NewEnergyNews: 10/01/2021 - 11/01/2021/


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

    Saturday, October 30, 2021

    Al Gore Says It’s Time To Get Real

    Mr. Gore offers a comprehensive summary of a just energy transition in less than 3 minutes. From Climate Reality via YouTube

    Infrastructure Bill Confusion Relief

    Maybe the Dems WILL get infrastructure done, delivering something very similar to what the Senate passed to moderates and some very meaningful adds and pay-fors to progressives. Fingers crossed.From MSNBC via YouTube

    Dust In The Climate Crisis

    Winds in the summer of 2020 were blowing harder than normal, driving a dust storm from Africa to the Caribbean that was “no ordinary dust…” and the climate crisis could make this a norm.From SciShow via YouTube

    Friday, October 29, 2021

    World's Countries That Can Do Better On The Climate Crisis

    The world promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions. These countries aren't meeting their targets.

    John Keefe and Rachel Ramirez, October 26, 2021 (CNN)

    Nearly 200 countries have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis, but there is still a huge gap between what's been promised and what scientists say is needed…[The UN Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report 2021 found that of] the G20 countries, which account for 80% of the world's emissions, only six nations have formally increased their targets…[and] six G20 nations, including the United States, never met their old targets. The others were Canada, Australia, Brazil, South Korea and Mexico…The planet has already warmed 1.2 degrees…

    …[The latest pledges] fall far short of what's necessary to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels…[New and updated pledges on emissions will only cut an additional 7.5% by 2030, but a 55% cut is needed to meet the goal of containing warming to 1.5 degrees…Under countries' current targets, the world will continue to warm to 2.7 degrees…The UN's interim NDC registry shows there are currently 192 parties to the Paris Agreement, all of which have submitted their first NDCs. Eritrea and Iraq are the only countries that have not yet signed on to the Paris Agreement, but have submitted initial NDCs…

    All eyes will be on wealthy G20 countries [next week] at COP26…Three of the top emitters — the United States, India, and the European Union — have pledged to reduce their emissions by 2030. But China has no plan to reduce emissions before 2030, instead committing to reaching peak emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2060…[The world has been battered by wildfires, worsened by unrelenting drought, flooding events and hurricanes, is said to face a] high risk of failure…[and needs] steady, firm, and supportive leadership by the G20 and other wealthy economies…” click here for more

    Global New Energy Jobs Growing

    'A good news story': Jobs in renewable energy grew in 2020; Despite the global economic slowdown of the pandemic, the renewable energy sector grew in 2020 and is even faring better than the fossil fuel industry. Worldwide, there are 12 million jobs in renewable energy, up from 11.5 million in 2019, says a recent report.

    Megan Rowling, October 25, 2021 (Christian Science Monitor)

    “The number of jobs in renewable energy worldwide increased in 2020, despite the huge economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the growing industry holding up better than fossil fuels…[The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and International Labour Organization (ILO) annual report found] there were 12 million jobs in renewable energy and its supply chains last year, a third of them in solar power…That was a rise from 11.5 million jobs in 2019…[But achieving] a fair shift from coal, oil, and gas to solar, wind, bioenergy, and hydropower will require efforts to train workers in new skills and build local supply chains…

    Social protection will also be needed for those who lose jobs in high-carbon activities like coal mining, it added…The report stressed the need to bring more women into renewable energy jobs, though they already hold 32%...compared to 22% in the oil and gas sector…Globally in 2020, the solar photovoltaics sector accounted for about 4 million jobs, biofuels for 2.4 million, hydropower for 2.2 million, and wind energy for 1.25 million…

    Nearly 4 in 10 renewable energy jobs were in China, with Brazil, India, the United States, and European Union states holding the next highest numbers…[I]f governments limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, their most ambitious goal, the renewable energy sector could grow to 38 million jobs by 2030 and 43 million by 2050…That is about double the number that would be created under current climate action plans and pledges, which fall short of meeting the Paris Agreement goals…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 27, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Gridlock in transmission queues spotlights need for FERC action

    Gridlock in transmission queues spotlights need for FERC action on planning; FERC is calling for stakeholder input to address the backlog in transmission queues holding 70% of the renewables needed for Biden's policy goals.

    Herman K. Trabish, July 19, 2021 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This is a huge, long-term challenge. The good news is that FERC has taken it on. The bad news is that there is a long way to go and a short time to get there.

    Last week's announcement of a new federal proceeding on transmission planning comes as time gets short to overcome regulatory obstacles and build the modern transmission system needed to beat the climate crisis, developers, former federal regulators and analysts said. New transmission projects can take five to ten years to site, permit and build. Given that, requests for wires to deliver clean energy are stacking up on wait lists for utilities and system operators, and may not be in place when needed to help meet U.S. policy goals.

    Current transmission planning is "reactive" and "addresses expansion one customer at a time," Rob Gramlich, Grid Strategies founder and president, said. Gramlich, who has contributed to several studies on transmission planning, said the current model "is not planning for the future resource mix that everybody knows is coming. We need best practice planning guidelines."

