NewEnergyNews: 05/01/2021 - 06/01/2021

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, May 31, 2021

    Monday Study – Electrification Comes To The Midwest

    MISO Electrification Insights

    April 2021 (Midcontinent Independent System Operator)

    Highlights

    • Unprecedented electric demand from transportation, heating, and other end uses brings new opportunities and challenges for the MISO system.

    • Electrification will shift the time of MISO’s greatest electricity demand from summer to winter. Additionally, the average daily load pattern will begin to show steep changes in the morning and evening, suggesting benefits from flexible generation and load.

    • Planning, markets, and operations must consider the simultaneous transformation of both generation and load to ensure system reliability over the coming decades.

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    After many years of negligible load growth, electrification is poised to transform the future of electric utilities and the electric power system with increased and more variable demand. Electrification is the conversion of equipment powered by fossil fuels to equipment powered by electricity. Its impacts include increased and more variable load, changes in seasonal peak, and interactions between electrification and a decarbonizing grid. Electrification Insights documents anticipated load growth and possible impacts of electrification, outlining opportunities and challenges for which MISO and its stakeholders can prepare.

    While the level and pace of change are outside of MISO’s control, it is critical that MISO anticipate the impact of increased electrification in order to maintain reliability at a reasonable cost as the region evolves. Given that electrification is one of many trends (another is the changing resource mix) driving an unprecedented rate of change on the power system, MISO should understand the effect varying levels of electrification may have on its system in the coming decades. The overall goal of this report is to increase awareness of the potential reliability risks associated with electrification trends and to focus MISO and its stakeholders on working together toward solutions.

    This report studies four electrification scenarios: Reference, Low, Moderate and High. The Reference scenario load growth follows recent patterns, with no electrification, corresponding to a 0.56% compound average growth rate (CAGR) of energy. The remaining three scenarios examine increasing levels of electrification assumed over a 20- year horizon with CAGR values ranging from 1.44% to 2.89% 1. [1 Scenarios do not consider responsive, flexible, or controllable load capabilities] For comparison, the MISO Futures examine varying levels of electrification, with energy CAGR values spanning 0.63% to 1.91%. Furthermore, this report focuses on a system where only 20% of annual energy is generated from renewable resources, below the 30% inflection point identified by the Renewable Integration Impact Assessment (RIIA).

    Key insights:

    • Electrification has the potential to transform MISO system-wide demand from the traditional summer peak to a winter peak. The shift is predominantly driven by the electrification of heating loads in commercial and residential buildings. As a result, the time of system risk expands to winter mornings and widens over summer afternoons. This may require MISO and MISO members to further evolve processes such as resource adequacy, resource accreditation, system planning, and outage coordination.

    • When examining net load 2 [2 The expected output from all renewable generation is subtracted from the system load], two daily power demand peaks now appear over nearly all months: one in the morning and one in the evening. This shape change is due to uncontrolled electric vehicle charging and daily heating and cooling loads. This may require both operational changes and changes to the time periods MISO selects for transmission planning.

    • Electrification requires an increase in ramping services, as the average annual load increases and becomes more variable (right). The increased ramping appears to be linked with uncontrolled charging patterns. This may require MISO and stakeholders to consider how to provide system ramping needs, and whether responsive, flexible, or controllable load should be a part of the strategy to manage ramping.

    • Although the performance of responsive, flexible, or controllable loads was not included in the work for this report, research suggests that flexible loads have the potential to offset extreme ramps. Flexible load technologies include electric vehicles with vehicle-to-grid capability, water heaters, thermal energy storage, and space heating. This will require additional study and creative, collaborative problem solving with MISO stakeholders.

    • Based on the current electrification landscape, some technologies will be adopted because they are costeffective; others may depend on federal, state, and local policy related to decarbonization. Because electrification is expected to be a key lever for economy-wide decarbonization, this suggests assumptions related to power system decarbonization should continue to include electrification effects, as was done in the MISO Futures.

    • A growing load with a decarbonizing generation fleet will require significant investment (generation and transmission) in the MISO system over the next 20 years. For example, the Low scenario would require around 160 GW of new generation, including more than 60 GW of wind and solar, if 20% of annual energy comes from renewable sources in 20 years.

    • Economy-wide decarbonization is an important catalyst for electrification, so examining electrification only in the context of a low-renewable system may not identify all system performance risks.

    The interplay between an evolving resource mix and electrification requires deeper study to ensure that MISO can continue to meet the Reliability Imperative. The four focus areas of the Reliability Imperative seek to ensure that markets, transmissions, operations, and systems — all of which will be directly impacted by electrification — are ready for the coming transition. Even moderate levels of electrification with low levels of renewables change the demand on the system — increasing overall energy demand, changing intra-day patterns, and changing annual patterns — and MISO needs to account for any changes in its planning, operations, and markets. The table below outlines considerations for different MISO processes.

    As a result of continued electrification, consumers may rely more on electricity for heat and transportation. Recent disruptions such as the western heat wave in August 2020 or the cold weather event in February 2021 offer a stark reminder of the importance of the electric supply to consumers. Planning for a reliable system now and in the future remains imperative.

