NewEnergyNews: 01/01/2020 - 02/01/2020/


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

    Friday, January 31, 2020

    Will A Green Swan Fly?

    The splashiest talking point at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos is the idea of a “Green Swan.”

    Myles Udland, January 22, 2020 (Yahoo Finance)

    “…[C]limate-related events could be the source of the next financial crisis…[and calculating the associated] risks pose a particular challenge to economists…[According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), known as the central bank for central banks, and at least two Wall Street banks, the possibility of an unexpected Green Swan caused by the climate crisis] alters the conversation around what economic growth can be and how policymakers should pursue this end…

    [I]f climate change makes a sustainable path forward for growth untenable, then our modern societal organization around this economic policy could be upended…[and] a world without economic growth may create a damaging backlash against such climate policies…[but with the status quo,] irreversible damage to our planet will increase…On the one hand, modern civilization is screwed. On the other hand, modern civilization is screwed…

    ...[Some economists say] the current work outlining potential impacts on economic growth due to climate change are still too conservative…[though they foresee] business-as-usual dominating the decision-making among political leaders in the years ahead…” click here for more

    A Plan To Turn Back The Climate Crisis

    Deep Decarbonization: A Realistic Way Forward on Climate Change; Global emissions have soared by two-thirds in the three decades since international climate talks began. To make the reductions required, what’s needed is a new approach that creates incentives for leading countries and industries to spark transformative technological revolutions.

    By Davd G. Victor, January 28, 2020 (Yale Environment 360)

    “…The lack of much incentive for deep decarbonization explains why global emissions have increased by nearly two-thirds since 1990…Emissions are now rising at about 1 to 2 percent annually, even though a new UN study shows they must tumble nearly 8 percent per year to be consistent with holding warming to 1.5 degrees C. No major economy has ever cut emissions of warming gases that quickly…Even with a big effort, we may be on track for 3 degrees C or more — levels of warming that scientists say will have ruinous consequences…[T] he need for a realistic blueprint to steadily wean our economies off fossil fuels has never been more urgent…

    Nearly 200 countries are involved, each with different interests…The gridlock most recently on display at UN climate talks in Madrid — where essentially nothing was agreed — is just the latest evidence that global diplomacy and global agreements will operate too slowly and too cautiously…[Decarbonization requires technological revolutions in] 10 sectors that matter most, including electricity generation, cars, buildings, shipping, agriculture, aviation, and steel…[They] account for about 80 percent of world emissions…[T]he world has the technology it needs for deep cuts…[W]hat’s needed for deep decarbonization in the real world is a combination of technology and business models — real companies with an incentive to deploy at scale...

    New technologies are emerging, which gives cause for optimism over the long haul…[W]hat’s needed in most sectors is a more dynamic approach through which policies target the direction of innovation…[O]nly a subset of political jurisdictions — mainly in Europe and parts of the United States, and in a few other countries — have demonstrated that they are highly motivated to act…[The silver lining is that much] of what is needed to improve technologies and markets in the initial phase can happen in small groups of countries where incentives for change are strongest…[Ultimately,] the political and economic strategies must shift — from the leaders to the rest of the planet…” click here for more

    Wednesday, January 29, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Electricity Pricing Look Like In 2040

    What will electricity pricing look like in 2040? Experts weigh in on their rate design predictions: Is the future complex rates and set-it, forget-it technologies or Netflix-like subscription plans?

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 21, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The advanced rate designs imagined here are already starting to become reality.

    Rising renewables penetrations are increasing the need for utilities to alter rate designs. More dynamic pricing can signal customers when bill savings are possible for shifting use away from high demand periods. Automated technologies can help customers respond. And strong customer participation in these programs can turn variable renewables' threats into system benefits. But will this overburden customers?

    The key is "seamlessly" integrating wholesale prices and automated home appliances, writes Brattle Group Principal Ahmad Faruqui in his Public Utilities Fortnightly article, which imagines 2040 pricing structures. Affordable automated home energy management systems with set-it, forget-it technologies could someday allow customers to preprogram use-parameters to match dynamic rates, utility rate design authorities told Utility Dive. But such automation is not yet available, and until it is, dynamic rates require interest in electricity bills few customers have. An alternative paradigm is electricity providers delivering services through subscription agreements. Tiered price contracts would allow customers to choose parameters but leave control to electricity providers.

    With over 85 million homes now equipped with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), utilities are preparing to opt-out time of use (TOU) rates toward more dynamic rates. Voluntary dynamic rates that vary with electricity's value to the system are offered by about half of U.S. investor-owned utilities, according to a 2018 Brattle Group study. On average, 3% of customers opt-in.

