NewEnergyNews: 02/01/2023 - 03/01/2023/


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.



  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The IRA And The New Energy Boom
  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The IRA And the EV Revolution

  • Weekend Video: Coming Ocean Current Collapse Could Up Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: Impacts Of The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current Collapse
  • Weekend Video: More Facts On The AMOC

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 15-16:

  • Weekend Video: The Truth About China And The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: Florida Insurance At The Climate Crisis Storm’s Eye
  • Weekend Video: The 9-1-1 On Rooftop Solar

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 8-9:

  • Weekend Video: Bill Nye Science Guy On The Climate Crisis
  • Weekend Video: The Changes Causing The Crisis
  • Weekend Video: A “Massive Global Solar Boom” Now

    WEEKEND VIDEOS, July 1-2:

  • The Global New Energy Boom Accelerates
  • Ukraine Faces The Climate Crisis While Fighting To Survive
  • Texas Heat And Politics Of Denial
  • --------------------------


    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish



    WEEKEND VIDEOS, June 17-18

  • Fixing The Power System
  • The Energy Storage Solution
  • New Energy Equity With Community Solar
  • Weekend Video: The Way Wind Can Help Win Wars
  • Weekend Video: New Support For Hydropower
  • 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




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


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

  • ---------------
  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, August 24-26:
  • Happy One-Year Birthday, Inflation Reduction Act
  • The Virtual Power Plant Boom, Part 1
  • The Virtual Power Plant Boom, Part 2

    Monday, February 27, 2023

    Monday Study – New Energy With Storage Beats Coal In The Market

    Coal Cost Crossover 3.0: Local Renewables Plus Storage Create New Opportunities for Customer Savings and Community Reinvestment

    Michelle Solomon, Eric Gimon, Mike O’Boyle, Umed Paliwal, Amol Phadke, JANUARY 2023 (Energy Innovation)

    Executive Summary

    The cost of operating existing coal power plants in the United States continues to increase while coal jobs, generation, and mining all decrease. i New coal retirement announcements seem to happen faster, even as natural gas prices skyrocket, and renewable energy prices keep dropping.

    The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which extended and expanded clean energy tax credits, along with new funding to guarantee loans for refinancing fossil assets and reinvesting in clean energy infrastructure, has shifted the economic scale even further toward wind and solar. But it also creates thoughtful new investment opportunities in areas burdened by existing coal plants with a 10 percent tax credit boost for projects located in nearby communities.

    These factors underpin the third iteration of our Coal Cost Crossover analysis, which shows wind and solar energy are unequivocally cheaper than coal-fired generation across the country. This study finds 99 percent of all coal-fired power plants in the U.S. are more expensive to operate on a forward-looking basis than the all-in cost of replacement renewable energy projects, and 97 percent are more expensive than renewable energy projects sited within 45 kilometers (approximately 30 miles), a significant acceleration from our two previous analyses. For more than three quarters of U.S. coal capacity, the all-in cost per MWh of the cheapest renewable option is at least a third cheaper than the going-forward costs for the coal it would replace.

    In this report we compare the cost of operating each continental U.S. coal plant in 2021, totaling 220 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity across the country, to the estimated costs of building new wind and solar generation. We consider the wind and solar costs within two geographic scopes: local to the coal plants (within 45 kilometers) and regionally (roughly within the utility balancing area), finding that nearly all existing coal plants have multiple lowercost clean energy replacement options.

    This research shows all but one of the country’s 210 coal plants are more expensive to operate than either new wind or new solar. If the IRA’s new energy community tax credit is included in the equation, 199 of the 210 plants are more expensive to operate compared to local solar resources sited within 45 kilometers of the plant. Local wind resources are also costeffective and readily available, with 104 plants having cheaper wind resources within 45 kilometers.

    Altogether, 205 plants have local renewable options that would be cheaper than coal-fired electricity. This potential to replace existing coal plants with cheap, local clean energy generation creates significant economic benefits for community transition. Our analysis finds replacing these plants with local solar or wind would drive $589 billion in local capital investment that could support economic diversification, job creation, and tax revenue.

    These local wind and solar resources could also help solve the problem of long interconnection queues—a significant barrier to renewables deployment. Renewable projects built near a retiring coal plant could use the existing plant’s interconnection, helping to further lower costs. If more policymakers consider this dynamic, they can streamline economic replacement and anticipate coal retirements, which are accelerating due to the cost dynamics analyzed in this report.

    While solar and wind replacement resources provide significant low-cost energy and reliability value to the grid, savings generated by switching from more expensive coal to cheaper clean energy can finance other resources to provide additional energy and reliability value.

    We find that the savings generated by shifting to local solar could fund the addition of 137 GW of four-hour batteries across all plants, and 80 percent or more of the capacity at a third of existing coal plants – the economics of replacing coal with renewables are so favorable that they could fund a massive battery storage buildout to add reliability value along with emissions reductions. However, it is important to remember reliability is a system attribute—replacement renewable portfolios need not bear sole responsibility for replacing the reliability services of individual coal plants.

    While the economic case is clear and virtually universal, barriers remain to replacing coal with clean energy, and policymakers must act to unlock the cost savings and human health benefits for coal communities while reducing climate pollution.

