NewEnergyNews: 05/01/2022 - 06/01/2022

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-New Energy Boomed With World 2021 Power Demand, Emissions
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Collaboration Can Cut Cost To Beat World's Climate Crisis
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY,:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: Trying To Make Arizona’s Just Energy Transition More Just
  • TTTA Wednesday-Solar Prices Keep Getting Better
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Monday Study – New Insights On The Impacts Of Electricity Costs
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Diversity Commitment Growing In New Energy Industries
  • Weekend Video: Next-Gen Geothermal
  • Weekend Video: New Energy For New Build Housing
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Earth’s Numbers Show Record-Breaking Heat
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy Could Save $$$Millions
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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, October 1-2:
  • The Light From Solar Power
  • New Energy’s Delivery Needs
  • Think About Power To The Plug

    Monday, May 30, 2022

    Monday Study – Clean Power's 2022 Boom

    Clean Power Quarterly 2022 Q1

    May 24, 2022 (American Clean Power)

    2022 Q1 Highlights

    Clean Power Project Installations

    • In the first quarter of 2022, the industry installed 6,619 MW of utility-scale clean power capacity, enough to power 1.4 million American homes. This represents $9.3 billion in capital investments.

    • This quarter surpassed the first quarter of 2021 by over 11% to become the largest Q1 to date for new clean power installations. In was a record first quarter for both solar and storage, though wind installations were down 3% compared to 2021. Despite a record first quarter, the growth rate in clean power capacity has slowed. Between 2019 and 2021, first quarter installations increased by an average of 50% yearover-year.

    • Developers commissioned 90 project phases across 24 states. Texas led the nation in clean power additions in the first three months of the year, installing 1,528 MW, followed by Oklahoma (998 MW), California (858 MW), Nevada (645 MW), and Florida (638 MW).

    • Solar was the leading technology of the quarter, with 56 new projects coming online totaling 2,997 MW. Wind ranked second, with 10 new installs totaling 2,865 MW. Finally, 24 new battery storage projects were installed this quarter with a total capacity of 758 MW.

    • Cumulatively, operating clean power capacity in the country is now nearly 208 GW.

    Clean Power Capacity Under Construction and in Advanced Development

    • Despite many obstacles facing the industry, a record amount of clean power projects are in the pipeline. The pipeline is made up of almost 1,100 projects with a total capacity of 125,476 MW. This includes 40,522 MW under construction and 84,953 MW in advanced development.

    • Texas, with 21,974 MW in development, is the top state in terms of pipeline capacity. California sits in second with 14,114 MW, followed by New York (8,750 MW), and Virginia (6,439 MW).*

    • Solar continues to be the leading technology in the pipeline, accounting for 56% of all clean power capacity in development. Land-based wind accounts for 19% of the pipeline, offshore wind an additional 14%, and storage the remaining 12%.

    • The pipeline grew by just 4% from the end of 2021, much lower than the 12% quarterly growth the pipeline saw in 2021.

    • Due to challenges such as trade and tariff concerns and lingering supply chain disruptions, the timelines and ultimate fates of many projects in the pipeline is in question. As of the end of the quarter, over 14.8 GW of clean power projects have experienced delays. On average project have been delayed seven months.

    Clean Power Procurement Activity

    • Companies announced 6,339 MW of new power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the first quarter, down 10% from last quarter and 12% from the first quarter of 2021. Uncertainties in project development prospects and timelines may have led buyers of clean power to be more cautious in signing new offtake agreements.

    • Despite the drop in offtake capacity announced, the number of purchasers making annoucements has been consistent over the past three first quarters at around 30 companies.

    • Corporate buyers were among those most hesitant to sign on to new clean power PPAs. Corproate offtakers announced 3,309 MW of new PPAs this quarter, a notable 23% decline from the first quarter of last year.

    • Utilities on the other hand increased PPA announcements by 82% compared to the same period last year, with 2,513 MW of new PPAs announced this quarter.

    • Solar has dominated PPA announcements since 2019. The first quarter of 2022 was no exception. Solar made up almost three quarters (72%) of new announcements, followed by wind at 21%, and battery storage at 7%.

    • Clean power projects that came online this quarter primarily have PPAs in place (53%). Direct ownership and use of clean power by utilities continues to be popular, accounting for 37% of the capacity that came online this quarter…

    Clean power project pipeline

    Wind

    • Land-based wind, the largest source of operating clean power, accounts for 18%, or 23,346 MW of the pipeline. Offshore wind makes up an additional 14% (17,458 MW) of the pipeline.

    • Texas has the most wind in development, with 3,008 MW in advanced development and 3,655 MW under construction. Texas also had the highest capacity start construciton or enter advanced development this quarter at 906 MW.

    • Wyoming has the second most land-based wind in the pipeline at 3,000 MW, followed by Illinois (2,247 MW), and New York (1,446 MW).

    • Numerous states along the coasts have offshore wind projects in development located in federal waters. Based on the state of power delivery, New York is leading the nation with 4,318 MW in development. New Jersey has 3,758 MW in development, ranking in second place. Massachusetts is in third with 3,242 MW, and Virginia in fourth (2,587 MW). Solar

    • Despite the numerous headwinds facing the industry, solar still makes up more than half of the development pipeline (56%), with 21,497 MW under construction and 48,492 MW in advanced development.