    New rate designs that engage customers through dynamic price signals will be vital to meeting 2040's system and customer needs, Faruqui said. If the 2040 supply mix changes to high renewables penetrations and customer behaviors do not support demand side flexibility, "we have a major disappointment coming" from system instability and costs. Today's rates fall short of the real time pricing (RTP) that would reward retail customers for responding to supply-demand dynamics. "RTP is the most extreme form of dynamic pricing and won't happen at scale until automated home energy management technologies go beyond today's smart thermostats," Faruqui said. But "the next generation of technologies and customers will take over by 2040 and allow this transformation," he said… click here for more

    Solar Steps Up To Its Future

    Solar Industry Vows to Lead Power Generation in the 2020s

    January 6, 2020 (Solar Energy Industries Association)

    "When energy and climate analysts look back on the 2020s, they will see a transformed energy landscape dominated by new solar energy generation, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said in recognition of the start of the Solar+ Decade

    Late last year, SEIA announced an aggressive goal for solar power to reach 20% of all U.S. electricity generation by 2030, naming the 2020s the Solar+ Decade...…By 2030, the industry expects to double the U.S. solar workforce, add $345 billion in private investment, and offset electricity sector emissions by 35%...

    ...Diversity and inclusion work will continue to be a core part of SEIA’s work, and new partners and voices at the table will help the solar industry overcome persistent challenges such as grid modernization and permitting and interconnection. SEIA will also continue its work on state and federal policies that promote fair market rules and allow renewables to compete, resulting in greater transparency and better outcomes for customers…” click here for more

    Monday, January 27, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: The Climate Crisis Detailed

    Global Climate Report - Annual 2019

    December 2019 (National Centers for Environmental Information/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

    Global Temperatures

    The year 2019 was the second warmest year in the 140-year record, with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average of +0.95°C (+1.71°F). This value is only 0.04°C (0.07°F) less than the record high value of +0.99°C (+1.78°F) set in 2016 and 0.02°C (0.04°F) higher than the now third highest value set in 2015 (+0.93°C / +1.67°F). The five warmest years in the 1880–2019 record have all occurred since 2015, while nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. The year 1998 currently ranks as the 10 warmest year on record. The year 2019 marks the 43rd consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

    The year began in a weak-to-moderate El Niño, transitioning to ENSO-neutral conditions by July. During the year, each monthly temperature ranked among the five warmest for their respective months on record, with the months of June and July record warm. The global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and over twice that rate (+0.18°C / +0.32°F) since 1981.

    Ten Warmest Years (1880–2019)

    The following table lists the global combined land and ocean annually averaged temperature rank and anomaly for each of the 10 warmest years on record.

    Regional Temperatures

    The following information was compiled from previous NCEI monitoring reports and public reports by National Hydrometeorological Services (NHMSs; peers of the U.S. National Weather Service).

    The year 2019 was characterized by warmer-than-average conditions across most of the global land and ocean surfaces. Record high annual temperatures over land surfaces were measured across parts of central Europe, Asia, Australia, southern Africa, Madagascar, New Zealand, North America, and eastern South America. Record high sea surface temperatures were observed across parts of all oceans, specifically, parts of the North and South Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and areas of northern, central and southwestern Pacific Ocean. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. North America was the only continent that did not have an annual temperature that ranked among its three highest on record. Overall, North America's temperature was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 1910–2000 average, marking the 14th warmest year in the 110-year continental record. The yearly temperature for North America has increased at an average rate of 0.13°C (0.23°F) per decade since 1910; however, the average rate of increase is more than twice as great (+0.29°C / +0.52°F per decade) since 1981.

    During January 2019, several locations across Canada set new low maximum and minimum January temperature records at the end of the month as cold Arctic air affected the region. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, maximum temperatures during this time did not rise above the -25.0°C (-13.0°F) mark. Of note, Lansdowne House (Ontario) set a new low minimum temperature on January 27 when temperatures plummeted to -47.5°C (-53.5°F), exceeding the previous record set in 1957 (-38.9°C / -38.0°F). Please see the U.S. national annual report for information on the 2019 climate conditions across the U.S.

    According to Mexico's CONAGUA, the months of June through November (no December 2019 data was available at the time of this write-up) had a temperature that ranked among the four highest for their respective months. Of note, August 2019 was the warmest August on record for the nation with a temperature departure from average of +3.3°C (+5.9°F). The national temperature for the months of March and May were among the ten warmest for their respective months on record.

    South America had its second warmest year on record with a temperature departure from average of +1.24°C (+2.23°F). This value is only 0.19°C (0.34°F) cooler than the record-warm year in 2015. South America's five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2014. The yearly temperature for South America has increased at an average rate of 0.13°C (0.23°F) per decade since 1910; however, the average rate of increase is nearly double that value (+0.24°C / +0.43°F per decade) since 1981.

    Argentina's national temperature for the year was 0.3°C (0.5°F) above the 1981–2010 average and ranked as the 12th highest temperature since national records began in 1961.

    A heat wave impacted much of Chile during January 24–27, 2019, with several locations registering temperatures as high as 40.0°C (104.0°F). The city of Santiago set a new maximum temperature record when temperatures soared to 38.3°C (100.9°F) on January 27. Santiago's previous record was set in 2017 at 37.4°C (99.3°F).

    According to the World Meteorological Organization, Brazil also had a heat wave that affected the southeastern part of the country during January 2019. Several locations recorded temperatures above 30.0°C (86.0°F). Of particular interest, Rio de Janeiro had registered a temperature of 37.4°C (99.3°F)—the second hottest temperature for the station since 1961.

