NewEnergyNews: 03/01/2023 - 04/01/2023/


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

    Friday, March 31, 2023

    Record 9.6% Global New Energy Growth in 2022

    Record Growth in Renewables Achieved Despite Energy Crisis; Expansion of renewable power generation in 2022 confirms upward trend of renewables against declining new fossil fuel capacity

    21 March 2023 (International Renewable Energy Agency)

    “By the end of 2022, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 3372 Gigawatt (GW), growing the stock of renewable power by a record 295 GW or by 9.6 per cent. An impressive 83 per cent of all power capacity added last year was produced by renewables. Renewable Capacity Statistics 2023…[and] renewable energy continues to grow at record levels despite global uncertainties, confirming the downward trend of fossil fueled power generation…

    While many countries increased their renewable capacity in 2022, the significant growth of renewables is persistently concentrated in a few countries and regions like Asia, the USA and Europe…[A]lmost half of all new capacity in 2022 was added in Asia…China was the biggest contributor, adding 141 GW to the continent’s new capacity…

    Renewables in Europe and North America grew by 57.3 GW and 29.1 GW respectively…[Africa added] 2.7 GW, slightly above last year…[Oceania continued its double-digit growth with] 5.2 GW…[South America had] a capacity expansion of 18.2 GW. The Middle East recorded its highest increase in renewables on record, with 3.2 GW…an increase of 12.8 per cent…Although hydropower accounted for the largest share of the global total renewable generation capacity with 1250 GW, solar and wind…contributed 90 per cent to the share of all new renewable capacity in 2022…” click here for more

    Double Global New Energy Growth Needed For 2030 Goals

    Global Renewable Energy Goals Must Double to Meet 2030 Climate Goals, Report Warns

    March 26, 2023 (Associated Press via Time Magazine)

    “…[Renewables accounted for 83% of new power generation and their share of installed power generation] reached 40% in 2022…But in order to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and put the world on track to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), existing targets for renewable power deployment would need to be more than doubled, [according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency]…

    Experts say the amount of carbon dioxide and other polluting emissions released into the atmosphere by 2050 shouldn’t exceed the amount that can be captured through natural or artificial means…[That will require estimated annual public and private investments in renewable energy] to exceed $5 trillion, including for power generation, electrification, transmission grids and efficiency measures…[and] current fossil fuel investments to be diverted to renewable sources and greater financial help for developing countries that are struggling to fund alternatives to coal, oil and gas power plants.” click here for more

    Wednesday, March 29, 2023

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Moving To Customer-Owned Distributed Energy Resources

    3 big advances coming as distributed energy resources take newer, bigger roles in 2023; System and customer needs for reliability and resilience are revealing new value and opportunity for DER.

    Herman K. Trabish, January 23, 2023 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Customers’ resources and customer demand continue to be key factors in the power system’s energy transition.

    Work to build tomorrow’s distribution system will accelerate in 2023 and bring three new insights about distributed energy resources, or DER, despite challenges, analysts say. Uncertainties remain about customer DER adoption and the need for distribution system control technologies, power system stakeholders agreed. But the numbers leave no doubt about fast-rising penetrations of electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and customer-owned solar, batteries and heat pumps, along with smart thermostats, appliances and other devices.

    Electric utilities expect customers to “deploy and explore DER for electrification in 2023 across many different technologies and end uses,” said Patricia Taylor, director of Policy Research and Analysis at the American Public Power Association. And the importance of DER “load flexibility” value is growing “as intermittent renewables replace retiring traditional baseload resources,” she added.

    Even when some state regulators reduced compensation for DER like residential solar in 2022, they added opportunities for DER like solar-plus-storage in 2023 that offer reliability and resilience, stakeholders noted. “Reliability is a concern virtually everywhere, making once risk-averse regulators, utilities and other stakeholders more open-minded” about DER, said Generac VP, Markets and Programs, Josh Keeling, a former Portland General Electric executive. That urgency “will lead to important decisions in 2023 to advance DER,” he added.

    To meet federal and state electrification and decarbonization policies, 2023 will see major advances for DER aggregations in wholesale markets and at the distribution system level, utility representatives, DER advocates and policy analysts agreed. And 2023 may also see new community and consumer stakeholders take a more central role in driving growth, some experts said.

    Despite supply chain constraints, residential solar’s “historic” Q3 2022 1.57 GWdc growth in the U.S. was 43% higher than Q3 2021, according to the Q4 2022 Solar Market Insight report from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. And 2022’s estimated 5.8 GWdc installed capacity is expected to reach an estimated 6.2 GWdc in 2023 and 7.5 GWdc in 2027, the report projected…

    Residential energy storage’s 161 MW/400 MWh of new capacity in the U.S. in Q3 2022 was also a record, significantly exceeding Q3 2021’s 111 MW/258 MWh, the Q4 2022 Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie and the American Clean Power Association reported…Sales of U.S. electric heat pumps will also grow steadily, according to American Heating and Refrigeration Institute data…An estimated 15% increase in North America’s energy efficiency investments from 2015 to 2022 reduced U.S. energy consumption 30% in 2021 and should support continued reductions, according to a Dec. 20 industry reportclick here for more

    Smart Technologies + Smart Rates = Power System Flexibility

    Why Is the Smart Grid So Dumb?: Missing Incentives in Regulatory Policy for an Active Demand Side in the Electricity Sector

    January 26, 2023 (Energy Systems Integration Group)

    “…[R]etail pricing may be used more widely and more efficiently to allow flexible demand to respond to grid needs as the role of demand becomes increasingly important for the reliability of the grid…Advanced metering infrastructure was supposed to transform the retail customer experience, empowering demand to participate in a genuinely two-sided market across from supply.

