Harry Asks Sally The Big Question (About Auld Lang Syne)
For us romantics, there are few moments as poignant and satisfying on film. From nninchen91 via YouTube
Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...
For us romantics, there are few moments as poignant and satisfying on film. From nninchen91 via YouTube
Here’s a beautiful version from Ms. Mariah Carey. All the best to all our treasured readers. Good things to come in 2023! From TransatlanticMoments via YouTube
Knowing the meaning of something can make it even more beautiful. From SamInNYC via YouTube
Right after Santa’s done, the world will resume the transition from power generated by greedy burners to generation from the blessings of sun, wind, and the earth’s deep heat and flowing waters. From Just Weather via YouTube
This video is a NewEnergyNews Christmas tradition with new resonance this year as once again Europeans with so much in common are once again locked in seemingly irresolvable mutual torment over the pointlessness of borders. From unidentified via YouTube
The energy crisis provoked by climate crisis-driven extreme weather events, the war in Europe, and global supply chain disruptions has created a worldwide awakening to the need for New Energy. From International Energy Agency via YouTube
'Ray of hope’: Climate action professionals share why 2022 was an optimistic year
Lottie Limb, 21 December 2022 (Euronews Green)
“…[As we look back at 2022, progress] has been made on a number of fronts, with the growth in renewable energy leading the charge…Sustainable transport has also topped the agenda, with cities adapting for cyclists, countries cracking down on short haul flights, and zero emissions innovations gaining momentum…COP27 ended with an agreement to provide loss and damage funding for countries hit by climate disasters…[And more young voices were heard as ClientEarth held] the UK government to account on its net zero strategy…
In 2023, London will expand its Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which tackles air pollution by charging cars that don’t meet pollution guidelines to drive in certain parts of the city…Global renewable power capacity is set to double over the next five years…Financial support for climate activists is accelerating change…[A new initiative called HERO] aims to provide a basic income for 10,000 climate activists in the next five years…
…[Decarbonisation has become an economic and security priority, as] reflected in the increased ambition we saw from many EU countries in response to the energy crisis…[And] in recognition that fossil fuels are the root drivers of the climate emergency, US officials for the first time joined a growing chorus of dozens of countries calling for explicit commitments at COP27 to phase down oil, gas and coal…” click here for more
Big oil is behind conspiracy to deceive public, first climate racketeering lawsuit says; Lawyer in a civil lawsuit launched by towns in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico describes why it is using laws used to target mob bosses
Nina Lakhani, 20 December 2020 (UK Guardian)
“…[The 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Rico) Act, the same racketeering legislation used to bring down mob bosses] will be used to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for [the climate crisis] in a lawsuit being brought by communities in Puerto Rico that were devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017…[The Rico Act has] been used in civil courts to litigate harms caused by opioids, vehicle emissions and even e-cigarettes as organised crime cases…Now, the first-ever climate change Rico case alleges that international oil and coal companies, their trade associations, and a network of paid thinktanks, scientists and other operatives conspired to deceive the public…
…[The plaintiffs are 16 Puerto Rico towns and cities hit hard by September 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria] which led to thousands of deaths, food shortages, widespread infrastructure damage and the longest blackout in US history…According to the lawsuit – filed in the US federal district court of Puerto Rico – evidence of the conspiracy dates back to 1989 when the defendants, which include ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Rio Tinto, individually and through trade association formed the Global Climate Coalition (GCC)…[and conspired with] a climate change denial plan executed through a network of dark money ploughed into thinktanks, research institutions, trade groups and PR firms…
Seven oil firms, three coal companies, and hundreds of organisations and operatives are among the defendants accused of consumer fraud, racketeering, antitrust, fraudulent misrepresentation, conspiracy to defraud, products liability and unjust enrichment among other crimes…Several of the defendants have made statements criticising the lawsuit.” click here for more
Biden executive order on power system cybersecurity leaves critical operations vulnerable, experts say; From mysterious electronics in Chinese transformers to sensors without password protections, analysts see growing vulnerabilities in U.S. power system operations.
Herman K. Trabish, July 25, 2022 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Though Biden administration efforts to set cybersecurity standards have expanded, threats are proliferating and insiders confide that intrusions cannot be stopped but only mitigated.
A Ukraine war-provoked Russian cyberattack on the U.S. power system has not happened, but experts agree the threat is real because of a key shortcoming in cybersecurity preparations.
The 2021 Colonial Pipeline shutdown that disrupted Eastern U.S. gasoline deliveries hinted at the danger of cyberattacks on the energy sector. A May 12, 2021, Biden executive order, requiring major power system cybersecurity actions, implicitly acknowledged that Russia’s 2015 attack on Ukraine’s power system can happen here. But current and planned responses to the Biden order may not be enough to protect electricity delivery, cyber specialists said.
