NewEnergyNews: 12/01/2020 - 01/01/2021/


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

    Wednesday, December 30, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Xcel Energy, municipalization advocates face off in Boulder

    Election 2020: Xcel Energy, municipalization advocates face off in Boulder

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 30, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The voters of Boulder opted to take Xcel’s offer so the city will now be a proving ground for commitment-keeping.

    A stalemate-breaking franchise proposal to end the 10-year, $27.6 million legal and regulatory fight by Boulder, Colorado, to replace Xcel Energy with a municipal electric utility goes to voters next month, one of more than 100 statewide ballot measures being put before voters across the country this election.

    Municipalization advocates remain determinedly opposed to the investor-owned utility. "Xcel is protecting its investments in fossil fuels and slow walking the transition to renewable generation," said Leslie Glustrom, spokesperson for local power advocacy group Empower Our Future. "There are no facts about the future, but there is good reason to believe Xcel doesn't intend to honor the proposed opt-outs and will continue blocking more competitive options," she said of agreement provisions allowing Boulder to renew its municipalization effort if the utiity fails to honor its commitments.

    But long-time municipalization advocates, including Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver, said the proposed agreement may be a game changer if the Nov. 3 vote finalizes it. Unlike earlier proposals, "this gives Boulder options to exit if Xcel fails to perform," Weaver said about the agreement developed in a months-long Xcel-Boulder collaboration. "It meets the city’s decarbonization goal, commits to working on democratizing energy decisions, and makes decentralization of generation a goal."

    On Aug. 20, Weaver and six council members approved Measure 2C for the Nov. 3 ballot. It is backed by Xcel Energy Colorado President Alice Jackson, who helped design the agreement. Those who worked with Xcel said they saw potential for future collaboration, but also understand how a contentious history makes voters’ skeptical of Xcel's intentions.

    The council did not endorse the proposal. With pro- and anti-settlement voices rising, the voters’ decision may turn on who they trust. Led by scientists at national climate research and renewable energy agencies based in Boulder, its electorate has long been active on municipalization, according to former Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Chair Ron Lehr. Lehr acted as unofficial advisor to municipalization advocates before joining the commission in 1984. In 2010, voters approved Issue 2B by 68.4% to 31.6%. It created a roughly $4 million per year tax to support the municipalization effort. In 2011, voters approved a $1.9 million tax increase for the municipalization effort, but by a narrow margin, and the fight with Xcel continued.

    In 2017, voters again extended funding for muncipalization-related work by a narrow margin. In April 2020, with the tax terminating in 2022 and the COVID-driven economic downturn severely compromising Boulder's budget, Weaver, Council Member Yates, and city staff began working with Jackson and Xcel representatives on the agreement that set six goals that reflect municipalization objectives… click here for more

    New Energy Wins Big In COVID Relief Bill

    Renewable energy tax credits extended

    Keith Martin, December 22, 2020 (Norton Rose Fulbright)

    “…Many renewable energy developers are scrambling to reevaluate arrangements they put in place this year…[after a last-minute bill extended] deadlines for developers of solar, wind, fuel cell, geothermal, biomass, incremental hydroelectric and other renewable energy projects to start construction of new projects to qualify for federal tax credits…The measure also authorizes a 30% investment tax credit for offshore wind projects that start construction as late as 2025 and allows a similar tax credit to be claimed on new power plants of up to 50 megawatts in size that generate electricity using waste heat from buildings and other equipment…

    …[Solar projects] on which construction starts in 2020, 2021 or 2022 will qualify for a 26% investment tax credit…The tax credit drops to 22% for projects starting construction in 2023…All such projects must be placed in service by the end of 2025…A project slipping past 2025 qualifies for only a 10% investment tax credit…Wind projects on land [now have until the end of 2021 to start construction to qualify]for production tax credits at 60% of the full rate on the electricity output for 10 years or an 18% investment tax credit on the project cost…Any offshore wind project on which construction starts after 2016 through the end of 2025 will qualify for a 30% investment tax credit…Oher renewable energy projects that qualify for production tax credits [must be] under construction by [the end of 2021]…” click here for more

    Monday, December 28, 2020

    More Local Solar Means More New Energy Benefits

    Why Local Solar For All Costs Less: A New Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid

    Christopher Clack, Aditya Choukulkar, Brianna Cote, Sarah A, McKee, December 2020 (Vibrant Clean Energy)

    Executive Summary

    The electricity system in the United States (US) is considered to be one the largest machines ever created. 1 With the advent of clean and renewable technologies, a widespread evolution is occurring. The renewable technologies are lower cost than fossil thermal generation on a levelized cost basis, 2 but their variability creates new and unique constraints and opportunities for the electricity system of the next several decades. Superimposed on the changing structure of the electricity system is a damaged climate that will continue to worsen as mankind continues to emit greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution into the atmosphere. 3

    The US electricity system is the second largest in the world (China has the largest). In 2018 it served approximately 150 million customers with over 3,859 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity from over 1,190 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity, routed through 476,000 miles of transmission lines (over 69 kV), 55,000 substations and 6.3 million miles of distribution lines (under 69 kV). 4,5,6 By the end of 2019, there was 86,000 MW of renewable capacity awaiting construction across the US and each year that number continues to grow. 7 The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation across the US reached an estimated 1,659 million metric tons (mmT) in 2019, accounting for approximately 32% of the total United States (US) energy-related CO2 emissions (5,130 mmT). 8

    The present study demonstrates, quantifies and evaluates the potential value that distributed energy resources (DERs) could provide to the electricity system, while considering as many facets of their inclusion into a sophisticated grid modeling tool. The Weather-Informed energy Systems: for design, operations and markets planning (WIS:dom®- P) optimization software tool is utilized for the present study. A detailed technical document of the WIS:dom®-P software can be found online.9 The modeling software is a combined capacity expansion and production cost model that allows for simultaneous 3- kilometer, 5-minute dispatch and power flow along with multi-decade resource selection. It includes detailed representations of fossil generation, variable resources, storage, transmission and DERs. It also contains policies, mandates, and localized data, as well as engineering parameters and constraints of the electricity system and its components. Some novel features include highly granular weather inputs over the whole US, climate changeinduced changes to energy infrastructure, land use and siting constraints, dynamic transmission line ratings, electrification and novel fuel production endogenously, and detailed storage dispatch algorithms.