    But as smart meters become ubiquitous, few retail customers see time-of-use prices related to the cost elements of electricity service that vary over time. Someone, somewhere must face clear incentives to actively manage demand in order for it to happen. Yet even the companies that serve retail customers too often lack meaningful exposure to these costs…[Incentives face] two different types of retailers: …Regulated utilities under modern amendments to traditional cost-of-service regulation are usually deadened to incentives altogether, or even perversely incentivized. Competitive retailers typically are faced with incentives around supply costs, but too often have no role billing for and intermediating other network charges…

    …[Reforms include] time-of-use rates as the default retail product for regulated-utility customers…[and making] all retailers exposed to and responsible for billing all relevant grid costs, and public investment and standards for automated devices. Absent these reforms, transformation of electric grids—increasingly subject to intermittent supply, volatilely priced fuels, and rising demand—will be costlier and slower.” click here for more

    Tuesday, March 28, 2023

    Monday Study – The New Energy Facts Right Now

    Sustainable Energy in America 2023 Factbook

    March 1, 2023 (Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

    Executive Summary

    Confronted with inflationary pressures and an uncertain economic outlook, the US made key strides decarbonizing its energy sector in 2022. In Washington, Congress passed legislation that provided record-setting funding for the energy transition, showing it is serious about climate leadership. Largely in response, during the last third of the year a slew of solar, battery and other clean energy equipment makers announced plans for new manufacturing plants on US soil.

    Here are some of the from this year’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook:

    • Total US total energy consumption rose 2.95% year-on-year as the US economy continued to rebound from the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    • 32GW of new renewable power-generating capacity was added to the US grid, down from 37GW commissioned in 2021. This was due to higher costs, trade challenges and other issues.

    • However, renewables broke records in 2022, by meeting 13% of total US energy demand and 23% of electricity demand.

    • The US remains the largest energy storage demand market in the world and commissioned an estimated 4.8GW of non-hydropower storage capacity in 2022.

    • EV sales surged 50% to nearly 982,000, or 7.1% of new cars sold. This was despite rising battery costs and semiconductor shortages.

    • Bucking a long-term trend, US “energy productivity” stalled slightly in 2022 as energy consumption outpaced economic growth, resulting in a 1% decline. Over a decade, however, US GDP has grown 22.9% while primary energy consumption has risen 6.7%. The result: a 15.2% increase in energy productivity.

    • Corporations signed contracts to purchase a record 19.9GW of zero-carbon power, up from 17.1GW in 2021. The number of companies signing slid to 49 from 67 but deals were bigger.

    • Energy spending accounted for 4.6% of total US personal consumption expenditures in 2022, up 0.63 percentage points from 2021 as fuel costs were up across the board, but still historically low.

    • Demand for US natural gas rose 5.4% to reach 95.8 billion cubic feet per day. The jump was led by stronger power sector and rising LNG exports, plus modest increases across industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.

    • Natural gas met 39% of US power demand with a record estimated output of 1,694MWh, up 6.5% from the year prior. Despite higher gas prices, the fuel still provided more power.

    • Coal’s contribution to power generation slid to 19.4% in 2022, slightly above its recent low of 19.2% hit in 2020.

    • US CO2 emissions ticked up 1.0%, BloombergNEF estimates, but were still 3% below pre-Covid levels. Transport remained the top emitting sector at 28% with power now tied with industry for next highest at 24% apiece.

    • 2022 was the third most costly climate disaster year on record. The country experienced 18 climate-related disasters causing at least $1 billion in damage apiece with an $165 billion total, causing 3.4 million evacuees.

    • Inflation and higher interest rates boosted levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) for most power-generating technologies in 2022, but particularly for coal and natural gas plants because of their marginal fuel costs.

    • Congress passed the most consequential sustainable energy law in US history. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers at least $369 billion in support for clean energy deployment and climate action. The legislation supports multiple sectors and most of their value chains.

    • Energy efficiency spending stabilized in 2021 (the last year with complete data). Utility spending on power and natural gas improvements rose 1% year-on-year to reach $7.7 billion.

    • Interest in “clean” US hydrogen is growing. A total of 92MW of new electrolyzer shipments took place in 2022 but much more are expected this year. The Department of Energy has released a long-term “roadmap” for ramping hydrogen production.

    • Post-IRA passage, EV and battery manufacturers raced to identify investment opportunities, with the North American battery supply chain reaching almost $17 billion by the end of 2022.

    • Major oil and gas firms are upping investment in Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) in an effort to deliver “green molecules”. BP and Shell each made moves to acquire RNG producers in 2022.

    A number of these trends are discussed below and all are touched on in greater depth in the Factbook’s slides.

