NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: Bloomberg To Colbert – New Energy Is The Answer
  • Weekend Video: Global New Energy Keeps Coming On
  • Weekend Video: The Long Reach Of New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Why Geoengineering Has Comes With Big Risks
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Immense Potential Of Ocean Wind
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Best Place To Build New Energy Is China – Survey
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Japan’s Mitsubishi Sees EV Price Beating Gas Cars
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, October 12:

  • TTTA Thursday-Big Work Now Ahead On Climate Change
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy Ready To Take Over In The New South
  • TTTA Thursday-How The Ocean Can Store New Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-Indiana Nun Fights For Solar
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Hampshire Makes A New Energy Compromise That was ‘Worth It’
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Survey Shows Utilities Expect New Energy Expansion
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Why Big Buyers Buy New Energy
  • QUICK NEWS, October 10: Why Tariffs On Solar Will Backfire On The President; Private Sector Seizes Wind Opportunity; The EV Boom Needs 1000s More Plugs
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: An Alternative New Energy Plan For North Carolina
  • QUICK NEWS, October 9: Research Shows Feedback Loop Accelerating Climate Change; Solar Growth Leads The World; The Big Opportunity In Wind
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    click image for more info about the Sunstock Solar Festival

    Research Associate and Contributing Editor Jessica R. Wunder

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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

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

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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, October 16:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How Get The Stacked Values Of Battery Storage
  • QUICK NEWS, October 16: Worse Than ‘The New Normal’; New Energy To The Rescue; How Rooftop Solar Cuts Everybody’s Power Bills

    Monday, October 16, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: How Get The Stacked Values Of Battery Storage

    Stacked Benefits: Comprehensively Valuing Battery Storage in California

    Ryan Hledik, Roger Lueken, Colin McIntyre, Heidi Bishop, September 2017 (The Brattle Group for EOS Energy Storage)

    Executive Summary

    Introduction

    Several ongoing initiatives in California are facilitating the deployment of battery storage technology. One such initiative is the California Energy Commission’s (CEC’s) sponsorship of energy storage pilots and demonstration projects. Included in those projects are various battery storage deployments developed by Eos Energy Storage (“Eos”). Among the research objectives of the Eos projects is an assessment of the potential economic benefits of energy storage in California. This report provides the assessment of energy storage economics. The study was developed by The Brattle Group under a contract with Eos.

    Methodology

    Much of the existing research on energy storage value focuses only on isolated use cases for the technology, such as energy price arbitrage or peak capacity deferral. In fact, an advantage of battery storage is its ability to capture multiple sources of value.1 Accurately capturing these “stacked benefits” of battery storage requires detailed analysis of both the operational characteristics of the battery and the nature of the value streams it captures. In this study, we have used a modeling approach designed to accurately quantify the benefits of multiple value streams. Other noteworthy aspects of the scope include:

    • We assess battery storage value under a broad range of California-specific market conditions and system costs observed between 2013 and 2016. We account for the value of avoided energy, generation capacity (i.e., resource adequacy), transmission and distribution capacity, and ancillary services.

    • We model two battery discharge cases to account for differences in the battery operator’s ability to predict future market prices. In the Perfect Foresight case, the battery is assumed to operate with perfect foresight into all future market prices and marginal costs. In the Limited Foresight case, the battery is operated with realistic constraints around the ability to predict prices.

    • We analyze the incremental value of a single battery storage project on the California power system. We have not analyzed the impact that the addition of large quantities of storage could have on market prices.

    • The scope of our analysis is focused exclusively on quantifying avoided system costs (i.e., we quantify the system-wide benefits of deploying batteries). We do not specifically quantify the value that could be captured at the retail level by individual customers with distributed storage.

    Key Findings

    Our analysis suggests that, in many cases, the “stacked” benefits of battery storage compare favorably to recent estimates of new battery costs. This finding is sensitive to the marginal cost of generation capacity but is otherwise robust across the sensitivity cases we analyzed. The quantified benefits appear to be in line with those of other studies. Important observations from our assessment of the value of battery storage in California include:

    • Under our Base Case assumptions, with limited market foresight, the total value of “stacked benefits” in California for one kilowatt / four kilowatt-hours of battery storage could be around $280/kW-year. By comparison, recent estimates of battery costs have been in the range of $200 to $500/kW-year (though they vary significantly by technology type and configuration).

    • Accounting for the “stacked” benefits of battery storage by optimizing its dispatch across all analyzed value streams significantly increases the total value of the battery relative to any individual value stream (by a factor of at least 2x to 3x over individual uses cases).

    • Avoided generation capacity, frequency regulation, and energy price arbitrage are the largest sources of quantified value. However, the “depth” of each market should be taken into consideration when valuing large quantities of energy storage. Frequency regulation in particular is a highly valuable service with a very limited system need. At the same time, the need for frequency regulation is likely to increase with greater renewable resource deployment. This consideration is particularly relevant in the California market, as the state progresses toward its 50% renewable energy target.