    There is time to prepare for a future with high load growth, but it is not a time to be complacent. As large corporations with substantial presence in the MISO footprint begin their own electrification initiatives, the electrified future may arrive quickly. For example, several large automakers have announced commitments to phase-out gasoline-powered vehicles from their offerings over the coming decades. MISO and its stakeholders have a shared responsibility to maintain electric reliability by addressing the holistic needs of the system, including anticipated changes to system load.

    Consideration – Planning

    • Continuing to incorporate changing load shapes in long-term planning studies to ensure that all periods of system stress are captured.

    • Recognizing that shifting patterns of load growth could fundamentally shift flow patterns within MISO. By increasing the wintertime loads in the northern part of the footprint, electrification may contribute to new areas of system congestion and additional opportunities for economic transmission development.

    • Examination into how transmission supports flexible generation that can quickly change its output to provide system ramping needs.

    Consideration – Operations

    • Monitoring seasonal load changes. Although the load shape changes result in higher summer and winter peaks, the load levels also increase across all seasons. With long-term maintenance outages traditionally taken in the spring and fall, higher “off-season” load may complicate outage scheduling.

    • Increased visibility into flexible, responsive, or controllable load.

    Consideration – Markets

    • The possibility that the market may need to incentivize flexible, responsive, or controllable load as an alternative resource to provide system ramping

    Saturday, May 29, 2021

    The Speed Of Transition

    Change can happen fast.From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    New Energy Turns Rare Rocks To Gold

    The rare rock called lithium is vital to EV battery manufacturing and the market for it is spiking. Go find some. From Wall Street Journal via YouTube

    The Power Of Connection

    Reliable affordable electricity comes from the wires that interconnect. From the American Clean Power Association via YouTube

    Friday, May 28, 2021

    Climate Crisis-Driven Hunger Could Spread

    Climate change threatens one-third of global food production

    May 14, 2021 (Science Daily)

    Climate change is known to negatively affect agriculture and livestock…[New research finds that if carbon dioxide emissions continue growing at current rates,] rapid, out-of-control growth of greenhouse gas emissions may, by the end of the century, lead to more than a third of current global food production falling into conditions in which no food is produced…[Those areas where 95% of crop production currently takes place require] a combination of three climate factors, rainfall, temperature and aridity…

    Changes in rainfall and aridity as well as the warming climate are especially threatening to food production in South and Southeast Asia as well as the Sahel region of Africa. These are also areas that lack the capacity to adapt to changing conditions…Two future scenarios for climate change were used in the study: one in which carbon dioxide emissions are cut radically, limiting global warming to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius, and another in which emissions continue growing unhalted…

    …[They considered how climate change would affect 27 of the most important food crops and seven different livestock…[I]n 52 of the 177 countries studied, [including most of Europe,] the entire food production would remain in the safe climatic space…[Already vulnerable countries, including Benin, Cambodia, and Ghana,] will be hit hard…[Up] to 95 percent of current food production would fall outside of safe climatic space…

    In all, 20% of the world's crop production and 18% of livestock production [is] under threat…[T]he boreal forest, which stretches across northern North America, Russia and Europe -- would shrink from its current 18.0 to 14.8 million square kilometres by 2100…[and only] 8 million square kilometres of the vast forest would remain…[In North America,] it may shrink to one-third…[Arctic tundra] is estimated to disappear completely…” click here for more

    The Way To A New Energy Future

    How can the world get to net zero emissions by 2050? The International Energy Agency has mapped out a pathway for limiting global warming to 1.5C

    Leslie Hook, Steven Bernard and Chris Campbell, May 20, 2021 (Financial Times)

    “…[There is a “narrow but achievable”] way to reach net zero emissions by 2050…[The International Energy Agency path requires] ending the sale of conventional petrol cars by 2035, reaching 100 per cent clean energy by 2040 and using heat pumps to meet at least half of all heating needs by 2045. While some industry executives and major energy consuming countries have deemed the pathway out of touch with the reality of current consumption patterns, it showcases the sheer overhaul of the energy system that would be required.

    Total energy consumption in 2050 would be less than it is today because of improvements in efficiency, even though the global economy will be 40 per cent larger…[Solar power will increase 20 times and wind power 11 times by 2050…[and electricity’s portion of energy use] would rise to 50 per cent…Total capital investment in the energy sector would need to rise to $5tn a year, of which investment in transmission and distribution grids would rise to $820bn annually in 2030 from $260bn today…Coal would decline to just 4 per cent of the global energy supply, mostly from power plants that are equipped to capture carbon dioxide…

    Oil demand would fall by 75 per cent, reaching 24m barrels per day and gas demand would decline by 55 per cent…[N]o new exploration for oil, gas or coal supplies would be necessary…People will have to change their lifestyles…[and policymakers] will also have to use every tool at their disposal, including placing a price on carbon dioxide emissions…Governments will also need to accelerate their plans to cut emissions…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 26, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Super Customer Aggregation For Long Duration Storage

    “Super” CCA Collaboration for 500 MW of Long Duration Storage

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 19, 2020 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: The strategy of expanding aggregations to leverage greater economies of scale is gaining momentum, but how big can they get without becoming inadequately regulated utilities?

