NewEnergyNews: 08/01/2020 - 09/01/2020/


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

    Monday, August 31, 2020

    MONDAY STUDY: Smart Money Keeps Moving To New Energy

    Expectations for Renewable Energy Finance in 2020-2023; Survey of Leading Financial Institutions and Developers $1T 2030 Campaign Progress Report

    July 14, 2020 (American Council on Renewable Energy)

    Executive Summary

    ACORE launched its $1T 2030 campaign in 2018 to achieve $1 trillion in private sector investment in U.S. renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030, while advocating for policy reforms and market drivers to help meet this goal. This report assesses progress on the campaign and presents the results of new surveys of prominent financial institutions and renewable energy development companies. The surveys assess near and mid-term confidence in the sector and speak to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and investment strategies.

    The U.S. has cumulatively attracted $125.1 billion in private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies since the launch of the $1T 2030 campaign in 2018, reaching one-eighth of the total $1 trillion campaign goal. To achieve the 2030 objective will now require an average of $87.5 billion in annual private sector investment through 2029 – an annual increase of 28% over the 2019 investment level.

    Private sector investment in the U.S. renewable energy and enabling grid technology sectors reached its highest level to date in 2019 at $68.4 billion. The 21% increase over 2018 investment was driven by phasedown schedules for the federal tax credits, expanded state renewable energy standards, growing cost competitiveness, and increased demand from corporate buyers, residential consumers, electric utilities and investors focused on sustainability.

    However, the pandemic has presented new challenges for renewable energy and energy storage investment. COVID-19 has led to the loss of almost 100,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector as of June 2020, strained renewable energy project financing and caused innumerable project delays, reducing renewable energy capacity expected to come on line in 2020 by 21%.

    ACORE surveyed prominent companies engaged in the utility-scale renewable energy sector to determine the extent of COVID-19’s impact on renewable energy finance and investment. While companies are experiencing significant headwinds in 2020, surveyed renewable energy investors remain as confident in renewable energy growth over the next three years, on average, as they were in 2018-2019. They are similarly confident in expectations of rapid energy storage growth. In both sectors, the strong investor confidence is mirrored in high confidence levels from renewable energy developers.

    Over half of surveyed financial institutions plan to increase their investment in renewables by more than 10% in 2020 compared to 2019. Surveyed developers report plans to either maintain or increase their level of development of renewable energy projects in 2020 compared to 2019.

    Investors consider the U.S. to be an attractive venue for investment compared to leading countries like China over the next three years. The U.S. has been slowly catching up to China by steadily increasing its private sector investment in renewables, while investment in China has been decreasing since 2017.

    Most surveyed investors and developers do not expect the COVID-19 pandemic to have a long-term impact on their business plans, but some are experiencing short-term difficulties with financing and project delays.

    79% of investors and 50% of developers do not expect their business plans to change significantly because of COVID-19. Over the next three years, the majority of respondents expect no quantifiable change or report it is too soon to tell. Half of the investor respondents report that they have become more flexible with project sponsors to help ensure projects can be completed.

    However, two-thirds of surveyed developers report difficulty in securing financing or offtakers for projects, and some cite project delays of up to 12 months.

    Half of the investor respondents report that they have become more flexible with project sponsors to help ensure projects can be completed.

    Both investors and developers expect a decrease in tax equity financing because of COVID-19, which could have short- and longterm impacts on renewable energy projects. Notably, three-quarters of the surveyed tax equity investors predict a decline in tax equity investment.

    To support achievement of the $1 trillion by 2030 objective, ACORE is strategically deploying its resources to promote key policy reforms and market drivers. We are pursuing the following priorities in 2020:

    COVID-19 Response: ACORE advocates for policy solutions to help the sector recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, including measures to facilitate the monetization of renewable energy tax credits and a delay in their phasedown schedules.

    Climate Policy: ACORE focuses on identifying the most viable suite of climate policies and analyzes their impact on renewable energy growth and investment, including a federal high-penetration renewable or clean energy standard, a technology-neutral tax credit, and carbon pricing.

    Grid Advocacy: ACORE advocates for cost-effective investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure, including a new Macro Grid that better connects population centers with areas richest in regional resources, and a less balkanized and fairer electricity marketplace to promote greater access to and delivery of renewable power.

    Energy Storage: Energy storage and other grid-enabling technologies have the potential to transform the electricity system and fundamentally change the way we think about energy. ACORE promotes their growth through advocacy for a standalone energy storage tax credit and other supportive policies, market reforms and financing solutions

    Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Scoring: ACORE works with its members to increase standardization, transparency and use of material indicators in ESG disclosure and scoring processes through specific recommendations and regular outreach to the ESG community…

    Progress on ACORE's $1T 2030 Campaign…Investment in 2019…Drivers for Growth…New Headwinds in 2020…Market Outlook: Sector Confidence and Impact of COVID-19 on Business Strategies…Sector Confidence…Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis…Evolving Capital Stacks and Financing Structures…


    To support achievement of the $1 trillion by 2030 objective, ACORE is strategically deploying its resources to promote key policy reforms and market drivers. We are pursuing the following priorities in 2020.

    COVID-19 Response: ACORE advocates for policy solutions to help the sector recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, including measures to facilitate the monetization of federal tax credits and a delay in their phasedown schedules.

    Climate Policy: ACORE focuses on identifying the most viable suite of climate policies and analyzes their impact on renewable energy growth and investment, including a federal high-penetration renewable or clean energy standard, a technology-neutral tax credit, and carbon pricing.

    Grid Advocacy: ACORE advocates for cost-effective investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure, including a new Macro Grid that better connects population centers with areas richest in regional resources, and a less balkanized and fairer electricity marketplace to promote greater access to and delivery of renewable power.