Russia may have so far withheld cyber warfare against the U.S. and its allies because of “a balance of power issue,” OPSWAT operations technology and industrial cybersecurity expert Oren Dvoskin said. “If a cyberattack is stopped, whoever stopped it knows the adversary, which is why nation-states are careful about if and when to deploy cyber weapons,” he said.
But the cyber threat to the energy sector goes beyond attacks to communications networks like the recent headlined ransomware attacks, analysts said. Using the growing internet access of power system operations that allow companies to monitor and control engineering processes online, attackers could disrupt critical infrastructure to create environmental devastation, losses of life, and severe economic impacts, they said.
Power system “security and safety” depends on “the reliability and accuracy of sensor data that informs operations,” Applied Control Solutions Managing Partner and Cybersecurity Analyst Joe Weiss told Utility Dive. And “Russia, China, and Iran are aware of the lack of cybersecurity in process sensors and have access to them” in critical electric system operations, he said.
The recent discovery of cryptocurrency’s vulnerability is a reminder that cybersecurity requires constant attention. But threats can be minimized by first recognizing protections to internet technology networks are inadequate to protect operational technology hardware, and then putting the best people, processes and technologies in place to protect electricity delivery, cyber analysts said… click here for more
Biden-Harris Administration Announces $3.7 Billion to Kick-Start America’s Carbon Dioxide Removal Industry; Four Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Programs Will Drive the Commercialization of Technologies Helping Remove CO2 Directly from the Atmosphere, Deliver Cleaner Air, Generate Good- Paying Jobs
December 13, 2022 (U.S. Department of Energy)
“…[Four programs that will help build a commercially viable, just, and responsible carbon dioxide removal industry in the United States will be] funded with $3.7 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law…[They] will help accelerate private-sector investment, spur advancements in monitoring and reporting practices for carbon management technologies, and provide grants to state and local governments to procure and use products developed from captured carbon emissions…
In addition to this funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act features substantial improvements to the federal Section 45Q tax credit for the capture and geologic storage of CO2, which will provide substantial complementary incentives. DOE’s analysis estimates that actions taken through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will drive 2030 economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels…
…[New efforts from the following Bipartisan Infrastructure Law include a] Direct Air Capture Commercial and Pre-Commercial Prize…Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs…Carbon Utilization Procurement Grants…[and a] Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF)…The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs support the goals of DOE’s Carbon Negative Shot initiative, which calls for innovation in carbon dioxide removal pathways that will capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it at gigaton scales for less than $100/net metric ton of CO2-equivalent…” click here for more
The 50 States of Grid Modernization: Q3 2022
October 2022 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)
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.
Q3 2022 GRID MODERNIZATION ACTION
In the third quarter of 2022, 48 states plus DC took a total of 441 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 441 actions catalogued, the most common were related to deployment (111), policies (78), and business model and rate reform (76).
TOP 5 GRID MODERNIZATION DEVELOPMENTS OF Q3 2022
Five of the quarter’s top policy developments are highlighted below. Massachusetts Lawmakers Establish Electric Sector Modernization Planning Requirements
Massachusetts lawmakers enacted H. 5060 in August 2022, which requires utilities to develop electric sector modernization plans. The plans are to focus on transmission and distribution system upgrades to improve grid reliability, resiliency, and adoption of renewable energy and distributed resources, among other goals. The bill also established a grid modernization advisory council, which will provide input on the modernization plans.
First Energy Files Grid Mod II Investment Plan in Ohio
In Ohio, First Energy filed an application for approval of the second phase of its distribution grid modernization plan (“Grid Mod II”) in July 2022. The $626.4 million plan includes investments in advanced metering infrastructure, distribution automation, an advanced distribution management system, and a distributed energy resource management system, among other investments.
Illinois Commerce Commission Approves Utility Performance Metrics
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved eight performance metrics each for Ameren Illinois and Commonwealth Edison, which will be used in a multi-year performancebased ratemaking framework for the utilities. The metrics differ for each utility, but include enhancing reliability, improving interconnection timelines, reducing load, strengthening grid performance, and expanding diverse contractor participation.
New Jersey Regulators Issue Storage Incentive Program Straw Proposal
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities filed a straw proposal for the New Jersey Storage Incentive Program in late September 2022. The straw proposal includes incentives for both grid supply and distributed projects, with 30% of the incentive being structured as an annual per-kWh incentive. Grid supply projects would be paid based on abated carbon emissions, and distributed projects would be paid for contributions to certain performance hours.
California Regulators Open Rulemaking to Advance Demand Flexibility Through Rates
In July 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission opened a new rulemaking to advance demand flexibility through electric rates. Among the proceeding’s objectives are to enhance reliability, improve affordability and equity, reduce curtailment of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enable electrification. The Commission will consider updates to its rate design principles and guidance principles for demand flexibility, and may authorize new pilots rates, programs, studies, or tools.