    • Sensitivity cases suggest that uncertainty about the capacity value of storage could significantly impact estimates of total value. In the short run, excess supply means that the capacity value of energy storage in California will be modest unless there are local needs for resource adequacy. In the longer term, as planning reserve margins tighten, system-wide capacity value could approach the levels quantified in this study. Aside from sensitivity to generation capacity cost assumptions, the Base Case results are fairly robust across a range of assumptions about T&D capacity costs, location, and historical study year.

    Addressing Barriers

    California is considered to be a leader in its efforts to facilitate the adoption of energy storage. Noteworthy energy storage initiatives in California include:

    • An aggressive storage procurement mandate for the investor-owned utilities (IOUs);

    • The Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which provides incentive payments to behind-the-meter storage; • Enhancements to CAISO’s energy and A/S markets to support storage participation;

    • CAISO’s implementation of new wholesale market products that are amenable to storage, such as the flexible ramping product;

    • CAISO’s Energy Storage and Distributed Energy Storage (ESDER) stakeholder group, which works to enhance the market participation of grid-connected storage;

    • CPUC proceedings to quantify the locational value of distributed energy resources; and

    • The CPUC requirement that load serving entities contract for sufficient flexible capacity, which storage is eligible to provide.

    Generally, there has been a heavy focus in California on addressing energy storage participation barriers at the wholesale market level. While we have not quantitatively analyzed the customerside economics of battery ownership and utilization, there are also clear options for addressing barriers to distributed storage adoption at the retail level. As such, our scope for this study specifically called for an exploration of opportunities to increase the system value of storage through retail rate redesign. It would be a valuable future research activity to comprehensively evaluate all opportunities to address barriers at both the retail and wholesale levels.

    Better alignment of the retail rate design with the underlying structure of system costs can incentivize customers to adopt battery storage and use it in a way that produces system benefits.2 In this study, we discuss two specific innovative rate designs which could provide significant opportunities for monetizing the value of behind-the-meter energy storage. The first is a “threepart rate” which consists of three charges, each designed to recover different types of costs. The “demand charge” in a three-part rate is based on a customer’s peak electricity demand and can provide a particularly strong incentive for battery owners to discharge the battery during peak times in order to reduce capacity costs.

    The other retail rate design that could facilitate the capture of battery storage value is a “smart home/business rate.” A smart home/business rate is a form of real-time pricing in which all energy and capacity costs vary on an hourly or even sub-hourly basis. The hourly variation creates opportunities for the battery operator not only to capture fluctuations in energy value, but also to provide resource adequacy in a price-based manner that is tied directly to the underlying drivers of capacity needs.

    Conclusion

    Operating batteries to capture “stacked” benefits could unlock significantly more value than using batteries to pursue individual value streams in isolation. This finding is fairly robust across a range of sensitivity cases. However, challenges to simultaneously capturing multiple value streams remain. Some of the barriers are technical in nature, and may be overcome as new battery management algorithms and software are developed. Other barriers may be overcome through new policy initiatives. Offering new or revised rate designs which more fully reflect the time-varying nature of the cost of generating and delivering electricity is one of many possibilities. Costs of energy storage are expected to continue to decline, and market adoption is likely to increase as a result. In this scenario, considerations at both the retail and wholesale level will play an increasingly important role in the formation of energy storage policy initiatives.

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    QUICK NEWS, October 16: Worse Than ‘The New Normal’; New Energy To The Rescue; How Rooftop Solar Cuts Everybody’s Power Bills

    Worse Than ‘The New Normal’ This Isn’t ‘the New Normal’ for Climate Change — That Will Be Worse

    David Wallace-Wells, October 11, 2017 (New York Magazine)

    “…For years, we’ve conceived of climate change in terms of sea level, meaning it was often possible to believe its devastating impacts would be felt mostly by those living elsewhere, on the coasts; extreme weather seems poised to break that delusion, beginning with hurricanes. And then the unprecedented California wildfires broke out over the weekend, fueled by the Diablo Winds…It is tempting to look at this string of disasters and think, Climate change is here…[As much as 30 percent of the strength of hurricanes is] attributable to climate change, and wildfire season [is] both extended and exacerbated by it…But the truth is actually far scarier than ‘welcome to the new normal.’

    The climate system we have been observing since August, the one that has pummeled the planet again and again and exposed even the world’s wealthiest country as unable (or at least unwilling) to properly respond to its destruction, is…a beyond-best-case scenario for warming and all the climate disasters that will bring. Even if, miraculously, the planet immediately ceased emitting carbon into the atmosphere, we’d still be due for some additional warming, and therefore some climate-disaster shakeout…But of course we’re very far from zeroing out on carbon…” click here for more

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    New Energy To The Rescue For clean-energy jobs, sky's the limit…Renewable energy jobs, most of which are in wind and solar, grew by 16 percent to around 6,200 in Minnesota from 2015 to 2016…

    Mike Hughlett, October 16, 2017 (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