    • Texas ranks first for solar capacity in development as well, with nearly 12.8 GW, accounting for almost 20% of the total solar pipeline. California is a distant second, with 7,943 MW of solar in the pipeline. Indiana rounds out the top three with 5,234 MW.

    • Growth in the solar pipeline has slowed, however. Since the end of 2021, the solar pipeline has increased by just 5%. Between quarters in 2021, solar capacity in the pipeline increased by an average of nearly 15%. In addition to this slower growth, project developers are delaying expected commissioning dates and have expressed uncertainty about the future of many projects, with some reporting all solar project in the pre-construction phase as “on-hold.”

    Storage

    • The battery storage pipeline continues to reach historic heights. As of the end of the quarter, 14,701 MW/36,533 MWh of storage capacity is in development. This is an 18% increase since the end of 2021. On average, the storage pipeline has grown by 20% each quarter over the last four quarters.

    • Hybrid projects have played a significant role in the growth of battery storage across the country. Of the 14,701 MW in development, 66% is part of a hybrid project, and 34% is standalone. • California, due to its high solar penetration rate and need to shift electricity generated by solar to other periods of the day, leads the storage pipeline with 5,941 MW, or 42% of the total pipeline. Texas sits in second but has more than 3,400 MW less in development. Nevada ranks third with 1,473 MW, and Arizona fourth with 1,316 MW.

    DOC Investigation Delays Projects

    • The Department of Commerce’s decision to initiate a review of Auxin’s petition to apply anti-dumping and countervailing duties against solar module manufacturers located in Southeast Asia has had an immediate, chilling effect on the U.S. solar industry.

    • ACP issued a market impact survey to gather a sample of the impacts this inquiry is already having on crystalline-silicon PV projects. The survey results include data from leading utility-solar developers representing over 150 active projects.

    • Prior to Commerce’s decision to initiate this inquiry, market researches anticipated 17 GWdc of utility-scale crystalline silicon (c-si) solar capacity to be added to the grid in 2022 and nearly 20 GWdc in 2023. ACP’s market impact survey indicates at least 65% of the projected c-si market across 2022-2023 is already at risk of cancellation or delay. The most common reason for delay/cancellation is a lack of module availability.

    • Given the timing of Commerce’s decision announcement, we don’t expect to see an effect on quarterly deployment volumes until later in the year. This report covers January through March and Commerce’s decision became official on April 1st…

    Offshore Wind Activity State and Industry Updates

    • On January 31, Louisiana announced an offshore wind goal of 5 GW installed by 2035 as part of the state’s first ever Climate Action Plan. To date, nine states have set offshore wind procurement targets totaling nearly 45 GW.

    • On February 11, New York State broke ground on the 130 MW South Fork Wind Project as Ørsted and Eversource’s joint venture announced the approval of the final investment decision for the project. South Fork Wind Farm is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

    • On February 28, EnBW announced it will sell its EnBW North America subsidiary and its wind operations in the US to TotalEnergies. The acquisition includes the New York and New Jersey offshore wind lease area that was recently awarded to EnBW and TotalEnergies in the February lease auction. Additionally, under the acquisition, TotalEnergies will acquire the shares held by EnBW in Castle Wind LLC, a joint venture with Trident Wind to develop the 1,000 MW wind project off the coast of California at Morro Bay.

    • In March, Equinor, BP, and Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, L.P. announced that they will upgrade and build out the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal as an offshore wind operations and maintenance base that will support the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects. The terminal will also become a power interconnection site for the Empire Wind 1 project. Heavy lift platforms will also be built for wind turbine staging and installation for developers.

    • At the end of March, the House of Representatives passed a bill which creates citizenship-based restrictions for crews on foreign-flagged vessels working on offshore wind facilities that could create a serious impediment for domestic offshore wind construction.

    Record Q1 solar installations

    • In the first three months of the year solar developers installed 2,997 MW. Total online solar capacity is now 63,883 MW, a 5% increase from the end of 2021.

    • Solar installs were up by 11% compared to the first quarter of 2021. In fact, this quarter is the highest first quarter for solar installs on record.

    • Despite the increase in installs, over 2.8 GW of projects expected to come online in the first quarter were delayed. 86% were delayed to later in 2022, but the remaining 14% were pushed out into 2023 or later.

    Nearly 3 GW of solar commissioned across the country

    • Across 19 states 2,997 MW of solar capacity was installed in the first quarter. This includes 56 new projects.

    • Florida overtook Texas, the typical leader, this quarter with more than 620 MW of new solar capacity coming online. Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, and Tampa Electric Company brought 9 projects online in Florida in the quarter. Texas ranked second with 570 MW coming online, followed by California with 502 MW.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Slate solar was largest solar project to come online this quarter. The 300 MW project, developed by Recurrent Energy, is located in California and is paired with a 140 MW/561 MWh battery.

    Rapid growth of battery storage industry continues

    • 758 MW/2,537 MWh of new battery storage power capacity came online in the first quarter, bringing total operating capacity to 5,488 MW/13,911 MWh.

    • First quarter 2022 installs represent a 173% increase compared to the same period last year. The storage industry has been experiencing the most rapid growth of any clean power technology, with an average of an over 50% increase in installed capacity annually over the last decade.

    • Cumulatively, California has the most battery storage capacity online (2,632 MW), representing almost half of total operational storage capacity across the country. Texas is a distant second with 942 MW of battery storage capacity operating, followed by Florida with 469 MW.

    • 34 standalone battery storage projects came online in in the first quarter. 55% of the battery storage capacity that came online in the first quarter is part of a hybrid project. 47% of all operational storage capacity is part of a hybrid project.