    Energy Storage: Energy storage and other grid-enabling technologies have the potential to transform the electricity system and fundamentally change the way we think about energy. ACORE promotes their growth through advocacy for a standalone energy storage tax credit and other supportive policies, market reforms and financing solutions.

    ESG Scoring: ACORE works with its members to increase standardization, transparency and use of material indicators in ESG disclosure and scoring processes through specific recommendations and regular outreach to the ESG community.

    Saturday, August 29, 2020

    Hurricanes And Climate

    Causation of any single event is a philosophical problem. Data showing climate has become more extreme is simply the recent historical record. From The YEARS Project via YouTube

    Heat Getting Hotter

    Scientists are as unequivocal as they ever get that this ain’t normal. But the trend of climate extremes makes it clear that this is the new normal. From 12 News via YouTube

    BP’s New Energy Pivot

    Seems oil companies are finally seeing the future is New Energy. Here are some of the details of bp’s plan. But is it reimagining or rebranding? From bp via YouTube

    Friday, August 28, 2020

    New, More Precise Climate Data Details The Crisis

    How Much Will Earth Really Warm By? Here's What The Latest Research Says

    Ben McNeil, 23 August 2020 (MetaFact via Science Alert)

    “…[An important element of climate science uncertainty] is how sensitive Earth's climate is to carbon dioxide…[That ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’] represents the temperature rise for a sustained doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations…[It] has long been estimated within a likely range of 1.5-4.5 °C. That means if/when carbon dioxide in our atmosphere reaches 560 parts per million (ppm), Earth will warm somewhere between 1.5-4.5 °C…[New research] finds the most likely range to be 2.6–3.9 °C…[Atmospheric carbon dioxide] was ~280 ppm before industrialisation (AD 1880) and is ~413 ppm today…[Without much political action by the world,] the concentration would double to be 560 ppm by ~2070…

    [T]he new study implies that today we are already likely locked into somewhere between 1.3-2.0 °C warming in the long-term…[But] we can nearly rule out 5 °C by 2100 assuming the world does not go bonkers, but not 2200 if we keep burning fossil fuels…The most optimistic future pollution scenario [-- thought not playing out in reality -- ] involves the world drastically cutting coal, oil and gas use up until 2050…[That] would give us an 83 percent chance of staying below 2 °C…[But] staying below 1.5 °C would be extraordinarily difficult…The more likely scenario based on the new study and the most likely future pollution scenario is 2-3 °C by 2100…” click here for more

    Preview Of Post-Pandemic New Energy

    7 Trends That Promise Explosive Renewable Energy Growth Post-COVID-19

    Joe McCarthy, August 24, 2020 (Global Citizen)

    “…The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted economies around the world…[2020 was set to be a record year for] the amount of new solar panels, wind turbines, and other sources of energy installed around the world…[Though renewable energy generation is the only one still growing, it will only] grow by 5% this year …[Seven trends] will define renewable energy in the years to come…1. China’s rapid recovery…[M]anufacturing is returning to pre-COVID-19 levels…2. Stimulus plans…Already, governments have spent trillions of dollars…[and seized] the opportunity to “build back better” by focusing on environmental goals…3. Energy storage…[T]he costs of renewable electricity storage are expected to continue to decline, allowing for greater storage capacity, while new forms of storage are emerging…4. Offshore wind…By 2030, offshore wind projects could generate 234 gigawatts of electricity annually…

    …5. Green hydrogen…Many countries are betting on green hydrogen…[and the European Union] is making green hydrogen a key part of its economic recovery plan…6. Declining costs…[With] technology breakthroughs…costs will keep falling in the years ahead…allowing low-income countries to more easily pursue renewable energy…7. Decentralizing energy grids…Communities around the world are already investing in solar and wind projects that bypass traditional energy suppliers to achieve energy independence and efficiency…[and] better adapt to natural disasters, public health emergencies, and other crises…If countries commit to a clean energy future in the wake of the pandemic, then the goals of the Paris climate agreement could be achieved…” click here for more

    Wednesday, August 26, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Extreme weather, resilience, reliability, and no-regrets investments

    As extreme weather spurs billions in utility resilience spending, regulators struggle to value investments; A new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows the value of resilience depends on too many factors to easily quantify and moves regulators back to human judgment.

    Herman K. Trabish, April 25, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: At this moment, there is probably no issue of greater significance to most state power system regulators than resilience.

    The clarity of hindsight has shown policymakers the value of investments against a pandemic or a Fukushima, but debates continue over extreme weather preparedness. Hurricane flooding in the East and South and wildfire mayhem in the West have taught electric utilities they must invest billions in resilience, but it is still not clear which investments are the best use of ratepayers' money.

    "Measuring how well utilities are keeping the lights on and getting them back on when they go off is easier than the intellectual gymnastics of measuring the value of resilience for individual solutions," former Illinois Commerce Commission Chair Brien Sheahan told Utility Dive. "Policymakers and regulators need to be more proactive, but the challenge is still the cost against an event's likelihood."

    Utility proposals to regulators for resilience spending are growing, though their precise value and how they differ from traditional reliability investments is unclear, according to regulatory proceeding stakeholders. To settle debates about utility plans against specific threats, national lab researchers are working on a "value of resilience" metric that some say is urgently needed and others say is premature.

    "Resilience is mentioned more and more in utilities' grid modernization proposals, but it often gets conflated with reliability," Autumn Proudlove, senior manager of policy research for the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), told Utility Dive. Regulators tend to make the same mistake, often making "little or no distinction" between proposals for reliability and resilience, a 2017 Department of Energy (DOE) survey reported.

    "The term 'resilience' means the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions," according to the Obama administration's Presidential Policy Directive 21. Reliability, on the other hand, is "maintaining the delivery of electric power" when there is "routine uncertainty in operating conditions," according to the DOE's Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium.