MOST ACTIVE STATES AND SUBTOPICS OF Q3 2022
The most common types of actions across the country related to energy storage deployment (66), utility business model reforms (45), smart grid deployment (39), distribution system planning (27), and advanced metering infrastructure deployment (26).
The states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization in Q3 2022 can be seen in Figure 4. California, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Illinois saw the most action during the quarter, followed by Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Minnesota, Colorado, and New Mexico. Overall, 48 states, plus DC, took actions related to grid modernization in Q3 2022.
TOP GRID MODERNIZATION TRENDS OF Q3 2022
States Moving Toward Performance-Based Regulation
A number of states took steps moving toward performance-based regulation during the quarter, with activity particularly focused around performance metrics. In Illinois, regulators approved eight performance metrics each for Ameren Illinois and Commonwealth Edison, which will be used as a part of their multi-year performance-based ratemaking framework. The Vermont Public Utility Commission approved new performance metrics for Green Mountain Power during the quarter as well, with the metrics focused on fleet electrification, battery backup during outages, and access to renewable or innovative energy services in low-income communities. United Illuminating filed a general rate case application with Connecticut regulators in September 2022, including a demonstration program for performance-based metrics. The proposed tracking metrics include distributed energy resource interconnection, electric vehicle managed charging, electric storage adoption, and customer e-bill adoption. Duke Energy Progress also filed proposed performance incentive mechanisms in North Carolina in early October, following a technical conference in July.
States and Utilities Examining Rate Designs for Energy Storage Facilities
Some states are beginning to examine potential rate designs specifically aimed at customers with battery storage systems. In Massachusetts, lawmakers enacted legislation directing each distribution company to file at least one rate tariff applicable to distribution-connected energy storage systems by October 31, 2023. The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved new rate schedules for battery storage facilities in September 2022. Several of the rates approved for Central Maine Power and Versant Power will be applicable to both battery storage and electric vehicle charging. In Michigan, Consumers Energy requested approval for a new large wholesale electric storage tariff for customers with batteries of at least 100 kW that are interested in participating in the wholesale capacity, energy, and ancillary services market.
States Moving Toward Competitive Procurement of Resources
States and utilities are increasingly using competitive procurement mechanisms, and particularly all-source competitive procurements, for new resources. These mechanisms can open the door for energy storage and other less traditional resources to compete to meet system needs. New Mexico regulators approved new integrated resource planning (IRP) rules in September 2022, which require utilities to issue RFPs for new resources following approval of IRPs. The rules do allow the Commission to grant a variance request if an RFP process is not the best option for obtaining a resource. Proposed IRP rules currently pending in Arizona would require the use of all-source RFPs. Idaho Power filed an application for approval of an all-source RFP in Oregon to meet the utility’s 2026 capacity resource need; the utility is seeking up to 1,100 MW of variable energy resources and at least 800 MW of peak capacity.
Offshore wind will be the next California goldrush. From Stream News via YouTube
This is no longer ambiguous. The real answer is New Energy. As fast as possible. From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via YouTube
This guy knows of what he talks. From Princeton University via YouTube
Renewable power’s growth is being turbocharged as countries seek to strengthen energy security; The global energy crisis has triggered unprecedented momentum behind renewables, with the world set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the past 20
6 December 2022 (International Energy Agency)
“…Energy security concerns caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have motivated countries to increasingly turn to renewables such as solar and wind to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels, whose prices have spiked dramatically. Global renewable power capacity is now expected to grow by 2,400 gigawatts (GW) over the 2022-2027 period, an amount equal to the entire power capacity of China today, according to [the IEA’s] Renewables 2022…This massive expected increase is 30% higher than the amount of growth that was forecast just a year ago, highlighting how quickly governments have thrown additional policy weight behind renewables…
…[R]enewables are set to account for over 90% of global electricity expansion over the next five years, overtaking coal to become the largest source of global electricity by early 2025…The war in Ukraine is a decisive moment for renewables in Europe where governments and businesses are looking to rapidly replace Russian gas with alternatives…An even faster deployment of wind and solar PV could be achieved if EU member states were to rapidly implement a number of policies, including streamlining and reducing permitting timelines, improving auction designs…[and improving auction schedules and] incentive schemes to support rooftop solar…
Beyond Europe, the upward revision in renewable power growth for the next five years is also driven by China, the United States and India, which are all implementing policies and introducing regulatory and market reforms more quickly than previously planned to combat the energy crisis…The report sees emerging signs of diversification in global PV supply chains, with new policies in the United States and India expected to boost investment in solar manufacturing by as much as USD 25 billion over the 2022-2027 period. While China remains the dominant player, its share in global manufacturing capacity could decrease from 90% today to 75% by 2027…” click here for more
Greenwashing in a time of global warming
Zeina Moneer, December 13, 2022 (Middle East Institute)
