NewEnergyNews: 11/01/2021 - 12/01/2021

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

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Economic Stimulus and Global New Energy
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Money For New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, December 1:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: California Regulators See Increased Value In Customer-Owned Resources
  • TTTA Wednesday-The Big Benefits From Pricing Carbon
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Monday Study – Energy Efficiency Vs. Long Duration Storage
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Power System Targeted By Drone Attack
  • Weekend Video: Busy Beavers Hold Back The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: Texas Power System Solutions Shot Down
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Stand Up To Protect The Planet
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-More New Energy Needed Now
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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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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, December 4-5:
  • Illinois Is 16TH State With 100% New Energy Commitment!
  • General Motors Is Seizing The EV Opportunity
  • How To Lose The EV Opportunity

    Monday, November 29, 2021

    Monday Study – Energy Efficiency Vs. Long Duration Storage

    Optimal strategies for a cost-effective and reliable 100% renewable electric grid Sammy Houssainya) and William Livingood, 2 November 2021 (Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy)

    Abstract

    This paper explores cost-optimal pathways to 100% renewable power systems for the U.S. building stock. We show that long-duration misalignments of supply and demand, spanning from multi-day to seasonal timescales, present a dominant challenge that must be addressed to meet real-time 100% renewable targets. While long-duration misalignments can be addressed through energy storage, we show that alternative and readily available solutions that are more cost-effective should be considered first. Through a techno-economic analysis, we identify cost-optimal, region-dependent, supply-side, and demand-side strategies that reduce, and in some U.S. regions eliminate, the otherwise substantial capacities and associated costs of long-duration energy storage. Investigated supply-side strategies include optimal mixes of renewable portfolios and oversized generation capacities. Considered demand-side strategies include building load flexibility and building energy efficiency investments. Our results reveal that building energy efficiency measures can reduce long-duration storage requirements at minimum total investment costs. In addition, oversizing and diversifying renewable generation can play a critical role in reducing storage requirements, remaining cost effective even when accounting for curtailed generation. We identify regionally dependent storage cost targets and show that for emerging long-duration energy storage innovations to achieve broad adoption, their costs will need to compete with the decreasing cost of renewables. The findings of this research are particularly important given that most long-duration storage technologies are currently either uneconomical, geologically constrained, or still underdeveloped.

    Introduction

    Climate change concerns and falling costs of renewable energy technologies are driving increased interest in clean and sustainable sources of energy.1–5 Leveraging these trends, many U.S. states, cities, and municipalities are showing their commitment to reduce their environmental impact by developing plans to shift to 100% renewable energy sources.6–10 Long-term societal benefits of this shift toward sustainability include decreased electricity costs, local job creation, cleaner air, and reduced medical costs related to pollution and other effects of climate change.11 However, the most significant drawback of renewable sources is their inherent variability. Consequently, grid reliability is a major concern in an energy system where most of the electricity produced is from variable generation (VG) sources, such as wind and solar photovoltaics (PV).12

    Numerous studies have focused on understanding the role of energy storage in increasing grid reliability and balancing supply and demand in high VG penetration scenarios.13–18 To date, there is no consensus on the required energy storage capacity for operating and maintaining a 100% renewable energy portfolio.19–21 However, there is agreement among researchers that some energy storage is necessary to maintain a continuous power balance between a 100% VG supply and natural demand for electricity.22 Moreover, multiple energy storage solutions are likely to be required, with each system's unique characteristics being leveraged to address a specific grid challenge.22 For example, the fast response time of high-power flywheels and supercapacitors makes them inherently suited for regulating grid frequency. The higher energy densities of electrochemical storage well-position the technology for ramping and operating reserves. In contrast, larger-scale energy storage solutions, such as pumped hydro, compressed air, and hydrogen storage, will likely prove useful in addressing bulk energy management challenges given their economies of scale.23,24

    Current studies of VG penetration in power systems mainly focus on identifying strategies that minimize generation curtailment and maximize the economic value of renewable resources.25–30 Denholm et al. investigated storage duration requirements for 55% VG penetration scenarios on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid system and concluded that 4 h of storage reduces curtailment to 8%–10% of variable generation.28 In a separate study, an 80% VG scenario on the ERCOT grid system was investigated, and results showed that storing or moving just 4-h of average system load could enable reliable operations while keeping renewable curtailment below 20%.29 Another study investigated the storage needs for substituting fossil fuel plants with renewables in ERCOT and concluded that above 25%–30% renewable energy penetration, significant energy storage capacity is needed.30 The primary objective function in this study was minimization of storage needs; hence, the minimization of the combined renewable and storage investment costs was not investigated. Moreover, these studies constrained the analysis to predefined curtailment limits; therefore, techno-economic tradeoffs between renewable curtailments and storage capacities were not considered. Finally, these studies do not consider the remaining 20% of renewable penetration needed to reach a 100% renewable target, which we show has the most significant impact on storage requirements and total investment costs to achieve the target.