    But "resilience is closely related to reliability," the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) acknowledged. A major distinction is that reliability is about preventing disruptions that are "more common, local, and smaller," and resilience "addresses high-impact events" that "can be geographically and temporally widespread," NARUC added. Another key distinction is in how reliability and resilience are measured, according to a 2017 DOE paper. Most regulators are familiar with reliability measurements like System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) that show how well utilities keep the lights on and get them back on when they go out. But "any definition or metric that is based on measuring outage frequencies, times, extents, or impacts on customers or systems does not get at the essence of resilience," the paper added…” click here for more

    Nobody Said The Energy Transition Would Be Easy

    Transitioning to Renewable Energy Isn’t So Simple. Just Look at California; “We thought there would be adequate power to supply the demand…We were wrong.”

    Alex Trembath, Zeke Hausfather, August 23, 2020 (Slate via Mother Jones)

    The recent “heat storm” in California has pushed grid operators to impose one-to-two hour] rolling blackouts for the first time since 2001. A combination of heavy air conditioning usage, the unplanned unavailability of some power plants, limited options for importing power from neighboring states, and insufficient solar and wind generation have led to an imbalance of electricity generation and consumption…[W]ith non-hydroelectric renewable technologies, mostly solar and wind, generating about 30 percent of California’s electricity today, we are witnessing the types of obstacles and problems that these new technologies introduce…

    …[Solar power] disappears when the sun goes down but the temperature doesn’t…[Lithium-ion battery systems typically last long] enough to accommodate much of the daily swings in solar generation, but not the type of extreme surges in demand we’ve seen this week…[Longer duration storage technologies] are largely nonexistent…[The result this week in California] was predictable to anyone who hasn’t been heralding a seamless transition to renewable energy technologies…[When solar generation drops sharply as the sun goes down, it] puts stress on the rest of the electricity grid and increases the risk that disruptions in either in-state power generation or imports could lead to shortfalls…[T]his month’s challenges surface the complexities and difficulties of energy transitions, and the imperative of maintaining a flexible and diverse supply of energy technologies…” click here for more

    Monday, August 24, 2020

    The Ongoing Fight For The Right Solar Policy

    The Q2 2020 50 States of Solar

    July 22, 2020 (The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    Executive Summary


    The purpose of this report is to provide state lawmakers and regulators, electric utilities, the solar industry, and other stakeholders with timely, accurate, and unbiased updates on state actions to study, adopt, implement, amend, or discontinue policies associated with distributed solar photovoltaics (PV). This report catalogues proposed and enacted legislative, regulatory policy, and rate design changes affecting the value proposition of distributed solar PV during the most recent quarter, with an emphasis on the residential sector. The 50 States of Solar series provides regular quarterly updates of solar policy developments, keeping stakeholders informed and up to date. APPROACH The authors identified relevant policy changes through state utility commission docket searches, legislative bill searches, popular press, and direct communication with stakeholders and regulators in the industry.

    Questions Addressed

    This report addresses several questions about the changing U.S. solar policy landscape:

    • How are state legislatures, regulatory authorities, and electric utilities addressing fast growing markets for distributed solar PV?

    • What changes to traditional rate design features and net metering policies are being proposed, approved, and implemented?

    • Where are distributed solar markets potentially affected by policy or regulatory decisions on community solar, third-party solar ownership, and utility-led residential rooftop solar programs?

    Actions Included

    This report series focuses on cataloging and describing important proposed and adopted policy changes affecting solar customer-generators of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and large publicly-owned or nonprofit utilities (i.e., those serving at least 100,000 customers).

    Specifically, actions tracked in these reports include:

    • Significant changes to state or utility net metering laws and rules, including program caps, system size limits, meter aggregation rules, and compensation rates for net excess generation

    • Changes to statewide community solar or virtual net metering laws and rules, and individual utility-sponsored community solar programs arising from statewide legislation

    • Legislative or regulatory-led efforts to study the value of solar, net metering, or distributed solar generation policy, e.g., through a regulatory docket or a cost-benefit analysis

    • Utility-initiated rate requests for charges applicable only to customers with solar PV or other types of distributed generation, such as added monthly fixed charges, demand charges, stand-by charges, or interconnection fees

    • Utility-initiated rate requests that propose a 10% or larger increase in either fixed charges or minimum bills for all residential customers

    • Changes to the legality of third-party solar ownership, including solar leasing and solar third-party solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), and proposed utility-led rooftop solar programs

    In general, this report considers an “action” to be a relevant (1) legislative bill that has been passed by at least one chamber or (2) a regulatory docket, utility rate case, or rulemaking proceeding. Introduced legislation related to third-party sales is included irrespective of whether it has passed at least one chamber, as only a small number of bills related to this policy have been introduced. Introduced legislation pertaining to a regulatory proceeding covered in this report is also included irrespective of whether it has passed at least one chamber.

    Actions Excluded

    In addition to excluding most legislation that has been introduced but not advanced, this report excludes a review of state actions pertaining to solar incentives, as well as more general utility cost recovery and rate design changes, such as decoupling or time-of-use tariffs. General changes in state implementation of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 and subsequent amendments, including changes to the terms of standard contracts for Qualifying Facilities or avoided cost rate calculations, are also excluded unless they are related specifically to the policies described above. The report also does not cover changes to a number of other policies that affect distributed solar, including solar access laws, interconnection rules, and renewable portfolio standards. Details and updates on these and other federal, state, and local government policies and incentives are available in the NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, at


    In the second quarter of 2020, 40 states plus DC took a total of 156 actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design (Figure 1). Table 1 provides a summary of state actions related to DG compensation, rate design, and solar ownership during Q2 2020. Of the 156 actions cataloged, the most common were related to DG compensation rules (54), followed by community solar (36), and residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (27)


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

    Petition Filed with FERC Regarding Federal Jurisdiction over Net Metering

    The New England Ratepayers Association filed a petition for a declaratory order related to net metering with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in April 2020. The petition requests that FERC declare that there is exclusive federal jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales from generators on the customer side of the retail meter and that rates for these sales should be priced according to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act.

