NewEnergyNews: 07/01/2019 - 08/01/2019/


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.

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  • 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

    Wednesday, July 31, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING:Bringing More People In On Power System Decisions

    A utility regulatory process for the 21st century gets a test run in Hawaii; A set of regulatory workshops advanced a more collaborative process among stakeholders and a reduced utility role to more quickly facilitate the power sector's transformation

    Herman K. Trabish, March 19, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The Phase 1 of this proceeding described here recently moved to Phase 2 as planned with all stakeholders reporting they were accurately represented in the commission order. This suggests success for the new approach.

    Regulation of utilities has always had the formal, legalistic qualities of a courtroom without the drama that high crimes and TV fiction add. But a new effort to bring out the more collaborative part of the regulatory process was recently introduced in workshops as part of Hawaii's ongoing proceeding to develop a new business model for the state's regulated utilities. Led by facilitators from think tank Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the workshops stressed stakeholder interactions as a way build to consensus without compromising the legalistic underpinnings of the process.

    Driven by customer demand, climate change and reliability needs, utilities and others are finding that rapid changes in today's power sector require something beyond traditional regulation. But while renewables and distributed energy resources (DER) have become practical and least-cost options, outdated regulatory approaches continue to support utility investments in traditional assets, impeding the power sector's transformation and making reform necessary, veterans of the process told Utility Dive.

    "Existing regulatory processes were designed for the different purposes of the 20th century system and won't work in the rapidly transforming 21st century," Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) Principal David Littell, a former commissioner with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, told Utility Dive. "Utilities used to be the initiators of new ratepayer costs and were protected by formal and intimidating legalistic regulatory processes that made it hard for the public to engage," he added. Companies who sell DER, their customers and DER advocates "are beginning to participate and it is opening up the old processes."

    The need for reform of the regulatory process was echoed in the February 2019 launch of the Renovate initiative, which is being convened by the Smart Electric Power Alliance and launched in partnership with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and 10 other groups. The initiative aims to evolve state regulatory processes and open opportunities for "innovative technologies and business operating models that support the transition to a clean and modern energy grid," the organizations said in a statement.

    But while new stakeholders are intervening in regulatory proceedings on rates and technology, commission processes often do not make it easy for their voices to be heard, according to a new paper from RMI on leveling the playing field for advocates of the new power sector. The RMI paper proposes a commission-initiated reform when interaction with stakeholders reveals the need and opportunity for a new process. The commission should then make clear its "vision" of what that new process should achieve and open a docket to bring stakeholders further into the process. Reform would culminate with the implementation of a new regulatory process.

    The RMI-led workshops on Hawaii's performance-based regulation proceeding were a major test of the RMI ideas, effective in part because "the [public utility] commission set the agenda, and the utility was just one of many parties participating," Earthjustice Attorney Isaac Moriwake, who represented environmental advocacy group Blue Planet Foundation in the proceeding, told Utility Dive. The Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) declined to comment on its participation in the RMI workshops but Moriwake and other participants saw the workshop as evidence that a regulatory process can help level the playing field between the utility and other stakeholders… click here for more


    Tuesday, July 30, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: Businesses Still Buying Solar Bigtime

    Solar Means Business; Tracking Solar Adoption by America’s Top Brands

    July 2019 (Solar Energy Industries Association)

    Key Findings

    • Accounting for both on-site and off-site projects, Apple is the top U.S. corporate solar user with 393 megawatts (MW) installed, after adding 130 MW in 2018.

    • Amazon moves into the second spot with 330 MW installed, an increase of 36 MW from 2017.

    • Target rounds out the top three with 242 MW installed, while retaining the top spot for on-site installations at 230 MW.

    • 2018 ranks as the second-largest year for commercial solar installations, with 1,144 MW installed.

    • More than half of all corporate solar capacity has been installed in the last three years.

    • With more than 7 gigawatts (GW) installed across 35,000 installations, corporate solar deployment is 23 times larger today than it was a decade ago.

    • The systems tracked in this report generate 10.7 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power 1.4 million homes.

    • The solar generation from these systems offsets 7.5 million metric tons of CO2 every year, equivalent to taking 1.6 million cars off the road.

    • Growth in corporate solar demand has been led primarily by declining prices, which have fallen by 63% over the last decade.

    • Off-site corporate procurement is growing rapidly. The 1.5 GW of off-site systems installed since 2014 represent nearly a third of all installed commercial capacity over that time period. • Nearly 4 GW of new off-site corporate projects have been procured over the last 18 months.

    • The future is bright for commercial solar:

    • Reductions in module tariffs will remove a major distortion in hardware costs.

    • Continued rapid growth in corporate off-site and community solar is expected.

    • Price declines for solar + storage will open market opportunities for more companies.

    • Demand will be led by continued corporate commitments for 100% renewable energy.

    America’s Top Corporate Solar Users

    Top 25 Corporate Users by Total Installed Solar Capacity

    • Counting both on-site and offsite capacity, Apple takes the top spot with 393 megawatts (MW) of solar installed, marking the first year a company in the tech space sits atop the leaderboard.

    • With its mixture of installations on Fulfillment Centers and several large off-site projects in Virginia, Amazon takes second place.

    • Former champions Target and Walmart continue to increase their solar investments and remain in the top 5, followed by data center builder Switch with 179 MW of off-site solar in Nevada.

    • 15 of the top 25 corporate solar users are part of the Fortune 500 rankings, along with 30 of the top 50

    Top 25 Corporate Users by Installed On-site Solar Capacity

    • Looking only at on-site solar installations, Target claims the top spot for the third year in a row, extending their lead by more than 20 MW. • Walmart has ranked first or second for onsite installations every year since this report debuted in 2012. • Prologis continued to add solar to their properties in 2018 while fellow Real Estate firm Brookfield acquired GGP Inc. to further expand its solar portfolio.

