NewEnergyNews: 08/01/2017 - 09/01/2017/


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

    Thursday, August 31, 2017

    Texans, Climate, And Harvey

    The Energy 202: We asked Texas Republicans about Harvey and climate change. Only one answered.

    Dino Grandoni, August 30, 2017 (Washington Post)

    “…Unless it is reauthorized by the end of September, the National Flood Insurance Program, which is nearly $25 billion in debt, will lose most of its borrowing power at a time when it will begin making payouts on claims on the Texas Gulf Coast. And President Trump has promised to work with Congress on a federal aid package for affected communities in Texas…[But, in] 2013, all but one Texas Republican who was serving in Congress then and is still in office now voted against an aid package for New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy…[Of 38 members of the Texas delegation asked about that and other issues related to Harvey, only] one Republican, Rep. Lamar Smith, responded…[The House Science Committee Chair and frequent critic of federal climate scientists said the] Sandy bill was used as an opportunity for fiscally irresponsible politicians to exploit natural disaster spending…However, fact checkers have pointed out that a Congressional Research Service report on the bill concluded that it [was ‘largely focused’ on Hurricane Sandy…” click here for more

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    Law Would Require Solar On New Homes And New Roofs

    St. Petersburg proposal would require solar panels on new homes and major roof repairs

    Craig Pittman, August 30, 2017 (Tampa Bay Times)

    “…[The St. Petersurg, FL, City Council will consider a proposed ordinance that would] mandate solar for new homes…[The push for it came from University of Miami student] Delaney Reynolds, founder of the Sink or Swim Project, which tries to raise awareness of sea level rise…The typical new Florida home uses about 12,720 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Adding an 8 kilowatt photovoltaic system at $2 per watt, minus the 30 percent federal tax credit, equals an average up-front price for residential solar panels at $11,000…That would lead to a monthly power bill of $11 instead of $125 per month…St. Petersburg [also] has a solar power co-operative set up by the League of Women Voters that offers free membership, and members then pay lower prices…The St. Petersburg ordinance would cover not just new construction but also additions and ‘major roof repairs’…” click here for more

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    The Wind Deal Keeps Getting Better

    Wind Energy Is One of the Cheapest Sources of Electricity, and It's Getting Cheaper; A comprehensive survey of the wind industry shows wind energy is routinely purchased in bulk for just two cents per kilowatt-hour—and turbines are only getting cheaper, bigger, and better

    Robert Fares, August 28, 2017 (Scientific American)

    “… U.S. wind energy will continue to be one of the lowest cost electricity generation technologies available, with the long-term wind electricity price available through a power purchase agreement coming in at about half the expected cost of just running a natural gas power plant…[according to the the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 2016 Wind Technologies Market Report and] stiff competition from both natural gas and solar energy are poised to push the wind industry to achieve even lower prices and higher performance through the development of bigger turbines tailored to maximize their output even in regions with less than optimal wind speeds…The average U.S. consumer pays about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity…The actual cost of electricity generation alone is something like 2 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour…[and] wind energy consistently comes in at or below the going market rate…” click here for more

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    The Biggest EV Maker Will Be…

    Which carmaker will sell most electric cars in 2020, China included? Poll results

    John Voelcker, August 29, 2017 (Green Car Reports)

    “Last year, China's BYD sold more plug-in electric cars than any other company in the world…That includes General Motors, Nissan, and Tesla…Now GM has launched the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the second-generation Nissan Leaf is just days away, and advocates, analysts, and enthusiasts are watching how quickly production ramps up for the Tesla Model 3…The Bolt EV and Model 3 have rated ranges of more than 200 miles, and at least one version of the 2018 Nissan Leaf is expected to offer 200 miles or more…China's electric-car market is now twice that of the U.S., at 181,000 from January through June versus the U.S. total of about 90,000…Almost half the respondents (45 percent) [to a Twitter poll] said Tesla would sell more electric cars globally in 2020 than any other maker…Just under one third of participants (31 percent) picked BYD as the highest seller globally…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, August 30, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Grid Operators See The Climate Changing And Are Preparing

    How climate change will stress the grid and what ISOs are doing about it; Global warming is expected to increase peak demand and extreme weather events, but new grid planning practices can help ensure power reliability

    Herman K. Trabish, March 6, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: As images from Texas and Louisiana make clear, the evidence is simply undeniable now. This piece is as much about solutions as it is about the problem.

    Despite climate change skeptics’ chatter, the nation’s electricity system operators are planning for its future effects. Average temperatures are rising across the U.S., forcing grid operators to ask if they have adequate capacity to meet higher power demand and sharper spikes in peak load. Projected temperature increases will raise average electricity demand 2.8% across the U.S. by the end of the century, according to a National Academy of Sciences study of climate change impacts. The impact is expected to be greatest in the summer months, when cooling load is already high. It projects a 3.5% increase in average peak demand over business-as-usual through 2100. In more extreme cases, peak demand could rise 7.2% to 18%, making the cost of needed generation even higher.

    Meeting demand could require $120 billion to $180 billion in new natural gas peaker plants. But smart planning could save a lot of that cost, according to experts. The “thought exercise” by University of California researchers looked at the system peak demand increase when it was hot, applied that to climate data, and calculated how much several load balancing authorities’ peak demand would rise. The study then calculates the costs of that increased peak demand on the U.S. electric power system. The real-world question is how well utility and balancing authority system planners can respond but the thought exercise is useful because it is often difficult to get policymakers to respond to such long-term concerns… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why Utilities’ Move To The Cloud Serves New Energy

    Utilities, regulators find common ground in reforms to encourage cloud computing; Traditional utility regulation does not allow companies to rate-base cloud computing services. Some regulators want to change that.

    Herman K. Trabish, March 2, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The only way utilities will support the New Energy transition is if it is in their interests. That is why regulators must re-interpret existing rules or write new rules to make the move to cloud computing work for them.

