NewEnergyNews: 07/01/2022 - 08/01/2022

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

  • Weekend Video: Dems’ Climate Bill On Verge
  • Weekend Video: Colbert Talks Transportation Electrification With DOE Sec
  • Weekend Video: Europe In Heat
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Consider Climate Endgame and Tipping Points –Scientists
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global Energy Storage Boom Goes On
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, August 3:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: Rate Design As A Solution
  • TTTA Wednesday-Jobs In Solar Rise With The Sun
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Monday Study – A Close Look At The System Needed For Distributed New Energy
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: Bill Maher Talks Population And Climate
  • Weekend Video: Build Back Better Comes Back With New Energy
  • Weekend Video: Pix Of The West Drying Out
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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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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, August 8:
  • Big Gains From Dems’ New Climate Bill

    Saturday, July 30, 2022

    Bill Maher Talks Population And Climate

    The is the situation. Not all of it. There are solutions. But limiting the consequences by enacting the solutions requires recognizing first that this is the situation.From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube

    Build Back Better Comes Back With New Energy

    Many questions remain but it appears this is good news for New Energy. Tax credits extended and support for electrification.From The Daily Show with Trevor Noah via YouTube

    Pix Of The West Drying Out

    These images explain why what is happening to the climate is a crisis.From ABC news via YouTube

    Friday, July 29, 2022

    World’s Youth Want Big Benefits Of Climate Action

    Climate Action: Young People Are Making Themselves Heard. Now They Must Be Listened To. We all need to do more to promote and amplify the voices of the world’s young people.

    Michael Sheldrick and Martijn Lampert, July 25, 2022 (Global Citizen)

    “…[Climate action as a positive vision for the future should support the young people who are] using their own experiences to lead movements…[The world’s most vulnerable societies stand evermore on the precipice of climate calamity…The consequences will be most acutely felt by young people…[A]ction is being led by supposedly ‘disengaged youth’ from the world’s developing regions, who represent 88% of the global youth…[Their voices form a rallying cry demanding] action for the planet…[F]or too long, the voices of many of these citizen advocates have been ignored and misrepresented on the global stage…

    Too many feel [climate action] is a war in which there will inevitably be winners and losers…[and that the] needs, hopes, dreams, and aspirations of billions of people in poorer communities is of secondary concern…[Many also suggest] young people should put their concerns in life on hold to tackle climate change…[Any] climate narrative focused on limits to economic growth and future pessimism…[fails to] reflect the huge economic opportunities climate action presents, which many young people are among the biggest proponents of…[C]ontrary to the pessimistic presentation of climate action as a zero-sum economic game, young people in developing regions represent] a new pro-climate constituency impatient for change…

    …[The global young believe climate crisis solutions] will undoubtedly create new opportunities to improve the health, well-being, and livelihoods of one’s community, creating new jobs and economic opportunities, transforming and improving cities, clean air, supporting families, and ultimately raising living standards using new technologies…Viewed in this vein, action on climate change is an integral part of the broader program of societal and economic change, transition, and transformation that young people are hoping their leaders deliver on…[and] prevent the cynical appropriation of young peoples’ aspirations…” click here for more

    Reasons Why World New Energy Is Winning

    Global Shift Towards Renewable Energy Continues. Here are 7 Reasons Why People Prefer it

    Hanna DuBuque, July 25, 2022 (REVE)

    “…The global shift towards renewable energy is continuing on an upward trajectory, and this shift is due to several factors…[Because many businesses] operate on tight budgets, they need to find ways to reduce their expenses without compromising their operations or profitability. Using renewable energy sources can help them achieve both these goals at the same time…

    …Many people believe that humans can slow down or stop global warming by using alternative energy sources…[With home batteries, people can] use solar panels or wind turbines efficiently when electricity demand is low and store the excess energy for later use during peak…Many governments in Europe, Asia and North America offer a variety of incentives [like Feed-in Tariffs, Renewable Energy Certificates, and Tax Credits] to encourage people to switch to renewable energy…

    …People want to live a healthier and greener lifestyle, but they also want to save money on their utility bills. In many cases, switching to solar or wind power can help them achieve both goals…[and fossil] fuels may cause health problems such as lung disease, heart problems and cancer…[Because of these and other factors, renewable energy is] likely to become the most dominant form of energy by the middle of this century…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 27, 2022

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Costs Of A Modern Power System

    Duke, SCE, other grid modernization proposals faced big cost questions, more regulator scrutiny in 2021

    Herman K. Trabish, January 4, 2022 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Regulatory scrutiny is always good but regulators are realizing that a modern power system will come at a big – but necessary – cost.

    To meet the energy transition’s urgency and complexity, utilities have proposed big modernization investments in their distribution systems, but regulators and customers want to know if the spending is necessary.

    There were 498 grid modernization-related policy and deployment actions in 48 states in Q3 2021, but regulators approved only $904.4 million of the $14.7 billion in proposed utility investments, according to the most recent North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) “50 States of Grid Modernization” report. Some $12.7 billion was held for closer scrutiny, with $1.1 billion rejected.