“…Big polluters are making net-zero promises and falsely presenting themselves as embracing “sustainable” solutions to gloss over their decades of environmental pollution and destruction…[T]he 20 largest oil companies are planning to spend $1.5 trillion developing fossil fuel sources by 2041…The fossil fuel multinationals have [also] been relying on public relations and advertising campaigns to promote the claim that climate change is about individuals’ lifestyle decisions and not the fault of the oil giants…
…[And while industry and governments have introduced “green” hydrogen made from renewables and water] to help decarbonization efforts and accelerate the green transition…the oil-producing states of Egypt and Algeria are manufacturing hydrogen from fossil fuel, using controversial CCS — which has received millions in subsidies — to trap emissions, known as “blue” hydrogen. Blue hydrogen results in a huge carbon footprint and risks undermining the benefits of using hydrogen in the first place…Big polluters are now relying on a new tactic called “woke-washing” to gain legitimacy and social acceptance while maintaining their business models…
…[Woke-washing starts with a] warning that advancing low-carbon pledges would be socially and economically unjustifiable…[and follows with big polluters] presenting their activities and businesses as integral and beneficial to society by relying on social movements’ values to justify their actions…” click here for more
High energy prices, Ukraine war and rising demand response potential spur energy efficiency efforts; Innovative uses of efficiency as demand response to meet power system needs can end natural gas and coal dependence, according to a new International Energy Agency initiative.
Herman K. Trabish, July 11, 2022 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The EU has been preparing since March for the winter that is now upon it. The world is watching.
Energy efficiency, the cleanest, lowest cost, most overlooked resource in the climate fight, is now part of the world’s pushback against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the International Energy Agency.
Energy efficiency, or EE, is fundamental to the clean energy transition, analysts have long agreed. Energy efficiency, or EE, is fundamental to the clean energy transition, analysts have long agreed. But the Ukraine war-driven urgency for the European Union to end reliance on Russian natural gas and avoid stopgap coal burning now makes EE vital, a June 10 statement co-signed by the U.S. and 25 IEA parties in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the EU recognized.
EE is “critical” to keeping world energy “affordable, secure, and clean,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told the annual IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency June 8. And world leaders must make the conference “a meeting of hope” where “the world hits the accelerator on efficiency” or they may “pay the price for years to come.”
This “could be the peace project of our time,” U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman added at the conference. “Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine has challenged us to think differently about how we generate, distribute, and use energy, and the case for energy efficiency has never been more urgent.”
In the U.S., EE has enormous potential but must demonstrate its value across different regulatory and market circumstances, Speakes-Backman and other U.S. EE advocates said during and after the IEA conference. With more innovative and comprehensive policies, EE can have great value as demand response, or DR, and be used when and where the power system needs kWh reductions the most, they said.
New numbers support the IEA initiative. Halving EU energy intensity, a ratio of energy use to gross domestic product, could reduce the need for “650 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year,” about four times the EU’s 2021 Russian imports, according to the IEA report released during the conference. “Total energy savings” could lower EU electricity bills “at least $650 billion a year by 2030,” the report added… click here for more
West Coast’s first offshore wind sale tops $750M
Sharon Udasin, December 7, 2022 (The Hill)
“…[The first auction for wind development off the country’s Pacific coast raked] in a total of $757.1 million after two days of fierce bidding…[The third major U.S. offshore lease sale this year] will enable five companies to develop about 4.6 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity, or enough to power more than 1.5 million homes, according to the Department of the Interior…[President Biden] set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030…
…[This was the] first U.S. sale to support the development of commercial-scale floating offshore wind, which is a relatively new technology…Because West Coast waters deepen much quicker than those off the East Coast, using floating infrastructure is more practical than attaching foundations to the seafloor, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory…The Biden administration has set a goal of deploying 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind by 2035…The auction, conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, offered five lease areas covering 373,268 total acres off Northern and Central California…
…[The highest bid, $173,800,000, came from California North Floating, LLC, for] off the coast of Eureka…[RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, LLC ,] bid $157,700,000 for the 63,338-acre OCS-P 0561, located in the same Northern California lease zone…The third highest sale was to Central California Offshore Wind, LLC, at $150,300,000, for] the Central California lease area off the coast of Morro Bay…[The lease sale included a 20 percent credit for bidders who promised to] support workforce training programs or the development of a domestic wind supply chain…” click here for more
The 50 States of Solar: Q3 2022
October 2022 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)
OVERVIEW OF Q3 2022 POLICY ACTION
In the third quarter of 2022, 40 states plus DC took a total of 174 actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design (Figure 1). Table 1 provides a summary of state actions related to DG compensation, rate design, and solar ownership during Q3 2022. Of the 174 actions cataloged, the most common were related to DG compensation rules (58), followed by community solar (46), and residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (28).