    Top 25 Corporate Users by Number of Solar Installations

    • Target and Walmart continue to pace the field for number of individual solar installations. • Fellow retailers Walgreens, Kohl’s and Macy’s round out the top 5, making use of their hundreds of rooftops nationwide.

    • Most companies on this list utilize mid-sized rooftop systems to achieve their solar goals, in contrast to the large ground-mounted systems used by companies at the top of the overall rankings.

    Top 25 Corporate Users by Solar Capacity Installed in 2018

    • Apple takes the top spot for 2018 installed capacity in addition to the overall rankings, attributable to a 130 MW off-site project that came online in California.

    • Similarly, Solvay, Fifth Third Bank, Paypal, Digital Reality, Wynn Las Vegas, and Facebook all saw large off-site projects come online in 2018.

    • Amazon installed the most on-site solar in 2018 with 36 MW deployed.

    • Target saw 27 MW of onsite installations in 2018, coupled with 13 MW in new community solar.

    Top 10 Corporate Users by Percentage of Facilities with Solar

    • IKEA has led this category since the first edition of this report, as they continue to work towards renewable energy solutions for each of their properties.

    • Cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal follows closely behind IKEA with solar supporting operations at 16 of their 22 U.S. locations.

    • While they are not listed here, hundreds of small businesses across the country have solar on 100% of their facilities…

    Commercial Solar Prices Continue to Decline

    • Based on the data collected for this report, the price to install an on-site commercial system has dropped by nearly 63% over the past decade. Similar price declines are seen across all system sizes.

    • Price declines have been driven by reductions in the cost of panels and other hardware, but also by improvements in labor efficiency and company overhead as markets become more competitive.

    • Tariffs on imported panels have slowed price declines since their announcement in 2017, driving domestic module prices $0.12 $0.13/watt higher than global prices…

    Looking Ahead

    • The Non-Residential solar market (including commercial, non-profit and community solar) is expected to decline 14% in 2019 as key state markets in California and Massachusetts continue to transition to new rate designs and incentive structures, and community solar deployment in Minnesota slows. Still, the market should see a top-three year for deployment.

    • Growth is expected to resume in 2020 as module tariff reductions and ITC demand pull-in help to boost growth. Full ITC draw-down in 2022 causes market to flatten relative to what would be expected from an ITC extension. The growth of community solar programs in the outyears helps to mitigate ITC losses.

    • Additionally, off-site corporate solar growth (not included in this chart) is expected to increase rapidly, with 3.3 GW procured in 2018 alone and an additional 500 MW announced in the first half of 2019. Starting in 2020, off-site corporate installations could represent more than 1 GW in deployment annually.

    Challenges and Opportunities for Commercial Solar


    • Solar module tariff will raise domestic prices and prevent full realization of market potential through 2021

    • Declining state-level incentives in many markets

    • Less attractive rate design

    • Ramp-down of federal solar Investment Tax Credit scheduled to begin in 2020

    • Move from early adopters to mainstream commercial consumers in established markets; customer acquisition issues


    • Continued price decline opportunities, especially in permitting and inspection costs, which are among the highest in the world

    • Increased electrification pushing wide variety of companies to think differently about electricity

    • Decreasing costs of solar + storage create resiliency options, new revenue streams

    • More large corporates committing to 100% renewable energy

    • Increasing flexibility in pursuing large off-site projects as states, utilities and financial institutions lower barriers

    • Many state markets remain untapped, creating growth potential as solar installer landscape becomes increasingly competitive

    QUICK NEWS, July 30: Dems To Debate Climate Crisis Sept.4 On CNN; Rooftop Solar Expansion Continues

    Dems To Debate Climate Crisis Sept.4 On CNN CNN to host climate crisis town hall with 2020 Democratic candidates Kyle Blaine, July 25, 2019 (CNN)

    “…[Breaking the pattern of major media ignoring climate crisis issues, CNN will host a Democratic presidential town hall in September focused on the climate crisis… on Wednesday, September 4, in New York City. CNN is inviting candidates who meet the Democratic National Committee's polling threshold for the September primary debate to participate, meaning they've reached at least 2% in four approved polls by August 28...Eight candidates so far have met the polling threshold: former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren…The 2020 Democratic field has been united in promising to combat climate change…

    …[Many Democratic candidates have] policy proposals to address the threat posed by a warming planet. President Donald Trump has pledged to leave the Paris climate accord and has said he does not believe government reports that cast grave warnings about the effects of climate change…The most prominent proposal put forth by Democrats and backed by multiple presidential candidates has been the Green New Deal, the renewable-energy infrastructure investment plan proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York…[The climate town hall will follow CNN’s established format] in which Democratic candidates appeared back-to-back across the course of the evening…” click here for more

    Rooftop Solar Expansion Continues Of New Power Generation, How Much is on the Roof? Quarterly Update — 2019 Q1

    Marie Donahue, 24 June 2019 (Institute for Local Self Reliance)

    “The first quarter of 2019 saw renewable resources claim a majority share of new power generation for the second quarter in a row and for eight of the past 12 quarters…Overall, total power capacity clocked in at nearly 7 gigawatts of new generation added during this period — the largest amount of new capacity in any first quarter in recent years…[N]ew capacity from fracked gas plants dropped by more than 50 percent compared to the last quarter of 2018 (2.9 gigawatts from 6.5 gigawatts)…