    The distribution grid is where the majority of customers connect with the electricity system at large. However, traditional modeling tools ignore its existence almost entirely. Many assume pre-decided buildout rates of distributed solar PV (DPV), energy efficiency (EE), demand-side management (DSM), demand response (DR), and distributed storage (DS). As the electricity system continues to evolve, customers are demanding more local resources. This creates a problem because the providers of electricity (across utility service territories and RTOs) do not possess integrated modeling tools that reveal the opportunities and costs of changing distributed generation and demand as a decision variable. The opportunities could include reduced utility-scale capacity and generation, high-voltage transmission, distribution infrastructure deferments, utility-observed peak load reduction, and increased utility-observed load factors. The costs could be more distribution infrastructure, more high-voltage transmission, increased DER buildout, and utility-scale back-up capacity and generation to cover the DER buildout.

    Vibrant Clean Energy, LLC (VCE®) augmented the WIS:dom-P software to improve its representation and computations of the distribution-utility interface. The augmentations enabled a modeling framework that included the distribution grid and DERs that is tractable and akin to traditional utility planning models.

    During the entire study, fifteen nationwide simulations were performed. Numerous intermediate simulations were used to determine the sensitivity of the modeling tool to changes in the augmentation created during the study. The model was initialized and aligned with historical data from 2018 and then the simulations evolved the electricity system across the contiguous United States (CONUS) from 2020 through 2050 in 5-year investment periods. In the present report, we focus on four main scenarios that answer two main questions: 10

    1. Can DERs lower costs across the entire electricity system compared with alternatives, while maintaining resource adequacy, reliability and resilience?

    2. Can DERs provide support and benefits for clean electricity goals across the entire electricity system?

    The four scenarios simulated for the present report were:

    Business-As-Usual, Traditional (“BAU”): Allow economics to drive the changes in the electricity system, while including existing policies, mandates, and incentives through 2050. Deploy WIS:dom-P in a manner that mimics traditional models.

    Business-As-Usual, Augmented (“BAU-DER”): Allow economics to drive the changes in the electricity system, while including existing policies, mandates, and incentives through 2050. Deploy the augmented version of WIS:dom-P that includes detailed modeling of the distribution-utility (DU) interface.

    Clean Electricity, Traditional (“CE”): Enforce a nationwide clean energy standard (CES) that reduces emissions by 95% from 1990 levels by 2050. Deploy WIS:dom-P in a manner that mimics traditional models.

    Clean Electricity, Augmented (“CE-DER”): Enforce a nationwide clean energy standard (CES) that reduces emissions by 95% from 1990 levels by 2050. Deploy the augmented version of WIS:dom-P that includes detailed modeling of the distribution-utility (DU) interface.

    The augmentation of the WIS:dom-P software to include distribution planning cooptimization results in cumulative system-wide savings of $301 billion by 2050 (“BAU” vs “BAU-DER”), which rises to $473 billion when considering a clean energy standard (“CE” vs “CE-DER”). Interestingly, the “CE-DER” scenario pathway is lower cost than the “BAU” scenario to the tune of $88 billion by 2050. Figure ES-1 shows the cumulative system cost savings through 2050.

    For the clean electricity system cost savings to materialize, a small amount of additional spending occurs in the first decade, however, for “BAU-DER”, the savings accrue immediately. By 2035, the “BAU-DER” scenario has saved nearly $115 billion over the “BAU” scenario, while the “CE-DER” scenario has accumulated savings of $114 billion compared with the “CE” scenario. Over the same time period, the “CE-DER” scenario is $19 billion more expensive than the “BAU” scenario, but has reduced cumulative emissions by 5,112 mmT (equivalent to a cost of carbon of ~$3.70 per metric ton). By 2050, the scenario has avoided more than 10,000 mmT compared with “BAU” (as depicted in Fig. ES-2), while saving $88 billion in costs.

    If a clean electricity mandate were imposed by 2035, rather than the modeled 2050 (and the US could deploy enough generation), the DERs would bring forward the cost savings observed by 2050 to 2035, since they enable more clean utility-scale variable generation to be deployed efficiently.

    The inclusion of distribution modeling within the WIS:dom-P software drives emergent behavior.11 The distribution grid seeks to minimize exposure to the utility grid while maximizing its benefits of being connected by minimizing system costs that includes infrastructure connecting the utility and distribution grids. This manifests as increased load factors as experienced by the utility-scale grid, while reduced peak demand. Further, the more local resources can defer some distribution infrastructure costs. The sum of these is net system cost savings, increased jobs, more manageable installation rates, a more reliable and robust system, and more opportunities for private capital investments.