    On July 15, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) to develop reforms to improve transmission planning and cost allocation and generator interconnection processes that could answer Gramlich's and others' concerns. FERC's action follows guidance from Congress on taking up transmission planning reform. "We are very excited to see the unanimous support of FERC Commissioners," Gramlich said of FERC's plans to take up transmission reform. "We look forward to participating in the process with other stakeholders."

    The FERC announcement is "a huge step forward" because it calls for best practices in portfolio management, scenario planning and will allow "costs to be allocated among all those who benefit," said Nora Mead Brownell, who served as FERC commissioner from 2001 to 2006. "But first," she added, "we should deploy new grid technologies like those recognized in the FERC ruling that provide verifiable independent data instead of relying on the limited data by incumbent transmission owners to make planning decisions."

    Planning reforms could be disruptive and costly, some current transmission owners have warned. But many different stakeholders have acknowledged a need for a "best practices" planning process that protects reliability at just and reasonable customer rates, and addresses the increasingly overburdened transmission interconnection queues across the country.

    FERC called for stakeholder input to identify next steps, which should begin by recognizing a backlog in transmission queues that is holding back deployment of clean energy, said a joint statement from FERC Chair Richard Glick and Commissioner Allison Clements accompanying its ANOPR… click here for more

    New Efforts To Grow Community Solar

    The 50 States of Solar Report : States Take Steps to Expand Community Solar Programs in Q3 2021

    October 20, 2021 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[The a href=""target="_blank">NCCETC Q3 2021 edition of The 50 States of Solar found] that 40 states, plus the District of Columbia, took some type of distributed solar policy action during Q3 2021 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions continuing to address net metering policies (55), community solar policies (44), and residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases (34). A total of 174 distributed solar policy actions were taken during Q3 2021, with the greatest number of actions taken in Illinois, California, Maine, New York, South Carolina, and Connecticut…

    …[Three trends in solar policy activity taken in Q3 2021 were] (1) states expanding existing community solar programs, (2) state lawmakers pursuing expansive clean energy bills including distributed solar components, and (3) states offering distributed generation customers multiple compensation options…

    …[The top five distributed solar policy actions of Q3 2021 were] Illinois lawmakers enacting expansive clean energy legislation including major community solar and net metering provisions…The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority launching the Inclusive Community Solar Adder program…Kentucky regulators directing Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric to continue offering traditional retail rate net metering…Delaware legislators approving community solar program modifications…[and the] Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors approving a net metering successor tariff in California…” click here for more

    Tuesday, October 26, 2021

    Monday Study – The Path To Texas Power System Reliability

    The Load-Serving Entity ~ Reliability Obligation A Market Design Reform to Ensure Electric Reliability in Texas

    Beth Garza, Zach Ming, Arne Olson, Jack Moore, Nick Schlag, September 2021 (Energy Plus Environmental Economics and Exelon)

    Executive Summary

    In the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri, the Texas electricity market has been the subject of a series of discussions aimed at improving reliability. These efforts to reform the market operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (El:tCOT) have been wide-ranging and have captured the attention of stakeholders and policymakers atthe highest levels. The cornerstone of these efforts was Senate Bill 3, a sweeping law passed bythe 87th Texas Legislaturedirectingthe Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to "establish requirements to meet the reliability needs of the power region."2 To inform these market reform discussions, the project sponsors retained the consulting firm Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) and Beth Garza, senior fellow atthe non-profit R Street Institute.

    As an energy-only market, ERCOT has no formal reliability standard nor any explicit mechanismto ensure there are sufficient resources to meet a specified reliability standard. Implied expectations of electricity scarcity in forward energy prices serve as the primary financial incentive for Load Serving Entities (LSEs) to procure supply and support investment. ERCOT does conduct technical studies of resource adequacy for its system, which have determined thata 13.75%3 reserve margin4 would be needed to meet the reliability standard most commonly used in other markets-one loss-of-load The LSE Reliability Obligation event in ten yea rs. However, ERCOT's actual reserve levels introducesaformal have fallen below that benchmark recently. reliability standard and a

    Many sta keholders have put forward proposals to improve mechanismto ensure that the reliability of the system, increase financial protection of there are sufficient resources consumers, or both. Most proposa Is continue to to meet this standard substantively rely on the existing energy-only market design, merely modifying the way in which the system operator derivesthe prices of energyor the quantities of real-time operating reserves inthe energy market.5 These are actions that may improve reliability but do not establish an explicit reliability standard. Minor modifications tothe current marketdesign are not only insufficient to ensure reliable electricitysupplies in ERCOT, but in some cases might inadvertently increase financial rewards for generators that do not consistently contribute to reliability. Instead, this whitepaper proposes a mechanism for directly addressing resource adequacy.