    New technologies are flooding utility databases with system and customer information. To manage it, many companies add servers and software. But utilities are not IT providers, and many are struggling to make sense of all that data on their own. The best answer, many in industry say, is to move the information off utilities’ own computer systems and outsource data management to experts. But utility leaders have been slow to make that move because a regulated rate of return comes only from capital expenditures on servers, not from spending for expertise in the cloud.

    Oracle Utilities’ January 2016 survey of 100 utility executives found 45% were using some form of cloud-based applications or computing resources delivered as services over a network connection, rather than using on-premises infrastructure. That hardly puts the power sector at the cutting edge. According to other surveys, 83% of healthcare companies used cloud-based services 95% of IT professionals are using the cloud. But Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) Chair Brien Sheahan is leading the only regulatory proceeding in the U.S. examining the value of software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing to utilities. The proceeding is part of a growing interest among regulators in cloud computing for the power sector… click here for more

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    Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Lessons In The DOE Grid Study

    DOE study: Markets and infrastructure key to electric reliability and resilience

    Michael Goggin, August 24, 2017 (American Wind Energy Association)

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new report on the U.S. electric grid makes valuable recommendations for expanding access to reliable, low-cost electricity by streamlining approval of electric transmission infrastructure and using markets to procure essential reliability services. As a low-cost source of energy that can provide reliability services as well as or better than conventional power plants, wind energy will flourish with the expansion of markets and infrastructure.

    Markets for essential reliability services will benefit renewables

    We welcome the Department of Energy report’s focus on resilience and strongly support the recommendation to value essential reliability services, as wind energy is making critical contributions to a more reliable and resilient power system. The following table documents the reliability and resilience services provided by different energy sources, demonstrating that renewables perform well on most if not all metrics. The fact that no resource excels at providing all services demonstrates the value of a diverse power system, as well as the importance of essential reliability services markets for sorting out which resources can most cost-effectively provide those services at any point in time.

    NERC (the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the entity responsible for electric reliability), confirms that “wind energy… offers ride-through capabilities and other essential reliability services.” For example, sophisticated power electronics allow modern wind turbines to exceed the ability of conventional power plants to ride through grid disturbances, improving system resilience.

    As we’ve explained, those power electronics and output controls also allow wind and solar plants to provide voltage and reactive power control and dispatchable flexibility for regulating power system frequency. The DOE report notes that “manufacturers have designed electronic controls for newer model wind turbines that can provide automatic generation control, primary frequency response and synthetic inertia” (page 73).

    Grid operators in Texas and Colorado regularly dispatch wind plants to regulate power system frequency, and most wholesale electricity markets dispatch wind generators under the same market rules as other power plants. In contrast, many coal and nuclear power plants are not dispatchable and do not help regulate power system frequency. NERC recently noted that power system frequency response is noticeably higher when wind output is high in Texas.

    AWEA has long supported market-based compensation for those services and technology-neutral reliability standards, so we strongly support DOE’s call for "creating fuel-neutral markets … that compensate grid participants for services that are necessary to support reliable grid operations" (page 126).

    Markets for grid reliability services, called ancillary services markets, are the most efficient way to procure these needed services. Wind and solar will continue to increase their participation in such markets, particularly as technologies like smart inverters and fast controls expand the reliability services they can cost-effectively provide. DOE’s study cites another recent DOE report that lists the four main needs for the reliable operation of the power system (page 67-68). As that report explains, renewable resources make valuable contributions to providing all of those services.

    As illustrated in the table above, many resources, including wind and solar plants, are capable of providing those services. Wind plants will not always be the most economic resource to provide all of those services, just as coal and nuclear plants do not typically provide flexibility or other reliability services. That’s fine; in fact, that’s the beauty of markets. Markets find which resource can provide a service at the lowest cost at that moment, and use a division of labor across a diverse energy mix to keep the lights on.

    Renewables build resilience…

    DOE calls for streamlining transmission investment

    The DOE report identifies infrastructure development as a key solution. Among the report’s primary recommendations are that “DOE and related Federal agencies should accelerate and reduce costs for the licensing, relicensing, and permitting of grid infrastructure,” and that “DOE should review regulatory burdens for siting and permitting for generation and gas and electricity transmission infrastructure and should take actions to accelerate the process and reduce costs” (page 127).

    Transmission benefits all low-cost generation resources as it allows their low-cost power to reach customers, much like the interstate highway system allowed the most efficient producers and retailers to get their low-cost products to market. For example, the Quad Cities nuclear plant on the border between Illinois and Iowa is facing economic challenges because power prices there are $8/MWh lower on average than those just 100 miles to the east in Chicago. Upgrading the grid to allow more power to be delivered from Quad Cities to Chicago would be a win-win for both the nuclear plant and consumers in Chicago.

    Like any market, electricity markets are more competitive when there are fewer barriers to entry. For this exact reason, Texas has always had some of the strongest pro-transmission policies in the country. As ERCOT board member Peter Cramton recently explained, “One thing in favor of strengthening transmission … is that it’s pro market. It allows a larger set of generators to compete in a more robust marketplace. You don’t always want to throw money at transmission, but at same time, you have to recognize it’s transmission that’s enabling the market.”

    Grid operators and other experts have explained that transmission is a key solution for making electricity more reliable and affordable. The benefits to consumers are even greater when transmission helps access low-cost, stably-priced clean energy resources, as Texas has successfully demonstrated with its Competitive Renewable Energy Zone power line projects in West Texas.

    As DOE’s report documents, “Transmission investments provide an array of benefits that include providing reliable electricity service to customers, relieving congestion, facilitating robust wholesale market competition, enabling a diverse and changing energy portfolio, and mitigating damage and limiting customer outages (resilience) during adverse conditions. Well-planned transmission investments also reduce total costs. SPP analyzed the costs and benefits of transmission projects from 2012–2014 and found that the planned $3.4 billion investment in transmission was expected to reduce customer cost by $12 billion. This yielded an estimated benefit of $3.50 for every dollar invested in the region. A robust transmission system is needed to provide the flexibility that will enable the modern electric system to operate. Although much transmission has been built to enhance reliability and meet customer needs, continued investment and development will be needed to provide that flexibility” (page 75).