    Arkansas Regulators Issue Decision to Continue Retail Rate Net Metering

    In June 2020, the Arkansas Public Service Commission issued a decision retaining retail rate net metering for residential and non-residential customers without a demand component until December 31, 2022, at which point utilities may request approval of alternative net metering rate structures. The decision also adopts a Grid Charge for non-residential demand component customers, which is initially set at $0.

    Kentucky Power Files Net Metering Successor Tariff Proposal

    As part of its general rate case application filed in June 2020, Kentucky Power requested approval for a net metering successor tariff. The proposed tariff includes two daily netting periods (8 am to 6 pm and 6 pm to 8 am) and credits all excess generation at 3.659 cents per kWh. The proposal also includes grandfathering for existing net metering customers for up to 25 years.

    Hawaii Launches Phase 2 of the Community-Based Renewable Energy Program

    The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission launched Phase 2 of the state’s Community-Based Renewable Energy program in April 2020. Phase 2 increases the size of the existing program substantially, from 8 MW to 235 MW. The first tranche of small projects will use the same credit rates as Phase 1 of the program, while project developers will propose their own credit rates in their bids for larger projects.

    Illinois Commerce Commission Opens Proceeding to Set DG Rebate Value

    In April 2020, the Illinois Commerce Commission opened an investigation to set the value for the residential DG rebate that will eventually replace retail rate net metering in the state, pursuant to the Future Energy Jobs Act. Ameren Illinois claims that it has reached the 3% DG penetration rate, which triggers the required process to set the rebate value. The nonresidential DG rebate is currently set at $250 per kW.


    Broad Opposition to Federal Jurisdiction Over Electricity Sales from Customer Generators

    The spotlight was on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) during Q2 2020, as the Commission considered a petition filed by the New England Ratepayers Association requesting a declaratory ruling that FERC has jurisdiction over electricity sales from customer generators. If approved, this petition would have the effect of dismantling state net metering policies and imposing uniform federal rules for the treatment of excess generation. Stakeholders have expressed broad opposition to the petition, with over 50,000 comments filed in opposition from consumers, state utilities commissions, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the American Public Power Association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and many others. Relatively few groups filed comments in support of the petition, and no investor-owned utilities filed comments on the petition. FERC dismissed the petition on procedural grounds in July 2020.

    States Establishing Future Triggers for Net Metering Successor Tariff Development

    Rather than making immediate reforms to net metering programs, many states are establishing dates or levels of installed DG capacity (and sometimes both) that trigger the development of a net metering successor tariff. In Arkansas, utilities may propose alternative compensation structures beginning in 2023, while the Iowa Utilities Board will begin to develop a value of solar methodology for compensation after July 1, 2027. In Illinois, the process to determine the value of the DG rebate program replacing retail rate net metering is triggered when a utility reaches 3% installed DG capacity. Still, other states have established dates or capacity thresholds when net metering successors will go into effect.

    States and Utilities Considering Metering and Billing Infrastructure Issues Related to DG Compensation Programs

    As states and utilities consider more granular compensation structures for DG customers, billing and metering infrastructure issues are also being addressed. In Michigan, Indiana Michigan Power requested approval for a temporary modification to its recently approved inflow-outflow tariff that would apply the outflow credits to the entire monthly bill instead of the monthly bill minus the customer service charge. This change was requested in order to give the utility time to update its billing system. Idaho Power also requested approval for a temporary change to its small general service net metering tariff, allowing customers to avoid a second meter investment, as the tariff requirement is likely to be reevaluated soon. In Kentucky, Kentucky Power filed a net metering successor tariff proposal that utilizes two daily netting periods, with the intention of moving toward hourly netting in the future if the utility’s proposed advanced metering infrastructure deployment is approved.

    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    The Jobs In New Energy

    Wind’s workforce, now 120,000 strong, is defending the nation from the heart of the nation. From American Wind Energy Association via YouTube

    Demand For Old Energy Has Covid

    New Energy dominates new build now. Fossil fuel demand is going down. From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    Is New Energy The Future Of Old Energy?

    BP has long been the leader among oil majors in the energy transition, but it has always been mostly PR. Is this a real change or just more rebranding? From bp via YouTube

    Friday, August 21, 2020

    The Big Dogs In Global New Energy Barking

    Which Renewable Energy Source Has the Most Global Growth? Len Calderone, August 18, 29020 (AltEnergyMag)

    “Population growth and increased urbanization [will drive an estimated 55% growth in] global energy needs within the next decade…[Renewable energy will play an increasing role,] led by solar with an annual growth rate of 34%, followed by wind at 24%... Solar and wind can be installed quickly, getting power to areas where it is critically needed…[without] expensive electric plants and power lines…We are familiar with roof top panels and solar fields that contain hundreds of solar panels…China, the U.S., India and Japan will continue to dominate solar demand. The number of countries installing 1 gigawatt or more annually will grow from nine to 14…

    Wind energy has developed into a competitively priced resource in many markets around the world. Wind-generation capacity onshore and offshore has increased in the past two decades, jumping from 7.5 gigawatts in 1997 to some 564 GW by 2018…[In] 2016 wind energy accounted for 16% of the electricity generated by renewables. Many parts of the world have strong wind speeds…Worldwide, the available wind energy ranges from 300 TW to 870 TW. At 300 TW, just 5% of the available wind energy would supply the world’s energy needs. Most of this wind energy is can be found over the ocean…[Offshore wind farms] are considered to be constant and stronger than onshore farms…” click here for more