    “…[Its share of total generation declined] by four percentage points…[T]he share of solar from small-scale, distributed power — residential and commercial installation of photovoltaic arrays — continues to see steady growth and has kept pace with growth in larger, utility-scale solar in the first quarter of 2019…[T]he share of small-scale solar gained five percentage points compared to the last quarter of 2018. For the sixth consecutive quarter, small-scale solar added more than 850 megawatts of new capacity nationally…” click here for more

    Monday, July 29, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: Smarter Electricity Rates Allow More New Energy

    Current Developments in Retail Rate Design: Implications for Solar and Other Distributed Energy Resources

    Andrew J. Satchwell, Peter A. Cappers, and Galen L. Barbose, July 24, 2019 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    Executive Summary

    Retail electricity pricing is evolving in the context of broader shifts in how electricity customers pay for grid services and how they are compensated for customer-sited generation. This evolution has been prompted by a broad set of factors, chief among them being: widespread adoption of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), increased customer investment in solar and other distributed energy resources (DERs), concerns about utilities’ fixed cost recovery and revenue sufficiency in an era of flat or declining load growth, and significant changes to utilities’ hourly net load profiles and operational needs as greater amounts of variable renewable energy (VRE) resources connect to the grid.

    This report discusses five current retail rate design trends among residential and commercial customer classes that have emerged, at least in part, in response to those drivers, and uses case studies to illustrate key motivations, variations in rate design, and aspects of implementation experience. Highlights from our review of these rate design trends include the following:

    • Increased pursuit of residential time-based rates: Though the federal government enacted legislation over forty years ago asking states to consider the appropriateness of time-based rates, currently only around 3% of residential electricity customers see any temporal variation in the price of electricity (Hledik et al., 2017). As advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployment progresses, broader and stronger regulatory support for the adoption of time-based rate options is beginning to emerge. For example, based on the results of their two-year residential pricing pilot, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is currently transitioning all of its residential customer to a default time-of-use (TOU) rate, which has a peak-period shifted to late afternoon and early evening hours (5-8 PM) (SMUD, 2017). Starting in 2010, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) began to test with its residential and small commercial customers a variant of a TOU rate, where the peak price changed daily to better reflect contemporaneous market conditions. That pilot was so successful that the utility gained authorization from its regulators to offer the rate starting in 2013 on a voluntary basis to all its residential customers, with the goal of enrolling 20% of them within three years. As of December 2016, OG&E had enrolled about 107,000 residential customers in its SmartHours Variable Peak Pricing (VPP) rate, representing 19% of its residential customer base (AEG, 2017).

    • Development of rates and programs to promote midday load building: Utility system planners and system operators in some regions are anticipating, if not already observing, steep declines in load during the morning and steep inclines in late-afternoon/early-evening periods, due to solar PV resources on the bulk power system. This may result in wholesale power costs dropping precipitously during midday hours and curtailment of renewable generators (Seel et al., 2018). One strategy utilities have considered to assist in grid management employs TOU rates designed with very low priced (“super off-peak”) periods that coincide with these low cost midday hours (sometimes referred to as matinee pricing). California’s investor-owned utilities are currently testing whether residential customers will increase their usage in response to such super-off peak prices as well as reduce or shift usage away from higher-priced peak periods that primarily cover late afternoon and early evening hours, year-round (CPUC, 2015). Alternatively, a utility could pursue programs that provide direct financial incentives for customers to use more load when there is excess generation on the system. Arizona Public Service (APS) recently filed a proposal to implement a reverse demand response program to promote load building during certain periods of time in order to avoid curtailing renewable energy production (APS, 2017). This proposal was filed in September 2017, and is currently awaiting decision from the Arizona Corporation Commission.

    • Increased application of residential three-part rates: While three-part rates (i.e., demand charges, along with volumetric energy charges and fixed customer charges) have been largely confined to commercial and industrial customers, utilities have become increasingly interested in extending demand charges into the residential sector as well, with the stated purpose of better aligning rate design with underlying cost causation and stabilizing fixed-cost recovery. Within the residential sector, demand charges have been offered mostly on a voluntary basis, but several utilities have implemented or proposed such rates on a mandatory basis, at least for customers with rooftop PV or other DERs. APS has perhaps the longest running experience among investor-owned utilities (IOUs) with voluntary demand charge rates for residential customers and recently launched a new set of tariff options, with 17% of customers opting onto one of the demand charge rates. Analysis of a previous APS tariff offering found that customers on the demand charge rate reduced their billing demand by roughly 11%, on average. Salt River Project (SRP) also recently introduced a mandatory demand charge rate for new rooftop solar customers. Customers on SRP’s new demand-charge rate have reduced their billing demand by 11% on average, potentially enabled by the sizeable contingent of recent solar adopters that also installed storage. Despite those demand management efforts and opportunities, new solar applications are roughly 20% below their level prior to implementation of the new tariffs.

    • Development of new net-metering alternatives: Many states have undertaken reforms of existing net energy metering (NEM) tariffs, driven chiefly by concerns about cost-shifting between NEM participants and other ratepayers, and to incentivize customer DER investments that provide greater benefits to the broader electric system. Among states that have adopted an alternative to NEM, net billing has been, by far, the most common approach—whereby customers can continue to offset contemporaneous usage with DERs, but any exported energy is compensated at some designated grid-export rate. New York’s Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) tariff represents a relatively sophisticated form of net billing, with grid export rates that vary by time and location, and a phased implementation schedule for different market segments. Hawaii has also moved to net billing, with a range of transitional tariff options, and has seen a sizeable portion of applications in the past year opt for solar+storage configurations in order to qualify for morefavorable grid export prices and other terms.