    The striking result is that the cost savings come with relatively little change in the macro-scale view of installed capacities and generation stack. This is because a small change in the tails of production and demand can have amplified cost implications throughout the system. Additionally, the distribution cost augmentation facilitates economic tradeoff between more resources, which improves competition and reduces costs further…

    Saturday, December 26, 2020

    Net Zero Emissions Is Within Reach

    The last decade’s daunting work against unreasonable resistance to the energy transition has put the foundations in place. Now it is time to scale the solutions. From Princeton University via YouTube

    What Wind Means To Communities

    Wind projects are built in rural regions and bring revenues and jobs to rural communities. Those revenues can fund transitions to just policing, support community institutions, and the further the goals of locals. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    What Fracking Means To Communities

    NatGas production through fracking brings benefits to local communities but also brings pollution and environmental upheaval. From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    Friday, December 25, 2020

    Christmas In The Trenches

    Long-time NewEnergyNews readers will recognize John McCutcheon’s song as a Christmas tradition here. It is about more than war, it is about people getting along despite their differences. With all of us deep in our 21st century trenches, it is a more important concept to remember this year than ever. From mrssmith1964 via YouTube

    The Night Before Christmas 2020

    Twas the night before Christmas, and all o'er the house Stirred the clicking — most frantic — of every mouse All the stockings were hung by the TV with flair But children played on apps in their rooms without care Sneaking smart-phones and laptops right into their beds While visions of going viral danced in their heads

    When out on the street there arose such a clatter I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter When what to my wandering eyes did appear An electric sleigh, without any reindeer "Self-driving" said the driver, so lively and quick I knew from his TikToks it must be St. Nick

    "I don't strew CO2," he said, "on glaciers and meadows So my polar bear friends can hang onto their ice floes." He had a snow-white goatee, and six-pack of a belly "I just couldn't go on like a bowl full of jelly. Now I eat fruits and veggies, meditate, and do yoga And don't just watch e-sports — Elf Sports — on the sofa."

    And after our chitchat he went straight to work, And filled all the stockings with candies and merch Then laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, he told me, "Lord knows 2020's been filled with sorrow and stresses With Covid, job loss, and protesting injustice.

    We miss those we loved, who are no longer here Handshakes, hugs, friendships, and moments of cheer. Santa's whole workshop is now Work from Home I call elves for IT help, they ask, 'Safari or Chrome?' I tell them of toys, and they say, 'You're on mute!' I've got grey sweatpants on 'neath the top of my suit.

    Family and friends can't gather this season We miss their warm smiles, but we all know the reason. The year has been tough, but still at each turn People have become heroes, and helped us to learn: That even across social distanced divides we are all essential workers in each other's lives.

    So thanks to doctors! To nurses! Delivery crews! Farmers and pharmacists, bus drivers too! Thanks to med techs, and scientists in laboratories Those in clinical trials, and the great Dr. Fauci!" Santa sprang to his sleigh, to the sky gave a whistle And his autonomous vehicle took off like a missile

    But I heard him exclaim, as he zipped out of sight, "Look out for each other! And to all, a good night!"

    Wednesday, December 23, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Demand Response Reborn In The California Blackouts

    Demand response failed California 20 years ago; the state’s recent outages may have redeemed it; The West's recent heatwaves put California power users in the dark but showed how flexible demand response, including distributed storage, can keep the lights on.

    Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 28, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Follow-up studies of the blackout confirm the primary cause was natural gas plants tripping offline and one factor preventing worse impacts was demand response. California regulators and policymakers have accelerated work toward reliability solutions with Old and New Energy.

    California's recent blackouts revealed serious shortcomings in the state's energy transition planning, but may also have prompted a reconsideration of Demand response (DR), which failed California in its 2000-2001 energy crisis and left regulators inclined to call on it only in the most dire energy shortages. The recent heatwave-induced rolling blackouts had billion-dollar-plus costs and the performance of a new kind of DR got policymakers' attention.

    Preliminary data from a CPUC analysis of the blackouts suggests the still-small supply of flexible DR "contributed quite a bit to grid support," said CPUC Deputy Executive Director for Energy and Climate Policy Edward Randolph. "This is the first event in many years that required sustained demand response. The analysis of its performance will inform future decision-making."

    "If California had already seriously embraced flexible demand response, it would not have even come close to blackouts," said Gridworks Executive Director and former California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Energy Advisor Matthew Tisdale. If the CPUC analysis confirms flexible DR's potential, the resource will face new and bigger challenges because its value will change with increased use, according to Randolph, DR advocates, and a July 2020 study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). That will add to the regulatory controversies about its value that have obstructed DR growth for years.

    The need for flexible DR to manage peak demand is likely to grow as more of the economy is electrified and the need for and value of being able to shift and shed load becomes greater. California's rising penetration of distributed energy resources (DERs) makes it a leader in discovering the value their flexibility can bring to power systems across the country.

    Buildings use 75% of U.S. electricity and in some regions up to 80% of peak demand generation, LBNL reported. Making buildings more energy efficient and managing their energy usage with flexible distributed energy resources (DERs) can limit blackouts without compromising reliability, according to LBNL. A building's load profile can be adjusted by shedding, shifting or modulating load and supplying generation.

    Nearly 200 GW of flexibility from both the traditional DR used for decades and new DER-driven flexible DR could reduce the projected 2030 U.S. peak load 20%, avoiding over $16 billion annually in costs, a 2019 Brattle Group study concluded. "Modernizing conventional programs" can deliver 40% of that potential, but the other 60% is in "emerging" building automation technologies, Brattle Principal and study co-author Ryan Hledik added… click here for more

    Why New Energy Is A Good Buy

    2 Reasons to Invest in Renewable Energy Stocks;These dual catalysts make renewable energy stocks attractive long-term investments.