    The proposed LSE Reliability Obligation ldescribed more fully in Section 5 ) introduces a formal reliability standard and a mechanism to ensure that there are sufficient resources to meet this standard. LoadServing Entities, or LSEs, are responsible for procuring energy on behalf of customers in Texas (both competitive retail providers and municipal/co-operative utilities) and are the natural vehicle to procure additional resources for reliability, should they be needed. The proposal is designed to preserve the competitive and customer choice elements of the existing ERCOT energy market, while ensuring that there are sufficient resources with the right combination of attributes, namely their ability to perform during reliability events.6 Key elements of the proposal include:

    + Reliability Standard: the PUCT determinesa formalsystem reliability standard (e.g., 1-day-in10-years). ERCOT calculatesthe requiredseasonal reserve margintoachievethis standard.

    + Resource Accreditation: ERCOT will accredit the reliability value of each resource for each season. Resources with dispatch limitations - whether due to intermittency, energy output duration limitations, or fuel supply challenges - would be accredited according to their expected performance during reliability events.

    + System Assessment: ERCOT will project, on a 3-year forward basis, whether there are sufficient accredited resourcesto satisfythe seasonal reserve margin necessaryto meet the reliability standard.

    + Trigger: The PUCT will trigger the LSE Reliability Obligation on a 3-year forward basis when ERCOT systemassessment projects a likelihood of insufficient resourcesto meet the reliability standard.

    + LSE Requirement: Iftriggered, each LSE would be assigneda seasonal reliability requirement based on its projected firm load during critical system hours. LSEs serving interruptible loads would receive a reduction in their reliability requirement.

    + LSE Showings: Iftriggered, LSEs would be required to show sufficient resources (based on ERCOT's resource accreditation) to meet their seasonal LSE requirement on a year-ahead forward basis. Any showing deficiency would be assessed a penalty that would be used by ERCOTto procure accredited resources and correctthe deficiency.

    + Performance Assessment: Resourcesthat are accredited with a reliabilityvalue and obligated as part of an LSE Showing would be required tooffer intothe energymarket during designated reliability events, with penalties assessed fornon-performance.

    Many core components of the LSE Reliability Obligation build significa ntlyon experience and policies in other jurisdictions around the worldi or prior reform proposalstothe ERCOT market.8 Theend result is a balanced and comprehensive solution to help ensure electric system reliability for a healthy and prosperous twenty-first century Texas.

    Introduction and Background

    The restructuring of the Texas electricity system in the late 1990s introduced many reforms, notably generation competition and retail choice. It also redefined the role of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) as the state's independent system operator (ISO).9 For more than twenty years, competition and retail choice have served Texas electricity consumers well, allowing for some of the lowest-priced electricity in the nationlo and a rich selection of retail electricity supply products that fit individual customer needs and preferences.Ill

    The cornerstone of Texas' restructuring wasthe creation of an offer-based "energy-only" market design, whereinthe lowest priced generatorsclearthe marketand receive a clearing price equaltothe marginal generator required to serve customer demand. In this system, there is no explicit mechanism to ensure there are sufficient resources to meet a formal reliability standard. Instead, hourly energy prices are allowed to rise to very high levels (much higher than other electricity markets) with the implied expectationthat electricityscarcity assumptions influencing forward energy prices will serve as a financial incentive for Load Serving Entities (LSEs)to procure supply and support investment.

    While this market structure has promoted competition within Texas' deregulated environment, concerns that it may not be sufficient to maintain reliability are not new. A study commissioned by the PUCT in 2012 found that "involuntarycurtailment in an energy-only market mayoccurmore oftenthancustomers, regulators, and policymakers find acceptable" and further that "regulators and policymakers must be committed to tolerating price spikes. "12 Around the world, In the current ERCOT similar market structures are only seen in Alberta and Australia; system, there is no explicit however, these markets have also been the subject of market design reform discussions and legislation intended to ensure mechanismtoensure resource adequacy. there are sufficient

    In February 2021, Winter Storm Uri crippled the ERCOT electricity resources to meeta system, knocking out power to over a third of the state's formal reliability standard customers, resulting in significant damages and loss of life. The event resulted in the resignation of all sitting commissioners on the Public Utility Council of Texas (PUCT),13 several ERCOT board members, and the ERCOT CEO. 14 While many of the physical causes of those events may be beyond the reach of electricity market design (e.g., challenges with naturalgasdelivery), Winter Storm Uri nevertheless drew attention to ERCOT's electricity market design …


    Electric system reliability is critical to modern society, both from an economic and a health and safety perspective. The importance of reliability is only likely to increase as more aspects of life become dependent on electricity, including transportationand heating. The current ERCOT 'energy-only' market design provides financial signals for investment in resources but does not ensure there are sufficient resources or resources with the right capabilities to meet a specified reliability target. Recent historical events such as Winter Storm Uri and concerns an impending increase in intermittent (wind, solar) and energy-limited (storage) have made thesechallengeseven more acute.

    The LSE Reliability Obligation provides a market reform proposal for ERCOTthat retainsthe best elements of the existing design while providing a mechanism to ensure thatthere are sufficient resources to meet a specified reliability standard. The proposal retains a competitive, restructured retail electricity market and provides the opportunity for the energy-only framework to deliver sufficient reliability before imposing additional obligations on LSEs. The proposal is directly responsive tothe directive of Senate Bill 3 to "procure... reliability services on a competitive basis,"delivering fair and low-cost reliability in a way that is responsiveto the diverse set of unique Texas stakeholderinterests. The LSE Reliability Obligation represents an important step forward in the evolution of the Texas electricity market and is an important component of comprehensive energy-sector reform.