    DOE accurately diagnoses the constraints limiting transmission development and identifies the solutions: “The challenge for building transmission continues to revolve around the three traditional steps involved, each of which can be time-consuming, involved, and complex: (1) demonstrating a need for the transmission project, also known as transmission planning, (2) determining who pays for the transmission project, also called cost allocation, and (3) state and Federal agency siting and permitting. FERC has taken steps to help with the first two, with reforms such as Order No. 1000, which remains a work in progress.” (75) DOE also explains that “natural gas pipelines can be built more quickly than electric transmission lines (in most states) because they have a comparatively streamlined permitting process” (page 37).

    A more robust transmission system would prevent almost all occurrences of negative prices, whether caused by nuclear, coal, or renewables. The DOE report accurately notes that most instances of negative pricing have been observed at “constrained hubs that feature a relatively large amount of VRE and/or nuclear generation” (page 114). As explained previously, any instances of wind-related negative prices are typically caused by transmission constraints on isolated parts of the grid. Because there are few if any conventional power plants on these remote parts of the grid, these events have little to no impact on other generators.

    Negative prices are a red herring… The facts about energy incentives… Market dynamics are driving retirements…

    DOE’s study confirms electric reliability is strong

    Electricity markets, and the multiple layers of regulatory checks already in place at the state, regional, and federal level, are successfully working to ensure that electric reliability remains strong. As the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and other experts have concluded, ongoing and planned power plant retirements do not pose a reliability threat. In June, the CEO of NERC testified to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that “the state of reliability in North America remains strong, and the trend line shows continuing improvement year over year.”

    DOE and NERC both note that reliability is continuing to increase across a range of metrics, with DOE explaining that “All regions have reserve margins above resource adequacy targets” (page 66), and that “BPS reliability is adequate today despite the retirement of 11 percent of the generating capacity available in 2002, as significant additions from natural gas, wind, and solar have come online since then” (page 63).

    The chart below, compiled from grid operator data and included in NERC’s Long-Term Reliability Assessment, confirms that all regions greatly exceed their targeted level of reserve power plant capacity through at least 2021. Moreover, the regions experiencing the most coal plant retirements, PJM and SERC, exceed their capacity reserve margins by double digits even under the most conservative planning standard.

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    QUICK NEWS, August 29: Water Will Keep Rising; It’s Time To Care; New Energy Moving Past Nuclear In U.S. Power Mix; Grid Study Points To Power Market Redesign

    Water Will Keep Rising; It’s Time To Care Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like; It’s time to open our eyes and prepare for the world that’s coming.

    Eric Holthaus, August 28, 2017 (Politico Magazine)

    “In all of U.S. history, there’s never been a storm like Hurricane Harvey…[but we] knew this would happen, decades ago…and we didn’t care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible…Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn’t want to take climate change seriously…Harvey is the third 500-year flood to hit the Houston area in the past three years, but Harvey is in a class by itself…So much rain has fallen already that the National Weather Service had to add additional colors to its maps to account for the extreme totals…

    Harvey is now the benchmark disaster of record in the United States…[and] gives us an opportunity for an inflection point as a society…[W]hat happens next is critically important for all of us…One recent study showed that by mid-century, up to 450 million people worldwide will be exposed to a doubling of flood frequency. This isn’t just a Houston problem…A warmer atmosphere enhances evaporation rates and increases the carrying capacity of rainstorms. Harvey drew its energy from a warmer-than-usual Gulf of Mexico, which will only grow warmer in the decades to come…Adapting to a future in which a millennium-scale flood can wipe out a major city is much harder than preventing that flood in the first place…

    …[T]he built world we have right now wasn’t constructed with climate change in mind. By continuing to pretend that we can engineer our way out of the worsening flooding problem with bigger dams, more levees and higher-powered pumping equipment, we’re fooling ourselves into a more dangerous future…If we don’t talk about the climate context of Harvey, we won’t be able to prevent future disasters and get to work on that better future…” click here for more

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    New Energy Moving Past Nuclear In U.S. Power Mix Electricity From Renewables And Nuclear Power In Statistical Dead Heat; Renewables Grow 16.3% In First Half 2017 As Nuclear Power Falls 3.3%

    Ken Bossong and Tim Judson, August 28, 2017 (Sun Day Campaign)

    “The latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information's (EIA) "Electric Power Monthly" (with data through June 30, 2017) reveals that renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar - inc. small-scale PV, and wind) remain in a statistical dead heat with nuclear power vis-à-vis their respective shares of the nation's electrical generation, with each providing roughly 20% of the total…During the six-month period (January - June), renewables surpassed nuclear power in three of those months (March, April, and May) while nuclear power took the lead in the other three. In total, according to EIA's data, utility-scale renewables plus small-scale solar PV provided 20.05% of U.S. net electrical generation compared to 20.07% for nuclear power…[R]enewables may actually hold a small lead because while EIA estimates the contribution from distributed PV, it does not include electrical generation by distributed wind, micro-hydro, or small-scale biomass…” click here for more

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    Grid Study Points To Power Market Redesign Breaking: The U.S. Power Market Is Cracking

    Liam Denning, August 24, 2017 (Bloomberg News)

    “…[The most important point in the just-released DOE grid study is] on the first of 181 pages: ‘The U.S. electricity industry is facing unprecedented changes’…[There was a repeated emphasis on the need to shore up struggling ‘baseload’ coal and nuclear plants] for the sake of resiliency…[But] the mix of U.S. power from different sources is more diverse than ever…The report will no doubt push the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to at least hold hearings on potential reforms to wholesale power markets…There is a legitimate discussion to have about how to optimize power pricing to send the right signals to the market…[because it was] never designed for job creation, tax preservation, politically popular generation, or anything other than reliable, affordable electricity…More than anything else, the grid study reaffirms that the first era of the U.S. electricity market, lasting roughly a century, is over and that the market mechanisms have fallen way behind the times…In a world of cheap gas, flat demand and falling prices for renewable-power technologies, building large-scale, rather than scaleable, power sources is a massive, multiyear, multi-administration gamble. Price accordingly.” click here for more

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    Monday, August 28, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Ocean Wind Coming On Fast

    2016 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report

    Walter Musial,, August 2017 (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

    Executive Summary

    The 2016 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and is intended to provide offshore wind policymakers, regulators, developers, researchers, engineers, financiers, and supply chain participants, with quantitative information about the offshore wind market, technology, and cost trends in the United States and worldwide. In particular, this report is intended to provide detailed information on the domestic offshore wind industry to provide context to help navigate technical and market barriers and opportunities. The scope of the report covers the status of the 111 operating offshore wind projects in the global fleet through December 31, 2016, and provides the status and analysis on a broader pipeline of 593 projects at some stage of development.1 In addition, this report provides a wider assessment of domestic developments and events through the second quarter of 2017 to provide a more up-to-date discussion of this dynamically evolving industry. A summary of the key findings are provided below.

