NewEnergyNews: 11/01/2020 - 12/01/2020

NewEnergyNews

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.

YESTERDAY

  • Monday Study – Solar Net Metering Takes Centerstage
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Have It All With The THRIVE Act
  • Weekend Video: New Energy Overview
  • Weekend Video: Game-Changing Battery Breakthrough
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Climate-Driven Extreme Weather Worsening
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global New Energy Jobs To Grow 500%
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, July 28:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: Transition To Renewables Up Push For Reliability
  • TTTA Wednesday- Policymakers Back Batteries For Solar
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Monday Study – Big Wind Building Around The World
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    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

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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  • THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, August 4:
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Conundrum Of Controlling Rates With Rising Costs
  • The Fight For Tomorrow’s Grid Gets Bigger

    Monday, November 30, 2020

    People-Powered Transport Celebrates

    CicLAvia 10 Years

    October 2020 (CicLAvia)

    Since 2010, CicLAvia has transformed and engaged communities: 35 events, 226 Miles of car-free streets, 1.8M PARTICIPANTS, 10+ Forms of people-powered transportation, 5x more people use temporary park space on event days than all other LA parks

    Averaging 50,000 people per event, CicLAvia hosts a large and enthusiastic audience of repeat and first-time participants

    Participants come from 75% of the zip codes in the City of LA and more than 50%of the zip codes in LA County, 35% of CicLAvia participants are first-timers, 36% of CicLAvia participants have attended more than 1-3 events, and 29% of CicLAvia participants are die-hard fans participating in more than 4 CicLAvia events

    Positive Impacts of CicLAvia

    Air Quality

    Harmful air pollution (PM 2.5) was reduced by nearly 50% on CicLAvia day along the route — compared to non-CicLAvia days. In the neighborhoods around the route (where streets were open to cars), harmful air emissions were reduced by 12% — compared to non-CicLAvia days. Reductions in PM 2.5 relate to improvements in health, especially for vulnerable populations (children, sick and elderly).

    Public Health

    Nearly 50% of those attending CicLAvia for the first time said they would have been at home or otherwise sedentary if they had not come to CicLAvia. 66% of those participating with children said the same thing. A June 2016 Preventative Medicine Journal article noted that the health benefits of CicLAvia are sound public investments in improving public health

    Local Businesses and Lacal Economies

    Local businesses surveyed along the CicLAvia routes report local sales increase by as much as 57%.

    Local Active Transportation Policy

    CicLAvia events have showcased ‘demonstration’ projects for the Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative, and the City’s “Vision Zero” Initiative. CicLAvia has led to Metro creating an “Open Streets” Program aimed at providing resources for other cities to conduct CicLAvia-like open streets programs. CicLAvia participates on Metro’s Advisory Committee for Measure M to help guide the region’s investment in public transportation and active transportation.

    Today, CicLAvia is recognized as the nation’s most-skilled producer of car-free street events, connecting Angelenos to each other through a shared sense of adventure.

    CicLAvia collaborates with local community organizations, civic leaders, government agencies, and cultural institutions to create events that benefit local communities, while sharing the variety and uniqueness of LA.

    CicLAvia has become the largest event of its kind in the U.S. and a leader in the global Open Streets movement.

    The first CicLAvia event took place on October 10, 2010, with a stretch of open streets from East Hollywood through downtown L.A. into Boyle Heights. More than 100,000 Angelenos turned out with people-powered transportation (bicycles, walking, skateboarding, scooters, running, pedicabs, etc.), exceeding expectations.

    Inspired by the Bogotá, Colombia’s ciclovía events that started 45 years ago, CicLAvia began as a grassroots initiative by individuals who recognized that Open Streets events could address active transportation, urban land use, and public health needs in L.A.

    • Ten years and 35 CicLAvias later, more than 1.8 million people of all ages (averaging 53,000 participants at each event) have explored nearly 226 miles of open streets in L.A. County. Each CicLAvia route is 6-8 times larger than the median size of L.A.’s existing public parks.

    • CicLAvia has allowed L.A. to imagine what air quality, mobility and public health would be like via car-free Open Streets events. CicLAvia routes change every other month creating greater equity for L.A.’s most park-poor communities – extending its reach and impact beyond any one community. One silver lining from the pandemic is that we got a taste of the positive impact of Open Streets when CicLAvia was forced to temporarily suspend their events and Slow Streets emerged as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the City of Los Angeles, disrupting lives, costing lives, and severely hampering our economy. Making active transportation safer can provide all Angelenos mobility alternatives, especially those without access to a vehicle –

    • Attendees come from both the host neighborhoods – and all over L.A. – to share and enjoy the day. CicLAvia builds a unifying social fabric connecting neighborhoods and neighbors to each other through a spirit of play.

    • CicLAvia is free, fun and inclusive. Neighbors, families and new friends can more intimately explore neighborhoods, historic sites, and hidden gems along with food, shopping and educational resources available along each route.

    • For those participating with children, CicLAvia is an opportunity to get exercise, explore the city, have fun, to bike and walk in a safe environment without traffic, and to simply get their children outside.

    • By locating routes near public transportation, a broad range of local communities can easily participate. CicLAvia entices people to go places they haven’t visited. Metro ridership increases 30% during CicLAvia, with some riders taking trains and buses for the first time. CicLAvia happens with communities not to communities. All routes, whether unique or recurring, are designed, planned, and implemented with local communities in mind.

    • CicLAvia’s participants mirror L.A.’s demographics. They come from 75% of City of L.A. zip codes, and 50% of LA County zip codes. In a region that has at times struggled for harmony, CicLAvia creates a joyous, shared urban forum. Everyone is welcome… even dogs. Attendees start wherever they want along the route and enjoy as long as they like.