    New Energy Passes Coal In Europe

    Renewables Generate More Energy Than Fossil Fuels In Europe For The First Time Ever

    Rosie Frost, August 14, 2020 (EuroNews)

    Over a fifth of Europe’s energy was generated by solar panels and wind turbines in the first half of 2020…Solar and wind energy generation was higher in some European countries. Denmark came out on top, generating 64 per cent of its energy from these renewable sources, closely followed by Ireland (49 per cent) and Germany (42 per cent)…[A]ll renewables - including wind, solar, hydroelectricity and bioenergy - were found to have exceeded fossil fuel generation for the first time ever. They produced 40 per cent of the EU’s power from January to June with fossil fuels contributing 34 per cent…[G]lobally a tenth of all energy was generated by these sources during the first half of 2020. This is a rise of 14 per cent compared to the same period last year…

    …[C]oal still produced a third of world’s electricity in the first six months of the year and experts warn that more dramatic cuts to fossil fuel use are needed to limit climate change…Most of the gains this year came from solar and wind projects built in 2019…[but with] many projects delayed by the pandemic, the global capacity to produce electricity from renewable sources is predicted to drop by up to 13 per cent overall this year…” click here for more

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hybrid Boom Raises Regulatory Challenges

    84 GW US renewables+storage pipeline has developers anxious for market integration rules; Regulators uncertain of the best way to address hybrid complexity prepare to take it on

    Herman K. Trabish | April 23, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Developer interest in hybrids is accelerating, especially solar plus storage.

    Co-locating battery storage with renewables could transform the power system, and a rush by utilities and developers to build "hybrids" has prompted federal regulators to respond.

    The U.S. boom in such projects has put over three times more hybrid capacity into development than the 4.6 GW now online and twelve times more in the pipeline, according to a new paper in Electricity Journal. But wind, solar, and battery storage developers are anxiously waiting for overdue regulatory decisions that could bring hybrids into wholesale markets.

    "Renewable hybrids’ disruptive ability to provide low cost dispatchable clean energy make them the closest thing to a perfect resource we've ever thought of," Aaron Bloom, System Planning Group Chair for power system consulting consortium Energy Systems Integration Group (ESIG), told Utility Dive. But regulators "seem to be applying traditional optimization rules to these new technologies and that might not be the best approach."

    Federal and regional regulators’ delayed decisions on the complexities of integrating and compensating paired technologies have not prevented the boom, the Electricity Journal paper showed. Utilities see hybrids as better than standalone storage to meet policy goals and developers see money on the table, they told Utility Dive. At advocates' urging, FERC has called a technical conference for July to address questions about hybrids' value.

    Utility Dive in 2018 and 2019 found few utility-scale hybrid projects operating in the U.S. market. "It's like the storm is brewing" but "hasn't coalesced yet," InterTran Energy Consulting Founding Principal Rhonda Peters told Utility Dive in 2019. It appears the storm has broken.

    There are 61 renewables projects, at least 1 MW or higher, "co-located with batteries online in the U.S., representing 4.6 GW of capacity, the paper reports. There are also 88 projects, representing 14.7 GW, "in the immediate development pipeline" and "69 GW in the seven main U.S. market interconnection queues." The "critical question" is whether the "conventional wisdom" in the power sector that storage and generation should each be optimally and independently sited is still true… click here for more

    Transportation Electrification Policy Fights Now

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: States Evaluating Charging Infrastructure Needs and Ownership Models in Q2 2020

    August 5, 2020 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[The Q2 2020 50 States of Electric Vehicles from NCCETC found] that 43 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q2 2020…[The greatest number of the 357 actions related] to rebate programs, charging station deployment, studies, electric vehicle registration fees, and grant programs…[The most most active states were] Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey. State lawmakers have enacted at least 30 bills related to electric vehicles so far in 2020…

    [Three key trends were] (1) states investigating the appropriate roles for utilities and private entities in charging infrastructure deployment, (2) states studying and planning for electric vehicle infrastructure needs, and (3) states and utilities offering electric vehicle or charging station incentives for low-income customers…[The top five] policy developments of the quarter [were] Black Hills Electric and Xcel Energy filing their Colorado transportation electrification plans…The California Air Resources Board adopting zero-emission truck standards…State agencies in Colorado and Connecticut releasing electric vehicle plans…The Ohio Department of Transportation outlining a statewide electric vehicle strategy…[and] Kentucky regulators denying approval for Duke Energy’s electric vehicle pilot programs due to the state’s limited electric vehicle market…” click here for more

    Monday, August 17, 2020

    Facing The Cost Of Decarbonizing Buildings

    Towards an Accessible Financing Solution; A Policy Roadmap With Program Implementation Considerations For Tariffed On-Bill Programs In California

    Bruce Mast, Ardenna Energy, LLC Holmes Hummel, Clean Energy Works Jeanne Clinton, July 20, 2020 (Building Decarbonization Coalition)

    Executive Summary

    Introduction to the Executive Summary

    California has established the ambitious climate protection goal of achieving full carbon neutrality by 2045 and to do so in a way that supports the health and economic resiliency of urban and rural communities, particularly low income and disadvantaged communities. To achieve this goal, the residential building sector, along with every other sector, must reach zero emissions, including greenhouse gases (GHGs) from fossil-fuel end uses. To achieve building decarbonization at scale, California will need an artful combination of updated building codes, appliance standards, regulatory requirements, public funding, and ratepayer-funded incentives, combined with policies and programs that overcome long-standing upfront cost barriers that deter households from making cost-effective clean energy investments.