    • The Valley Center Battery Storage Project, owned and developed by Terra-Gen, was the largest stand-alone battery project to come online this quarter. Located in California, the project has a 140 MW battery system with a storage energy capacity of 560 MWh.

    Storage duration increasing over time

    • The average storage duration has increased by almost 2.5 hours over the past decade, increasing from 1 hour in 2012 to 3.46 hours in the first quarter of 2022.

    • Projects in the pipeline have an average storage duration of 3.34 and 3.52 hours for projects under construction and in advanced development, respectively.

    • There are now five projects online that have a storage duration of 8 hours: East Hampton Energy Storage Center (5 MW/40 MWh), ETT Presidio NaS Battery (4 MW/32 MWh), Montauk Energy Storage Center (5 MW, 40 MWh), Nantucket Storage (6 MW/ 48 MWh), and Northwest Ohio Storage (0.8 MW/ 3.4 MWh).

    Nearly 1.4 GW of hybrid projects installed in Q1

    • This quarter 1,375 MW of hybrid project capacity came online. The vast majority, 1,295 MW, was from solar + storage projects. This is a significant jump from Q1 of last year when only 92 MW of hybrid projects came online.

    • 9,584 MW of hybrid projects are fully operational, meaning all technologies and phases are online. 5,141 MW sit in the partially online stage, meaning one or more technologies is operating, but other phases are still in development. Finally, there is over 27,400 MW of hybrid capacity in the pipeline.

    • Slate Solar + Storage was the largest hybrid project to come online this quarter. Owned by Goldman Sachs and located in Kings County, California, the project includes 300 MW of solar capacity and 140 MW/561 MWh of battery storage capacity.

    • The solar and storage portions of NextEra’s Wheatridge hybrid project located in Oregon came online this quarter. The nearly 300 MW wind portion of the project came online at the end of 2020 and is now paired with 50 MW of solar and 30 MW/120 MWh of battery storage.

    Operating hybrid capacity tops 12 GW

    • There are now 12,338 MW of hybrid project capacity operating across the country, a 13% increase from the end of 2021. This includes fully operational hybrid projects and the operational portions of partially online projects.

    • Initially, wind paired with storage was the most common type of hybrid project, until 2017 when solar + storage stole the first-place ranking. No new wind + storage projects have come online since 2020.

    • There is currently 8,458 MW of solar + storage project capacity operating, 2,500 MW of wind + storage, just over 1,000 MW of wind + solar + storage, and 377 MW of wind + solar…

    Saturday, May 28, 2022

    EU Turns To New Energy To Beat Putin

    Among the many ways that Putin’s war makes no sense is that it is turning his biggest oil and gas markets against him. From MSNBC via YouTube

    New Energy, Public Safety Threatened By Decaying Power System

    Outages are coming faster and the ultimate bill is getting higher. The sooner the nation invests in a system retrofit, the sooner the costs stop mounting. From Reuters via YouTube

    Florida Sees The Sea Rising

    Floods that happened once a year will happen once a month by 2050. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Friday, May 27, 2022

    The New Energy “Lifeline”

    ‘Lifeline’ of renewable energy can steer world out of climate crisis: UN chief

    18 May 2022 (United Nations News)

    “…[H]uman activity is causing harm on a planetary scale - to our land, ocean and atmosphere…[T]he past seven years have been the warmest on record, with global temperature in 2021 reaching about 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels… UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that while time is running out to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis, there is a ‘lifeline’ right in front of us…[It is accelerating] the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home…[because transforming] energy systems is ‘low-hanging fruit’…

    …[R]enewable energy technologies such as wind and solar are readily available and in most cases, cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels…[T]he UN chief proposed five critical actions to jump-start the energy transition, which he called the ‘peace project of the 21st century’….1. Treating renewable energy technologies as essential global public goods…[and] removing obstacles to knowledge sharing and technological transfer, including intellectual property constraints…

    …2. Secure, scale up and diversify the supply components and raw materials for renewable energy technologies…[with] more international coordination…3. Build frameworks and reform fossil fuel bureaucracies…to fast-track and streamline approvals of solar and wind projects, modernize grids and set ambitious renewable energy targets that provide certainty to investors, developers, consumers and producers…4. Shift subsidies away from fossil fuels…[The half a trillion dollars that artificially lower the price of fossil fuels are] more than triple the subsidies given to renewables…5. Private and public investments in renewable energy must triple… click here for more

    The New Energy World At War

    Global Power and Renewables Research Highlights, May 2022

    Rama Zakaria, 18 May 2022 (HIS Markit/S&P Global)

    “…As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to rage, global energy markets are witnessing unprecedented volatilities…On the back of already tight global fuel markets from last year, the conflict has pushed spot coal and gas prices to record highs, making wholesale power prices skyrocket around the world. The crisis also prolonged global supply chain disruptions and instigated new energy security concerns….[C]oal and gas markets are expected to remain tight in the near term, continuing to pressure power prices. While the situation is particularly acute in Europe given its dependence on Russian fuel imports, the impacts are being felt globally—albeit to varying extents…

    Sustained tight fuel markets, in turn, challenge power system reliability, with supply disruption risks expected to be higher in markets such as South and Southeast Asia where affordability is a concern. In the short term, the focus on energy security could translate to higher coal and nuclear generation, but in the medium to long term, there will likely be a push to accelerate the energy transition and reduce fossil fuel dependence—although the pace of transition will likely be different in different regions…[T]he Ukraine conflict has also renewed supply chain risks for clean technologies, as Russia is a significant producer of critical materials used in wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), and battery storage.