    • These well-coordinated days are due to the hundreds of volunteers who work alongside public safety workers to close streets to cars and open them to celebratory fun. By design, CicLAvia routes traverse the centerpiece boulevards that distinguish L.A.’s many unique neighborhoods.

    • Each route is punctuated by Hubs that turn intersections into recreation and rest areas, where people can find fresh water, food, entertainment, bike repairs, art, first aid, conversation, shared activities, and the joy of being outdoors, bringing people together, whether they live on the same block or in the same county.

    What’s new right now with CicLAvia

    Over the summer, CicLAvia’s impact was punctuated with these two prestigious awards:

    ’ 1) High Line Network – a community of North American nonprofit organizations developing or operating infrastructure reuse as public spaces based on CicLAvia’s redefining what a park can be, and commitment to building truly equitable spaces for Los Angeles communities, and

    2) Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Open Space Award Special Mention - Though unconventional, CicLAvia is a “best park” with enormous reach and impact beyond any one community. CicLAvia builds a unifying social fabric connecting neighborhoods –and neighbors– to each other.

    • In celebration of CicLAvia’s 10th Anniversary, artist Brian Rea created a commemorative illustration that captures the joy, excitement, and energy that CicLAvia brings to LA streets and communities. “When I participated in CicLAvia the first time, it completely changed my attitude about Los Angeles. We all know LA by driving in our cars, but when you get out and walk around the city, you get a completely different perspective of the city. And there’s no other event that allows you to do that,” exclaimed Rea. (illustration image attached). New merchandise incorporating illustration will be available soon.

    click here for more

    Saturday, November 28, 2020

    Here Comes The Renewed Fight For New Energy

    The resolution of the 2020 election is only the beginning of the U.S. fight for New Energy and a future free of a climate crisis. Winning will take everybody. From Mike Bloomberg via YouTube

    The Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program

    This is the program that accelerated the boom in utility-scale renewables in 2009. It is likely to be key to the Biden administration’s fight to stop the climate crisis. From U.S. Department of Energy via YouTube

    The Crisis Can Be Turned

    Scientists say stopping the thawing of Antarctic is still possible but the longer action is delayed, the harder it will be. From Yale Climate Connections via YouTube

    Friday, November 27, 2020

    Still A Lot Of Convincing To Do

    Research shows public not concerned over climate crisis

    November 25, 2020 (EUreporter)

    “…[New research] shows that large portions of the public still do not accept the urgency of the climate crisis, and only a minority believe it will impact them and their families severely over the next fifteen years…A sizeable majority of Europeans and Americans believe that climate change is happening…Outright climate change denial is scarce in all of the [nine] countries surveyed…A significant group of ‘soft’ attribution sceptics believe that, contrary to the scientific consensus, climate change is caused equally by human activities and natural processes…

    Majorities believe that climate change will have very negative consequences for life on earth…[But] a significant minority of “impact sceptics” who believe the negative consequences will be outweighed by the positive…Most people don’t think their own lives will be strongly affected…[Y]ounger people tend to be more likely to expect negative impacts of climate change on their lives by 2035 if nothing is done…There is widespread support for switching to a green energy firm to provide household energy…[But large minorities in France and the US] would not consider a switch…Majorities in Europe are willing to reduce their meat consumption, but figures vary widely…” click here for more

    Diet For A Planet In Crisis

    Why we need policies to reduce meat consumption now; A new study shows that moving to a plant-based diet is critical, but governments have been slow to act.

    Lili Pike, November 17, 2020 (VOX)

    “…Emissions are embedded in every part of the food supply chain…[New research shows the] food system is responsible for about 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions currently, and these emissions are expected to rise rapidly as people around the world become more affluent and consume more meat and dairy products…[The most effective change would be] the global adoption of a plant-rich diet…[But that would be] a massive behavior change…Which means policymakers need to get more creative, and ambitious…

    …[A healthier diet, reducing waste,] improved crop yields and more efficient agricultural production, including decreased fertilizer use, could make a difference…Dietary change is fraught, but public health policies can provide guidance…Unfortunately, governments have taken very little action to date…The good news is that countries have public health policies to draw experience from…One of the most well-established policies is taxing consumption…[But that would] affect low-income consumers more than high-income consumers who can stomach extra costs…[F]ood labeling and dietary guidelines are less effective, but may be helpful…[C]hanges to the food system will also be essential…[E]everybody has some responsibility…” click here for more

    Thursday, November 26, 2020

    To The Better Turkey Days Ahead And Gone

    Despite the grief this year, NewEnergyNews remains grateful for so many blessings…first and foremost for the healthcare workers who continue to give above and beyond the call of duty…and, as always, to the Marks family foundation… the blessed cowgirls of Carousel Ranch… the enduring Randolph and the Scott clan… the always inspiring guys of Akbar…the inimitable Frenchie and her Juliette… the yellow rose of Teri…and the staff at Utility Dive

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

    May you keep wearing your masks until the air clears and always count your blessings. May a kind fate lead you to the special pot of gold awaiting you at the end of your very own rainbow…

    Video from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame via YouTube

    A Thanksgiving For Healing

    The idea of Thanksgiving, like so many other good ones, came from a woman, the great Sarah Josepha Hale.From National Constitution Center via YouTube

    Nostalgia – A Lesser Known Bit Of Thanksgiving History

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

    Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utility collaboration with charging companies – and differences – rising

    As utility collaboration with charging companies rises, emerging differences could impede EV growth; To accelerate EV charging infrastructure deployment, former competitors are working together, but new questions threaten to lead to dissension.

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 31, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The Biden administration’s plans to drive growth in transportation electrification is likely to charger deployment a hot topic in the coming years.