    Matthew DiLallo, December 22, 2020 (The Motley Fool)

    This year has been a fantastic one for renewable energy stocks…[Despite slowing due to COVID, the] Invesco Solar ETF, which focuses on solar energy stocks, is up a stunning 192% this year. Meanwhile, the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF has surged an impressive 110%...[T]he future is even brighter…Onshore wind is less expensive in many areas than building a new combined cycle gas turbine…Many forecasters believe that solar will soon be the lowest cost supplier of bulk power…Because of that, and growing climate change concerns -- which is powering net-zero pledges around the globe -- renewable energy development is accelerating…[Forecasters see] 15% average annual market growth…

    …[W]ith costs coming down so dramatically, renewables can generate attractive returns on investment…As a result of technology advances and reductions in construction costs, solar can stand on its own without subsidies and more importantly, is now among the lowest cost sources of conventional power globally…The renewable energy industry has a spotty track record of creating value for investors because many companies chased growth at all costs. However, with development costs coming down, renewables are increasingly profitable investments…[and are] poised to pay big dividends for investors in the company years…[especially as leaders] accelerate their development capabilities to capture more of the growth ahead…” click here for more

    Monday, December 21, 2020

    A Net Zero Cost For Net Zero Emissions In Europe

    How the European Union could achieve net-zero emissions at net-zero cost

    Paolo d’Aprile, Hauke Engel, Stefan Helmcke, Solveigh Hieronimus, Tomas Nauclér, Dickon Pinner, Godart van Gendt, Daan Walter, Maaike Witteveen, December 3, 2020 (McKinsey and Company)

    In December 2019, the European Commission introduced an ambitious proposal to make the bloc climate-neutral by 2050. Although the proposal set specific 2030 and 2050 emission-reduction goals, it did not explain how much each sector and member state should contribute to the desired emissions reductions or what achieving those reductions would cost.

    To help inform the planning efforts of policy makers and business leaders, McKinsey has attempted to find a societally cost-optimal pathway to achieving the emissions targets. Countless possible pathways exist, covering a wide range of costs and economic impacts. This report describes the least costly pathway among the many we identified.

    This cost-optimal pathway illustrates the technical feasibility of reducing the European Union’s emissions 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and reaching net-zero by 2050. It also shows that decarbonizing Europe can have broad economic benefits, including GDP growth, cost-of-living reductions, and job creation.

    To achieve these benefits, the European Union has a long road ahead (Exhibit 1). In 2017,1 the EU-27 countries emitted 3.9 GtCO2e, including 0.3 GtCO2e of negative emissions.2 Although this accounts for only 7 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the European Union achieving climate neutrality could serve as a blueprint for other regions and encourage other countries to take bolder action.

    Five sectors emit the bulk of the European Union’s greenhouse gases: 28 percent comes from transportation, 26 percent from industry, 23 percent from power, 13 percent from buildings, and 13 percent from agriculture (Exhibit 2). Across sectors, fossil fuel combustion is the biggest source of GHGs, accounting for 80 percent of emissions.

    To reach net-zero, the investments and cost savings would be higher in some of these sectors than others. However, if the decarbonization costs and savings were passed through to households, the aggregate cost of living for an average household in a climate-neutral European Union would be the same as it is today and lower-income households would see reduced costs of living. In other words, we found that the European Union could achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at a net-zero cost.

    In the following sections, we break down that cost-optimal pathway by sector, region, technology, and energy and land-use system.

    Sector perspective: The speed of decarbonization depends on the availability of mature technology and the ability to scale supply chains

    Although achieving net-zero emissions will require sustained effort across sectors, some could meet the target more quickly than others (Exhibit 3). In our pathway, the sectors would reach their emission-reduction goals in the following order:

    Power: Because wind and solar power generation technologies are already available at scale, power would be the quickest sector to decarbonize, reaching net-zero emissions by the mid-2040s. The demand for power would double as other sectors switch to electricity and green hydrogen, requiring renewables production and storage capacity to be rapidly scaled.

    Transportation: This sector would approach climate neutrality by 2045. EVs are already in early adoption, but it will take some ten years to set up supply chains to support a switch to 100 percent EV sales, from mining the raw materials for batteries to assembling EVs. Once this happens, emissions can be reduced quickly, except for those from aircraft and ships that are too big and travel too far to rely on battery power. They must opt for the more expensive solution of switching to biofuels, ammonia, or synfuels.

    Buildings: Most of the technology required to decarbonize the buildings sector is already available. However, renovating large portions of the European Union’s building stock is a massive undertaking. The share of dwellings using renewable heating sources would need to increase to 100 percent from just 35 percent today. Gas usage in buildings would also need to fall by more than half. The buildings sector would reach net-zero in the late 2040s.

    Industry: The most expensive sector to decarbonize, industry would need some technology that is still under development. As a result, it would reach net-zero by 2050. Even then, the sector would continue to generate some residual emissions from activities such as waste management and heavy manufacturing, which would have to be offset.

    Agriculture: Using more efficient farming practices could reduce agricultural emissions. But it’s by far the hardest sector to abate because more than half of agriculture emissions come from raising animals for food and can't be reduced without significant changes in meat consumption or technological breakthroughs. Like industry, our cost-optimal pathway requires offsetting agriculture emissions with negative emissions in other sectors and increasing natural carbon sinks.

    Regional perspective: Collective action is critical to reducing transition costs…Technology perspective: Most of the required technologies are available, but accelerated innovation will be critical…Energy system perspective: The power sector would become the central switchboard…Land-use perspective: Reaching net-zero would require re-thinking land use…

    The socioeconomic implications of decarbonizing Europe

    Reaching net-zero would require investing an estimated €28 trillion in clean technologies and techniques over the next 30 years. About €23 trillion of this investment—an average of €800 billion a year—would come from redirecting investments that would otherwise have funded carbon-intensive technologies. This amounts to roughly 25 percent of the annual capital investments now made in the European Union, or 4 percent of the current EU GDP. Stakeholders in the European Union would also have to allocate an additional €5.4 trillion (an average of €180 billion a year) to clean technologies and techniques.

    Of that €5.4 trillion, about €1.5 trillion would be invested in the buildings sector (29 percent), €1.8 trillion would be used for power (33 percent), €410 billion for industry (8 percent), €76 billion for agriculture (about 1 percent), and €32 billion in transportation (less than 1 percent). About €1.5 trillion (28 percent) would fund infrastructure to improve energy transmission and distribution in all sectors.

