NewEnergyNews: 11/01/2019 - 12/01/2019/


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.

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

    Saturday, November 30, 2019

    Global New Energy Leaders And Options

    The key number: How big New Energy is in a country’s power mix. From CNBC International via YouTube

    Michigan’s Solar Energy Future

    Wind is the cheapest new electrical generation, solar is coming closer all the time and natgas is fading. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    A Battery Powered By CO2

    This technology is a long way from the market but it is rechargeable and offers a 7 times higher level of energy density. From ColdFusion via YouTube

    Thursday, November 28, 2019

    The Turkey Song

    NewEnergyNews is so grateful to so many…beginning with the Marks family foundation… the blessed cowgirls of Carousel Ranch… the enduring Randolph and the Scott clan… the always inspiring guys of Akbar…the inimitable Frenchie and her Juliette…the Cowboy Country and Cowboy Palace dancers…the yellow rose of Teri…and the staff at Utility Dive

    Can’t forget the hard working people who regulate and run the transmission and distribution systems and keep the lights on…the policymakers, innovators, and builders working to harvest the power of this good earth’s wind, sun, deep heat, and flowing waters, for sharing themselves and stories from the front lines of the fight to build a New Energy world…And, of course, the especially astute readers who keep clicking on this page…

    May you always count your blessings and may a kind fate lead you to your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…

    Video from David Lundgren via YouTube

    The Real Story Of Thanksgiving

    From the “truth hurts” files: This is why Native Americans call it “Remembrance Day” and not Thanksgiving. From DNYCEisBackAgain via YouTube

    A Crucial, If Lesser Known, Bit Of Thanksgiving History

    This isn’t part of the official history of Thanksgiving but it probably should be. From jasonxgoodman via YouTube

    Wednesday, November 27, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar + wind + storage developers 'gearing up' as hybrid projects edge to market

    Solar + wind + storage developers 'gearing up' as hybrid projects edge to market; A "wave" of new projects is coming to use wind, solar, and battery storage in ways that will stabilize grids, increase efficiencies and lower power costs.

    Herman K. Trabish, July 9, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Prices are dropping on solar+storage installations.

    Renewables are shedding their individual identities as wind and solar become clean energy MWhs. Though no full-scale hybrid projects co-locating both resources and energy storage have been built in the U.S. and few are online around the world, the U.S. renewables industries are taking on barriers such as interconnection, dispatch and compensation challenges, according to speakers at the 2019 American Wind Energy Association's Windpower conference.

    For the first time, the conference featured multiple sessions on the trials and opportunities of these hybrid renewables projects. In line with the ambitious resource partnerships among renewable energy groups, next year's conference will be rebranded Cleanpower 2020.

    Developers of hybrid projects "are gearing up," InterTran Energy Consulting Principal Rhonda Peters, who has long worked on regulatory obstacles to hybrid projects, told Utility Dive. "It's like the storm is brewing. It hasn't coalesced yet, but hybrid projects are absolutely the future."

    Academic studies show the theoretical value of co-located wind and solar when characteristics like resource intensity are complementary. Pilot projects in the U.S. and other countries have validated the research. Power purchase agreements (PPAs) for utility-scale hybrid projects are in place in Oregon and Arizona. But the concept may not become a marketplace reality until regulatory and policy barriers are overcome.

    Hybrid projects are defined as two or more fuel sources that share a point of interconnection and are dispatched "as a single generation entity," according to Peters. Theoretically, such projects could allow renewables to participate in capacity markets and be stored for use during peak demand periods that would otherwise require natural gas peaker plant generation.

    "Wind and solar are the two cheapest options for new generation, but their production is variable and they don't always generate when the grid needs it most," Rice University Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Daniel Cohan told Utility Dive. Wind's nighttime generation and solar's daytime output can address some of those limitations, Cohan's research on the Texas grid showedclick here for more


    Tuesday, November 26, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: Policy For Agriculture And Climate Change

    Agriculture And Climate Change: Policy Imperatives and Opportunities to Help Producers Meet the Challenge

    November 2019 (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition)

    Executive Summary

    The goals of the NSAC Policy Position Paper are to present the latest science on climate change in agriculture, and to identify priorities for federal policy and USDA programming to help farmers and ranchers meet the growing challenges of climate disruption, and contribute to climate change mitigation through carbon (C) sequestration and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their operations.

    The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) published in 2018 documents multiple adverse effects of climate change on U.S. agriculture, including:

    • Intensified droughts, floods, and storms

    • Stresses on crops, livestock, and farm personnel from higher summer temperatures

    • Disruption of seasonal development, flowering and fruiting in horticultural crops

    • Shifting pest, weed, and disease life cycles and geographic ranges

    • Disproportionate impacts on economically disadvantaged rural communities

    Record-breaking Midwest flooding in 2019, intense land-falling hurricanes in 2017 and 2018, and historic droughts in California in 2014 to 2017 highlight the urgent need to help producers build the resilience of their operations to ongoing and future impacts of climate change (“climate adaptation”).

