NewEnergyNews: 09/01/2021 - 10/01/2021/


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, September 29, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Congress Studying New Energy’s Need For Connection

    House Hearing on Transmission Hits California Live Wires

    Herman K. Trabish, May 25, 2021 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: Transmission continues to be the critical incomplete part of the New Energy delivery equation.

    Barriers to transmission needed for clean energy growth in California and across the country can be overcome, grid advocates told the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis May 20.

    Wildfires and freezes “have left Americans in the dark and in danger just in the last four months,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), the committee chair, said in opening the session. Drought and new fires are raising fears of “another long and brutal fire season” in the West, she added. A key solution is modernizing the electric grid. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the system a C-minus rating.

    U.S. power sector emissions “were 40% below 2005 levels and 40% of electricity came from carbon-free resources” in 2020, Edison Electric Institute General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Senior VP for Clean Energy Emily Sanford Fisher testified. That will continue, driven by falling natural gas and renewables costs, new technologies, customer demand, and federal and state regulations and policies. But continued growth depends on a modernized transmission system.

    Planning, permitting, and cost allocation are the three major barriers to a renewed transmission system. New rules and regulations can lower them, ITC Holdings Corp President/CEO Linda Apsey told the committee.

    Congress and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can require “transmission-first” planning to deploy or upgrade transmission where renewable resources are abundant, Apsey said. That would replace the current practice of building transmission for each project, driving growth by reducing transmission and renewables developers’ risks and costs.

    New rules also can streamline permitting and siting processes without undermining environmental protections, she added. Third, FERC can implement cost allocation policies that spread costs fairly to developers who benefit, she said… click here for more

    Down To The Sea For New Energy

    The renewable energy transition has companies looking out to sea

    Julia Simon, September 27, 2021(MarketPlace)

    Electric car batteries, solar panels and wind turbines and batteries — some of the key technologies in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources — require critical metals like cobalt and nickel…The massive metal demand on the horizon is why some mining companies are looking way out in the Pacific, in between Hawaii and Mexico, to mine the ocean floor...These nodules form over millions of years. They’re about the size of a potato and are full of cobalt, nickel, manganese and copper. The four minerals, which on land usually come from multiple mines, are all in one place here roughly 3 miles below the ocean’s surface…

    Wood Mackenzie estimates that even under the least aggressive scenarios to reduce fossil fuel consumption, we’ll see huge demand for metals on the seabed like cobalt and nickel…[Miners are testing robots to vacuum minerals from the seabed and seeking state sponsorships through] the International Seabed Authority…[but] robotic vacuums crawling around the ocean floor have raised environmental concerns…The International Seabed Authority said it’s continuing to develop regulations…[Proponents say it avoids deforestation and human rights abuses, but] Google and Volvo are among companies already saying they won’t use metals from the deep seabed…[though with the climate crisis] demand for these metals is coming…” click here for more

    Monday, September 27, 2021

    The Charge To Start The Transition To Transportation Electrification

    Charging Up America: Assessing The Growing Need For U.S. Charging Infrastructure Through 2030

    Gordon Bauer, Chih-Wei Hsu, Mike Nicholas, and Nic Lutsey, July 2021 (International Council of Clean Transportation [ICCT])

    Executive Summary

    Electric vehicles surpassed 10 million cumulative sales globally in late 2020. Announcements from automakers and the U.S. government regarding manufacturing goals, new vehicle emission standards, incentives, and infrastructure investments suggest the U.S. electric vehicle market could expand dramatically in the years ahead. These developments spur broad questions about how much infrastructure is needed to support electric vehicle growth, and the associated costs.

    This paper assesses growing home, workplace, and public charging needs through 2030 to support the transition to electric vehicles in the United States. The analysis incorporates local market trends, evolving charging technology and behavior, household characteristics, and home charging availability. It includes charging needs for lowerincome communities, rural areas, highway corridor charging, and ride-hailing vehicles. The charging analysis is also integrated with bottom-up charging costs to estimate the associated infrastructure investment required to support the electric transition.

    Figure ES-1 summarizes the results for the number of non-home chargers needed (left) and associated cost (right) to support an electric vehicle stock of 26 million electric vehicles in the United States by 2030, up from 1.8 million at the end of 2020. This growth includes 5.9 million new electric vehicle sales in 2030, representing 36% of all new vehicle sales, putting the market on track to reach 100% electric vehicle sales by 2040. To support these vehicles, public and workplace charging will need to grow from approximately 216,000 chargers in 2020 to 2.4 million by 2030, including 1.3 million workplace, 900,000 public Level 2, and 180,000 direct current fast chargers. The associated costs amount to $28 billion from 2021 to 2030.

    Our analysis leads us to four high-level findings.

    Steady charging infrastructure additions are needed to support the transition to electric vehicles. To support electric vehicle growth through 2030, public and workplace chargers will need to increase 27% annually, which is less than the rate of charger growth between 2017 and 2020, but requires adding an average of over 200,000 chargers each year by 2026. This growing charging network would include 500,000 public chargers by around 2027, several years faster than the Biden administration’s goal for 2030.