    Of approximately $432 million in capital expenditures proposed by Southern California Edison (SCE) for grid modernization from 2019 to 2021, the California Public Utilities Commission approved about $426 million in August 2021 (21-08-036), according to SCE spokesperson Jeffrey Monford. The ruling showed regulatory support for the proposal, he added. But the commission held the utility’s proposed $360.9 million in 2022-2023 spending for review in its next general rate case, consistent with the stepwise approach to grid modernization approvals identified by NCCETC.

    SCE’s investment plans for a Grid Management System (GMS), software, and automation capabilities complied with commission “directives” for integrating distributed energy resources (DER) to defer “infrastructure investment,” the commission acknowledged. But despite “compelling” SCE arguments, the decision limited spending for unproven automation technologies.

    SCE’s “technology advancement and deployment” to improve reliability and enable higher DER penetrations began with 2014 commission directives, SCE Vice President, Asset Strategy and Planning Erik Takayesu responded. SCE will expand “foundational capabilities” and work with what was approved toward greater “system automation” with its GMS and a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS), he added.

    A “private sector ecosystem” of DER providers is “putting smart devices and distributed generation in customers’ homes,” Generac Grid Services President Bud Vos said. Advanced grid management and communications systems are needed “to bring that ecosystem of devices to utilities” and allow it to capture full value for “their systems and their customers.” But that technology is costly and will take time to deploy. “Stepwise” spending on system modernization is the better regulatory approach because previous smart meter deployments did not pay off, some stakeholders said… click here for more

    Utilities Are Not Planning To Cut Emissions

    Utility executives reveal ‘yawning gap’ in climate action

    Peter Behr, July 18, 2022 (E&E News)

    “…[Nearly] 9 in 10 utility leaders said reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants was a high or moderate priority, while only 38 percent of their companies were executing a strategy to do anything about it…The ‘yawning gap’ between climate concerns and actions ‘indicates leaders know they need to do ‘something,’ but either don’t know what to do or can’t implement a strategy due to lack of capital or regulatory support,’ the ICF survey report said…

    Few of the utilities have marshaled “the information, analysis, support, and resources” to face the challenges, ICF said…In addition to the 38 percent of utilities with active plans to tackle decarbonization, 32 percent of executives said their organizations were currently planning a strategy, and 29 percent said they expected to produce a strategy in the next five years…[Potential barriers to the needed planning include a lack of capital, concerns that regulators would not permit rate increases that would cover the investments, and] access to necessary technologies…

    The Edison Electric Institute currently lists nearly two-thirds of its 61 U.S. investor-owned members — many owning multiple utilities — with goals to eliminate carbon emissions or achieve 100 percent renewable energy…Carbon emissions from the U.S. electric power sector last year were 35 percent lower than in 2005…Whether U.S. utilities can match that pace in the next decade is filled with uncertainties…” click here for more

    Monday, July 25, 2022

    Monday Study – The Need To Expand Solar’s Global Supply Chain

    IEA Special Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chains

    July 2022 (International Energy Agency)

    Abstract

    Solar PV is a crucial pillar of clean energy transitions worldwide, underpinning efforts to reach international energy and climate goals. Over the last decade, the amount of solar PV deployed around the world has increased massively while its costs have declined drastically. Putting the world on a path to reaching net zero emissions requires solar PV to expand globally on an even greater scale, raising concerns about security of manufacturing supply for achieving such rapid growth rates – but also offering new opportunities for diversification.

    This special report examines solar PV supply chains from raw materials all the way to the finished product, spanning the five main segments of the manufacturing process: polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules. The analysis covers supply, demand, production, energy consumption, emissions, employment, production costs, investment, trade and financial performance, highlighting key vulnerabilities and risks at each stage. Because diversification is one of the key strategies for reducing supply chain risks, the report assesses the opportunities and challenges of developing solar PV supply chains in terms of job creation, investment requirements, manufacturing costs, emissions and recycling. Finally, the report summarises policy approaches that governments have taken to support domestic solar PV manufacturing and provides recommendations based on those.

    Executive Summary

    China currently dominates global solar PV supply chains Global solar PV manufacturing capacity has increasingly moved from Europe, Japan and the United States to China over the last decade. China has invested over USD 50 billion in new PV supply capacity – ten times more than Europe − and created more than 300 000 manufacturing jobs across the solar PV value chain since 2011. Today, China’s share in all the manufacturing stages of solar panels (such as polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules) exceeds 80%. This is more than double China’s share of global PV demand. In addition, the country is home to the world’s 10 top suppliers of solar PV manufacturing equipment. China has been instrumental in bringing down costs worldwide for solar PV, with multiple benefits for clean energy transitions. At the same time, the level of geographical concentration in global supply chains also creates potential challenges that governments need to address.

    Government policies in China have shaped the global supply, demand and price of solar PV over the last decade. Chinese industrial policies focusing on solar PV as a strategic sector and on growing domestic demand have enabled economies of scale and supported continuous innovation throughout the supply chain. These policies have contributed to a cost decline more than 80%, helping solar PV to become the most affordable electricity generation technology in many parts of the world. However, they have also led to supply-demand imbalances in the PV supply chain. Global capacity for manufacturing wafers and cells, which are key solar PV elements, and for assembling them into solar panels (also known as modules), exceeded demand by at least 100% at the end of 2021. By contrast, production of polysilicon, the key material for solar PV, is currently a bottleneck in an otherwise oversupplied supply chain. This has led to tight global supplies and a quadrupling of polysilicon prices over the last year.