    Agriculture affects climate in two ways: direct GHG emissions, and net loss of C from soil and biomass. Direct agricultural GHG emissions account for 8.4 percent of the U.S. total. Major contributors include nitrous oxide (N2O) from fertilized soil (49 percent), enteric methane (CH4) from livestock (32 percent), and GHG from manure storage facilities (14 percent). Currently, loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) as carbon dioxide (CO2) as a result of soil erosion and in-situ soil degradation contribute another 10 to 12 percent of annual human-caused GHG (global estimate). However, improved agricultural practices for soil health and resource conservation can potentially sequester sufficient SOC and biomass C to make U.S. agriculture climate neutral. USDA policy and programs must emphasize soil health and support producers to become part of the climate solution through C sequestration and reduced GHG emissions (“climate mitigation”).

    The most practical and cost-effective way to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere is through living plants and soils. Farmers and landowners can sequester tons of C per acre in soil and perennial biomass through best management practices for soil health, crop and livestock production, and agroforestry.

    Research has demonstrated that agroecological farming and ranching systems, including organic, sustainable, conservation agriculture, and permaculture, can sequester and reduce direct agricultural GHG emissions. For example:

    • Sustainable organic or conservation agriculture systems can build ~500 lb. C/ac-year in cropland soils.

    • Management intensive rotational grazing (MIG) can reduce direct GHG emissions from livestock production and sequester at least one ton of C/ac-year.

    • Agroforestry and silvopasture can accrue more than one ton soil + biomass C/ac-year.

    • Best soil health management on the world’s agricultural lands plus reforestation of idle and depleted lands could reduce atmospheric CO2 in the year 2100 by 156 ppm.

    • Best soil health management and crop breeding for nutrient efficiency show potential to improve N cycling and reduce N2O emissions.

    • Diversion of manure, yard waste, and food waste from lagoons and landfills into compost production reduces GHG emissions and provides a soil-building amendment.

    Our farms and ranches can improve energy use efficiency and become major producers of renewable energy for use within the agriculture sector and beyond. Solar and wind show great promise as low-carbon energy sources, while biofuel production from agricultural biomass requires careful lifecycle assessment and consideration of social impacts.

    Based on these and other research findings, NSAC has developed the following policy priorities related to climate change and agriculture:

    • Support producers to make U.S. agriculture climate-neutral.

    • Remove barriers and strengthen support for sustainable and organic production systems.

    • Support climate-friendly nutrient management to reduce N2O emissions.

    • Support composting of manure and other organic “wastes.”

    • Protect C sequestration potential of sensitive and marginal lands.

    • Support climate-friendly livestock production systems, end subsidies for CAFOs.

    • Support on-farm energy conservation and low-carbon renewable energy production.

    • Fund public plant and animal breeding for climate-resilient agriculture.

    Recommended USDA programmatic support for these priorities include:

    • Increased emphasis on climate mitigation and adaptation throughout Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) working lands and easement programs, and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

    • Increased research into climate impact assessment, public cultivar development, and agroecological systems that minimize net GHG and maximize soil health and resilience.

    • Whole farm emphasis across USDA programming, including Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) insurance.

    NSAC urges an immediate transition to a resilient agri-food production system based on sustainable and organic practices detailed in this paper. The current challenges faced by farmers, ranchers and rural communities will intensify unless we implement integrated strategies to deal with our changing climate and build resilience to other disturbances.


    The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) supports an immediate and environmentally beneficial transition to a resilient agri-food production system based on sustainable and organic agricultural systems and practices. We call upon federal and state governments to prioritize sustainable agriculture systems and policies that enable farmers, ranchers and rural communities to address the challenges posed by a changing climate through a variety of mechanisms. We have identified the highest priority areas for change with detailed recommendations. Top priority mechanisms include land use practices that maximize carbon (C) sequestration in soil and plant biomass, nutrient management to minimize nitrous oxide (N2O) release, and advanced grazing management to replace concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

    NSAC and its members believe that it is possible and necessary to begin building this resilient agricultural system and employing sustainable practices immediately. Part of this requires removing disincentives for sustainable production through government programs such as single-crop insurance subsidies and addressing structural barriers that incentivize overproduction of commodities and market consolidation. We also believe that implementing sustainable practices can be affordable and cost-effective for producers, especially with government support, since the costs of implementing climatemitigating and adaptive production systems and practices will be offset by reduced costs related to energy, fertilizers, and other inputs and often result in increased yields. Taking insufficient action will be more costly.

    Climate change poses a serious threat to our environment, our rural communities, our farmers and ranchers, and the millions of Americans who rely on them for food and fiber. Shifting to a more resilient, sustainable agricultural system will mitigate climate change while building an agri-food system that is better for our planet and its people. Failing to do so will result in devastating consequences for people, agriculture, and the environment.