TOP FIVE SOLAR POLICY DEVELOPMENTS OF Q3 2022
Five of the quarter’s top policy developments are highlighted below.
Mississippi Regulators Adopt Revised DG Compensation Rules
The Mississippi Public Service Commission approved revised DG compensation rules in July 2022, with further amendments made in an October 2022 order. The revised rules expand eligibility for the low-to-moderate (LMI) income benefits adder from 200% to 225% of the federal poverty level, create new upfront incentive programs for LMI customers and residential battery storage, and establish a solar for schools program, among other changes.
California Lawmakers Enact Legislation to Expand Community Solar
The California State Legislature enacted A.B. 2316 in September 2022, which directs the California Public Utilities Commission to evaluate customer renewable energy subscription programs and determine by March 31, 2024 whether it would be beneficial to ratepayers to establish a Community Renewable Energy Program. The legislation requires that 51% of program subscribers be low-income customers or low-income service organizations.
Virginia Corporation Commission Establishes Minimum Bill for Community Solar Participants
In July 2022, the Virginia Corporation Commission approved a monthly minimum bill of $55.10 for participants in the state’s new shared solar program. Notably, the Commission exempted low-income customers from the minimum bill. Regulators granted a motion for reconsideration that urged the Commission to approve a different option that would set the minimum bill at $10.95, but the Commission later upheld the higher charge.
North Carolina Regulators Authorize Third-Party PPA for Military Facility
The North Carolina Utilities Commission issued a declaratory ruling in August 2022, allowing a power purchase agreement (PPA) between Sunstone Energy and Fort Bragg to move forward under the proposed third-party ownership structure. The Commission found that since Fort Bragg is on federal land, federal law applies and the Commission may not regulate Sunstone Energy as a public utility.
Illinois Commerce Commission Approves Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan
Illinois regulators approved the state’s 2022 Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan in July 2022. The plan provides guidelines for the state’s renewable energy incentive programs, including those for community solar. The plan implements changes enacted in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act of 2021, including requirements related to equity. The plan includes new funding categories specific to public schools, community-driven projects, and “equitable eligible contractors”.
THE BIG PICTURE: INSIGHTS FROM Q3 2022
States Tying Labor Requirements to Solar Programs
As states continue to evaluate their distributed solar programs, policymakers in some states are tying new labor requirements to these programs. At the federal level, the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act requires that laborers are paid prevailing wages for new projects to receive the full 30% business investment tax credit. In California, legislation enacted in September 2022 requires that net metering systems over 15 kW installed after December 31, 2023 meet the labor standards for public works projects, including prevailing wage requirements. New Mexico’s new community solar program includes bid preferences for projects employing local labor and including workforce training opportunities, while Illinois’ Adjustable Block Program requires that most project proposals comply with Illinois Prevailing Wage Act rules.
Policymakers and Regulators Examining Improvements for Next Iterations of Community Solar Programs
In several states, policymakers and regulators are examining potential improvements to community solar programs to be implemented in future iterations of these programs. California lawmakers enacted legislation in September 2022 that is intended to address policy barriers that have inhibited the growth of community solar in the state. In Maryland, the Public Service Commission submitted a report to the state legislature with recommendations regarding the future of the state’s community solar pilot program, and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has been working to develop a straw proposal for a permanent community solar program to succeed its pilot. Meanwhile, stakeholders in Maine have been meeting to discuss potential changes to the state’s distributed generation programs, including community solar, while Connecticut regulators evaluate potential changes for Year 4 of the shared clean energy facilities program.
States and Utilities Considering the Resilience Value of Distributed Solar
A number of states and utilities are considering the potential resilience value that distributed solar can offer as a part of customer programs. The Georgia Public Service Commission approved Georgia Power’s proposed Resilience Asset Service Tariff in July 2022, which will allow the utility to deploy distributed energy resources, including solar and battery storage, at commercial and industrial customer locations in exchange for a monthly resiliency service charge. In New Hampshire, resilience services is one of the avoided cost components analyzed by the state’s forthcoming value of distributed energy resources study. Additionally, Connecticut regulators have considered the potential for bid preferences in the shared clean energy facilities program for projects delivering measurable resilience benefits.
Making the power system safer would be simple - but expensive. How much is electricity worth when it is suddenly not there? Odd speculation in this vid. Give it a listen. BTW - this post's headline abridges a famous remark by Oscar Wilde about a piano player in a Wild West saloon.From greenmanbucket via YouTube
The Loan Program Office kick-started the U.S. solar and wind industries with greater success than venture capitalist investments and is now looking for ways to support growth of the battery, green hydrogen, and carbon capture industries. From U.S. Dept. of Energy via YouTube
NatGas will be a necessity in the near-term but it must be eliminated ASAP and here is one key reason why. Consumers can lead the transition away from it to New Energy with electric heating and appliances. From PBS NewsHour via YouTube
Climate Change Summit Leaves Hope for Limiting Global Warming: Governments at COP27 didn’t make deal for sharper cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, but analysts say 1.7 degrees is achievable; Negotiators at the COP27 conference agreed to set up a fund to compensate poorer nations worst-hit by climate change. The historic deal concluded the U.N. climate summit, while broader commitments to cut CO2 emissions remain under negotiation.