    Several policies can enable a faster coal-to-clean transition. Specifically:

    ▪ To prepare the way for coal transition, regulators and system operators should:

    o Improve methods to assess reliability and resource adequacy reflecting the reliability value of renewable portfolios and valuing the reliability attributes of a high-renewables grid.

    o Update interconnection study rules to leveraging existing coal plant interconnection rights to speed grid connection processes for local renewable replacement resources.

    ▪ To proactively pursue the transition, regulators should:

    o Encourage utilities to utilize IRA financing programs available through the Departments of Energy and Agriculture to remove financial barriers to coal community economic transition and investment.

    o Enable competitive resource procurement.

    o Require re-assessment of any utility investment plan, including integrated resource plans and market-based solicitations for renewable supply, completed prior to IRA as renewables costs are now out of date.

    ▪ To create a just transition for affected communities, state legislatures and energy offices should:

    o Plan for and fund a coal community-centered economic transition, where local clean energy resources are the anchor for a more expansive economic transition plan…

    Saturday, February 25, 2023

    The Real Causes Of The Climate Crisis

    Spoiler Alert: It’s not because Mercury is in retrograde or because of too many poor people procreating. It’s because generating emissions is too cheap and too easy. From the United Nations via YouTube

    The “Ifs” For Green Hydrogen

    IF it is “…produced cleanly and deployed wisely…” Those "ifs" may not be readily achievable. From the International Energy Agency via YouTube

    Attacks On The Power System Increase

    Nearly 4500 hits in the last 2 years. Some attackers identified as associated with hate groups seeking to cause havoc in urban areas.From CBS News via YouTube

    Friday, February 24, 2023

    Global New Energy Buy-In Hits Record

    Global renewables investment 'reaches record high; Despite US$0.5 trillion investment, much more is needed states IRENA, Climate Policy Initiative report

    February 22, 2023 (RENew Biz)

    “Global investment in renewable energy reached a record high in 2022, according to a new report from IRENA and the Climate Policy Initiative…[But the world’s US$0.5 trillion investment is less than 40% of what is] needed each year between 2021 and 2030…[Decentralised and off-grid renewable solutions are also falling far short as] investments have become concentrated in specific technologies and uses…

    In 2020, solar photovoltaic alone attracted 43% of the total investment in renewables, followed by onshore and offshore wind at 35% and 12% shares, respectively…[M]ore funds need to flow to less mature technologies as well as to other sectors beyond electricity such as heating, cooling, and system integration…[Across countries and regions,] glaring disparities have increased significantly over the last six years…About 70% of the world’s population, mostly residing in developing and emerging countries, received only 15% of global investments in 2020…

    In 2021, investment per capita in Europe was 127 times that in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 179 times more in North America…[Public financing, lending, and financial flows from the Global North to the Global South and] to developing countries looking to deploy renewables must be reformed…” click here for more

    Global Impacts Of Biden New Energy Supports

    The green subsidy race and how it’s changing the global economy; Western governments are jostling to boost their competitiveness, particularly through investing in green technology; we look at this return of industrial policy and its implications for the world economy

    Irene Lauro, February 20, 2023 (Schroders)

    “…[The Biden administration’s August 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is] the most significant climate action yet to have followed from the Paris Agreement of 2015…[Its tax breaks and subsidies worth $369 billion represent] a new industrial strategy…By limiting the cost of clean energy production and creating certainty it is likely to make the energy transition cost-effective for the long term…[The EU’s January 2023 Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) will help] protect its leadership in clean energy, addressing the potential loss of competitiveness to the US and the risk of energy-intensive industries relocating…

    …[The NZIA will] simplify and fast-track permitting for new clean tech production along] the entire supply chain…[and the Critical Raw Materials Act] is set to ensure access to critical minerals and metals by diversifying sourcing and reducing dependence on highly concentrated supplies from third countries…[It is] a more simplified regulatory framework for production capacity…[and eases subsidy rules for] key product sectors including batteries, wind-turbines, heat pumps as well as technologies such as solar, electrolyser and carbon capture and storage…

    …[The challenge is that disparate EU fiscal capacities could lead to] harmful subsidy races and weakening of regional development…[And though the price on carbon through the EU ETS has already incentivised the decarbonisation of the European energy sector, concerns remain in the EU] over green protectionism due to the discriminatory nature of the US incentives…[Though a transatlantic trade war is unlikely, countries] that will not take part to this green subsidy race, like the UK, will be more exposed to foreign competition…[and miss] employment and investment opportunities…” click here for more

    Wednesday, February 22, 2023

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Critical Net Zero Challenges

    US can reach 100% clean power by 2035, DOE finds, but tough reliability and land use questions lie ahead; New aggressive planning is needed to identify the long-duration storage technologies and find the land to grow enough resources to reach Biden net zero emissions goals, a DOE national lab reports.

    Herman K. Trabish, November 15, 2022 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The challenges to a coming growth now abundantly funded by Biden-driven legislation are bigger than ever.

    Four major viable paths to a net zero emissions “clean electricity” power system by 2035 “in which benefits exceed costs” are detailed in an August study by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL.

    But it does not explain how adequate land to reach a 90% clean electricity penetration can be acquired or how reliability will be protected beyond that 90% penetration, stakeholders acknowledged.