    Several studies have focused on the value of long-duration energy storage in scenarios with high adoption of renewable energy sources.31–35 Shaner et al. investigated U.S. storage needs and concluded that above 80% renewable penetrations, seasonal misalignments in supply and demand would have to be overcome.31 Guerra et al. explored the value of seasonal storage for 83.5% renewable energy penetration in the western U.S. with an emphasis on power system operational benefits.32 The study concludes that 1-week of hydrogen storage could be cost-effective at US$1.8/kWh by 2025 [32]. Similar studies identified cost targets for long-duration energy storage technologies to compete against low-carbon sources, such as nuclear, and natural gas.33,34 Sepulveda et al. conducted an analysis for Texas and New England and concluded that long-duration energy storage costs must be less than $1/kWh to fully displace firm low-carbon generation technologies.34 It is important to note that the solution space in the mentioned studies is limited by their lack of consideration for supply-side strategies, such as excess generation capacity, and demand-side strategies, such as building load flexibility and permanent building energy efficiency investments. In addition, long-duration energy storage cost targets that compete against surplus renewable capacity and curtailment, in 100% renewable constrained formulations, are not identified in these studies.

    Through recent efforts by Cebulla et al., an extensive synthesis of 17 country-wide storage expansion studies in the literature was conducted for Europe, Germany, and the U.S.35 The study concludes that with increasing variable generation shares, energy storage power capacity requirements increase linearly, and the energy capacity increases exponentially. The study provides a good reference on general trends observed by recent research on the subject; however, their synthesis did not filter for energy storage requirements by imposed curtailment constraints, renewable generation mixes, or demand-side strategies. Moreover, their investigation did not account for U.S. regional implication on cost-effective 100% renewable power systems.

    In a recent study, Perez et al. explored the impacts of overbuilding PV generation and concluded that proactive curtailment enables lowest cost solutions;36 however, their analysis was constrained to PV curtailments only. In addition, their investigations are limited to a case study in the state of Minnesota. Through their investigations, they also consider supply side flexibility through a 5% gas generation allowance and show that this leads to major reductions in overbuilding PV.36 However, their investigations do not include load flexibility strategies in strict 100% renewable scenarios.

    The objective of this paper is to identify cost-optimal pathways to 100% renewable power systems for the U.S. building stock. Throughout the analysis, we focus on energy storage duration and capacity requirements that are necessary to achieve the target. In contrast to the current body of research, we consider regionally dependent opportunities and solutions that minimize total investment costs. In addition, our analysis removes renewable curtailment constraints that intend to maximize the economic value of VG resources. In doing so, we explore the tradeoffs of excess renewable generation capacity and associated curtailments on storage requirements and total investment costs. Furthermore, we consider readily available supply side and demand-side strategies that minimize total costs. Techno-economic investigations of demand-side strategies include building load flexibility and permanent building energy efficiency impacts. Building energy efficiency investments decrease the necessary renewable capacity, transmission capacity, and storage requirements; therefore, its impacts are threefold. We also consider the techno-economics of supply-side strategies such as oversizing VG sources and the diversification of renewable portfolios.

    To summarize, the following list succinctly reiterates the novel elements of this research that have not been explored or identified in the literature:

    1- We investigate a U.S. regional analysis of pathways to 100% renewable power at minimum total investment costs. In doing so, we identify cost-optimal and region-dependent strategies to reduce the otherwise dominant long-duration energy storage capacity requirements and associated costs.

    2- We identify the optimum regional investment priorities and associated breakdowns by energy resource assets to achieve the target. Our analysis considers readily available supply-side and demand-side strategies, and energy assets.

    3- We identify regionally dependent long-duration energy storage cost targets for emerging storage technologies. In contrast to published works, we identify long-duration energy storage cost targets needed to compete with oversizing of increasingly lower-cost renewable generation.

    4- We reveal that a combination of (1) optimally mixed renewable resources, (2) oversized generation capacities, and (3) building energy efficiency investments can eliminate the need for long-duration energy storage in some U.S. regions. This is particularly important given that most long-duration storage technologies are either geologically constrained or still underdeveloped.

    Our research also intends to demonstrate an overarching calculation methodology that can be leveraged by future site-specific studies of cities, states, municipalities, districts, and communities aiming to achieve cost-optimal 100% renewable status. We begin our discussions in Sec. II by describing the methods used to develop the baseline model and for modeling generation, energy storage, building energy efficiency, and building load flexibility. Our results are presented in Sec. III, and in Sec. IV we highlight the limitations of our research and discuss opportunities for future work…

    Conclusion

    The primary focus of this study was to understand cost-optimal pathways to 100% renewable power systems for the U.S. building stock. The U.S. DOE prototype building models and U.S. EIA survey data were used to simulate the demand of a collection of buildings that are representative of the U.S. building stock. Several climate zones spanning the U.S. were investigated to demonstrate regional trends and opportunities. Our analysis shows that the last 75%–100% of renewable penetration results in significant increases in long-duration energy storage capacities and costs. Through the analysis, we identified region-dependent supply-side and demand -side strategies that reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the otherwise dominant long-duration energy storage capacity requirements and associated costs. We show that for each U.S. region, a clear and unique optimum renewable portfolio exists that minimizes storage needs and total costs. The optimum renewable mix generally favors higher wind power allocations in colder climates and higher solar PV allocations in hotter climates. Our results reveal that cost-optimal renewable production factor range from 1.4 to 3.2, and optimal energy efficiency penetrations range from 52% to 68% savings, depending on the climate region. Therefore, the benefits of excess generation capacities and building energy efficiency measures are outweighed by their incremental investments. The cost-optimal renewable production factors and energy efficiency penetrations typically increases from hotter to colder regions.

