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

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, October 20:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: Analysts On Midwest First Electrification Impact Analysis
  • TTTA Wednesday-New Energy Project Prices Edge Up
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Monday Study – At California’s Level Of Solar, Solar Needs Storage
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Trevor Noah And Greta Thunberg Talk Climate Solutions
  • Weekend Video: Drying Up In Colorado
  • Weekend Video: Surrounded By Offshore Wind
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A Business-Government Partnership To Beat The Climate Crisis
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy Will Lead By 2050 But Old Energy Will Survive
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, October 13:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: Smart Utilities Move With The Times
  • TTTA Wednesday-New Energy Dominates 2021 Market
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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

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

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  • FRIDAY WORLD, October 22:
  • Seeing Is Believing – The Climate Crisis Is Now
  • More Global New Energy, PLEASE!

    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…

    Conclusion

    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…

    Saturday, October 09, 2021

    Jimmy Kimmel On How To Confront Climate Crisis Denial

    This is about how to deal to people who don’t take the climate crisis seriously.From Jimmy Kimmel Live via YouTube

    New Energy Did Not Fail Texas, Regulators Did

    Minnesota shows why Texans are misguided in blaming New Energy for Texas regulators’ February failure to manage natural gas suppliers and prepare its power sector for extreme weather. From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

    Green Hydrogen Will Be “Crucial” – DOE Secretary Granholm

    Though big challenges are ahead, Green Hydrogen may be the key to reaching U.S. and international emissions reductions. From U.S. Department of Energy via YouTube

    Friday, October 08, 2021

    To Beat The Climate Crisis

    As World Leaders Gather For COP26, It’s Now Or Never On Climate

    Michael Sheldrick, October 7, 2021 (Forbes)

    “…[K]ey climate change negotiations taking place in early November in Glasgow…[face what the UN head called] "a code red for humanity” …[at a summit that U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry called] our “last best chance” for serious action…[Nations’ current commitments put the world] on course for a 2.7 °C minimum temperature rise. Such a rise would be catastrophic for the planet, and especially for the poor and vulnerable…the majority of whom have done the least to contribute to climate change in the first place…[Leaders must commit] to halving emissions worldwide by 2030…[and match words with] action and policies…

    …[World leaders must also create] a credible roadmap to achieve emissions targets, which is only achievable if they are fully funded…[Fulfill promises] to provide $100 billion per year to developing countries to help pay the costs to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change…[Protect nature] so nature can protect us…[because] conserving, restoring, and growing forests can sequester carbon, as well as improve air quality, protect biodiversity, and provide livelihoods for communities…There is little doubt that this summit will be a watershed moment for humanity, but the question that remains is whether it will be a turning point or a point of no return…” click here for more

    A New Energy Roadmap For China

    China has a clear pathway to build a more sustainable, secure and inclusive energy future

    29 September 2021 (International Energy Agency)

    “…China’s remarkable economic growth over the past four decades has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, turning the country into a leader in many industries but also the world’s largest carbon emitter, accounting for one-third of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions…[It] is aiming to reach a peak in its CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. The energy sector is the source of almost 90% of China’s greenhouse gas emissions…

    …[ An Energy Sector Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality in China found coal] accounts for over 60% of electricity generation, and China continues to build new coal power plants…[But] China has added more solar power capacity than any other country year after year. It is the second largest oil consumer in the world, but it also home to 70% of global manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle batteries…[To reach its climate goals, China will need] solutions to tackle emissions from its huge existing fleet of fossil fuel-based power plants, steel mills, cement kilns and other industrial facilities…[or its 2060 emissions will be] one-third of the global carbon budget for limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C…

    …[The main drivers of emissions reductions between now and 2030 can be] energy efficiency improvements, expansion of renewables and a reduction in coal use. Electricity generation from renewables, mainly wind and solar PV, increases seven-fold between 2020 and 2060, accounting for almost 80% of China’s power mix by then. Industrial CO2 emissions decline by nearly 95% by 2060, with the role of emerging innovative technologies…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 06, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Energy Winning The Power Sector Bidding

    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: Despite pandemic pressures, prices remain low while natural gas prices spike and fall unpredictably.

    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 $0.0107/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 said.