    • Development of new electric vehicle-specific rates: States and utilities with some of the highest growth and interest in supporting electric vehicle (EV) adoption are introducing retail rates specific to EVs. In addition, some EV-specific rates are designed to potentially better direct charging behaviors in ways that minimize the grid impacts and also potentially benefit the grid from such electric-intensive end-uses. EV-specific rates primarily differ as to whether they include demandbased or time-based energy charges, a potentially contentious detail that may incentivize or deincentivize certain forms of EV charging (e.g., demand charges may particularly impact public charging by penalizing fast chargers, which are demand intensive). Georgia Power‘s rate offers EVowners a time-based (TOU) energy charge applicable to the entire household consumption. This contrasts with Austin Energy’s residential fixed, monthly fee limiting EV charging to off-peak hours only. San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E)’s rate for EV charging at multi-unit dwellings and workplaces includes locational costs based on California ISO day-ahead market prices and distribution feeder load.

    Each of the five rate design trends entails potentially significant implications for solar and other DERs, in terms of both the quantity and type of deployment that may occur in the future. As shown in Table ES - 1, the potential near-term impacts on DER deployment (which, in some cases, have already been observed) vary significantly depending on the particular rate design and type of DER: either accelerating or constraining deployment, and to varying degrees. These near-term impacts also depend critically on specific tariff design details (e.g., the timing of TOU peak periods or the type of demand charge adopted), as indicated by the ranges shown in the table for any particular rate reform and DER

    In considering how these various rate reform trends may impact DER deployment, three broad themes emerge:

    • DER impacts depend critically on the specifics of the tariff structure. Even if obvious, it cannot be over-stated how important are the specifics of any particular rate design in assessing the potential impacts on DER deployment. Among the rate design trends discussed in this report, this includes details such as: the timing and peak-to-off-peak pricing differential under time-based rates, the choice between intermittent vs. continuous incentives to increase midday load, the use of coincident vs. non-coincident demand charges, the specific price paid for grid exports under net billing rates, and whether or not EV-specific rates are sub-metered vs. applied on a whole-house basis. Details such as these dictate not only the magnitude, but in some cases also the directionality of impact for certain DERs.

    • Flexible DERs generally benefit more under emerging rate design trends. DERs exist along a continuum of flexibility, ranging from those with largely fixed load shapes (energy efficiency (EE) and PV), to those with some level of discretion in how they are operated (EVs and certain other forms of electrification), to fully dispatchable resources (storage and certain forms of demand response (DR) and electrification). As evident by a quick glance at Table ES - 1, most emerging rate reforms tend to support greater deployment of flexible DERs (e.g., storage and DR), while often constraining adoption of less-flexible resources (e.g., PV and EE). This outcome is driven by the general movement towards rate structures with greater temporal granularity, which naturally tends to encourage price-responsive resources.

    • Emerging rate designs generally encourage load building (during specific times of the day). Though only one of the five rate design trends discussed in this report is explicitly intended as a tool for load building (“Development of rates and programs to promote midday load building”), most of the other rate design trends also incentivize load building, whether in the form of EVs, other types of electrification, or energy storage (which increases net electricity consumption due to round-trip losses and ancillary loads). The incentives for load building are often concentrated during particular times of the day, though depending on their design, three-part rates may encourage load building across a fairly broad range of hours. In contrast, the emerging rate designs discussed in this report generally tend to constrain growth of DERs that reduce consumption of grid-supplied electricity (EE and, especially, PV). This outcome is driven partly by the general movement toward greater levels of attribute unbundling and temporal granularity that better reflects marginal costs. Load building is also a natural response on the part of electric utilities to slowing sales growth and ongoing concerns about revenue erosion from EE and PV, and electrification is a strategy that some state policymakers and regulators have endorsed for addressing their greenhouse gas abatement goals.

    Regulators engaged in retail rate reform efforts may wish to consider explicitly how new rate designs may impact deployment trends among different types of DERs, weighing those impacts against the many other considerations and stakeholder perspectives that regulators must balance in establishing utility rate structures.

    QUICK NEWS, July 29: A Conservative’s Climate Crisis Fight; New Energy Holding The Lead

    A Conservative’s Climate Crisis Fight Against Climate Panic, for Climate Hope

    David French, July 25, 2019 (National Review)

    “We must craft a conservative, ecomodernist vision of environmental action…[W]e are in a crisis, an emergency. And my kid won’t solve it, and your kid won’t solve it. If they are empaths they will feel just as trapped as I do, just as complicit in something they cannot solve — and they will pollute and harm and gobble up the world because that is what it means to live in the 21st century…I cried two times when my daughter was born. First for joy, when after 27 hours of labor the little feral being we’d made came yowling into the world, and the second for sorrow, holding the earth’s newest human and looking out the window with her at the rows of cars in the hospital parking lot, the strip mall across the street, the box stores and drive-throughs and drainage ditches and asphalt and waste fields that had once been oak groves. A world of extinction and catastrophe, a world in which harmony with nature had long been foreclosed… I could see no way to shield her from the future…

    …I’m reminded of the nuclear fears that haunted my generation…[But] there’s a key difference between climate-change anxiety and nuclear anxiety: There is far more cause for hope for the future now…We did not have concrete reason to hope for the peace that did, in fact, come…[One does not have to buy the doomsday scenarios] to be concerned about humanity’s impact on the climate and the climate’s impact on humans…The same human ingenuity and industry that has extended life expectancies, slashed extreme poverty by 74 percent in 25 years, and also reduced carbon emissions in numerous advanced economies can advance the twin, interconnected goals of human flourishing and planetary flourishing…[There is] ample room for political disagreement about costs, approach, and policy…[A] challenge exists but…panic is counterproductive and polarization should be shunned…[Our] ingenuity and creativity can craft the instruments of our own environmental rescue.” click here for more