    Although implementing clean technology would require additional investment (Exhibit 5), it would ultimately lower operating costs. From 2021 to 2050, the EU would save an average of €130 billion annually in total system operating costs. By 2050, these measures would reduce total system operating expenditures by €260 billion per year, more than 1.5 percent of the current EU GDP. Most of these savings would be in transportation.

    Mobilizing capital: Roughly half of the necessary investments require interventions…Mobilizing financing for these investments would require interventions, particularly in subsectors with high abatement costs…Impact on households: Lower- and middle-income households would see lower costs…The labor market: A net gain of 5 million jobs, but reskilling and support needed…Trade and production: Energy independence, new risks and opportunities…

    Charting a way forward

    Although the case for decarbonization and the pathway are clear, it will take decisive action to achieve the European Union’s climate goals. Stakeholders would need to address five hurdles to accelerate the transition:

    Shift social norms and consumer and investor expectations to zero-carbon as the new normal. Consumers and business leaders would need to make decisions in the expectation and in support of a shift to net-zero instead of business-as-usual as the public and business default.

    Create secure and stable policy frameworks and regulatory environments. Successful decarbonization depends on public sector leaders adopting regulatory frameworks that are ambitious enough to meet emission-reduction goals rather than incremental policies. This would provide stable planning and investment signals that could incentivize low-carbon technologies and business models.

    Encourage constructive industry dynamics. Business leaders that lean into the transition and demonstrate a commitment to overcoming transition hurdles through collective action rather than worrying about first-mover disadvantages will be critical.

    Mobilize green capital and investment. Much more public and private money would need to be invested in pre-commercial technologies and deploying commercially mature infrastructure. Investors that issue environmental, social, and corporate governance-aligned funding mandates that require businesses to quantify their exposure to climate risks and emissions could also help.

    Accelerate net-zero technologies along their learning curves. Achieving the necessary technological breakthroughs to reduce emissions in hard-to-abate sectors and accelerating their progress to market would require consistent public and private investment. It would also take greater willingness among business leaders and policymakers to adopt new technologies.

    Successful decarbonization requires deploying and scaling net-zero technologies. The journey for any single technology from early-stage R&D and proof-of-concept to early deployment and commercial competitiveness depends on a complex system of support models and stakeholders. Accelerated innovation is critical, along with commercial pilots and capturing scale effects to drive down costs. Achieving net-zero by 2050 would require the following immediate actions:

    Rapidly scale cost-competitive technologies and business models to reduce near-term emissions. Expediting the scale-up of mature and early-adoption zero-emissions technologies is crucial to meeting near-term reduction targets. These include solar and wind power, EVs and charging infrastructure, better building insulation, and district heating systems.

    Accelerate next-generation technologies and invest in enabling infrastructure to reduce emissions after 2030. To boost industry-wide innovation, funding mechanisms for deploying early technology should encourage collaboration. Policymakers could create regulatory certainty with CO2 and hydrogen price floors to mobilize capital for essential infrastructure such as carbon and hydrogen pipelines.

    Invest in R&D and negative emissions to close the gaps to net-zero by 2050. Increasing public and private investments in R&D that drive down the cost of such things as direct air capture technologies will be critical to achieving net-zero. It will also be essential to invest in reorganizing land use to generate negative emissions through efforts such as reforestation. Lawmakers can also start passing legislation that creates glide paths for each sector to reach net-zero emissions, such as automotive emissions standards now in effect in the transportation sector.

    As this report will show, the European Union can achieve net-zero emissions without compromising prosperity. Advances over the last decades have put climate neutrality within reach. But laying the foundation in the next decade will be critical to achieving this goal.

    Saturday, December 19, 2020

    The Forces of Action Have Now Aligned

    This authoritative information on crisis challenges and solutions comes from a leading climate scientist and veteran of the fight. From PublicAffairsBooks via YouTube

    Electrify Everything And Make Electricity With New Energy

    Turning wind, sun, and other New Energies into power is the most efficient way to power the economy. From The YEARS Project via YouTube

    Food Can be Recycled, Too

    Just like utility-scale and local New Energies compliment each other, better use of local food resources compliments the grocery industry. From NRDCflix via YouTube

    Friday, December 18, 2020

    Women Lead The Climate Crisis Fight

    Women are crucial to tackling the climate crisis—here’s why; Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, who helped orchestrate the landmark Paris Agreement five years ago, explains how women are disproportionately affected by global warming and why we need to be better represented at the tables where decisions are being made

    Christina Figueres, 15 December 2020 (Vogue)

    “..[W]omen in developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change because women in those countries are traditionally entrusted with growing the food their families need, gathering firewood and getting water…[and their availability is] directly…[This means the] traditional roles that women have in developing countries are getting increasingly difficult…The importance of promoting gender equality was eventually included in the Paris Agreement…[The UN has] specific initiatives to improve representation…

    …[More women are] dedicating themselves to sustainability, including in areas such as biodiversity, conservation and food production… [As artists, authors, political leaders, engineers, and negotiators, women are spreading] through all the different parts of the climate movement……[Women often determine] what is purchased, how much is purchased and what people eat in their families…[If they] are more aware of the climate implications, they can make wiser decisions…[like] beginning to diminish the amount of red meat we eat and moving over to plant-based protein…” click here for more

    New Energy Drives Electricity Costs Lower

    Renewables bring deflation to the energy sector; This year has offered a taste of what is to come in energy markets over the next decade

    Mark Lewis, December 15, 2020 (Financial Times)

    “…[T]he underlying reason for the astonishing transformation of renewables over the past decade from niche to mainstream competing head-to-head with fossil fuels is economic rather than environmental. Wind and solar are intrinsically deflationary, whereas fossil fuels are intrinsically inflationary. This has huge implications for the distribution of value across the global energy system over the next three decades…With wind and solar, there is no need to explore for reserves or drill a well to exploit them — you simply have to build the infrastructure in the right place to capture the energy that is already there and that is freely available once that has been built…