    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 paper 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

    General Motors To Go All New Energy

    GM to Reach 100% Renewable Energy in the U.S. Five Years Ahead of Schedule, Citing Successful Decarbonization Efforts

    Austin Tannenbaum, September 30, 2021 (Environment Plus Energy Leader)

    “…[General Motors will power all of its U.S. facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2025,] five years earlier than planned…By accelerating its renewable energy goal, GM will avoid an estimated one million metric tons of carbon emissions between 2025 and 2030…[It] was able to expedite its decarbonization timeline due to a successful four-pillared approach…Increasing Energy Efficiency… Sourcing Renewables…Addressing Intermittency…[and] Policy Advocacy…

    .GM is partnering with PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization, and TimberRock, a technology-enabled energy company, to track the real-time carbon emissions at GM’s facilities…[and] make strategic decisions about its electricity use, for instance tapping into its battery storage capacity to power operations or reducing consumption when the power grid’s fuel mix is fossil fuel–heavy…GM also plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040…[and eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035…[by] investing $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles…” click here for more

    Monday, October 04, 2021

    Monday Study – The Cost To Keep The Lights On

    Powerless In The Pandemic; After Bailouts, Electric Utilities Chose Profits Over People

    Jean Su and Christopher Kuveke, September 2021 (Center for Biological Diversity and Bailout Watch)

    Executive Summary

    Already a national embarrassment, the practice of disconnecting household electric service for unpaid bills (“utility shutoffs”) became a lethal threat to poor families last year after Covid-19 hit. By rendering homes uninhabitable, electric companies made social distancing impossible and increased transience, leading to higher infection and death rates, according to recent research.

    While brushing off calls to pause their punitive collections practices, electric utilities used their political power to secure bailouts that cost taxpayers $1.25 billion, cushioning them from the pandemic economy.

    The harm caused by electric shutoffs is indisputable. Less discussed is the nexus of utilities’ political influence, predatory collection tactics and climate impacts.

    Utilities are a massive, sometimes overlooked contributor to the climate emergency. While oil and gas giants garner more attention for their role in causing climate change, the electric industry is also culpable. Utilities were responsible for 32% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, mostly from gas- and coal-burning plants.2 The biggest utilities operate their own fossil fuel infrastructure to supply these dirty power plants. At the same time, their profits-over-people collections practices heap further harm onto the poor communities and communities of color already suffering disproportionate climate harm and energy burdens.3

    To interrogate the disconnect between utilities’ reliance on public benefits and their callous treatment of customers, the Center for Biological Diversity and BailoutWatch analyzed government data and company filings. We identified 16 electric utilities that benefited from last year’s Covid-19 bailouts while also cutting customers’ service for their inability to pay, and found:

    Families had their power cut nearly a million times (990,234) between july 2020 and june 2021 by 16 companies that enjoyed a collective $1.25 billion in government bailout benefits. 4

    Electric companies’ spending on executive pay and shareholder dividends dwarfed the cost of merely canceling households’ late bills5 — most could have bailed out their customers 500+ times with just what they paid out to executives and shareholders.

    Nine companies received tax bailouts totaling $1.25 billion. It would have cost just 8.5% of that bailout total to prevent every shutoff reported.

    For what taxpayers spent bailing them out, 15 companies (all but nextera) could have forgiven all unpaid accounts — hundreds of times over in some cases.

    A six-member hall of shame — NextEra Energy (parent of Florida Power & Light and others), Duke Energy, Southern Company, Dominion Energy, Exelon and DTE Energy — perpetrated 94% of all documented shutoffs. NextEra alone accounted for nearly half.

    The problem is much bigger than we were able to document because many utility regulators don’t require utilities to report data about disconnections.

    Overview

    As Covid-19 spread last year, unprecedented economic disruption left Americans struggling to afford necessities. Heat waves and extreme weather drove up power bills. Many people fell behind.

    Continuing a practice as old as debt collection, utilities pursued the harshest allowable tactic to collect unpaid bills: suspending or canceling service, leaving people without hot water, refrigeration, air conditioning and medical devices. Their houses uninhabitable, these families faced transience or being homeless.

    For owing a few hundred dollars, some Americans were deprived of a basic right in a pandemic: to maintain the social distance necessary to protect themselves.

    Defying calls to pause shutoffs, powerful electric utilities insisted that the practice was a necessary component of their collections cycle — and without this cudgel, customers who could afford to pay would choose not to.

    In the end, a patchwork of statewide moratoriums protected some people, for some time, in some states. For the rest of the country, shutoffs remained a deadly scourge. Recent research proved the correlation between utility shutoffs and increased Covid infection and death rates.

    A nationwide ban on evictions and utility shutoffs for March 2020 - November 2020 would have reduced U.S. Covid infections by 8.7% and deaths by 14.7%, according to research published this year by the National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER).6

    The NBER findings expose a fault in how many utilities are structured: Utilities are entrusted by governments to deliver essential human services; yet as private companies, their ultimate responsibility is to further enrich wealthy stakeholders.7

    Our analysis provides fresh evidence of how utilities’ corporate decision-making is impaired by their misaligned incentives…

    Toward A Real Solution

    The Covid-19 crisis gave utilities an opportunity to save lives by keeping people in their homes. Many chose to collect small debts instead, leading to increased deaths and infections. Climate-related destruction challenges electric companies to drastically cut emissions and deploy climate-resilient systems like rooftop and community solar and storage. Instead, many corporate utilities sow confusion and remain among the worst emitters, actively undermining lower-emissions and distributed energy systems because they threaten to compete for profits.