    Eight community choice aggregators are forming a procurement agency to jointly invest in much needed but neglected long duration energy storage. Leaders of the new Joint Powers Agency will issue a groundbreaking solicitation from their “super JPA“ that will pool the eight members’ resources and bid for up to 500 MW of long duration energy storage by 2026, Silicon Valley Clean Energy CEO Girish Balachandran said. It may become California’s biggest single buy to date of storage that supplies power for 8 hours or more, doubling the current output of shorter-term storage.

    The first goal is to make up to a $2 billion investment for “up to 500 MW of LDES from one or more projects” to be on-line date by 2026, according to SVCE’s Oct. 14 presentation to its board. It should not be only for regulatory compliance but should also be used by JPA member CCAs to serve the California market and earn returns for its energy, resource adequacy, and ancillary services values.

    A range of technologies may be selected, ranging from second life electric vehicle batteries to pumped hydro storage. By creating the super-JPA, CCAs would resolve one of the biggest problems in market dynamics “by creating large-scale demand,” Independent Energy Producers Association Executive Director Jan Smutny-Jones said.

    CCAs have been procuring 4-hour or less storage for several years but the JPA collaboration is needed to de-risk long term storage’s more significant costs and technical complexities, Balachandran said. It will apportion long duration storage procurement, liabilities, and returns in accordance with each member’s investment.

    The JPA’s 500 MW solicitation could be as much as half of the estimated 1,000 MW of long duration storage needed to meet California’s 60% renewables goal set for 2030. But the state’s approximately 24 CCAs could serve 70% or more of California’s load by the mid-2020s because of the growing number of investor-owned utilities’ customers being served by community energy

    Expedited procurement of long duration storage will supplement California’s growing supply of short duration storage to “keep renewables online longer” to meet the state’s ambitious renewables and climate goals, Long Duration Energy Storage Association Executive Director Julia Prochnik said. LDES might also have addressed the state’s recent blackouts by meeting both local and system wide needs. But the proposed JPA’s real significance will be in driving large-scale procurements for LDES and other resourcesclick here for more

    Solar’s Temporary Price Spike

    Solar Power's Decade of Falling Costs Is Thrown Into Reverse; The price of key raw material polysilicon has surged, and that could impact projects in India and the U.S.

    Dan Murtaugh and Brian Eckhouse (with Rajesh Kumar Singh and Rachel Morison), May 23, 2021 (Bloomberg Green)

    “A key selling point that made solar energy the fastest-growing power source in the world—rapidly decreasing costs—has hit a speed bump…Solar module prices have risen 18% since the start of the year after falling by 90% over the previous decade. The reversal, fueled by a quadrupling in the cost of the key raw material polysilicon, threatens to delay projects and slow uptake of solar power just as several major governments are finally throwing their weight behind it in an effort to slow climate change…Higher prices are affecting demand and may delay some large-scale projects…[and] might force state-owned power giants in China to push projects into next year…Global projects that haven’t signed price agreements with utilities that buy the power might get delayed unless the customer is willing to pay a higher rate for the electricity…

    …[T]he timing couldn’t be worse...[because renewable energy finally has a champion in the White House and ambitious climate goals have been announced across Europe and Asia…[Polysilicon prices] have touched $25.88 a kilogram, from $6.19 less than a year ago…Prices for steel, aluminum, and copper are also up, as are freight charges…[but] any material that has the kind of growth that polysilicon has had will continue to have capacity injected into the system…The challenge is timing…” click here for more

    Monday, May 24, 2021

    Monday Study – The Policy Fight For Transportation Electrification

    Monday Study – The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: Q1 2021

    May 2021 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary

    Q1 2021 ELECTRIC VEHICLE ACTION

    In Q1 2021, 48 states plus DC took a total of 519 actions related to electric vehicles. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions occurring during Q1 2021. Of the 521 actions catalogued, the most common were related to Regulation (133), followed by Financial Incentives (125), and Market Development (101).

    TOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE ACTIONS OF Q1 2021

    Five of the quarter’s most notable electric vehicle actions are noted below.

    New Jersey Regulators Approve Utility Electric Vehicle Programs

    The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved electric vehicle programs proposed by Atlantic City Electric and PSE&G New Jersey during Q1 2021. Atlantic City Electric’s program has a total budget of $20.673 million, and PSE&G’s program has a budget of $166.2 million. Both programs include make-ready incentives for different customer types and demand charge alternatives for fast charging stations.

    Virginia Lawmakers Approve Electric Vehicle Rebate and Grant Programs

    Virginia lawmakers enacted two bills in March 2021, establishing an electric vehicle rebate program and an electric vehicle grant program. The rebate program will begin in 2022 and provide rebates of at least $2,500 for the purchase of electric vehicles. Income-qualified residents will be eligible for an additional $2,000 rebate. The grant program will award grants on a competitive basis to school boards and non-profits to assist with the replacement of diesel school buses and vehicles with electric buses and vehicles.