    California also needs an equitable emissions reduction strategy. If we are to reach the state’s policy objectives, a building decarbonization strategy must be robust enough to enable the participation of California’s low- and moderate-income (LMI) and renter households, who together represent more than 40 percent of the state’s population. California must identify the means to overcome the upfront cost and split incentive barriers in order to put decarbonization investments within reach of all Californians, regardless of income, credit history, liquidity, or home ownership status. As signatories to the Equitable Building Electrification framework pointed out, Environmental and Social Justice (ESJ) communities “…are likely to be left using gas if market forces are the primary driver of electrification.”1 A grant-only approach to LMI building decarbonization investments would require a cumulative 25-year public and ratepayer capital commitment on the order of $72–150 billion. This level of spending on building decarbonization would dwarf any public expenditure the state of California has made for energy efficiency or renewable energy programs. One can thus infer that exclusive reliance on grant-only programs leaves ESJ communities at risk of getting left behind.

    The Building Decarbonization Coalition launched the Accessible Financing Project to address these barriers and expand access to clean energy upgrades with a combination of funding and financing. The Project goal was to develop a policy roadmap for opening the clean energy economy to LMI households and renters, specifically in the realm of upgrades that decarbonize buildings. In the course of stakeholder engagement, it became evident that there was strong interest in wading further into issues of due diligence and implementation. Our recommendations will outline a path to address all three dimensions.

    While our focus is on identifying solutions to barriers faced by LMI households and renters, it is not our intent to limit the recommended finance solution to these customer segments. Our overarching goal remains an accessible financing solution that is universally accessible to all California households, without regard to income level. Our belief is that a solution that works for the most challenging use cases (LMI households and renters) will also expand accessibility for easier use cases (e.g., higher-income property owners).

    We also note that a financing mechanism need not replace or diminish existing grant or free direct-installation programs for lower income residents. Combining grants with accessible finance mechanisms can expand overall access and participation. This approach will accelerate adoption of more comprehensive investments in building energy upgrades, and thus leverage public funding with financed investment for greater impact.

    To effectively address upfront cost and split incentive barriers, and to support the scale of investment state policy requires, we defined the following design criteria as benchmarks of success:

    1. Ability to finance over long periods (10–15 years) even in rental units with multiple changes in tenancy

    2. Ability to leverage utility bill savings to defray investment costs, rather than rely on consumer credit or home equity

    3. Cash-positive outcomes that assure LMI customers will not experience increased energy burdens

    4. Ability to scale to serve millions of California households

    A threshold research finding that guided the Project’s subsequent investigations is that consumer credit finance products are ill suited to meet the design criteria above. This knowledge already has motivated multiple public agencies to develop policy recommendations and solutions that would facilitate site-specific clean energy investments with utility or societal capital and site-specific cost recovery consistent with regular terms of service offered by utilities. This approach offers three key benefits that align directly with Project design criteria:

    • Assigning the capital commitment to a site (e.g. home, condominium, or apartment through its utility meter), rather than to an individual, avoids the need for consumer credit risk screening that would otherwise disqualify more than one third of all consumers based on income, credit score, or renter status.

    • Leveraging a utility’s existing mechanisms for making utility capital investments with cost recovery through monthly bills allows a single utility bill to combine decarbonization investment service costs for “behind-the-meter” improvements with the lower utility bills resulting from the improvements made.

    • The level of uncollected revenue on expected utility bill payments (i.e. charge-off rate) is typically low compared to much higher default levels on consumer debt instruments, making cost recovery via the utility bill attractive and lower risk. Consistent with those policy recommendations, the BDC Accessible Financing Project research team prioritized attention to the potential to address the key design requirements with site-specific investment and cost recovery through utility tariffed on-bill programs.

    Combining Multiple Value Streams to Mobilize Investment

    While some residential decarbonization investments in California will produce positive bill savings with current market conditions, this is not true for all of our state’s housing stock today, even if the value proposition continues to improve over the next decade. For many, the savings based on current energy prices and equipment costs will be too modest to cover the full investment cost and, for others, such as those living in moderate climate zones, the savings may not cover even the incremental costs. Yet our state’s climate goals dictate that we achieve zero emissions in the housing sector. This dilemma requires a broader economic lens to recognize the total value of clean energy investments accruing to different stakeholders, and then striving to both align and combine the multiple value streams.

    Conceptually, utility bill savings alone need not cover the full cost of clean energy investments. While the total cost of many building decarbonization upgrades are not cost effective by leveraging customer bill savings alone, some portion of every decarbonization upgrade would meet the cost effectiveness criteria for a tariffed on-bill investment. This means that building decarbonization upgrades require a combination of financing for the portion of the upgrade costs that can be recovered from bill savings, and other co-funding associated with one or more of the additional value streams:

    1. Customer co-benefits. It is reasonable to expect occupants (owners and renters) to harness the value of any additional benefits experienced beyond utility bill savings (such as better health, lower health care costs, increased comfort, etc., which are considered “co-benefits”) with a co-pay that captures some of the value of these co-benefits.

    2. Societal costs and benefits. To the extent that net societal costs and benefits of decarbonization are positive yet not already reflected in retail energy prices, public funding sources should contribute to those decarbonization investments.

    3. Grid operator costs and benefits. Decarbonization activities that reduce utility system delivery costs, improve grid flexibility to balance intermittent generation sources, or enhance system performance can produce value streams that harness the motivation to invest. For example, the value of avoided costs to the gas distribution system and the associated grid co-investments may be higher when whole communities (or all buildings served by a single distribution branch) decarbonize at one time.

    4. Landlord-tenant equity. Co-payments by landlords for some of the cost of replacing heating, cooling, and water heating equipment could be considered a core co-funding requirement, in keeping with their fiduciary responsibility to provide space heating and hot water.