    Solar PV products are a significant export for China. In 2021, the value of China’s solar PV exports was over USD 30 billion, almost 7% of China’s trade surplus over the last five years. In addition, Chinese investments in Malaysia and Viet Nam also made these countries major exporters of PV products, accounting for around 10% and 5% respectively of their trade surpluses since 2017. The total value of global PV-related trade – including polysilicon, wafers, cells and modules – exceeded USD 40 billion in 2021, an increase of over 70% from 2020.

    Today, electricity-intensive solar PV manufacturing is mostly powered by fossil fuels, but solar panels only need to operate for 4-8 months to offset their manufacturing emissions. This payback period compares with the average solar panel lifetime of around 25-30 years. Electricity provides 80% of the total energy used in solar PV manufacturing, with the majority consumed by production of polysilicon, ingots and wafers because they require heat at high and precise temperatures. Today, coal generates over 60% of the electricity used for global solar PV manufacturing, significantly more than its share in global power generation (36%). This is largely because PV production is concentrated in China – mainly in the provinces of Xinjiang and Jiangsu where coal accounts for more than 75% of the annual power supply and benefits from favourable government tariffs.

    Continuous innovation led by China has halved the emissions intensity of solar PV manufacturing since 2011. This is the result of more efficient use of materials and energy – and greater low-carbon electricity production. Despite these improvements, absolute carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from solar PV manufacturing have almost quadrupled worldwide since 2011 as production in China has expanded. Nonetheless, solar PV manufacturing represented only 0.15% of energy-related global CO2 emissions in 2021. As power systems across the world decarbonise, the carbon footprint of PV manufacturing should shrink accordingly. Transporting PV products accounts for only 3% of total PV emissions.

    Concentration of PV supply chains brings vulnerabilities, posing potential challenges for the energy transition

    Meeting international energy and climate goals requires the global deployment of solar PV to grow on an unprecedented scale. This in turn demands a major additional expansion in manufacturing capacity, raising concerns about the world’s ability to rapidly develop resilient supply chains. Annual solar PV capacity additions need to more than quadruple to 630 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 to be on track with the IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero Emissions by 2050. Global production capacity for polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules would need to more than double by 2030 from today’s levels. As countries accelerate their efforts to reduce emissions, they need to ensure that their transition towards a sustainable energy system is built on secure foundations. For solar PV supply chains to be able to accommodate the requirements of a net zero pathway, they will need to be scaled up in a way that ensures they are resilient, affordable and sustainable.

    The world will almost completely rely on China for the supply of key building blocks for solar panel production through 2025. Based on manufacturing capacity under construction, China’s share of global polysilicon, ingot and wafer production will soon reach almost 95%. Today, China’s Xinjiang province accounts for 40% global polysilicon manufacturing. Moreover, one out of every seven panels produced worldwide is manufactured by a single facility. This level of concentration in any global supply chain would represent a considerable vulnerability; solar PV is no exception.

    Solar PV’s demand for critical minerals will increase rapidly in a pathway to net zero emissions. The production of many key minerals used in PV is highly concentrated, with China playing a dominant role. Despite improvements in using materials more efficiently, the PV industry’s demand for minerals is set to expand significantly. In the IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero Emissions by 2050, for instance, demand for silver for solar PV manufacturing in 2030 could exceed 30% of total global silver production in 2020 – up from about 10% today. This rapid growth, combined with long lead times for mining projects, increases the risk of supply and demand mismatches, which can lead to cost increases and supply shortages.

    The long-term financial sustainability of the solar PV manufacturing sector is critical for rapid and cost-effective clean energy transitions. The net profitability of the solar PV sector for all supply chain segments has been volatile, resulting in several bankruptcies despite policy support. Bankruptcy risk and low profitability could slow the pace of clean energy transitions if companies are unwilling to invest because of low returns or are unable to withstand sudden changes in market conditions.

    Trade restrictions are expanding, risking slower deployment of solar PV. As trade is critical to provide the diverse materials needed to make solar panels and deliver them to final markets, supply chains are vulnerable to trade policy risks. Since 2011, the number of antidumping, countervailing and import duties levied against parts of the solar PV supply chain has increased from just 1 import tax to 16 duties and import taxes, with 8 additional policies under consideration. Altogether, these measures cover 15% of global demand outside of China.

    Diversification can reduce supply chain vulnerabilities and offer economic and environmental opportunities

    Recent disruptions have raised important supply chain questions. The Covid19 crisis, record commodity prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have all focused attention on the high reliance of many countries on imports of energy, raw materials and manufacturing goods that are key to their supply security. Countries can improve resilience by investing to diversify their manufacturing and imports.

    New solar PV manufacturing facilities along the supply chain could attract USD 120 billion investment by 2030. Annual investment levels need to double throughout the supply chain. Critical sectors such as polysilicon, ingots and wafers would attract the majority of investment to support growing demand.

    The solar PV industry could create 1 300 manufacturing jobs for each gigawatt of production capacity. The solar PV sector has the potential to double its number of direct manufacturing jobs to 1 million by 2030. The most job-intensive segments along the PV supply chain are module and cell manufacturing. Over the last decade, however, the use of automation and automated guided vehicles has increased labour productivity, thereby reducing labour intensity.