    The United States commissioned its first commercial offshore wind project off Rhode Island. In December 2016, Deepwater Wind completed the commissioning of the Block Island Wind Farm, marking a milestone as the first commercial offshore wind project in the United States. The 30-megawatt (MW) project is in Rhode Island state waters off the southern coast of Block Island. It is comprised of five 6-MW Haliade wind turbines manufactured by General Electric (formerly Alstom Wind Power). In addition, the project included laying a power cable to connect the grid on Block Island to the mainland grid. The project is expected to produce enough electricity to power 17,000 Rhode Island homes (Chesto 2017).

    Strike prices from offshore wind energy procurement auctions plummet in European wholesale electricity markets. European auction strike prices2 from July 2016 through June 2017 indicate a trend of offshore wind price declines. Although there is some variability in these recent price signals caused by differences in auction design (e.g., differences in the allocation of grid connection costs, development costs, and contract length), market and policy environment, and project characteristics, winning bid prices have declined from approximately $200/megawatt-hour for projects, with a commercial operation date between 2017 and 2019 down to about $65/megawatt-hour for projects, with a 2024/2025 commercial operation date. Although the normalized adjusted strike prices presented in this report do not comprehensively account for all possible differences among projects (e.g., site conditions, project-specific risk profiles, or future electricity prices), a significant drop in offshore wind bid prices over the past year has emerged as a clear trend. However, the impacts on cost, the future trajectory of these prices and whether these downward trends will be sustained, and their transferability to the U.S. market have not been fully evaluated.

    New offshore wind capacity, commissioned globally in 2016, dropped to 1,188 MW. Following 2015’s record deployment of nearly 4,000 MW, new offshore wind installed capacity experienced a dip, with a total of 1,188 MW commissioned in 2016. This decrease can be mostly attributed to a transition in the United Kingdom market support mechanism and delays in interconnections for some projects in Germany and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, China’s annual installed capacity increased slightly from 352 MW in 2015 to 430 MW in 2016. By the end of 2016, the global offshore market had accumulated 12,913 MW of commissioned capacity from 111 operating projects. Projections for 2017 indicate expected global new capacity additions to be above 4,000 MW based on the number of projects currently under construction. The pipeline of offshore wind development capacity as of December 31, 2016, was about 231,000 MW comprising 593 projects.

    Industry-wide confidence that the U.S. offshore wind market is emerging has increased because of decreasing global costs and stronger state policy commitments. News of the declining costs for offshore wind projects in Europe has spurred confidence in the domestic U.S. offshore wind market this year. Several states including Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland have enacted new policies or bolstered their existing policies to incentivize the development of offshore wind. These policies include procurement targets for offshore wind and offshore renewable energy credits that could support over 4,000 MW. Some U.S. activities since the last U.S. offshore market report (Smith, Stehly, and Musial 2015) include:

    • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a competitive lease sale of 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey on November 9, 2015. The winners were RES America Developments Inc., (which later transferred to DONG Energy), with a bid of $880,715 (160,480 acres), and US Wind Inc., with a bid of $1,006,240 (183,353 acres).

    • In August 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed bill H.4568, allowing for 1,600 MW of offshore wind to be procured by June 2027 (General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2016).

    • In September 2016, DOE and the U.S. Department of the Interior issued the National Offshore Wind Strategy (Gilman et al. 2016) to facilitate the responsible development of offshore wind in the United States. The strategy recognizes the environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind, identifies critical challenges, and presents a federal action plan.

    • On December 15, 2016, Statoil was awarded rights to the BOEM lease area off the coast of New York for an unprecedented bid value of $42.5 million (Statoil 2016).

    • On January 10, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo committed to develop up to 2,400 MW of offshore wind by 2030 in support of the state’s 2030 Renewable Portfolio Standard target of 50% (Cuomo 2017). On January 25, 2017, the Long Island Power Authority approved a power purchase agreement for Deepwater Wind’s 90-MW South Fork Wind Farm, which is located 30 miles off the coast of Montauk.

    • On March 16, 2017, a competitive lease sale for a wind energy area of 122,405 acres offshore Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, was announced, with the highest bid of $9,066,650 from Avangrid Renewables, LLC, the provisional winner.

    • In Massachusetts, a request for proposals was issued on June 29, 2017, seeking to procure a total of 400−800 MW from the BOEM lease areas off of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.4 • In May 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission issued an offshore wind renewable energy certificate for the procurement of 368 MW from US Wind (248 MW) and Deepwater Wind’s Skipjack project (120 MW).

    • Two of the DOE advanced technology demonstration projects, the 21-MW Lake Erie Icebreaker project led by the Fred Olsen/Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation consortium and the 12-MW Aqua Ventus I project led by the University of Maine, continue to make progress. They will be considered for the next round of funding from DOE. The U.S. offshore wind project pipeline is estimated to be 24,135 MW, with 14,785 MW under exclusive site control5 by developers.

    The U.S. offshore wind project development pipeline includes 28 projects totaling 24,135 MW of potential installed capacity. Developers have obtained exclusive site control over 18 sites totaling 14,785 MW of potential capacity, including projects located in state waters. Most of the near-term activity is concentrated in the North Atlantic region, but projects have been proposed in all five U.S. regions (as defined by DOE’s Wind Vision) (DOE 2015). Figure ES-1 shows a map of two advanced technology demonstration projects, the current projects in the U.S. pipeline, and the operational Block Island Wind Farm.