    QUICK NEWS, November 26: Most People Now See The Climate Crisis, Want Action; Survey Shows Over 90% Favor For Solar, 85% Favor For Wind

    Most People Now See The Climate Crisis, Want Action Most Americans now see signs of climate change where they live; A majority of people surveyed said the U.S. government isn’t doing enough to counter the trend

    Gloria Dickey, November 25, 2019 (Science News)

    “…[M]ost Americans say the effects of climate change are already upon us — and that the U.S. government isn’t doing enough to stop it, according to a new public opinion survey…[A nationwide poll showed] 62 percent of U.S. adults said climate change is affecting their local community to some extent or a great deal, bringing more flooding and unusually warm weather, altering ecosystems, driving wildfires or exacerbating drought…

    …The results follow what many environmental activists consider a watershed year for climate change awareness, marked by student protests and a speech by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg chastising world leaders at the United Nations for ignoring climate science…The poll found people’s] views depend on where they live…Most people think the U.S. government should do more…Most believe U.S. energy policy priorities need to change…[and many] say they are taking action by making personal changes…” click here for more

    Survey Shows Over 90% Favor For Solar, 85% Favor For Wind 92% of Americans want more solar power, greater than any other action Pew Research says

    John Weaver, November 26, 2019 (PV Magazine)

    “…[A Pew Research survey] in October found 92% of Americans favor expanding solar panel farms – up 3% since earlier this year. No other energy or climate action polled as highly, with expanded wind being second at 85%, and reduced food waste at 80%...[T]he nation’s largest CO2 free electricity source, nuclear power, followed with a split at 49%.

    ...Both [wind and nuclear] have increased their public opinion since a May poll earlier this year – with wind up 2% and nuclear up 6%...When asked separately, in a randomized manner, what one action ought we do to address American’s energy supply – developer alternatives or expand fossils – 77% of people said the former, 22% supported the latter…[suggesting that a subset of that 22% who are strongly for expanding wind and solar are not necessarily for handing the keys over…” click here for more

    Monday, November 25, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: Grid Modernization Policy Debates Right Now

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization: Q3 2019

    October 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technologies Center)

    Executive Summary


    In the third quarter of 2019, 45 states plus DC took a total of 383 policy and deployment actions related to grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 383 actions catalogued, the most common were related to policies (93), deployment (76), and planning and market access (73).


    Five of the quarter’s top policy developments are highlighted below.

    Maryland Regulators Issue Decision on Alternative Ratemaking

    In August 2019, the Maryland Public Service Commission issued an order on alternative forms of rate regulation. The Commission did not approve the formula rates proposed by the utilities, but directed the Public Utility Law Division to establish a working group to develop an implementation report on multi-year rate plans. After the working group submits its report, it is to consider performance-based regulation issues.

    Utilities File Revised Grid Modernization Plans in North Carolina and Virginia

    During Q3 2019, two utilities – Duke Energy Carolinas in North Carolina and Dominion Energy in Virginia – filed revised grid modernization plans for approval after regulators rejected their initial plans. Both utilities’ plans have a reduced budget and include a range of investments, such as advanced metering infrastructure, distribution automation, and grid hardening.

    Massachusetts Regulators Reject National Grid Proposed Performance Incentives

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued a decision on National Grid’s general rate case application in September 2019, rejecting the utility’s four proposed performance incentive mechanisms based on peak reduction, electric vehicle adoption, electric vehicle supply equipment cost containment, and customer ease. However, the DPU approved the utility’s proposed scorecard metrics.

    California Public Utilities Commission Opens Microgrid Rulemaking

    In September 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission opened a new rulemaking proceeding to reduce barriers to microgrid development, pursuant to legislation enacted in 2018. The Commission is to develop standards, protocols, guidelines, methods, rates, and tariffs to support microgrid deployment while avoiding cost shifting between ratepayers. The rules are to be established by December 1, 2020.

    North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Releases Clean Energy Plan

    The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality released its final Clean Energy Plan in late September 2019. The final plan includes several policy recommendations focused on six strategy areas: carbon reduction, utility incentives and comprehensive planning, grid modernization and resilience, clean energy deployment and economic development, equitable access and just transition, and energy efficiency and electrification strategies


    The most common types of actions across the country related to energy storage deployment (46), data access policies (30), distribution system planning (28), integrated resource planning (27), and smart grid deployment (27). Grid modernization activity decreased in Q3 2019, as a result of most state legislatures adjourning in the first half of the year. Grid modernization activity in Q3 2019 increased by 39% over Q3 2018 (276 actions) and by 108% over Q3 2017 (184 actions).

    The states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization in Q3 2019 can be seen in Figure 4. New York, Massachusetts, and California saw the most action during the quarter, followed by Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii, Michigan, and North Carolina. Overall, 45 states, plus DC, took actions related to grid modernization in Q3 2019.


    Utilities Filing Innovative Rate Design Proposals

    Several utilities have recently innovative rate designs, primarily as pilots, with state regulators. These rates typically include time-varying rates, but are increasingly including components such as critical peak pricing, peak time rebates, and demand charges. The HECO Companies in Hawaii filed their Advanced Rate Design Strategy in September 2019, pursuant to a Commission directive, which includes time-varying rates, critical peak incentives, multi-part time-varying rates, and electric vehicle rates. In Michigan, DTE Electric filed an application for a new advanced customer pricing pilot in July 2019. The pilot includes two time-varying rates, two demand rates, and two rates combining time-varying and demand elements. Duke Energy Indiana filed a proposal for new rates, including critical peak pricing, and in Illinois, regulators approved Commonwealth Edison’s three-part time-of-use pilot including super peak, peak, and off-peak periods. Additionally, North Carolina regulators approved Duke Energy’s dynamic pricing pilots in July 2019.