    Broad charging infrastructure investments will be needed to support an expanding electric vehicle market. The charging infrastructure network will need to provide greater coverage for a broader set of drivers by 2030. About a million chargers will be needed at multiunit dwellings to support apartment residents and charging will need to grow at greater rates in many rural areas and across the Midwest and South. Lower-income communities will need persistent investments, amounting to about 30% of chargers and charging investments through 2030, to ensure equitable infrastructure access.

    Associated charging infrastructure costs are substantial but are in line with recent trends.

    The associated 2021–2030 charging investments are $28 billion for public and workplace chargers, including $15 billion for charger installation labor. Direct current fast chargers are 7% of these chargers, provide 57% of the charging energy, and represent 66% of the costs, reinforcing the need to install inexpensive and convenient home and workplace charging. Near-term charging needs are being covered by public funding, utility investments, Volkswagen’s dieselgate settlement funds, and other private companies.

    More sustained long-term funding is needed, especially where investments through 2020 have been limited. Such investments fit well within the infrastructure and climate goals, and they would represent just 1%-2% of the associated budgets in policymakers’ 2021 proposed infrastructure plans.

    Charging infrastructure costs can be shared across many interested stakeholders. The diverse charging infrastructure needs present opportunities for coordination and broad cost sharing. Electric power utilities, private charging companies, automakers, and property owners each have roles in developing the charging infrastructure network. Charging investments can be spurred by public support from federal, state, and local governments via direct funding, cost-sharing, tax credits, regulations, and city codes. Further exploration into the ideal combination of new policies, standards, investments, and coordination across the players is warranted.

    Although electric vehicle charging infrastructure costs are substantial, the benefits are also great. Charging infrastructure enables a fleet of electric vehicles that will themselves have lower upfront costs than conventional vehicles and will deliver thousands of dollars in fuel savings per vehicle by 2030. The benefits of the electric vehicle transition are at least an order of magnitude greater than charging infrastructure costs, making charging infrastructure a modest down payment to decarbonize the transport sector…

    Saturday, September 25, 2021

    Trevor Noah On Climate Crisis Impacts

    This is the way the climate crisis can ruin beer, coffee, and sex. From The Daily Show with Trevor Noah via YouTube

    The Infrastructure Bill Is Everything

    The passion is real in this explanation of why the infrastructure bill is a one-in-a-generation opportunity. From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    New Energy Means Good New Jobs

    The energy transition means people transitioning to new lives. From American Clean Power Association via YouTube

    Friday, September 24, 2021

    Facing Crisis, People Will Change – Survey

    In Response to Climate Change, Citizens in Advanced Economies Are Willing To Alter How They Live and Work; Many doubt success of international efforts to reduce global warming

    James Bell, Jacob Poushter, Moira Fagan, Christine Huang, September 14, 2021 (Pew Research Center)

    “A new Pew Research Center survey in 17 advanced economies spanning North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region finds widespread concern about the personal impact of global climate change. Most citizens say they are willing to change how they live and work at least some to combat the effects of global warming, [and 34% are willing to consider “a lot of changes” to daily life] but whether their efforts will make an impact is unclear…

    …[T]he study reveals a growing sense of personal threat from climate change [with 72% having some concern that they will be personally harmed in their lifetimes]...Young adults, who have been at the forefront of some of the most prominent climate change protests in recent years, are more concerned than their older counterparts…Generally, those on the left of the political spectrum are more open than those on the right to taking personal steps…[T]he U.S. response to climate change is generally seen as wanting…China fares substantially worse…[T]he European Union’s response to climate change is viewed favorably by majorities…

    The share who are very concerned climate change will harm them personally at some point during their lives has increased significantly since 2015 in nearly every country where trend data is available…[T]here is widespread sentiment that climate change is already affecting the world around them…Women are more concerned than men that climate change will harm them personally…” click here for more

    Africa Offers Huge New Energy Opportunity

    Is 100% Renewable Energy Plan Possible for Africa?

    Dipti Bhatnagar and Kwami Kpondzo, September 20, 2021 (Common Dreams via LA Progressive)

    “…[The climate crisis] has been more rapid in Africa than the rest of the world…[and] is already having devastating impacts for people, their livelihoods, and ecosystems…[A new report shows that] public finance from the global North, ending tax dodging, and dropping the debt…[would fund and make financially and technically feasible achieving] a 100% renewable energy goal for Africa by the year 2050…while stemming] the climate crisis, supporting employment, gender justice, reducing inequality, and pushing for a just recovery…Africa needs approximately $130 billion a year between now and 2050…

    The one thing that stands in the way of achieving this is lack of political commitment from states on the continent but also from the global North…The level of energy poverty in Africa is unacceptable…Three-quarters of those without access to electricity now live in sub-Saharan Africa, a share that has risen over recent years. The majority of all Africans do not have clean energy sources for cooking. The number of deaths from respiratory infections is enormous and avoidable…

    [Covid-19 increased the numbers of people who could not access electricity and who went into energy poverty. Africa’s vast natural resources have been exploited for the benefits of others through transnational corporations and have left behind the majority of Africa’s peoples…[Africa needs] over 300GW of new renewable energy by 2030…and over 2000GW by 2050. The continent surpasses all other regions in having the most potential for renewable energy…[It can meet the need with] an annual investment requirement of around US$130 billion per year…[That would create] 7 million well-paid jobs in solar, wind, and clean people powered renewable energy…” click here for more

    Wednesday, September 22, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Energy Keeps Winning In The Market

    Xcel's record-low-price procurement highlights benefits of all-source competitive solicitations; The utility's Colorado division showed how competitive bidding benefits customers if regulators protect the quality of the process.