    A long-duration energy storage cost sensitivity analysis was presented which identifies regionally dependent storage cost targets for emerging technologies. In contrast to published works, we identify long-duration energy storage cost targets needed to compete with oversizing of increasingly lower-cost renewable generation. Our results indicate that U.S. regions defined by CZ 2A, CZ 3B, and CZ 5B have long-duration energy storage installed capital cost targets of $43, $30, and $73/kWh, respectively. For CZ 4A and CZ 7, higher costs would still deem multi-day storage economical, given the pronounced misalignment challenges in colder climates. We reveal that a combination of (1) optimally mixed renewable portfolios, (2) oversized generation capacities, and (3) building energy efficiency investments can eliminate the need for long-duration energy storage for U.S. regions defined by CZ 2A, CZ 3B, and CZ 5B. The findings of this research are particularly important given that most long-duration storage technologies are currently either uneconomical, geologically constrained, or still underdeveloped.

    Saturday, November 27, 2021

    Power System Targeted By Drone Attack

    The real question is not how to protect the power system from this kind of attack but how to design the system to minimize the impact because this kind of attack is likely to keep coming. From ABC News via greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Busy Beavers Hold Back The Climate Crisis

    When beavers dam a small stream, they create a big solution to drought and wildfires.From PBS Terra via YouTube

    Texas Power System Solutions Shot Down

    People in Texas froze to death last winter and the state’s leaders have responded with NO plans to address the core of the problem. From Verify Road Trip via YouTube

    Friday, November 26, 2021

    Stand Up To Protect The Planet

    Want to fight for climate action but feel daunted or powerless? Try this; The scale of the crisis is intimidating. But most people are already members of organizations – like our employers, universities, unions or religious groups – that are great avenues to fight for concrete climate results

    Tayo Bero, 23 November 2021 (UK Guardian)

    “…[M]uch of climate action rhetoric these days remains split between personal calls to action – such as recycling or cutting down on individual consumption – and calls for governments, corporations and international organizations to wind down fossil fuel production, switch to renewable energy on a mass scale and protect key ecosystems…[The scale of the crisis can make individual action] seem like a drop in the bucket…But there are ways to use the affiliations we already have to boost our collective voice…

    If you’re employed by a big corporation…[P]lan walkouts or join strike actions to push…[for] serious commitments to climate action such as reducing their consumption and switching to clean energy alternatives…[or push] employers to divest their pension and retirement savings plans from fossil fuel companies…If you’re a member of a labor union…[Form] climate change campaigns or sub-groups within larger campaigns…[Collaborate] with academics and environmental groups on research to identify and develop effective strategies for climate action…[or] draft environmental policies that call on the government and international organizations to take serious climate action…[or] form workplace environment committees…

    If you’re a student or member of faculty at a university, push to divest from fossil fuels, generate power on-campus, and commit to being carbon-neutral…[and] join in collective action…If you belong to a religious organization… push for community initiatives that help the environment, like building green infrastructure…[and ask] religious leaders to support bills and other political actions that address climate change, or press Congress directly to take climate action…” click here for more

    More New Energy Needed Now

    What ‘transition’? Renewable energy is growing, but overall energy demand is growing faster

    Weizhen Tan, November 3, 2021 (CNBC)

    “The world wants to “transition” away from fossil fuels toward green energy, but the difficult reality is this: Dirty fuels are not going away — or even declining — anytime soon…[The] global supply of renewables will grow by 35 gigawatts from 2021 to 2022, but global power demand growth will go up by 100 gigawatts over the same period…Countries will have to tap traditional fuel sources to meet the rest of the demand…

    Global electricity demand is set to rebound strongly, jumping by close to 5% this year and by 4% in 2022…[The amount of electricity generated from renewables will increase] by 8% this year and more than 6% in 2022…[But] renewables are expected to be able to serve only around half of the projected growth in global demand in 2021 and 2022…[The] amount spent on oil and gas has declined as prices collapsed in 2020 and the industry faced growing pressure to move away from dirty fuels. Total spending [fell below the 2019 level in 2021 to] a little more than $350 billion…

    Transition-related spending is gradually picking up, but remains far short of what is required to meet rising demand…[and that] shortfall will only widen as economies reopen and travel resumes…[and lead to] sharp rises in prices for natural gas, coal and electricity…[Getting the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050] would require clean energy transition-related investment to accelerate from current levels to around $4 trillion annually by 2030…That would mark an increase of more than three times the current investment… click here for more

    Thursday, November 25, 2021

    A Lesser-Known Part Of Thanksgiving History

    An attitude of gratitude is never misplaced. NewEnergyNews remains forever grateful for support above-and-beyond-the-call of duty from the Marks family foundation…for support from the Bay Area's Big D...and from the yellow rose of Teri…and from the staffs at Utility Dive…and California Current Video from MassFireTrucks via YouTube

    Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Push For An Organized Western Power Market

    State Regulators Study Transmission Needs, New Transmission Options Highlighted

    Herman K. Trabish, July 27, 2021

    Editor’s note: Studies now show enormous benefits from Western regionalization and policymakers throughout the West are pushing harder to create an organized power market.