    Saturday, October 23, 2021

    Samantha Bee’s Dirty Talk On The Climate Crisis

    The planet could die of thirst and a modern sewage system is a big part of the answer.From Full Frontal with Samantha Bee via YouTube

    The Green Hydrogen Solution

    If Green Hydrogen producers bring down their costs as promised, it could be the solution New Energy needs to smooth variability. From CNBC Television via YouTube

    The Recycled Lithium Solution

    Any recycling is good news but this is only a small part of the solution. The big opportunity is domestic lithium mining as part of geothermal energy development. From Financial Times via YouTube

    Friday, October 22, 2021

    Seeing Is Believing – The Climate Crisis Is Now

    The climate disaster is here; Earth is already becoming unlivable. Will governments act to stop this disaster from getting worse?

    Oliver Milman, Andrew Witherspoon, Rita Liu, and Alvin Chang, 14 October 2021 (UK Guardian)

    “The enormous, unprecedented pain and turmoil caused by the climate crisis is often discussed alongside what can seem like surprisingly small temperature increases – 1.5C or 2C hotter than it was in the era just before the car replaced the horse and cart…But the single digit numbers obscure huge ramifications…The world has already heated up by around 1.2C, on average, since the preindustrial era, pushing humanity beyond almost all historical boundaries…Through the burning of fossil fuels, we have now unmoored ourselves from our past...

    Since 1970, the Earth’s temperature has raced upwards faster than in any comparable period…No one is entirely sure how this horrifying experiment will end…[I]n the 2015 Paris climate agreement, nearly 200 countries agreed to limit the global temperature rise to “well below” 2C, with an aspirational goal to keep it to 1.5C. The latter target was fought for by smaller, poorer nations, aware that an existential threat of unlivable heatwaves, floods and drought hinged upon this ostensibly small increment…

    This year has provided bitter evidence that even current levels of warming are disastrous, with astounding floods in Germany and China, Hades-like fires from Canada to California to Greece and rain, rather than snow, falling for the first time at the summit of a rapidly melting Greenland…At 1.5C, about 14% of the world’s population will be hit by severe heatwaves once every five years. with this number jumping to more than a third of the global population at 2C…[T]he heat in tropical regions of the world will push societies to the limits…[and] could make parts of the Middle East too hot for humans to endure…” click here for more

    More Global New Energy, PLEASE!!!

    Investment in clean energy must triple by 2030 to curb climate change -IEA

    Noah Browning, October 13, 2021 (Reuters)

    Investment in renewable energy needs to triple by the end of the decade if the world hopes to effectively fight climate change and keep volatile energy markets under control, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said…[T]ransition‐related spending is gradually picking up, but remains far short of what is required to meet rising demand…Clear signals and direction from policy makers are essential. If the road ahead is paved only with good intentions, then it will be a bumpy ride indeed…

    In recent weeks, power prices surged to record levels as oil and natural gas prices hit multi-year highs and widespread energy shortages engulfed Asia and Europe…Fossil fuel demand is also recovering as governments ease curbs to contain the spread of COVID-19…[Renewables like solar, wind and hydropower along with bioenergy] will account for more than two-thirds of investment in new power capacity this year, the IEA noted, yet a sizeable gain in coal and oil use have caused the second largest annual increase in climate change-causing CO2 emissions…

    …[A] faster energy transition will better shield consumers in the future, because a commodity price shock would drive up costs for households 30% less in its most ambitious Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) scenario versus in its more conservative Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS)…If the world stays on its current track outlined by STEPS scenario, temperatures will jump 2.6 degrees Celsius by 2100…The IEA foresees a peak to oil demand in all its scenarios for the first time, in the mid‐2030s in the STEPS forecast with a very gradual decline but in the NZE forecast plateauing within a decade…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 20, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Analysts On Midwest First Electrification Impact Analysis

    'Doesn't make sense': Analysts pan omissions in MISO's first electrification impact analysis; MISO planning for transportation, building and industrial electrification raises multiple stakeholder questions

    Herman K. Trabish, July 13, 2021 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Sources say MISO, pushed by stakeholders quoted here, is making slow and steady progress on preparations for electrification.

    Transportation, building and industrial electrification are needed to reduce power system emissions, but are also a threat to system reliability, according to a report from one of the biggest U.S. grid operators.

    The use of clean energy-generated electricity by those sectors will significantly increase and change system load and peaks, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator's (MISO) Electrification Insights, published in April, reported. The level and pace of change remain uncertain, but cost and reliability effects are almost certain to be significant, which makes understanding the impacts critical, the Insights said.

    "It can be very hard to quantify risks from electrification and they're likely far in the future, but we wanted to capture what we know and detail the unknowns," MISO Policy Studies Engineer and Insights lead author Hilary Brown told Utility Dive. "This first major effort shows there will be changes in demand and in seasonal and daily peaks, but we cannot not yet identify when and where the impacts will be."