Matthew Dalton, November 28, 2022 (Wall Street Journal)
Governments left the United Nations climate summit this month with new doubts that global temperature increases can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels—but also with hope that a more realistic goal, 1.7 degrees, is within reach…[The earth has already warmed around 1.1 degrees since 1850] largely due to an increase in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, caused by industrialization… [Limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees requires that global greenhouse-gas emissions fall] an average 5% every year, starting now…[but] fossil-fuel carbon-dioxide emissions alone this year are on track to rise 1% from last year…
Big economies, however, have made longer-term plans to cut emissions that analysts say could limit warming… China, by far the world’s largest emitter, and India, the third-largest, last year pledged to become net-zero emitters of greenhouse gases by 2060 and 2070, respectively…[Getting to 1.7 would] require global investment in clean energy to rise from $1.3 trillion annually to $3 trillion by 2030. Hitting 1.5 degrees would require spending $4.2 trillion by 2030—effectively doubling the investment represented by the energy sector from 2% of global annual gross domestic product to 4%...
…[T]here is a little-known scientific reason why 1.7 degrees is a lot easier than 1.5 degrees…[Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from burning coal] transform into tiny droplets called aerosols that have helped cool the earth—by an estimated 0.5 degrees—by reflecting sunlight back into space…[Limiting warming to 1.7 degrees would still significantly reduce damages from] rising sea levels, drought or heat waves…” click here for more
Everything you need to know about hydrogen in the clean energy transition
Johnny Wood, November 29, 2022 (World Economic Forum)
“…[T]he growth of wind, solar and other renewables is vital for the global energy transition…[but] a base-load fuel is needed to generate power on demand to compensate when output from renewable sources is low or to boost supply during periods of peak electricity demand…[Clean hydrogen could also] help decarbonize hard-to-electrify heavy transport sectors like shipping, railways and buses…More than 100 pilot and demonstration projects are underway using hydrogen or its derivatives to fuel shipping…
Some heavy industries are also eager to embrace the decarbonizing potential of hydrogen…[A flurry of new ‘green steel’] projects have been announced that will use emissions-free hydrogen in the direct reduction of iron…[Grey Hydrogen produced by combusting natural gas] emits CO2 into the atmosphere…[Blue Low-carbon Hydrogen produced by combusting fossil fuels but with carbon capture, utilization and storage technology removes] most CO2 emissions from flue gases…
…[Green Emissions-free Hydrogen is] produced using an electrolyzer powered by renewable energy...In 2021, natural gas accounted for around 60% of total production with coal accounting for about 20%...[But by 2030 low-carbon hydrogen electrolyzer capacity] could reach 60 gigawatts annually by 2030…[and] the cost of electrolyzers could fall by 70%...[This would be] similar to the dramatic price falls that helped boost wind and solar power take-up…” click here for more
Upheaval in utility regulation emerging nationally as Hawaii proves a performance-based approach; Plans to reward utilities for what they do, not what they spend, are moving ahead in 13+ states
Herman K. Trabish, July 5, 2022 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The basic idea is to replace rewarding utilities for building electric infrastructure with rewarding them for delivering it.
Many states are working on regulatory reforms focused on utility performance, but some compromise approaches may be self-defeating, performance-based regulation, or PBR, consultants said.
“A future power system that is affordable and optimally integrates clean energy requires changing the current incentives that reward utilities for spending,” said Strategen Consulting Managing Director, U.S. Consulting, Matt McDonnell, who helped lead Hawaii to the U.S.’s only full PBR implementation to date. “Recognition is emerging even in the utility industry of PBR as a solution to that spending bias.”
New PBR incentives would align utility rewards with achieving public policy goals, advocates contend. But entrenched commitments by power system incumbents to traditional cost of service, or COS, regulation that rewards utilities with guaranteed profits for capital infrastructure investments is forcing compromised reforms in places like Illinois and North Carolina that worry regulatory analysts.
COS “thinking and mechanisms are deeply entrenched” because utility returns based on spending “was reasonable when basic infrastructure was needed,” PBR consultant and former Texas utility executive and regulator Karl R. Rábago told Utility Dive. “Well-designed PBR can allow utilities to earn by meeting new needs like equity, decarbonization, and modernization with innovation instead of spending.”