    Industry continues to push toward larger turbines, seeking rated capacities greater than 8 MW in deeper waters. Offshore wind turbine development is continuing its upscaling trend. For example, the completion of the Burbo Bank Extension project (United Kingdom) in early 2017 was the first commercial project to use a Vestas 164-meter rotor, 8-MW turbine (V164-8 MW) that was first prototyped in 2014. In addition, an upgraded V164 prototype 9.5-MW turbine was debuted in 2017 (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries [MHI] Vestas Offshore 2017b; Weston 2017a; de Vries 2017). Large turbine sizes are generally preferred in offshore applications because of fewer installations and lower maintenance, and many developers are anticipating continued turbine growth, with the expectation that the benefits of increased turbine size will continue to lower energy costs. Globally, the average turbine size for offshore wind projects increased from 3.4 MW for projects installed in 2015 to 4.7 MW for projects installed by the end of 2016. This trend is expected to continue, with average turbine size expected to reach 7.0 MW for projects installed in 2020.

    The floating wind project pipeline triples in size to almost 3,000 MW. In sites where the water is too deep to use proven fixed-bottom commercial technology, floating foundations are beginning to be developed. The global floating offshore wind pipeline has reached 2,905 MW in 2016, with 26 announced projects including 21 demonstration/pilot-scale projects, as well as the five commercial-scale projects in Hawaii, California, and France. The total number of floating projects in the pipeline has increased by over a factor of three since 2015, when 819 MW of pipeline capacity was reported (Smith, Stehly, and Musial 2015). The floating offshore wind industry is moving away from proof-of-concept single turbine deployments that characterized the first wave of prototype development from 2009 through 2015. The current trend indicates a growing number of multiturbine, precommercial pilot projects. There are 11 individual precommercial floating projects totaling 229 MW in capacity that have advanced past the planning phase and are either under construction, approved, or have significant resources committed for project development. These projects are described in more detail in Section 6 and Appendix B.

    After years of regulatory planning and leasing, confidence in the nascent U.S. offshore wind market has increased as the result of declining offshore wind costs globally, continued supply chain development, and higher levels of activity in supportive domestic state policy. U.S. industry activity is accelerating, emboldened not only by the first wind farm off Block Island, but by the assertive presence in the United States of well-capitalized and experienced offshore wind developers (e.g., DONG Energy, Statoil ASA, Iberdrola), and the rapid decline in European offshore wind auction strike prices approaching a market competitive range. click here for more

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    QUICK NEWS, August 28: Feds Dig Deeper Into Climate Denial; The Bipartisan Energy Bill’s Good And Bad; Businesses Can Save By Buying Batteries

    Feds Dig Deeper Into Climate Denial US government burying head deeper in sand on climate change; An apparently widespread effort to ignore reality by the federal government.

    John Timmer, August 28, 2017 (Ars Technica)

    “…[I]t has become increasingly clear that there's been extensive push back against climate change throughout the government…[The conclusions in] the long-delayed Department of Energy's evaluation of grid stability…were watered down in the final report…[It avoided] the use of the term ‘climate change’…[An email from researcher Jennifer Bowen revealed she had been asked to remove from submitted work] words such as “global warming” or "climate change"…[Bowen and the DOE were not available to comment but another news outlet] identified a second researcher who had received funding from the same DOE program and has also been asked to remove references to climate change… from his grant's abstract…[Funding was not renewed for a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-led committee] to help the nation decide how best to act on the information contained in a scientific report…[and its peer-reviewed assessment is being blocked. It has become clear that DOE Secretary Perry and EPA Head Pruitt] are perfectly willing to overrule expert conclusions and scientific findings when it suits them…” click here for more

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    The Bipartisan Energy Bill’s Good And Bad Bipartisanship? It's happening to secure America's energy future

    Former Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), July 31, 2017 (The Hill)

    “It seems that everywhere you look, America’s politics are dominated by divisiveness and polarization…[But] Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced a major bipartisan bill aimed at securing a prosperous and sustainable energy future for America. [The Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 — shaped by a rigorous, bipartisan process that actually began in the last Congress — has been placed directly on the Senate calendar for expedited floor consideration…[Though opponents say it avoids the hard issues, the bill would modernize energy laws and accelerate] innovation…The legislation builds on the collaborative and detailed work of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015…[and includes] provisions from more than 80 senators…[T]his bipartisan bill reminds us what is possible if Congress can move beyond destructive rhetoric and work together…” click here for more

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    Businesses Can Save By Buying Batteries Five Million Commercial Customers Could Cut Costs with Battery Storage; First public survey of utility rates details economic potential for commercial behind-the-meter battery storage market

    August 24, 2017 (Clean Energy Group)

    “…[An analysis of over 10,000 utility tariffs in 48 states found] that more than five million of the 18 million commercial customers across the country may be able to cost-effectively reduce their utility bills with battery storage technologies…[Researchers from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Clean Energy Group (CEG)] looked at the number of commercial customers eligible for utility rate tariffs that included demand charges of $15 or more per kilowatt, an industry benchmark for identifying economic opportunities for behind-the-meter storage. They concluded that [over 25% of the approximately five million customers] were at or above this demand charge threshold…This represents a substantial market opportunity for behind-the-meter battery storage, which can be installed to control peak demand and lower electricity bills by reducing demand charges…” click here for more

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    Saturday, August 26, 2017

    Research Shows Exxon Lied

    Exxon knew the dangers long ago but went on pumping oil and denials. From PBS New Hour via YouTube

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    A Joint Venture On Climate

    The weather effects of climate change expose the "joint venture between nature and humanity." From Bloomberg News

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    The Rise Of Wave Energy

    Like wind and solar before it, wave energy is fighting toward maturity. This U.S. Navy test center will likely drive the process ahead. From U.S. Dept of Energy via YouTube

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    Friday, August 25, 2017

    NewEnergyNews SPECIAL: The Long-Awaited DOE Grid Study

    Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability

    August 2017 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    Introduction On April 14, 2017, Energy Secretary Rick Perry issued a memorandum requesting a study to examine electricity markets and reliability. With this document, Department of Energy (DOE) staff are delivering a study that seeks not only to evaluate the present status of the electricity system, but more importantly to exercise foresight to help ensure a system that is reliable, resilient, and affordable long into the future. Therefore, while carefully acknowledging history, this study focuses on the present trajectory of trends that are of particular concern in meeting those long-term goals.