    Today’s clean energy technologies can take the U.S. “to about 90% emissions reductions because of reduced costs and our maturing understanding of renewables and storage,” said Paul Denholm, DOE principal energy analyst and study co-lead author. But “90% is a proxy for where we don’t know what resource or multiple resources will be needed for reliability,” he said.

    Markets may resolve uncertainties about long-duration energy storage, or LDES, technologies for reliability, DOE and storage analysts agreed. But resolving the continuing local opposition to building new infrastructure will require smarter planning, environmentalists said.

    “Most people have not yet envisioned the coming scale of development and local permitting and siting challenges,” agreed Nicole Hill, project lead on The Nature Conservancy, or TNC, report Power of Place – West. But TNC’s new planning approach of “working slowly and responsibly now to be able to go faster later,” can achieve both climate and conservation goals, she said.

    The full scale of needed infrastructure growth may be hard to envision, but new federal, state and utility LDES technology investments and proposed planning policy innovations are taking on the uncertainty, DOE’s Denholm and other analysts said. The four paths to a 100% clean power sector by 2035, even with 66% higher demand from transportation and building electrification, can lead to a net zero emissions economy by 2050, the NREL study said… click here for more

    Community Solar Rising On IRA Support

    US community solar set to double in five years as the IRA creates optimism

    Will Norman, February 15, 2023 (PV Tech)

    “…[U.S. community solar deployment of relatively small-scale solar projects that serve local communities is expected to more than double over the next five years as the sector sees] benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) taking hold…2022 saw 1.01GW of community solar installed across the US, a fall from 1.19GW in 2021…[because contraction of industry-wide supply chains pushed] some projects back into 2023…[I]nterconnection delays in some states have caused a drop-off in community solar deployment…

    …[But] at least 6GW of community solar is expected to come online in existing markets between 2023-27…[as the market grows] by 118% over the next five years…[The Coalition for Community Solar Access, or CCSA,] has set a target of 30GW of community solar installed by 2030, which it said will require continued growth in established markets and the opening up of new state markets across the country…The U.S, has 5.2GW deployed as of the end of 2022, of which 49% is held by the state of New York…

    …[N]ew state markets may start opening up in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Washington which could add 605MW together by 2027…As with most segments of the US renewable energy landscape, the Inflation Reduction Act is a major factor driving growth as tax credits and adders attract developers…[Provisions of the IRA open up opportunities for low income and non-profit entities to receive funding for climate change projects…” click here for more

    Monday, February 20, 2023

    Monday Study – The Key Policy Debates Over Solar

    The 50 States of Solar 2022 annual review and Q4 Quarterly Report

    Emily Apadula, Rebekah de la Mora, Justin Lindemann, Brian Lips, Vincent Potter, Autumn Proudlove, and David Sarkisian, January 2023 (Nort Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary


    State and utility solar policies continued to undergo review in 2022, with nearly every state in the country considering policy or rate design changes – a trend which has continued over the past several years and is likely to continue through 2023 and beyond. Table 1 provides a summary of state actions related to DG compensation, rate design, and solar ownership during 2022. Of the 285 actions identified, the most common were related to DG compensation policies (94), community solar policies (79), and residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (49). The actions occurred across 46 states plus DC in 2022 (Figure 1). The states that saw the most solar policy action, or the most impactful actions, during 2022 are highlighted below.


    While nearly every state in the country took some type of action on distributed solar policy or rate design during 2022, some states were particularly active, taking many different actions or especially impactful actions. The following states stood out in 2022 for their solar policy activity:

    1. California The California Public Utilities Commission approved Net Metering 3.0 rules in December 2022, transitioning the state’s major utilities to a net billing structure with hourly avoided cost rate credits for energy exported to the grid. The Commission declined to adopt a grid participation charge or minimum bill in this proceeding, but will consider these in a broader ratemaking investigation State lawmakers also enacted legislation including guidelines for a new community solar program for the state.

    2. Mississippi

    Mississippi regulators considered a variety of changes to the state’s current net billing rules during 2022, ultimately issuing a decision expanding eligibility for the low-to-moderate income benefits adder, creating new upfront incentive programs, and establishing a solar for schools program, among other changes. The Public Service Commission also opened a proceeding to consider community solar rules and plans.

    3. Hawaii

    Hawaii regulators issued decisions on the program and advanced rate design tracks of its distributed energy resources (DER) proceeding during 2022. The Commission approved new Smart DER and Bring Your Own Device tariffs, while increasing the aggregate caps for its existing Customer Grid-Supply Plus program. The Commission also established foundational elements for new time-of-use rates and approved the future implementation of a grid access charge, while rejecting a proposal to apply traditional demand charges to DER customers.

    4. North Carolina

    The North Carolina Utilities Commission considered a proposed residential net metering successor tariff for Duke Energy during the year, with several parties reaching agreement on a “bridge rate” that would serve as a transition to the successor tariff. Duke Energy Progress also filed a proposed net metering successor tariff for non-residential customers, and the Commission issued a declaratory ruling allowing a third-party solar power purchase agreement at a military facility to proceed.