    Transportation electrification, once considered an uphill struggle against the convenience and affordability of gasoline-fueled vehicles, now appears ready to roll. Forecasted growth of today's approximately 1.5 million U.S. electric vehicles to 20 million in 2030 requires at least $75 billion in investment, according to recent Brattle Group data. To achieve this, once-competing stakeholders must expand their still-tenuous collaboration.

    "We are on the cusp of a new adoption phase," Robert Barrosa, director of utility strategy and operations at public charger advocate Electrify America, said in an email. But "significant progress" in deployment has been "fragmented" and "piecemeal," making it "confusing for drivers and businesses that want to invest in transportation electrification."

    "There is always more we can do to go faster and further with electrification," agreed Katie Sloan, director of e-mobility and building electrification at Southern California Edison (SCE). That is "especially important now because it can create jobs for the economic recovery and help reduce all customers' rates by more efficiently using the grid," she said.

    It seems transportation electrification has moved past early conflicts, in which utilities and charger providers fought over ownership, stakeholders told Utility Dive. Deployment is accelerating as utilities focus on the electrical infrastructure for chargers, called make-readies, and leave deployment and ownership of the chargers to private providers. But questions like how to manage charging loads and how to assess costs and benefits of deployment remain unanswered and could, stakeholders agreed, impede EV growth.

    Deployment has increased, but more is needed. Transforming U.S. transportation will do more than disrupt transportation, Brattle's study projected. The billions in investment is expected to increase power sector demand by 60-95 TWh per year and increase U.S. peak load by 10- GW to 20 GW. Public charger deployment increased 40% per year from 2014 to 2019, Brattle calculated. In 2019, workplaces and other public locations had 66,000 Level 2 (L2) chargers, which can give a vehicle 124 miles of charge in roughly five hours. There were 12,000 Direct Current fast chargers (DCFCs), which can charge a vehicle the same amount in about 30 minutes.

    But to satisfactorily serve 20 million EVs, the U.S. needs to deploy 1.25 million public chargers, according to Brattle — 1.2 million L2s and 60,000 DCFCs by 2030...Growth is already supported by falling EV, battery and charger prices, growing market availability of cars and chargers, and greater consumer awareness, Brattle reported. And federal, state and local mandates, along with tax credits and rebates are expanding...Charger availability is accelerating in some jurisdictions through agreement among stakeholders that utilities should build the make-readies and private providers should install chargers, Brattle Principal and study co-author Sanem Sergici told Utility Dive…” click here for more

    How A Colorado Power Market Benefits The State And The West

    Colorado Can Save Money, Create Jobs And Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions By Enabling Transmission Coordination Across The State; The highest benefits for Colorado in terms of consumer costs, job creation and GHG emissions is when all of the electricity companies in Colorado join the Western Energy Imbalance Market.

    October 22, 2020 (Vibrant Clean Energy)

    “…[E]nabling more efficient and transparent transmission coordination across Colorado the average residential electricity customer could save $255 per year by 2040…[and save] Colorado of $1.76 billion. The coordination of electric grid investments across Colorado also facilitates integration to Western electricity markets, and creates 70,000 new jobs while reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the electricity sector by 73% from 2005 levels…

    [New modeling shows Colorado fares better if all the utilities and cooperatives join either the SPP organized WEIS (Western Energy Imbalance Service) or the CAISO organized WEIM (Western Energy Imbalance Market)…[T]he most beneficial option is for all of Colorado to join the CAISO WEIM, as it provides lower costs, further reduces Colorado customer bills, enables Colorado to sell its wind and solar electricity to more customers, and grows local jobs across the state, particularly in rural areas…The final step would be a fully developed Regional Transmission Organization across the West…” click here for more

    Monday, November 23, 2020

    Monday Study: A Look Ahead At New Energy In Buildings

    A Chapter From: The Future of Buildings, Transportation and Power

    Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber, 2020 (DW Books)

    The Changing Power Industry: Wind and Solar

    The electric power industry is undergoing the most dramatic change since its inception more than a century ago. The who, what, where, when, and why of electricity generation is changing.

    The who are the owners, operators, and decision-makers of the power industry. The utility and the customer are changing roles as customers start to produce their own electricity.

    The what are the fuels we use to generate electricity. Decarbonization of fuels is perhaps the single biggest economic change in the industry.

    Where we generate electricity is also changing. Rooftop solar and other on-site generation are driving a decentralized trend.

    Energy storage is changing when we use electricity, decoupling the times between when we generate and consume electricity.

    And finally, new electrical workloads and power needs are changing why we generate electricity.

    It is easier to explain the consequences of these changes if we start with the what and end with the who. Here we will go through the wind and solar sectors of the changing power industry:

    Wind

    There’s plenty of wind circling the globe to meet our power needs. A Stanford University study showed that wind power could meet world energy demand five times over. Because of its ready availability, simplicity, and low cost, wind has been leading renewable energy growth, both in the U.S. and worldwide. U.S. wind capacity has risen from about 2.4 GW in 2000 to more than 97 GW in early 2019. World wind capacity soared from just under 17 GW to more than 597 GW by the end of 2018.

    In the U.S., the cost of wind energy has plummeted in the last few decades, dropping from over 50 cents/kWh in 1980, to less than to 2 cents/kWh in 2017. Prices for wind energy worldwide have dropped correspondingly, and are now competitive with coal and gas.

    Transmission remains a primary problem for onshore wind because people typically don’t live where it’s windy. In the early 2000s, hundreds of turbines were built in remote west Texas, far from the cities that wanted the power they were generating. Transmission was the obstacle, as it still is in many parts of the world. Toward the end of 2013, much of Texas’s transmission problem was addressed, as the $7 billion CREZ project was completed. CREZ, or Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, can today send 18,500 megawatts of wind power throughout the state, or three times as much wind power as any other state in the U.S.