    California’s goal to acquire massive amounts of new wind, solar, and storage won’t be reached if the transmission needed to deliver it is not built, policymakers, developers, and analysts stressed at a July 22 Joint Agency workshop.

    To make its SB 100 clean energy mandate, solar and wind resources need to be tripled annually and eight times as much storage must be added every year. The state must go from 22 GW of required portfolio qualifying renewables in 2019 to roughly 48 GW in 2030, and keep up that same pace through 2045, according to the California Energy Commission’s SB 100 report.

    While the pace of new resource growth is accelerating the pace of transmission development is not, Neil Millar, California Independent System Operator (CAISO) vice president of infrastructure and operations planning, said during the workshop late last week. Workshop participants offered solutions to the planning, siting, and financing of new transmission needed.

    Workshop presentations called for immediate acceleration of in-state and out-of-state transmission development to connect with renewables across the West to meet mid-2020 goals. By the end of this decade, a bigger vision for transmission of California’s abundant, untapped offshore wind resource should be considered, participants added.

    Preliminary research shows the most cost-effective approach with the least-impact to meeting SB 100 goals would be to coordinate in- and out-of-state resources, The Nature Conservancy California Energy Strategy Director Erica Brand said during the workshop. Balancing Authorities in the Western Interconnection could help resolve financing challenges, said Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Rodgers. Interconnecting into the 15-state WAPA territory gives California transmission developers access to the federal low interest Transmission Infrastructure Program, she pointed out.

    Collaboration with other public power entities also can allow access to other sources of low-cost financing, added California Municipal Utilities Association Counsel Tony Braun and representatives for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Imperial Irrigation District (IID). But resource development that shifts ratepayer costs and land uses to other states to protect California land limits indirect benefits like jobs and tax revenues to Californians, regulators warned… click here for more

    Numbers Show Energy Efficiency Beats Big Storage

    NREL Researchers Point Toward Energy Efficiency Instead Of Long-Term Storage

    November 3, 2021 (National Renewable Energy Laboratory via CleanTechnica)

    “Incorporating energy efficiency measures can reduce the amount of storage needed to power the nation’s buildings entirely with renewable energy, according to analysis conducted by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)… Optimal Strategies for a Cost-Effective and Reliable 100% Renewable Electrical Grid considered solar and wind as the source of renewable energy…[in] five climate zones, ranging from the hot and humid (Tampa, Florida) to the very cold (International Falls, Minnesota)…

    Knowing the extremes of heating and cooling demands in each zone enabled the researchers to select the appropriate mix of renewable power sources to minimize [long-duration energy storage needs]…[Most] long-duration storage technologies are either immature or not available everywhere…[R]eaching the last 75% to 100% of renewable energy would result in significant increases in costs associated with long-duration energy storage.

    Instead of focusing on storage, the researchers emphasized the optimal mix of renewable resources, oversized generation capacities, and investments in energy efficiency…[M]ultiple pathways exist…and, as the costs and performance of technologies change, new pathways will emerge, but…oversizing renewable capacities by a factor of 1.4 to 3.2 and aiming for 52% to 68% in energy savings through building energy-efficiency measures lead to cost-optimal paths…” click here for more

    Monday, November 22, 2021

    Monday Study – The Climate Benefits Electricity Customers Can Bring

    The Customer Action Pathway to National Decarbonization

    Sanem Sergici, Ryan Hledik, Michael Hagerty, Ahmad Faruqui, Kate Peters, September 27, 2021 (Brattle Group)

    Summary Introduction

    Customer-driven adoption of GHG-reducing technologies will play a key role in achieving decarbonization targets  Ambitious decarbonization targets are being set by states, counties, and cities

     Utilities and states are responding to these decarbonization targets by laying out pathways for achieving them

     We expect these targets to become more aggressive in the next few years at both the state and federal levels The purpose of this study is to quantify the decarbonization impact of customers adopting new technologies and energy consumption behaviors in the next 10-20 years

     This study focuses specifically on the GHG reductions from the residential sector and light-duty vehicles (LDV)

     Brattle’s in-house models are used to estimate the load impact of customer adoption of new technologies and behaviors, and the corresponding GHG emissions impacts at the regional and national level We quantify the total aggregate impact of ambitious but achievable adoption of new GHG-reducing technologies, rather than impacts that are incremental to what is already expected to be achieved under a status quo case

    Customer Action Pathway to Decarbonization

    Since 2005, annual U.S. energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have declined by 878 MMT (or 13%)*