    “…As wind and solar energy have grown, they’ve created a tide of jobs nationwide in fields from construction to manufacturing. Renewable energy jobs, most of which are in wind and solar, grew by 16 percent to around 6,200 in Minnesota from 2015 to 2016, according to [Minnesota’s clean energy sector is substantial, with 57,351 clean energy jobs located across the state]…A wind building boom is expected to continue over the next five years. Solar should grow, too, even though its immediate future is clouded by threats of heavy U.S. tariffs on solar equipment imports, which would ratchet up the industry’s costs…The growth of wind and solar — along with a huge build-out of natural gas-fired power plants — is also eliminating jobs in some traditional energy sectors. U.S. coal mining jobs have plummeted as power companies move away from coal-based generation…The state’s community and technical colleges, which Peterson represents, have been beefing up wind and solar energy offerings…Wind and solar energy have taken off because of a combination of falling costs for equipment, federal tax breaks and environmental concerns. Coal plants are a major emitter of greenhouse gases, while wind and solar produce none. And while President Donald Trump has been championing coal, utilities are expected to keep moving to more renewable energy sources…” click here for more

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    How Rooftop Solar Cuts Everybody’s Power Bills How rooftop solar is saving billions on energy bills for all consumers

    Giles Parkinson, 16 October 2017 ReNew Economy)

    “…[Without rooftop solar, the aggregate cost of electricity in the Australian state of New South Wales] would have been several billion dollars higher over the past year…[Impact of small solar PV on the NSW wholesale electricity market] reinforces previous estimates of the broad benefits of the more than 6GW of rooftop solar installed on more than 1.7 million household and business rooftops…That capacity is often demonised by vested interests as ‘free-loading’ on the network and other consumers, but the study proves otherwise…[In] NSW alone the savings from rooftop solar – by reducing demand at crucial times and challenging the dominance of the big generators in the wholesale market – were between $2.3 billion and $3.3 billion in the 12 months to April, 2017…That’s how much the wholesale price is lowered from what it would have been if rooftop solar was not present in the market. Even though rooftop solar only provides 2 per cent of total generation, the study found it clipped prices by $29-44/MWh – up to 50 per cent higher than the actual price…” click here for more

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    Saturday, October 14, 2017

    Bloomberg To Colbert – New Energy Is The Answer

    "The science says things are getting warmer and will continue to get warmer but the federal government has decided to do nothing...The citizens have decided to take it into their own hands and America is leading the way..." From The Late Show With Stephen Colbert via YouTube

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    Global New Energy Keeps Coming On

    The noise from Washington is deceitful. The world’s New Energy is growing at an unprecedented pace, threatening coal’s market share and pushing back against climate change. All the world has to do is keep pushing. From International Energy Agency via YouTube

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    The Long Reach Of New Energy

    Secretary Perry speaks glowingly of DOE’s great innovations – but wants to cut the research budget. Why? From U.S. Dept of Energy via YouTube

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    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Why Geoengineering Comes With Big Risks

    Geoengineering aims to slow global warming by manipulating climate, but risks are unknown; Experts meeting in Berlin this week to discuss promise, pitfalls of climate manipulation methods

    Jill English, October 12, 2017 (Canadian Broadcasting Co. News)

    “…[T]o slow global warming, science has been exploring ways to manipulate the climate…[G]eoengineering offers promise...[but]comes with all kinds of potential pitfalls…[It] can be as simple as planting trees to remove CO2 from the air or as complicated as trying to use giant mirrors to reflect the sun into space or using wind-powered pumps to refreeze parts of the Arctic…[One proposal being studied is scattering fine particle in the upper stratosphere to] reflect some of the sun's rays and reduce or maintain global temperatures…[But once] you begin a solar geoengineering process, can you stop it? What happens if things don't go as planned? And what about the repercussions of CO2 emissions not related to global temperatures, such as ocean acidification?...[Scientists say it could have 'huge' unintended consequences on those least responsible for climate changes]..." click here for more

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    The Immense Potential Of Ocean Wind

    There’s enough wind energy over the oceans to power human civilization, scientists say

    Chris Mooney, October 9, 2017 (Washington Post)

    “…[T]here is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate ‘civilization scale power’…[and] floating wind farms, over very deep waters, could be the next major step for wind energy technology…[According to Geophysical potential for wind energy over the open oceans, there is] probably an upper limit to the amount of energy that can be generated by a wind farm that’s located on land…because natural and human structures on land create friction that slows down the wind speed…[and] each individual wind turbine extracts some of the energy of the wind…[But ocean] wind speeds can be as much as 70 percent higher than on land…[and] over the mid-latitude oceans, storms regularly transfer powerful wind energy down to the surface from higher altitudes, meaning that the upper limit here for how much energy you can capture with turbines is considerably higher…[The North Atlantic alone could theoretically power China and the U.S.]…Energy gurus have long said that among renewable sources, solar energy has the greatest potential to scale up…[but if open ocean wind becomes accessible someday, it may have considerable potential too…” click here for more

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    The Best Place To Build New Energy Is China – Survey

    The Best Place To Build New Energy Is China China retains top spot in renewable energy market attractiveness ratings; New targets to defer or cancel 106GW of coal-fired capacity, substantial improvement in wind curtailment rates, and a potential ban on internal combustion engine sales, make China the most attractive country for investment in renewable energy

    Craig Richard, 10 October 2017 (Windpower Monthly)