    Herman K. Trabish, June 1, 2021 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: New Energy prices spiked slightly during the pandemic due to supply-demand and supply chain issues, but natural gases are rising even more rapidly.

    New data shows Xcel Energy Colorado’s 2016-2017 all-source competitive solicitation (ASCS) secured even lower costs than power sector leaders previously thought, adding momentum to interest in this emerging approach to procurement.

    Xcel’s ASCS returned a $0.0017/kWh bid for wind, a $0.023/kWh bid for solar, and a $0.03/kWh bid for solar-plus-storage, according to a February 2021 Xcel presentation to Michigan regulators. These prices, compared to Colorado’s average January 2021 residential electricity price of $0.126/kWh, have other utilities asking how they can use this procurement approach.

    ASCSs identify "market-based portfolios that meet utility needs on both cost and risk from the full range of options," said 3rdRail Managing Partner Fredrich Kahrl, lead author of a March 2021 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) ASCS study. The study outlines 11 ASCS proceedings from investor-owned utilities from 2011-2019, including Xcel Colorado and Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO).

    This resource-neutral approach, which can include utility self-build proposals, can be "a valuable strategy for utilities to address uncertainty in a time of rapid technological change," Kahrl said. Unlike single resource requests for proposals (RFPs) to meet planning needs, ASCSs consider all offers that meet a utility’s criteria from all bidders, representatives of Xcel Colorado and NIPSCO added.

    Single resource RFPs were the norm when utilities typically chose between hydropower, fossil fuels and nuclear generation and prices were well-known. In the last decade, ASCSs are gaining in use because of the price and availability feedback they provide on emerging technologies like wind and solar.

    Xcel Colorado's ASCS showed regulators "carefully regulated competitive planning and solicitations drive quality up and prices down and benefit consumers," added former Colorado Public Utilities Commission (COPUC) Chair Ron Lehr. However, regulators must ensure ASCSs’ "fairness and transparency," beginning with oversight of utility planning, LBNL’s research emphasized. It described regulators' critical role in keeping valuation of the benefits and risks of traditional and renewable generation, distributed energy resources (DERs), energy storage and utility-owned resources open and equitable to protect the process… click here for more

    Old Grid Makes New Energy A No-Go

    An Outdated Grid Has Created a Solar Power Economic Divide; Utilities have upgraded the infrastructure for rooftop power in richer neighborhoods, but low-income areas don't have the same capacity.

    Eric Niiler, September 16, 2021 (Wired)

    “…[Inequitable access to distributed energy resources due to grid infrastructure limits in California finds some low-income and minority neighborhoods might be left behind, mainly because utilities haven’t upgraded the electrical grid equally everywhere…[Where rooftop solar isn’t as common, transformers that connect power lines to each home or business] are not built to carry extra power generated from rooftop panels in the opposite direction. Any extra current flow would be turned into heat, which can damage or destroy the transformers…[This] might also make it tougher to charge electric vehicles at home…

    Upgrades to an electric grid take years to complete and must be approved by each state’s public utilities commission. The cost is usually spread out among all ratepayers…Experts say it could cost up to $4.5 trillion, or about $35,000 per household, in the next 20 years to fully upgrade or “decarbonize” the existing US electric grid, according to a 2019 report by the energy consulting firm Wood MacKenzie. And a 2019 analysis by SCE says California alone will need to spend $33 billion a year until 2045 in order to reach its carbon-neutral climate goal, boost solar and other renewable forms of energy, harden the grid against wildfires and other effects of climate change, and modernize the grid to handle increased capacity…

    …[The just-released US Department of Energy Solar Futures report plans to increase solar to 40 percent of the nation’s generating capacity by 2035…[and] is developing new kinds of power current inverters that make two-way flow of electricity cheaper and easier, but that the upgrades aren’t happening as quickly as necessary…[An alternative to rooftop solar is] community solar, in which [renters, low-income residents, and homeowners without solar-suitable roofs] subscribe to a solar farm located outside the residential area…” click here for more

    Monday, September 20, 2021

    Monday Study – Building Batteries For A Better Power System

    Battery Storage in the United States: An Update on Market Trends

    August 2021 (Energy Information Administration/U.S. Department of Energy)

    Executive Summary

    Electric power markets in the United States are undergoing significant structural change that we believe, based on planning data we collect, will result in the installation of the ability of large-scale battery storage to contribute 10,000 megawatts to the grid between 2021 and 2023—10 times the capacity in 2019.

    Energy storage plays a pivotal role in enabling power grids to function with more flexibility and resilience. In this report, we provide data on trends in battery storage capacity installations in the United States through 2019, including information on installation size, type, location, applications, costs, and market and policy drivers. The report then briefly describes other types of energy storage.

    This report focuses on data from EIA survey respondents and does not attempt to provide rigorous economic or scenario analysis of the reasons for, or impacts of, the growth in large-scale battery storage.