    In 2021, raw material prices increased by 10-20% compared with the previous year, owing to the global supply chain crisis. While costs are projected to increase by an additional 5-10% in 2022, the impacts are anticipated to be temporary and clean energy supply chains are expected to remain resilient. A more lasting impact of the war would be increased regionalization of supply chain. Despite the Ukraine conflict, countries around the world are making progress on energy transition policies, to varying extents, while also keeping supply security and economic growth top of mind… click here for more

    Wednesday, May 25, 2022

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: California’s Step Toward An Automated Power System

    The Big Picture on Emerging Clean Technologies: Transactive Energy

    Herman K. Trabish, January 27, 2022 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: This imagined future is continues to beckon from just over the horizon as technologies and energy generation get smarter.

    Transactive Energy, an emerging approach to balancing the power system with flexible distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar and smart thermostats, took two important steps forward in the last month. The steps may lead to using far more transactive energy to improve power system reliability, lower emissions, and reduce utility bills.

    The underlying work has been pioneered by the Grid Wise Architecture Council in collaboration with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The term “transactive” applies to value-based transactions that use demand flexibility to manage the system, according to the Grid Wise Council. It may be used to manage a part of the system, like the residential demand response that reduces energy consumption to lower stress on the grid. Or it may be used to manage the power system from “generation to consumption,” the Grid Wise Council said.

    The first step toward making transactive energy a reality was a California Energy Commission initiative in December to enable automated responses to real-time price signals from grid-connected residential clean distributed energy resources. The second step was the Pacific Northwest Lab’s Jan. 25 release of the results from the biggest-ever transactive energy simulation, showing it can help balance a Texas-sized power system while lowering all customers’ costs.

    The proposed Energy Commission platform would allow automated responses to granular price signals from smart customer-owned clean energy technologies that reduce system costs. Capturing the demand flexibility of customer-owned resources could be worth as much as $267 million through 2040 at the distribution level in California, CEC staff estimated.

    The Pacific Northwest Lab transactive energy simulation showed a possible $5 billion per year net benefit from using demand flexibility to optimize an Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)-sized power market. The simulation included over 100 generation sources through 40 utility distribution systems serving 60,000 homes and businesses with 100,000 smart devices, the lab reported.

    The simulation verified that “stable and effective coordination” of flexible assets could provide a 9% to 15% reduction in peak loads, and a 20% to 44% reduction in daily load, with more distributed energy resources having a greater impact. These benefits were possible because transactive energy harmonizes energy supply and demand by allowing automated negotiation of energy needs and costs by electricity suppliers, energy markets, the power system, and DER users, according to Pacific Northwest Lab… click here for more

    NatGas Price Spikes On EU Stand Against Russia

    US natural gas prices surge as Europe turns away from Russian energy; Benchmark more than doubles from past decade’s average as exports grow and producers hold back

    Derek Brower, May 4, 2022 (Financial Times)

    “The US economy’s long era of cheap shale gas is showing signs of fading, with prices hitting the highest in more than a decade and Europe and Asia ready to pay more to import American supplies…[The rising Henry Hub natural gas benchmark is] far above the $3 average of the previous 10 years. A persistent source of demand are plants that liquefy the gas for export overseas. The coastal facilities, a critical piece of Europe’s plans to cut Russian supplies after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, have been running at maximum capacity during the rally…

    …Shale gas producers, whose headlong growth in the 2010s depressed prices and made US liquefied natural gas export projects viable, have also been slow to increase output in response to the market surge…[Demand from LNG plants has leapt] since the start of March…More shipments are anticipated this year as Cheniere Energy expands an export plant in Louisiana and rival Venture Global opens one in the state. The Energy Information Administration forecasts LNG exports, which began on the Gulf of Mexico in 2016, will increase another 25 per cent between 2021 and 2022…

    …[NatGas in the US remains far cheaper than in Europe and Asia, and the] disparity creates an incentive to add more export plants…The US and EU recently signed an agreement in which the US would to ship 50bn cubic metres a year of added LNG to Europe by 2030, almost 50 per cent more than the US’s current export capacity. The extra LNG demand comes as US electricity consumption is on the rebound, driving domestic gas consumption. Combined with sluggish production growth from shale gasfields, it has left US gas stockpiles at their lowest seasonal level in three years and well below the five-year average…” click here for more

    Monday, May 23, 2022

    Monday Study – The Stark Economic Risks Of The Climate Crisis

    A time for action on climate change and a time for change in economics

    Nicholas Stern, October 2021 (Centre for Climate Change Economics and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment)

    Part I

    Urgency, scale and opportunity

    The science of climate change and the role of targets We must start with the science2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been in existence since 1988 and has produced a series of assessment reports, published every few years, about the current state of knowledge on climate change. Each one of those assessments has been more worrying than the last. The first one, published in 1990, was extremely worrying, but the outlook has only worsened as the evidence has become ever stronger of effects coming through more quickly and with greater intensity than we expected. The latest report (the sixth Assessment Review) published in August 2021 has demonstrated even more clearly and unanimously that we are under intense time pressure if we are to be able to hold temperatures at levels which manage the most extreme risks (IPCC, 2021). Global mean surface temperature is already 1.1°C above that of the end of the 19th century, our usual benchmark…

    Urgency

    The next decade is critical. Choices made on infrastructure and capital now will either lock us in to high emissions, or set us on a low-carbon growth path which can be sustainable and inclusive. In the next 15-20 years infrastructure will roughly double; in the next 20-25 years the world economy will probably double; and in the next 40 years the urban population will likely double. If that new infrastructure, the new world economy, or the towns and cities we build look anything like the old, we will have no hope of meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The infrastructure we build in the next 15- 20 years will be decided in the next few years. That is why we have to act quickly. A sense of urgency is absolutely critical in our decision making.