    A record-shattering year for energy transition investment

    BNEF tracked over $1 trillion in global investment for technologies to decarbonize the world’s economy in 2022. The US attracted the second largest volume of new capital of any nation, with investment rising 11% year-on-year to $141 billion. Electrified transport, a category that includes revenues from the sale of EVs plus investment in charging infrastructure, was 41% of the total at $57.3 billion. Renewables accounted for 35%, down somewhat from the year prior at $49.5 billion.

    The US continues to be far and away the largest market for venture capital and private equity (VC/PE) investment in start-up firms developing new technologies to address climate change. For 2022, US VC/PE totaled $25.5 billion with 422 different deals completed. The energy and transport sectors were the two best funded areas making up over half of 2022 US VC/PE investment. China was the world’s second biggest market for VC/PE, attracting $6.9 billion in 2022.

    However, the level of global “sustainable debt” issued by companies and governments, often to refinance projects or issue bonds, slipped in 2022 for the first time since BNEF began tracking such data, to $1.49 trillion from $1.76 trillion a year earlier. The 15.5% decline was due to poor conditions on the public exchanges and some investor hesitancy on ESG-oriented investing. In the US, the backlash against ESG investing has grown stronger with some states even forbidding their pension fund managers to take extra-financial metrics into account in their investment processes. In the rest of the world, the fear of greenwashing has grown stronger, pushing for more regulatory developments but also placing more responsibility on financial participants to hold up to their sustainability claims.

    The construction of new renewables facilities slowed, but renewables’ contributions to the grid broke records

    The US added 32GW of new renewable power-generating capacity to the grid in 2022. That was down 5GW from the 37GW installed in 2021 and marked the first year-on-year slide in new build since 2018 as developers struggled with tangled supply chains and higher costs. The US solar market specifically was challenged in the first half of 2022 after the Commerce Department announced it was investigating whether to impose higher tariffs on solar equipment from four Southeast Asian nations. By June, President Biden had issued an executive order effectively postponing the imposition of any such tariffs for two years.

    For wind, tax credit uncertainty, coupled with supply chain constraints, interconnection delays, and high input costs were the year’s primary complications. While the IRA revives the tax credit mechanism for new wind farms, it will take time for the support offered by the new law to translate into new capacity additions. New biomass, geothermal, waste-to-energy and small hydro capacity build remained comparatively small in 2022. In all, 21MW of new biomass and waste-to-energy capacity came online in 2022. However, for the first time, the IRA provides a more level playing field and long-term support for the full portfolio of renewable energy technologies which could impact the investment in the slower growing renewable energy sectors.

    Even with the challenges, sustainable sources met a record volume of US energy demand in 2022. The contribution of renewables, including wind, solar, biomass, waste-to-energy, geothermal and hydro, rose at the fastest pace among major sectors. Renewable power jumped to 974TWh from 864TWh in 2021, a 12.6% year-on-year rise. Renewables were 22.7% of total US power generation in 2022 – its highest level ever. The growth was driven by surges in output from wind and solar and growth in hydro production.

    Renewables and natural gas have grown from a combined 43% of total power generation to 62% in just a decade. In 2022, zero-carbon power (renewables generation plus nuclear power) accounted for an all-time high of 40.6% of all output. Meanwhile, coal-fired generation dipped to 19.4% of production, slightly above its recent low of 19.1% in 2020.

    The process of securing all needed federal permits can be slow and laborious for energy infrastructure projects. One recent study found that the large majority of infrastructure projects take between two and six years secure all sign-offs. A quarter of such projects take longer than six years, in some cases much longer. A separate study found that renewable power projects take an average of 2-3 years to complete National Environmental Protect Act reviews specifically with a significant number of such projects taking four, five or even six years to reach completion.

    US energy productivity dipped in 2022, but the long-term trend is clear

    In 2022, the US economy expanded by 1.9% while primary energy consumption rose at a faster clip of 3%. Taken together, US "energy productivity" (the ratio of US GDP vs. total US energy consumption) dipped 1%. While both GDP and energy consumption rose, the former rose faster than the latter year-on-year. With Covid-19 fading, US primary energy consumption returned to pre-pandemic levels, roughly matching activity in 2019. Over the past 10 years, US GDP has grown 22.9% while primary energy consumption has risen 6.7%. The result: a 15.2% increase in productivity.

    Another year of highs for US natural gas

    Demand for US natural gas rose 5.4% in 2022 from the year prior to reach another record of 95.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). The jump was led by stronger power sector consumption, rising liquified natural gas (LNG) exports, and more demand from commercial customers. The industrial and residential sectors grew more modestly. A hotter-than-normal summer and constraints on coal-fired power generation lifted use of natural gas in power. Consumption proved resilient to higher natural gas prices and the US broke seasonal demand records despite extended periods in which natural gas traded above $5 per million BTU at Henry Hub.

    US exports of natural gas have risen briskly over the past decade and in 2022 LNG exports posted a 13.1% increase from the year prior to record highs. Commercial and residential demand rose on the back of the frigid start to winter 2022-23. Colder than normal weather in the second half of both November and December 2022 boosted overall consumption. Two days before Christmas, the lower-48 states set a single day record for natural gas demand.