    Diversification of supply chains and the decarbonisation of the power sector could rapidly reduce solar PV manufacturing emissions. Domestic manufacturing can reduce manufacturing CO2 emissions if the local electricity mix is less carbon-intensive than in the exporting country. Europe holds the highest potential, given the considerable shares of renewables and nuclear in its power mixes, followed by countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa that have strong hydropower output.

    Diversifying solar PV supply chains will require addressing key challenges

    Currently, the cost competitiveness of existing solar PV manufacturing is a key challenge to diversifying supply chains. China is the most cost-competitive location to manufacture all components of the solar PV supply chain. Costs in China are 10% lower than in India, 20% lower than in the United States, and 35% lower than in Europe. Large variations in energy, labour, investment and overhead costs explain these differences. Still, in the absence of financial incentives and manufacturing support, the bankability of manufacturing projects outside of panel assembly remains limited outside of China and few countries in Southeast Asia.

    Low-cost electricity is key for the competitiveness of the main pillars of the solar PV supply chain. The diversification of highly concentrated polysilicon, ingot and wafer manufacturing would provide security-of-supply benefits. Electricity accounts for over 40% of production costs for polysilicon and nearly 20% for ingots and wafers. Around 80% of the electricity involved in polysilicon production today is consumed in Chinese provinces at an average electricity price of around USD 75 per megawatt-hour (MWh). This is almost 30% below the global industrial price average. Maintaining competitiveness in these segments requires that manufacturers have access to comparable or lower electricity costs.

    Building solar PV manufacturing around low-carbon industrial clusters can unlock the benefits of economies of scale. Solar panel manufacturers can also use their products to generate their own renewable electricity on site, thereby reducing both electricity bills and emissions. Electricity-intensive solar manufacturing could be located near emerging industrial clusters (e.g renewablebased hydrogen), enabling them to benefit from cost-competitive renewable electricity. Meanwhile, economies of scale and vertical integration of manufacturing can reduce variable costs and further increase competitiveness.

    Recycling of solar PV panels offers environmental, social and economic benefits while enhancing security of supply in the long term. If panels were systematically collected at the end of their lifetime, supplies from recycling them could meet over 20% of the solar PV industry’s demand for aluminium, copper, glass, silicon and almost 70% for silver between 2040 and 2050 in the IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero Emissions by 2050. However, existing PV recycling processes struggle to generate enough revenue from the recovered materials to cover the cost of the recycling process.

    Government policies are vital to build a more secure solar PV supply chain

    High commodity prices and supply chain bottlenecks led to an increase of around 20% in solar panel prices over the last year. These challenges have resulted in delays in solar panel deliveries across the globe. Globally, policies to support solar PV to date have focused mostly on increasing demand and lowering costs. However, resilient and sustainable supply chains are also needed to ensure the timely and cost-effective delivery of solar panels worldwide. Governments therefore need to turn their attention to ensuring the security of solar PV supplies as an integral part of clean energy transitions. Countries should consider assessing their domestic solar PV supply chain vulnerabilities and risks – and developing strategies and actions to address them.

    The IEA’s five key policy action areas to ensure solar PV security of supply:

    Diversify manufacturing and raw material supplies

    • Move solar PV supply chain diversification up the policy agenda as an integral part of advancing clean energy transitions.

    • Consider crafting an industrial policy while maintaining a commitment to principles of open and transparent markets and avoiding barriers to trade.

    • Consider integrating solar PV manufacturing facilities in industrial clusters, near traditional energy-intensive plants or other larger renewable electricity consumers (green hydrogen or green steel consortia) to help aggregate demand.

    • Diversify raw material and PV import routes to reduce supply chain vulnerabilities.

    De-risk investment

    • Facilitate investment in manufacturing, e.g. through finance and tax policies, and other measures to de-risk PV manufacturing investment.

    • Tailor demand support policies (e.g. auctions) in order to take into account longterm financial sustainability across solar PV supply chain segments.

    • Encourage public-private collaborations, e.g. involving research institutions and labs, and public clean energy funding to catalyse private investment.

    Ensure environmental and social sustainability

    • Strengthen international cooperation on creating clear and transparent standards, taking into account environmental and social sustainability criteria.

    • Focus on skills development, worker protection and social inclusion across the solar PV supply chain. Adopt policies promoting employment standards and transparency in order to help improve working conditions.

    • Ensure PV manufacturing facilities adopt low-carbon and material-efficient manufacturing practices.

    Continue to foster innovation

    • Expand research and development funds with the aim of further improving solar cell conversion efficiency and reducing raw material use and costs.

    • Promote technology innovation in manufacturing processes that reduce material intensity, especially for critical minerals such as silver and copper.

    Develop and strengthen recycling capabilities

    • Implement comprehensive regulatory frameworks to define stakeholder responsibilities and establish minimum requirements for collection and recycling.