    Colorado Public Utilities Commission Approves Modified Transportation Electrification Plan for Xcel Energy

    The Colorado Public Utilities Commission issued a decision in January 2021 approving Xcel Energy’s proposed transportation electrification plan with modifications. The decision approves an electric vehicle rebate program for low-income customers, residential home wiring rebates, a school bus electrification program, the development of utility-owned fast charging stations in underserved areas, utility deployment of charging stations for multi-family housing, and commercial charging rates, among other elements.

    Oklahoma State Legislature Adopts Tax on Electric Vehicle Charging

    The Oklahoma Legislature enacted a bill adopting a tax of $0.03 per kWh on the sale of electricity used to charge electric and hybrid vehicles. Collection of this tax will begin in 2024 and will not apply to charging stations in service before November 2021, those with less than 50 kW of capacity, or those that supply electricity free of charge, including private residential stations. The bill also adopts a registration fee for electric vehicles and provides a tax credit for the amount of charging taxes paid, up to the registration fee amount.

    Kansas and North Dakota Legislators Exempt Charging Stations from Public Utility Regulation

    State legislators in both Kansas and North Dakota recently enacted bills allowing electric vehicle charging stations to resell electricity to the public without being classified as a public utility. Both bills specify that the electricity used for vehicle charging must be purchased from a retail electric supplier to avoid classification as a public utility.

    TOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE POLICY TRENDS OF Q1 2021

    Utilities Requesting Approval for New Electric Vehicle Program Portfolios

    Several utilities filed new proposals in Q1 2021 to implement electric vehicle program portfolios. Utilities are continuing to take individualized or state-specific approaches to their transportation electrification programs. In Kansas and Missouri, Evergy requested approval for transportation electrification portfolios including charging station rebates and new rates designed for business and transit charging. Jersey Central Power & Light filed its EV Drive Program proposal, which includes make-ready incentives, off-peak usage credits, and utility deployment of fast chargers. Indianapolis Power & Light filed a petition for an electric vehicle portfolio involving a managed charging program and off-peak charging incentive. In Washington, Avista Utilities filed an application for a series of programs including utility deployment of residential and commercial charging stations, DC fast charger deployment, and new commercial charging rates.

    State Lawmakers Considering Road Usage Fees and Electricity Taxes

    State lawmakers across the country have been considering new types of fees applicable to electric vehicles during the 2021 legislative session – primarily road usage fees based on miles traveled and taxes on electricity used for vehicle charging. Oklahoma legislators recently enacted a bill establishing a $0.03 per kWh tax on the sale of electricity used to charge electric or hybrid vehicles at public charging stations beginning operation after November 2021. State legislators in Georgia, Minnesota, and Nevada also considered taxes on electricity used for vehicle charging, while lawmakers in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Washington introduced bills adopting road usage fees for electric vehicles. In Montana, legislation under consideration would adopt a trip-based fee for electric motortrucks and truck tractors licensed in another state. Numerous states continue to consider registration fees for electric vehicles as well, with Oklahoma and South Dakota recently adopting new fees.

    Policymakers Addressing Government Procurement of Electric Vehicles

    While the federal government recently announced plans to transition the federal fleet to electric vehicles, many state policymakers have also been considering electric or zero-emission vehicle procurement targets for state fleets. Legislation passed by the Hawaii House and Senate requires that 100% of light-duty state fleet vehicles are zero-emission vehicles by the end of 2030. In Maryland, lawmakers passed a bill requiring that new bus purchase contracts are for zero-emission buses. The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill setting a goal of having all of the state’s motor vehicles be zero-emission vehicles by 2042. Legislators in many other states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York are also considering bills establishing electric vehicle procurement targets, and some states are contemplating targets for electric vehicle adoption in the private market.

    Saturday, May 22, 2021

    This EV Was Endorsed By President Biden

    This is the electric vehicle President Biden test-drove and enthused over during his visit to Detroit. From Ford Motor Company via YouTube

    U.S. Ocean Wind Gets Key Green Light

    This is the utility-scale offshore wind project that will open U.S. ocean wind resources everywhere to development. From PBS NewsHour via YouTube

    The Opportunities In The Biden MacroGrid

    This is what the opportunity can be with a New Energy power system.From Yahoo Finance via YouTube

    Friday, May 21, 2021

    A Choice Of Two Futures

    Climate change: how bad could the future be if we do nothing?

    Mark Maslin, May 6, 2021 (UK Conversation)

    “…[The potential outcomes of the climate crisis offer two] very different realities…[In the nightmare scenario, global] temperatures have risen by over 4°C…[T]emperatures as high as 50°C have become common in tropical countries…Every summer, wildfires rage across every continent…[making] breathing outdoors unbearable…The deserts of the world have expanded…Around 3.5 billion live in areas where water demand exceeds what’s available…The Arctic is free of sea ice every summer…[Major cities, including Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Miami, are already flooded and uninhabitable…[Winter storms cause] widespread wind damage and flooding each year…Food and water insecurity has increased around the world…Half of the land devoted to agriculture in the past is now unusable…Crop yields are at their lowest levels since the middle of the 20th century. Fish stocks have collapsed…[D]eaths from tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, diarrhoea and respiratory illnesses are at their highest levels in human history…[Or] humanity rises to the challenge…