    EV sales surged

    2022 was another landmark year for electric vehicles (EVs). Sales of EVs and fuel cell vehicles hit nearly 982,000, up 50% from 2021. Despite headwinds including rising battery costs and semiconductor chip shortages, EV sales surged. Tesla remained the biggest player in the market, accounting for half of new sales in 2022, but Ford, Stellantis, VW, Geely, BMW and GM also posted strong numbers. Tesla accounted for 63% of all EV sales as recently as 2020.

    Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) made up 81% of 2022 sales, with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) making up the remaining 19% and fuel cell vehicles accounting for under 1% of sales.

    Higher prices for key clean energy commodities

    Prices for key commodities that underpin the clean power sector were stubbornly high through much of 2022, but eased somewhat by year end. Polysilicon prices touched new highs in August 2022 due to temporary supply disruptions and strong demand. However, supply rose and prices fell toward the end of 2022 as existing plants returned to services and new factories were commissioned. Lithium carbonate prices spiked in 2022 and at one point the material traded at 14 times its January 2021 price. Spot prices have jumped in the past year due to high EV demand from China. By September 2022, an LFP battery cell cost $144/kWh given spot market prices for lithium carbonate, BNEF estimated. This was up 9% from November 2021 when manufacturers were just starting to see large raw material price increases. While lithium benchmarks descended slightly in December 2022, they remain at much higher levels than before the pandemic. Australia, Chile and China remain the top nations for mining lithium. The Democratic Republic of Congo remains the top producer of cobalt. Both are used in lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles.

    Elevated natural gas costs

    For the second year in a row, US natural gas prices rose significantly due to tight market conditions that included rising demand for gas at home and abroad. The average benchmark Henry Hub wholesale natural gas price for the year rose 52% while residential and commercial prices rose 11% and 19%, respectively. Industrial users saw the biggest year-on-year change, with prices jumping 32%. Despite the rise, 2022 prices were still about half of those seen in 2005. Residential price adjustments tend to lag index prices 6-12 months, depending on utility practices. Industrial prices tend to be most correlated to wholesale markets. Of note, natural gas prices in the last quarter of 2022 began to decrease to below $5/MMBtu by the last week of December 2022.

    US emissions ticked up, but remain below pre-Covid levels

    US economy-wide emissions inched up 1.0% from 2021, BNEF estimates. This reflected the continuation of a trend begun in 2021 when the economy first began rebounding from the Covid19 pandemic. Despite the uptick, 2022 US emissions were still 3% below pre-pandemic (i.e. 2019) levels. Emissions from the transport, power, industrial and agricultural sectors of the US economy all rose but finished 2022 below 2019 levels. This suggests that some emissions reductions made in 2020 have persisted, particularly for transportation, the top emitting sector, and for the power sector that has seen steady decarbonization for the last decade due to clean generation and energy efficiency. As recently as 2016, the power sector was the number one source of US CO2 emissions. In 2022, emissions from the power sector were essentially level with those from industrial sources.

    The third most costly year for climate-related disasters

    The impacts of climate change continue to be felt throughout the US and 2022 was the third most costly climate disaster year on record. The country experienced 18 climate-related disasters causing at least $1 billion in damage apiece over the 12 months. Three tropical cyclones accounted for 70% of the $165 billion total. An estimated 3.4 million Americans were forced at some point to evacuate their homes during 2022 due to natural disasters, according to the Census Bureau. In response, citizens and communities are installing a growing number of residential back-up power storage systems and mini-grids.

    Energy storage deployment and manufacturing

    The US commissioned an estimated 4.8GW of utility-scale non-hydropower storage to bring total capacity to 11.4GW. Pumped storage is the largest energy storage resource at 67% with battery and thermal storage accounting for the rest. Despite supply-chain related delays in project development, the US remains the largest demand market for energy storage in the world. Energy shifting is the dominant use case for new batteries as pairing renewables with storage is becoming a common cost-effective option to displace fossil fuel projects. Utilities across the nation are beginning to cite energy-storage technologies in their long-term resource planning and as solutions to their power system flexibility needs.

    The US also made important strides toward becoming a hub for battery manufacturing in 2022. After the IRA introduced a $45/kWh of cell and module production tax credit, automakers and battery manufacturers have raced to identify investment opportunities. Post-IRA commitments to the North American battery supply chain reached almost $17 billion by the end of 2022. A number of developers have announced plans to build or expand plants in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, New York and other states.

    Offshore wind

    The US offshore wind sector continued to make progress in 2022 with increased federal support, additional state targets and the first two commercial-scale projects under construction. However, rising equipment costs complicated some developers’ plans. Critically, the IRA extended the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for offshore wind until at least 2032, allowing developers to reduce their projects’ building costs potentially by 30%. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held three lease auctions in 2022. At the state level, California, Louisiana, and New Jersey all either created or expanded offshore wind targets.

    The most important federal energy transition investment in US history

    In a surprise turn of events in August, Congress passed the IRA, the most consequential law ever intended to address climate issues. The law represented a major victory for various clean energy sectors. The IRA provides at least $369 billion in support to energy transition technologies. The law primarily uses tax credits to achieve its goals, estimated at least at $271 billion, over a tenyear time horizon. It extends or expands credits for virtually every energy transition sector, with a transition to a technology-neutral approach for many after year two. Within each major sector, it offers support from the bottom to the top of the value chain, from end consumers up to raw materials providers.