    Growth across U.S. electric power market regions

    The number and total capacity of large-scale battery storage systems continue to grow in the United States, and regional patterns strongly influence the nation-wide market structure:

    • At the end of 2019, 163 large-scale battery storage systems were operating in the United States, a 28% increase from 2018. The maximum energy that could be stored at these sites (energy capacity) was 1,688 megawatthours (MWh), and the maximum power that could be provided to the grid from these sites at any given moment (power capacity) was 1,022 megawatts (MW).

    • As of the end of 2019, more than 60% of the large-scale battery system capacity to store energy or provide power to the grid in the United States was located in areas covered by regional grid operators PJM Interconnection (PJM) and California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Historically, these areas attracted capacity additions because of favorable market rules promoting energy storage.

    • Starting in 2017, regions outside of PJM and CAISO have also seen installations of large-scale battery energy storage systems, in part as a result of declining costs.

    • A breakout of installed power and energy capacity of large-scale battery by state is attached as Appendix C.

    Small Scale Battery Storage

    Small-scale battery storage also continues to grow, especially in California, but also in other regions of the United States:

    • In 2019, 402 MW of small-scale total battery storage power capacity existed in the United States.

    • California accounts for 83% of all small-scale battery storage power capacity.

    • The states with the most small-scale power capacity outside of California include Hawaii, Vermont, and Texas.

    Lower installed costs

    The costs of installing and operating large-scale battery storage systems in the United States have declined in recent years.

    • Average battery energy storage capital costs in 2019 were $589 per kilowatthour (kWh), and battery storage costs fell by 72% between 2015 and 2019, a 27% per year rate of decline.

    • These lower costs support more capacity to store energy at each storage facility, which can increase the duration that each battery system can last when operating at its maximum power.

    More direct support from solar power

    Most large-scale battery energy storage systems we expect to come online in the United States over the next three years are to be built at power plants that also produce electricity from solar photovoltaics, a change in trend from recent years.

    • As of December 2020, the majority of U.S. large-scale battery storage systems were built as standalone facilities, meaning they were not located at sites that generate power from natural resources. Only 38% of the total capacity to generate power from large-scale battery storage sites was co-located with other generators: 30% was co-located specifically with generation from renewable resources, such as wind or solar PV, and 8% was co-located with fossil fuel generators.

    • We expect the relationship between solar energy and battery storage to change in the United States over the next three years because most planned upcoming projects will be co-located with generation, in particular with solar facilities. If all currently announced projects from 2021 to 2023 become operational, then the share of U.S. battery storage that is co-located with generation would increase from 30% to 60%.

    Additional accelerated growth

    Based on planning data we collect, an additional 10,000 megawatts of large-scale battery storage’s ability to contribute electricity to the grid is likely to be installed between 2021 and 2023 in the United States—10 times the total amount of maximum generation capacity by all systems in 2019.

    Almost one-third of U.S. large-scale battery storage additions will come from states outside of regional grid operators PJM and CAISO, which led in initial development of large-scale battery capacity…

    Saturday, September 18, 2021

    Massive Climate-Driven Migrations For 200 Million

    Without aggressive action to deploy New Energy, these kinds of displacements could lead to unimaginable disruptions. From the World Bank via YouTube

    Infrastructure Is A Climate Solution

    Building New Energy infrastructure and building to protect against future storms and wildfires are both necessary. The nation will get the climate resilience it is willing to pay for. From MSNBC via YouTube

    The Nuclear New Energy Potential

    Because of the increasing urgency to stop greenhouse gas emissions, a lot of smart people are taking a new look at nuclear power. But is it the answer? From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    Friday, September 17, 2021

    The Climate Crisis Will Move People

    Climate change could trigger internal migration of 216 mln people - World Bank

    Andrea Shalal, September 13, 2021 (Reuters)

    “Without immediate action to combat climate change, rising sea levels, water scarcity and declining crop productivity could force 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050…[According to the World Bank’s Groundswell Part 2 : Acting on Internal Climate Migration,] climate migration ‘hotspots’ will emerge as soon as 2030 and intensify by 2050, hitting the poorest parts of the world hardest…

    Sub-Saharan Africa alone would account for 86 million of the internal migrants, with 19 million more in North Africa… 40 million migrants were expected in South Asia and 49 million in East Asia and the Pacific…[S]ea-level rise threatens rice production, aquaculture and fisheries, which could create an out-migration hotspot in Vietnam's low-lying Mekong Delta. But the Red River Delta and central coast region, where those people are likely to flee, face their own threats, including severe storms…

    Conflicts and health and economic crises such as those unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic could compound the situation…And the number of climate migrants could be much higher since the report does not cover most high-income countries, countries in the Middle East and small island states, or migration to other countries…[If regional and national governments and the global community] act now to reduce greenhouse gases, close development gaps and restore ecosystems…[it] could reduce that migration number by 80% to 44 million people…” click here for more

    Global New Energy Ready To Boom

    ICLN: Clean Energy Is The Internet 10 Years Ago

    September 4, 2021 (Loft Capital Management)

    “…In 2009, only 26% of the world population used the internet. Today, 60% of the global population has access to internet, a 131% increase. Recent data illustrates that renewables make up ~26% of global electricity generation. That number is expected to increase to 45% by 2040…The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQ: ICLN) provides investors the opportunity to diversify their money across 83 companies that produce energy from solar, wind, and other renewable sources. The global renewable energy market was valued at $928B in 2017 and is anticipated to be $1.5T in 2025…

    …ICLN could make investors money both in the short and long term; however, those who buy and hold for the long haul will benefit the most…Founded in 2008, ICLN spotlights five primary sectors, which are the following: Electric Utilities (39% of portfolio), Semiconductor Equipment (15% of portfolio), Renewable Electricity (14% of portfolio), Heavy Electrical Equipment (14% of portfolio), and Electrical Components and Equipment (9% of portfolio). As of September 1st, ICLN has $6.3B assets under management and bears an expense ratio of 0.41%...