    Following Europe's record warm year in 2018, the year 2019 was also very warm, ranking as the second warmest on record and just 0.04°C (0.07°F) cooler than 2018. The years 2014 through 2019 all rank among Europe's six warmest years on record. Europe's annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.14°C (0.25°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has more than tripled to 0.46°C (0.83°F) since 1981.

    Warmer-than-average conditions were present across much of western and central Europe during late February, with several locations setting new February maximum temperature records. For the first time, the United Kingdom recorded a maximum temperature over 20.0°C (68.0°F) during a winter month. The maximum temperature of 21.2°C (70.2°F) was set on February 26, 2019 at Kew Gardens, London. A new Swedish maximum temperature for February was set on the 26th when temperatures rose to 16.7°C (62.1°F) in Karlshamn. This value surpassed the previous record of 16.5°C (61.7°F) set in Ölvingstorp and Västervik, Smaland on February 18, 1961. The Netherlands observed its highest February maximum temperature since national records began in 1901. On February 26, 2019, maximum temperatures reached 18.9°C (66.0°F) in De Bilt. Austria set a new national maximum temperature record on February 28, 2019 when temperatures soared to 24.2°C (75.6°F) in Güssing and Deutschlandsberg. This value exceeded the previous record set on February 29, 1960 by 0.6°C (1.1°F).

    According to Météo France, nine of 12 months in 2019 were warmer than average in France, with only May experiencing cooler-than-average temperatures. Overall, this was France's third warmest year since national records began in 1900 at 1.1°C (2.0°F) above the 1981–2010 average of 12.6°C (54.7°F). Only 2018 (+1.4°C / +2.5°F) and 2014 (+1.2°C / +2.2°F) were warmer. Nine of France's 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2000; with the five warmest years taking place since 2011. During 2019, France was affected by two severe heat waves during June and July, which resulted in a new national high maximum temperature being set in southern France on June 28, 2019 at 46.0°C (114.8°F). This value was 1.9°C (3.4°F) higher than the previous record and marked the first time maximum temperatures surpassed 45.0°C (113.0°F) in the country.

    Austria had its third warmest year since national records began in 1767, with a national temperature departure from average of +1.6°C (+2.9°F). Only the years of 2018 and 2014 were warmer. According to Austria's ZAMG, the 14 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1994.

    According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom set new national July temperature records. Germany's temperature of 42.6°C (108.7°F) on July 25 became the new national temperature record for July, breaking the previous record of 40.3°C (104.5°F) set on July 5, 2015 by 2.3°C (4.1°F). The Netherlands' new national all-time maximum temperature of 40.7°C (105.3°F) set on July 25 in Gilze-Rijen surpassed a 75-year-old record of 38.8°C (101.8°F) set on August 23, 1944 by 0.5°C (0.9°F). This marked the first time that temperatures exceeded 40.0°C (104.0°F) in The Netherlands. Norway recorded a maximum temperature of 35.6°C (96.1°F) at Laksfors, tying the national maximum temperature record set on June 20, 1970 at Nesbyen (Buskerud). Saltdal recorded a maximum temperature of 34.6°C (94.3°F)—the highest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, according to Météo France. Similarly, Sweden had a maximum temperature of 34.8°C (94.6°F) in the Markusvinsa on July 26—the nation's highest temperature on record north of the Arctic Circle.

    With a yearly continental average temperature of 1.33°C (2.39°F) above average, Africa had its third warmest year in the 110-year record, trailing behind 2016 (warmest) and 2010 (second warmest). Africa's five warmest years have all occurred since 2015. Africa's annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.12°C (0.22°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has more than doubled to 0.31°C (0.56°F) since 1981.

    Asia had its third warmest year on record, with a temperature of 1.68°C (3.02°F) above the 1910–2000 average. Only the years 2015 and 2017 were warmer. Asia's five warmest years have all taken place since 2007. Asia's trend during the 1910–2019 period was +0.16°C (+0.29°F) per decade; however, the 1981–2019 trend is twice the longer-term trend (+0.35°C / +0.63°F).

    Hong Kong had its warmest year, with the highest maximum (27.1°C / 80.8°F), minimum (22.6°C / 72.7°F), and mean (24.5°C / 76.1°F) temperatures since records began in 1884. According to Japan's Meteorological Agency, Japan set a new May national maximum temperature record when temperatures soared to 39.5°C (103.1°F) on May 26, 2019 in Saroma (located on the island of Hokkaido). This value surpassed the previous May record of 37.2°C (99.0°F), set in May 1993, by 2.3°C (4.14°F). Thirty-six stations across Japan set new all-time maximum temperature records. Of note, the station in Obihiro set a new all-time high temperature of 38.8°C (101.8°F), exceeding the previous record of July 12, 1924 by 1.0°C (1.8°F).

    Israel experienced a heat wave that brought record-breaking temperatures during May 22–24. Several locations saw temperatures soar to between 43.0°–45.0°C (109°–113°F). According to Israel's Meteorological Services, the most intense heat was observed on the 24th when maximum temperatures rose to 45°–48°C (113.0°–118.0°F) in the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea area, and northern Arava. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Sedom, Israel, had a maximum temperature of 49.9°C (121.8°F) on July 17, Israel's highest temperature since at least 1942.