    “Solar PV is proving the main beneficiary [of China’s transition away from coal with capacity] increasing by 21GW in six month…China also topped [Ernst and Young’s Renewable energy country attractive index (RECAI)] rankings for onshore wind and its offshore rating was second only to the UK…France, meanwhile, climbed to sixth in the RECAI, while Argentina, Morocco, the Netherlands, Turkey, Egypt and Portugal all saw their stock rise…Turkey’s last tender awarded 1GW to onshore wind at 50% below the ceiling price and its PV capacity tripled in a year to 1.5GW, while in Egypt a feed-in tariff (FiT) system has resulted in 1GW of PV under construction, with more projected for next year…A decline in new investment this year due to grid overcapacity saw Chile slide two places to eighth, while Canada and Denmark both fell one place to 12th and 14th respectively…India, the US, Germany, Australia, Japan, and Mexico were all also in EY’s top ten…Despite having just one offshore project the US was ranked fourth in EY’s index for the technology [because of its potential level and incentive regimes] behind the UK, China and Germany…” click here for more

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    Japan’s Mitsubishi Sees EV Price Beating Gas Cars

    Electric cars may one day become cheaper than traditional vehicles, top CEO says

    Saheli Roy Choudry and Arjun Kharpal, October 12, 2017 (CNBC)

    “…The electric vehicle market is becoming more competitive as automakers introduce battery-powered cars to their lineups…[and stricter] fuel efficiency standards for gasoline cars could make traditional vehicles more expensive…[while batteries] powering electric vehicles are expected to become cheaper, according to Mitsubishi Electric President and CEO Masaki Sakuyama…The price of an electric vehicle depends largely on the cost of the batteries that power them…so in the near future, the cost of the electric vehicle will be comparable to the conventional cars, [according to Sakuyama, and] electric vehicle batteries may become cheaper to produce than combustion engines in traditional cars…” click here for more

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    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    Big Work Now Ahead On Climate Change

    Obama's Clean Power Plan is dead. Time to get serious on climate change.

    Ryan Cooper, October 11, 2017 (The Week)

    “…This week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt carried out one of the most consequential actions of any administration in history, when he obeyed Trump's order to cancel former President Obama's Clean Power Plan…We are living through an absolutely critical moment for climate policy. In a sane world, rich countries would be ratcheting down emissions at something like 10 percent per year…Humans will feel the effects of this for millennia to come…[But] the Clean Power Plan, while positive, was not itself remotely sufficient to get emissions down fast enough…[T]he most aggressive possible climate policy must become an urgent national priority…It's unclear exactly what will happen with the Clean Power Plan. Certainly, there will be a firestorm of litigation…but Pruitt — a stooge for the oil, gas, and coal industries… — has considerable bureaucratic tools at his disposal to delay things…[Most likely, the Clean Power Plan will be halted but not completely killed off, and the EPA will be tied up in litigation…[When it becomes possible, America will need] a hugely aggressive plan of climate policy, in line with a war mobilization in terms of scope…” click here for more

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    New Energy Ready To Take Over In The New South

    UCS “Dwindling Role for Coal” Report: Wind and Solar Could Help Replace Coal in the Southeast

    October 10, 2017 (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

    “The past decade or so has seen a dramatic shift away from coal for producing electricity in the United States…[and, according to a new analysis, that trend is set to continue…[51 GW of coal-fired generating capacity] is slated to retire or convert to another fuel (mostly natural gas) through 2030…[An] additional 57 GW (or 20 percent of the coal capacity that was operating at the end of 2016) is uneconomic compared to existing natural gas…A surprising number of coal plants in [the Southeast] are also uneconomic compared to new wind power, or even solar energy. And new developments in the wind industry, such as high-voltage transmission lines, could make wind even more accessible…[I]f utilities would replace that power with renewable energy (for example, wind power or solar power at $40 per megawatt hour), the region would save about $94 million annually…In some parts of the country, wind power prices have reached below $20/MWh (2 cents per kilowatt hour) and utility-scale solar power prices have likely hit $30/MWh (3 cents per kilowatt hour)…” click here for more

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    How The Ocean Can Store New Energy

    'The ocean makes perfect sense as the world's largest battery'; Wind and solar have made huge progress, but only tapping the resources of the ocean will give the world the renewable energy it needs

    John Liljelund, 4 October 2017 (ReCharge News)

    “…[B]y 2030 electricity demand is expected to increase more than 40%...[and] 40% of the current fleet is planned to retire by 2040, together driving a need for up to 15,000GW of new capacity installations…[S]even out of ten new energy units are projected to be low-carbon, increasing the total share of low-carbon electricity from around 30% to 45%...[T]he need for flexibility and predictability in the system is not only preferred, but essential…The world’s need for renewable energy cannot be met without harnessing the ocean, the biggest solar battery we have…

    The sun creates the winds and the winds create the waves, complemented with the tides powered by the moon. When the sun is blocked by clouds and the winds have died down, all that energy is stored in the ever-moving ocean, offering its vast power potential of hundreds of gigawatts of generation capacity for the taking, with a predictability of days in advance – and years ahead in the case of tidal…All we need to exploit the ocean and its endless source of energy is meticulous, persistent work…[and] political commitment…” click here for more

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    Indiana Nun Fights For Solar