    • Support technology development efforts that improve recycling processes as well as solar PV panel design for recycling, reusability and greater durability…

    Saturday, July 23, 2022

    Concert For Earth 2022 Is TODAY

    It’s music for New Energy. Livestream here From Atlantis Concert for Earth via YouTube

    Russia Attacks Europe With NatGas Supply Cuts

    Russia is using its natural gas as a weapon to undermine Europe’s support of Ukraine. A crunch could come this winter.From DW News via YouTube

    New Energy Is Power Market’s Best Buy

    From International Renewable Energy Agency via YouTube

    Friday, July 22, 2022

    The Cure For Climate Crisis Anxiety

    Climate-crisis anxiety denial is everywhere. But this week it’s impossible to ignore our worries; With the country melting I can no longer distract myself from my fears about global heating. But speaking to activists has shown me how to counter this terror

    Zoe Williams, 18 July 2022 (UK Guardian)

    “…All over the world, as governments broadcast warm words to a warming planet, corporations are planning and lobbying for fossil fuel projects which, if they get off the ground, will sail us casually past our carbon targets…[Stopping this might lead to legal] avenues, direct action, political routes, or everything all at once…Climate anxiety is associated with gen Z. They have grown up learning about the crisis from primary school…[and, in secondary school, studying] back-to-back disaster scenarios…[and reading more about when] they take to TikTok…

    …[but] older generations use denial to avoid] the discomfort of admitting you’re petrified…Climate-crisis anxiety denial, though, is everywhere…but people who are constructively fighting the climate crisis seem to be a lot saner. One might think, intuitively, that full-on immersion in environmental politics would be a recipe for a nervous breakdown, and certainly those who are closest to the data are the least likely to make idiotic Panglossian remarks. But a steely calm settles over people when they know they’re doing everything they can…

    I’m thinking of Rupert Read, one of the early “Extinction Rebels”; Tessa Khan, who is a veteran climate lawyer; Greta Thunberg, who really doesn’t enjoy being mobbed and is mobbed wherever she goes; Vanessa Nakate, one of sunniest people I’ve ever met, who is in round-the-clock discussions about mass starvation…The answer to terror, and I’m not preaching, I’m just saying this to myself out loud, is to do more.” click here for more

    Global New Energy Still Beating The Market

    Renewable Power Remains Cost-Competitive amid Fossil Fuel Crisis

    13 July 2022 International Renewable Energy Agency)

    Costs for renewables continued to fall in 2021 as supply chain challenges and rising commodity prices have yet to show their full impact…The cost of electricity from onshore wind fell by 15%, offshore wind by 13% and solar PV by 13% compared to 2020…[The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found] almost two-thirds or 163 gigawatts (GW) of newly installed renewable power in 2021 had lower costs than the world’s cheapest coal-fired option in the G20…[which likely] saves around USD 55 billion from global energy generation costs in 2022…

    In non-OECD countries, the 109 GW of renewable energy additions in 2021 that cost less than the cheapest new fossil fuel-fired option will reduce costs by at least USD 5.7 billion annually for the next 25-30 years…High coal and fossil gas prices in 2021 and 2022 will also profoundly deteriorate the competitiveness of fossil fuels and make solar and wind even more attractive…[N]ew fossil gas generation in Europe will increasingly become uneconomic over its lifetime, increasing the risk of stranded assets…[E]xisting gas plants [in Europe] might average four to six times more in 2022 than the lifetime cost of new solar PV and onshore wind commissioned in 2021.

    Between January and May 2022, the generation of solar and wind power may have saved Europe fossil fuel imports in the magnitude of no less than USD 50 billion, predominantly fossil gas…[N]ot all materials cost increases have been passed through into equipment prices and project costs yet. If material costs remain elevated, the price pressures in 2022 will be more pronounced…[But could] be dwarfed by the overall gains of cost-competitive renewables…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 20, 2022

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Ukraine War’s Threat To U.S. Climate Efforts

    California Awaits European Union Actions on Russian Natural Gas Dependency

    Herman K. Trabish, April 14, 2022 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: Sadly, this report from from months ago was prophetic.

    The Ukraine war could impact California’s progress toward its economy-wide net zero emissions by 2045 goal. California policymakers and utilities are committed to the mid-century goal, but the global energy market shift in support of Europe’s escape from Russian natural gas dependence could be an obstacle, but state regulators and planners are not accounting for the natural gas market’s structural change, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies Executive Director V. John White told Current.

    The world is seeing “a significant increase” in the use of fossil fuels for power generation and both Europe and Asia are “desperate for reliable sources of natural gas,” said Patricia Kakridas, spokesperson for Sempra, the San Diego-based parent of subsidiary SoCalGas, the biggest regulated U.S. natural gas utility. Sempra is planning to provide Europe with “abundant supplies” by 2030, she said.

    Market data shows skyrocketing demand for liquified natural gas processed at U.S. terminals and transported by tanker to meet European needs. A BP-chartered LNG tanker headed for Asia captured the moment’s intensity by U-turning in the Pacific on April 1 and paying a second $1 million Panama Canal toll to get its cargo to Europe, according to shipping market watchers.

    An estimated two-thirds of all U.S. LNG cargoes are now headed for EU regasification terminals, and “every molecule that can escape this country as LNG is being exported,” Florida Municipal Power Agency General Manager and CEO Jacob Williams told this reporter. Though that may increase prices and prevent emissions reductions, U.S. fossil fuels “can take money out of Putin’s hands,” he said.