    The law stands to put the US far closer to the Biden administration goal of halving economy-wide CO2 emissions by 2030 (vs. 2005). The Treasury Department is in the process of writing many of the rules in 2023 on how these and other tax policies are implemented.

    Interest in “clean” hydrogen grows with IRA passage

    Today, the US consumes approximately 10 million metric tons of conventional hydrogen annually in industries such as oil refining and ammonia production. These industries, along with others like steel production and energy storage, could shift the US from carbon-intensive hydrogen consumption to low-carbon hydrogen consumption in the coming years. In 2022, BloombergNEF tracked 92MW of hydrogen-producing projects commissioned. A more diverse slate of players is now poised to get involved in production. SolCaGas announced the Angeles Link project in 2022, a green hydrogen production pipeline serving the Los Angeles region – anticipated to be the nation’s largest. In 2023, CF Industries Inc. is expected to commission an electrolyzer at a large ammonia production facility. Air Products and Chemicals Inc. plans to commission an electrolyzer focused on road transport. Florida Power and Light seeks to commission a facility to generate power. RNG is also attracting new interest and investment, stemming from new incentives for RNG production from the IRA.

    Energy efficiency spending stabilized after a Covid-related drop

    After a sharp drop in efficiency spending from 2019 to 2020 due to the pandemic, efficiency spending stabilized in 2021 (the last year for which there is complete data). Spending rose 1% year-on-year from 2020 to 2021 to reach $7.7 billion, according to data compiled by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Spending on efficiency improvements related to electricity only stayed essentially flat at $6 billion in 2021 while spending on improving the efficiency of natural gas delivery grew from $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion. The total impact of all ratepayer-funded electric energy efficiency programs in place in 2021 was a savings of about 290 million MWh– equivalent to approximately 7.63% of 2021 electricity consumption, according to ACEEE…

    Saturday, March 25, 2023

    “We Are Not On Track” – The IPCC

    Forget the numbers. These pictures deliver the message: “Our climate is our future.” …The Synthesis Report. From International Panel on Climate Change via YouTube

    The Minerals That Matter For New Energy

    Coming soon: A 400% increase in demand for critical minerals like lithium, nickel, and cobalt… From the International Energy Agency via YouTube

    Why ESG Investing Is Just Better Investing

    Opponents of smart investing that avoids the risk of stranded investments in climate crisis-inducing emissions generating technologies throw around baseless claims, half-truths, and meaningless labels. ESG investing allows considering investments with long term reduced risks over risky short term returns. “That’s how you run a strong marketplace…” From CNBC Television via YouTube

    Friday, March 24, 2023

    It’s Now Or Never -- IPCC

    Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis: act now or it’s too late; IPCC report says only swift and drastic action can avert irrevocable damage to world

    Fiona Harvey, 20 March 2023 (UK Guardian)

    “Scientists have delivered a ‘final warning’ on the climate crisis, as rising greenhouse gas emissions push the world to the brink of irrevocable damage that only swift and drastic action can avert…[The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) final part of its mammoth sixth assessment report] on all human knowledge of the climate crisis took hundreds of scientists eight years to compile and runs to thousands of pages, but boiled down to one message: act now, or it will be too late…

    Extreme weather caused by climate breakdown has led to increased deaths from intensifying heatwaves in all regions, millions of lives and homes destroyed in droughts and floods, millions of people facing hunger, and ‘increasingly irreversible losses’ in vital ecosystems…[The new] synthesis report, is almost certain to be the last such assessment while the world still has a chance of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold beyond which our damage to the climate will rapidly become irreversible…More than 3bn people already live in areas that are ‘highly vulnerable’ to climate breakdown, the IPCC found, and half of the global population now experiences severe water scarcity for at least part of the year…

    In many areas, the report warned, we are already reaching the limit to which we can adapt to such severe changes, and weather extremes are ‘increasingly driving displacement; of people in Africa, Asia, North, Central and South America, and the south Pacific...All of those impacts are set to increase rapidly, as we have failed to reverse the 200-year trend of rising greenhouse gas emissions, despite more than 30 years of warnings…Temperatures are now about 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, the IPCC found. If greenhouse gas emissions can be made to peak as soon as possible, and are reduced rapidly in the following years, it may still be possible to avoid the worst ravages that would follow a 1.5C rise…” click here for more

    What The World Needs Right Now

    WRI: 10 Big Findings from the 2023 IPCC Report on Climate Change

    Sophie Boehm and Clea Schumer, March 20, 2023 (World Resources Institute)

    “…[T]he AR6 details the devastating consequences of rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions around the world…But the IPCC also offers hope…[The report’s 10 key findings begin with] 1. Human-induced global warming of 1.1 degrees C has spurred changes to the Earth’s climate that are unprecedented in recent human history…[and] 2. Climate impacts on people and ecosystems are more widespread and severe than expected, and future risks will escalate…[But] 3. Adaptation measures can effectively build resilience, but more finance is needed…[W]ith sufficient support, proven and readily available adaptation solutions can build resilience…[and] simultaneously deliver broader sustainable development benefits…

    ...4. Some climate impacts are already so severe they cannot be adapted to, leading to losses and damages…5. Global GHG emissions peak before 2025 in 1.5 degrees C-aligned pathways…6. The world must rapidly shift away from burning fossil fuels — the number one cause of the climate crisis…A mix of strategies can help avoid locking in these emissions, including retiring existing fossil fuel infrastructure, canceling new projects, retrofitting fossil-fueled power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and scaling up renewable energy sources like solar and wind (which are now cheaper than fossil fuels in many regions)…