    Oceania had its warmest year on record at 1.40°C (2.52°F) above average. This value is 0.04°C (0.07°F) warmer than the now second warmest year on record set in 2013. Oceania's five warmest year have all occurred since 2005. The 1910–2019 trend for Oceania was +0.12°C (+0.22°F) per decade; however, the trend is twice that during the 1981–2018 period (+0.22°C / +0.40°F per decade).

    Australia had its warmest year in the nation's 110-year record with a temperature departure from average of 1.52°C (2.74°F) above the 1961–1990 average. This exceeded the previous record of 1.33°C (2.39°F) set in 2013 by 0.19°C (0.34°F). The nation's maximum temperature was also the highest on record at 2.09°C (3.76°F) above average, while the minimum temperature (+0.95°C / +1.71°F) was the sixth highest on record. An intense heat wave affected Australia throughout much of January, with many locations setting new high maximum and minimum January temperature records. According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, the nation's mean temperature reached 40.0°C (104.0°F) for five consecutive days (12–16 January 2019), exceeding the previous record of two consecutive days set in 1972 and again in 2013.

    New Zealand had its fourth warmest year on record with a national average temperature of 13.37°C (56.07°F). This was 0.76°C (1.37°F) above the 1981–2010 average. Only the years of 2016 (warmest) and 2018 and 1998 (tied second warmest) were warmer.


    As indicated by the Global Percent of Normal Precipitation and Precipitation Percentiles maps below and as is typical, many stations were wet for the year, while many stations were dry. Also, as discussed below, extreme precipitation and drought events occurred across the world…

    Ocean Heat Content

    Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is essential for understanding and modeling global climate since > 90% of excess heat in the Earth's system is absorbed by the ocean. Further, expansion due to increased ocean heat contributes to sea level rise. Change in OHC is calculated from the difference of observed temperature profiles from the long-term mean…

    Saturday, January 25, 2020

    Greta: Face It – This Won’t Be Easy

    Greta explains why it is not about politics, must be done, and won’t be easy. From Bloomberg News via YouTube

    This Is The Climate Crisis

    Dark days indeed. Hard to watch this, even harder for Australians to live it. From Australia’s Evening Standard via YouTube

    Building A System

    Lightsource, backed by BP and Shell, is building a grid that will eliminate concern with New Energy’s variability. From Just Have A Think via YouTube

    Friday, January 24, 2020

    The Hottest Decade In Known History

    Exhibit 9,172 that global warming is an urgent threat

    Chis Cillizza, January 15, 2020 (CNN)

    “…[2019 barely missed being the hottest year ever recorded on planet Earth, and closed] the hottest decade ever…[and the newest data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration shows] that the past five years were the five hottest in the 140 years that we have been measuring the planetary temperature…

    The Earth's temperature is now 2 degrees warmer than it was, on mean, between 1951 and 1980 -- evidence of the relatively rapid heating…[The starkness of the studies correlates with the rising number of people] who see climate change as not just an issue but the issue of our times…The Point: The numbers on climate change just keep getting worse. The question is whether politicians are willing to do anything about it…” click here for more

    The Power Of India Goes Green

    Why India is the new hotspot for renewable energy investors

    Sumant Sinha, 14 January 2020 (World Economic Forum)

    “…[Driven by] a highly conducive policy environment, a steady influx of capital, falling prices and new technologies, India’s renewable energy industry ramped up capacity] at an annual growth rate of 17.5% between 2014 and 2019 and [increased] the share of renewables in India's total energy mix from 6% to 10%...[India has an installed renewables capacity of] 83 GW, plus 31 GW under development and a further 35 GW out for tender…[and] is among the top-five clean-energy producers globally…[It] is now eyeing 225 GW from renewables by 2022 and a target of 40% clean energy by 2030…[Investment from both domestic and foreign sources was] more than $42 billion of investment since 2014 and around $7 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) between April 2000 and June 2018…

    In 2017-18, total FDI grew more than 20% to $1.4 billlion. Multilateral and bilateral agencies, as well as sovereign wealth funds, have pumped significant FDI into the Indian green energy space, spread across solar and wind power generation firms, electric vehicles and storage projects… [Though one-sixth of the world’s population, India’s per-capita consumption is] roughly 1/4th that of China and 1/13th that of the US…[But industrialization, urbanization, rising incomes and population growth are expected to roughly double its share of] global primary energy demand] to around 11% by 2040…[To reduce its carbon footprint by 35% from 2005 levels would require] adding 25 GW of renewable capacity annually until 2030…[which would be annual investment] of over $30 billion…” click here for more

    Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Community Solar Offers An Even Better Deal

    Everyone loves a guaranteed discount: New financing approach drives community solar growth; Solar access is expanding through big utility builds, a new private sector approach and federal funding of pilot programs.

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 15, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The complexities of administering programs continue to slow the progress of community solar.

    Community solar is transforming as promises of electricity bill savings, ambitious utility build-outs and business model innovations shift traditional approaches and drive growth. Florida Power and Light (FPL) is working to build the country's largest community solar project; a new "fixed discount" business model is creating savings certainty for customers that could eliminate longstanding private sector marketing challenges; and new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-backed approaches are reaching underserved customers.