PBR can undo COS’s bias for capital expenditures and against new low-cost distributed technologies, but reforms must be carefully designed, regulatory analysts said. Limited PBR elements like performance incentives can align utility interests and societal goals, but without a full PBR process and framework, unintended consequences may drive regulators back to COS.
Both full and limited approaches to PBR are being explored in current efforts around the country… click here for more
Scorecard: Leading States Cutting Costs for Residents With Energy Efficiency, But More Progress Needed; California Ranks #1; Maine is Most Improved; South Carolina and Ohio Fall Furthest
December 6, 2022 (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)
“As Americans struggle to pay rising energy bills, leading states have instituted energy efficiency policies that cut utility bills—especially for those who need it most—while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the 2022 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard These policies can serve as models for the dozens of states that have yet to prioritize energy-saving upgrades to reduce costs for disadvantaged households…
…[California, which led,] centers equity in its energy policies and administers wide-reaching programs to reduce emissions from transportation, buildings, and industry…The scorecard is accompanied by one-page evaluations of each state’s performance, including possible ways to improve performance…[An expanded focus includes 12 equity-focused actions and] equitable energy efficiency policies that reduce energy burdens for low-income and disadvantaged households and historically underserved communities…Thirty-four states earned less than half the points on equity, showing there is significant room for improvement…
In another key trend, the report found that as energy efficiency programs increasingly prioritize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, four states (California, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont) and DC have moved to align their energy and climate goals, with fuel-neutral energy savings targets that can encourage electrification with measures like installing heat pumps. Still, at least 12 states still do not even allow utility efficiency programs to provide incentives for switching from fossil fuel heaters to efficient electric systems…” click here for more
What Happened: California NEM Disaster 3.0
Crystal Soo, December 3, 2022 (Project Fair)
Electricity is a basic human need whose accessibility and affordability expands through distributed energy resources (DERs). Traditionally, energy has been produced by electric utilities, which have had a monopoly by centralizing our energy resources. In contrast, DERs are sited at the consumer level, for example, the solar on a homeowner’s rooftop. As a result, DERs provide a host of benefits, including energy resilience, energy affordability, and human and environmental health. By establishing the DER adoption framework in frontline communities – those who have systemically shouldered the burdens of our current electricity system – we prove the scalability of DERs and their benefits. In other words, if the method through which we implement DERs can economically scale at the frontlines, we have established a system effective at ameliorating systemic energy injustices. In turn, DERs become a valuable, viable, and equitable solution for climate adaptation and mitigation.
A critical driver of DER adoption is net energy metering (NEM), a form of financial compensation for DERs where system owners are credited for providing the electric grid with excess electricity generated. This billing mechanism is a crucial driver of the financial feasibility for DER adoption. Shortened payback periods for DER investments can be achieved through compensation mechanisms for the electricity metered to the electric grid. Additionally, the DER can provide electricity onsite when utility electricity prices are high, lowering bills and increasing energy affordability. Net metering policy varies by state, but all should be guided by the fundamental Equity principles of transparency, access, and community engagement.
Here, I present the California Net Metering 3.0 Proceeding as a case study to explore how frontline communities play a core role in DER technology adoption and policy. I demonstrate how the NEM 3.0 discourse can follow an alternative path to Equity by utilizing no-cost and open-access data to unlock critical factors in developing a net metering policy. A methodology that centers Equity results in comprehensive, convergent decision-making that expedites clean energy adoption.
The California NEM 3.0 Proceeding
A key aim of the California NEM 3.0 Proceeding, a net metering policy for single family residential homeowners, is to improve on the cost-effectiveness of NEM 2.0 (the second version of the net metering program) before it becomes official policy. California NEM 3.0 is a rework of NEM 2.0, resulting from findings that DERs were over-compensated for their electricity exports to the grid in comparison to the cost of services provided by the grid. As a result, NEM 3.0 foregrounds DER financial compensation mechanisms for electricity exports to the grid by introducing the Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC), which was not present during NEM 2.0.
However, within both expert circles and frontline advocate groups, there is strong disagreement and inconclusiveness on the core findings of NEM 3.0. Consequently, the NEM 3.0 Proceeding has not resulted in a Final Decision, which was originally slated for February 2022. California is known as both a national and a global leader in clean energy. So, where did the NEM 3.0 Proceeding go so horribly wrong?
The key red flag in the NEM 3.0 discourse is the ACC, a calculator developed by a third party consultant without the input, engagement, and evaluation of frontline communities. Even expert energy economists within the DER community were unaware that the ACC would be central to NEM 3.0. Because the ACC model focuses on single family residential homes, it doesn’t account for communities who reside in multi-family residential units, rental apartments, or work in the agricultural sector – i.e., those without intergenerational wealth to be homeowners or those in one of the largest CO2 emitting industries. Moreover, the ACC projections do not attempt to forecast DER adoption impacts based on strategies to increase adoption, especially among these communities as well as those that are under-participating.