    …2020 was a very strong year for clean energy ETFs as a whole, with ICLN returning ~140%. This was predominantly a result of President Biden's vocal support of the clean energy sector. ICLN has yielded -18% YTD, placing the fund in a group of the 100 lowest YTD ETF performers out >2,200 U.S. ETFs…[and] clean energy is still very young… [Three other strong funds are] First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (QCLN), Alps Clean Energy ETF (ACES), and Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (PBW)…” click here for more

    Wednesday, September 15, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: California Focuses On Rising Electricity Rates

    CPUC and Stakeholders Strive to Stop Spiking Rates

    Herman K. Trabish, March 9, 2021 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: The latest installment in the universal regulatory discussion of the “you get what you pay for” principle.

    California will not let its skyrocketing electricity rates threaten reliability or its policy goals, California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told stakeholders during a Feb. 24 full commission hearing.

    The costs of California’s policy mandates are driving rates up faster than inflation and straining the budgets of customers made more vulnerable by the recession, stakeholders and CPUC Staff agreed during the day-long session. Additionally, the costs of wildfires, Net Energy Metering (NEM) and other distributed energy resources incentives are taxing the budgets of vulnerable customers, making new approaches to affordability urgent.

    Protecting ratepayers “will require aggressive actions,” CPUC Staff’s “Evaluation of Electric Costs, Rates and Equity Issues” reported. Utilities responded with ways to cut wildfire costs and raise revenues outside rates and stakeholders proposed ways to financially support distributed energy resources and electric vehicle growth.

    Breakthrough rate designs could ease the burden of rising costs and rates on low and moderate income customers which began rising faster than inflation in 2013 and bills continue to grow annually, staff reported. By 2030, residential rates for PG&E will be 40% higher than if they had risen at the rate of inflation from 2013. SCE rates would be 20% higher and SDG&E rates would be 70% higher…

    Distributed energy and EVs can reduce customers’ utility bills but up-front costs are a barrier to low income customer participation, staff found. And the middle class may soon need help because “rates are growing so much faster than wages,” Jennifer Dowdell, a senior energy expert with The Utility Reform Network, warned.

    Wildfire mitigation costs, transmission development costs, rising transmission use charges, the state’s increasingly ambitious emissions reduction goals and the state-mandated NEM 2.0 program compensating customers for electricity their distributed resources send to utilities drive up rates… click here for more

    Transition – Coal To Molten Salt New Energy Storage

    How A Colorado Coal Plant Could Become A Massive Battery For Renewable Energy

    Sam Brasch, September 7, 2021 (Colorado Public Radio)

    “…The Hayden Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant owned by Xcel Energy, accounts for more than half the property tax base for the local school district, fire district and cemetery district…[and a source] of high-paying jobs…The town could soon test whether a buzzy new idea could help it ditch coal without losing its economic benefits…Xcel Energy has proposed transforming the power plant into a massive battery to bank electricity generated by renewable energy…

    If the idea works, it could be a case study for other communities trying to preserve jobs and property taxes as the world shifts to cleaner electricity…There’s no question coal is on the way out…Last January, Xcel announced it would accelerate the retirement of the power plant…[from 2036 to 2030 and rapidly expand wind, solar, and] energy storage in Colorado…

    …[A] remodeled Hayden Station could help solve the renewable storage problem…[by adding] a tank full of salt and melt it at times when the grid fills with excess renewable energy…When energy demand outpaces supply, one of the existing steam turbines could then transform the stored heat back into [150 MW for 10 hours of] electricity…[The key is structuring the plan for Xcel to assume the risk of failure have customers pay when the project] produces green energy…” click here for more

    Monday, September 13, 2021

    Monday Study – The Biden Solar Future Blueprint

    Solar Futures Study

    September 2021 (U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)

    Executive Summary

    Dramatic improvements to solar technologies and other clean energy technologies have enabled recent rapid growth in deployment and are providing cost-effective options for decarbonizing the U.S. electric grid. The Solar Futures Study explores the role of solar in decarbonizing the grid. Through state-of-the-art modeling, the study envisions deep grid decarbonization by 2035, as driven by a required emissions-reduction target. It also explores how electrification could enable a low-carbon grid to extend decarbonization to the broader energy system (the electric grid plus all direct fuel use in buildings, transportation, and industry) through 2050.