    5. Michigan

    Consumers Energy and DTE Electric proposed changes to their distributed generation programs as part of rate cases filed in 2022. Both utilities requested approval to set outflow credit rates at MISO locational marginal prices and to implement additional fees. A decision on DTE’s proposal set the outflow credit rate at the power supply rate plus transmission, while rejecting the additional fee. A settlement agreement filed in Consumers’ case would also set the outflow credit rate at the power supply rate plus transmission, while rejecting proposed fees.

    6. Maine

    Maine lawmakers enacted legislation in 2022 making changes to the way credit rates are set for the commercial and industrial net energy billing tariff rate program, while the state’s distributed generation (DG) stakeholder group developed a proposed DG successor program framework. The successor program framework incorporates a competitive procurement program and a firstcome, first-served program with compensation set at the capacity-weighted 20th percentile of selected bids.

    7. Georgia

    The Georgia Public Service Commission considered the issue of net metering in 2022 as part of Georgia Power’s general rate case. The Commission opted not to expand the utility’s limitedcapacity retail rate net metering program, but increased the current export credit rate to the avoided cost rate plus four cents per kWh. The Commission also approved Georgia Power’s proposed resiliency asset service tariff, which will involve deployment of distributed energy resources at customer locations.

    8. New Mexico

    New Mexico regulators approved community solar program rules in 2022, and utilities filed community solar program tariffs. The community solar program began accepting bids for the first year of the program in December 2022. Xcel Energy also filed its proposal for a standby rate, pursuant to a Commission directive, which would be based on the lower of the customer’s generating capacity and demand.

    9. Indiana

    The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved net metering successor tariffs for multiple Indiana utilities during 2022, pursuant to legislation enacted in 2017 requiring credit rates to be reduced to 1.25 times the wholesale rate beginning July 2022. The Indiana Supreme Court considered an appeal of the Commission’s approval for Vectren’s successor tariff, issuing an opinion in early January 2023 that upholds the Commission’s decision.

    10. Florida

    Florida legislators passed a bill early in the year that would have established a net metering successor tariff in the state, with export credit rates phasing down to the avoided cost rate. The bill would have also allowed utilities to implement additional fees for customer-generators. This bill attracted significant attention, but was ultimately vetoed by the governor due to concerns about the impact on all ratepayers associated with utility recovery of lost revenues.


    States Moving Away From Traditional Net Metering

    Overall, states continued to move away from traditional retail rate net metering during 2022. Most notably, California regulators approved a successor tariff that significantly reduces compensation rates for distributed generation systems, while regulators in Georgia and Mississippi opted to continue with their current net billing structures. One state – Florida – bucked this trend during the year, with the governor’s veto of a bill establishing a net metering successor.

    Net Billing Becoming the Dominant Successor Tariff Structure

    Although states continue to take different approaches to the design of net metering successor tariffs, net billing is quickly becoming the dominant structure used by states moving away from traditional net metering. Of the eight states that have transitioned away from retail rate compensation for DG systems, all eight are utilizing a net billing structure, albeit with different export credit rates. Other states that have not had widespread retail rate net metering in place, such as Georgia and Mississippi, are also choosing to continue with the net billing framework.

    States Incorporating LMI-Specific Provisions in Solar Programs

    Strong focus on low- to moderate-income (LMI) customer participation in community solar programs continued in 2022, while a growing number of states also considered LMI-specific features for rooftop solar programs. In Virginia, low-income customers will be exempt from the minimum bill applied to community solar participants, and in Mississippi, low-income customergenerators will be eligible for a new upfront solar rebate.

    Focusing on Grid Access Fees and Minimum Bills

    Among the various types of additional fees that have been contemplated for customer-generators, the majority of these fees under consideration recently have taken the form of grid access charges or minimum bills. However, utility proposals to implement such fees are having mixed success. While regulators in New York and South Carolina have approved grid access charges and/or minimum bills, regulators in California and Michigan declined to adopt such fees this year. In Arkansas, the Court of Appeals struck down a previously approved grid access charge.

    New States Considering Community Solar Programs

    Community solar policy activity has increased steadily each year since 2015. This trend continued in 2022, with community solar seeing its busiest year yet. New states, including Arizona and Mississippi, considered the development of community solar programs through regulatory proceedings, while lawmakers in a number of other states, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, introduced legislation that would authorize community solar. A bill enacted in Missouri establishes a task force that will consider potential community solar legislation.

    Growing Use of Time-Varying Compensation Rates for Distributed Generation

    A growing number of states are approving or considering the use of time-varying compensation rates for customer-generators. California regulators approved a net metering successor tariff incorporating hourly credit rates, while the Hawaii Public Service Commission approved a framework for new DG programs that would use time-of-use rates. In North Carolina, Duke Energy proposed successor tariffs involving time-varying export credit rates, similar to those approved in South Carolina last year. Encouraging Distributed Generation Systems Paired With Battery Storage

    As states consider solar program reforms, many are employing designs that encourage customers to pair distributed generation systems with battery storage, sometimes providing incentives or more favorable compensation for dispatchability. Mississippi regulators approved a battery storage rebate program as part of broader net metering program changes, and Maine’s proposed DG successor program framework would require the inclusion of energy storage where it is beneficial.