    A Franciscan nun is leading a fight for solar energy in Indiana

    Arielle Duhaime-Ross, October 7, 2017 (Vice News)

    “Claire Whalen is an 88-year-old Franciscan nun in Indiana who just celebrated her seventh decade in the order…[but has not slowed] down…[She is very active as a nun] and as an environmental activist…[Her most recent crusade is for] solar energy…[She] is part of a statewide effort to get people to install solar panels on their properties. And there’s urgency to this effort. In May, Indiana’s Republican-led State Legislature passed a bill that will make owning solar panels less affordable. But if people install panels before the end of this year, they’ll avoid this impact for 30 years. So, Sister Whalen is fighting back — by getting more people to go solar.” click here for more

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    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Hampshire Makes A New Energy Compromise That was ‘Worth It’

    Despite lack of agreement, New Hampshire groups say solar struggle is 'worth it'; Months of negotiation over a net metering successor failed to produce a settlement, but did reveal ample common ground

    Herman K. Trabish, April 13, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The policy battle for distributed resources in New Hampshire ended in a stalemate but opened possibilities for the next fight.

    Months of struggle to reach agreement among stakeholders in the first phase of New Hampshire’s regulatory proceeding for a solar successor tariff fell just short of a settlement, leaving key decisions to regulators. For months, utility leaders, consumer advocates, environmentalists, and distributed energy advocates struggled to meet state lawmakers’ mandate to replace retail rate net energy metering (NEM) with a new tariff. The goal was a new type of compensation to solar owners for electricity exported to the grid. But agreement on the level of compensation and how to calculate it eluded them. The utilities’ early proposals included rate designs that were unacceptable to solar advocates but, with the intervention of the state consumer advocate, a settlement proposal found common ground. The DER advocates rejected the utilities’ netting concept on the grounds there is inadequate data to justify it. But, in a step away from what DER advocates in other states’ NEM successor tariff debates have been willing to do, they offered a gradual reduction in the current NEM credit.

    Advocates said they made a compromise for the short-term so that they could implement programs that will allow them to collect the data needed to launch a new value-based tariff in 2021.Though the parties did not reach a final settlement, they may have demonstrated something can be gained by the effort. If the groundwork laid in the negotiations (Docket 16-576) leads eventually to a modernized grid and a thriving, data-driven DER marketplace in New Hampshire, the effort will have been “worth it,” a DER advocate said. All parties signing the proposals agreed to participate in a commission-led task force that would guide a set of pilot projects from inception to implementation. They also agree to a subsequent commission proceeding to review results and the information generated, to inform the design of future DER tariffs and rates… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Survey Shows Utilities Expect New Energy Expansion

    Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth; Concerns about integrating high levels of wind and solar are waning, Utility Dive's sector survey shows

    Herman K. Trabish, April 25, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Today’s headlines show the corrupt politicians now disrupting the New Energy revolution by defending fossil fuels don’t know what the utility leaders who speak out here know.

    At the turn of the millennium, only wide-eyed dreamers in the power sector would have claimed renewable energy would play a major role on the U.S. grid. Wind and solar were simply too expensive and too difficult to integrate but today that is becoming a reality. More than 80% of North American utility employees expect renewable energy to increase moderately or significantly in their service areas over the next decade, according to Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility (SEU) survey. Almost three-quarters (72%) see a moderate or significant increase in utility-scale wind, and more than 80% see moderate or significant growth for utility-scale solar. Distributed generation also fared well, with 83% predicting some degree of growth, albeit from a lower starting point.

    Those results build on trends observed in the last three years of Utility Dive surveys, as well as the input of key industry figures. For utility-scale resources, the economics of renewable energy and natural gas were expected to be key in fueling their growth. Along with renewables, 62% of survey respondents expect moderate or significant growth in natural gas generation, while 79% expect to see at least moderate coal retirements in the next decade. Nuclear, on the other hand, was expected to stagnate across most of the nation, with declines anticipated in particular regions. Consumer sentiment and improving economics for renewables are helping drive utility interest in wind, solar and distributed energy, the survey showed, strengthening trends present in past Utility Dive surveys. But this year, respondents also indicated they were less concerned about the integration of these intermittent resources, reflecting a growing confidence in the operation of the transforming power system… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Why Big Buyers Buy New Energy

    State of Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement

    September 2017 (Apex Clean Energy and GreenBiz)

    Executive Summary

    Apex Clean Energy and GreenBiz are pleased to provide an in-depth study of the state of direct renewable energy purchasing, with insights on why and how corporates buy renewables, and strategies to increase renewable energy project development. The intent of this report is to help corporate sustainability, energy and finance executives from Fortune 500 companies – and beyond – to plan and access renewable energy at an increased pace and scale.

    Renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power are no longer just ways to meet sustainability goals. Corporate buyers increasingly seek renewables as cost-competitive sources of new power generation that offer a hedge against price volatility from traditional energy sources. More opportunities to buy and finance clean energy exist than ever before, allowing buyers to purchase on their terms and harness internal expertise they already possess.