    Energy Storage Additions Increasingly Included in Utility Integrated Resource Plans

    Utilities are increasingly including new energy storage capacity in their integrated resource plans (IRPs). Thirty-one states currently require utilities to file IRPs. The Georgia Public Service Commission approved Georgia Power’s IRP stipulation in July 2019. The stipulation reached with the Commission Staff includes 80 MW of energy storage – 30 MW more than originally included in the utility’s plan. Other recently filed IRPs including energy storage capacity additions include Green Mountain Power in Vermont (50 to 100 MW) Appalachian Power in Virginia (10 MW) Indiana Michigan Power in Michigan (50 MW of energy storage by 2028), Idaho Power (60 MW installed beginning in 2034). Proposed amendments to NV Energy’s latest IRP also include 515 MW of battery storage.

    States and Utilities Planning Online Energy Data Portals

    A number of states and utilities are planning the development of online energy data portals for customers to access granular data about their energy use. In July 2019, New Hampshire lawmakers enacted a bill to establish a statewide online energy data platform that will be administered by the Public Utilities Commission. As part of the HECO Companies’ Data Access and Privacy Policy filed with Hawaii regulators in September 2019, the utilities will make an energy portal available to customers with advanced metering infrastructure. Indiana Michigan Power also proposed the creation of an online customer engagement platform that will allow users to track their energy usage. In North Carolina, regulators approved Duke Energy’s proposed Smart Meter Usage App pilot, which will allow residential customers to monitor their real-time usage data. Dominion Virginia Energy also requested approval in September 2019 for a Customer Information Platform as part of its revised grid transformation plan.

    QUICK NEWS, November 25: Behind The Harvard-Yale Halftime Climate Protest; Three Good New Energy Bets

    Behind The Harvard-Yale Halftime Climate Protest Why we risked arrest to protest Harvard and Yale funding fossil fuel giants; Climate change is not a distant reality for us – it is imminent and deeply personal

    Ilana Cohen and Camilla Ledezma, 25 November 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “…[W]e risked arrest at the 136th Harvard-Yale football game alongside hundreds of our peers and alumni…[to call] attention to our universities’ and all of our institutions’ complicity in degrading our planet and our futures through their continued investments in the fossil fuel industry. In a climate emergency, we cannot afford to kick back, watch the game and ignore reality…[It was a part of our] fight to radically transform an unsustainable and unethical status quo… Collectively, Harvard and Yale could be investing upwards of $1.2bn in the fossil fuel industry…

    …[O]ver $11.5tn has been divested from the fossil fuel industry worldwide…[and] the University of California decided to make its over $70bn endowment and $13.4bn pension fund fossil fuel-free…Harvard and Yale continue to perpetuate an unsustainable business…While they contribute to systems of oppression and exploitation, we engage in nonviolent direct action…Despite Harvard and Yale’s intransigence, our divestment movement and the global movement for climate justice is growing exponentially…We risked arrest on Saturday to challenge the system…[and we are asking students, faculty, alumni, and community members to help] us build collective power…” click here for more

    Three Good New Energy Bets 3 Top Renewable Energy Stocks to Buy Right Now; This trio of renewable energy companies offers investors low-risk growth in the sector.

    Matthew DiLallo, November 23, 2019 (The Motley Fool)

    “…[Three renewable energy companies that appear to have bright futures are] Atlantica Yield (NASDAQ:AY), Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP), and Xcel Energy (NASDAQ:XEL)…[Atlantica Yield is a renewable yieldco] focused on generating stable cash flow from operating clean energy assets, the bulk of which they pay out to investors via a high-yielding dividend…[It’s current 6.4% yield] is more than three times that of the S&P 500…[Brookfield Renewable Partners is a renewable yieldco with a portfolio mostly of] hydroelectric power-generating facilities…[which] currently expects to grow [its] payout by 5% to 9% per year through 2024…

    ...[Xcel Energy is a utility which aims] to get 46% of its power from alternatives by 2027…[and] grow its earnings per share by 5% to 7% per year through at least 2024. That should allow it to increase its 2.6%-yielding dividend at a similar yearly pace…[These companies] are focusing on the lower risk side of the renewable sector…[which] should enable them to generate market-beating returns…” click here for more

    Saturday, November 23, 2019

    Bill Maher On Peace In The Family

    "The single shining truth about living in a democracy: It means sharing a country with A-holes you can't stand." From via YouTube

    Big Solar Breakthrough Could Power Industry

    CSP has been around since the 1980s but this technology, backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, can reportedly get to game-changing temperatures high enough to turn intractably dirty industrial processes clean. From Heliogen Inc via YouTube

    Ms. Green On How To Make A Difference

    The Sierra Club’s columnist on going green shares secrets. From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    Friday, November 22, 2019

    Watch These Trends In The World’s Climate Fight

    5 Global Trends Shaping Our Climate Future

    Brad Plumer, November 12, 2019 (NY Times)

    “…[Energy policies the world’s nations] currently have on their books could cause global greenhouse gas emissions to continue rising for the next 20 years…[because the] appetite for energy keeps surging, and the rise of renewables so far hasn’t been fast enough to satisfy all that extra demand…[and] fossil fuels use, particularly natural gas, keeps growing…[1: Renewables] will surpass coal as the world’s dominant source of electricity by 2030…[but it will be extremely difficult for the world to rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions unless existing coal] plants are run less frequently, retired early or retrofitted with technology to capture their carbon dioxide pollution…[2: Offshore wind will] increase ninefold by 2040…