    Sempra subsidiary Sempra Infrastructure Gulf and Pacific coast LNG export terminals and the U.S.’s abundant U.S. natural gas can play a “critical role” in meeting new LNG commitments to Europe, Kakridas agreed. And with increased natural gas production and new infrastructure to export it, “the U.S. can keep prices low here at home while also helping our allies,” she said.

    Europe can reduce Russian natural gas imports by two-thirds through accelerated deployment of renewables and energy efficiency, and expanded building electrification, a March 23 analysis by independent European researchers found. But to avoid longer-term worsening of the climate crisis, EU leaders must avoid new infrastructure investments to deliver LNG, the researchers said. Accelerated clean energy investments and tapping into spare capacity in Europe’s existing infrastructure can meet the need, said analysis co-author and Regulatory Assistance Project Senior Advisor Bram Claeys. That is critical because new LNG import terminals or natural gas pipelines would keep fossil fuel generation online for decades, he added… click here for more

    The EV Tipping Point Is Now

    US Crosses the Electric-Car Tipping Point for Mass Adoption; Once 5% of new-car sales go fully electric, everything changes — according to a Bloomberg analysis of the 19 countries that have made the EV pivot.

    Tom Randall with Samuel Dodge, July 9, 2022 (Bloomberg News)

    “…[As with smart phones, two decades ago, a] society-altering shift is happening now with electric vehicles, according to a Bloomberg analysis of adoption rates around the world. The US is the latest country to pass what’s become a critical EV tipping point: 5% of new car sales powered only by electricity…[This] signals the start of mass EV adoption…Most successful new technologies — electricity, televisions, mobile phones, the internet, even LED lightbulbs — follow an S-shaped adoption curve. Sales move at a crawl in the early-adopter phase, then surprisingly quickly once things go mainstream…

    In the case of electric vehicles, 5% seems to be the point when early adopters are overtaken by mainstream demand…[T]he adoption curve followed by South Korea starting in 2021 ends up looking a lot like the one taken by China in 2018, which is similar to Norway after its first 5% quarter in 2013…The next major car markets approaching the tipping point this year include Canada, Australia, and Spain…Including plug-in hybrids, 17 countries have crossed a 10% threshold…

    Behind every country that crossed an EV tipping point is a program of federal incentives and pollution standards…[T]he Biden administration last year issued an executive order calling for EVs to make up half of new [US] vehicles by 2030 (including plug-in hybrids)… Volkswagen, Ford, and BMW are each targeting 50% or more of their global sales to be fully electric by the end of the decade…[T]he share of fully electric vehicles worldwide passed the 5% threshold for the first time last year…[The 10% plug-in hybrids] tipping point will be passed sometime this year. If the trends holds true, accelerating demand can be expected.” click here for more

    Monday, July 18, 2022

    Monday Study – California’s Plan For Distributed Resources In Power Markets

    Advanced Strategies For Demand Flexibility Management And Customer DER Compensation

    Energy Division Staff, June 22, 2022 (California Public Utilities Commission)

    Executive Summary

    Need for a Fresh Approach to Demand Flexibility

    California’s electricity system is undergoing rapid transformation on the pathway to 100% renewable power, with the expected high penetration of renewables, electrification of buildings and transportation, and deployment of behind-the-meter (BTM) distributed energy resources (DERs). Many stakeholders are concerned about potential adverse impacts of these trends on the State’s power grid (see section 3.1) and agree that going forward it is essential for California to leverage demand response (also referred to as load or demand flexibility management) as a critical resource in integrated resource planning (IRP) to meet the State’s aggressive GHG emissions reduction targets.

    Demand Response (DR) continues to play an important role in achieving California’s clean energy goals. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has a long track record in developing policies to promote DR. These policies can be broadly grouped into two main strategies: 1) CAISO market-integrated DR programs(also referred to as supply-side DR (SSDR), and 2) load-modifying DR (LMDR) based on a range of time-differentiated rates or utility managed load reduction programs.

    Fortunately, some of the trends noted earlier, specifically the electrification of transportation and buildings and growth in customer deployment of BTM DERs, present significant demand-side potential (see section 3.2) to address the challenges associated with the State’s energy transformation, help integrate renewables, reduce GHG emissions, improve system reliability, and reduce or minimize cost of service. These trends are driving a substantial and rapid increase in electric end uses that are capable of being flexible in terms of when energy could be consumed or generated. Some stakeholders suggest that the flexible demand/generation nature of the electrified end uses and BTM DERs, if aggregated, coordinated, and shaped properly at scale (that is, largescale demand flexibility management), could play a major role in solving the anticipated challenges to the State’s electricity system.

    However, the CPUC’s current approach to demand response (SSDR and LMDR) is complex and may not be well positioned to address emerging grid needs. Additionally, current policies may have become a barrier to scaling demand management solutions to the levels necessary to support California’s clean energy goals.

    With the experience gained through the CPUC’s efforts to integrate SSDR programs with CAISO markets, stakeholders have noted concerns (see section 3.3.1) about the high degree of complexity in SSDR program implementation, high level of confusion, high transaction costs, and limited flexibility. With respect to LMDR programs, other stakeholders have suggested that a comprehensive review of the underlying electricity rates policies is needed to address a range of serious issues (see section 3.3.2), including the proliferation of “boutique” technology-specific rates (e.g., for solar, electric vehicles, and storage), incentives for uneconomical load management, nonequitable fixed cost recovery and related cost shifts, and inability to monetize DER capabilities. In several proceedings, parties have provided testimony to encourage the adoption of rates based on real-time grid conditions to provide both customer bill benefits and system cost benefits.

