) sports car is intended to challenge Tesla as the world’s leading high-performance EV]…Across China, government officials, corporate executives, private investors, and newcomers…are in a headlong rush to develop a domestic electric car industry. The country’s goal…is to capitalize on the transition to electric to turbocharge the country’s lagging automobile sector to become a major competitor to the United States, Japan and Germany…That has been a goal of China’s industrial planners for decades, as the government has lavished resources on building homegrown automakers and discriminated against foreign players…[S]o far, that effort has failed…Local manufacturers have lacked the brands, technology and managerial heft to outmaneuver their established rivals, either at home or abroad…[EVs] could offer a second chance…” click here for more

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    Study Condemns World Bank New Energy Fund

    World Bank loan scheme 'failing clean energy'

    Mark Kinver, 27 January 2017 (BBC News)

    “…[Some World Bank policy loans had the effect of supporting coal, gas and oil developments while undermining renewable schemes, according to World Bank Development Policy Finance Props Up Fossil Fuels And Exacerbates Climate Change]...It added the loans [to Indonesia, Peru, Egypt and Mozambique] were intended to boost growth in the low carbon sector [and were seen as essential in helping these nations meet their Paris Climate Change Agreeemet commitments]…The World Bank disputed the report's findings, saying it did not reflect the wider work it did with countries…DPF is one of the main activities of the bank, accounting for about one-third of its funding (more than US $15 billion in 2016)…[It] provides funding for countries in exchange for the implementation of policy agreed by both the national government and World Bank officials…[The] research found that DPF had introduced subsidies for coal in three of the four nations examined…” click here for more

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    Thursday, January 26, 2017

    Why EV and Solar Builder Musk Likes Trumps SecState

    A Brief Chat With Elon Musk About Climate Change, Rex Tillerson, and Donald Trump

    Bryan Menegus, January 26, 2017 (Gizmodo)

    Editor’s note: This piece reports Elon Musk’s views in his own words and is worth reading in full.

    “…[Tesla-SolarCity head Elon Musk’s explained his tweet] in support of Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil and likely Secretary of State under the Trump administration…[by saying] Tillerson obviously did a competent job running Exxon, one of the largest companies in the world…[As SecState, Tillerson will be] obligated to advance the cause of the US and [Musk said] he probably will…[Musk also supports Tillerson’s many public calls, going back to 2007, for] a carbon tax…[and said there] is no better person to push for that to become a reality…[Musk said pricing carbon] matters far more than pipelines or opening oil reserves…Many experts agree that a national carbon tax is needed…[but doubt Tillerson’s commitment to it because, during his leadership, ExxonMobil] gave over $3.6 million to the American Enterprise Institute from 1998 to 2012, an organization that has helped distort facts about climate change and undermine public confidence in the impact of carbon pollution…” click here for more

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    The Next March Will Be For Science

    Scientists Are Planning the Next Big Washington March

    Brian Kahn, January 25, 2017 (Climate Central)

    "…[In the wake of the January 22 national Women’s March, a successor March for Science is being planned. Its private Facebook group has over 300,000 members and its Twitter account has over 150,000 followers. Its public Facebook page has almost 165,000 likes…[A date for the march will be announced within days. It] would be the latest in a string of actions taken by scientists following Donald Trump’s election and his inauguration as president. His administration has been widely viewed as hostile to science — from the transition period through hearings for his cabinet nominees through silencing key federal science agencies and freezing grants…” click here for more

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    Solar Jobs Beat Fossil Fuel Industries Combined

    Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined

    Niall McCarthy, January 25, 2017 (Forbes)

    “…[More people] were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined…[Solar employed 43 percent of the electric power sector's] workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent [according to the Energy Department’s 2017 jobs report and this refutes Donald Trump's assertion that green energy projects are bad] for the American economy…Just under 374,000 people were employed in solar energy…while coal, gas and oil power generation combined had a workforce of slightly more than 187,000. The boom in the country's solar workforce can be attributed to construction work associated with expanding generation capacity….[Coal generation has fallen] 53 percent over the last decade. During the same period, electricity generation from natural gas increased 33 percent while solar expanded 5,000 percent…Solar energy added 73,615 new jobs to the U.S. economy over the past year while wind added a further 24,650.” click here for more

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    The Next Big Step For U.S. Ocean Wind

    Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Will Be Built Off Long Island

    Diane Cardwell, January 25, 2017 (NY Times)