    …[3:Purchases of electric cars will accelerate worldwide, allowing global gasoline and diesel use for cars to] peak by the mid-2020s…[but if the world’s love affair with S.U.V.s continues,] it could wipe out much of the oil savings from the nascent electric-car boom…[4: Countries] can also curb their emissions by improving the energy efficiency of their factories, homes and vehicles through policies like building codes and fuel economy standards…[But, in] 2018, the energy intensity of the global economy, a measure of efficiency, improved by just 1.2 percent, one of the slowest rates in years…[5: Finally, if] Africa pursues the same fossil-fuel heavy path to development that China did, greenhouse gas emissions could rise considerably…” click here for more

    Fukushima Reinvented With New Energy

    Fukushima reinvents itself with a $2.7 billion bet on renewables; As the nuclear debate continues, the site of a nuclear disaster attempts to move on

    Justine Calma, November 12, 2019 (The Verge)

    “The site of the most recent high-profile nuclear disaster is reinventing itself as a renewable energy leader in Japan. Land that became too toxic for people to farm and live on after the 2011 [9.0 magnitude earthquake and] meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station will soon be dotted with windmills and solar panels…By 2024, 11 solar and 10 wind power plants on abandoned land in Fukushima Prefecture will generate 600 megawatts, which is roughly two-thirds of the energy output of a typical nuclear plant…[A] 2017 prefecture survey found that 54 percent of residents wanted renewable energy, compared to 14 percent who didn’t…[The shift is backed by] $2.75 billion in financing from groups including the Development Bank of Japan (which is government-owned) and Mizuho Bank (privately owned).

    …A new power grid will connect to the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s transmission lines …Fukushima’s transition from nuclear energy to solar and wind comes as policymakers and scientists around the world debate the role of nuclear energy in efforts to stop the climate crisis. Some look to nuclear energy as an important way to generate energy without burning planet-heating fossil fuels…[But there are more than 1 million tons of water contaminated with radioactive material at the nuclear plant site that officials are still unsure what to do with, and despite advances in nuclear technology,] others are still concerned about the risks associated with nuclear power… [In 2014, Fukushima] set a goal of meeting all of its energy needs with 100 percent renewables by 2040…” click here for more

    Big EU Bets On New Energy

    4 Major Renewable Energy Projects Providing Better Future To Europe

    21 November 2019 (Industry Global News 24)

    “The amount of renewable energy generated in the 28 Member States of the European Union increased by 64% between 2007 and 2017…[Four initiatives are key to the EU’s] future of sustainable energy…[1: Floating power - The Rhône Valley] is home to the largest floating solar power plant in Europe…[2: Communal wind - Denmark's community-owned] Middelgrunden offshore wind farm's 20 turbines are located just off the coast of the country's capital, Copenhagen…

    [3: Colossal turbines – A] massive, powerful wind turbine that a single rotation of its propeller can supply for one day an average home with all of its electricity… is becoming a reality for the residents of the Scottish city of Aberdeen…[4: Chernobyl solar - At the site of the still radioactive Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, sealed to the outside world since its 1986 meltdown, will soon have a 1 MW solar plant generating] sufficient energy to power 2,000 apartments.” click here for more

    Thursday, November 21, 2019

    The Unwanted Future Is Arriving

    Painfully slow hurricanes, deadly heat, and cities without water: What the climate crisis will look like in the next 10 years, according to experts

    Morgan McFall-Johnson, November 19, 2019 (Business Insider)

    “…Scientists attribute the increasing frequency of record-breaking temperatures, unprecedented ice melt, and extreme weather shifts to greenhouse-gas emissions…[They are produced by extracting and burning fossil fuels] for energy…According to the IPCC, the world's carbon emissions have to fall by 45% by 2030 to keep the world's average temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels…If Earth warms more than 1.5 degrees, scientists think the world's ecosystems could start to collapse…[There are a few changes scientists say are inevitable in the next 10 years] because the world will keep getting warmer even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases immediately…

    The globe's ice caps will continue to melt, and crucial ice sheets like the one in Greenland might start down an irreversible path toward disappearing completely…That will lead to more sea-level rise — about 0.3 to 0.6 feet on average globally by 2030…The risk of high-tide flooding (which happens in the absence of storms or severe weather) is rapidly increasing…Overall, extreme weather is expected grow more common and intense…Dry vegetation in hot regions lights up easily, which means more frequent, bigger wildfires…[G]lobal crop yields could fall by 5% by 2030…Scientists say the world has to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, especially transforming the way we travel and produce food…” click here for more

    New Energy Economics Close A Coal Giant

    A Massive Coal Plant That Asked for Trump’s Help Has Gone Dark

    Will Wade, November 18, 2019 (Bloomberg News)

    “…[T]he unraveling economics of coal proved too much for even a giant among power generators to handle…[After churning out electricity for almost five decades, the 2.25-gigawatt Navajo Generating Station,] the largest coal-fired power plant in the western U.S. permanently closed, becoming the latest testament to the [failure of White House efforts to stop] fossil fuel’s decline… [Local leaders asked] the president to fulfill his campaign promise to revive America’s Coal Country…[but the Navajo complex in the Arizona desert] proved no match against market forces. The shale boom unleashed record volumes of low-cost natural gas, undermining the economics of coal generators across the U.S. Cheaper and cleaner wind and solar farms also began squeezing the plant’s profits…