    …[T]he short-run marginal cost of production is zero…[From 2010-19, the average cost of utility-scale solar] installations fell by 80 per cent. Onshore and more recently offshore wind have also seen dramatic cost reductions…[With interest rates at historic lows, new projects have had] a very competitive overall cost of capital…[By contrast, the cheapest oil] reserves are exploited first, and as these are depleted more expensive sources of supply are tapped…[Technology can mitigate this somewhat but] the essential point is that the geology of petroleum production is inherently inflationary…

    …Equity investors [leading oil] are willing to accept a higher level of risk than lenders, but they expect higher returns…[But] with the policy imperatives of decarbonisation, reducing air pollution, and electrifying transport, the required rate of return for equity investors from oil is only going to increase…[2020] will be the first year ever in which wind and solar account for 100 per cent of the increase in global energy demand…[In 2019, they] accounted for only 34 per cent…[D]emand for fossil fuels will probably bounce back…[But as renewables’ market share rises,] the global energy system will be subjected to deflationary pressure…” click here for more

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: San Diego's pursuit of an energy transition partner amid dissatisfaction with SDG&E

    Politics disrupts San Diego's pursuit of an energy transition partner amid dissatisfaction with SDG&E; The city's franchise renewal debate is looking past the incumbent utility and Berkshire Hathaway Energy to questions about the Boulder-Xcel municipalization fight.

    Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 18, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The City of San Diego announced the results of this process December 17. Only one utility, SDG&E, bid. It offered $80 million. The new Mayor, Todd Gloria, has not announced a next move. Local activists are calling for a harder push toward municipalization.

    Conflict among city leaders over San Diego's energy future has left potential bidders for rights to be the city's utility, including incumbent San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE), wondering what to offer.

    City Council disagreement over the services and relationship the city should get with its next provider has blocked approval of terms for new utility franchise agreements, which expire in January. Dissatisfaction with SDG&E, which charges California’s highest power rates, did not lead to agreement on an Invitation to Bid (ITB) that will define requirements for power providers seeking to take over service for the city.

    Would-be bidders now await an ITB from outgoing Mayor Kevin Faulconer. As in many municipalities, it is the city charter-required duty of the mayor to oversee a franchise renewal, even without clear guidance from the council.

    "We definitely have challenges with SDG&E, and we want to leverage the franchise discussions to find a partner that will help San Diego reach its renewables and climate goals and build a modern grid," said Erik Caldwell, the city's deputy chief operating officer. The ITB "will be designed to find a franchisee that understands where the utility industry is going and will commit to leading San Diego there."

    Faulconer and most stakeholders support the city charter-required competivitive solicitation for new rights-of-way (ROWs) to deliver electricity and natural gas. Three bidders, SDG&E, BHE and Indian Energy, a small, local provider, officially expressed interest and await the mayor’s attempt to define a minimum bid and other required terms in the absence of council approval.

    Two major questions threw the ITB design to the mayor. What should the city get from a franchisee for potential billion-dollar benefits? Or should San Diego choose the popular option to form a municipal utility like those in Los Angeles and Sacramento? Council members largely agreed on their dissatisfaction with SDG&E, over high rates and unsatisfactory service, but not on what should be required of the next franchisee…” click here for more

    Green Hydrogen To Boom

    Why green hydrogen is the renewable energy source to watch in 2021; The price tag and energy needed to make it will be worth it, experts say

    Julia Jacobo, December 13, 2020 (ABC News)

    Green hydrogen, an alternative fuel generated with clean energy, is experiencing a global resurgence and has been identified as the clean energy source that could help bring the world to net-zero emissions in the coming decades…[It is expected to cost the same] as conventional hydrogen within a decade…Several countries around the world already invest heavily…[and the market] is expected to grow exponentially…Bloomberg NEF estimates that an $11 trillion investment in production and storage worldwide through 2050 and more electricity than the world generates now to have green hydrogen meet a quarter of the world's energy needs…

    …[Green hydrogen] carries one quarter the amount of energy per unit compared to natural gas, can embrittle metal and is highly combustible, Liebreich wrote…[Current investment and production are] only expected to generate 3 million tons a year, compared to a global target of 8.7 million tons per year…[C]arbon-free "green" hydrogen is made using [zero-emissions wind and solar] electricity split the hydrogen molecules from oxygen molecules…[The byproduct is] water…

    Green hydrogen is forecast to fill 15% to 20% of the world's energy needs that will not be easily met with battery, wind or solar power…[which cannot fully serve long term storage, heavy manufacturing, or] long-distance transport…[I]t will need to be pressurized and then moved, either through a pipeline, ship or truck using the existing infrastructure…The production of fossil fuels must be decreased by 6% per year between 2020 and 2030 in order to prevent a "catastrophic" global temperature rise…” click here for more

    Monday, December 14, 2020

    MONDAY STUDY: A Power Market For Colorado

    Energy Imbalance Market Options for Colorado

    Christopher T M Clack, Aditya Choukulkar, Brianna Coté, Sarah A McKee, October 22, 2020 (Vibrant Clean Energy)

    Executive Summary

    The present study uses the WIS:dom®-P optimization model to investigate the energy imbalance market options available to Colorado and evaluate the benefits and costs of participating in each. The study also evaluates the impact of Colorado not joining any energy imbalance market and creating a state-wide Joint Dispatch Agreement (JDA) between all Colorado utilities and cooperatives. A unique component of the study is that it evaluates the benefits and costs over an evolving system from 2018 through 2040, rather than a single future year. The four scenarios considered in the analysis are:

    (1) Business as Usual (“BAU”): In this scenario Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo), Black Hills Energy, Platte River Power Authority and Colorado Springs Utilities (JDA entities) as well as Intermountain Rural Electric Association and Holy Cross Energy join the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM) operated by California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and members of the Tri-State cooperative (along with Basin Electric Power and the Western Area Power Administration) join the proposed Western Energy Imbalance Services (WEIS) market proposed by Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

    (2) All utilities and cooperatives in Colorado join WEIM (“West”): In this scenario, all utilities and cooperatives within Colorado join the WEIM operated by CAISO.