    Project designs are diversifying as costs fall and developers find new ways to make larger-scale shared solar work. But challenges remain. Developers and utilities are building aggressively where they can, but many states lack comprehensive policies that prioritize community solar, advocates told Utility Dive. That could slow the market and keep innovations from becoming solutions.

    A community solar project must have "multiple subscribers" that receive monetary or kWh "on-bill benefits" that are "tied to a specific solar project," according to 2018's Community Solar Vision for 2030 from the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) and Vote Solar. There was 1.34 GW of community solar online in June 2019, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) data. About 67% of total capacity has been built by private sector developers, and the rest by utility-led projects, according to Smart Electric Power Alliance's (SEPA) 2019 report.

    The potential market includes electricity customers without solar-suitable roofs, or without the financial status or inclination to contract for or own rooftop solar, according to NREL. There could be 3 GW online by 2020 and potentially 57 GW to 84 GW in 2030, adding as much as $121 billion to the economy, according to the Vision study. Expansion of state policies is the key to growth, according to energy policywatchers told Utility Dive... click here for more

    Historic New Energy Acceleration Coming

    EIA: Utility-scale renewables topping coal and nuclear in 2021 as energy transition accelerates

    Dennis Wamsted, January 14, 2020 (IEEFA U.S.)

    “…[B]y 2021 renewable energy generation in the U.S. will overtake coal—advancing at a rate that would have been almost unthinkable just 10 years ago…[The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that] coal generation will total 815.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh)…[and utility-sector renewables will produce] 843.4 billion kWh…[Wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass will be] 21.6% of overall U.S. electricity generation, topping both coal (estimated at 20.8%) and nuclear (19.7%)…

    …[Natural] Gas is expected to remain essentially flat at 37%...[In 2010, coal accounted for 46% of the U.S. electricity generation market, while renewables totaled just over 10%...There is also a significant amount of small-scale renewable production, particularly rooftop solar, that is not calculated in these figures…The EIA projects a significant increase in rooftop capacity [of 11 gigawatts (GW)] by 2021…bringing the total amount of installed capacity to more than 32GW…[W]hile momentous, the national figures projected by the EIA are also likely still to be conservative…” click here for more

    Monday, January 20, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: U.S. Emissions Dropped 2.1% in 2019

    Preliminary US Emissions Estimates for 2019

    Trevor Houser and Hannah Pitt, January 7, 2019 (Rhodium Group)

    After a sharp uptick in 2018, we estimate that US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 2.1% last year based on preliminary energy and economic data. This decline was due almost entirely to a drop in coal consumption. Coal-fired power generation fell by a record 18% year-on-year to its lowest level since 1975. An increase in natural gas generation offset some of the climate gains from this coal decline, but overall power sector emissions still decreased by almost 10%. Unfortunately, far less progress was made in other sectors of the economy. Transportation emissions remained relatively flat. Emissions from buildings, industry and other parts of the economy rose, though less than in 2018. All told, net US GHG emissions ended 2019 slightly higher than at the end of 2016. At roughly 12% below 2005 levels, the US is at risk of missing its Copenhagen Accord target of a 17% reduction by the end of 2020, and is still a long way off from the 26-28% reduction by 2025 pledged under the Paris Agreement.

    A Coal-Driven Decline

    The switch from coal to natural gas and renewables in the electric power sector accounts for the majority of the progress the US has made in reducing emissions over the past decade. This was particularly true last year. Based on a combination of monthly data from the Energy Information Administration and daily data from Genscape, we estimate that coal-fired power generation fell by 18% in 2019 (Figure 1). That’s the largest year-on-year decline in recorded history with coal generation now at its lowest level since 1975. It also marks the end of a decade in which total US coal generation was cut in half.

    Natural gas generation made up much of the gap last year, as it has consistently in recent years, thanks to extremely cheap gas prices. Average annual prices at Henry Hub were down 20% in 2019, adjusted for inflation, to their lowest level in decades. Renewables played an important role as well thanks in part to continued cost declines in both wind and solar generation. Based on preliminary data from EIA and Genscape, utility-scale renewable generation (including hydro) was up 6% in 2019. That’s higher than the 3% gain in 2018, but lower than the 13% gains posted in 2016 and 2017.

    The drop in coal generation reduced emissions by 190 million metric tons in 2019. The growth in gas generation shaved a little more than 40 million metric tons off this number. But electric power sector emissions were still down by nearly 10%—the biggest year-on-year drop in decades, and a significant change from a 1.2% increase in 2018.

    Little Progress Elsewhere

    Unfortunately, there was little good news outside the power sector, continuing a trend we have observed for the past several years. Based on preliminary data, we estimate that transportation emissions declined slightly—by 0.3% year-on-year (Figure 2). Industrial emissions (both energy and process) rose by 0.6%. Direct emissions from buildings increased by 2.2% and emissions from other sectors (agriculture, waste, land use, oil and gas methane, etc) rose by 4.4%.

    This was an improvement from the relatively sharp increase in building, transportation and industrial emissions recorded last year (Figure 3). As noted in our analysis last year, most of the increase in building emissions and some of the increase in industrial emissions in 2018 were weather-related. 2017 had been an atypically warm year and 2018 was colder (and closer to the ten-year average). This boosted year-on-year demand for heating in homes, offices, stores and factories. 2019 had about as many heating degree days (HDDs) as 2018, so there wasn’t the same year-on-year spike.