    A new form of growth

    The necessary rapid change across the whole system, just described, can be a story of growth, indeed the only sustainable story of growth. In the shorter term, the necessary investments can boost demand in a world where planned savings exceed planned investments (with sluggish demand and low real interest rates). In the short and medium term it is full of innovation, investment, discovery, and new ways of doing things. It can be more efficient; and much cleaner. It can create cities where we can move and breathe, and ecosystems which are robust and fruitful. It is potentially a very attractive, different way of doing things, relative to past dirty models, with so many gains across the different dimensions of well-being. But that does not mean that it is easy. It does mean that it is sensible, it does mean that it is attractive, and it is within our grasp. We have to change radically and, particularly, invest and innovate strongly to get there. That is the challenge. But there can be a real payoff in terms of a much better form of growth. We must also remember that there is unlikely to be a long-run growth story that is high carbon; it would likely create, the IPCC reports show, a physical environment so hostile as to derail growth and undermine living standards across the board…

    Rapid technological change

    Technology has changed very rapidly over the last 15 years or so. A whole range of low-emission technologies, that are already competitive with fossil-fuel based technologies without subsidy or a carbon price, have emerged. Capital costs for renewable electricity continue to fall much faster than those for conventional technologies and many electric vehicle technologies are now close to costcompetitive with their fossil-fuel counterparts…

    The first decades of this century, the COVID crisis, and the climate crisis

    We are at a very special moment in history, facing two crises: the COVID crisis that we are experiencing right now (summer of 2021)- we hope shorter-term, although that itself depends on strong global action - and the climate crisis, which is going to stay with us for a long time. The climate crisis embodies risks and challenges that are bigger, deeper and longer-lasting even than the tragic COVID crisis. There are powerful arguments that we have to tackle these crises in a similar way; with strong, innovative investment, to drive a recovery and create a new form of development and growth. But in assessing ways forward we must begin with the first two decades of this century and paths of investment and growth…

    Tackling the twin crises and creating a new internationalism

    Tackling the two crises requires a new and shared understanding of how to reconstruct our economies and societies and the meaning of “build back better”. That understanding should be based on a recognition of the nature and origins of the fragilities and difficulties that had been growing before the COVID crisis broke over us. Rebuilding in a different way will involve substantial investment and innovation, and the global nature of the challenges demands international collaboration. There have always been arguments for internationalism; in our current circumstances they are extraordinarily powerful…

    Realising investment for a strong and sustainable recovery

    Investment

    In section 3, I explained why strong, internationally coordinated investment should be at centre stage, right through from recovery from the COVID pandemic to transformational growth and the drive to a net-zero economy. What kind of orders of magnitude of investment do we need to make? To bring through the new ways of doing things and the new technologies required to make that happen, we have to increase investment by around 2-3 percentage points of GDP across the world, relative to the previous decade - more in some places, less in others – as well as change the composition of investment (in China, however, it is not a question of raising investment rates but changing the composition of investment). Many of these new technologies involve pulling capital increases forward, along with investing in different ways. Renewable electricity, for example, requires upfront investment whereas fuel cost savings are realised once the renewable technologies are operational. Importantly, these investments should not be seen narrowly in terms of extra costs from going “clean”; many of them have tremendous returns in terms of greater efficiency, cleaner air, better health and more. But an increase in the investment rate by 2-3 percentage points of GDP is needed to realise these gains, to recover sustainability and to put us on a new path…

    Policy

    These increases in investment, will require strong policy and a positive investment climate, including the functioning of relevant governmental institutions. Further, the many relevant market failures (see section 7b) and the urgency of change indicate the necessity of a whole range of policy instruments. Carbon pricing will be important, but alone it will not be enough. Complementary policies, including city design, regulation and standards, and investments in R&D, will also be needed…

    Finance

    Investment and innovation inevitably involve a certain amount of risk. Strong and rapid increases in investment might be seen as particularly risky, especially around infrastructure where early stage risk can be severe and the reliability of long-term revenue streams can be problematic. The necessary investment can be realised only with the right kind of finance, in the right place, at the right time, which can help reduce, share and manage the risk. Across the world there are great investment potential and strong savings. But there are important difficulties in turning opportunities into real investment programmes; good policies and social institutions have a powerful role to play…

    What we have learned since the Stern Review

    In the light of the policy analyses and arguments set out above, it is interesting to ask how issues and understanding have moved on since the publication of The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (Stern, 2006) in October 2006. Fifteen years on, the review’s core finding – that the costs of inaction on climate change are much greater than the costs of action – which was compelling then, in my view, is now still stronger. First, the science is ever more worrying. Greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise. There is evidence that the impacts of climate change are happening faster and with greater intensity than expected. We can see ever more clearly that there are significant risks of major areas, with currently large populations, becoming unliveable; thus the risks of mass migration and conflict look increasingly severe. Each IPCC report over the last three decades has looked more worrying. The IPCC 2018 report showed how much more dangerous 2oC is than 1.5oC. And the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC on the physical science, published in August 2021, paints a still more difficult picture; time is running out for strong and decisive action if we are to hold temperature increases to 1.5oC…