    The Solar Futures Study uses a suite of detailed power-sector models to develop and evaluate three core scenarios. The “Reference” scenario outlines a business-as-usual future, which includes existing state and federal clean energy policies but lacks a comprehensive effort to decarbonize the grid. The “Decarbonization (Decarb)” scenario assumes policies drive a 95% reduction (from 2005 levels) in the grid’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2035 and a 100% reduction by 2050. This scenario assumes more aggressive cost-reduction projections than the Reference scenario for solar as well as other renewable and energy storage technologies, but it uses standard future projections for electricity demand. The “Decarbonization with Electrification (Decarb+E)” scenario goes further by including large-scale electrification of end uses. The study also analyzes the potential for solar to contribute to a future with more complete decarbonization of the U.S. energy system by 2050, although this analysis is simplified in comparison to the grid-decarbonization analysis and thus entails greater uncertainty.

    Even under the Reference scenario, installed solar capacity increases by nearly a factor of 7 by 2050, and grid emissions decline by 45% by 2035 and 61% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. That is, even without a concerted policy effort, market forces and technology advances will drive significant deployment of solar and other clean energy technologies as well as substantial decarbonization. The target-driven deep decarbonization of the grid modeled in the Decarb and Decarb+E scenarios yields more extensive solar deployment, similarly extensive deployment of wind and energy storage, and significant expansions of the U.S. transmission system. In 2020, about 80 gigawatts (GW) of solar, on an alternating-current basis,1 satisfied around 3% of U.S. electricity demand. By 2035, the decarbonization scenarios show cumulative solar deployment of 760–1,000 GW, 2 serving 37%–42% of electricity demand, with the remainder met largely by other zero-carbon resources, including wind (36%), nuclear (11%–13%), hydroelectric (5%– 6%), and biopower/geothermal (1%). By 2050, the Decarb and Decarb+E scenarios envision cumulative solar deployment of 1,050–1,570 GW, serving 44%–45% of electricity demand, with the remainder met by wind (40%–44%), nuclear (4%–5%), hydropower (3%–5%), combustion turbines run on zero-carbon synthetic fuels such as hydrogen (2%–4%), and biopower/geothermal (1%) (Figure ES-1). Sensitivity analyses show that decarbonization can also be achieved via different technology mixes at similar costs.

    Although the Solar Futures Study emphasizes decarbonizing the grid, the Decarb+E scenario envisions decarbonization of the broader U.S. energy system through large-scale electrification of buildings, transportation, and industry. In this scenario, electricity demand grows by about 30% from 2020 to 2035, owing to electrification of fuel-based building demands (e.g., heating), vehicles, and industrial processes. Electricity demand increases by an additional 34% from 2035 to 2050. By 2050, all these electrified sectors are powered by zero-carbon electricity. In this scenario, the combination of grid decarbonization and electrification abates more than 100% of grid CO2 emissions relative to 2005 levels (Figure ES-2).

    In terms of the broader U.S. energy system, the Decarb+E scenario reduces CO2 emissions by 62% in 2050, compared with 24% in the Reference scenario and 40% in the Decarb scenario. The 38% residual in the Decarb+E scenario reflects emissions from direct carbon-emitting fossil fuel use, primarily for transportation and industry. We do not model elimination of these remaining emissions in detail, but a simplified analysis of 100% decarbonization of the U.S. energy system by 2050 shows solar capacity doubling from the Decarb+E scenario—equating to about 3,200 GW of solar deployed by 2050—to produce electricity for even greater direct electrification and for production of clean fuels such as hydrogen produced via electrolysis.

    The Solar Futures Study is the most comprehensive review to date of the potential role of solar in decarbonizing the U.S. electricity grid and broader energy system. The study was initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    Additional key findings of the study include the following:

    • Achieving the decarbonization scenarios requires significant acceleration of clean energy deployment. Compared with the approximately 15 GW of solar capacity deployed in 2020, annual solar deployment doubles in the early 2020s and quadruples by the end of the decade in the Decarb+E scenario. Similarly substantial solar deployment rates continue in the 2030s and beyond. Deployment rates accelerate for wind and energy storage as well.

    • Continued technological progress in solar—as well as wind, energy storage, and other technologies—is critical to achieving cost-effective grid decarbonization and greater economy-wide decarbonization. Research and development (R&D) can play an important role in keeping these technologies on current or accelerated cost-reduction trajectories. For example, a 60% reduction in PV energy costs by 2030 could be achieved via improvements in photovoltaic efficiency, lifetime energy yield, and cost. Higher-temperature, higherefficiency concentrating solar power technologies also promise cost and performance improvements. Further advances are also needed in areas including energy storage, load flexibility, generation flexibility, and inverter-based resource capabilities for grid services. With the requisite improvements, solar technologies may proliferate in novel configurations associated with agriculture, waterbodies, buildings, and other parts of the built environment.

    • Solar can facilitate deep decarbonization of the U.S. electric grid by 2035 without increasing projected 2035 electricity prices if targeted technological advances are achieved. In the Decarb and Decarb+E scenarios, 95% decarbonization is achieved in 2035 without increasing electricity prices (compared with Reference scenario marginal system costs of electricity), because decarbonization and electrification costs are fully offset by savings from technological improvements and enhanced demand flexibility.