    States Tying Labor Requirements to Solar Programs

    Policymakers in a number of states took steps to tie new labor requirements to their distributed solar programs in 2022. California legislators enacted a bill requiring net metering systems over 15 kW installed after December 31, 2023 to meet the labor standards for public works projects, while New Mexico’s community solar program includes bid preferences for local labor and workforce training, and Illinois’ Adjustable Block Program requires most proposals comply with Illinois Prevailing Wage Act rules.

    Distributed Generation Programs Increasing in Complexity

    Overall, state and utility distributed generation (DG) programs are increasing in complexity, with more granular credit rate structures and intricate program designs being adopted. Hawaii’s new distributed energy resource program frameworks approved in 2022 include a variety of customer options that involve time-of-use rates and dispatch incentives. In California, regulators approved a new DG compensation structure with credit rates that vary on an hourly basis.

    States Taking an Iterative Approach to Distributed Generation Program Design

    A number of states are taking an iterative approach to distributed generation (DG) program design, making continued program refinements rather than establishing a singular long-term program design. California regulators recently approved the state’s “Net Metering 3.0” rules, while Hawaii is similarly developing its next iteration of distributed energy resource programs. Mississippi regulators revisited the state’s DG program rules this year as well, and multiple states are considering the next version of their community solar programs.

    LOOKING BACK: 2015 - 2022

    State and utility action on distributed solar policy and rate design held relatively steady in 2022, with 285 actions taken by states and utilities, as compared to 286 actions in 2021, 257 actions in 2020, 265 actions in 2019, 264 actions in 2018, 249 actions in 2017, 212 actions in 2016, and 175 actions in 2015. Figure 4 shows the total number of solar policy actions taken in each year, by category, while Figure 5 displays the number of states taking action in each category. Note that several actions were considered over multiple years.

    In 2022, activity in community solar, residential fixed charge increases, and utility-led rooftop solar increased, while activity in other categories declined slightly. Community solar activity has shown the steadiest growth, increasing every year since 2015. Activity in most other categories has been relatively consistent for the past few years, except for DG valuation, where activity has been on the decline.

    The number of states taking solar policy actions increased or held steady in all categories except net metering, DG valuation, and third-party ownership. Overall, a total of 46 states and DC took actions considering changes to distributed solar policy and rate design during the year.


    In the fourth quarter of 2022, 40 states plus DC took a total of 156 actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design (Figure 6). Table 2 provides a summary of state actions related to DG compensation, rate design, and solar ownership during Q4 2022. Of the 156 actions identified, the most common were related to DG compensation rules (48), followed by community solar (38), and residential fixed charge and minimum bill increases (33)…

    Saturday, February 18, 2023

    Ten Keys To The New Energy Transition

    It comes down to keeping energy affordable, reliable, equitable for the vulnerable, and giving incumbents a fair way out. From the International Energy Agency via YouTube

    EU Forest Renewal For The Climate Fight

    Renewed forest ecosystems can be a key part of the resistance to the climate crisis.From EuropeanParliament via YouTube

    Permafrost Thaw Threatens Climate Tipping Point

    If the methane in permafrost, which is already slowly melting, is suddenly released, it could drastically accelerate the climate crisis. From PBS Terra via YouTube

    Friday, February 17, 2023

    New Energy To Lead Global Power By 2026

    Renewables will be world’s top electricity source within three years, IEA data reveals

    Simon Evans, February 9, 2023 (World Economic Forum)

    “…[Analysis of the International Energy Agency (IEA) electricity market report 2023 shows that renewables, combined with resurgent nuclear power, will more than cover growth in electricity demand between 2022 and 2025…This means clean-energy sources will start displacing fossil fuels…[and] global power-sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will plateau or decline, despite rapidly rising demand…[G]lobal GDP growth projections have been revised down for almost every country due to the energy crisis, with the UK taking a particularly big hit…

    …[But] global electricity demand growth will rebound strongly in 2023…[and] 2,500 terawatt hours (TWh) of demand will be added by 2025, predominantly in Asia…This 9% growth would take overall demand to 29,281TWh. It is equivalent to adding an EU-sized chunk of demand to the global electricity system – in only three years…By 2025, China will account for a third of global electricity demand, up from 5% in 1990 and 25% in 2015…[But renewables and nuclear energy] will dominate the growth of global electricity supply over the next three years, together meeting on average more than 90% of the additional demand…squeezing out fossil fuels in the process…

    Renewables would increase their share of global electricity generation from 29% to 35% within just three years…[P]ower-sector emissions reached a record high in 2022…[and remain at – or only slightly below – their record high for the next few years…This points to the need for increasing demand-side flexibility from customers and expanding storage capacity…[and other] ‘dispatchable’ capacity…” click here for more

    The EU Is Winning The Energy War Russia Started

    Where does Europe's electricity come from?