    Since 2010, power generators have announced the retirement of more than 500 coal-fired power plants with more than 100 gigawatts of capacity…Salt River Project. Arizona Public Service Co., NV Energy and Tucson Electric Power, the owners of the Navajo plant,] have agreed to make lease payments totaling about $110 million to the Navajo Nation so the site can be decommissioned [over the next three years and] monitored and operated as part of the region’s transmission system…Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest U.S. coal producer, has already shut the Kayenta mine -- on Navajo and Hopi tribal lands -- that supplied the plant…” click here for more

    Breakthrough Could Revive Concentrating Solar

    Secretive energy startup backed by Bill Gates achieves solar breakthrough

    Matt Egan, November 19, 2019 (CNN)

    “…[Heliogen, a clean energy company just emerging from stealth mode, uses] artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius…The breakthrough means that, for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes…Unlike traditional solar power, which uses rooftop panels to capture the energy from the sun, Heliogen is improving on what's known as concentrated solar power…[which] uses mirrors to reflect the sun to a single point, is not new…[It] has been used in the past to produce electricity and, in some limited fashion, to create heat for industry…[But has not been able to get temperatures hot enough to disrupt] industrial processes such as cement and steelmaking…[which] are responsible for more than a fifth of global emissions…

    Heliogen uses computer vision software, automatic edge detection and other sophisticated technology to train a field of mirrors to reflect solar beams to one single spot…[which can generate enough heat to] create clean hydrogen at scale…[as a] fuel for trucks and airplanes…[To overcome the limitation that the sun doesn't always shine but industrial companies like cement makers have a constant need for heat, Heliogen can use] storage systems that can hold the solar energy…Heliogen's biggest challenge will be convincing industrial companies using fossil fuels to make the investment required to switch over…Its biggest selling point is the fact that, unlike fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, sunlight is free. And Heliogen argues its technology is already economical against fossil fuels because of its reliance on AI…” click here for more

    Wednesday, November 20, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: CCAs face credit, other challenges to lead California's renewable energy growth

    The new kid on the block: CCAs face credit, other challenges to lead California's renewable energy growth; Community Choice Aggregators say they will use resource diversity, distributed energy resources and load management to lead California beyond its 2030 renewables goals.

    Herman K. Trabish, July 8, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: CCAs continue to slowly work through the challenges of the energy transition and California policymakers continue to be concerned about the pace of their progress.

    California's Senate Bill (SB) 100 initiated a new phase in the state's nation-leading climate fight, with new goals for 60% renewables by 2030 in the power sector and zero-emissions economy-wide by 2045. A mostly new group of load serving entities (LSEs), primarily community choice aggregators (CCAs) and municipal utilities, will be charged with meeting these goals.

    San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) were previously the primary renewables-procuring LSEs, Large-scale Solar Association (LSA) Executive Director Shannon Eddy told Utility Dive. But the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will not lead this new phase.

    "San Diego does not want to own generation and their load is disappearing. With PG&E's bankruptcy, it is not in a position to procure, and Edison wants to procure, but doesn't need new power," Eddy said. "That leaves the CCAs. They will procure because they need about four GWs of long-term renewable contracts by the end of 2023 to meet their RPS obligations."

    But CCAs face unique challenges. Their lack of established credit may prevent new procurement, some power sector stakeholders told Utility Dive. CCAs responded that they will use resource diversity, distributed energy resources (DER), and load management to lead California beyond its 2030 renewables goals to a new power sector paradigm. Load will grow

    Renewables growth faces more difficulties than during California's phase one, but load will grow and the new RPS will require renewables to meet it, according to January 2019 California Energy Commission (CEC) data. New renewables have been "mainly solar" and "over 75% of currently permitted projects are solar," CEC spokesperson Edward Ortiz emailed Utility Dive.

    In 2018, California was the national leader in residential (807.9 MW), non-residential (541.5 MW) and utility-scale (1,059.1 MW) solar additions, according to a June 2019 Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) report. But new long-term (over ten-year) renewables contracts fell from 2,231 MW in 2015 to 999 MW in 2016 and to only 546 MW in 2017, according to the CPUC's November 2018 RPS report. And the IOUs did not solicit new long-term contracts in 2018, the CPUC reported… click here for more


    Tuesday, November 19, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Trends In Distributed Solar Pricing and Placement

    Tracking the Sun; Pricing and Design Trends for Distributed Photovoltaic Systems in the United States, 2019 Edition

    Galen Barbose, Naïm Darghouth, et al, October 2019 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory [LBNL])

    Executive Summary

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)’s annual Tracking the Sun report summarizes installed prices and other trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. 1 This edition focuses on systems installed through year-end 2018, with preliminary trends for the first half of 2019. As in years past, the primary emphasis is on describing changes in installed prices over time and variation across projects. This year’s report also includes an expanded discussion of other key technology and market trends, along with several other new features, as noted in the text box below.