    New Energy Holding The Lead EIA's Latest "Electric Power Monthly" Report: Second Month In A Row, Renewables Top Coal; Year To Date: Renewables Exceed 20.3% Of U.S. Electricity And Outpace Nuclear/Solar Surpasses 2.5% Of Total As Wind Overtakes Hydropower

    Ken Bossong, July 29, 2019 (Sun Day)

    “Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for more than a fifth (20.3%) of net domestic electrical generation during the first five months of 2019…[S]olar and wind both showed continued growth…Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, increased by 10.9% compared to the first five months of 2018 and accounted for 2.6% of the nation's total net generation…Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) - which increased by 20.2% - provided a third (33.3%) of total solar electrical generation…U.S. wind-generated electricity topped that provided by hydropower by 2.7%. Wind's share was 8.0% of total electrical output vs. 7.8% from hydropower…

    Combined wind and solar accounted for 10.6% of U.S. electrical generation through the end of May. In addition, biomass provided 1.5% and geothermal contributed a bit more than 0.4%...[F]or the five-month period, electricity from renewable energy sources surpassed that from nuclear power (331,613 vs. 331,200 thousand megawatt-hours). In May alone, renewably-generated electricity exceeded nuclear's output by almost 10% (i.e., 9.9%)…[F]or the second month in a row, renewably-generated electricity exceeded that from coal (73,779 vs. 71,988 thousand megawatt-hours)…[R]enewables for the first time moved into second place [for the month] among the major generating sources…exceeded only by natural gas…” click here for more

    Saturday, July 27, 2019

    Recycle This

    “The recycling process is much messier than most people believe.” From The Daily Show via Comedy Central

    Even Harder Than Going To The Moon

    Three cheers to VW for proposing to reach an emissions-neutral planet called Earth by 2050. From via YouTube

    The Better New Energies

    Vermont is doing big things with New Energy, led by the remarkable Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell, who tells Charlie here “humanity is at stake.” From Travels With Charlie via YouTube

    Friday, July 26, 2019

    It IS A Crisis And The Urgency Is Growing

    Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months

    Matt McGrath, 24 July 2019 (BBC News)

    “…[To achieve the critical 45% reduction in global emissions by 2030, vital political advances must] happen before the end of next year…The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can't be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020…One of the understated headlines in last year's IPCC report was that global emissions of carbon dioxide must peak by 2020 to keep the planet below 1.5C…Current plans are nowhere near strong enough to keep temperatures below the so-called safe limit…[We are heading towards 3C of heating by 2100 not 1.5…[I]f the 45% carbon cut target by 2030 is to be met then the plans really need to be on the table by the end of 2020…

    The first major hurdle will be the special climate summit…in New York on 23 September…But the really big moment will most likely be [at the UN meeting on climate] in the UK…at the end of 2020…[There is a growing] hunger for solutions that people can put in place in their own lives…People are demanding significant action, and politicians in many countries have woken up to these changes…[The U.S. has the green new deal and some countries have] legislated for net zero emissions…[But other countries seem keen to slow down progress. Last December the US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia blocked the IPCC special report on 1.5C from UN talks…[If global summits over the next 18 months turn the tide,] the world might have a fighting chance of preserving our natural environment. But the challenges are huge…” click here for more

    Global Ocean Wind Blowing Up

    Global Gust for Offshore Wind Energy Market Mary B. Powers, Peter Reina, and Debra K. Rubin, July 24, 2019 (Engineering News-Record)

    "….[There is growing excitement about] the potential of the booming global offshore wind energy marketplace…[There is unprecedented] demand across worldwide locations…[and technologies have] demonstrated an ability to scale up greater than other types of renewables…[Europe’s commitment and much-improved production economics have led to] two-thirds of the 15% rise—from nearly 105 GW last year—in offshore wind capacity in operation, construction or development…[There are plans for 55.6 GW of new] offshore wind installed globally through 2025, up from a previous estimate of about 41.3 GW…

    Five countries, led by the U.K., account for 75% of global capacity…The new project surge coincides with offshore wind costs falling by half in recent years, with France just buying 600 MW at less than $56 per MWh and the U.K. set to pay $70 per MWh for up to 6,000 MW of new capacity…Turbine size is key, with early 2 and 3-MW models giving way to 9.5-MW capacity machines…[The Global Wind Energy Council forecasts between 190 GW] to 220 GW of total installations by 2030…” click here for more

    New Energy Jobs Around The World

    The State Of Global Renewable Energy Employment…

    Niall McCarthy, July 23, 2019 (Forbes)

    “In 2018, 11 million people were directly and indirectly employed in the renewable energy sector around the world, an increase on 10.3 million the year before…Solar photovoltaic accounted for 3.6 million jobs, 3.2 million were in bioenergy, 1.2 million were in wind and the rest were distributed across several industries such as solar heating and biogas…China is the clear leader in renewable energy employment with 4.1 million jobs in 2018, 39% of the global total…[but its job count dropped in 2017] due to a fall in solar PV employment amid a suspension of subsidies and lower domestic sales…

    …[Brazil’s 1.1 million renewables jobs made it second, and its wind and solar sectors are expected to grow. Its 832,000 people employed in the biofuels sector made it] the world's largest biofuels employer…Despite the Trump administration's coal-friendly policies, employment in the U.S. renewable energy sector rose from around 786,000 in 2017 to 855,000 in 2018, with [311,000 in biofuels, 242,000 in solar, and 114,000 in wind. But uncertainty around U.S. tariff policy and state-level changes] are having an impact on some parts of the renewables sector…[and] solar recorded its second consecutive year of job losses…India is making dramatic progress and its renewable energy jobs total skyrocketed from 432,000 to 719,000 between 2017 and 2018.” click here for more

    Thursday, July 25, 2019

    Study Shows How Climate Crisis Created A SuperBug

    'This Is the Beginning': New Study Warns Climate Crisis May Have Been Pivotal in Rise of Drug-Resistant Superbug; Research argues that deadly Candida auris "may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change."