    (3) All utilities and cooperatives in Colorado join WEIS (“East”): In this scenario, all utilities and cooperatives within Colorado join the WEIS proposed by SPP.

    (4) Colorado forms a state-wide JDA (“CO-JDA”): In this scenario, all utilities and cooperatives within Colorado sign a JDA and work together on sharing power and planning capacity expansion.

    WIS:dom®-P modeled the above four scenarios assuming optimal capacity expansion and economic dispatch, along with co-optimizing utility-scale generation with Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) – such as distributed solar (both rooftop and community solar), distributed storage (storage installed behind the 69-kV station) and demand side management (DSM). Transmission was allowed to grow in all scenarios.

    Overall the study indicates that Colorado does better (in terms of retail rates, jobs, capacity, emissions) when it acts in a unified manner. Splitting the utilities and moving to different EIM structures provides the least benefit to Colorado and exposes the state to competition from resources both east and west that encumbers the local resource pool. Further, Colorado brings enormous additional benefits to the region that it joins.

    The “BAU” does provide benefits to Colorado compared with 2018 metrics, but are the least of all the studied scenarios. In the “BAU” scenario, Colorado retail rates reduce by $27.62/MWh by 2040 compared to 2018 values. In addition, by 2040 carbon emissions drop by 70.66% compared to 2018 as a result of 62% of the generation coming from carbon free sources. The “BAU” scenario also creates 61,528 additional jobs in the electric sector.

    Results from the modeling show that the most beneficial scenario for Colorado retail customers is the “West” scenario, which results in the lowest retail rates driven by Colorado having access to a larger market to buy and sell energy and Colorado’s wind and solar resource better positioned to take advantage of this market. In this scenario, retail rates reduced by an additional 0.84 ¢/kWh (a 30% reduction) compared to the “BAU” scenario. This scenario also resulted in lower total system costs compared to “BAU” scenario (cumulative savings of $0.8 billion compared to “BAU” scenario), the highest jobs created in the state of Colorado (75,375 additional full-time jobs compared to 2018) while resulting in the highest reduction in emission across all species of pollutants (reduction of additional 35 million tons of CO2 compared to the “BAU” scenario). The emission reductions are driven by about 68.4% of the generation coming from carbon free energy sources (compared to 62% in the “BAU” scenario). In this scenario, Colorado deploys more wind (about 1,000 MW more wind compared to “BAU” scenario) and solar (about 500 MW more utility-scale solar compared to “BAU”) and more efficient utilization of these resources. Therefore, this scenario best positions Colorado to meet its renewable energy and emission reduction goals while reducing costs for consumers.

    The “East” scenario also results in lower total system costs compared to the “BAU” scenario for the state of Colorado (cumulative savings of $1.2 billion compared to the “BAU” scenario). However, retail rates savings were lower than “West” scenario owing to having a smaller market compared to the WEIM as well as SPP having better wind resource than Colorado. In addition, higher transmission costs (upgrading DC ties) result in limited transmission growth that further hinder cost reductions. In the “East” scenario, retail rates reduced by an additional 0.69 ¢/kWh (a 25% reduction) compared to the “BAU” scenario. Emission reductions were also lower compared to the “West” scenario with CO2 emissions reduced by additional 25 million tons compared to the “BAU” scenario with 64.6% of the generation coming from carbon free sources. The “East” scenario produced slightly lower jobs compared to the “West” scenario with additional 72,242 full-time jobs compared to 2018.

    The “CO-JDA” scenario resulted in the lowest savings in retail rates compared to the “BAU” scenario with retail rates reduced by 0.35 ¢/kWh (a 12.7% reduction) compared to the “BAU” scenario. The reason for the lower retail rates savings is that in this scenario, the model attempts to make Colorado as self-sufficient as possible. This scenario had the lowest energy exchange with neighboring states compared to all scenarios. Thus, the model could not take advantage of selling excess energy to other regions when they need it. However, the “CO-JDA” scenario had the lowest system cost for the state of Colorado with cumulative savings of $1.91 billion compared to the “BAU” scenario. This scenario created 69,049 full-time jobs (fewer than the “West” or “East” scenarios, but more than the “BAU” scenario). It should be noted that this scenario still results in higher job creation and lower retail rates compared to the “BAU” scenario as the model takes advantage of the joint dispatch agreement among the utilities in Colorado to optimize energy sharing within the state. About 66.3% of the generation in the “CO-JDA” scenario came from carbon free energy sources.

    The WIS:dom®-P technical documentation with detailed explanation of the model as well as details on creation of weather, climate and load datasets is available here.