    On December 27th, 2018, the Texas grid operator, ERCOT, was getting 54 percent of its energy from wind generation. And for a brief time in 2018, the Great Plains electric grid, powering customers in 14 states, was meeting 60 percent of its requirements with wind energy.

    Similar long-haul transmission issues don’t exist for offshore wind. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population (and load centers) reside within 200 miles of an ocean coastline making offshore wind a natural fit for co-locating electricity generation with electrical load.

    The leaders in offshore wind production are Great Britain, Germany, and Denmark. Great Britain gets more power from offshore wind than almost all other countries combined, with more than 1,000 turbines. In 2017, the Dutch opened what was billed as one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms in the North Sea, with 150 turbines, that could supply the energy needs of 1.5 million people. In 2016, the U.S. opened its first offshore wind farm near Block Island, New Jersey, consisting of 5 turbines with a capacity of 30MW.

    In a signal of just how fast shifts to clean, safe, renewable energy can be made, Japan is building 140 massive wind towers 12 miles offshore from the ruin of the Fukushima nuclear plant. It’s said this wind complex alone could produce over 1 GW of power by 2020. And wind turbines are getting much larger. GE’s newest offshore model, the Haliade, is a 12 MW behemoth installed off the coast of Rotterdam, with a 220m rotor diameter.

    Many industry experts predict that the next great wind boom in the U.S. will be offshore along the coast of New England and the central Atlantic states. There are currently 12 active offshore wind leases being developed in the U.S., with a combined potential for 15 GW of generation. The future of U.S. offshore wind will depend heavily on the progress of these projects. But based on offshore wind’s success in Europe, it is very likely that we will replicate that approach to great scale in the United States in the coming decades.

    Solar

    Yes, wind could meet our energy demands five times over. But the sun dwarfs even that power. In fact, Sandia Labs estimated that the solar energy striking the earth’s surface in less than two hours could easily meet the world’s energy demands for an entire year. Solar energy’s unparalleled abundance, eminent renewability, and rapidly declining cost are driving exponential growth in capacity. This trend will undoubtedly continue, and solar will almost certainly become the leader in renewable energy growth in the coming years.

    Solar PV panels have no moving parts, and aside from the carbon footprint associated with their manufacture and end-of-life management, produce zero emissions during the decades-long life of their operation. The sheer simplicity of a device that just sits in the sun and yet produces the electricity we all crave and depend upon is rapidly changing our relationship with energy. The sun is the primary source of most every form of energy we access, and solar PV panels provide us the means to harness it and transform it directly into electricity.

    The solar PV panel has “democratized” power generation for the world. The simple, modular, scalable, and solid-state nature of solar PV has put electric power generation within reach of individuals with one or a few dozen panels, commercial and industrial consumers with hundreds to thousands of panels, and even traditional utilities with millions of panels. It is this simple universality of the technology that is driving its exponential growth, since almost any electricity consumer can take advantage of it.

    Photovoltaic deployment might look like the adoption of a new consumer product such as a smartphone, not following the usual timeframes for standard large-scale power plants.

    Solar cells can be manufactured in a factory, shipped over conventional distribution systems like consumer electronics, and don’t require the planning, permitting, construction, fuel acquisition, and operation and maintenance of a large utility power plant. And solar manufacturing continues to become more automated. First Solar has a new manufacturing facility that is now almost completely automated after originally requiring hundreds of employees.

    In 2008, the U.S. had 618 MW of solar capacity installed. Just 11 years later, solar capacity had expanded two orders of magnitude to 67,000 MW. Much of solar power’s rapid and accelerating growth is due to its low cost. From 2010 to 2017, utility-scale solar PV power fell from more than 20 cents per kilowatt-hour to under 3 cents. From 2010 to 2016, the average per-watt cost of a solar PV system in the U.S. dropped by 15 percent per year. Utility-scale installations fell to under $1 per watt in the first quarter of 2019.

    No other fuel used for power production—renewable or not—is predicted to see as much percentage growth as solar in the near-term. Its competitors are taking notice. Shell, a company once known almost entirely for oil, believes that solar will be the number one source of electrical power on earth by the end of this century.

    Austin-based Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber are highly credentialed and international thought leaders in energy efficiency and smart transportation, and have deep experience in the worlds of policy, politics, planning, and academia. The Future of Buildings, Transportation and Power is available on Amazon.

    Saturday, November 21, 2020

    The Power Of Solar

    He’s right, but the energy transition is not as easy as he makes it sound. From At Home with Linda and Drew Scott via YouTube

    Tomorrow’s Transportation

    Electricity and hydrogen generated by New Energy now make emissions-free driving practical From National Renewable Energy Laboratory via YouTube

    New Energy Is Possible Anywhere

    There is a New Energy for any state, any geography, and any economy. From IowaEnviro via YouTube

    Friday, November 20, 2020

    The World Turns To New Energy

    90% of the Global Power Capacity Added in 2020 Will Be Renewable

    Edd Gent, November 16, 2020 (Singularity Hub)

    “…[The latest data] shows promising signs that a ‘green recovery’ may be materializing…[Focusing on green investments can] provide a double win for both economies and the environment…[and the studies show] renewables have fared far better than fossil fuels during the pandemic…While the crisis sparked sharp declines in oil, gas, and coal, the Renewables 2020 report found that carbon-free electricity will account for almost 90 percent of the total power capacity added this year, and the pace is set to accelerate in 2021…This year’s record growth has been driven by the US and China, with wind and solar set to expand by 30 percent in both countries…