    Strong economic growth also contributed to the increase in end-use emissions in 2018. GDP expanded by 2.9% that year compared to 2.4% in 2017 and 1.6% in 2016. Growth slowed again in 2019, down to 2.3% during the first three quarters of the year. That also contributed to more modest end-use emissions growth last year. For example, in the transportation sector, domestic air travel grew by 2.3% year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2019, compared to 4.1% during the same period in 2018. As a result, jet fuel demand growth slowed from 2.6% to 1.8% during the first three quarters of 2019. Growth in the amount of freight moved by truck slowed from 7.1% year-on-year during the first three quarters of 2018 to 4.1% during the same period in 2019. That turned a 5.6% increase in year-on-year diesel demand during the first three quarters in 2018 to a 0.8% decline during the same period in 2019.

    Beyond the year-to-year fluctuations in weather and economic growth, it’s clear that US decarbonization success is still largely limited to the 27% of net emissions that come from the power sector. Improvements in vehicle, lighting, and appliance efficiency have been successful in slowing the pace of emissions growth in transportation and buildings (and perhaps even halting it in transportation), but it will require much more than efficiency to achieve meaningful absolute declines. Large-scale fuel substitution (to decarbonized electricity and other zero-carbon fuels) will be required. States have some ability to drive this in absence of federal policy action.

    The industrial, agriculture, and waste sectors remain largely untouched, either by policy or technology innovation. Industry is now a larger source of emissions than coal-fired power generation, and growing. There are low-cost technology solutions to reduce oil and gas methane emissions, but their deployment at scale requires strengthening regulations that the Trump Administration instead has been weakening. Reducing HFC emissions also requires new policy action.

    Coming up Short on Climate Targets

    Using preliminary data and IPCC accounting protocols, we estimate that net economy-wide GHG emissions fell by 2.1% in the US in 2019 to 5,783 million metric tons. That’s a 12.3% cumulative decline relative to 2005 levels, with one year to go to meet the Copenhagen Accord target of reducing emissions “in the range” of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, and six years to go to reach the 26-28% reduction by 2025 pledged under the Paris Agreement (Figure 4). The fact that the US has achieved no net reductions over the past three years makes meeting these targets extremely challenging.

    If our preliminary emissions estimates prove correct, hitting the Copenhagen Accord’s 17% target exactly will require a 5.3% reduction in net GHG emissions this year—a bigger annual drop than the US has experienced during the post-war period, with the exception of 2009 due to the Great Recession. Meeting the Paris Agreement targets requires a 2.8-3.2% average annual reduction in emissions over the next six years. This is significantly faster than the 0.9% average annual reduction achieved since 2005. It’s still possible, but will require a significant change in federal policy—and pretty soon.

    Saturday, January 18, 2020

    Documented: A Whole Continent’s Climate Has Changed

    The continent of Australia’s climate is now hotter and drier than it was in the last century and the politicians who deny it are feeling the heat. From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    World’s Biggest Money Fund Calls Out Climate Crisis

    “Prepare for a significant reallocation of capital…” From CNBC Television via YouTube

    Welcome To The "Solar-Plus" Decade

    Solar plus what? Solar plus every tool that leads to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. From Solar Energy Industries Association via YouTube

    Friday, January 17, 2020

    World’s Biggest Fund: “Prepare for a significant reallocation of capital”

    Why BlackRock’s Larry Fink warns climate change is on the edge of reshaping finance

    Rupert Steiner, January 14, 2020 (MarketWatch)

    “Sustainable investments that take into account climate change will deliver better returns, says BlackRock founder Larry Fink in his annual letter to chief executives…[It reports that a “significant reallocation of capital” will lead to “a fundamental reshaping of finance” because climate] change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects…The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance…

    Investors are increasingly recognizing that climate risk is investment risk…Because capital markets pull future risk forward, we will see changes in capital allocation more quickly than we see changes in climate…[Fink announced Blackrock will focus on sustainability and push] companies for more transparency and disclosure of climate risks, and quitting investments in some thermal coal producers…” click here for more

    New Energy’s Century

    How Far Has Renewable Energy Come In The Last 20 Years

    Irina Slav, January 11, 2020 (

    “…[T]he first data for solar and wind generation dates back only to 1990…[Europe, today’s greenest continent,] only ventured into the two in 1997…[but the] energy world has changed in the past twenty years…Iceland is the top global performer in renewable energy thanks to its geothermal resources…[Costa Rica] boasted 100-percent renewable energy generation for more than two straight months twice over two years…[The UK got more electricity] from renewable sources than fossil fuels during 2019…[The world’s evolution in energy sourcing and use could continue…Once upon a time in the 1990s, both solar and wind power was expensive, not to mention lacking in efficiency…

    Today, there are photovoltaic materials that can reach efficiency rates of over 40 percent…[A]n average cost of solar panel installation in the U.S. was $8.50 per watt in 2009. Today, it is about $2.96 per watt…[T]he United States, the average generating capacity of new turbines in 2018 was 239 percent higher than in 1998, at 2.4 MW…In 2018 a kW of installed capacity cost $1,470 in the U.S., down as much as 40 percent from 2009…[Both are] cost-competitive with coal in some parts of the world…[What is happening] is a renewables evolution. That’s arguably a much more reliable way to change the ways in which the world sources its energy and the ways it uses it…” click here for more

    Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Distributed New Energy Ready To Serve The Power System

    Renewables' variability sends wary utilities from traditional DR to DER and load flexibility; New technologies can expand utilities' once-limited options, allowing control of load with customer-sited resources to balance variable generation, but utilities say they need incentives.