    • For the 2020–2050 study period, the benefits of achieving the decarbonization scenarios far outweigh additional costs incurred. Cumulative (2020–2050) power-system costs are one measure of the long-term economics of the decarbonization scenarios, helping to capture the impact of long-lived generating technologies. These costs are about $225 billion (10%) higher in the Decarb scenario than in the Reference scenario—reflecting the added cost of capital investments in clean generation, energy storage, and transmission; operations and maintenance of these assets; and the reduced fuel and other expenditures for fossil fuel technologies. Power-system costs are $562 billion (25%) higher in the Decarb+E scenario, but this higher estimate reflects the costs of serving electrified loads previously powered through direct fuel combustion. Using central estimates for electrification costs, the net incremental cost of the Decarb+E scenario is about $210 billion after factoring out offset fuel expenditures. However, avoided climate damages and improved air quality more than offset those additional costs, resulting in net savings of $1.1 trillion in the Decarb scenario and $1.7 trillion in the Decarb+E scenario.

    • The envisioned solar growth will yield broad economic benefits in the form of jobs and workforce development. The solar industry already employs around 230,000 people in the United States, and with the level of growth envisioned in the Solar Futures Study’s scenarios, it could employ 500,000–1,500,000 people by 2035.

    • Challenges must be addressed so that solar costs and benefits are distributed equitably. Low- and medium-income communities and communities of color have been disproportionately harmed by the fossil-fuel-based energy system, and the clean energy transition presents opportunities to mitigate these energy justice problems by implementing measures focused on equity. This study explores measures related to the distribution of public and private benefits, the distribution of costs, procedural justice in energy-related decision making, the need for a just workforce transition, and potential negative externalities related to solar project siting and disposal of solar materials.

    • Solar can help decarbonize the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors. In the Decarb+E scenario, electrification of fuel-based end uses enables solar electricity to power about 30% of all building end uses and 14% of transportation end uses by 2050. For buildings, rooftop solar can increase the value of batteries and investments in load automation systems; distributed batteries and load automation can, in turn, increase the grid value of solar. For transportation, rooftop solar could increase the value of electric vehicle adoption to consumers through a combination of low-marginal-cost electricity and managed charging—and thus could accelerate electrification of the transportation sector. The longterm role of solar electricity in industry is less certain, but industrial process heat from concentrating solar thermal plants can help decarbonize this sector as well. In all three sectors, solar can play a long-term role in producing zero-carbon fuels.

    • Diurnal energy storage enables high levels of decarbonization, but additional clean firm capacity is needed to achieve full grid decarbonization. In the Decarb+E scenario, storage with 12 hours or less of energy capacity expands by up to 70-fold, from 24 GW in 2019 to more than 1,600 GW in 2050. This diurnal storage complements renewable energy deployment by storing energy when it is less useful to the grid and releasing it when it is more useful. However, because solar and wind occasionally provide insufficient supply for several days, advances in technologies that can provide clean firm capacity at any time are needed to reliably meet demand as full decarbonization is approached.

    • Maintaining reliability in a grid powered primarily by renewable energy requires careful power system planning. In the decarbonization scenarios, the grid becomes increasingly reliant on weather-dependent inverter-based resources (IBRs) such as PV, representing a dramatic change from the current grid based primarily on synchronous electricity generators. A grid dominated by IBRs will require new approaches to maintain system reliability and exploit the ability of IBRs to respond quickly to system changes. New approaches may also be required for high-solar grids to maintain resilience (defined as the ability of grids to respond to critical events such as natural disasters). Small-scale solar, especially coupled with storage, can enhance resilience by allowing buildings or microgrids to power critical loads during grid outages. In addition, advances in managing distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar and electric vehicles, are needed to integrate these resources efficiently into electricity distribution systems.

    • Demand flexibility plays a critical role by providing firm capacity and reducing the cost of decarbonization. Demand flexibility shifts demand from end uses, such as electric vehicles, to better utilize solar generation. In the Decarb+E scenario, demand flexibility provides 80–120 GW of firm capacity by 2050 and reduces decarbonization costs by about 10%.

    • Developing U.S. solar manufacturing could mitigate supply chain challenges, but different labor standards and regulations abroad create cost-competitiveness challenges. Global PV supply chains can be constrained by production disruptions, competing demand from other industries or countries, and political disputes. A resilient supply chain would be diversified and not over reliant on any single supply avenue. To enhance the domestic supply chain, American solar technology manufacturers may improve competitiveness by increasing automation and exploiting the advantages of domestically manufacturing certain components. Policies can help promote domestic solar manufacturing.

    • Material supplies related to technology manufacturing likely will not limit solar growth in the decarbonization scenarios, especially if end-of-life materials displace use of virgin materials via circular-economy strategies. Under the decarbonization scenarios, demands for important PV materials are small relative to global production of these materials, even when assuming use of virgin materials only and accounting for simultaneous growth in PV deployment worldwide. Displacing virgin material use through circular-economy strategies would enhance material supplies. However, breakthroughs in technologies and participation in what is currently a voluntary recycling and circular-economy landscape in the United States will be required to maximize use of recoverable materials—yielding benefits to energy and materials security, improved social and environmental outcomes, and opportunities for the domestic workforce and manufacturing sectors.