    Overall, this year’s additions will see renewable generation increase by seven percent, despite a five percent drop in energy demand…[S]tocks in renewable power equipment manufacturers and project developers have been outperforming the overall energy sector as well as major stock market indices…Solar companies in particular are doing well…Heating, for both industrial and domestic purposes, remains the single greatest use of energy worldwide, and modern renewables account for only 11 percent, with the rest dominated by fossil fuels. Renewable biofuels used in transport, which accounts for 30 percent of total energy use, have also suffered due to reduced demand as economies shrink and fossil fuel prices fall…” click here for more

    New Energy Next Year Will Be Even Bigger

    Goldman Sachs: Renewable Power Will Become The Largest Area Of Spending In The Energy Industry In 2021

    Ariel Cohen with Talya Yuzucu, November 17, 2020 (Forbes)

    “…[Goldman Sachs forecasts that] spending for renewable power projects will become the largest area of energy spending in 2021, surpassing upstream oil and gas for the first time in history…The multinational investment bank and financial services company also expects the clean energy sector to reach a $16 trillion investment volume through 2030, eclipsing fossil fuels…[The main driver] is the diverging costs of capital…[Fossil fuel project hurdle rates, which measure risk, are] around 10-20% whereas renewables are in a much safer 3-5% range, and money likes to go where risk is lowest. These numbers are consistent in the European Union and the United States…

    …[R]enewable power will reach 25% of total energy supply capex in 2021, beating out hydrocarbons for the first time ever…[The cost of capital for oil and gas projects is rising and] only the most cost-conscious investments are being rewarded…In 2020 alone, oil and gas companies reportedly cut more than $37 billion from their annual spending plans…[and] oil and gas majors are shifting towards more climate-friendly business strategies…Big oil will allocate some 14% of their 2021 budgets to renewables vs. 4% in 2019…

    …[G]lobal weighted-average levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of renewable power projects like utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) fell 82%; concentrated solar power (CSP) by 47%; onshore wind by 39%; and offshore wind down more than 29%...[and] many private investment banks, including Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley MS +0.1%, Citi Bank, have also announced their strategies to reduce their exposure to the oil and gas sector…The implications for the oil and gas sectors are dire. The unprecedented shift in financing from hydrocarbons to renewable energy projects described by Goldman Sachs is now underway.” click here for more

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Bringing Customer-Owned Power Into The System

    Ensuring DER inclusion in capacity markets may require a rethink of resource adequacy; The growth of customer-owned resources is forcing system operators and aggregators to see their value as reliability tools and rethink the concept of resource adequacy.

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 24, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Power system operators across the country are increasingly realizing that the power of the people’s roofs is central to reliable electricity delivery.

    The growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) has increased the urgency of finding solutions to new complexities introduced by rising penetrations of variable renewables. There is "growing interest in a more decentralized electric grid and new types of distributed resources," the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) 2019 Long-Term Reliability Assessment reported. At lower penetrations, DERs "may not present a risk," but as penetrations increase, "the effect of these resources can present certain reliability challenges that require attention."

    Those challenges are driving power system stakeholders to rethink resource adequacy (RA). "There is a better way to evaluate risk and reliability in a power system," said Derek Stenclik, an energy consultant focused on power grid planning and resource adequacy. Aggregated distributed solar, storage and demand response that make load and generation more flexible can offer customized solutions to reliability needs, power system authorities said. Aggregation can also avoid unnecessary resource buildouts or capacity procurement — if market participants are appropriately compensated and any barriers to entry are removed.

    But that may only be possible if the sector exchanges an outdated concept of capacity markets for a new kind of reliability. Wholesale electricity markets use capacity markets, RA measures and reserve margins in order to ensure NERC reliability standards are met, but DER aggregators have trouble qualifying.

    Capacity market prices are set through forward auctions, and generators bid a price "equal to the cost of keeping their plant available," according to Resources for the Future (RFF). Sunrun became the first and so far only DER aggregator to qualify for a capacity market in ISO-NE's market in February 2019, bidding through a participation pathway available to DER aggregators and other generators who can meet certain market obligations.

    Unlike other markets' participation models, which limit behind-the-meter resources' compensation to demand response load reductions, the developer will also be compensated for exported energy, said Sunrun Policy and Storage Market Strategy Director Chris Rauscher. Several gigawatts of new DER, including 8 GW of electric storage and 35 GW of distributed solar, is expected to be added to the bulk power system by 2024, NERC found in 2019.

    Because this consumer-driven growth of DERs could come without the visibility and control that system operators and planners are used to, grid operators will need to "evolve with the desires of customers and policy makers" or "become less relevant," a href="https://brattlefiles.blob.core.windows.net/files/16366_capacity_markets_and_wholesale_market_outcomes.pdf"target="_blank">2019 Brattle Group paper concluded…” click here for more

    Transportation Electrification Gets Better Rules

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: Utilities Commit To Electrify Their Vehicle Fleets in Q3 2020

    November 4, 2020 (The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[The The 50 States of Electric Vehicles Q3 2020 finds that 46 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q3 2020…[The greatest number of actions related] to rebate programs, rate design for electric vehicle charging, studies, and charging station deployment. A total of 305 electric vehicle actions were taken…[The most active states were] Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Vermont, and Hawaii…[Three key trends were] (1) utilities committing to electrify their own vehicle fleets, (2) utilities proposing a variety of managed charging programs, and (3) state regulators and utilities prioritizing investment in low-income communities…

    …[The five top policy developments were] California’s Governor establishing statewide zero-emission vehicle sales goals…The New York Public Service Commission approving a make-ready infrastructure incentive program…New Hampshire regulators issuing an order on electric vehicle rate design…The California Public Utilities Commission approving over $400 million in charging infrastructure investments for Southern California Edison…and Utilities in Connecticut and New Mexico filing major electric vehicle plans…” click here for more

    Monday, November 16, 2020

    The Policy Fight For A Modern Grid Gets Bigger

    Q3 2020 50 States of Grid Modernization

    October 2020 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary

    WHAT IS GRID MODERNIZATION?