    ...7. We also need urgent, systemwide transformations to secure a net-zero, climate-resilient future…8. Carbon removal is now essential…9. Climate finance for both mitigation and adaptation must increase dramatically this decade…10. Climate change — as well as our collective efforts to adapt to and mitigate it — will exacerbate inequity should we fail to ensure a just transition…[but] the IPCC identifies a range of measures that can support a just transition…Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) is still possible…A narrow window of opportunity is still open, but there’s not one second to waste.” click here for more

    Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Power Markets Get Busy In The West

    Transmission as a reliability and affordability strategy drives CAISO and SPP regional market ambitions; SPP and CAISO utilities’ collaborations could lead to new national seams connections, analysts say.

    Herman K. Trabish | December 12, 2022 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Both market operators continue to move ahead aggressively to seize the benefits of regionalization.

    In the newest market expansion efforts by the California Independent System Operator and the Southwest Power Pool, one plus one may equal a much bigger one. Both system operators are expanding their voluntary real-time energy imbalance markets for meeting last-minute system needs into larger day-ahead energy markets that will handle much of their system loads. And the recognition that larger markets require new transmission is driving SPP and CAISO to take on new and larger challenges, observers say.

    The West’s September 2022 power system collaboration that protected reliability against larger-than-anticipated spiking demand during a heat wave “changed everything,” CAISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer told Utility Dive in November. Western utilities and power providers now realize “collaboration can take the West further,” and are “ready for the next big step,” he said.

    Rising reliability threats have also affected how Western power providers see their financial opportunities, analysts and system executives said. “There is a widening perception that serving customers through a single territory’s system has higher generation costs that lead to higher rates,” said Rob Gramlich, founder and president of Grid Strategies. But “transmission that expands access to a region’s diversity of lower cost renewables can be an affordability strategy” while also protecting reliability and accelerating decarbonization, he added.

    Real-world data and projections verify the economic value of real-time and day-ahead markets, both CAISO and SPP reported. And beyond their apparent competition for participants in planned regional transmission organizations, like those in the Northeast and Midwest, a mutual vision is emerging of something even greater, some observers told Utility Dive.

    Both CAISO and SPP are working methodically from real-time markets toward day-ahead markets. Total benefits from 2014 to 2019 for nine participants in CAISO’s real-time Western Energy Imbalance Market, or WEIM, of $861.8 million jumped, by the third quarter of 2022, to $2.91 billion for 19 participants, CAISO reported Oct. 31.

    And WEIM collaboration protected reliability in September 2022 despite supply impediments and an unprecedented 6 GW demand spike across the West, Debra Smith, general manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, and other Western utility executives told a November 2022 CAISO Stakeholder Symposium. Their recognition of the new magnitude and frequency of reliability threats is driving support for CAISO’s Extended Day-Ahead Market, or EDAM, initiative, CAISO’s Mainzer said. The EDAM final draft proposal, released Dec. 8 for approval at a Dec. 14 CAISO meeting, defines key market structures, tariffs, transmission practices and other rules… click here for more

    New Study: Clean Energy Transition Now Hard-Wired Into the U.S. Economy; Eleventh annual edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook highlights national data on the U.S. energy transition in 2022

    March 1, 2024 (Bloomberg NEF)

    “…[T]he U.S. economy is now firmly on the clean energy transition path to drive down emissions and create economic opportunities…even as supply chain disruptions, an international energy crisis, and rising interest rates elevated prices for key energy commodities, according to the 2023 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook…The Factbook reveals that 2022 represented a record-breaking year for energy transition investment, with global financing for technologies to decarbonize the world’s economy exceeding $1 trillion. In the United States, energy transition investment rose 11% year-on-year to $141 billion…

    …[R]enewable generation rose at the fastest pace among major sectors with a 13% year-on-year rise to its highest level ever…Renewables and natural gas have grown from a combined 43% of total U.S. power generation to 62% in just a decade. Zero-carbon power (renewables and nuclear power) comprised 41% of generation. The clean energy economy was also driven by investment in innovative decarbonization technologies...

    Post-Inflation Reduction Act commitments to the North American battery supply chain reached almost $17 billion by the end of 2022…even as the industry grappled with higher prices, rising interest rates, and supply chain issues…For the second year in a row, U.S. natural gas prices increased due to rising demand for natural gas at home and abroad, in part due to the conflict in Ukraine. The growth of the clean energy sector amid these difficulties suggests that the clean energy transition has become cemented within the U.S. economy…As a result, clean energy played a leading role in the U.S. economy in 2022 and set the stage for even more growth in 2023….” click here for more

    Monday, March 20, 2023

    Monday Study – Grid Modernization Was Everywhere In 2022

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization: 2022 Review and Q4 2022

    February 2023 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary


    In 2022, 49 states plus DC took a total of 778 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 778 actions identified, the most common were related to deployment (181), followed by policies (139), and financial incentives (132)


    Ten states taking the greatest number of particularly impactful actions are noted below.