     85% of the reductions are from reduced electric power sector generation emissions (e.g., reduced coal generation) While the bulk of the decarbonization work to date focuses on understanding the impact of building a “greener grid”, it is important to consider what can be achieved through customerdirected actions This report focuses on two sectors, Residential and Light-Duty Vehicles, in which customer actions have a direct impact on GHG emissions

     Residential and LDV sectors account for 1,861 MMT in 2021, or about 40% of total U.S. energy-related GHG emissions  Customer adoption of GHG-reducing technologies combined with additional clean power generation will be necessary to reduce emissions We refer to the customer-directed actions analyzed in this study as the “Customer Action Pathway” to decarbonization

    Customer Action Pathway GHG Reducing Technologies

     The primary sources of customer-specific energy demand and GHG emissions are from LDV transportation and residential electricity demand, followed by residential space and water heating

     GHG reducing technologies exist across all sources of energy demand and GHG emissions for customers to play an active role in achieving future GHG emissions reductions

    Customer Action Pathway GHG Emissions Reductions

    The Customer Action Pathway could reduce GHG emissions by 534 MMT in 2040

     Residential electric & gas energy efficiency have the greatest near-term impact reducing 2030 emissions by 158 MMT and 2040 emissions by 180 MMT

     Rising EV adoption increases avoided GHG emissions from 53 MMT in 2030 to 256 MMT in 2040

     Behind the meter (BTM) solar installed on residential homes reduces 2040 emissions by 67 MMT

     Residential space and water heating electrification reduces 2040 emissions by 31 MMT

    Customer Action Pathway Builds on Supply-Side Reductions

    The Customer Action Pathway has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by nearly twice as much as supply-side reductions alone will contribute under existing policies

    Summary of Findings

    Our results highlight the importance of customer-driven actions in achieving ambitious decarbonization goals

     Avoiding 534 MMTCO2 in 2040 is the same as retiring 135 coal plants (Source: EPA)

     Customer Action Pathway GHG emission reduction potential is about 2x greater than projected reductions from supply side decarbonization efforts alone by 2040 under current policies

     GHG reductions achieved through the Customer Action Pathway in 2040 is equivalent to nearly 60% of the annual GHG reductions achieved from all sectors from 2005 to 2021 Near-term emissions reduction potential driven by energy efficiency and BTM solar through 2030, while customer adoption of electric vehicles could provide the largest emissions reductions by 2040

     EE and BTM solar have greatest 2030 impact due to current customer familiarity and higher near-term power generation emission rates. While adoption of both technologies continues beyond 2030 at a slower rate, the emissions impact is less significant by 2040 due to the lower power generation emission rates

     EV adoption emissions impact increase significantly from 2030 to 2040 due to the 4x potential increase in the total EVs on the road and the lower power generation emission rates Additionally, load flexibility (e.g., smart thermostat programs, time-varying rates) will be a critical part of the Customer Action Pathway

     Load Flexibility facilitates the integration of renewable energy resources, reduces renewable energy curtailment, and mitigates the need for system upgrades to serve rising peak demand

    Saturday, November 20, 2021

    Speaking Out For Humanity At Glasgow

    What a well-informed, passionate appeal! Is anybody listening? From Rappler via YouTube

    The Cost Of Beating The Climate Crisis

    This is only one assessment, but it comes through a reliable, if conservative, source. From the International Renewable Energy Agency via Wall Street Journal

    Wind Is Ready And Getting Readier

    The can-do wind builders working off New England’s Atlantic Coast are showing what amazing things their New Energy ambition and engineering ability can turn into reality. From ABC News via YouTube

    Friday, November 19, 2021

    A Bridge To Hope

    Ten ways to confront the climate crisis without losing hope; It’s easy to despair at the climate crisis, or to decide it’s already too late – but it’s not. Here’s how to keep the fight alive

    Rebecca Solnit, 18 November 2021 (UK Guardian)

    “The world as we knew it is coming to an end, and it’s up to us how it ends and what comes after…We must remake the world, and we can remake it better…[1] We still have time to choose the best rather than the worst scenarios, though the longer we wait the harder it gets…The only obstacles are political and imaginative…[2] One of the victories of climate activism… is that a lot more people are concerned about climate than they were even a few years ago, from ordinary citizens to powerful politicians. The climate movement…has had enormous impact…[3] Movements, campaigns, organisations, alliances and networks are how ordinary people become powerful…Values and emotions are contagious…[T]o find idealism amid indifference and cynicism is that good…

    …[4] The future is not yet written…We are writing it now…[5] Even when we don’t achieve our primary goal immediately,] the impact may be far more complex than we had anticipated…[6] Imagination is a superpower…The world could be far richer by many measures if we do what this catastrophe demands of us…[7] Waves of climate lies have washed over the public for decades…These lies seek to prevent what must happen, which is that carbon must stay in the ground, and that everything from food production to transportation must change…[8] History can guide us…[A few years ago, wind and solar] were relatively expensive and inefficient, and battery technology was still in its infancy. The most unnoticed revolution of our era is an energy revolution…[Solar and wind] are now widely considered to be more than adequate to power our future…

    …[9] We are the first generations to face a catastrophe of the reach, scale and duration of climate change. But we are far from the first to live under some kind of threat, or to fear what is to come…[10] Climate chaos makes us fear that we will lose what is beautiful in this world…[but in] 50 years, and 100 years, the moon will rise, and be beautiful, and shine its silvery light across the sea…Only when it is over will we truly see the ugliness of this era of fossil fuels and rampant economic inequality. Part of what we are fighting for is beauty…” click here for more

    A New Energy Growth Overview

    How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy? There’s a lot of hype and confusion about carbon-free energy sources. Here’s a look at five of them: how much they produce, what they cost, and what obstacles they face.