    If the State is to fully capture the significant demand-side potential enabled by electrification and customer DERs, a key “chicken-and-egg” problem related to demand response and retail rates must be resolved. For large numbers of customers (both residential and commercial) to adopt flexible demand management solutions at the scale necessary to support the future electricity grid, automation technologies for controlling various end-uses and DERs must be inexpensive and ubiquitous. For this to be true, there must exist a robust and stable policy pathway that is standardized, easy to implement, and allows the industry to develop low-cost, flexible demand management capabilities and integrate them into smart end-use devices and DERs by default for use by all customer classes.

    Staff Proposal

    This Energy Division (ED) white paper proposes that the CPUC seek to significantly improve demand-side resource management through a more synergistic, scalable, and integrated demand response and retail rate strategy that can effectively address the emerging grid issues and opportunities associated with the growth of renewables, building and transportation electrification, and behind-the-meter DER deployment by electricity customers. The paper proposes a comprehensive vision, guiding principles, and a policy roadmap to drive the development of a universal approach to flexible demand and DER management and compensation solutions available to all customers, initially on an opt-in basis, 1 throughout the state. Accordingly, ED Staff recommends that the CPUC initiate a Rulemaking, as referenced in the DER Action Plan 2.0 as Track 1, 2 to take up this paper’s proposal.

    Vision Statement

    This paper recommends that the CPUC establish an ambitious policy vision: To achieve widespread customer adoption of low-cost, advanced flexible demand and DER management and compensation solutions across the state (and beyond) via a unified, universally accessible, dynamic economic signal. Policies in pursuit of this vision should help in addressing the following issues associated with the ongoing transformation of the electricity grid:

    1. Mitigate reliability and grid integration challenges associated with high growth in renewables, end-use electrification, and behind-the-meter DER deployment by customers,

    2. Minimize short- and long-term cost of service associated with the rapidly evolving electricity infrastructure, and

    3. Fully leverage capabilities of customer DERs to address grid needs while providing fair compensation for grid services provided by the DERs.

    Guiding Objectives

    In support of this policy vision, this paper proposes that the CPUC pursue the development of a policy roadmap or framework that should achieve the following objectives:

    1. Enhances scalability via standardized, universal mechanisms to enable demand flexibility management.

    2. Makes the value of energy and capacity services provided by the grid or DERs more transparent and based on real-time grid conditions.

    3. Seamlessly accommodates different and evolving pricing policies of utility distribution companies (UDCs) and load serving entities (LSEs), both inside and outside the CPUC jurisdiction.

    4. Ensures full recovery of costs associated with the infrastructure for electricity generation and delivery, consistent with cost-causation principles and avoidance of cost-shifts.

    5. Offers options to all customers for bill and demand management choices, protection against bill volatility, and forward planning of energy usage or generation.

    6. Encourages investment in BTM DERs, including vehicle-to-grid integration and microgrids, without cost-shifts to non-participating customers.

    Policy Roadmap

    In support of and consistent with the above vision statement and guiding objectives, this paper describes a comprehensive policy roadmap, the centerpiece of which is a unified, universallyaccessible, dynamic, economic retail electricity price signal. The roadmap consists of a three-pillar structure addressing 1) the presentation of electricity prices to customers and smart devices, 2) electricity rate reform, and 3) customer options to optimize energy consumption and generation. For convenience, this whitepaper refers to the roadmap is as “CalFUSE” (California Flexible Unified Signal for Energy). 3 The proposed roadmap consists of six key policy elements, all intended to be available on an opt-in basis as follows:

    ELEMENT 1: DEVELOP STANDARDIZED, UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO THE CURRENT ELECTRICITY PRICE

    • Statewide, web-based portal to provide current electricity price specific to each customer.

    • Accommodate different pricing inputs from UDCs and LSEs

    • Engage tech / industry ecosystem in educating customers and developing energy management solutions.

    ELEMENT 2: INTRODUCE DYNAMIC ELECTRICITY PRICES BASED ON REAL-TIME WHOLESALE ENERGY COST

    • Real-time pricing tied to CAISO locational marginal price, reflecting the marginal cost of energy.

    ELEMENT 3: MODIFY ELECTRICITY PRICES TO INCORPORATE DYNAMIC CAPACITY CHARGES BASED ON REAL-TIME GRID UTILIZATION

    • Capacity fixed cost recovery linked to the degree of congestion relative to the available infrastructure capacity for electricity generation and delivery.

    • Implements the design principle that fixed cost recovery should be higher when the system utilization is higher.

    • Shift fixed cost recovery onto load driving capacity upgrades based on marginal cost of adding incremental capacity, while ensuring collection of approved revenue requirements and minimizing unintentional cost-shifts.

    ELEMENT 4: TRANSITION TO BI-DIRECTIONAL ELECTRICITY PRICES

    • Customers import or export energy at the same dynamic composite price.

    • Fair, transparent, and rational compensation for grid services provided by customer owned DERs linked to avoided marginal costs.