    Grid modernization is a broad term, lacking a universally accepted definition. In this report, the authors use the term grid modernization broadly to refer to actions making the electricity system more resilient, responsive, and interactive. Specifically, in this report grid modernization includes legislative and regulatory actions addressing: (1) smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure, (2) utility business model reform, (3) regulatory reform, (4) utility rate reform, (5) energy storage, (6) microgrids, and (7) demand response.

    Q3 2020 GRID MODERNIZATION ACTION

    In the third quarter of 2020, 45 states plus DC took a total of 382 policy and deployment actions related to grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 382 actions catalogued, the most common were related to policies (89), deployment (83), and planning and market access (66).

    TOP 5 GRID MODERNIZATION DEVELOPMENTS OF Q3 2020

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

    Maryland Public Service Commission Authorizes Multi-Year Rate Plans and Performance Incentive Mechanisms

    The Maryland Public Service Commission issued a decision in September 2020, authorizing, but not requiring, utilities to file multi-year rate plans. The order also authorizes utilities to propose performance incentive mechanisms that support recognized state policy goals that go beyond historic baseline standards. The Commission plans to initiate a rulemaking on performance incentive mechanisms once it has greater information and experience.

    Massachusetts Regulators Open Phase II Grid Modernization Investigation

    In July 2020, Massachusetts regulators opened a new proceeding for Phase II of its investigation into electric grid modernization. The investigation is currently focusing on advanced metering functionality and time-varying rate design options for electric vehicle customers, as well as the current status of utility metering and billing systems and meter replacement strategies.

    Connecticut and New Jersey Utilities File Advanced Metering Infrastructure Proposals

    Eversource and United Illuminating in Connecticut, as well as Atlantic City Electric and Jersey Central Power & Light in New Jersey, filed advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployment proposals during Q3 2020. Each utility plans to deploy AMI throughout its service territory. Eversource’s proposal also includes a data privacy and customer engagement plan, and United Illuminating’s proposal includes a pilot to identify high-potential energy savings opportunities leveraging AMI interval data.

    South Carolina Lawmakers Initiate Electricity Market Reform Study

    In September 2020, the South Carolina Legislature enacted a bill establishing an Electricity Market Reform Measures Study Committee and directing the committee to prepare a study examining several different market reform options, such as creating a South Carolina Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), joining an existing RTO, implementing an energy imbalance market, and authorizing community choice aggregation.

    New York Public Service Commission Approves Demand Response Program Rules

    The New York Public Service Commission approved demand response program rules in September 2020 that implement two new dynamic load management program options. These options will provide incentives to participants for at least three years and will allow energy storage resources to participate in these programs. The new program rules are intended to help utilities meet the state’s energy storage target.

    MOST ACTIVE STATES AND SUBTOPICS OF Q3 2020

    The most common types of actions across the country related to energy storage deployment (53), distribution system planning (27), smart grid deployment (25), utility business model reforms (24), AMI deployment (23), and data access policies (23). In Q3 2020, grid modernization activity decreased in all categories except deployment, due to most state legislatures adjourning earlier in the year.

    The states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization in Q3 2020 can be seen in Figure 4. New York, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Massachusetts saw the most action during the quarter, followed by Connecticut, Michigan, and North Carolina. Overall, 45 states, plus DC, took actions related to grid modernization in Q3 2020.

    TOP GRID MODERNIZATION TRENDS OF Q3 2020

    Utilities Proposing Customer Demand Response Incentive Programs

    A growing number of utilities are proposing demand response incentive programs utilizing smart thermostats or battery storage systems. Duke Energy Florida proposed the use of controlled thermostats to reduce peak demand and respond to emergency peak events, in exchange for a $50 prepaid credit card. Also in Florida, regulators approved Tampa Electric’s proposed smart thermostat programs, which provide rebates to residential and commercial customers. Madison Gas & Electric requested approval for a Bring Your Own Device smart thermostat program in Wisconsin, including upfront and annual incentives in exchange for allowing the utility to control the thermostat during peak events. In Utah, Rocky Mountain Power also proposed a new demand response incentive program using customer-owned battery storage systems for grid management.

    States Studying Specific Elements of Grid Modernization

    While numerous states have undertaken broad investigations covering many different aspects of grid modernization in recent years, several of these proceedings have since concluded, with states now focusing on studying specific elements of grid modernization. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission will be studying ways to enable storage projects to receive compensation for avoided transmission and distribution costs, and a South Carolina study committee will be specifically examining electricity market reform measures. The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has several proceedings related to grid modernization open, which are considering specific topics like energy storage, non-wires alternatives, resilience, and advanced metering infrastructure. Maryland’s broad grid modernization proceeding has also led to several specific rulemakings, working groups, and program proposals related to energy storage, data access, and interconnection.

    Regulators Establishing Terms for Energy Storage Qualifying Facilities

    Regulators in some states have been considering the treatment of energy storage qualifying facilities or facilities paired with energy storage under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). In August 2020, the South Carolina Public Service Commission approved Dominion Energy’s tariff for storage qualifying facilities. The tariff, which will be available to battery storage projects of at least 5 MW, includes compensation for capacity and energy shifting. The Idaho Public Service Commission recently issued a decision establishing a separate category for energy storage qualifying facilities, with projects up to 100 kW eligible for 20-year contracts and projects over 100 kW eligible for 2-year contracts. The Commission also established methods for calculating avoided energy and avoided capacity rates for both categories of storage projects. North Carolina regulators have also been examining treatment of energy storage resources under PURPA.