    Saturday, December 12, 2020

    Goodbye to My Pandemic Beard

    Forgive the self-indulgence. From 1drhermandc via YouTube

    Bringing The Climate Crisis Solution Home

    The idea is simple and exactly right: Electrify transportation and homes and buildings and use New Energy to make electricity. From The YEARS Project via YouTube

    A Strawberry’s Energy Consumption

    This 2-minute view of a strawberry’s journey to shortcake and beyond shows why making the energy transition is urgent. From NRDCflix via YouTube

    Friday, December 11, 2020

    All About Global Emissions In 2020

    Climate change: What the Emissions Gap Report 2020 tells us; The annual UNEP report on emission says the “the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century”

    Staff, December 9, 2020 (DownToEarth)

    “…The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) annual Emissions Gap Report 2020 showed] 2020 would be one of the warmest years on record…[It found]…Record high GHG emissions…Record carbon emission…Forest fires increasing GHG emissions…G20 countries account for bulk of emissions…[T]he top four emitters (China, the United States of America, EU27+UK and India) have contributed to 55 per cent of the total GHG emissions…

    The top seven emitters (including the Russian Federation, Japan and international transport) have contributed to 65 per cent, with G20 members accounting for 78 per cent…There is some indication that the growth in global GHG emissions is slowing…Despite improving energy efficiency and increasing low-carbon sources, emissions continue to rise in countries with strong growth in energy use to meet development needs...CO2 emissions could decrease by about 7 per cent in 2020 (range: 2–12 per cent) compared with 2019 emission levels due to COVID-19…[That reduction] is likely to be significantly larger than the 1.2 per cent reduction during the global financial crisis in the late 2000s…

    …[A]tmospheric concentrations of major GHGs (CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)) continued to increase in both 2019 and 2020…126 countries covering 51 per cent of global GHG emissions have net-zero goals that are formally adopted, announced or under consideration. If the United States of America adopts a net-zero GHG target by 2050, as suggested in the Biden-Harris climate plan, the share would increase to 63 per cent…” click here for more

    New Energy And Universal Access To Electricity

    Left behind: could the world fail to deliver a clean energy transition for all?

    JP Casey, December 9, 2020 (Power Technology)

    “…[W]hile the world is slowly expanding its electricity infrastructure, developing countries could stand to be left behind by this clean energy transition. With 85% of the world’s population without access to power estimated to be in Sub-Saharan Africa alone by 2030, time could be running out to deliver a truly global renewable power network…[The global energy industry can play a key role in delivering] “affordable and clean energy” to people around the world…

    …[But many successes in New Energy] are isolated to regions such as Europe and North America…[W]hole countries could be “left behind” as the world’s wealthiest countries pursue energy reform without consideration for the rest of the world…[According to The Energy Progress Report 2020, many] countries are increasing their commitment to renewable power generation, but] Sub-Saharan Africa in particular is struggling…[and] will be home to 85% of the world’s population who lack access to power by 2030…As a whole, the world is moving in a positive direction…

    …[T]he number of people without access to electricity worldwide fell from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 789 million in 2018, and the share of the world’s energy consumption derived from renewables increased from 16.3% to 17.3% over this period…The global electrification rate has progressed steadily, bringing electricity to 9 out of 10 people in the world. Access to standalone systems and mini grids quadrupled between 2010 and 2018…[T]he global population with access to “tier 1+” energy, a total between 12 Wh and 200 Wh per day, quintupled between 2010 and 2018…” click here for more

    Wednesday, December 09, 2020

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Duke Energy Helps Clear The Way For Rooftop Solar

    Duke-solar industry breakthrough settlement aims to end rooftop solar cost shift debates; Successor tariff deal reshapes solar with dynamic rates, demand response requirements

    Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 16, 2020 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: South Carolina’s regulators are expected to rule on this in early 2021.

    A landmark settlement between Duke Energy and distributed energy resources (DER) advocates in North and South Carolina could remake the rooftop solar sector and be a model for ending regulatory disputes across the country. The proposal, released Sept. 16, could calm contention between utilities and solar advocates over the perceived "cost shift" some utilities and policymakers see as a subsidy for rooftop solar paid by non-solar-owning customers.

    The settlement would, if approved by Duke's North and South Carolina regulators, pair rooftop solar with smart DER devices and time-varying rate designs to add to the utility's demand response capability and give customers an incentive to help address the utility's peak demand challenges. "This is a totally new framework that treats self-consumed solar paired with demand response as energy efficiency and includes rate design innovations in dynamic pricing," said Duke Energy Vice President for Rate Design and Strategic Solutions Lon Huber. "We eliminate the cost shift, but retain a vibrant solar market, which could be a paradigm-changing win in the national net metering debate."

    Legislative and regulatory conflicts continue to increase nationally over replacing the retail rate net energy metering (NEM) tariff typically paid to solar owners for electricity exported to utility systems, said North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Senior Policy Program Director Autumn Proudlove. "Some states have delayed action, but the approved changes have reduced compensation."

    Successor tariff debates ultimately slow rooftop solar growth, according to Proudlove. But Duke and other utilities who see how customer-owned DER can cost-effectively help reduce peak demand and meet policy goals are working with stakeholders across the country on ways to take advantage of those DER investments without imposing costs on other customers. The new proposal, developed in response to solar policy directives in South Carolina's 2019-enacted Act 62, and North Carolina's 2017-enacted House Bill 589 (HB589), can accomplish those objectives, according DER advocates who helped shape the settlement.

    NEM compensates rooftop solar owners for the generation their arrays send to the grid, and is available in 40 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Compensation is set at the same retail rate customers pay for electricity, unless successor tariffs are in place that adjust that compensation. NEM was deployed state by state to support early renewables growth. Retail rate compensation was a proxy for the value of the exported generation. Since at least 2013, utilities have complained about NEM to regulators, arguing its reduction in solar-owning customers' bills shifts system costs to the rest of the customer base. Solar advocates argue NEM benefits all utility customers by reducing operational costs.

    The result is often-heated conflicts between utilities and solar advocates over a successor tariff that would theoretically represent the true value of distributed solar but prevent an undue shift of costs to non-solar-owning customers. The Duke settlement aims to eliminate some of those debates through rate design and smart technologies. In many states, compensation debates "have been quite contentious" because utilities "want to reduce or eliminate the cost shift and have proposed compensation at avoided costs or wholesale rates," Proudlove said. Solar advocates are "realistic about coming changes," but want cost-benefit or value-of-solar studies to set a compensation that matches the value of their exported generation… click here for more