    With MISO's shift to renewables, electrification will drive an "unprecedented" transition and MISO and its stakeholders need to understand "potential reliability risks" and work "toward solutions," the Insights reported.

    "MISO has a wide variety of stakeholders" and "there is little certainty" about where or how much it will impact the system but it is "already happening faster in some places than MISO planned for," Clean Grid Alliance Executive Director Beth Soholt said. Because of the uncertainty, "least-regrets planning will be needed, and this report seems to be a start."

    An admirable first effort, but with confusing uncertainty and a glaring omission of energy storage and the importance of least regrets strategies is what many state regulators, utilities and power system analysts told Utility Dive they took away from MISO's first insights on the coming transformation to electrificationclick here for more

    New Energy Project Prices Edge Up

    Renewable Power Purchase Agreements More Expensive in 2021, Says LevelTen Energy Report

    Austin Tannenbaum, October 15, 2021 (Environment + Energy Leader)

    “Power Purchase Agreements for energy generated by renewable sources such as solar and wind [which pair an energy developer with an energy buyer] became more expensive in 2021, according to LevelTen Energy…This continues last year’s trend of rising prices. Previously, in the years 2018 and 2019, prices had been trending downward…[Average PPA] cost in the US spiked 5.4% during Q3 2021 and 19.1% relative to this point last year…

    LevelTen cited “regulatory uncertainty” and “a global supply chain squeeze” as two causes…Asia-based PV importers have stopped shipments to the US following tariff threats…[Outdated electricity transmission infrastructure is causing wind project] interconnection difficulties, particularly in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland region, further reducing renewable energy supply…

    …[The resulting slowdown in development timelines is] making it difficult for renewable energy suppliers to keep up with “unprecedented demand” spurred by pressure on businesses to meet greenhouse gas reduction commitments…[PPAs allow renewables project owners to sell] the electricity generated to the buyer at agreed upon rates for a fixed duration of time — usually between 10 and 25 years…” click here for more

    Monday, October 18, 2021

    Monday Study – At California’s Level Of Solar, Solar Needs Storage

    Project developer options to enhance the value of solar electricity as solar and storage penetrations increase

    James Hyungkwan Kim, Andrew D. Mills, Ryan Wiser, Mark Bolinger, Will Gorman, Cristina Crespo Montañes, Eric O’Shaughnessy, September 2021

    Increasing the penetration of photovoltaics (PV) reduces the marginal grid value of PV electricity, which potentially limits solar deployment and thus impedes the achievement of decarbonization goals. PV project developers can alter the design of plants in ways that preserve this value. Developers can make simple tilt and azimuth adjustments or incorporate more transformational changes such as vertical bifacial modules, provision of ancillary services, and addition of energy storage.

    A new study from Berkeley Lab, appearing in Applied Energy, analyzes the net value (accounting for both cost and grid value) of these strategies in the United States. The study offers a comprehensive analysis of the cost and value of multiple standalone and hybrid PV+storage configurations across various solar penetrations associated with historical and projected U.S. wholesale power prices.

    Some key findings:

    • Alternative PV design options can help maintain PV’s grid value, but the net value of different choices varies with system-wide solar penetration.

    • The established and emerging strategies designed to shift the timing of standalone PV generation at the expense of total generation result in minor net-value benefits or penalties.

    • Adding energy storage to the various PV configurations alters the cost and value results dramatically.

    • Configurations of the PV subsystem that change the timing of PV production become redundant with the addition of the energy-shifting capabilities of storage.

    • The largest net-value gains come from strategies that maximize generation (solar tracking plus oversized PV arrays) in conjunction with storage, especially at high PV penetrations.

    Options for shifting the timing of PV production

    We evaluate the grid value and costs of grid-friendly PV options using wholesale market prices from a major trading hub in California (SP15) near the center of existing PV deployment in California. Figure 2 shows the cost and value of a subset of grid-friendly configurations relative to the base PV plant.

    The largest increases in value relative to the base PV plant are achieved by better aligning production timing with high wholesale prices that signal times of greatest grid needs. The value of the grid-friendly options relative to the base PV plant depends on system-wide solar penetration, which increases from 1.4% in 2012 to 16.3% in 2018. With higher solar penetration, the timing of the highest wholesale prices shifts from summer afternoons to summer evenings, whereas the lowest prices occur midday in non-summer months.

    The impact of higher solar penetration on value added by a grid-friendly option depends on the way production is shifted by the option. PV plants with tracking, the vertical bifacial configuration, or storage have greater value at 16.3% penetration than at 1.4% penetration because each option shifts solar production to higher-priced hours in the mornings and, especially, in late afternoons to evening, relative to the base PV plant.

    In contrast, the increased value of west-facing PV is greater at 1.4% than at 16.3% solar penetration. At 1.4% penetration, westward orientation aligns peak PV production with peak wholesale prices in the summer, at around 2–3 pm. At 16.3% penetration, summer prices peak after 6 pm; westward orientation still increases grid value, but the increase is less than when penetration is 1.4%. This finding suggests limits on the effectiveness of west-facing PV for mitigating declining marginal grid value with higher solar penetration.