    Jennifer Hiller and David Hodari, November 10, 2021 (Wall Street Journal)

    “…Electricity generation from coal, oil and natural gas represented 60% of all power generated world-wide this year, down from 67% in 2010…That is likely to drop to 42% to 48% by 2030…[Each alternative] has its own potential, and its own obstacles…The photovoltaic cells used in solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity…Lower costs have boosted utility-scale projects and interest from consumers in rooftop installations… The Energy Department says the U.S. now gets just 3% of its power from solar sources. Globally, just 4% percent of power generation this year is from solar, up from 1.4% five years ago…Global installations will likely increase 20% this year to 175 gigawatts…

    Creating energy by splitting atoms is also an established technology, but has fallen out of favor in recent years due to safety concerns and cost overruns at new plants…Now that countries are seeking to transition to cleaner energy, nuclear power is getting a second look in many parts of the globe… About 10% of global commercial electricity production came from nuclear power in 2020…[Nuclear power] is expected to remain among the most expensive forms of power generation to build. The global levelized cost for new construction rose to around $74 per megawatt-hour this year from $66 five years ago…

    Wind electricity is produced when the force from moving air spins a turbine blade around a rotor, which spins a generator. Turbines are grouped together in large installations onshore as well as offshore…Wind provides about 7% of the world’s electricity, a share projected to at least double by 2030…Installations last year reached a record 93 gigawatts, up 53% from 2019…[A]round 88 gigawatts of installation is still expected in 2021…[Geothermal wells tap steam or hot water from rock in the earth’s mantle] to generate electricity by using steam to turn a turbine…[Heat] is 50% of our energy consumption…

    Geothermal plants provide less than 1% of the world’s electricity, but…An estimated 180 wells are being drilled each year for power generation, and that number is expected to rise to 500 [globally] by 2025… About 6% of California’s electricity comes from geothermal, and new projects are being planned that would pair geothermal power with lithium mining…Venture-capital deals for geothermal rose to $146.5 million globally by mid-October…up from just $13.3 million in deals five years ago…

    Hydrogen is increasingly seen as a viable clean-energy source for transportation—in trucks, planes and ships…because conventional batteries either weigh too much or hold a charge for too little time for long-haul voyages…[It] can also supplant fossil fuels in household heating and industrial processes like steelmaking that require sustained high temperatures…[and stored] by using excess electricity, often solar or wind power, to run machines known as electrolyzers that strip water molecules of their hydrogen—which is easier to store in tanks and caverns than electricity is to store in batteries…” click here for more

    Wednesday, November 17, 2021

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Tool For Building Solar Faster And Cheaper

    NREL Software Tool Expedites Clogged Solar Queues, Increases Revenue

    Herman K. Trabish, July 19, 2021 (California Current)

    Editor’s note:

    The rooftop solar industry announced a major step forward in its longstanding effort to bring down project installation costs with a new app that automates the complicated and time-consuming permit application process for rooftop solar and solar-plus-storage.

    This SolarAPP+ was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Early uses have streamlined the time and cut costs for installers, their customers, and the jurisdictions that control permitting, inspections, and interconnections. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said rooftop solar applications “jumped six-fold” when San Jose adopted it.

    This tool could shorten installation delays and improve the 17% installer profit margin by reducing the cost of permitting and inspections, California Solar and Storage Association Senior Policy Advisor Igor Tregub added in an email to Current. It is especially important with the state’s new push to make the benefits of distributed resources more accessible in low- and working-class communities.

    It will help California reach its climate goals “more quickly and cost-effectively” by reducing the cost and complexities of solar, allowing more homeowners to participate,” Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) said. Weiner’s SB 617 requires jurisdictions to adopt SolarApp+ and provides $20 million in state funding for that purpose. It passed the California Senate but has been held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

    SolarAPP+ is needed to make installing rooftop solar with or without storage more “friction-free and consumer-friendly,” California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild agreed.