There is a lack of evaluation around the electricity system’s avoided costs under NEM policy that incorporates a variety of potential customers, ranging from apartment renters to the agricultural sector. The ACC – and the process whereby it was developed and implemented – is inadequate on all fronts of transparency, access, and community engagement; unsurprisingly, the result is ongoing contentiousness among frontline advocates, energy economists, and policymakers.
Figure A. The Avoided Cost Calculator for California NEM 3.0
A Transparent, Accessible, and Community-Engaged Framework and Method: Centering and Characterizing the Frontline Communities
If the NEM 3.0 Proceeding is going to become a process that accelerates the clean energy transition through energy justice, then transparency, access, and community engagement must drive net metering reform. To start, a transparent and accessible method to analyze and present information must be utilized and a methodology to characterize frontline communities should be created. Where are these DER benefits most powerful and compelling?
I used publicly available, no-cost, and open-access data from the federal CEJST tool, to demonstrate accelerated adoption of DERs by embedding energy justice into the development of NEM 3.0. Through the CEJST tool, I identified the California counties of San Joaquin, Fresno, and Merced as frontline communities who stand to benefit most from DER adoption and NEM participation. In these communities, we see that energy burden (the ratio of energy expenses to income) and PM2.5 (an air pollutant that causes asthma) are remarkable. Fresno County has 40% of its population at or above the 70th percentile of energy burden in the United States, the greatest percentage of the three frontline communities. At the 70th percentile of energy burden, all three counties are heavily impacted by air pollution, ranging from 97th to 99th percentile of PM2.5 exposure in the United States. By characterizing communities based on energy affordability and air quality metrics using open-access data, we are guided by accessible knowledge through transparency.
Looking beyond percentiles to the wider social context of these regions, each county’s economy relies heavily on agriculture as a key economic driver. However, there is currently no pathway for agricultural participation under the current ACC and California NEM design. The NEM design should be inclusive of the various customer classes that exist in California, rather than solely single family residential homeowners, to include renters and farmers. Then, as the result of inclusive net metering, the avoided costs should be calculated and forecasted to reflect policy that condones equitable participation. Accessible data empowers communities, elevates their voices, and opens decision-making beyond esoteric groups, bringing the historically marginalized to the table where decisions are made while engaging them throughout the policy process.
Figure B. Infographic containing CEJST tool data and mock survey results to demonstrate a potential community engagement strategy.
Applying the Solution
The proposed NEM 3.0 includes a $600 million Equity Fund* with the aim of scaling up low-income access to distributed clean energy. The allocation of its funds for technologies including distributed storage and community solar will be determined through a stakeholder engagement process.
Building on the foundation for frontline community characterization, the next step is creating a framework and method for the crucial roles that they play in the clean energy transition and to account for the disproportionate health and economic burdens they have systemically and historically shouldered. In the context of the NEM 3.0 proceeding, this means leveraging the $600M Equity Fund in the counties of San Joaquin, Fresno, and Merced to study the scalability of DER adoption in these communities and the metrics that would inform equitable NEM rate design more broadly.
Successful DER adoption requires that NEM policy be demonstrative of customer access and empowerment. Successful customer access and empowerment can be demonstrated through an investment framework that should:
1. Streamline, standardize, and accelerate the DER adoption process, including engineering, permitting, and interconnection, in frontline communities.
2. Continuously evaluate the project development process in frontline communities for project phase durations.
3. In tandem with (2), proactively identify areas for project development process optimization while leveraging relevant funds, services, and software technologies in the market.
4. In tandem with (2), proactively identify market players relevant to project development process optimization.
*Update: After one year of delaying the NEM3 Final Decision, the latest version removes the $600M Equity Fund and externalizes the funding to a separate policy decision. This is yet another example of failure to understand and operationalize Equity, pushing Equity to the periphery and delaying justice. This has a direct negative impact on the deployment of clean energy that reaches our climate goals.
The current NEM 3.0 proceeding fails to meet clean energy and Equity expectations.
The introduction of the ACC in NEM 3.0 further gatekeeps distributed energy resources, centralizes infrastructure, and breaks down communication between policymakers and the communities they serve. Simultaneously, these proceedings cannot be repeated elsewhere, because it is untenable for the climate, the energy industry, and communities to wait when we need an accelerated clean energy transition that reverses the historic trends of climate, energy, and social injustice. Equity must be the fundamental through which we deploy clean energy, whether through the utility or DERs. The techno-heroic approach to climate centers the next latest and greatest technology as the driving force solving our most pertinent challenges – this has not and will not work for solving the climate crisis. In order for technology to drive a sustainable and just future, it must be part of an orchestrated effort to distribute that technology to those who stand to benefit most – and seek their engagement from the beginning.