    Trends in this report derive from projectlevel data reported primarily to state agencies and utilities that administer PV incentives, renewable energy credit (REC) registration, or interconnection processes. In total, data were collected and cleaned for 1.6 million individual PV systems, representing 81% of all U.S. distributed PV systems installed through 2018. The analysis of installed prices is based on the subset of roughly 680,000 host-owned systems with available installed price data, of which 127,000 were installed in 2018. A public version of the full dataset is available at

    Numerical results are denoted in direct current (DC) Watts (W) and real 2018 dollars. Non-residential systems are segmented into small vs. large nonresidential, based on a cut-off of 100 kW.

    Distributed PV Project Characteristics. Key technology and market trends based on the full dataset compiled for this report are as follows.

    • PV systems continue to grow in size, with median sizes in 2018 reaching 6.4 kW for residential systems and 47 kW for non-residential systems. Sizes also vary considerably within each sector, particularly for non-residential systems, for which 20% were larger than 200 kW in 2018.

    • Module efficiencies continue to grow over time, with a median module efficiency of 18.4% across all systems in the sample in 2018, a full percentage point increase from the prior year.

    • Module-level power electronics—either microinverters or DC optimizers—have continued to gain share across the sample, representing 85% of residential systems, 65% of small nonresidential systems, and 22% of large non-residential systems installed in 2018.

    • Inverter-loading ratios (ILRs, the ratio of module-to-inverter nameplate ratings) have generally grown over time, and are higher for non-residential systems than for residential systems. In 2018, the median ILR was 1.11 for residential systems with string inverters and 1.16 for those microinverters, while large non-residential systems had a median ILR of 1.24.

    • Roughly half (52%) of all large non-residential systems in the 2018 sample are groundmounted, while 7% have tracking. In comparison, 17% of small non-residential systems and just 3% of residential systems are ground-mounted, and negligible shares have tracking.

    • Panel orientation has become more varied over time, with 57% of systems installed in 2018 facing the south, 23% to the west, and most of the remainder to the east.

    • A small but increasing share of distributed PV projects are paired with battery storage, typically ranging from 1-5% in 2018 across states in our dataset, though much higher penetrations occurred in Hawaii and in a number of individual utility service territories.

    • Third-party ownership (TPO) has declined in recent years, dropping to 38% of residential, 14% of small non-residential, and 34% of large non-residential systems in the 2018 sample.

    • Tax-exempt customers—consisting of schools, government, and nonprofit organizations— make up a disproportionately large share (roughly 20%) of all 2018 non-residential systems.

    Temporal Trends in Median Installed Prices. The analysis of installed pricing trends in this report focuses primarily on host-owned systems. Key trends in median prices, prior to receipt of any incentives, are as follows.

    • National median installed prices in 2018 were $3.7/W for residential, $3.0/W for small nonresidential, and $2.4/W for large non-residential systems. Other cost and pricing benchmarks tend to be lower than these national median values, and instead align better with 20th percentile values (see Text Box 5 in the main body for further discussion of these issues).

    • Over the last full year of the analysis period, national median prices fell by $0.2/W (5%) for residential, by $0.2/W (7%) for small non-residential, and by $0.1/W (5%) for large nonresidential systems. Those $/W declines are in-line with trends over the past five years.

    • Over the longer-term, since 2000, installed prices have fallen by $0.5/W per year, on average, encompassing a period of particularly rapid declines (2008-2012) when global module prices rapidly fell. In many states, the long-term drop in (pre-incentive) installed prices has been substantially offset by a corresponding drop in rebates or other incentives.

    • Preliminary and partial data for the first half of 2019 show roughly a $0.1/W drop in median installed prices compared to the first half of 2018, though no observable drop relative to the second half of 2018. Those trends are based on a subset of states, consisting of larger markets, where price declines have recently slowed compared to other states.

    • Installed price declines reflect both hardware and soft-cost reductions. Since 2014, following the steep drop in global module prices, roughly 64% of the total decline in residential installed prices is associated with a drop in module and inverter price, while the remaining 36% is due to a drop in soft costs and other balance-of-systems (BoS) costs. For nonresidential systems, a slightly higher percentage of total installed price declines is attributable to BoS and soft costs.

    Variation in Installed Prices.

    This report highlights the widespread variability in pricing across projects and explores some of the drivers for that variability, focusing primarily on systems installed in 2018. The exploration of pricing drivers includes both basic descriptive comparisons as well as a more formal econometric analysis. Key findings include the following.

    • Installed prices in 2018 ranged from $3.1-4.5/W for residential systems (based on the 20th and 80th percentile levels), from $2.4-4.0/W for small non-residential systems, and from $1.8-3.3/W for large non-residential systems.

    • Installed prices within each customer segment vary substantially depending on system size, with median prices ranging from $3.3-4.3/W for residential, from $2.7-3.4/W for small nonresidential, and from $2.0-3.6/W for large non-residential systems, depending on size.

    • Installed prices also vary widely across states, with state-level median prices ranging from $2.8-4.4/W for residential, $2.5-3.7/W for small non-residential, and $1.7-2.5/W for large non-residential systems.

    • Across the top-100 residential installers in 2018, median prices for each individual installer generally ranged from $3.0-5.0/W, with most below $4.0/W.

    • Median prices are notably higher for systems using premium efficiency modules (>20%) and for systems with microinverters or DC optimizers. Comparisons between residential retrofits and new construction, and comparisons based on mounting configuration, are both less revealing, likely due to relatively small underlying sample sizes.