    Maximizing the benefits of storage via high production

    We show that the attractiveness of adding storage to PV depends on the configuration of the PV subsystem (i.e., of the PV elements of the solar+storage system)—mostly because of cost differences rather than value differences. Also, the configurations of the PV subsystem that change the timing of PV production become redundant with the addition of the energy-shifting capabilities of storage.

    Irrespective of the PV subsystem production profile, the output of solar+storage hybrid plants during the highest-priced summer evening hours is similar. Storage acts as a buffer that can shift limited energy from any time during the day to the highest-priced hours in the early evening; thus, hybrid performance during high-priced hours is largely independent of the PV subsystem production profile.

    In particular, PV subsystem configurations that sacrifice overall production to better align solar production with times of system need (such as the west-facing and vertical bifacial configurations) are less attractive with storage than options that increase annual production, such as the 1.7 ILR AC-coupled hybrid (Figure 2). This result contrasts with our analysis of standalone PV configurations (Figure 1), in which PV with a 1.7 ILR is no more attractive than the base PV plant.

    Further increasing production by combining a high ILR, tracking, and DC-coupled batteries results in the most attractive hybrid option. The net value of the DC-coupled, 1.7-ILR tracking configuration exceeds the net value of the standalone tracking PV plant in CAISO using wholesale prices from a year with high PV penetration. Figure 2. Difference in Net Value of Standalone and Hybrid Grid-Friendly PV Options Relative to the Net Value of the Base PV Plant. Net value is the difference between the value of a configuration and its levelized cost relative to the base PV plant.

    Conclusion: Generation-maximizing strategies with high PV penetration

    Strategies that maximize PV generation—including solar tracking and oversized PV arrays—provide the largest net-value gains when combined with storage, especially at high PV penetrations. Under almost all the scenarios we analyze, a DC-coupled hybrid plant with a high ILR and single-axis tracking provides the most net value when the PV penetration is high. This finding aligns with the growing commercial interest in hybrid solar+storage plants. Based on our results, the rise of hybrid solar+storage plants fundamentally changes the design space for PV configurations…

    Saturday, October 16, 2021

    Trevor Noah And Greta Thunberg Talk Climate Solutions

    Greta to world leaders: “Treat a crisis like a crisis.” Nuff said. Time for action. From The Daily Show with Trevor Noah via YouTube

    Drying Up In Colorado

    Maybe the imaginations that have long seen the climate crisis as a hoax can dream up a way to drink dust.From ABC News via YouTube

    Surrounded By Offshore Wind

    The huge potential opportunity in offshore wind projects is on the verge of becoming a reality.From CNBC Television via YouTube

    Friday, October 15, 2021

    A Business-Government Partnership To Beat The Climate Crisis

    ‘No single company can address the climate crisis alone’: Business leaders on why co-operation is so important

    Anmar Frangoul, October 12, 2021 (CNBC)

    “…[C]ompetition and going it alone can drive innovation and success…[but for climate change] things are different…[It is hugely challenging, but a] focus on collaboration is beginning to span politics, civil society and business…[Information technology leader Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte believes] no single company can address the climate crisis alone…[and there is a] need for a good relationship between governments and firms…

    …[Wipro’s progress report on the Science Based Targets initiative, a partnership between the World Wide Fund for Nature, World Resources Institute, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and United Nations Global Compact, found 338 companies] collectively reduced their annual emissions by 25% between 2015 and 2019 — a difference of 302 million tonnes, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 78 coal-fired power plants…” click here for more

    New Energy Will Lead By 2050 But Old Energy Will Survive

    EIA projects nearly 50% increase in world energy use by 2050, led by growth in renewables

    Courtney Sourmehi, October 7, 2021 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

    “…[A]bsent significant changes in policy or technology, global energy consumption will increase nearly 50% over the next 30 years. Although petroleum and other liquid fuels will remain the world’s largest energy source in 2050, renewable energy sources, which include solar and wind, will grow to nearly the same level…Falling technology costs and government policies that provide incentives for renewables will lead to the growth of renewable electricity generation to meet growing electricity demand…

    [R]enewables will be the fastest-growing energy source for both OECD and non-OECD countries…[C]oal and nuclear use will decrease in OECD countries, although the decrease will be more than offset by increased coal and nuclear use in non-OECD countries…

    …[G]lobal use of petroleum and other liquids will return to pre-pandemic (2019) levels by 2023, driven entirely by growth in non-OECD energy consumption…[But OECD liquid fuel use will not] return to pre-pandemic levels at any point in the next 30 years…Delivered electricity consumption will grow the most in the residential end-use sector…Globally, we project increased consumption of natural gas through 2050…The industrial sector will use the largest share of both natural gas and coal among all end-use sectors…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 13, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Smart Utilities Move With The Times

    As utilities risk missing carbon reduction targets, analysts stress need for organizational change; Separate studies indicate utility culture change can make unfulfilled emissions reduction promises real.