    Part II

    How economics must change

    An assessment of what the current situation demands of us, particularly for this decade, was set out in Part I. That requires changing our ways of producing and consuming, rapidly and fundamentally, and creating the investment, innovation, sets of policies, and the finance that could foster and support the change. How can we bring our economics to bear in a way that informs those very real and urgent problems? How can we use economic analysis to tell us as much as it possibly can about why to do this, how to do this, and the methods and policy instruments we should use? In this section I will focus, in terms of broad analytical approaches, on where we are in the economics discipline on climate change and argue that it is time for change in the economics of climate change and, in some respects, economics generally. In the following section, 7, I will argue that our subject does have much to offer in applying our existing tools and in developing new perspectives and analyses, but we must be innovative and, as a profession, engage much more strongly on this, the biggest issue of our times…

    New approaches to the economics of climate change

    I have tried to explain the limitations of the IAMs in tackling the big questions at issue: the understanding and management of extreme risk and of rapid structural change. So, what are good approaches to the economics of climate change? We are going to need a suite of different models, a variety of perspectives, and a collection of different ways of understanding different parts of the problem. And then good judgement in putting all these pieces together…

    Responsibility, opportunity, collaboration and leadership

    The strategic challenge is to move to a net-zero carbon economy within a few decades. The economics of action must be focused on the achievement of fundamental economic change at real pace, where time matters (Stern, 2018). That will involve, as I have stressed, looking at innovation, behaviour change, political economy, and the dynamics of all those elements. And we will need all of economics to take on these problems: international, industrial, labour, health, education, environment, energy, economic history and more. We should not be too narrowly focussed on a sub-discipline within economics if we are going to take on big problems of this kind; we should be economists. And we must work with other social scientists, scientists and engineers. Though we may have our specialities, we have to recognise that most elements of economics come into the challenge of climate change. There has never been anything more important, there has never been anything more fascinating, and we have much to offer from our existing set of ideas and tools if we put them to use. And we must develop new analysis and perspectives around risks and change. That is why I think it is time for change in economics…

    Saturday, May 21, 2022

    Powerful Voices Say The New Energy Economy Is Here

    Here a few of the voices at CleanPower 2022 testify to the marketplace triumph of New Energy. From American Clean Power Association via YouTube

    Tesla’s Texas GigaFactory Brings The Batteries

    Tesla calls this factory “a legitimate gamechanger” and its 8 million square feet of manufacturing space certainly appear ready to move transportation electrification ahead. From The Tesla Space via YouTube

    Arizona’s “Impact Earth” Team

    Arizona has been slow to awaken tp the climate crisis, but now it is recognizing what is happening and responding. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Friday, May 20, 2022

    Europe’s New Energy Transition Accelerating

    Ukraine war sparks new energy pivot

    16 May 2022 (Private Equity Wire)

    “One of the key levers in the West’s response to Russia’s Ukraine invasion has involved the energy market. The US, UK and EU have all pledged to reduce their purchases of Russian oil and gas in the years ahead, improving energy security and making gas and oil prices less volatile in the long-term…[I]t appears that the new drive for energy independence and security will revolve around the energy transition to renewables…

    ...[G]lobal renewable energy capacity is expected to rise over 60 per cent from 2020 levels to over 4800GW by 2026. Renewables will account for 95 per cent of the increase in global power capacity to that date with solar PV responsible for more than 50 per cent, given its lower cost of production than wind…China will remain the global leader in terms of capacity additions with it expected to reach 1200GW of total wind and solar capacity in 2026. India, Europe and the US alongside China account for 80 per cent of renewable capacity expansion worldwide…

    …[A]nother result of the Ukraine conflict is an “acceleration of investments in renewable and associated cleantech infrastructure [such as] faster hydrogen development and interconnection of EU electric networks”, according to a recent note from Bank of America…Movements are already being seen by governments…[Private equity] involvement is set to surge…[with continued investment in renewable energy and new capital] for hydrogen projects such as storage and electrolyser plants…[PE investment sources are calling] for a mature approach to the power and renewables sectors…[with technical expertise] to better understand the risk…” click here for more

    New Energy Still The Best Buy

    Solar PV, wind costs climbing, but still way cheaper than fossil fuel – report

    Lameez Omarjee 12 May 2022 (FIN 24)

    “Increasing commodity and freight prices are driving up the costs of solar PV and wind turbines, but these renewable energy generators are still more cost-competitive than fossil fuels like coal and gas…[According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) [Renewable Energy Market Update and outlook for 2022 and 2023,] prices of raw materials and freight costs have been rising since the start of 2021. By March 2022, the steel price increased by 50%, copper increased by 70% and aluminium doubled. Freight costs were five times higher than they were in 2021.