    Niccolo Conte, Feb 14, 2023 (World Economic Forum)

    Energy and electricity supply have become vital for nearly every European nation over the past year, as the region shifts away from its dependence on Russian fuel imports. While many countries have been making progress in their energy transition away from fossil fuels, nearly half of European countries are still dependent on them as their primary source of electricity generation…[But] Europe has been steadily transitioning towards renewable sources of energy for their electricity generation, making considerable progress over the last decade…

    click to enlarge

    The expansion of wind and solar generation have been the primary drivers in this shift towards renewables, going from only generating 8% of the EU’s electricity in 2011 all the way to 19% in 2021…[By 2021] wind and solar energy generation together made up more of Germany’s electricity generation at 33% (23% for wind and 10% for solar)…[France] primarily relies on nuclear power…[and] Italy, the UK, and the Netherlands are all primarily natural gas powered…[But Spain is] a success story in a transition towards renewable energy sources…[In 2022, wind became the primary electricity generator with a 32% share…

    Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy independence in the EU has become of utmost importance, and countries have taken the opportunity to accelerate their transition towards renewable energy sources…[In 2022, solar and wind power (22%) overtook] natural gas (20%) in electricity generation for the first time ever…[Fossil fuel electricity generation is expected] to decline in 2023 by as much as 20%...” click here for more

    Wednesday, February 15, 2023

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Strategies To Protect Against Power System Hack Attacks

    Porn and Putin-focused hacks of charging stations drive new cybersecurity steps for an EV boom; Emerging tools and strategies are focused on patching utility, charger and power system cyber vulnerabilities, analysts said.

    Herman K. Trabish, November 8, 2022 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Cybersecurity continues to be a threat, as the recent shutdown of most of Italy demonstrated.

    The ongoing expansion of the U.S. electric vehicle ecosystem is creating new cybersecurity risks for the nation’s power system by offering hackers access through widely distributed and less well-protected charging stations, but solutions are emerging, charger software providers and researchers said.

    Recent hacks using Russian charging stations to ridicule Vladimir Putin and British chargers to play adults-only content show cyber threats are real, public and private sector analysts said. Accessing customer personal or financial data has been demonstrated, and an EV boom driven by proliferating transportation electrification policy goals could spread threats across the power system, they added.

    With a Biden Administration goal of 50% of new car sales to be zero emissions by 2035 and funding for a national EV charging network, U.S. transportation electrification“is accelerating at a breakneck speed,” said Joseph Vellone, North America head for international charger software provider Innovative utility-managed charging programs could allow “an attacker with malicious intent to destabilize the power system,” he said.

    “Permissive access to chargers was adequate for traditional power systems,” but “vehicle-grid integration” to manage charging “adds orders of magnitude of operational complexity,” added Duncan Greatwood, CEO of cybersecurity specialist Xage. Vulnerability is significant because “cybersecurity strategies were only introduced into the energy sector in the last 18 months,” he said.

    EVs, now about 1% of the 250 million U.S. light-duty vehicles, rose to 6.1% of new U.S. vehicle sales in Q3 2022 from 3.7% in Q3 2021, Clean Technica reported September 13. By 2030, they could be 52% of new car sales, according to a BloombergNEF estimate reported September 20. And vulnerabilities will increase with that rapid EV ecosystem expansion across the power system’s attack surface, cybersecurity specialists agreed.

    Those vulnerabilities threaten more serious impacts than ridiculing Putin or randomly showing adult content, power industry, private cybersecurity providers, and cybersecurity research leaders said. An October 25 Office of the National Cyber Director-led forum recognized that new answers for EV ecosystem cybersecurity are needed. But stopping Black Hat attackers with financial or worse motives who seem always a step ahead will be challenging, those leaders acknowledged… click here for more

    Every State Keeps Moving Toward Transportation Electrification

    The 50 States of Electric Vehicles: State ZEV Targets, Managed Charging, & LMI Access Prioritized in 2022

    February 8, 2023 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[NCCETC’s 2022 annual review and Q4 2022 update edition of The 50 States of Electric Vehicles] finds that, for the second year in a row, all 50 states and DC and Puerto Rico took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during 2022…[A total of 790 electric vehicle actions were taken during 2022 and the] greatest number of actions related to rebate and grant programs, rate design, charging station deployment, and targets for state procurement of electric or zero-emission vehicles…

    [Ten of the top electric vehicle trends of 2022 were] States planning for the distribution of National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program funding…Focusing on incentives over utility infrastructure deployment…Utilities proposing charging-as-a-service programs…Pursuing electric vehicle charging solutions at multi-unit dwellings…Utilities designing managed charging programs…Establishing statewide targets for zero-emission vehicle sales or adoption…Utilities exploring vehicle-to-grid capabilities through pilots…Policymakers addressing siting issues and HOA restrictions…Dedicating funding to transportation electrification for low-income customers…and…Advancing deployment of electric school and transit buses…” click here for more

    Monday, February 13, 2023

    Monday Study – Better Planning For The New Energy Transition

    Reimagining Resource Planning

    Mark Dyson, Lauren Shwisberg, Katerina Stephan, January 2023 (RMI)

    Executive Summary

    Opportunity to Improve Resource Planning

    In this period of rapid change in the electricity sector, resource planning has never been more important — or more complex.

    Planning represents an opportunity to shape a significant fraction of the future electricity system. Between now (2022) and the end of 2025, utilities serving at least 40% of US total electricity sales and over 90 million customers will file integrated resource plans.i Current utility resource plans show that utilities plan to invest over $300 billion in new resources over the next 15 years.