    …[If, by 2100, we did] everything in our power to contain climate change…Global temperatures rose to 1.5°C by 2050 and remained there…Fossil fuels have been replaced by renewable energy. Over a trillion trees have been planted…The air is cleaner than it has been since before the industrial revolution…Cities have been restructured to provide all-electric public transport and vibrant green spaces. Many new buildings have a photoelectric skin which generates solar energy and green roofs which cool the cities…High-speed electric trains reaching 300 mph link many of the world’s major cities…[Emissions-free fuels power intercontinental] flights…Global diets have shifted away from meat…Half of the Earth is dedicated to restoring the natural biosphere and its ecological services…[The outcome] depends on what decisions are made today…” click here for more

    The World’s Path To Net Zero Emissions

    Pathway to critical and formidable goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is narrow but brings huge benefits, according to IEA special report

    18 May 2021 (International Energy Agency)

    “The world has a viable pathway to building a global energy sector with net-zero emissions in 2050, but it is narrow and requires an unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported and used globally…[According to an International Energy Agency special report, climate] pledges by governments to date… fall well short of what is required…[The report] sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway…[and] examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural changes… The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal – our best chance of tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced…

    …[T]he Roadmap sets out more than 400 milestones…By 2035, there are no sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars, and by 2040, the global electricity sector has already reached net-zero emissions……[It] calls for annual additions of solar PV to reach 630 gigawatts by 2030, and those of wind power to reach 390 gigawatts…[T]his is four times the record level set in 2020…[It calls for] the global rate of energy efficiency improvements averaging 4% a year through 2030 – about three times the average over the last two decades…[Emissions reductions through 2030] come from technologies readily available today. But in 2050, almost half the reductions come from technologies that are currently only at the demonstration or prototype phase…

    …A transition of such scale and speed cannot be achieved without sustained support and participation from citizens, whose lives will be affected in multiple ways…Providing electricity to around 785 million people who have no access to it and clean cooking solutions to 2.6 billion people who lack them is an integral part…This costs around $40 billion a year, equal to around 1% of average annual energy sector investment. It also brings major health benefits through reductions in indoor air pollution, cutting the number of premature deaths by 2.5 million a year…

    Total annual energy investment surges to USD 5 trillion by 2030… adding an extra 0.4 percentage points a year to global GDP growth…[This] creates millions of jobs in clean energy, including energy efficiency, as well as in the engineering, manufacturing and construction industries…[and makes] global GDP 4% higher in 2030 than it would reach based on current trends…

    …In 2050, global] energy demand is around 8% smaller than today, but it serves an economy more than twice as big and a population with 2 billion more people. Almost 90% of electricity generation comes from renewable sources, with wind and solar PV together accounting for almost 70%. Most of the remainder comes from nuclear power. Solar is the world’s single largest source of total energy supply…Fossil fuels that remain are used in goods where the carbon is embodied in the product such as plastics, in facilities fitted with carbon capture, and in sectors where low-emissions technology options are scarce…

    Growing energy security challenges that result from the increasing importance of electricity include the variability of supply from some renewables and cybersecurity risks. In addition, the rising dependence on critical minerals required for key clean energy technologies and infrastructure brings risks of price volatility and supply disruptions… that could hinder the transition…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 19, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Tool That Brings All Power System Resources Together

    Want a more distributed and lower cost power system? Try this new planning tool; A new tool from Vibrant Clean Energy offers system modeling to match today's granularity and breaks the barrier between bulk system and distribution system planning.

    Herman K. Trabish, Jan. 28, 2021 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The effort to use tools like this to integrated the bulk power system and the distribution system is the cutting edge of where the energy transition will be made possible.

    While the costs of distributed energy resources (DER) continue their remarkable decline, potentially more important new data reveals their growing value to both customers and the bulk power system, experts say.

    Planning by utilities and system operators has traditionally been based on complex forecasts about bulk system factors like resource cost and customer demand to balance supply and load. Local resources have been an afterthought. A new modeling tool claiming unprecedented processing power and detail offers the potential for a new level of joint transmission-distribution planning strategy not undertaken before.

    "I don't know how this modeling tool fits into regulatory proceedings, but it's unreasonable for regulators whose duty is to protect customer interests to not investigate it," said former Maryland utility commissioner and Sunrun Chief Policy Officer Anne Hoskins. "If I were still a regulator, I would ask our energy staff to determine whether the commission should require its study or use."

    Technical documentation of Vibrant Clean Energy's WIS:dom-P modeling tool shows it offers significantly more granularity about where and when distributed and other energy resources are available than other common planning tools. And more detailed planning can lead to better investments on behalf of customers, stakeholders agreed.

    "If I ran a utility, I would definitely want to understand the added value of distributed energy resources because they will be an important part of the overall energy supply," Wells Fargo Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance head Philip Hopkins said. Knowing the value that DER offer the distribution system "will allow them to be used sooner and more efficiently."