    While opposing efforts to transition to a renewable, resilient energy system, utilities remain steadfastly unprepared for climate disaster — as demonstrated recently by climate-caused hurricanes like Ida, the Texas energy freeze, and grid negligence in California’s wildfire areas.

    These urgent facts compel us to weigh systemic changes that might discourage or prevent such antisocial, anti-public corporate acts. Yet the utility shutoff problem has plagued American communities since long before Covid-19.26 Any fix must solve for injustices that exist separately from, and regardless of, the state of the pandemic.

    Utility justice advocates believe the for-profit utility system must be overhauled, centering power as a human right and permanently banning shutoffs. Earlier in 2021, House Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri and Jamaal Bowman of New York jointly introduced a resolution to make electricity a publicly owned utility sector, impose a universal ban on utility shutoffs for nonpayment, and build out community and rooftop solar and storage as climate-resilient and affordable energy solutions.

    Conclusion

    Focusing on bailed-out utilities’ choice to disconnect families and the resulting increased spread of Covid-19, this report aims to illuminate a structural flaw in the U.S. utility framework: For-profit companies lack accountability to the public good.

    The climate emergency will continue to magnify the harms from this conflict, as extreme weather ravages ever more communities whose residents are disproportionately low-wealth and Black and other communities of color.

    Given utilities’ contributions to the escalating climate crisis, and their reliance on public assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we act to limit the damage inflicted by profit-seeking companies that control basic resources.

    In a nation of abundance, there is no space for a system whose powerful stakeholders get richer by choosing to harm untold millions of Americans, disproportionately communities of color and poor families, amid a global health crisis.

    Saturday, October 02, 2021

    Colbert-Mother Earth Climate Q&A

    It is Code Red in the fight to build climate crisis solutions and Colbert wants to know what the solutions are. From The Late Show with Stephen Colbert via YouTube

    The New Holy Grail For New Energy

    Before lithium-ion batteries solved the problem, analysts called energy storage “the holy grail” for the energy transition. Now that's what they call long duration energy storage – and that technological challenge will also soon be met.From Business News via YouTube

    A Utility Planner Talks New Energy

    This is why New Energy is winning in the marketplace.From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Friday, October 01, 2021

    Today’s New Energy Or Tomorrow’s Climate Crisis?

    Children set for more climate disasters than their grandparents, research shows; Climate crisis brings stark intergenerational injustice but rapid emission cuts can limit damage

    Damian Carrington, September 26, 2021 (UK Guardian)

    “…Today’s babies will also grow up to experience twice as many droughts and wildfires and three times more river floods and crop failures than someone who is 60 years old today…[but] rapidly cutting global emissions to keep global heating to 1.5C would almost halve the heatwaves today’s children will experience…[and] keeping under 2C would reduce the number by a quarter…

    …[These findings from new research may have underestimated climate impacts on today’s young people because] multiple extremes within a year had to be grouped together and the greater intensity of events was not accounted for…53 million children born in Europe and central Asia between 2016 and 2020 will experience about four times more extreme events in their lifetimes under current emissions pledges, but the 172 million children of the same age in sub-Saharan Africa face 5.7 times more extreme events…

    The analysis found that only those aged under 40 years today will live to see the consequences of the choices made on emissions cuts. Those who are older will have died before the impacts of those choices become apparent…” click here for more

    The Bargain In New Energy

    The Renewable Revolution Could Save The World $26 Trillion

    Harley Zaremba,September 28, 2021 (OilPrice via Yahoo News)

    “…Rapid decarbonization not only wouldn’t break the bank -- it would save the world a whopping $26 trillion in energy costs over the coming decades, in addition to allowing the global community to meet the climate targets set by the Paris agreement and saving untold numbers of lives from deaths related to air pollution resulting from combusting fossil fuels…This model contrasts greatly with the common thinking that decarbonizing the global economy will be hugely expensive thanks to the number of infrastructure inversions and hefty subsidies…

    …[Three University of Oxford professors argue Wright’s Law and Moore’s Law suggest] that as technology improves, costs lower exponentially…[and have proven true] for wind and solar, which are already outgrowing their government subsidies and becoming competitive with fossil fuels. Wright’s Law applies to a sort of manufacturing learning curve. The more we produce renewable energy, the better we get at it, and the more efficient and inexpensive it becomes…

    …[F]ossil fuels have failed to follow the curves of Moore’s law and Wright’s Law…[and global subsidies around the world are] $447 billion worldwide for fossil fuels, as compared to just $128 billion for renewables…The United States has been slow, compared to other developed countries, to accept this reality and lean into climate change adaptation and mitigation, but the Biden administration has made catching up a central component of its platform…” click here for more