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

    Editor’s note: The problem with changing utilities internally is that their unceasing work to keep the lights on leaves little time for introspection.

    A growing number of utilities have ambitious energy transition goals but many fall short of their ambitions and a new Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) initiative asks why.

    By April 2021, at least 73 U.S. utilities serving 71% of customer accounts had emissions reduction goals and at least 51 had net zero emissions by 2050 goals, according to SEPA's survey. But "much work remains" to reach the goals. Only 18% of utilities surveyed have over 50% penetrations of the variable and distributed renewables that will fuel "a carbon-free future," SEPA reported.

    "Utilities can make any public commitment, but this initiative details the steps they are taking toward those commitments," SEPA Chief Strategy Officer Sharon Allan said. "Transformation is about making investments in people, processes, technologies and alignment with customers to build a modern foundation for carbon reductions, because you can't get to 'clean' without 'modern.'"

    In a parallel assessment, Sierra Club's January analysis called electric utilities "the cornerstone of economy-wide decarbonization" but found that many "fall far short" of meeting their decarbonization pledges.

    "People at utilities are not climate deniers, but they continue to operate in ways that show they cannot see a future without fossil fuels," said Sierra Club electric sector analyst and paper co-author Cara Bottorff. "Regulators need to ask more questions about utilities' reporting and be ready to tell them there are better options."

    Utilities' actual progress toward higher renewables penetrations and explicit commitments to emissions reductions are important first steps, both groups agreed. But accountability in utilities' organizational cultures can make those commitments more than just half-fulfilled promises, SEPA added… click here for more

    New Energy Dominates 2021 Market

    For First Two-Thirds Of 2021, Latest FERC Data Show: Renewables Are 86.5% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity; Solar Now Tops 5% Of Total Capacity And Will Surpass Nuclear Power Within Three Years

    Ken Bossong, October 5, 2021 (SUN DAY Campaign)

    “…[Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) data shows] renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) dominated new U.S. electrical generating capacity additions during the first two-thirds of 2021…[R]enewable energy sources accounted for 86.46% - or 13,868 megawatts (MW) - of the 16,039 MW of new capacity added during the first eight months of the year. Wind led the capacity additions with 7,224 MW, followed closely by solar (6,585 MW). There were also small additions by hydropower (25 MW), geothermal (25 MW), and biomass (9 MW)…Most of the balance (2,155 MW) was provided by natural gas. There has been no new capacity added this year by coal and only 16 MW of new oil capacity have come online…

    …Renewables now provide more than a quarter (25.22%) of total U.S. available installed generating capacity…Wind and solar alone accounted for 98.52% of the 1,554 MW of new capacity additions in July and August with natural gas providing just 23 MW. Wind is now more than a tenth (10.48%) of the nation's generating capacity while utility-scale solar has surpassed five percent (5.02%) … and that does not include distributed (e.g., rooftop) solar…[B]y August 2024, renewable energy generating capacity should account for almost 30 percent (29.44%) of the nation's total available installed generating capacity…[U]tility-scale solar capacity alone is on track to exceed that of nuclear power (106,060 MW vs. 104,620 MW) within that same time frame…” click here for more

    Monday, October 11, 2021

    Monday Study – The West’s Market Choices

    The State-Led Market Study Roadmap; Market and Regulatory Review Report

    July 30, 2021 (Energy Strategies)

    Introduction and Background

    The Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED) received a grant, in partnership with the State Energy Offices of Idaho, Colorado, and Montana, from the U.S. Department of Energy to facilitate a state-led assessment of organized electricity market options. The project is referred to as Exploring Western Organized Market Configurations: A Western States’ Study of Coordinated Market Options to Advance State Energy Policies1 or the “State-Led Market Study.” The objective of the “State-Led Market Study” was to facilitate a neutral forum, and neutral analysis, for Western States to independently and jointly evaluate options and impacts associated with new or more centralized wholesale electricity markets and their footprints.

    The project is composed of two primary pieces of work:

    • Technical Modeling (which is summarized in the companion “Technical Report”); and

    • Market and Regulatory Review

    This document comprises the Market and Regulatory Review and includes the Market Factor Scorecards, which evaluate how different potential wholesale market structures might facilitate achievement of each state’s energy policy objectives. The Market Factor Scorecards are based on two primary overarching state energy policy priorities, which were identified based on a review of participating state’s key energy policies conducted in 2019. For each of the two overarching state energy policy objectives, several metrics/factors are assessed for each market construct, resulting in the “scorecards” included in this report. The report also includes a scorecard for how each market construct might impact the retention of state regulatory authority. While retaining state regulatory authority is not an explicit state policy preference, it has the potential to impact a state’s ability to implement its other energy policy priorities and, thus, has been included in this report as a scorecard for ease of review by states and policy makers. Additionally, this report includes an appendix (Appendix 1) that provides findings based on research and analysis on likely approvals required for each market construct, as requested by the Lead Team. 2 This report and appendices comprise the final work products for the “Market and Regulatory Review” stream of work for this project.