    But the new modeling tool faces two hurdles to overcoming doubts by traditionally-minded planners. The biggest is how to get utilities and their regulators to compare it with current modeling tools. It must also demonstrate real-world validity of the computations, as Vibrant sought to do with "Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid," released Dec. 1. The roadmap shows hypothetically how computing power and granularity — in assessing where utility-scale and distributed resources will be most cost-effective — can find hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for utilities and their customers… click here for more

    Offshore Wind’s Big U.S. Shot

    The stakes couldn't be higher for America's first major offshore wind farm

    Matt Egan, May 16, 2021 (CNN Business)

    “…The federal government this week gave the green light to Vineyard Wind, the nation's first commercial scale offshore wind farm. Although onshore wind is a growing part of the nation's power grid, offshore wind is just getting off the ground…Located 15 miles off the southern coast of Martha's Vineyard, the massive [Vineyard Wind] project aims to power more than 400,000 Massachusetts homes and businesses, slash carbon emissions and create thousands of jobs…America's power system needs a serious makeover in order to meet President Biden's emissions goals. Dirty coal must be replaced by much more solar and wind…[But] if the 84-turbine project flops, it will give ammunition to critics who argue offshore wind is too expensive, too unreliable and too complicated…

    Vineyard Wind plans to begin construction this year and start providing power to Massachusetts in 2023. But this is no small task. Offshore wind farms must contend with rough seas, bad weather and the inherent challenges of installing gigantic wind turbines at sea — and then connecting them to land miles away…Vineyard Wind will be powered by the Haliade-X, the world's largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine. The 13-megawatt turbine, manufactured by General Electric, (GE) stands 853 feet tall, nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, and its blades are 350 feet long…” click here for more

    Monday, May 17, 2021

    Monday Study – The Booming Debate On Grid Modernization

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization: Q1 2021 Policy Quarterly Update

    April 2021 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC])

    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…

    Actions Included

    This report focuses on cataloguing and describing important proposed and adopted policy changes related to grid modernization and distributed energy resources, excluding policies specifically intended to support only solar technologies. While some areas of overlap exist, actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design are tracked separately in the 50 States of Solar report series, and are generally not included in this report.

    In general, this report considers an “action” to be a relevant (1) legislative bill that has been introduced or (2) a regulatory docket, utility rate case, or rulemaking proceeding. Only statewide actions and those related to investor-owned utilities are included in this report. Specifically, actions tracked in this issue include:

    Studies and Investigations

    Legislative or regulatory-led efforts to study energy storage, grid modernization, utility business model reform, or alternative rate designs, e.g., through a regulatory docket or a cost-benefit analysis.

    Planning and Market Access

    Changes to utility planning processes, including integrated resource planning, distribution system planning, and evaluation of non-wires alternatives, as well as changes to state and wholesale market regulations enabling market access.

    Utility Business Model and Rate Reform

    Proposed or adopted changes to utility regulation and rate design, including performancebased ratemaking, decoupling, time-varying rates, and residential demand charges.

    Grid Modernization Policies

    New state policy proposals or changes to existing policies related to grid modernization, including energy storage targets, energy storage compensation rules, interconnection standards, and customer data access policies.

    Financial Incentives for Energy Storage and Advanced Grid Technologies

    New statewide incentives or changes to existing incentives for energy storage, microgrids, and other modern grid technologies.

    Deployment of Advanced Grid Technologies

    Utility-initiated requests, as well as proposed legislation, to implement demand response programs or to deploy advanced metering infrastructure, smart grid technologies, microgrids, or energy storage.

    Actions Excluded

    This report excludes utility proposals for grid investments that do not include any specific grid modernization component, as outlined above, as well as specific projects that have already received legislative or regulatory approval. Actions related exclusively to pumped hydroelectric storage or electric vehicles are not covered by this report (a separate report series available from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center covers electric vehicle actions). Time-varying and residential demand charge proposals are only documented if they are being implemented statewide, the default option for all residential customers of an investor-owned utility, or a notable pilot program. Actions related to inclining or declining block rates are not included in this report. While actions taken by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are not comprehensively tracked in this report, particularly noteworthy or high-impact actions are included. The report also excludes changes to policies and rate design for distributed generation customers; these changes are covered in the 50 States of Solar quarterly report.

    Q1 2021 GRID MODERNIZATION ACTION

    In the first quarter of 2021, 47 states plus DC took a total of 502 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 502 actions catalogued, the most common were related to policies (133), deployment (94), and financial incentives (82).

    TOP 5 GRID MODERNIZATION DEVELOPMENTS OF Q1 2021

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

    North Carolina Regulators Approve Deferral Treatment for Duke Energy Grid Spending

    The North Carolina Utilities Commission issued a decision in March 2021, authorizing Duke Energy Carolinas to defer approximately $800 million in grid improvement investments from June 2020 through 2022, including costs associated with self-optimizing grid, distribution automation, transmission system intelligence, and a distributed energy dispatch tool. The decision also approves a rate design study and a climate risk and resilience working group.

    Maine Public Utilities Commission Launches Grid Modernization Proceeding

    Maine regulators opened a new proceeding in February 2021 to conduct a comprehensive examination of the design and operation of the state’s distribution system to accommodate the increasing integration and operation of distributed energy resources and the potential for substantial load increases resulting from climate policies and initiatives designed to encourage building and transportation electrification.