    Saturday, November 14, 2020

    Humans, Climate And The Damage Done

    #Film4Climate 1st Prize Short Film Winner - "Three Seconds" from Connect4Climate on Vimeo.

    Tomorrow’s Power System

    This is the path to make electricity clean, reliable, and affordable. From National Renewable Energy Laboratory via YouTube

    How Solar Shines

    Solar power is now the cheapest source of wholesale market electricity in the world. From National Renewable Energy Laboratory via YouTube

    Friday, November 13, 2020

    New Energy Is Beating Covid

    Renewable energy defies Covid-19 to hit record growth in 2020; International Energy Agency expects green electricity to end coal’s 50-year reign by 2025

    Damian Carrington, 10 November 2020 (UK Guardian)

    “…[A]lmost 90% of new electricity generation in 2020 will be renewable, with just 10% powered by gas and coal. The trend [reported in the November 2020 International Energy Agency update] puts green electricity on track to become the largest power source in 2025, displacing coal, which has dominated for the past 50 years…Growing acceptance of the need to tackle the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions has made renewable energy increasingly attractive to investors…

    …[S]hares in renewable equipment makers and project developers have outperformed most major stock market indices and that the value of shares in solar companies has more than doubled since December 2019… Fossil fuels have had a turbulent time in 2020 as Covid-related measures caused demand from transport and other sectors to plunge…Solar power capacity has increased by 18 times since 2010 and wind power by four times…[E]lectricity is only about one-fifth of all energy use, with the burning of fuels in transport, industry and heating making up the bulk of energy emissions…

    The IEA forecasts that new renewable capacity around the world will increase by a record 200 gigawatts in 2020, driven by China and the US…[Even stronger growth is forecast for 2021,] when India and the European Union will be the driving forces…” click here for more

    Newest Numbers Show New Energy Wins By 2024

    IEA: Wind and solar capacity will overtake both gas and coal globally by 2024

    10 November 2020 (CarbonBrief)

    “…Wind and solar capacity will double over the next five years globally…[and the IEA’s Renewables 2020 report forecasts the 1,123 gigawatt (GW) increase in wind and solar would] overtake gas capacity in 2023 and coal in 2024…Renewables are set to dominate the construction of new power infrastructure in the coming years as costs continue to fall…

    In its main case, the IEA has wind, solar, hydro and other renewable sources accounting for 95% of the increase in the world’s electricity generating capacity over the next five years…[Solar capacity] is set to be the key driver of this trend…In the new report’s main scenario, 130GW of solar will be added each year between 2023-2025 and this rises to 165GW in the accelerated scenario, which would account for nearly 60% of the total renewable expansion across this period…Wind is also expected to expand considerably…

    …[Together,] wind and solar capacity is set to double between 2020 and 2025…This increase in capacity means renewable generation will expand by almost 50% over the next five years, pushing their share of electricity generation to a third…[and] ending coal’s five decades as the top power provider…As power demand goes up around the world to accommodate economic growth and increasingly electrified societies, the IEA expects renewables to meet…99% of the increase in electricity demand over the next five years…” click here for more

    Wednesday, November 11, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Coming EV Charging Load Must Be Managed

    CA Gets It that the Power System Must Manage EV Charging

    Herman K. Trabish, August 18, 2020 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: With the new White House administration’s commitment to transportation electrification, this California concern will soon be a concern for most states.

    California’s heat wave-induced blackouts came during evening peak demand spikes. If California fails to manage electric vehicle charging it could make those spikes a lot more common, according to new research.

    California leads the U.S. with nearly 750,000 of the estimated 1.5 million U.S. light duty EVs. Electric vehicle sales rose over 60% in 2019. The Golden State’s goal is 5 million zero emission vehicles by 2030. But it will need 7 million to achieve its 60% renewables by 2030 goal, according to Southern California Edison.

    The U.S. could reach 24 million EVs by 2028 and approach 30 million by 2030, according to July research by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. More conservative 2030 estimates by Edison Electric Institute—19 million EVs—and the Brattle Group—20 million— confirm a rapidly growing national charging load.With 30 million electric cars, the U.S. power system’s peak charging load capacity could be overwhelmed. That is because EV owners are likely to charge their vehicles at home during the morning and evening peak demand periods, the Pacific Northwest Lab and others assume.

    Unmanaged, the EV boom could add 10 GW/year to 20 GW/year of peak load nationally by 2030, according to new Brattle Group data. With its multiple zero-emission vehicles mandates, California would be a major contributor.

    Managing the charging load with EV-specific time-of-use rates or other price signals can more than double peak charging capacity to 65 million light duty vehicles. This rewards owners for shifting their charging away from peak periods and makes it expensive to charge during peaks.

    There will be an estimated 200,000 medium duty electric vehicles and 150,000 heavy duty EVs by 2028. They can draw unprecedented high loads through direct current fast chargers, which fully charge vehicles in about 30 minutes, according to June 2020 National Renewable Energy Laboratory research. But those load spikes can be managed, NREL said. Truck stop-like charging substations should have the newest power conversion hardware and advanced algorithms to optimize the use of utility-scale renewables and storage…” click here for more

    The Fight For Tomorrow’s Grid

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization Q3 2020: Utilities Increasingly Developing Distributed and Customer-Centric Solutions

    October 28, 2020 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[The Q3 2020 50 States of Grid Modernization finds that 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia, took [382] actions related to grid modernization during Q3 2020…with the greatest number of actions relating to energy storage deployment (53), distribution system planning (27), smart grid deployment (25), utility business model reforms (24), AMI deployment (23), and data access policies (23)…New York, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Massachusetts took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Connecticut, Michigan, and North Carolina…