    Apex Clean Energy partnered with GreenBiz to conduct an analysis of current and future corporate renewable energy activities, determine the outlook on the market, and identify procurement strategies and resources that corporates can use to help scale new projects and reach beyond onsite generation and purchasing of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

    We conducted a web-based survey of 153 large corporate buyers (public and private) each with an annual revenue of greater than $250 million. Of those surveyed, 128 (or 84 percent) are actively pursuing or considering purchasing renewable energy over the next five to ten years. For more detailed insights, we then performed 12 phone-based interviews with a cross-section of leaders in corporate energy purchasing.

    Five Key Findings

    1. Undaunted: 84 Percent of All Respondents Plan to Actively Pursue or Consider Directly Buying Clean Energy • Most large corporates plan to be active in the renewable energy (RE) market over the next five to 10 years (84 percent) and 43 percent plan to be more aggressive in the next 24 months – led by retail (70 percent), technology (60 percent) and healthcare (54 percent).

    2. Corporate Renewable Energy Goals Matter • Most corporates have RE targets (57 percent), and the primary drivers focus on addressing energy and emissions goals (70 percent) and demonstrating corporate leadership (65 percent).

    3. Economics Are Converting Sustainability Goals Into Purchases • At 65 percent, price was the clear leading criteria among the drivers of corporate buying decisions, with value coming in a distant second (34 percent).

    4. As Market Matures, So Do Strategic Approaches to Achieving RE Goals • It’s no longer a mostly REC world. As the economics of clean energy become more compelling, corporates are leveraging new transaction methods including project aggregation and utility green tariffs.

    5. Accelerated Market Education Can Help NonActive Corporates Overcome Market Barriers • Most barriers cited by corporates not yet actively purchasing renewables were focused on internal coordination, indicating a need for greater market awareness.

    The Path Forward

    The renewable energy market is always evolving and likely will continue to do so. As corporates develop more knowledge and capacity for project development, there is a trend towards addressing renewable energy as a portfolio of dynamic energy assets. Corporates increasingly see renewable energy as an opportunity to generate additional revenue, mitigate risks, manage energy costs and differentiate themselves from other companies.

    However, while each business is different, corporations considering or actively pursuing renewable energy projects can consider these important takeaways:

    • For companies early in the process, engage a diverse set of internal stakeholders including energy management, energy strategy, sustainability, finance and legal – leverage existing frameworks established for goal setting and project evaluation from experience with energy efficiency, onsite PV, purchasing RECs and operational sustainability projects.

    • For those further along in the process, consider taking a portfolio approach to projects based on renewable energy resource (such as wind and solar), transaction types and geographic location. Companies can look to partners and can consider financing mechanisms that mitigate risk by leveraging transactions including project aggregation, utility green tariffs and other project development tools.

    • Partner with natural conveners including NGO-driven initiatives such as REBA and RE100 that can facilitate best-practice sharing, workshops and valuable tools for scaling projects.

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    QUICK NEWS, October 10: Why Tariffs On Solar Will Backfire On The President; Private Sector Seizes Wind Opportunity; The EV Boom Needs 1000s More Plugs

    Why Tariffs On Solar Will Backfire On The President Trump Is About to Stifle U.S. Solar Power. Why?

    Justin Talbot-Zorn, October 9, 2017 (Fortune)

    “…[The president has reportedly] lashed out at his senior economic advisers for their tepidness on trade policy…[and demanded protectionist tariffs]… But the looming solar tariffs aren’t about industrial jobs or Chinese competition or trade fairness—they’re about protecting fossil fuel interests and blocking Americans from harnessing the power of the sun…While it’s conceivable that tariffs could lead to some new domestic panel production, it is clear is that prices for most solar installations would rise, driving demand for new solar down just when the] world has been banking on residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar as important drivers of U.S. emissions reductions…[Instead of promoting domestic job creation and economic growth,] solar tariffs would be self-defeating…[They may seem like] a chance to look tough on China and other big manufacturing competitors while giving a gift to political supporters in the fossil fuel industry…But on a closer look, restricting the growth of solar would present [the president] with some serious headaches…[M]any red state Republicans will wince at the local job losses…Even the Heritage Foundation, the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council, and other right-wing organizations have joined environmental groups in opposing the tariffs…” click here for more

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    Private Sector Seizes Wind Opportunity As Federal Support Wanes, Private Industry May Fuel Next Generation Of Wind Power Technology

    Amy Mayer, Octobger 9. 2017 (NPR Morning Edition/KCUR-Iowa)

    “…[A] chill around federal funding for renewable energy has researchers increasingly turning to industry partners to bring the next generation of innovation to the marketplace…[Wind power is now over 6% of the U.S. installed electric generation capacity and] researchers continue striving for ways to expand its reach, even as the funding for their work becomes less available…[An Iowa State University researcher on wind turbine acoustics was recently awarded] a half-million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation and additional support from the state of Iowa…[With] the maturation of the industry and the changing priorities of the federal government, the Department of Energy proposed budget would make further reductions to all renewable energy programs, including wind…Even with diminishing federal support, the wind industry continues to grow [and researchers are counting on the companies that value it to step with support for their work on innovation]…” click here for more

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    The EV Boom Needs 1000s More Plugs NREL Evaluates National Charging Infrastructure Needs for Growing Fleet of Plug-In Electric Vehicles