    National Grid Files Advanced Metering and Grid Modernization

    Proposals in Rhode Island In January 2021, National Grid filed its updated advanced metering functionality business case, as well as its grid modernization plan. The advanced metering plan proposes AMI deployment with a budget of $224 million and includes a customer engagement plan and a data governance plan. The grid modernization plan envisions grid modernization investments out to 2030 and includes different budget scenarios based on high and low distributed energy resource scenarios.

    Virginia Lawmakers Enact Series of Energy Storage Bills

    Virginia Lawmakers enacted a series of bills related to energy storage in March 2021. The enacted bills include property and sales tax incentives for energy storage systems, special permitting guidelines for storage facilities, and a requirement that storage projects constructed to comply with the state’s storage procurement target use equipment and components from a Virginia or U.S. based manufacturer, if available.

    Connecticut Regulators Release Energy Storage Incentive Straw Proposal

    The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority released its straw proposal for an electric storage incentive program in January 2021. The nine-year program calls for a total deployment of 580 MW (290 MW residential and 290 commercial and industrial), which would be achieved with an upfront declining block incentive and performance-based incentives for dispatching the system during peak events. The upfront incentive would begin at $280 per kWh, with low to moderate income customers eligible for an additional incentive

    MOST ACTIVE STATES AND SUBTOPICS OF Q1 2021

    The most common types of actions across the country related to energy storage deployment (62), utility business model reforms (31), energy storage interconnection rules (30), smart grid deployment (29), and data access policies (27). Q1 2021 was the busiest quarter yet for grid modernization, with activity increasing in nearly every category.

    The states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization in Q1 2021 can be seen in Figure 4. New York, Texas, California, Minnesota, and New Jersey saw the most action during the quarter, followed by Illinois, Hawaii, and North Carolina. Overall, 47 states, plus DC, took actions related to grid modernization in Q1 2021.

    TOP GRID MODERNIZATION TRENDS OF Q1 2021

    States Focusing on Improving Grid Resilience

    States across the country are showing increased focus on improving grid resilience, particularly in the wake of the extreme winter weather event occurring in February 2021. In Texas, the Public Utilities Commission opened proceedings to investigate the event, while state legislators introduced numerous bills focused on grid resilience. Among these are bills establishing a grid security commission, a critical infrastructure resiliency fund, and a solar and energy storage resilience grant and loan program. Other states, including Arkansas and South Carolina, have also launched proceedings regarding extreme weather event response. Legislation introduced in Florida would create a Resilient Schools Pilot and an Energy Security and Disaster Resilience Pilot, while Xcel Energy has requested approval for resiliency as a service pilot programs in multiple states.

    State Lawmakers Considering Financial Incentives for Grid Modernization

    State legislators have introduced significantly more bills related to financial incentives for energy storage, microgrids, demand response, and other grid modernization technologies so far in 2021 than in previous years. Lawmakers in at least 29 states considered grid modernization incentive bills during Q1 2021, with the majority of these related to property tax incentives, grant programs, and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. The Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation establishing property and sales tax incentives for energy storage systems, while Colorado and Massachusetts lawmakers also passed bills establishing property tax incentives for energy storage. In many of these cases, property tax incentives currently exist for solar and other renewable energy technologies and are being extended to also apply to storage facilities.

    States Examining Permitting, Decommissioning, and Recycling Requirements for Energy Storage Facilities

    As energy storage deployment continues to increase, more states are examining permitting, decommissioning, and recycling requirements for energy storage facilities. Virginia lawmakers enacted legislation allowing energy storage facilities under 150 MW to qualify for special permitting, review, and inspection requirements. In North Carolina, the Environmental Management Commission is in the process of developing rules governing end-of-life management for battery storage, and in Nevada, regulators determined that standalone energy storage systems are not considered utility facilities and, therefore, do not require Utility Environmental Protection Act permits. In Maine, a concept draft of a bill proposes measures to address the recycling of clean energy equipment, including battery storage systems. Legislation introduced in Vermont directs the Public Utility Commission to establish rules related to certificates of public good for energy storage projects, including decommissioning and application requirements.

    Saturday, May 15, 2021

    Solar Shares The Wealth In Chi

    Building community through community solar in Chicago’s Bronzeville. From U.S. Dept. of Energy via YouTube

    Recycling Wastewater In Hollywoodland

    LA wants to beat the endless drought by purifying and recycling wastewaterFrom MSNBC via YouTube

    The Power Of The Earth’s Deep Heat

    0.1% of the heat beneath the world’s feet could stop the climate crisis in it’s tracks. From CNBC via YouTube

    Friday, May 14, 2021

    Biggest World New Energy Jump Since 1999

    Global renewable energy grew at fastest pace in two decades in 2020 – IEA

    Nina Chestney, May 10, 2021 (Reuters)

    Renewable energy grew at its fastest pace in two decades last year, led by China, and will continue to grow in the next two years…[According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report, new] renewable energy capacity in 2020 rose by 45% to 280 gigawatts (GW) last year, the largest year-on-year increase since 1999, even though there were supply chain disruptions and construction delays due to the impact of COVID-19…