    2. Overview of Market Constructs and Assumptions

    To perform the Market and Regulatory Review, it is first necessary to provide some definitions around each of the market constructs that will be evaluated. The more technical aspects and key modeling assumptions for each market are reviewed in the Technical Report which accompanies this document. But the key assumptions regarding these market constructs, which are likely to impact how each market construct does, or does not, contribute to achievement of the metrics for each overarching state policy objective, are reviewed here for the four different electricity market constructs that are assessed herein.

    These market constructs are generalized and are intended to, at a high-level, capture qualities and benefits of different market options. Thus, it is important to understand that these generic market constructs will not, and are not intended to, capture the finer details of individual markets operated by different service providers. Consistent with the direction provided by the Lead Team in the Modeling and Analysis Request (“Request”), the Market and Regulatory Review does not specifically evaluate details of each market services proposal nor of potential market providers. Consequently, there may be differences in the underlying assumptions regarding a market construct and what is ultimately proposed or implemented by a particular market services provider.3

    To support the Market and Regulatory Review, certain assumptions needed to be made about the underlying components of each of the market constructs. Table 1, below, outlines key assumptions regarding market constructs that are important for this assessment. A brief written overview of the market construct precedes the more detailed table of key assumptions regarding these markets.

    Bilateral Market

    A bilateral market is a market construct with no centralized, organized optimization of energy transactions. Trades of electricity occur “bilaterally” between two counterparties. This market construct generally has individual transmission tariffs and does not include Security Constrained Economic Dispatch (SCED).4 This type of market construct is often characterized by fragmented operational responsibilities and multiple Balancing Authorities (BAs). The “bilateral only” market construct, still exists in some areas of the West (namely, those that are not yet participating in a real-time electricity market).

    Real-Time Market

    A real-time market is an electricity market that settles—determines the price—for time periods of one hour or less during the day of delivery.5 In a real-time market, day-ahead unit commitment is not optimized across participants and non-real-time transactions continue to occur bilaterally. Examples of real-time markets include the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) operated by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and the Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) operated by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP)

    Day-Ahead Market

    The concept of a day-ahead market outside of the construct of a formal Independent System Operator (ISO) or Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) 6 has been contemplated, but to date, has not been implemented in the U.S. Generally, it is expected that a day-ahead market would entail centrally optimized day-ahead unit commitment and real-time dispatch, but participants would continue to administer their own transmission tariffs and transmission planning functions and would retain operational/functional control over their transmission systems. A similar concept was proposed by the (now) Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) in 20087 and is currently being contemplated by both the CAISO and the SPP. 8

    Regional Transmission Organization

    An RTO or ISO is typically a non-profit organization that is tasked with ensuring reliability and optimizing electrical supply and demand bids for wholesale power in its footprint. ISO and RTO formation was primarily proposed, developed, and enhanced through various orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).9 RTOs and ISOs do not own generation or transmission, but they do perform a variety of tasks including managing transmission and energy flows across the market footprint, performing transmission planning within the market footprint, ensuring reliable operation of the grid, and managing wholesale energy market transactions and cash flows within the market. Examples of ISOs/RTOs include CAISO, SPP, MISO, and PJM Interconnection…


    This report has reviewed the three Market Factor Scorecards developed as part of the State-Led Market Study. These scorecards evaluated how different potential wholesale market structures might facilitate the achievement of each state’s energy policy objectives. The scorecards and their associated metrics were developed based on two primary overarching Western state energy policy priorities and on how different market constructs might enable states to retain jurisdiction over key elements that may impact achievement of state energy policy priorities. The three scorecards assessed in this report were:

    1. Increased use of clean energy technologies

    2. Reliable, affordable provision of energy to consumers

    3. Ability to retain state regulatory authority over key jurisdictional elements

    The two overarching energy policy priorities (numbers one and two above) are not mutually exclusive, and many states are pursuing both policy priorities simultaneously. Some states may lean more towards one overarching goal or the other. Ultimately, it is up to the states to individually consider their respective weighting of each policy priority in considering energy market constructs and how those might assist in meeting that state’s energy policy priorities. States will also need to review the specifics of any market proposal that comes before them, as different market designs may influence and change the generic rankings included in these scorecards.

    States can also employ these scorecards to consider the potential impact on state regulatory authority of the various market constructs and how those impacts might be weighed against achieving a state’s energy policy goals. As with the overarching energy policy priorities, it is ultimately up to each state to weight and prioritize the anticipated benefits of a market construct with the potential impacts to state authority. The Lead Team also identified several ways that states can improve their market experiences and retain authority, particularly under an RTO market construct. The specifics of a market proposal, and of an individual state’s existing position, will be important for states to consider in evaluating how a specific proposal might impact state authority.

    In sum, the scorecards provided generalized information regarding the potential achievement of overarching state policy goals and potential impacts to state authority. As such, the scorecards are intended to serve as a high-level tool of directional indicators for states as they individually and jointly evaluate options around their energy futures, but states will need to conduct more detailed analyses to evaluate specific market proposals that may come before them…