    Jessica Corbett, July 23, 2019 (Common Dreams)

    “…[The climate crisis may have been ‘pivotal’] in the recent rise of a multidrug-resistant fungal [Candida auris] superbug, sparking questions and concerns about the emerging public health threats…Until recently, scientists considered it a mystery how C. auris popped up in more than 30 countries around the globe a decade after it was first discovered in 2009. It emerged simultaneously on three continents—in India, Venezuela, and South Africa—between 2012 and 2015, each strain being genetically distinct…[A new study argues that] Candida auris ‘may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change’…

    …[As the climate has warmed, some organisms, including Candida auris, have successfully] adapted…Fungal diseases are relatively uncommon in humans because of body temperature—but if they adapt to rising temperatures, and aren't easily treatable with medications, they could increasingly endanger human health on a global scale…[Scientists say] C. auris may be the first fungal disease whose emergence scientists have tied to rising temperatures…[but may not] be the last…[I]t could potentially transmit DNA to other Candida species. And maybe even bacteria…” click here for more

    Record U.S. Wind Build

    24GW under construction in the US; The US has a record amount of wind capacity under construction, with some 24GW currently being built according to preliminary figures on the first half of 2019...

    18 July 2019 (Windpower Monthly)

    “…[Preliminary data for H1 2019 shows the U.S. has 24GW of wind in construction, up from 19GW in H1 2018. Only 1.5GW has come online, far short of the 6.6GW forecast for 2019, but] the final quarter of every year sees a flurry of commissioning at US sites and with the phase out of key subsidy, the Production Tax Credit, rapidly nearing its end a final rush is expected…[Eight utility-scale US projects] were commissioned in H1 2019: three in Iowa, two in Texas, and one each in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota…[Thousands of MWs] of capacity are under construction and expected online this year in Texas, Iowa, Illinois and Oklahoma…GE Renewable Energy inched ahead of Vestas to become the leading OEM in the US in 2018…

    In the first half of the year, that trend continues, with GE just pipping Vestas for installed capacity added…[but Vestas has] more capacity under construction…[A total pipeline of 80GW is] in the early stages of development in the US, ranging from preliminary planning to the final stages of the permitting process…[Led by Massachusetts and New Jersey,] as much as 17.7GW is expected to be delivered offshore…[Onshore, Texas has 11.3GW in development and large] pipelines of around three or four gigawatts exist in Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming, South Dakota, New York and Nebraska…” click here for more

    The Fight For Solar Now

    The 50 States of Solar: 42 States and D.C. Took Action on Distributed Solar Policy and Rate Design During Q2 2019

    July 24, 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    “…[A total of 172 distributed solar policy actions were taken in 42 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with] the greatest number of actions relating to net metering policies, residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases, and community solar policies…[The Q2 2019 50 States of Solar identifies three trends… (1) state undertaking studies to guide net metering successor tariff development, (2) utilities withdrawing proposals to adopt additional fees for solar customers, and (3) states establishing longer transitions to net metering successor tariffs.

    State legislatures considered over 150 bills related to net metering, rate design, and solar ownership policies so far in 2019, with 20 bills being enacted so far…[T]he top five policy developments of Q2 2019 were: South Carolina legislators unanimously passing a net metering extension and successor bill; Connecticut lawmakers delaying the state’s net metering successor tariff transition; The Michigan Public Service Commission approving new distributed generation tariffs for DTE Electric and Upper Peninsula Power Company; Idaho Power and PacifiCorp proposing major net metering reforms; and We Energies proposing, and later withdrawing, an additional fee for solar customers…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 24, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Policy Takes On The Hard Questions

    As US solar expands, states increasingly tackle compensation and community project complexities; Years of debate by "nerds in beige rooms" has led to today's booming solar market, but solar policy is becoming even more complicated.

    Herman K. Trabish, March 14, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Policy debates continue to proliferate and increase in complexity.

    U.S. installed solar capacity grew by about a third from 2015 through 2018, but solar policy actions grew by over 50%, according to two recent reports. In particular, there has been increased policy action in two critical areas: developing more equitable solar compensation and establishing growing community solar programs. As the solar market continues to grow — estimated to reach 4.3 GW of new utility-scale solar capacity and 3.9 GW of new distributed solar capacity by the end of 2019 — its perceived threat to the utility business model is producing new debates about how to make solar work better for all power sector stakeholders.

    "The utility industry continues to react to the low cost and popularity of solar and storage devices with efforts across many jurisdictions to question the benefits," former Maine utility commissioner David Littell, now a principal at the Regulatory Assistance Project, told Utility Dive. The changes that come with solar and storage are intimidating for utility executives and engineers because they are complicated, destabilize revenue and threaten system reliability, he added. "But they need to realize the world is more complicated."