    Specifically, the April 14 memo directed a study that explores the following three issues:

    • The evolution of wholesale electricity markets, including the extent to which Federal policy interventions and the changing nature of the electricity fuel mix are challenging the original policy assumptions that shaped the creation of those markets;

    • Whether wholesale energy and capacity markets are adequately compensating attributes such as on-site fuel supply and other factors that strengthen grid resilience and, if not, the extent to which this could affect grid reliability and resilience in the future; and

    • The extent to which continued regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.

    The U.S. electricity industry is facing unprecedented changes. Last year, for the first time in history, natural gas replaced coal as the leading source of electricity generation. In 2015, a record-high amount of generating capacity retired. Over the course of the last decade, overall growth in electricity consumption at the national level has stalled, while many generation sources—particularly natural gas, wind, and solar—frequently hit new record levels of penetration.

    The stakes are high around these issues because electricity is crucial to modern society and economic activity, and because of the physical and financial magnitude of the industry. As noted in the report, Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System: The Second Installment of The Quadrennial Energy Review (QER 1.2):

    The United States has around 7,700 operating power plants1 that generate electricity from a variety of primary energy sources; 707,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines;2 more than 1 million rooftop solar installations;3 55,800 substations;4 6.5 million miles of local distribution lines;5 and 3,354 distribution utilities6 delivering electricity to 148.6 million customers. The total amount of money paid by end users end for electricity in 2015 was about $400 billion.7 This drives an $18.6 trillion U.S. gross domestic product and significantly influences global economic activity totaling roughly $80 trillion.8

    Recognizing how vital electricity is to our society and the health of the U.S. economy, the April 14 memo asked staff to “provide concrete policy recommendations and solutions.” It also offered principles for policy formulation: “the Trump Administration will be guided by the principles of reliability, resilience, affordability, and fuel diversity—principles that underpin a thriving economy.” To that end, this report concludes by outlining policy recommendations to advance those principles.

    Section 2 of this study offers a summary of findings. Sections 3 through 6 provide the analytical framework, relevant data, and research. In addition, each of these sections concludes with a “looking forward” note, as many of the issues raised in the April 14 memo are of growing importance. Section 1presents policy recommendations available—to DOE and others—to address the issues identified in this study. Section 8 outlines potential areas for further research.

    Data Used…Defining Regions…Defining Baseload Generation…Defining Premature Retirement…Beyond The Scope…

    Findings Of This Study

    This study identified several critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid in accordance with the April 14 memo, which asked staff to explore:

    1) The evolution of wholesale electricity markets, including the extent to which Federal policy interventions and the changing nature of the electricity fuel mix are challenging the original policy assumptions that shaped the creation of those markets.

    While centrally-organized markets have achieved reliable wholesale electricity delivery with economic efficiencies in their short-term operations, changing circumstances have challenged both centrally-organized and, to a lesser extent, vertically-integrated markets.

    • To date, wholesale markets have withstood a number of stresses. While markets have evolved since their introduction, they are currently functioning as designed—to ensure reliability and minimize the short-term costs of wholesale electricity—despite pressures from flat demand growth, Federal and state policy interventions, and the massive economic shift in the relative economics of natural gas compared to other fuels. The resulting low average wholesale energy prices, while beneficial for buyers of wholesale electricity, represent a critical juncture for many existing baseload generation resources and their role in preserving reliability and resilience.

    • Market designs may be inadequate given potential future challenges. VRE—with near-zero marginal costs and if at high penetrations—will lower wholesale energy prices independent of effects of the current low natural gas prices. This would put additional economic pressure on revenues for traditional baseload (as well as non-baseload) resources, requiring careful consideration of continued market evolutions.

    • Markets need further study and reform to address future services essential to grid reliability and resilience. System operators are working toward recognizing, defining, and compensating for resource attributes that enhance reliability and resilience (on both the supply and demand side). However, further efforts should reflect the urgent need for clear definitions of reliability and resilience-enhancing attributes and should quickly establish the market means to value or the regulatory means to provide them.

    Evolving market conditions and the need to accommodate VRE have led to the increased flexible operation of generation and other grid resources. Some generation technologies originally designed to operate as baseload were not intended to operate flexibly, and in nuclear power’s case, do not have a regulatory regime that allows them to do so.

    • Generation from VRE can change widely over the course of a single day, which requires dispatchable power plants to be operated more nimbly. Additionally, in some areas of the country, there may be over-generation from VRE at some points in a day, which drives prices to almost zero yet requires quick-ramping assets when VRE subsides. Taken together, these trends have placed a premium on flexible output rather than the steady output of traditional baseload power plants. This flexibility is generally provided by generation resources. However, nongeneration sources of flexibility—such as flexible demand, increased transmission, and energy storage technologies—are being explored as ways to enhance system flexibility.

    Society places value on attributes of electricity provision beyond those compensated by the current design of the wholesale market.

    • Americans and their elected representatives value the various benefits specific power plants offer, such as jobs, community economic development, low emissions, local tax payments, resilience, energy security, or the national security benefits associated with a nuclear industrial base. Most of these benefits are not recognized or compensated by wholesale electricity markets, and this has given rise to a variety of state and private efforts that include keeping open or shutting down established baseload generators and incentivizing VRE generation.

    2) Whether wholesale energy and capacity markets are adequately compensating attributes such as onsite fuel supply and other factors that strengthen grid resilience and, if not, the extent to which this could affect grid reliability and resilience in the future.