    “…[The Long Island Power Authority approved the nation’s largest offshore wind farm for the waters between the eastern tip of Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard…[The $740 million project will have as many as 15 turbines, which will not be visible from onshore, and be] capable of powering 50,000 average homes…[ The power authority will buy all of the project’s output over 20 years at about the $0.16/kWh cost of other renewable energy projects…[and] add $1.19 a month to the average customer bill…[Developer Deepwater Wind could eventually build up to 200 turbines in] the 256-square-mile ocean site…[U.S. ocean wind has struggled] but the Long Island project signals that the long-awaited promise of a new, lower-carbon source of electricity is poised to become part of the national energy mix…It has been given new life by New York’s push to meet Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal of drawing 50 percent of the state’s power from renewable sources by 2030. That goal includes 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind, enough to power 1.25 million homes…Big multinational developers like Statoil and Dong Energy are also investing in the business [and] snapping up leases for ocean parcels off Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utilities, Greens Still Miles Apart On Solar Valuation At The State Level

    Utilities, greens still miles apart on solar valuation, new report shows; Environmentalists want to expand the factors included in solar valuation, but the power sector is skeptical

    Herman K. Trabish, May 12, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The change in politics since this story ran makes the state policies described in it more important than ever.

    Solar power is taking off in the U.S. but some states are lagging. Ten states, primarily located in the Southeast, hold 35% of total solar potential in the United States, but only account for 6% of the nation’s total installed capacity, according to a Throwing Shade; 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Policy determines whether solar will be affordable, whether it can connect to the grid, and how utilities interact with their customers but, in most regulatory hearings about solar policy, commissioners focus on the resource’s quantifiable value and overlook equally important non-quantifiable values. Too often, it observes, utility profits are more of a concern than the impacts the energy system on water, air quality, and wildlife.

    But while environmental organizations like CBD regularly call for a greater array of factors to be included in solar valuation, many utilities and their allies argue there should be separate policies to address things like biodiversity. The CBD report also highlights this divide between the utility and solar factions in the power sector. It zeroes in on six policies key to solar growth in three categories: market preparation, market creation and market expansion. They include policies on interconnection standards, net energy metering (NEM), and solar access laws necessary to prepare a solar market. Beyond specific solar support policies, a number of states have also taken up the broader question of what rooftop solar is worth to the grid and utilities alike… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: What Solar's Portfolio Of Grid Services Can Do For Utilities

    What SolarCity's new portfolio of grid services can do for utilities; The dominant residential solar installer is moving beyond the rooftop in a bid to become an essential partner for utilities

    Herman K. Trabish, May 16, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The discussion about the value of rooftop solar is rapidly transforming into one about the values of DER described in this piece.

    SolarCity, which owns a third of the distributed solar market, is fixing its ambitions on transforming the entire bulk power system. It recently took a step toward rebranding itself as a full energy services company with a new set of distributed energy resources (DER) offerings for utilities and grid operators. The three services are from utility-scale solar, firm dispatchable solar power systems coupled with battery energy storage, and a software platform to organize and control the whole system. According to Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive, the new offerings position SolarCity to take advantage of a coming boom in DER, demand-side management, and software solutions to control them.

    By 2018, the U.S. solar plus storage market is expected to reach at least $1 billion and the U.S. energy storage market alone will hit $1.5 billion or more, according to GTM Research. The North American DER management systems market will be $110 million or more and the U.S. demand response market will be upwards of $1.5 billion. Utilities are increasingly moving to DERs. Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power are working on regulator-approved rooftop solar installations. Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power’s unregulated arm recently moved into rooftop solar. Con Ed has a similar plan in New York. Duke Energy and REC Solar are investing $225 million in DERs on the utility side of the meter. SolarCity hopes to be a partner for utilities as they continue to develop and advance such programs, but it is far from alone in the emerging market… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How The Wind Industry Will Cross The Renewables’ 'Valley Of Death'

    Across the 'valley of death': How the wind industry will cope without tax credits; The industry is bracing for a slowdown in the early 2020s as incentives phase out and utilities meet CPP targets

    Herman K. Trabish, May 25, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The question of what lies beyond 2020 has now become even murkier.

    Declining prices and federal incentives are driving a wind building boom that could last into the 2020s. Wind projects currently under construction or in advanced development represent 20,280 MW of new capacity in the U.S. New construction has averaged 15% quarter-over-quarter growth since the extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2015. With 13,563 MW of installed capacity under construction at the end of Q3 2016, 6,717 MW in advanced development, and over 3,700 MW of new development announced in Q3, the industry’s future has rarely looked brighter. There have been wind-eligible requests for proposals (RFPs) from 20 electric utilities in 2016, and nine specifically for wind. Three utilities are currently seeking up to 1,800 MW of wind capacity.

    But as the five-year extension of vital federal tax credits extended at the end of 2015 phase out, there could be trouble. The wind industry could hit a “valley of death” in the early 2020s, when current U.S. energy policies create a gap in support for renewables, according to industry experts. As utilities purchase more renewables to take advantage of tax credits, many are expected to fulfill their initial policy mandates. After an annual average of 8 GW or more of new capacity is added from 2016 to 2020, the market for renewables is likely to suddenly shrink significantly to only about 2 GW of new capacity in 2021… click here for more

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