    Utility integrated resource plans (IRPs) have historically been tools for utilities and regulators to determine the portfolio of generation and demand-side resources that can meet projected peak and energy demand over the next 10 to 30 years at least cost, while mitigating risk and meeting policy objectives. The outputs of the plan are intended to inform a utility’s resource procurement, power purchasing, and program decisions — driving accountability toward a portfolio that results in affordable rates and maintains a safe and reliable grid.

    Yet much of the value in resource planning is not in definitively determining the utility’s portfolio 30 years out, but in the exercise of planning. Resource planning presents a crucial opportunity for utilities, regulators, and stakeholders to:

    • Understand the energy needs of the households, communities, and businesses a utility serves, as well as how they will change over time, and translate them into system needs

    • Establish a common set of assumptions and evidence that can be used to assess which near- and long-term options can meet system needs and achieve desired utility performance across multiple objectives

    • Identify longer-term risks and opportunities and strategies to navigate them

    Challenges of Planning for an Uncertain Future during a Period of Rapid Change

    We observe that IRPs must maintain three core qualities to be effective tools for utilities and regulators to evaluate resource decisions…

    Today, a few major trends are adding urgency and complexity to the IRP process, including but not limited to:

    • Rapid technology change and shifting resource costs

    • A range of new state and federal policies that expand planning objectives beyond affordability, reliability, and safety to include emissions reductions, advancement of environmental justice, economic development, and support of electrification of transportation, buildings, and industry

    • Increasing recognition that decisions made on distribution and transmission systems affect generation resource planning and vice versa

    • Increasing stakeholder awareness that resource planning can have an impact on local air quality, health, jobs, energy bills, and climate change

    If an IRP does not achieve these three qualities, its credibility, accuracy, and effectiveness may be eroded. The risks of unanticipated costs for ratepayers, disallowed future investments, dissatisfied customers, and failure to meet public policy objectives will increase.

    Expanding Scope for Resource Planning

    Updating the IRP process to ensure that it remains trusted, comprehensive, and aligned can make IRPs more complex. As such, making changes around the edges or adding new IRP requirements may no longer be what best serves a utility or regulator — especially with staff time and capacity constraints. To use a metaphor to guide our thinking, the goal is to avoid amassing incremental IRP expectations in a way that is like the straw that breaks the camel’s back…

    Overview of Planning Enhancements

    After aligning on a set of priority changes, utilities and regulators can look to approaches that have been tested in IRPs across the country that can “enhance” plans to be more trusted, comprehensive, and aligned. These enhancements are summarized in Exhibit 3.

    To build trust in resource plans, regulators and utilities are:

    • Prioritizing transparency, by updating rules that assess what information may be held as confidential or proprietary — and applying those rules to ensure that stakeholders have the information they need to engage effectively in the IRP process

    • Meaningfully engaging stakeholders, with an inclusive and substantive process for input before and during the plan’s development

    To make plans more comprehensive, regulators and utilities are:

    • Integrating resource, transmission, and distribution system planning, to better understand how decisions at one level of the grid might affect others

    • Using all-source solicitations in the planning process, to bring in timely market data as a basis for making procurement decisions

    • Updating assumptions and modeling tools for distributed energy resources (DER) adoption and value, to more accurately forecast DER growth patterns and impacts and assess DER costs and benefits

    • Accurately representing emerging resources and their value, by including all options that may be commercially available in the planning horizon and using models with a level of spatial and temporal granularity needed to reveal values

    To align resource plans with evolving objectives and understand the impacts of plans on people, regulators and utilities are:

    • Updating approaches to planning for reliability, to better understand the risks, vulnerabilities, and types of solutions that can contribute to reliability, including resource adequacy and resilience

    • Accounting for carbon emissions and decarbonization targets, to assess progress and alignment toward climate goals or better understand the risk of future climate policy

    • Analyzing health and air quality impacts across resource options and portfolios

    • Including affordability, jobs, and environmental justice, to make the human impacts of planning clearer

    Reimagining Resource Planning

    Ultimately, we hope that utilities and regulators will use this opportunity — when their resource planning processes are being stretched and challenged — to consider how resource planning may need to be more radically reimagined…

    Saturday, February 11, 2023

    The State Of The Infrastructure Will Be Stronger

    This administration’s leadership on infrastructure, unmatched since the 1930s, will enable the transition to New Energy and reduce climate crisis-inducing greenhouse gas emissions. From PBS NewsHour via YouTube

    Virtual Power Plants Explained

    Homeowners with solar-plus-storage systems can be a part of a Virtual Power Plant that serves their local communities. From Reuters via YouTube

    New Energy From Earth’s Flowing Waters

    Wave and current energies have enormous potential, not only to generate electricity but also to help protect oceans and rivers. From U.S. Dept. of Energy via YouTube

    Friday, February 10, 2023

    The New Energy Race Against China

    The U.S. Must Win the Green Technology Race Against China; Congressional leaders in the House… you have the gavels. Now what?