    Herman K. Trabish | Aug. 14, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: DER as system support continue to grow in significance on major utility power systems across the country.

    Traditional Demand Response (DR) serves supply-demand imbalances, but today's variable renewables and distributed energy resources (DER) make imbalances more common and new load flexibility allows utilities to adjust loads down instead of increasing generation. Adjustable smart thermostats for air conditioning (A/C) and heating, grid integrated water heating, and managed electric vehicle (EV) charging will be gateways to a DR market that adds residential DER to traditional DR using commercial -industrial customers' load, according to a new Brattle report. This more flexible load can protect against variability from rising levels of solar and wind generation. And it's that residential segment that will come to dominate the DR market in the next 10 years.

    New marketing approaches and rates with price signals will accelerate customer adoption of DER, utilities and other power sector analysts agreed. But utilities and regulators must confront technical and market complexities to enable this transformation. Technical complexities include getting the necessary system hardware and software in place. Market complexities include providing regulatory guidance to utilities, putting incentives to adopt DER in place for customers, and giving third parties the opportunity to act as DER aggregators. Nearly 200 GW of cost-effective load flexibility from existing DR and new DER could meet up to 20% of the estimated 2030 U.S. peak load, avoiding over $16 billion annually in system costs, Brattle reported. Existing incentives and technologies can deliver an estimated 120 GW of load flexibility. Solutions for utility operations complexities and market barriers are needed for the other 80 GW…” click here for more

    Amazon Workers Demand Climate Action

    Amazon Is on a Collision Course With Employee Activists Outraged by the Climate Crisis

    Alyssa Newcomb, January 4, 2020 (Fortune)

    “…[Amazon Workers for Climate Justice, a coalition of employees who want Amazon to do more to address the climate emergency, say they have been questioned by Amazon's human resources and legal representatives and received written warnings that they'll be terminated if they continue to speak out] about the company’s role in the climate crisis…[and] not getting approval to speak to the press, or on social media…[Some say the] policy is aimed at silencing discussion around publicly available information…But the public pressure the employees are putting on Amazon to end contracts with oil and gas companies, stop donating to climate change-denying politicians, and to reduce pollution at warehouses, for example, is raising questions about what kind of speech is acceptable for employees.

    The question even more pressing in an era when everyone has a quick and easy megaphone on social media, and employee activism continues to get louder…[The Amazon] employee group believes some of their concerns are finally being heard…Amazon signed a climate pledge that includes a commitment to using 100% renewable energy by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2040…[and] it ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles to help achieve this…” click here for more

    Monday, January 13, 2020

    MONDAY’S STUDY: New Energy Costs Get Better

    Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 13.0

    November 2019 (Lazard)


    Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy (“LCOE”) analysis addresses the following topics:

    • Comparative LCOE analysis for various generation technologies on a $/MWh basis, including sensitivities for U.S. federal tax subsidies, fuel prices and costs of capital

    • Illustration of how the LCOE of onshore wind and utility-scale solar compare to the marginal cost of selected conventional generation technologies

    • Historical LCOE comparison of various utility-scale generation technologies

    • Illustration of the historical LCOE declines for wind and utility-scale solar technologies

    • Illustration of how the LCOEs of utility-scale solar and wind compare to those of gas peaking and combined cycle

    • Comparison of capital costs on a $/kW basis for various generation technologies

    • Deconstruction of the LCOE for various generation technologies by capital cost, fixed operations and maintenance expense, variable operations and maintenance expense and fuel cost

    • Overview of the methodology utilized to prepare Lazard’s LCOE analysis

    • Considerations regarding the operating characteristics and applications of various generation technologies

    • An illustrative comparison of the value of carbon abatement of various renewable energy technologies

    • Summary of assumptions utilized in Lazard’s LCOE analysis

    • Summary considerations in respect of Lazard’s approach to evaluating the LCOE of various conventional and renewable energy technologies

    Other factors would also have a potentially significant effect on the results contained herein, but have not been examined in the scope of this current analysis. These additional factors, among others, could include: capacity value vs. energy value; network upgrades, transmission, congestion or other integration-related costs; significant permitting or other development costs, unless otherwise noted; and costs of complying with various environmental regulations (e.g., carbon emissions offsets or emissions control systems). This analysis also does not address potential social and environmental externalities, including, for example, the social costs and rate consequences for those who cannot afford distributed generation solutions, as well as the long-term residual and societal consequences of various conventional generation technologies that are difficult to measure (e.g., nuclear waste disposal, airborne pollutants, greenhouse gases, etc.)