    China accounted for 50% of renewable energy capacity growth last year and will account for 45% this year and 58% in 2022…Globally, around 270 GW of new capacity is forecast to be added this year and nearly 280 GW in 2022…[In 2020,] governments have auctioned record amounts of renewable energy and companies have signed a record number of power purchase agreements…

    …[There were auctions of] 75 GW of offshore and onshore wind, solar photovoltaic and bioenergy capacity last year, up 20% from 2019…[But stopping the climate crisis will require governments] to set policies to encourage more investment in solar and wind and the additional grid infrastructure they will require, as well as other renewable technologies such as bioenergy and geothermal…” click here for more

    Renewables Ready To Take Over In 2050

    Renewables could displace fossil fuels to power the world by 2050, report claims

    Chloe Taylor, April 25, 2021 (CNBC)

    “…[If wind and solar power continue] on their current growth trajectory, they would push fossil fuels out of the electricity sector by the mid-2030s…Current technology gave the world the power to capture 6,700 Petawatt hours (PWh) of power from solar and wind energy, researchers claimed – more than 100 times the amount of energy consumed globally in 2019…[But continued falling costs are] likely to drive exponential growth in the generation of solar and wind power. An annual growth rate of 15% would see solar and wind generating all of the world’s electricity by the mid-2030s and providing all energy worldwide by 2050…

    …[The] cost of solar power had declined by an average of 18% per year since 2010, while wind power prices had fallen by an average of 9% every year…Solar power had grown at an average annual rate of 39% over the last decade, almost doubling in capacity every two years…[and] wind energy had grown in capacity by 17% a year…[But] skepticism persists…Of the world’s 60 largest banks, 33 increased their funding to the fossil fuel sector between 2016 and 2020…

    …[Low-income countries with low energy use in sub-Saharan Africa have] the potential to generate at least 1,000 times more energy than their domestic demand…Those [like Australia, Chile and Morocco with well-developed infrastructure and governance have] the potential to harness at least 100 times more energy than was in demand…[China, India and the U.S. have] the potential to produce enough to satisfy their domestic demand…Japan, South Korea and much of Europe are] “stretched” when it came to tapping their renewable resources…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Reaching California’s Zero Emissions Goals How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 13, 2020 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: There is a huge challenge and an exciting opportunity ahead.

    California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint agencies report on SB 100 previewed last month.

    It also concluded that California must keep its natural gas fleet in place, while slowly dialing down reliance as the renewables come online.

    California’s biggest annual solar build to date was 2.67 GW. Going forward, therefore, requires annual solar capacity additions of 2.7 GW, the report’s High Electrification scenario stated. Wind’s best year added nearly 1 GW, thus nearly 1 GW of wind must be added every year. But batteries must nearly double. Battery storage’s top year produced about 1 MW, and now 2.2 GW of new battery storage annually is necessary.

    The total cost to meet these renewable load increases will be between $62 billion and $70 billion through 2045. It will have an average electricity cost of $0.148/kWh to $0.171/kWh electricity cost, the joint agencies reported.

    A resource mix more diverse than the high electrification scenario will more quickly achieve the zero greenhouse gas goal, but it comes with a higher cost. More solar, wind, battery storage, and zero carbon firm resources, like geothermal and hydrogen, could further reduce natural gas reliance but would produce “an $8 billion increase in total resource cost,” California Energy Commission spokesperson Michael Ward said.

    The report fills a gap by providing California’s first definition of a zero-carbon emission resource, Jessie Knapstein, a senior consultant with Energy and Environmental Economics, said. E3 supports modeling and planning by the agencies. A resource contributes toward SB 100’s 2045 goal if it is renewable portfolio standard-eligible, according to the CEC guidebook, or if it has zero onsite emissions. The latter includes large hydropower and nuclear power from Palo Verde…This work could allow the agencies to conform their planning efforts with “uniform reference points and assumptions,” making future analyses “apples to apples comparisons,” Knapstein said… click here for more

    The Transportation Policy Battleground Right Now

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: State Lawmakers Focus on Incentives, Fees, and Government Procurement in Q1 2021

    May 6, 2021 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[The NCCETC Q1 2021 50 States of Electric Vehicles] finds that 48 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q1 2021…[The greatest number of actions related] to rebate programs, additional fees for electric vehicles, and state procurement of electric and zero-emission vehicles. A total of 521 electric vehicle actions were taken…[The most active states were] Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Hawaii…[Three trends taken were] (1) utilities requesting approval for new electric vehicle program portfolios, (2) state lawmakers considering road usage fees and taxes on electricity used for vehicle charging, and (3) policymakers addressing government procurement of electric vehicles…

    …[Five of the top policy developments were] New Jersey regulators approving electric vehicle programs for Atlantic City Electric and PSE&G New Jersey…Virginia lawmakers approving electric vehicle rebate and grant programs…The Colorado Public Utilities Commission approving a modified transportation electrification plan for Xcel Energy…The Oklahoma State Legislature adopting a tax on electricity used for vehicle charging at certain types of charging stations…and Kansas and North Dakota legislators exempting charging stations from public utility regulation…” click here for more