    October 4, 2017 (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

    “…Sales of PEVs—which include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all-electric vehicles (EVs)—have surged recently. Most PEV charging occurs at home, but widespread PEV adoption would require the development of a national network of non-residential charging stations. Strategically installing these stations early would maximize their economic viability while enabling efficient network growth as the PEV market matures…[According to National Plug-In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory,] a few hundred corridor fast-charging stations could enable long-distance EV travel between U.S. cities. Although many of these early-market stations could be underutilized at first, NREL’s analysis of driving patterns and vehicle characteristics suggests how corridors could be prioritized and station spacing set to enhance station utility and economics…About 8,000 fast-charging stations would be needed to provide a minimum level of urban and rural coverage nationwide. In a PEV market with 15 million vehicles, the total number of non-residential charging outlets or ‘plugs’ needed to meet urban and rural demand ranges from around 100,000 to more than 1.2 million…” click here for more

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    Monday, October 09, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: An Alternative New Energy Plan For North Carolina

    North Carolina Clean Path 2025 Achieving an Economical Clean Energy Future

    Bill Powers, August 2017 (Powers Engineering for NC WARN)

    Executive Summary

    NC CLEAN PATH 2025 is an energy strategy focused on implementing local solar power,i battery storage, and energy efficiency measures to quickly replace fossil fuel-generated electricity and eliminate the resulting pollution, including greenhouse gases that are driving climate change.

    This approach is cleaner, more reliable, and far less costly than the $40 billion-dollar expansion of fracked natural gas, nuclear power, and transmission infrastructure being planned by North Carolina’s dominant investor-owned (private) utility, Duke Energy. NC CLEAN PATH 2025 is also an economic engine that will create more jobs than the expansion plans proposed by the utility, and is based on available technology and proven, successful programs.

    North Carolina has twice as much local solar potential as needed to retire all fossil fuel plants, and existing distribution lines can handle large flows of local solar at little additional cost.

    Smaller municipal and cooperative utilities have been leaders in advancing local solar and battery storage in the United States, and may be best adapted to implementing NC CLEAN PATH 2025. However, there are no economic or technical barriers to its adoption by the large investor-owned utilities.

    NC CLEAN PATH 2025 is an opportunity for North Carolinians to provide national leadership in the urgent challenge to slow climate change. NC CLEAN PATH 2025 will:

    • Reduce power generated by coal- and natural gas-fired plants 57 percent by 2025.

    • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation 100 percent by 2030. All coal-fired plants will be closed and gas-fired plants will be used only for backup supply.

    • Maintain the current growth rate, 1,000 megawatts per year, of large-scale solar in North Carolina, but build it on vacant urban and suburban land, and on brownfields.

    • Add 2,000 megawatts of solar power each year at homes, businesses, schools, and other buildings – and back it up with cost-effective battery storage, capitalizing on rapid progress by Tesla and other companies.

    • Create financing options for local solar power, battery storage, and efficiency upgrades that allow everyone to benefit without financial burden.

    • Accelerate energy-saving programs to reduce electricity usage 20 percent by 2025.

    • Expand demand response programsii and energy efficiency upgrades to reduce peak summer cooling and peak winter heating loads 50 percent by 2025.

    • Create 16,000 good jobs across the state in the first three years.

    An approach that beats the obsolete, high-cost, high climate impact utility model

    North Carolina’s investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs) are focused on building large power plants and additional transmission and distribution projects. The predominant utility, Duke Energy, supplies about 90 percent of the electricity in the state. Its 15- year plan is to expand conventional power generation and grid investments, resulting in large rate increases for customers.

    Duke Energy’s plan for North and South Carolina is to spend $5 billion on new natural gas-fired plants, $2.5 billion building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and possibly upwards of $20 billion to build two nuclear units. Just in North Carolina, Duke Energy plans $13 billion in transmission and distribution additions. Meanwhile, it plans to do the minimum to advance renewable energy; by 2031, only six percent of Duke Energy’s total Carolinas generation would be from renewables.

    NC CLEAN PATH 2025, in contrast, will make local solar with battery storage the backbone of the statewide electricity system. The cost of electricity will be lower for all customers due to the lower cost of solar compared to utility retail rates. The massive utility investments in large power plants and infrastructure will be avoided under NC CLEAN PATH 2025. Power bills will become stable and predictable instead of rising relentlessly to pay for largely unnecessary conventional utility expansion.

    Financing comes from utilities or competitive lenders

    Investments in solar, batteries, and efficiency upgrades can be facilitated by utilities – and possibly local governments and private lenders – which provide upfront capital and allow customers to pay for the upgrades on their electric bills over time (known as on-bill financing). Customers’ monthly bills will remain the same or be reduced. Electricity savings under NC CLEAN PATH 2025 will exceed the monthly payment for the upgrades.

    Only minor improvements to the electricity transmission and distribution system will be necessary to realize NC CLEAN PATH 2025 targets. The cost will be passed through to utility customers in the same manner as operations and maintenance costs. Customers installing solar power and batteries will receive available federal tax benefits.