    Selected renewable energy generation technologies are cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies under certain circumstances

    The Investment Tax Credit (“ITC”) and Production Tax Credit (“PTC”), extended in December 2015, remain an important component of the levelized cost of renewable energy generation technologies

    Variations in fuel prices can materially affect the LCOE of conventional generation technologies, but direct comparisons to “competing” renewable energy generation technologies must take into account issues such as dispatch characteristics (e.g., baseload and/or dispatchable intermediate capacity vs. those of peaking or intermittent technologies)

    A key consideration in determining the LCOE values for utility-scale generation technologies is the cost, and availability, of capital(1) ; this dynamic is particularly significant for renewable energy generation technologies

    Certain renewable energy generation technologies are approaching an LCOE that is competitive with the marginal cost of existing conventional generation

    Lazard’s unsubsidized LCOE analysis indicates significant historical cost declines for utility-scale renewable energy generation technologies driven by, among other factors, decreasing capital costs, improving technologies and increased competition

    In light of material declines in the pricing of system components and improvements in efficiency, among other factors, wind and utility-scale solar PV have exhibited dramatic LCOE declines; however, as these industries mature, the rates of decline have diminished

    Solar PV and wind have become increasingly competitive with conventional technologies with similar generation profiles; without storage, however, these resources lack the dispatch characteristics, and associated benefits, of such conventional technologies

    In some instances, the capital costs of renewable energy generation technologies have converged with those of certain conventional generation technologies, which coupled with improvements in operational efficiency for renewable energy technologies, have led to a convergence in LCOE between the respective technologies

    Certain renewable energy generation technologies are already cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies; a key factor regarding the continued cost decline of renewable energy generation technologies is the ability of technological development and industry scale to continue lowering operating expenses and capital costs for renewable energy generation technologies

    Certain renewable energy generation technologies are already cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies; a key factor regarding the continued cost decline of renewable energy generation technologies is the ability of technological development and industry scale to continue lowering operating expenses and capital costs for renewable energy generation technologies

    Lazard’s LCOE analysis consists of creating a power plant model representing an illustrative project for each relevant technology and solving for the $/MWh value that results in a levered IRR equal to the assumed cost of equity (see subsequent “Key Assumptions” pages for detailed assumptions by technology)

    Despite convergence in the LCOE between certain renewable energy and conventional generation technologies, direct comparisons must take into account issues such as location (e.g., centralized vs. distributed) and dispatch characteristics (e.g., baseload and/or dispatchable intermediate capacity vs. those of peaking or intermittent technologies)

    As policymakers consider ways to limit carbon emissions, Lazard’s LCOE analysis provides insight into the economic value associated with carbon abatement offered by renewable energy technologies. This analysis suggests that policies designed to shift power generation towards wind and utility-scale solar could be a particularly cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions, providing an abatement value of $36 – $41/Ton vs. Coal and $23 – $32/Ton vs. Gas Combined Cycle

    Summary Considerations

    Lazard has conducted this analysis comparing the LCOE for various conventional and renewable energy generation technologies in order to understand which renewable energy generation technologies may be cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies, either now or in the future, and under various operating assumptions. We find that renewable energy technologies are complementary to conventional generation technologies, and believe that their use will be increasingly prevalent for a variety of reasons, including to mitigate the environmental and social consequences of various conventional generation technologies, RPS requirements, carbon regulations, continually improving economics as underlying technologies improve and production volumes increase, and supportive regulatory frameworks in certain regions.

    In this analysis, Lazard’s approach was to determine the LCOE, on a $/MWh basis, that would provide an after-tax IRR to equity holders equal to an assumed cost of equity capital. Certain assumptions (e.g., required debt and equity returns, capital structure, etc.) were identical for all technologies in order to isolate the effects of key differentiated inputs such as investment costs, capacity factors, operating costs, fuel costs (where relevant) and other important metrics. These inputs were originally developed with a leading consulting and engineering firm to the Power & Energy Industry, augmented with Lazard’s commercial knowledge where relevant. This analysis (as well as previous versions) has benefited from additional input from a wide variety of Industry participants and is informed by Lazard’s many client interactions on this topic.

    Lazard has not manipulated the cost of capital or capital structure for various technologies, as the goal of this analysis is to compare the current levelized cost of various generation technologies, rather than the benefits of financial engineering. The results contained herein would be altered by different assumptions regarding capital structure (e.g., increased use of leverage) or the cost of capital (e.g., a willingness to accept lower returns than those assumed herein).

    Key sensitivities examined included fuel costs and tax subsidies. Other factors would also have a potentially significant effect on the results contained herein, but have not been examined in the scope of this current analysis. These additional factors, among others, could include: capacity value vs. energy value; network upgrades, transmission, congestion or other integration-related costs; significant permitting or other development costs, unless otherwise noted; and costs of complying with various environmental regulations (e.g., carbon emissions offsets or emissions control systems). This analysis also does not address potential social and environmental externalities, including, for example, the social costs and rate consequences for those who cannot afford distributed generation solutions, as well as the long-term residual and societal consequences of various conventional generation technologies that are difficult to measure (e.g., nuclear waste disposal, airborne pollutants, greenhouse gases, etc.).

    Saturday, January 11, 2020

    Australia On Fire

    The climate crisis wins the Golden Globe for horror and devastation. From Inside Edition via YouTube