    Overview of Existing Tariffed On-Bill Programs

    Tariffed on-bill programs based on the PAYS® (Pay As You Save®) 2 system have been successfully implemented during the past 18 years in eight states by 18 utilities from Hawaii to New Hampshire, including investor owned, cooperative, and municipal utilities. More than $30 million has been invested in energy efficiency and renewable upgrades at 5,000 locations.3 Utilities that have experience offering tariffed on-bill programs have reported results that indicate consistently high adoption rates for building energy efficiency upgrades and low charge-off rates for nonpayment, even in areas characterized by conditions of persistent poverty.

    In 2019, U.S Department of Energy (DOE) released an Issue Brief on the topic of tariffed on-bill programs through its Better Buildings Solutions Center. Below is an adapted excerpt:

    A tariffed on-bill program allows a utility to pay for cost-effective energy improvements at a specific residence, such as home heating and cooling units, and to recover its costs for those improvements over time through a dedicated charge on the utility bill that is immediately less than the estimated savings from the improvements.

    The tariffed on-bill model differs from on-bill loans and repayment models in that tariffs are not a loan, but rather a utility investment for which cost recovery is tied to the utility meter according to terms set forth in a utility tariff.5

    A tariff (or tariff rider) approved by utility regulators sets forth the terms of service for an investment made at a single location, with the cost recovery assigned only to the meter at that location. The tariff charge will remain attached to the meter at the improved location, regardless of who occupies the property, until utility cost recovery is complete.

    The tariffed on-bill upgrade is associated with the utility meter location, not an individual household account. Therefore, utilities do not have to evaluate occupant credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, nor screen participants for homeownership status.

    Because there is no customer debt obligation, the terms in the tariffed on-bill program apply automatically to the current customer as well as future customers at each upgraded location. The tariffed charge for cost recovery of the utility expenditure survives foreclosure proceedings, changes in tenancy, and can be floated through periods of vacancy.

    Residents pay utility bills that are lower than they would have been without the upgrades and, if designed with consumer protections in place, the energy savings are greater than the tariff charge that recovers the utility investment. This reduces risk to residents, who, if they used on-bill financing or repayment, might otherwise have been forced to pay off their debt if they wished to move before the loan repayment was complete.

    The on-bill tariff program is especially good for removing barriers to rental home upgrades because the program enables a utility to recover its cost for energy improvements even if [initial] renters leave before the recovery is complete.

    Near-Term Pathway to Tariffed On-Bill Programs

    Our assessment of the current regulatory environment in California is that publicly owned utilities (POUs) and investor-owned utilities (IOUs) already have broad discretion to implement tariffed on-bill programs, subject to review and approval by their governing board, in the case of POUs, or by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in the case of IOUs. The CPUC and POU governing boards have the authority to authorize:

    • utility investments of capital

    • public purposes to be served by utilities regarding energy, related environmental dimensions including greenhouse gases (GHGs), and customer health, safety, and comfort

    • rules for utility procurement and deployment of capital, infrastructure, and services

    • billing mechanisms and tariffs

    For IOUs, a rate case application is considered and authorized by the CPUC for cost recovery of the total amount of investment and capital required, including authorized rate of return on equity and debt. Utility tariffs describe the details of cost recovery via service charges on affected customers’ bills.

    POUs have autonomy to enact comparable tariffs, subject to review and approval by their governing boards. Two California local governments (Town of Windsor and the City of Hayward) have used their public water utility capital sources and billing systems to administer Pay As You Save® efficiency programs that mirror many of the features of the tariffed on-bill model we address here.

    Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) in California are currently not authorized to initiate tariffed on-bill programs because no California electric or gas utility is yet approved to make site-specific investments through a tariff that assigns cost recovery to a location rather than a customer.6 In accordance with current California policies, only distribution utilities are permitted to disconnect customers for non-payment for an essential utility service, and no electric or gas utility regulator has yet determined that site-specific energy upgrades such as energy efficiency and building decarbonization are essential utility services. With such approval, a utility could partner with one or more CCAs to serve as a program operator to coordinate local implementation of the investment program.

    We recommend that POUs and IOUs move expeditiously to secure necessary approvals for the design and launch of tariffed on-bill programs for building energy upgrades that could include building decarbonization, energy efficiency, and more. Specifically, the CPUC and POU governing boards should follow a three-stage approach, starting with establishing a policy framework, then proceeding to due diligence, and then providing direction on implementation.

    Establish Policy Framework

    CPUC and POU governing boards should provide enabling direction that sets in motion the program due diligence and planning process. This phase involves establishing threshold regulatory policies that establish tariffed on-bill programs as permissible. It also sets parameters for the scope of due diligence required for select program design elements, notably consumer protections and capital sources. Regulators should:

    1. Authorize utilities to deploy capital and recover cost for building decarbonization upgrades via tariffed on-bill structures that enable participation regardless of income, credit score, or renter status

    2. Authorize utilities to make these “behind the meter” investments on terms that assure a path to ownership for customers while also assuring full cost recovery with a return on utility investment, on par with conventional utility investments

    3. Direct that tariffed on-bill payments be treated as a regular element of utility tariffs and bill payment, subject to customary procedures and notices should there be payment arrears

    4. Establish minimum thresholds for consumer protections 5. Establish guidelines for source capital, considering implications for utility balance sheets and access to broader capital markets

    Due Diligence And Feasibility

    While this White Paper attempts to provide guidance on key implementation issues, a comprehensive due diligence and feasibility analysis is beyond the scope of this effort. Toward that end, regulators should allocate resources to investigate economics and cost allocations, financial and legal risks, and stakeholder roles and responsibilities. This phase should address the following critical issues:

    Economics and Cost Allocations

    1. Conduct economic potential study encompassing full span of potential decarbonization investments on the customer side of the meter; quantify expected societal benefits from promising decarbonization packages; incorporate current assumptions about future rate increases, transition to time-of-use (TOU) rates, net energy metering (NEM), and CARE discounts into customer economic analysis

    2. Analyze financial implications of assigning indirect costs (e.g., cost of capital, program administration, measurement and verification (M&V), loss reserves) to participating customers versus ratepayers

    3. Investigate information system requirements and associated capital investments to support customer billing under different risk-reward allocation scenarios

    4. Assess market potential for decarbonization packages offering attractive customer economic benefits; incorporate analysis of customer-specific Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) data to inform customer segmentation and estimate potential investment contributions from customer energy cost savings; estimate supporting incentive and customer co-pay requirements, including landlord co-pays for rental housing retrofits.