    "Wanting to manage cost is not the same as opposing solar," National Grid Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Tim Roughan told Utility Dive. "Solar should be priced so we can afford to do lots of it for a long time instead of increasing bills so much that no more solar gets built. But these policy debates are not leading to managing the cost or to a new tariff that works." Some see policy debates as the key to progress. "Every energy sector market is the result of policy debates by nerds in beige rooms who created rules to open up competition," Western Resources Advocates (WRA) Clean Energy Program Deputy Director Erin Overturf told Utility Dive. "It allowed us to build a solar market that drove prices down. And now we are working on new, more complicated policies to expand that market's impact."

    State-level distributed solar policy actions grew from approximately 175 in 2015 to 264 in 2018, according to the annual solar policy review released in January by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC). Policy actions on community solar, compensation debates and actions on controversial fixed, demand and solar-only charges all remain at the forefront of solar policy debates, according to the report. With nearly every state now engaged in solar policy, the Center expects "even more activity in 2019," NCCETC Senior Policy Research Manager and report lead author Autumn Proudlove told Utility Dive… click here for more


    Tuesday, July 23, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: Virtual Power Plants Go Global

    Virtual Power Plants Go Global; A Commercial Pathway for Moving From VPP to DERMS

    Peter Ausmus, 2Q 2019 (Navigant Research)


    Virtual Power Plants Go Global

    As distributed energy resources (DER) continue to proliferate, so do the reliability challenges associated with smaller, diverse, and dispersed assets now populating the world’s aging grid infrastructure. In the past, one of the chief concerns of utilities and grid operators was managing the intermittency of wholesale renewable energy sources, such as wind. Today, the diversity of resources being added to the power grid now include EVs—with mobile loads equivalent to a home—and rooftop solar PV coupled with energy storage devices at residences. As the aging grid infrastructure was not designed for twoway power flows, these recent trends create new challenges—as well as opportunities. A transformation is needed. As the platforms required to manage a more DER-dominated grid emerge, virtual power plants (VPPs) provide the necessary software to deal with these challenges and keep electric grids in a state of constant, delicate, and reliable balance.

    Across Europe and Asia Pacific markets, utilities are joining their North American counterparts in seeking to modernize legacy demand response (DR) programs, widening the pool of DER assets and the services they can provide. This white paper shows that the need for grid balance is a global phenomenon. It highlights the ever-growing pool of diverse assets being rolled into VPPs and setting the stage for future DER management systems (DERMS). The VPP market is much more mature, but the evolution to DERMS is likely a natural response to the need for optimization of distribution networks due to the anticipated explosion of prosumer DER assets


    Utility Drivers for Grid Asset Control and Optimization Enbala has conducted a survey of the DistribuTECH conference attendees over the last 3 years. While attendee demographics shift annually, the survey provides a snapshot of top-of-mind trendlines among energy market participants—predominantly in North America, but also in Asia Pacific and Europe. The surveys reflect common concerns for utilities and grid operators as the world undergoes dramatic changes.

    As Figure 2-1 shows, the distributed energy resources (DER) that utilities and grid operators seek to control are diverse, ranging from loads to generation, energy storage to EVs. These findings confirm Navigant Research’s contention that the virtual power plant (VPP) market is shifting to the mixed-asset segment. VPPs, and ultimately DER management systems (DERMS), will both be designed to network and optimize the full spectrum of DER due to advances in artificial intelligence, scalability, and speed.

    click to enlarge

    Approximately 25% of the survey respondents have a VPP or DERMS platform in place to control and manage DER. When asked about the programs for which these assets are used, respondents name automated DR and integrated energy efficiency as the top two applications.

    This is consistent with results from the previous 2 years; however, 2019 showed a decrease in respondents saying they had DERMS pilots underway, dropping from 52% in 2018 to 38% in 2019.

    Despite these perceived obstacles shown in Figure 2-2, respondents also acknowledge many compelling reasons to invest in DER assets and the hardware and software technologies that control and manage them. Chief among them are meeting grid reliability concerns and sustainability/carbon reduction goals. Some 61% of the 2019 survey respondents said grid reliability was their primary investment driver, followed by 48% who cited sustainability goals and 47% who focused on increasing opportunities for customer choice. These drivers are closely aligned to results from 2018 and 2017. Addressing declining electric supply was ranked highly as an investment driver in 2019, with 38% of the respondents saying it was a key reason to invest. This is higher than reflected in the survey results for the previous 2 years.


    Expanding the Universe of VPP Portfolios and Use Cases The buzz around DERMS remains high. However, most utilities and aggregators start their journey to DERMS with VPP use cases centered around the monetization of revenue streams from DR, capacity, and ancillary services such as frequency regulation markets. While some of these markets have existed for quite some time, the needs of the grid have evolved to mixing and matching diverse aggregations of DER, instead of siloed solutions zeroing in on just load or just generation. The rapid increase in deployment of energy storage has shifted the entire global VPP market to the mixed-asset VPP model. Enbala’s Concerto™ software platform is one example of the continued evolution of this DER optimization and management. The company is among the key players setting the stage for the convergence of mixed-asset VPPs into DERMS…


    Extracting Value from Mobility Assets for Grid Services Vehicle-grid integration (VGI) enables EVs to participate in grid balancing schemes as generation or demand assets for grid operators. EV batteries can respond more quickly and accurately to grid signals than other utility grid service assets, such as natural gaspowered peaker plants. This speed and accuracy could boost grid efficiency, but in most markets, these performance advantages are not compensated accordingly. Nevertheless, the availability of EVs to respond to grid signals at any time is sporadic. As a result, many early VGI pilots have targeted plug-in EV (PEV) charging at workplace PEV fleets. If integrated into VPPs, EVs themselves can be transformed from a grid challenge into a DER opportunity. If creatively controlled, software can tune EVs to do the following:

    • Reduce negative impacts of EV charging loads on grid stability • Regulate frequency and offer voltage support for power grids • Enable mobile EV energy storage devices to become a grid balancing resource

    EVs are ideally suited for frequency regulation, a major VPP use case. They can also provide reactive power and voltage balancing—services that are more aligned with DERMS deployments by utilities. EVs offer several components and services of value: last resort stationary storage services, loads that (if curtailed or modulated) represent DR resources, and loads coupled with energy storage for optimized DR firming and flexible capacity. Early discussions of vehicle-to-grid focused on the use of vehicles to store energy in bulk and make it available to the grid or building at times when electricity is more expensive. While this market continues to have potential, attention has shifted to the use of EV loads for DR and to charging for frequency regulation. Using PEVs in frequency regulation has a lesser impact on vehicle batteries and automakers view it with greater acceptance. Along with DR, frequency regulation is also the prime service PEVs are expected to provide to microgrids and VPPs, ultimately addressing voltage concerns…


    The Convergence of VPPs and DERMS

    Though DERMS may be the new buzzword for those seeking solutions to DER challenges, the VPP use cases are more widely supported by regulatory structures, RFPs, and software technology advances. Each region around the world adds nuances to these use cases. The focus in North America, for example, has been more on regulated utility markets that are focused on DR. By contrast, Europe has seen a greater emphasis on large-scale renewable energy integration into wholesale markets since many DER portfolios are supported by feed-in tariffs rather than behind-the-meter energy consumption. Some view DERMS as a wider umbrella under which fall VPPs. Others, including Enbala, view DERMS and VPPs as essentially two sides of the same coin.

    Today, organizations ranging from the Institute of Electrical Energy Engineers, to the Electric Power Research Institute, to the Smart Energy Power Alliance are all trying to come up with a definition for DERMS. Perhaps the best way to view the convergence of these two control platform concepts is that they are on a journey—heading toward a future where economic and grid stability functions are ideally solved by a single platform. Just as DR providers have gradually expanded their control functionality to include control generation and then energy storage, so to can VPP platforms evolve into a DERMS solution, shifting from wider area networks and wholesale market transactions to more targeted active power management on distribution feeders, solving voltage hotspots. Today, actual commercial solicitations for DERMS solutions are few and far between. The global market for controls is looking to the monetize value streams now possible from DER portfolios. As DER penetration increases in the distribution network, there will be a need for DERMS to solve grid reliability issues in a more surgical way…

    QUICK NEWS, July 23: Climate Crisis Requires Ideal Plants; Where New Energy Can Grow

    Climate Crisis Requires Ideal Plants Can 'Supercharged' Plants Solve The Climate Crisis? Crops already suck up a lot of carbon dioxide. One scientist thinks they can do much more.

    Ravi Agrawal/ Joanne Chory, July 20, 2019 (Foreign Policy)

    “…Every year, humanity emits 37 gigatons of carbon dioxide; photosynthetic life can process and capture nearly half of that amount…[Salk Institute for Biological Studies botantist Joanne Chory is] creating plants that absorb more carbon dioxide—and then hold on to it for longer—than their wild cousins through a larger and deeper network of carbon-storing roots, creating so-called Ideal Plants…[The Harnessing Plants Initiative would genetically modify plants to create] a cost-effective and efficient way of actually pulling carbon dioxide down from the atmosphere and sequestering it down into the soil…

    Our ecosystem can naturally take up 17 gigatons of [the 37 gigatons of the carbon dioxide now generated annually] in the soil and the ocean. But the other 20 gigatons is what’s been heating up the atmosphere and wreaking havoc with our weather systems…The Ideal Plant project [is working to make plants produce more suberin,] a compound that all plants make in their roots…[I]t’s the perfect carbon storage device…[The objective is to] make them about 2 percent more efficient at redistributing carbon than they are right now…[The scientists say pulling] down 10 percent of those 20 gigatons of effect is proven, incentives would be justified] for farmers who have crops that suck up carbon dioxide…” click here for more

    Where New Energy Can Grow Harnessing Renewable Energy on our Public Lands

    Joshua Axelrod, July 19, 2019 (Natural Resources Defense Council)

    “…[New legislation] balances renewable energy production with enhanced environmental stewardship and is a key tool to help limit global climate change…[The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, introduced by Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ),] creates key tools and benchmarks for accelerating the deployment of solar, wind, and geothermal projects [on public lands. It has] bi-partisan support and strong industry endorsement, and it represents a major collaborative effort between conservation organizations, outdoor enthusiasts, the renewable energy industry, states, and counties. Its key provisions provide for… the establishment of a fish and wildlife conservation fund that would support expanding recreational access, conservation and restoration work and other important stewardship activities…[funds] for preserving and improving access, including enhancing public access to places that are currently inaccessible or restricted…

    …[It also includes an ambitious renewable energy production goal for the Department of the Interior to permit and provide incentives for] a total of 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2025—nearly double the current generating capacity of projects currently on our public lands…[and] criteria for identifying appropriate areas for renewable energy development…Key criteria to be considered include access to transmission lines and likelihood of avoiding or minimizing conflict with wildlife habitat, cultural resources, and other resources and values…[Revenues] raised from renewable energy development on public lands…[would be shared with] local communities near new renewable energy projects…[and to support] the efficient administration of permitting requirements…[This legislation allows for rapidly deploying renewable energy projects in ways that are thoughtful, efficient, and promote positive environmental, economic, and social outcomes…” click here for more