    Markets recognize and compensate reliability, and must evolve to continue to compensate reliability, but more work is needed to address resilience.

    • Reliable and affordable electricity is essential to the modern economy, including the manufacturing, services, and financial sectors. NERC’s most recent annual State of Reliability report concludes that during 2016, the “bulk power system reliability remained within defined performance objectives to provide an Adequate Level of Reliability (ALR).”o NERC reached the same conclusion for 2013–2015. However, in a May 2017 letter to the Secretary of Energy, NERC pressed the importance of reliability issues that require attention, including maintaining ERS as conventional generation retires and ensuring flexibility and sufficient transmission to supplement and offset VRE.19 These issues are indicative of the technological and institutional changes that are now affecting the electricity sector, and dealing with these issues will require new levels of coordination and collaboration among the sector’s many constituencies. Presently, BPS reliability is adequate despite the retirement of a portion of baseload capacity and unique regional hurdles posed by the changing resource mix.

    • Fuel assurance is a growing consideration for the electricity system. Maintaining onsite fuel resources is one way to improve fuel assurance, but most generation technologies have experienced fuel deliverability challenges in the past. While coal facilities typically store enough fuel onsite to last for 30 days or more, extreme cold can lead to frozen fuel stockpiles and disruption in train deliveries. Natural gas is delivered by pipeline as needed. The NERC letter to DOE emphasized ensuring natural gas fuel supply and mitigating delivery vulnerabilities. Capacity challenges on existing pipelines combined with the difficulty in some areas of siting and constructing new natural gas pipelines, along with competing uses for natural gas such as for home heating, have created supply constraints in the past. Supply constraints can create increased price risk and, in extreme cases, could impact reliability.

    • Recent severe weather events have demonstrated the need to improve system resilience. The range of potential disruptive events is broad, and the system needs to be designed to handle high-impact, low probability events. This makes it very challenging to develop cost-effective programs to improve resilience at the regional, state, or utility levels. Planning, practice, and coordination on an all-hazards basis and having a mix of resources and fuels available when a major disturbance occurs are both essential to fast response. Work still remains to identify facilities that merit hardening; stage periodic exercises and drills so that governmental agencies and utilities are prepared for emergencies; and ensure that wholesale electricity markets are designed to recognize and incentivize investments that would achieve or enhance resiliencerelated objectives.

    • Significant progress is already being made to understand what is needed to maintain power system reliability under changing market conditions, but more work is needed to understand what can be done to maintain resilience in a variety of conditions as the grid changes over the coming years. Further, low natural gas prices are driving greater use of natural gas for electricity generation, which has made exposure to natural gas price risk related to availability a growing concern in several regions. There are tradeoffs between multiple desirable attributes of the grid. For example, within power systems, it may be the case that a more reliable and resilient system is more costly than the least-cost system that a centrally-organized wholesale market is intended to deliver. Similarly, policies that seek to deliver more jobs, reduce pollution, or reduce risk may require more upfront investment at an initially higher cost to society as a whole than a least-cost system. It is important that policymakers have a clear understanding of the true costs and benefits of services to the grid, as well as an understanding of the tradeoffs between desirable attributes like reliability, flexibility, and affordability.

    3) The extent to which continued regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.

    The recent and unprecedented rise of natural gas as a top electricity generation resource, the increase in VRE penetration, the flattening of electricity demand growth, and a host of policy issues—regulations, mandates, and subsidies at the state and Federal levels—have negatively impacted traditional baseload generation, particularly coal and nuclear power plants.

    Between 2002 and 2016, 132,000 MW of generation capacity retired—representing about 15 percent of the total 2002 installed base—and 390,500 MW of new capacity was added. While power plants retire for a variety of reasons, several factors have contributed to recent retirements and continuing pressure for additional retirements.

    The biggest contributor to coal and nuclear plant retirements has been the advantaged economics of natural gas-fired generation.

    • Low-cost, abundant natural gas and the development of highly-efficient NGCC plants resulted in a new baseload competitor to the existing coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric plants. In 2016, natural gas was the largest source of electricity generation in the United States—overtaking coal for the first time since data collection began.20 The increased use of natural gas in the electric sector has resulted in sustained low wholesale market prices that reduce the profitability of other generation resources important to the grid. The fact that new, high-efficiency natural gas plants can be built relatively quickly, compared to coal and nuclear power, also helped to grow gas-fired generation. Production costs of coal and nuclear plants remained somewhat flat, while the new and existing, more flexible, and relatively lower-operating cost natural gas plants drove down wholesale market prices to the point that some formerly profitable nuclear and coal facilities began operating at a loss. The development of abundant, domestic natural gas made possible by the shale revolution also has produced significant value for consumers and the economy overall.

    Another factor contributing to the retirement of power plants is low growth in electricity demand.

    • Growth of total electricity use has slowed from averaging 2.5 percent annually in the late 1990s, to averaging 1.0 percent annually from 2000 to 2008, to remaining roughly flat since then.21 Changes in electricity demand—particularly the apparent decoupling of economic output and electricity demand—have been driven in part by energy efficiency policies. The combination of slow growth in electricity demand and the 390,500 MW of capacity additions from 2002 to 2016 made significant amounts of older, higher-cost capacity redundant.

    Dispatch of VRE has negatively impacted the economics of baseload plants.

    • Since 2007, the contribution to total generation from wind and solar has grown quickly, accelerated by government policies and mandates. State renewable portfolio standards (RPS) have been the largest contributor—associated with 60 percent of VRE growth since 2000— followed by Federal tax credits and government research (which contributed to the dramatic drop in wind and solar technology costs). Because these resources have lower variable operating costs than traditional baseload generators, they are dispatched first and displace baseload resources when they are available.

    • Participants on a panel of economists at a May 2017 FERC technical conference cited state-level RPS and Federal tax credits for VRE as examples of wholesale market impacts and distortions.

    Competition from resources that benefit from such policiesq reduces revenues for traditional baseload power plants by lowering the wholesale electric prices they receive and by displacing a portion of their output.