    The California Public Utilities Commission opened a new rulemaking to advance demand flexibility through rates and released a white paper on demand flexibility strategies and customer distributed energy resource compensation, while continuing work to develop its microgrid program. The Commission considered a variety of utility proposals to deploy energy storage and smart grid technologies, and additional funding was allocated to energy storage incentives for low-income customers.


    The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approved a non-wires alternative program design, a reliability and resilience framework, and an innovative energy solutions program during 2022. PURA also continued proceedings related to performance-based regulation and advanced metering infrastructure, while United Illuminating filed a rate case including new performance metrics, resiliency pilots, and projects to support distributed system planning.


    In Massachusetts, regulators approved significant grid modernization plans for the state’s three major utilities – Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil – as well as Everousrce’s latest performance-based ratemaking plan with new scorecard metrics. State lawmakers enacted legislation requiring utilities to develop electric sector modernization plans and directing the Department of Energy Resources to study mid- and long-duration energy storage.


    The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved additional performance incentive mechanisms for the HECO utilities in 2022, as well as an advanced rate design framework. The Commission approved a new smart dispatch program and the design for new distributed energy resource tariffs that focus on grid services. Regulators also continued efforts to implement a microgrid services tariff and opened a new proceeding on innovative pilots.


    In Maine, state legislators enacted a bill requiring utilities to file grid plans including near-term grid investments that are needed. The Public Utilities Commission approved energy storage rates for Central Maine Power and Versant Power and considered Central Maine Power’s proposed Grid Model Enhancement Project and energy storage projects. The Governor’s Energy Office also created a quarterly energy storage forum.


    The Illinois Commerce Commission approved new performance metrics for Ameren Illinois and Commonwealth Edison and took steps to develop guidelines for the integrated grid planning process. The Commission also completed its energy storage program report, adopted revised interconnection rules, and approved solar-plus-storage rebates for Ameren and Commonwealth Edison.

    New Mexico

    The New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department released its grid modernization roadmap in 2022, while the Public Regulation Commission approved revised rules for integrated resource planning and interconnection. El Paso Electric requested approval to deploy an advanced metering system, PNM filed its Grid Modernization Implementation Plan, and Xcel Energy proposed several grid modernization investments.


    In Colorado, regulators released proposed rules for organized wholesale markets, which require transmission utilities in the state to join a market by 2030. State legislators enacted bills establishing tax incentives for residential energy storage and a grant program to support microgrids for community resilience. Xcel Energy filed its first distribution system plan and a proposal to implement a resiliency service program (which was later withdrawn).


    Michigan regulators formed a new workgroup on grid integration and considered participation of energy storage resources in wholesale markets. Regulators approved revised interconnection rules and a new time-of-use rate for DTE Electric, while evaluating utilities’ distribution system plans outlining planned grid investments. A workgroup on customer data access and privacy also filed their final report and recommendations during the year.


    The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission accepted utilities’ integrated distribution plans and approved new load flexibility pilot programs focused on demand response and thermal energy storage for Xcel Energy. The Commission considered Xcel Energy’s proposal for a resiliency as a service program, while also addressing interconnection and data access rules during the year.


    Focusing on Resilience in Grid Modernization Activities

    There was a central theme of resilience present in many of the grid modernization activities taking place in 2022. Several states enacted legislation making resilience improvements eligible for property assessed clean energy financing, and utilities proposed grid investments focused on improving resilience. Some states also considered new incentive programs for resilience investments like storage and microgrids, while others undertook studies or dedicated planning efforts related to grid resilience.

    Undertaking Actions to Enhance Grid Management and Flexibility

    An area of focus during 2022 was grid management and flexibility, with utilities planning investments in distributed energy resource management systems and battery storage and proposing new customer demand response programs and rate structures to shape load. A workgroup in Michigan is exploring grid integration of distributed energy resources, while a number of states have opened proceedings to consider demand response and flexibility practices, pursuant to a directive in the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

    Utilities Proposing New Performance Incentive Mechanisms

    Regulators in several states considered the adoption of new performance incentive mechanisms (PIMs) during 2022. The Illinois Commerce Commission approved a variety of new PIMs for Ameren and Commonwealth Edison, while Duke Energy Progress filed its plans for new PIMs with North Carolina regulators. In Hawaii, regulators approved additional PIMs for the HECO companies related to reliability, interconnection, and cost control.

    States Considering Wholesale Market Participation

    Wholesale markets continued to be a major area of attention for many states during 2022, with states generally moving toward wholesale markets. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission issued a decision requiring transmission utilities in the state to join organized wholesale markets, while regulators in Arizona and South Carolina have been considering joining a market. Florida utilities also received approval to join the Southeast Energy Exchange Market.

    Establishing Formal Distribution System Planning Processes

    Across the country, more states are establishing formal processes for distribution system planning. In 2022, state lawmakers in Maine and Massachusetts enacted legislation requiring utilities to undertake such grid planning processes. Illinois regulators also took steps to implement a new grid planning process. Other states with formal distribution system planning requirements include Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon.

    Utilities Pursuing Resiliency as a Service Programs

    A growing number of utilities are filing proposals to offer “resiliency as a service” programs, where utilities deploy battery storage systems at customer locations in order to provide resiliency benefits, especially to critical facilities. Regulators approved Georgia Power’s resilience asset service tariff, while regulators in California and Colorado considered utility plans for customer resiliency programs. Utilities in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Vermont also proposed investments focused on customer resilience.