    County and city leaders should quickly adopt this new tool, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged during the July 15 webinar previewing SolarApp+… click here for more

    The EV Policy Fight Right Now

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: Regional Partnerships, Investment in Underserved Communities, and Demand Charge Alternatives Gain Attention in Q3 2021

    November 3, 2021 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[The NCCETC Q3 2021 50 States of Electric Vehicles found] 46 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q3 2021…with the greatest number of actions relating to rebate programs, rate design for vehicle charging, and charging station deployment…A total of 460 electric vehicle actions were taken…So far in 2021, 42 states have enacted legislation affecting transportation electrification…

    …[Three trends in electric vehicle actions were] (1) demand charge alternatives based on utilization under consideration, (2) states and utilities pursuing transportation electrification through regional cooperation, and (3) states dedicating transportation electrification funds for underserved communities…

    …[Five of the top policy developments were] The New York State Legislature adopting 100% zero-emission vehicle sales goals…Massachusetts utilities filing major electric vehicle plans…Connecticut regulators approving an expansive electric vehicle incentive program…Illinois legislators requiring utilities to file beneficial electrification plans…and New Mexico regulators approving Xcel Energy’s transportation electrification plan…” click here for more

    Monday, November 15, 2021

    Monday Study – A Real Solution For Texas

    Energy Efficiency And Demand Response: Tools To Address Texas’s Reliability Challenges

    Steven Nadel, Christine Gerbode, and Jennifer Amann, October 2021 (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)

    Executive Summary

    Texas has recently experienced major electric reliability problems, as illustrated by large load shedding during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. This event reflected the extraordinarily high demand for electric home heating (from inefficient homes and equipment) combined with the loss of 50% of the state’s generation fleet (due to freezing weather, fuel supply, and equipment failures). The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the power system serving 90% of Texans, also faces summer supply challenges, as illustrated by calls for power conservation in June 2021. In that case, the shortage was driven by a large number of plants being out of service for unplanned repairs. ERCOT’s energy-only wholesale market design and evolving generation resource mix are widely viewed as complicating the task of maintaining reliability as the power supply mix changes.

    Numerous solutions have been proposed to address these problems, including subsidized winterization of existing power plants and critical grid infrastructure, and construction of many new power plants. For instance, two proposals would invest $8 billion in a fleet of new gas-fired power plants—to be used only in emergency conditions but charged to all ERCOT electric customers. An alternate way to address these problems is to expand Texas’s currently limited energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR) programs, with a focus on programs that can substantially reduce summer and winter peak demand. This latter approach is the focus of this analysis, which explores the impact of a set of utilityadministered energy efficiency and demand response programs targeting the residential sector. 1

    We find that a set of seven residential energy efficiency and demand response retrofit measures, deployed aggressively under statewide direction over five years (2022 start-up, 2023–2027 deployment) could serve about 9 million Texas households and offset about 7,650 MW of summer peak load and 11,400 MW of winter peak load—approximately equaling the capability of the proposed new gas combined-cycle generators—at a 5-year total programmatic cost of about $4.9 billion. This would be 39% less costly than the $8 billion of capital investment proposed for new, rarely used gas plants, and fully avoid additional costs for generator fuel, maintenance, and transmission infrastructure. Once installed, these efficiency measures would continue delivering around-the-clock comfort, energy and energy bill savings, and peak load reduction for 10- to 20-year measure lives.

    Ongoing investment in EE and DR could continue growing these customer savings benefits over time, while giving ERCOT and the Commission time to stabilize the supply-side power market rules and infrastructure.

    Specifically, this paper looks at seven residential retrofit measures selected for their proven capability to reduce summer or winter peak electricity demand. We also considered the impacts of a planned federal phaseout of incandescent lamps on energy demand in Texas. This paper estimates these measures’ potential to improve ERCOT’s system reliability by cutting summer or winter peak loads or delivering grid flexibility services:

    • Program to replace electric furnaces with ENERGY STAR® heat pumps

    • Attic insulation and sealing incentive program

    • Smart thermostat incentive program

    • Heat pump water heaters incentive program

    • Central air conditioner demand response program with smart thermostat control

    • Water heater demand response program

    • Electric vehicle managed charging program

    • Federal incandescent lamp phaseout (a federal measure that will have impacts in Texas)

    Overall, we found that aggressive deployment of the first 7 of these EE and DR measures over 5 years, reaching about 9 million Texas households (single-family and multifamily), could reduce winter peaks in Texas by about 11,400 MW and summer peaks by about 7,650 MW (from what they would otherwise be; see figure ES-1). This nearly matches the total generation capacity of ten new gas-fired combined-cycle power plants of 800 MW each (similar to recent proposals), without incurring additional costs for gas fuel or additional transmission and distribution capital investments to serve increased load. The summer demand reductions are about 10% of Texas’s all-time summer peak while the winter reductions are about 15% of what the peak would have been in February 2021 had power been provided to all customers without power shutoffs. The incandescent lamp phaseout adds 500 MW of summer peak reductions and 2,200 MW of winter peak reductions. Not including the incandescent lamp savings, the seven programs will reduce annual electricity consumption by about 6,600 million kWh of electricity, equivalent to the annual power draw of about 580,000 Texas homes (i.e., more homes than in Dallas).

    Results by program are summarized in table ES-1. The largest winter peak reductions come from replacing electric furnaces with heat pumps. The largest summer peak reductions are from central air conditioner demand response. The attic insulation and sealing program has the largest energy (kWh) savings while the smart thermostat program has the best benefitcost ratio. The attic insulation and sealing program will improve resident comfort and safety in extreme weather events in addition to energy and peak savings. This program accounts for about 60% of the total cost of the seven-program package but is foundational to make heating and cooling measures more effective.