    Mary Anna Mancuso, February 07, 2023 (Real Clear Energy)

    “…[America has entered] a race of such significance that it can only be compared to the Cold War Era nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the USSR…to see who will own the green economy, us or China…Since 1949, America has had a complex relationship with China. Now in 2023, America’s superpower status is declining in the green technology sector as China is stepping up…[America has an opportunity to beat] China, if they will recognize the economic potential of embracing green technology…

    Republicans have long been resistant to climate action, leaning into arguments stoked by the fossil fuel industry that doing so will harm the economy, cost jobs, and put fossil fuels out of business…[But like transitions from horses to cars and from handwriting to word processors, America] must make the transition to a clean energy economy…The green energy race should be a priority in Congress…Americans, especially Republicans, have created a boogeyman of China. Now is their chance to act on it and remind the world that America is a leader, not a follower, on the world’s stage…

    …[Republican Congresswoman from Washington Cathy McMorris Rogers] was recently named first woman chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the oldest and most powerful in Congress. She sets the committee’s agenda and has a real opportunity to change the narrative and take meaningful action…[The choices is to] position America as a leader in clean energy or pass the baton to China.” click here for more

    The Fast Track To 100% Clean

    We don’t need ‘miracle’ technologies to fix the climate. We have the tools now; Wind, water and solar energy is cheap, effective and green. We don’t need experimental or risky energy sources to save our planet

    Mark Z Jacobson, February 7, 2023 (UK Guardian)

    “…[Given the magnitude of the climate crisis,] it is no surprise that the best solution is one that can be implemented quickly and at low cost. Enter wind, water and solar (WWS). WWS includes energy from the wind (onshore and offshore wind electricity), the water (hydroelectricity, tidal and ocean current electricity, wave electricity, geothermal electricity and geothermal heat), and the sun (solar photovoltaic electricity, concentrated solar power electricity and heat, and direct solar heat)…When combined with electricity storage, heat storage, cold storage and hydrogen storage; techniques to encourage people to shift the time of their electricity use (demand response); a well-interconnected electrical transmission system…[and electrical appliances, WWS has a] low cost worldwide…

    …[T]he energy that people use goes down by over 56% with a WWS system…[because of the efficiencies of electric vehicles, electric heat pumps for air and water heating, and] electrified industry…[A WWS system also] reduces the cost per unit energy by another 12% on average, resulting in a 63% lower annual energy cost worldwide…[With health and climate cost savings, there is] an overall 92% reduction in annual social cost (which is the energy plus health plus climate cost) relative to a conventional system…

    The worldwide upfront capital cost of such a 2050 WWS system is around $62tn. However, due to the $11tn annual energy cost savings, the payback time is less than six years. The new system may also create over 28m more long-term, full-time jobs than lost worldwide, and may require only about 0.53% of the world’s land for new energy – less than the land required for the current energy system…[We] have 95% of the technologies we need to solve the problem…We do not need carbon capture and storage or use, direct air capture storage or use, blue hydrogen, new nuclear power, or bioenergy…” click here for more

    Wednesday, February 08, 2023

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Billions And Climate At Stake In FERC Transmission Planning

    As FERC’s transmission proposal sparks clashes, potential solutions emerge from MISO, elsewhere; Billions in transmission investment and the urgency of the climate fight are at stake.

    Herman K. Trabish, November 7, 2022 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: All of the energy sector awaits FERC’s decision.

    FERC’s proposal to reform transmission planning has provoked a confrontation over federal and state control of transmission expansion, prompting some stakeholders to call for new oversight.

    But U.S. transmission’s 1% annual growth must more than double to an average of about 2.3% to meet federal climate goals, according to Princeton University’s September report, Electricity Transmission is Key to Unlock the Full Potential of the Inflation Reduction Act. With hundreds of billions in largely ratepayer dollars for transmission at stake, and potentially much more as climate crisis-driven extreme events worsen, proposed solutions to accelerate transmission building by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have sparked debate.

    FERC wants “to socialize the costs” of a “massive transmission build-out” for what many see as “an aspirational renewable future,” Commissioner James Danly, appointed by President Trump, said, adding that decisions on transmission are best made by the states hosting it. FERC is “not the Good Ideas Commission,” and its “pervasive, and invasive ‘reforms’” are “unjust and unreasonable,” and will lead to “protracted proceedings, litigation, and risk,” he wrote.

    The FERC proceeding filings show “the electric system needs to evolve” to benefit regions and the U.S. climate fight, responded former FERC Commissioner John Norris, a President Obama appointee. “The economy has evolved into an international market, but too much power remains with local utilities to maximize their own assets’ value instead of building a more efficient system,” he said.

    New transmission is vital to the cost-effectiveness of federal plans for clean energy investments, Utility Dive recently reported. With a Senate permitting law now in doubt, FERC reform of planning factors like who benefits, who builds, who pays, and who does oversight is urgently needed to resolve impediments to development, stakeholders agreed – without agreeing on which reforms will work. FERC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NOPR, seeks “forward-looking” long-term regional transmission planning, it announced April 21.

    With generation and load now including growing penetrations of renewables and storage, and greater distribution system electrification, transmission planners need to use multiple scenarios that look out “at least 20 years” and are “updated every three years,” the ruling said. FERC also seeks streamlined coordination in regional and local transmission planning and interregional planning that allocates development costs among states using all benefits to ratepayers, the NOPR added. Finally, utilities’ right of first refusal, or ROFR, which is a first option to build transmission projects in their service territories, would be conditionally restored after being curtailed by 2011’s FERC Order 1000. That would limit the competition for transmission building sought by Order 1000, but it might streamline needed development, FERC said… click here for more