    • Although land acquisition poses challenges, land availability does not constrain solar deployment in the decarbonization scenarios. In 2050, ground-based solar technologies require a maximum land area equivalent to 0.5% of the contiguous U.S. surface area. This requirement could be met in numerous ways including use of disturbed lands. The maximum solar land area required is equivalent to less than 10% of potentially suitable disturbed lands, thus avoiding conflicts with high-value lands in current use. Various approaches are available to mitigate local impacts or even enhance the value of land that hosts solar systems. Installing PV systems on waterbodies, in farming or grazing areas, and in ways that enhance pollinator habitats are potential ways to enhance solar energy production while providing benefits such as lower water evaporation rates and higher agricultural yields.

    • Water withdrawals decline by about 90% by 2050 in the decarbonization scenarios. The water savings result from the low water use of solar and other clean energy generation technologies, compared with fossil fuel and nuclear generators.

    • Achieving the Solar Futures Study’s vision requires long-term policy and market support in addition to continued innovation. Decarbonization targets set by policy are critical to decarbonizing more quickly than would occur owing to market conditions alone. Policy also accelerates cost reductions and technological innovations through R&D investments as well as through driving deployment and reducing costs through learning-bydoing. Even with significant cost and technology improvements, policy will be crucial for promoting decarbonization as the marginal costs of decarbonization increase. In addition, wholesale electricity markets must adapt to the increasingly dominant roles of zero-marginalcost renewable energy, and retail markets must adapt with rates that reflect the changing grid and an increased role for distributed energy resources. Nascent markets such as those for demand-side services and enhanced energy reliability may need to evolve to optimize the roles of distributed energy resources, and efforts are needed to expand the use of these resources to traditionally underserved groups.

    A dramatically larger role for solar in decarbonizing the U.S. electricity system, and energy system more broadly, is within reach, but it is only possible through concerted policy and regulatory efforts as well as sustained advances in solar and other clean energy technologies…

    Saturday, September 11, 2021

    This Is NOT How To Fight The Climate Crisis

    There are better plans. From Julie Nolke via YouTube

    The Biden Solar Plan

    The White House aims to take solar from 4% to 45% of U.S. power by 2050.From Yahoo Finance via YouTube

    California’s Rooftop Solar Fight

    The bill described here was rejected but this is a good summary of the decision California's Public Utilities Commission faces. The ruling, which will likely reververate across the country, is due by the end of 2021.From ABC 10 San Diego via YouTube

    Friday, September 10, 2021

    Thinking About Having Kids In A Climate Crisis

    Having kids in a climate crisis: would you do it?

    Miki Perkins, September 4, 2021 (Sydney Morning Herald)

    When Ashlee Tucker was a kid and adults asked what she’d like to do when she grew up she would always answer: ‘a mum’…[But] this impulse felt more and more incongruous set alongside what she was learning about the escalating climate crisis…Tucker, 26, who lives in Melbourne and works in the renewable energy sector…[and Tess, her wife,] have made the decision – with considerable sadness – not to have children because they are so concerned about the devastating impacts of global warming caused by burning fossil fuels.

    …[Australia’s largest poll ever conducted on climate change and politics found 10% of all respondents and 20% of adults under 35 have] overwhelming concern about climate change in young people…[Nelli Stevenson, 33,] went to her first environmental protest at age 7 and is now the head of communications at Greenpeace Australia…[Now 34 weeks’ pregnant, Melbourne-based Stevenson says] realized the best she could do as a parent was raise her son] to take on that fight with that next generation…

    Alessandra, 26, who lives in northern Sydney, decided four years ago she didn’t feel able to explain to her future children why certain species had become extinct…[She is studying zoology and] doesn’t intend to have children unless she sees positive, ‘huge’ action around decarbonisation in the next few years. And frankly, at the moment she’s not hopeful…[She] has a few friends who also do not want children, and a few in their 30s who have decided to start a family even though they are apprehensive about the future…” click here for more

    New Energy Offers Big Opportunity For Women

    Help Wanted—Women In Renewable Energy. Saves The Planet And The Economy, Study Found

    Joan Michelson, September 6, 2021 (Forbes)

    “…[The massive and unexpectedly devastating damage from Hurricane Ida this past week] is a stark reminder that we must mitigate and slow climate change…[and] power the economy without adding carbon emissions…[The global energy transition offers the chance to create new jobs and reshape all aspects of how energy is produced and distributed…[The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective (2019), estimated] jobs could grow to nearly 29 million in 2050…

    …[To drive] climate-friendly economic growth, the IRENA report states that we need more women in the renewable energy sectors…Currently, women hold only 32% of renewable energy jobs, which is better than in fossil fuels where women hold only 22% of jobs. But women still hold far fewer of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs…[T]he renewable energy sector needs talent across its supply chain – from utilities to engineering firms, from independent power producers to start-ups, in policymaking, regulators, academic institutions and at the community level…

    …[M]any have been framing the August 2021 jobs report as disappointing based on expectations and the prior few months of very strong job growth…[but transportation and warehousing] added 53,000 jobs in August 2021…[and women hold] 25.1% of transportation jobs…versus 24.5% of them in August 2020…[More extreme weather events will require grid modernization, and women need to get] an equitable share of those jobs…” click here for more