    Utilities Designing New Battery Storage Demand Response Programs

    A number of utilities filed plans to offer new battery storage demand response programs during the year, which typically offer a performance-based incentive or bill credit for energy discharged during certain times. Idaho regulators approved a new battery demand response program for PacifiCorp, while Entergy New Orleans and Green Mountain Power were among the utilities filing plans for new programs. Michigan regulators denied DTE’s proposed program, instead expressing interest in exploring the design further.

    States Allowing Cost Sharing for Grid Upgrades Needed for Interconnection

    Regulators around the country considered interconnection rule revisions that would allow for the sharing of costs among generation owners for grid upgrades necessary for interconnection. The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority opened a proceeding to investigate cost sharing proposals for distributed energy resource interconnection upgrades, while regulators in Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont, and other states also considered cost sharing for grid upgrades

    Incorporating Critical Peak Pricing into Rate Structures

    As more utilities continue to offer time-of-use (TOU) rate options, an increasing number of these rates are incorporating critical peak pricing periods. The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved new dynamic rate designs for Duke Energy that include critical peak pricing elements, while Tennessee regulators approved a new TOU rate for Kingsport Power that includes a critical peak charge.

    Examining Battery Storage Decommissioning and Recycling

    Several states initiated efforts to address the decommissioning and recycling of battery storage facilities. South Carolina legislators enacted a bill to develop regulations managing the decommissioning of larger solar and storage facilities, and Virginia lawmakers created a task force to analyze the life cycle of energy facilities including energy storage. In Tennessee, legislators initiated a study that will examine end-of-life management for battery storage systems.

    LOOKING BACK: 2017 to 2022

    Total grid modernization action decreased somewhat in 2022 compared to last year, while remaining at a very high level of activity. States and utilities took approximately 778 actions in 2022, compared to 823 actions in 2021, compared to 658 actions in 2020, 612 actions in 2019, 460 actions in 2018, and 288 actions in 2017. In 2022, activity increased slightly in the areas of studies and investigations, rate and utility business model reform, and financial incentives. The number of states taking actions held relatively steady in most categories from 2021 to 2022.


    In the fourth quarter of 2022, 47 states plus DC took a total of 422 policy and deployment actions related to grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. Table 2 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 422 actions identified, the most common were related to deployment (91), followed by policies (88), and utility business model and rate reform (72)…

    Saturday, March 18, 2023

    President Biden Talks New Energy On The Daily Show

    This president knows New Energy deeply. From The Daily Show via YouTube

    Aussie Politics And Climate Policy

    Nobody has a better vocabulary than the Aussies for describing backward politics and climate policy. From the juicemedia via YouTube

    New Energy And Land Rights

    This is a classic heartlands debate about the right to build New Energy. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Friday, March 17, 2023

    Global New Energy Needs Boost New Equity

    New report finds glaring disparities between investments in developed and developing countries, calls for substantial increase in financial flows from Global North to South.

    22 February 2023 (International Renewable Energy Agency)

    “…[G]lobal investment in energy transition technologies last year—including energy efficiency—reached USD 1.3 trillion. It set a new record-high, up 19% from 2021 investment levels, and 50% from before the pandemic in 2019…[but] still represents less than 40% of the average investment needed each year between 2021 and 2030…

    …[And despite] reaching record-high annual investments exceeding USD 0.5 billion in 2021, investment in off-grid renewable solutions falls far short of the USD 2.3 billion needed annually in the sector between 2021 and 2030…[I]nvestments 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…[M]ore funds need to flow to less mature technologies…

    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…Achieving an energy transition in line with the 1.5°C Scenario also requires the redirection of USD 0.7 trillion per year from fossil fuels to energy-transition-related technologies…” click here for more

    Latin America’s Big Moves On New Energy

    Latin America Set to Become Global Energy Giant Through Renewables

    Sarah Jennings, March 17, 2023 (Environment + Energy Leader)

    “Latin America is embarking on a new era of renewable energy, led by commitments to wind and solar utility-scale projects by Brazil, Chile, and Columbia…[A new Global Energy Monitor report forecasts] the current solar and wind power capacity could increase by 460% by 2030…[and be] 70% of the total electrical capacity growth in the region…With a high potential for solar exposure and offshore wind development, Latin America is a goldmine for renewable energy…

    [Regional governments have] encouraged economic commitments with solid policy responses to climate change. The three leaders in growth – Brazil, Chile, and Columbia – all have employed energy auctions, opened up private investment, and found tactics to decrease the cost of solar and wind installations…[Brazil surpassed its a ten-year plan] to implement 20 GW of wind power and 3.5 GW of utility-scale solar capacity by 2023… 21.5 GW of operational onshore wind power and 5.4 GW of operational utility-scale solar power…

    Colombia also appears set to exceed its goal of adding 4 GW of renewable energy to its grid by 2030…[Despite] Mexico’s COP27 pledge to bring 40GW of solar and wind power online by 2030, the current pipeline of new projects is nowhere near that…[Chile’s] current policies seem to sway towards a 100% renewable energy system by 2030…[with policies] that will increase solar in the Atacama region and offshore wind development in Patagonia…” click here for more