    ELEMENT 5: OFFER A SUBSCRIPTION OPTION BASED ON CUSTOMERSPECIFIC LOAD SHAPES

    • Customers subscribe to a monthly load shape based on historic usage (and the associated hourly energy quantities) at a pre-determined monthly price.

    • Protect against bill and revenue collection volatility, while still encouraging opportunistic, beneficial load shift.

    • Ease customer transition from current rates to dynamic rate.

    ELEMENT 6: ENABLE TRANSACTIVE FEATURES ALLOWING LOCK IN OF FUTURE ELECTRICITY PRICES

    • Customer option to commit to future import or export of energy at pre-determined prices (based on forecasts) to control and optimize energy use or generation.

    • Improved visibility for planning and operations (for CAISO, UDCs/LSEs, and customers & their service providers).

    Structure of This Paper

    The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: Chapter 2 summarizes the procedural background of policies in support of providing access to dynamic retail rates to customers and achieving greater demand/load flexibility.

    Chapter 3 presents the problem statement in detail and outlines the need for a more effective, synergistic, and scalable demand response and retail rate strategy to better address the emerging issues associated with the transformation of California’s electricity system.

    Chapter 4 presents the staff proposal describing the vision, guiding objectives, and the policy roadmap focused on implementing a flexible, unified signal for energy in California (CalFUSE).

    Chapter 5 discusses the potential impacts of implementing the CalFUSE framework.

    Chapter 6 examines the learnings from various pilots and programs around the country that have implemented dynamic retail rates. Chapter 7 concludes the white paper and offers Staff’s recommendations for next steps in the implementation of a Statewide demand flexibility roadmap. Chapter 8 (Appendix) summarizes the DER Action Plan 2.0 and stakeholder feedback in response to ED Staff’s proposal previewed at the May 25, 2021, demand flexibility management workshop…

    Saturday, July 16, 2022

    Texas Heat, Record Demand Get Slow Response

    High demand can be met by a demand response program that compensates customers for use of rooftop solar stored in their home or EV batteries and compensates big energy users for reducing usage.From KVUE-TV via YouTube

    The Top Ten EVs Today

    There is now a wide variety of EVs to choose from.From Trend Max via YouTube

    Infrastructure Build Goes On

    From transmission studies to energy storage projects to hydrogen hubs, the Biden administration has put tax dollars to work to protect the environment and create jobs. From U.S. Dept. of Energy via YouTube

    Friday, July 15, 2022

    Women And Children In A Climate Crisis

    Climate change exacerbates violence against women and girls

    12 July 2022 (United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner)

    “It is estimated that 80 per cent of people displaced by climate change are women, according to UN Environment…When women are displaced, they are at greater risk of violence, including sexual violence, said Michele Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights…[during a panel discussion on] the relationship between climate change and violence against women and girls…[M]igration and forced displacement are among the most serious impacts of the climate crisis that are already impacting millions of people around the world…

    …[W]omen and girls make up more than 40 per cent of the agriculture labour force and are responsible for 60-80 per cent of food production…[and] are often doubly affected by discrimination, exploitation, and gender-based violence…Women environmental human rights defenders who work to protect land, water, nature, and communities are putting their lives at risk, Bachelet said…They are criminalized and silenced. They are threatened and stigmatized. They are at additional risk of gender-based violence. And many are even killed…[I]n Mexico and Central America between 2016 and 2019, about 1,698 acts of violence were recorded against women human rights defenders…

    …Bachelet provided recommendations on how to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls due to climate change including recognizing that climate change and violence against women are intrinsically linked…States need to empower women for disaster preparedness and providing alternative means of livelihood if they are faced with a climate crisis…[and states] should hold people accountable with zero impunity for perpetrators of gender-based violence…” click here for more

    The World Needs To Make Solar In More Places

    IEA warns one-third of global PV manufacturing capacity is at medium or high risk of bankruptcy and the world needs more diverse solar panel supply chains to ensure a secure transition to net zero emissions

    International Energy Agency, July 7, 2022

    …Chinese industrial and innovation policies focused on expanding solar panel production and markets have helped solar PV become the most affordable electricity generation technology in many parts of the world…[but] this has also led to imbalances in solar PV supply chains, according to the IEA Special Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chains…Global manufacturing capacity for solar panels has increasingly moved out of Europe, Japan and the United States…

    China’s share in all the key manufacturing stages of solar panels exceeds 80% today…and for key elements including polysilicon and wafers, this is set to rise to more than 95% in the coming years, based on current manufacturing capacity under construction…[A]nnual additions of solar PV capacity to electricity systems around the world need to more than quadruple by 2030 to be on track with the IEA’s pathway to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Global production capacity for the key building blocks of solar panels – polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules – would need to more than double by 2030 from today’s levels and existing production facilities would need to be modernised…

    Governments and other stakeholders around the world have begun to pay increasing attention to solar PV’s manufacturing supply chains as high commodity prices and supply chain bottlenecks have led to an increase of around 20% in solar panel prices over the last year…[N]ew solar PV manufacturing facilities along the global supply chain could attract USD 120 billion of investment by 2030. And the solar PV sector has the potential to double the number of PV manufacturing jobs to 1 million by 2030, with the most job-intensive areas in the manufacturing of modules and cells…” click here for more