    …[Three key trends were] (1) utilities proposing customer demand response incentive programs; (2) states studying specific elements of grid modernization; and (3) regulators establishing terms for energy storage qualifying facilities…[T]he top five policy developments of Q3 2020 were…The Maryland Public Service Commission authorizing multi-year rate plans and performance incentive mechanisms…Massachusetts regulators opening its Phase II grid modernization investigation…Connecticut and New Jersey utilities filing advanced metering infrastructure proposals…South Carolina lawmakers initiating an electricity market reform study; and…The New York Public Service Commission approving new demand response program rules…” click here for more

    Monday, November 09, 2020

    MONDAY STUDY: The Fight For Solar Goes On

    The 50 States of Solar: Q3 2020

    October 2020 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)

    Executive Summary

    OVERVIEW OF Q3 2020 POLICY ACTION

    In the third quarter of 2020, 42 states plus DC took a total of 146 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 Q3 2020. Of the 146 actions cataloged, the most common were related to DG compensation rules (58), followed by community solar (35), and residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (21).

    TOP FIVE SOLAR POLICY DEVELOPMENTS OF Q3 2020

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

    Duke Energy and Solar Advocates Reach Net Metering Settlement in South Carolina In September 2020, Duke Energy and solar advocates announced a compromise proposal for South Carolina’s net metering successor tariff (the “Solar Choice Metering Tariff”). The innovative proposal includes mandatory time-of-use rates and crediting, a monthly minimum bill, certain non-bypassable charges, and an upfront incentive for participation in the utility’s smart thermostat program.

    New York Regulators Approve Successor Tariff for Mass Market Projects

    The New York Public Service Commission approved a net metering successor tariff for mass market projects (residential and small commercial behind-the-meter projects for customers not using demand billing) in July 2020. The tariff continues retail rate net metering, but includes a new monthly Customer Benefit Contribution ranging from $0.69 to $1.09 per kW. The new tariff will take effect for mass market projects interconnected after January 1, 2022.

    Ameren, Solar Advocates, and Regulators Clash Over Net Metering in Illinois

    Ameren and solar advocates disputed the formula for calculating distributed generation capacity in Illinois during Q3 2020, with Ameren claiming that it has reached the state’s aggregate cap for retail rate net metering. The Commission opened an investigation in early October to determine whether Ameren has reached this cap. In the meantime, Ameren has closed its net metering tariff to new customers beginning October 2, 2020.

    Locational Value of Distributed Generation Study Published in New Hampshire

    The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission Staff filed its locational value of distributed generation study, conducted by Guidehouse Consulting, in August 2020. The study provides detailed analysis of a subset of locations, finding that the maximum hourly value of capacity investment avoidance ranges from less than $1 per kWh to over $4,000 per kWh. The lower values tend to indicate a capacity deficiency occurring over a large number of hours, while the high values represent a capacity deficiency occurring during fewer hours.

    Net Metering 3.0 Proceeding Kicks Off in California

    In August 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission kicked off its Net Metering 3.0 efforts. This proceeding will focus on developing a successor to the existing Net Metering 2.0 tariff. A draft “lookback study” was released in August, which examines the cost of service for Net Metering 2.0 customers. The study found that, on average, residential Net Metering 2.0 customers pay lower bills than the cost to serve them and that non-residential customers pay slightly more than the cost to serve them.

    THE BIG PICTURE: INSIGHTS FROM Q3 2020

    States Exploring Time-of-Use Rates for Net Metering Customers

    As states continue efforts to develop successor tariffs to traditional net metering, several have been considering the use of time-of-use rates and crediting for customer-generators. During Q3 2020, Duke Energy and solar stakeholders reached a major settlement in South Carolina’s net metering successor tariff proceeding. The proposed net metering successor tariff (Solar Choice Metering Tariff) would include time-of-use rates with four periods: peak, off-peak, super off-peak, and critical peak. In Virginia, Dominion Energy requested approval to allow customers to net metering under its new time-of-use rate. El Paso Electric has also proposed adding a provision to its time-of-day rate to clarify that net metering customers may participate and receive time-varying net metering credit rates. As advanced metering infrastructure continues to proliferate, it is expected that additional states and utilities will consider time-of-use rates for net metering participants.

    State Value of Solar Studies Continue to Show Widely Varying

    Results Multiple value of solar or net metering cost-benefit studies were completed during Q3 2020, which continue to show widely varying results. In California, a draft study evaluating the state’s Net Metering 2.0 program found that residential net metering customers pay lower bills than the utility’s cost to serve them, on average. The study also found that non-residential customers pay slightly higher bills than the cost to serve them. Another California study commissioned by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District found that the value of customer solar and solar-plusstorage systems is $0.03 to $0.07 per kWh. In Connecticut, a draft value of distributed energy resources study found that the 25-year levelized value for behind-the-meter solar is $0.141 per kWh and the value for behind-the-meter solar paired with storage is $0.228 per kWh. Xcel Energy also filed its 2021 value of solar rate calculation during the quarter, which is $0.1104 per kWh levelized over 25 years.

    COVID-19 Impacting Utility Rate Cases and Regulator Decisions

    COVID-19 has been affecting the electricity sector in a variety of ways, including utility and regulator decisions related to rates and solar policy. Since COVID-19 hit the U.S., electric utilities have filed notably fewer rate case applications than in past years. During Q3 2020, only three investor-owned utilities filed rate case applications, with only one proposing a residential fixed charge increase. In Q3 2019, 14 utilities filed general rate case applications, with 10 of these utilities proposing residential fixed charge increases. DTE Electric announced that it will delay its rate case filing until at least March 2021. In Arizona, regulators put off the investorowned utilities’ net metering export credit rate decrease until October 2021, recognizing that many property owners wanting to install solar may have had to delay their plans due to the pandemic and economic circumstances.