    This means that the prices of wind turbines and solar PV modules or panels have had to increase - reversing the previous trend of declining prices…[Solar PV and wind prices are expected] to remain higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and 2023…Rising freight costs are the main driver of higher wind prices, while solar PV increases are evenly split between freight and raw material costs…[But] higher prices of fossil fuels - natural gas, oil and coal - used in industrial processes and electricity supply to produce components in renewable energy technologies also drive costs…[and] renewable energy prices remain cost-competitive, as fossil fuel prices have risen at a much faster pace…

    …[Also,] residential and commercial users of solar PV have managed to reduce their electricity bills…[Renewable energy capacity is expected] to increase by 8% in 2022 and reach almost 320 GW. Solar PV is projected to be the front-running technology, accounting for 60% of global renewable capacity…The outlook for renewable energy deployment in 2023 depends heavily on the policy environment…[Russia's invasion of Ukraine] sparked a new urgency among some countries - especially the EU - to secure energy by transitioning clean generation while reducing dependence on fossil fuels from Russia…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 18, 2022

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: California’s Rooftop Solar Supports Questioned

    Prominent Energy Experts and Terminator Blast CA’s Revised Support for Rooftop Solar

    Herman K. Trabish, January 18, 2022 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: The nation is watching what California will do about this.

    Those calling for overhauling the California Public Utilities Commission’s proposed changes in rooftop solar’s Net Energy Metering now include a former federal energy commission chair and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The pending decision’s “discriminatory fixed fees on existing and new solar and storage customers are unprecedented,” wrote a group of 10 energy experts in a Jan. 17 letter to the CPUC, Gov. Gavin Newsom, and California Energy Commission. The commission proposal would increase the average solar plus storage customer’s charge to $116/month for utility service, they estimated.

    That charge and a reduced per kWh credit to rooftop solar owners for generation exported to the grid would extend the investment’s payback period from the current seven to nine years to over 20 years, making solar plus storage “essentially unaffordable for just about all customers,” they said. “Most people agree that NEM needs to be reformed,” but this proposed decision “does grave injustice to the state’s ambitious goals for electrification and decarbonization,” added signatory Ahmad Faruqui, retired Brattle Group Principal and an economist-at-large. It offers a rebate for batteries but makes rooftop solar essentially out of reach financially, defeating the goal of growing storage to enhance system reliability.

    Signatories also include former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Jon Wellinghoff and Jim Lazar, author of the handbook Electricity Regulation in the U.S. Schwarzenegger agreed with their arguments in a Jan. 17 New York Times editorial. While he was the state chief, California’s 10-year “Million Solar Roofs” initiative was launched, kicking off California’s rooftop solar boom.

    California leads the nation in distributed solar, which has reached 1.3 million rooftop solar systems and over 10,000 MW of generation, but this achievement “is now under threat,” Schwarzenegger warned. The new fixed charges are essentially a “solar tax” discouraging the progress it claims to support. But he also welcomed proposed incentives to encourage adding batteries to existing and new solar installations and proposed funding of installations for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

    A CPUC-ordered study found the existing NEM “disproportionately harms low-income customers” and a January 2021 Lookback Study showed cost shifts to all customers, wrote CPUC Administrative Law Judge Kelly Hymes in her decision. This proposed decision meets Assembly Bill 327’s mandate to protect both rooftop solar growth and avoid cost shifts to other customers, she concluded…

    The pending NEM is a “massive” shift of system costs from low income non-solar owning customers to high income solar owners, argued University of California Energy Institute at Haas Director and Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy Severin Borenstein, a member of the California Independent System Operator Board of Governors, in support of the proposed decision. Rooftop solar is a “much more costly way to provide renewable energy, creates less value for the grid than alternatives, and the current NEM “is a very bad way to subsidize it,” Borenstein added… click here for more

    The Transportation Electrification Policy Fight Goes On

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: Federal Infrastructure Funding and Managed Charging Programs in Focus During Q1 2022

    May 4, 2022 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[The Q1 2022 edition of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles finds that all 50 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q1 2022…[The greatest number of actions related] to rebate programs, grant programs, rate design for vehicle charging, and state procurement of electric vehicles…A total of 627 electric vehicle actions were taken…[The most active states were] Massachusetts, Illinois, California, New York, Minnesota, and Hawaii…[I]n 2022, 21 states have enacted legislation related to transportation electrification…[Three Q1 2022 trends were] (1) states planning for federal electric vehicle infrastructure funding, (2) utilities developing active managed charging pilot programs, and (3) state lawmakers addressing charging infrastructure siting issues…

    …[Five of the top policy developments of the quarter were] Washington lawmakers approving a light-duty vehicle electrification target…Utilities filing new managed charging pilots in North Carolina and Wisconsin…Missouri regulators approving new utility transportation electrification programs…The Governor of North Carolina increasing the state’s zero-emission vehicle adoption target…[and] Georgia legislators adopting a resolution to study transportation electrification…” click here for more

    Monday, May 16, 2022

    Monday Study – The Everywhere Drive To Modernize The Grid

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization: Q1 2022

    Rebekah de la Mora Brian Lips Vincent Potter Autumn Proudlove David Sarkisian, April 2022 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary

    WHAT IS GRID MODERNIZATION?

    Grid modernization is a broad term, lacking a universally accepted definition. In this report, the authors use the term grid modernization broadly to refer to actions making the electricity system more resilient, responsive, and interactive. Specifically, in this report grid modernization includes legislative and regulatory actions addressing: (1) smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure, (2) utility business model reform, (3) regulatory reform, (4) utility rate reform, (5) energy storage, (6) microgrids, and (7) demand response.

    Q1 2022 GRID MODERNIZATION ACTION

    In the first quarter of 2022, 49 states plus DC took a total of 578 policy and deployment actions related to grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 578 actions catalogued, the most common were related to deployment (128), policies (104), and financial incentives (103).