    • The multi-variate regression analysis, which focuses on host-owned residential systems installed in 2018, shows relatively substantial effects associated with system size (a $0.8/W range between 20th and 80th percentile system sizes) and with other system-level factors, including those related to module efficiency (+$0.2/W for systems with premium efficiency modules), inverter type (+$0.2/W for systems with either microinverter or DC-optimizers), ground-mounting (+$0.3/W), and new construction (-$0.5/W).

    • In comparison, the regression analysis found relatively small effects for various market- and installer-related drivers—including variables related to market size (a $0.2/W range between the 20th to 80th percentile values for market size), market concentration (a $0.1/W range), household density (a $0.2/W range), average household income (no effect), and installer experience (no effect).

    • After controlling for various system-, market-, and installer-level variables, the regression analysis still found substantial residual pricing differences across states (a $1.5/W range), indicating that other, unobserved factors significantly impact installed prices at the state- or local-levels.

    Declining State and Utility Cash

    Incentives Financial incentives provided through utility, state, and federal programs have been a driving force for the PV market in the United States. For residential and non-residential PV, those incentives have—depending on the particular place and time—included some combination of cash incentives provided through state and/or utility PV programs (rebates and performance-based incentives), the federal investment tax credit (ITC), state ITCs, revenues from the sale of solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), accelerated depreciation, and retail rate net metering.

    Focusing solely on direct cash incentives provided in the form of rebates or performance-based incentives (PBIs), Figure 18 shows how these incentives have declined steadily and significantly over the past decade. At their peak, most programs were providing incentives of $4-8/W (in real 2018 dollars). Over time, direct rebates and performance-based incentives have been largely phased-out in the larger state markets—including Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey—and have diminished to below $0.5/W in most other locations. This continued ratcheting down of incentives is partly a response to the steady decline in the installed price of PV and the emergence of other forms of financial support (for example, SRECs, as discussed in Text Box 4). At the same time, incentive declines may have also helped to motivate further cost and price reductions, as installers were forced to cut costs to remain competitive. The steady ratcheting down of incentives has thus likely been both a cause and an effect of long-term installed price reductions.

    From the perspective of the customer-economics of PV, however, one thing is clear: the steady reduction in cash incentives has offset reductions in (pre-incentive) installed prices to a significant degree. Among the five state markets profiled in Figure 18, the decline in incentives from each market’s respective peak is equivalent to anywhere from 66% to 100% of the drop in installed PV prices over the corresponding time period. Of course, other forms of financial support have simultaneously become more lucrative over this period of time—for example, the federal ITC for residential solar rose in 2009, and SREC markets emerged in many states; new financing structures have also allowed greater monetization of existing tax benefits. And while net metering rules and rate design for solar PV customers have come under greater scrutiny, most of the large state markets have yet to make any substantial changes to those structures. The customer economics of solar in many states thus has likely improved, on balance, over the long-term, but the decline in state and utility cash incentives has nevertheless been a significant counterbalance to falling installed prices.

    QUICK NEWS, November 19: Farms Can Lead Climate Crisis Solutions; Electricity Customers Saving With New Energy

    Farms Can Lead Climate Crisis Solutions Helping American agriculture go from climate crisis to ‘net zero’

    November 18, 2019 (AgDaily)

    “…[Progress has been made on increasing overall soil carbon (which has positive effects on soil quality and could result in increased productivity, agricultural resilience, and yield stability, especially on carbon-depleted soils)…[But] overall the U.S. agricultural production sector has increased its GHG emissions and climate impact over the past few decades…[This is largely due to on] increasing use of liquid manure storage lagoons found on concentrated animal feeding operations [CAFOs], which emit more methane than dry-stacked or composted manure [according to a new study from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition]…

    Key issues analyzed include: the impact of CAFOs on climate and environment; the relationship between the climate crisis and overproduction; how the structure of the federal crop insurance system contributes to overproduction and by extension climate change; and impactful sustainable production practices, including perennial cropping systems, resource-conserving crop rotations, and management intensive grazing…[T]he paper puts forward nearly 30 detailed public policy recommendations…” click here for more

    Electricity Customers Saving With New Energy California utility reports savings for ratepayers by offering renewable energy

    Billy Ludt, November 14, 2019 (Solar Power World)

    “…[A] record number of local governments in Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano Counties, that have switched to [energy supplier MCE’s 100% renewable energy service and shown steady growth in customers taking advantage of MCE’s rooftop solar and electric vehicle incentive programs…22 of the 34 city, town and county governments in MCE’s service area have taken the lead on local climate action by choosing to enroll their municipal electric accounts in Deep Green, MCE’s 100% renewable energy service option…for their public buildings, streetlights and civic services — 100% of it from California solar and wind energy sources…

    MCE now has over 470,000 electricity accounts in the Bay Area, providing renewable energy to more than 1 million customers and businesses. Ratepayers have saved more than $50 million on their monthly bills after switching to MCE, compared to customers who have remained with PG&E…More than 33,000 MCE customers have invested in rooftop solar…There are now more electric vehicle charging stations than gas stations in Marin County…12 new renewable energy projects in MCE’s service area are now providing a collective capacity of approximately 25 MW of clean electricity, enough energy to power over 12,000 homes annually…” click here for more