    The first seven proposed programs will cost about $700 million in the first full-scale year and about $1 billion per year for the next four years. We recommend that 2022 be used for program planning and launch, with 2023 being the first full year of expanded programs. For 2022 we recommend that present energy efficiency and demand response budgets be doubled from the $140 million budgeted in 2021 to about $280 million in 2022. This increased budget can be used to plan and begin implementing scaled-up programs and can also be used to assess and assist contractors who implement programs and install measures to scale up their operations, including in rural areas. New federal programs could make substantial contributions to these budgets as discussed in the body of the report.

    While these costs are substantial, new power plants will cost even more in terms of capital costs but will deliver capacity and energy more slowly, with additional costs for fuel and maintenance that must be paid each year. For the energy efficiency and demand response programs we modeled, annual operating costs to the utilities are included in the $1 billion/year budget. Over the life of these measures, the average cost of these energy savings is about 5.6 cents/kWh, nearly half the 10 cents/kWh avoided cost estimated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and less than half the 12 cents/kWh average residential electric rate in Texas. And when extreme Arctic storms or summer heat waves strike, these measures will already be installed in homes, protecting Texans and posing no deliverability challenges.

    Our analysis is a preliminary one, intended to offer ballpark estimates for what energy efficiency and demand response could accomplish quickly in Texas. Additional analysis will be needed. ACEEE is prepared to conduct a more detailed analysis looking more fully at programs costs, load shape impacts, rate impacts, and employment impacts (e.g., these investments will create many jobs).

    The bottom line is that the energy efficiency and load management programs examined will deliver large benefits to Texas consumers and utilities. Consumers will benefit from the following:

    • Reduced peak demand in summer and winter will enhance grid reliability by better balancing power demand and supply and creating more grid flexibility tools with demand response. These measures will make Texas much less likely to reach the demand-supply imbalance that triggers power curtailments.

    • Lower energy bills (due to reduced consumption and reduced need for utility capital expenditures) will be useful for all Texas households but particularly useful for low- and moderate-income Texas households who often face high energy bills as a percent of their income.

    • Improved comfort, safety, and health because insulation and sealing will make homes more comfortable and better able to retain temperatures during power outages, among other non-energy benefits.

    Utilities will see reduced capital needs because lower demand will decrease needed transmission and distribution investments. ERCOT and Texas residents will benefit from a more reliable grid that is less vulnerable to increasing extreme weather events.

    These measures focus on residential energy efficiency retrofit measures, since Texas’s large stock of old, inefficient homes is where much of the state’s energy waste is occurring. But since Texas’s population and economy are growing at robust rates, Texas can and should capture additional long-term energy savings and avoid locking in additional energy waste by adopting more rigorous energy efficiency standards for all new building construction.

    Texas is now at a crossroads. The state can continue on the same path that led to massive power curtailments in February 2021 and more limited ones in June 2021. Or Texas can diversify its energy portfolio by tapping the huge potential of inefficient homes, buildings, and appliances to create energy efficiency and demand response resources that save money and improve reliability for all Texans.

    Saturday, November 13, 2021

    Greta From “The Greenwash Festival”

    Greta says the first thing to know is “our emperors are naked.” From Guardian News via YouTube

    The Net-F**ked By 2050 Solution

    There is always the “Blah Blah Blah” solution or the simple solution: Stop using Old Energy and build New Energy. From thejuicemedia via YouTube

    John Oliver On Keeping The Lights On

    Maybe a little investment is not a bad idea for the system that delivers the electricity that runs everything? Start with an investment of time in this 20-minute piece.From LastWeek Tonight via YouTube

    Friday, November 12, 2021

    Facts For Fighting The Climate Crisis

    5 facts that debunk climate change misinformation; From natural disasters to high carbon dioxide levels, climate change is here.

    Oscar Gonzalez, November 8, 2021 (C/NET)

    “…Humans have already warmed the planet by 1.1 degrees Celsius, and temperatures are expected to keep rising, according to a landmark scientific report…[But less] than 10% of misleading posts on Facebook describing climate change as "hysteria" or a "scam," or similar terms, get marked as misinformation…[and] 10 publishers are responsible for 69% of the climate misinformation on the world's largest social network…

    Fact: Climate change is real, and the evidence is unequivocal…[S]ome people still don't believe climate change is happening or that humans are responsible…From a scientific perspective, the data is clear…[R]ising CO2 levels (now at 419 ppm) are causing profound impacts…Fact: Weather and climate are separate entities…[C]limate change doesn't mean it won't ever get cold…Fact: Solar and wind energy are now cheaper to produce than fossil fuel energy…and show signs of going even cheaper…

    Fact: Increased levels of carbon dioxide are bad for the planet…[though some] ignore the harmful effects of too much CO2 and look at only how it's beneficial…Fact: There are more extreme weather events happening now…[S]cience shows extreme weather events are growing in number and intensity…” click here for more