    TOP 5 GRID MODERNIZATION DEVELOPMENTS OF Q1 2022

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

    Virginia Regulators Approve Dominion Energy’s Grid Transformation Plan

    In January 2022, the Virginia State Corporation Commission approved Dominion Energy’s Phase II Grid Transformation Plan. The $666.5 million plan includes investments in AMI, a customer information platform, a DER management system, intelligent grid devices, fault isolation and service restoration, voltage optimization, and cybersecurity. Dominion has also provided a timeline for system-wide implementation of time-varying rates and an opt-in systemwide peak time rebate program.

    Grid Modernization Roadmap Released in New Mexico

    The New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department released its grid modernization roadmap in January 2022, following a working group process. The roadmap includes a number of consensus recommendations, including investing in AMI, updating interconnection rules and advanced inverter standards, creating a transmission planning group, and strategically deploying energy storage.

    Hawaii PUC Approves Bring Your Own Device Tariff Framework

    The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission issued an order in January 2022, establishing an advanced DER tariff offering, which will be a Bring Your Own Device tariff. The tariff will include three enrollment options – Level 1 will involve participants making certain dispatch commitments, Level 2 will involve the utility controlling dispatch for a predetermined number of events, and Level 3 will involve compensation for system grid services. The details of these tariff options will be addressed further in Phase 2 of the proceeding.

    Maine and New Hampshire Regulators Address Statewide Energy Data Platforms

    The Maine Public Utilities Commission completed its report on the feasibility of a statewide energy data platform during Q1 2022, finding that there is no existing solution that can provide the desired functionality and that the cost and complexity for such a platform would be significant. Meanwhile, New Hampshire regulators approved a design and framework for a statewide energy data platform authorized by 2019 legislation.

    New Jersey Regulators Approve AMI Deployment for Jersey Central Power & Light

    The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities issued an order in February 2022, approving Jersey Central Power & Light’s proposed deployment of AMI throughout its service territory. The utility will install 1.15 million advanced meters, totaling $390 million in capital investment. The decision also specifies that customer AMI usage data belongs to the customer, who may share it with third parties.

    MOST ACTIVE STATES AND SUBTOPICS OF Q1 2022

    The most common types of actions across the country related to energy storage deployment (80), utility business model reforms (51), smart grid deployment (43), advanced metering infrastructure deployment (35), and time-varying rates (30).

    The states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization in Q1 2022 can be seen in Figure 4. New York, Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and Minnesota saw the most action during the quarter, followed by Michigan, Hawaii, Washington, Connecticut, and Missouri. Overall, 49 states, plus DC, took actions related to grid modernization in Q1 2022.

    TOP GRID MODERNIZATION TRENDS OF Q1 2022

    States Examining Decommissioning and Recycling of Energy Storage Systems

    State legislatures considered numerous bills during Q1 2022 calling for the examination of decommissioning and recycling processes for energy storage systems. South Carolina lawmakers enacted a bill directing the Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop regulations to manage the decommissioning of solar and energy storage systems in excess of 13 acres. In Virginia, state legislators enacted bills requiring that the State Corporation Commission create a task force to analyze the life cycle of energy facilities including solar, wind, and/or battery storage. The study is to address recycling and salvage opportunities, waste strategies, and decommissioning. Legislation introduced in Tennessee would require a study that addresses end-of-life management for energy storage systems, while a Louisiana bill would establish decommissioning requirements for solar facilities, including those with energy storage.

    Utilities Pursuing Resiliency-As-A-Service Programs

    A growing number of utilities are requesting approval for “resiliency-as-a-service” programs involving customer-sited, utility-owned battery storage. In California, Liberty Utilities filed an application for a customer resiliency program, including a behind-the-meter battery energy storage offering targeting medical baseline, critical infrastructure, and large commercial segments. Liberty Utilities will own and maintain the storage systems, with participants making monthly payments. Xcel Energy filed an application with Colorado regulators to implement a resiliency service program tariff, providing utility-owned battery storage or other resiliency assets to commercial customers. DTE Electric proposed a customer-sited, utility-owned residential and commercial battery storage program in Michigan, and Georgia Power is currently developing a resilience asset service tariff to provide utility-owned distributed energy resources to commercial and industrial customers.

    State Legislators Exploring Financing and Incentives for Resiliency Improvements

    Across the country, state legislators have been considering new incentives and financing opportunities for resiliency improvements, including battery storage and microgrids. Legislation introduced in Louisiana would establish a disaster resiliency and grid stability battery incentive program, while a bill that did not advance in Florida would have created an energy security and disaster resilience pilot focused on solar-plus-storage for critical disaster resilience facilities. A Colorado bill would create a grant program to support microgrids for community resilience, and a bill introduced in California would provide grants to help local governments develop community energy resilience plans. Several states considered bills that would allow resiliency improvements to qualify for property assessed clean energy financing, with bills in Alaska and Pennsylvania advancing through one chamber and bills in Virginia and Wisconsin being signed into law.

    Saturday, May 14, 2022

    Carbon Offsets Go Wrong

    Carbon offsets can be part of the solution to the climate crisis but they have to be done right, with transparency, integrity, and rigorous accounting. From thejuicemedia via YouTube

    Russia Uses Electricity As A Weapon In Europe

    Russia is cutting the natural gas supply to EU countries to try to turn them against Ukraine. It isn’t working. From WION via YouTube