    Investments required for regulatory compliance have also negatively impacted baseload plant economics, and the peak in baseload plant retirements (2015) correlated with deadlines for power plant regulations as well as strong signals of future regulation.

    • A suite of environmental regulations scheduled for implementation between 2011 and 2022 has had varying degrees of effects on the cost of generation. For example, the largest number of coal plant retirements occurred in 2015—the deadline for coal and oil plants to add pollution control equipment for Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS) compliance. In the same year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its Clean Power Plan, which, if fully implemented, would place additional pressure on coal-fired generation. Nuclear power plants also face regulatory costs—principally the Cooling Water Intake Rule. Three nuclear plants that announced closure (Oyster Creek, Diablo Canyon, and Indian Point) have cited disputes with their respective states, who implement the rule, as among the reasons for plant retirement.

    Ultimately, the continued closure of traditional baseload power plants calls for a comprehensive strategy for long-term reliability and resilience. States and regions are accepting increased risks that could affect the future reliability and resilience of electricity delivery for consumers in their regions. Hydropower, nuclear, coal, and natural gas power plants provide ERS and fuel assurance critical to system resilience. A continual comprehensive regional and national review is needed to determine how a portfolio of domestic energy resources can be developed to ensure grid reliability and resilience.

    Power Plant Retirements…Reliability and Resilience…Wholesale Electricity Markets…Affordability…

    Policy Recommendations

    The April 14 memo asked staff to “not only analyze problems but also provide concrete policy recommendations and solutions.” To that end, DOE staff prepared a list of recommendations below. Some actions fit squarely within DOE’s authority, while others might fall to other government agencies or private organizations.

    Wholesale markets: FERC should expedite its efforts with states, RTO/ISOs, and other stakeholders to improve energy price formation in centrally-organized wholesale electricity markets. After several years of fact finding and technical conferences, the record now supports energy price formation reform, such as the proposals laid out by PJM467 and others. 468 Further, negative offers should be mitigated to the broadest extent possible.

    Valuation of Essential Reliability Services (ERS): Where feasible and within its statutory authority, FERC should study and make recommendations regarding efforts to require valuation of new and existing ERS by creating fuel-neutral markets and/or regulatory mechanisms that compensate grid participants for services that are necessary to support reliable grid operations. Pricing mechanisms or regulations should be fuel and technology neutral and centered on the reliability services provided. DOE should provide technical and policy support that strengthen and accelerate these efforts.

    Bulk Power System (BPS) resilience: DOE should support utility, grid operator, and consumer efforts to enhance system resilience. Transmission planning entities should conduct periodic disaster preparedness exercises involving electric utilities, regional offices of Federal agencies, and state agencies. NERC should consider adding resilience components to its mission statement and develop a program to work with its member utilities to broaden their use of emerging ways to better incorporate resilience. RTOs and ISOs should further define criteria for resilience, identify how to include resilience in business practices, and examine resilience-related impacts of their resource mix.

    Promote Research and Development (R&D) of next-generation/21st century grid reliability and resilience tools: DOE should focus R&D efforts to enhance utility, grid operator, and consumer efforts to enhance system reliability and resilience. DOE R&D opportunities include the following activities:

    • Develop grid technical tools to facilitate new-generation technologies’ operations to support BPS reliability (e.g., by enabling technologies to provide ERS), and maximize use of the DOE national laboratories.

    • Expand cooperation on grid reliability across North America, including working with NERC to further enhance the reliability of our shared BPS through technical engagement with Mexico and Canada.

    • With the National Science Foundation, sponsor the development of new open-source software for the next-generation electric grid research community.

    • Focus R&D on improving VRE integration through grid modernization technologies that can increase grid operational flexibility and reliability through a variety of innovations in sensors and controls, storage technology, grid integration, and advanced power electronics. The Grid Modernization Initiative should also consider additional applications of high-performance computing for grid modeling to advance grid resilience.

    Support Federal and regional approaches to electricity workforce development and transition assistance: In partnership with other agencies and the private sector, DOE should facilitate programs and regional approaches for electricity sector workforce development. Unemployed workers nearing but not yet eligible for retirement may have difficulty retraining after careers built on specialized skills that may be in declining demand. Where possible, Federal agencies should leverage existing government, nongovernment, labor, and industry workforce consortia.

    Energy dominance: Executive Order 13783 (Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth) outlined an approach to promote the clean and safe development of energy resources while at the same time minimizing regulatory barriers to energy production, economic growth, and job creation. The Order called for a rescission of certain energy and climate related policies, rescinded specific reports, and ordered the review of key environmental regulations. While DOE is not the main agency tasked in the Order, it should continue to prioritize energy dominance and implementing the Executive Order broadly and quickly.

    Infrastructure development: DOE and related Federal agencies should accelerate and reduce costs for the licensing, relicensing, and permitting of grid infrastructure such as nuclear, hydro, coal, advanced generation technologies, and transmission. DOE should review regulatory burdens for siting and permitting for generation and gas and electricity transmission infrastructure and should take actions to accelerate the process and reduce costs. Specific reforms could include the following:

    • Hydropower: Encourage FERC to revisit the current licensing and relicensing process and minimize regulatory burden, particularly for small projects and pumped storage.

    • Nuclear Power: Encourage the NRC to ensure the safety of existing and new nuclear facilities without unnecessarily adding to the operating costs and economic uncertainty of nuclear energy. Revisit nuclear safety rules under a risk-based approach.

    • Coal Generation: Encourage EPA to allow coal-fired power plants to improve efficiency and reliability without triggering new regulatory approvals and associated costs. In a regulatory environment that would allow for improvement of the existing fleet, DOE should pursue a targeted R&D portfolio aiming at increasing efficiency.

    Electric-gas coordination: Utilities, states, FERC, and DOE should support increased coordination between the electric and natural gas industries to address potential reliability and resilience concerns associated with organizational and infrastructure differences. DOE and FERC should support wellfunctioning commodity markets for natural gas by expeditiously processing liquefied natural gas export and cross-border natural gas pipeline applications.

    Areas For Further Research

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