    Financial and Legal Risks

    5. Perform risk analysis, including perspectives of current and successor customers, ratepayers, program sponsors, energy services companies and other private-sector service providers, and capital providers

    6. Identify consumer protection mechanisms that balance costs, risks, and rewards, and authorize mechanisms to mitigate the potential for above-normal costs to ratepayers from unpaid bills (e.g. reserve funds).

    7. Investigate options for source capital, supported by strong assurances of repayment

    8. Evaluate potential jurisdictional issues that could be brought up around liability and property law; determine appropriate legal framework for ownership of investment assets

    Roles and Responsibilities for Program Offerings

    9. Articulate possible roles for POUs and CCAs

    10.Establish ground rules for program sponsors to obtain access to customer-specific gas and electricity consumption, including whole-building consumption data for multifamily facilities

    11.Authorize third parties to take on responsibility for customer utility bill payments

    As part of due diligence activities above, the research team should conduct active stakeholder engagement, with particular attention to ESJ communities, prospective capital providers, and private sector service providers.

    Based on due diligence outcomes, regulators should provide guidance on:

    1. Performance metrics for program success, considering potential metrics such as default or charge-off rates, market share, participant demographics, contribution to customer wealth building, economic performance, GHG emissions reductions, other social outcomes

    2. Scope of decarbonization measures and criteria for integrating multiple funding sources

    3. Assignment of indirect costs (e.g., cost of capital, program administration, M&V, loss reserves) to participating customers versus ratepayers, leading to authorized funding from ratepayer sources

    4. Program parameters, including consumer protection mechanisms, capital sources, and risk allocations


    Based on the blueprint established through the due diligence process, program sponsors should be empowered to design and implement programs, including:

    1. Conduct market research to assess optimal methods for communicating program costs, risks, and rewards to consumers

    2. Develop customer acquisition strategies and phased roll-out plan

    3. Establish detailed implementation plans

    Longer-Term Policy Roadmap for Achieving Scale and Meeting Climate Goals

    The scale and speed of investments required to meet the state’s climate action goals dictate an emphasis on scalable solutions capable of attracting substantial private investment. The near-term policy pathway described above should provide critical early momentum. Additional policy developments should focus on accelerating that momentum.

    Parallel implementation of what could be multiple local and regional tariff on-bill programs does not automatically lead to a scalable statewide solution that would be attractive to large-scale capital providers. To avoid fragmented solutions, policy development should focus on two issues:

    1. Combine public investments in related decarbonization strategies (e.g., energy efficiency, electrification, rooftop solar, and on-site energy storage) and align program policies and procedures to capture larger total value streams for integrated projects. For example, more efficiency and electrification investments can be achieved when combined with the cash flows of on-site solar projects. Combining multiple value streams, including tariffed on-bill investment, will expand the number of financially viable decarbonization projects.

    2. Move towards integrated statewide program administration and implementation to enable large aggregated investment portfolios and the associated economies of scale in securing capital and managing overhead costs.

    Recommendations For Enabling Large Scale Capital Deployment For Building Decarbonization…

    Recommendations For Statewide Program Administration…

    Time is a critical factor in capitalizing tariffed on-bill investments at a scale sufficient to achieve California’s policy objectives. While these recommendations may be taken up in any order, near-term pathway actions by utilities and utility regulators are critical to getting started at an initial scale. Supporting actions by the state legislature and governor can accelerate implementation…

    Saturday, August 15, 2020

    Bill Gates On Covid And The Bigger Crisis

    Resolving the climate crisis will help prevent more pandemics and protect the global economy from “incredible instability” that leads to more global nightmares. From Bloomberg Markets and Finance via YouTube

    Solar Reaches Record Affordability

    Tesla's solar installed cost is at $1.49/watt and in other places it is even cheaper, making investment in solar power extremely tempting. From Undecided with Matt Ferrell via YouTube

    Next-Gen Batteries

    One of the veteran leaders in New Energy explains why innovation will provide the real answers if the market makes “low cost, low carbon, and environmental justice co-equal.” From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Friday, August 14, 2020

    The World Has New Energy

    DNV GL releases new report on renewable energy solutions

    Sarah Smith, 11 August 2020 (Energy Global)

    “…The recent COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the [maturity and] resilience of renewable energy sources…By 2050, DNV GL forecasts that 66% of the world's electricity will be generated from renewable energy sources…[driven by the continuously decreasing cost of] onshore and offshore wind projects, and the availability of lower cost and more efficient solar modules, combined with advanced energy storage solutions…[but this will not keep] global warming well below 2°C by 2050… [In] the next phase of the energy transition, the expansion and evolution of these [existing] technologies is critical…[and] the development and adoption of floating renewables and next-generation battery storage technologies need to be accelerated…

    [E]lectric vehicles, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and digitalisation need to be scaled-up…System operators, utilities and electricity market regulators must provide greater focus on how the increasing volume of renewable energy is to be integrated efficiently while maintaining high levels of grid reliability for consumers…[Prosumers must play an active role in] dynamic balancing of the supply and demand…[P]olicies are required that provide predictable costs which favour investment in renewable energy by reducing risk and increasing rewards…Economic stimulus programmes built around the proven resilience of renewable energy provide opportunity to…strengthen local labour markets and deliver high returns for international investors and financial institutions.” click here for more