    Abundant, low-cost local solar as backbone of the state’s power supply

    ’ The North Carolina solar resource potential on rooftops, parking lots, and urban vacant land is about 130 million megawatt-hours (MWh) per year. This is nearly double the approximately 77 million MWh per year needed to displace North Carolina’s coaland natural gas-fired power. This local solar resource is distributed across small towns, larger communities, and urban areas close to where electricity demand is located. Customers unable to use solar at their home, business, or other building can participate in community-based solar programs.

    Electricity generated at large-scale “solar farms” is sold at the wholesale price of electricity and does not increase customer rates. The cost of local solar power in North Carolina, at homes and businesses, has fallen below the utility retail rate for Duke Energy customers in 2017. (Typically, retail rates for the cooperative and municipal utilities are higher.) Meanwhile, solar prices keep declining as utility rates keep rising. This means that homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and governments save money by offsetting the retail electricity they currently purchase from the grid with solar panels on their rooftops, parking lots, or next to the building.

    When excess power is generated from these net metered solar systems, it flows to neighbors who then pay the utility for the kilowatts. This arrangement, known as net metering, is now more cost-effective than grid power and is ready to ramp up in North Carolina. Net metering is an economic benefit to all utility customers, even those without onsite solar, because it reduces the need to build large power plants and supporting transmission infrastructure, thus keeping rates from constantly rising.

    Building on state success installing large amounts of solar

    North Carolina is second in the nation in solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, with approximately 3,000 MW now generating electricity. About 1,000 MW were installed in 2016 alone. Almost all of this was the result of large-scale projects greater than 1 MW in size on parcels of rural land.

    NC CLEAN PATH 2025 will ramp up the solar installation rate to 3,000 MW per year by 2020, of which about 2,000 MW per year will be customer-sited rooftop, ground-mounted, or parking lot solar. The 1,000 MW annual installation rate of large-scale solar will be maintained, but with systems concentrated on vacant urban land and on brownfields (contaminated properties) closer to areas of electricity demand.

    Local power lines can handle large flows of solar power at little additional cost

    Low-cost distribution system upgrades carried out under NC CLEAN PATH 2025 will enable very high levels of solar power flow on existing distribution lines in local communities. Numerous studies by the U.S. Department of Energy and by utilities in states near North Carolina demonstrate that such upgrades should require a one-time cost of less than $1 billion – spread out over several years – for a state the size of North Carolina. This is approximately the amount Duke Energy spends annually on operations and maintenance for the electricity grid in its North Carolina service areas.

    Utilizing some existing generation and storage resources while retiring others

    All coal-burning power plants will be phased out quickly under NC CLEAN PATH 2025. Existing hydroelectric plants and solar projects will continue to operate as reliable renewable resources. Existing nuclear plants will continue operating until current licenses expire in 2030 and beyond. The existing natural gas-fired power plants and transmission grid become backup systems over time.

    Duke Energy’s existing 2,140 MW of pumped storage hydroelectric plants (Bad Creek and Jocassee) can be readily integrated into the NC CLEAN PATH 2025 framework. They will serve as large-scale batteries by absorbing over 2,000 MW of solar power in daytime hours, then dispatching the energy as hydroelectricity at night when solar power is not available.

    Solar, batteries, and energy-saving measures offset high-usage periods

    A key to transitioning from the current utility model is to provide a clean energy alternative to construction of natural gasfired “peaker” plants to meet demand during periods of high electricity usage. Along with energy efficiency and demand reduction programs, NC CLEAN PATH 2025 does this by combining local solar power with battery storage, and allowing utilities to tap the power stored in local batteries during times of peak demand.

    NC CLEAN PATH 2025 includes the addition of 5,000 MW of battery storage connected to onsite solar systems by 2025. Onsite battery storage is cost-effective in 2017, even more so when customers are fairly compensated by utilities for making their batteries available during periods of high customer usage.

    Implementing battery storage at the point where power is used will increase reliability for all communities. It is a more economical and effective solution than Duke Energy’s existing proposal to build redundant backup transmission lines to meet vulnerable communities’ reliability needs.

    Heating, cooling, and other energy savings are key

    Heating and cooling systems are key drivers of peak demand. Most antiquated, lowefficiency systems are beyond their useful design life and will be replaced over the next few years by far more efficient systems that will reduce electricity usage by substantial amounts.

    Specifically, NC CLEAN PATH 2025 will achieve a 50 percent reduction in peak heating and cooling usage through comprehensive demand response programs and energy efficiency upgrades, and a 20 percent reduction in overall electricity consumption.

    A statewide economic and employment engine

    The new jobs necessary to fully develop this local solar and energy efficiency resource will be spread across the state in small towns and urban areas. New renewable investments will boost local economies through enhanced property value. NC CLEAN PATH 2025 will provide 50 percent more jobs than Duke Energy’s proposed build-out, in much less time, as shown in the table on the next page.

    A net 100% reduction in greenhouse gases from electricity generation by 2030

    Through a combination of local solar and battery storage systems, energy efficiency, and demand response programs, NC CLEAN PATH 2025 will reduce power generated by fossil fuel plants and associated greenhouse gas emissions 57 percent by 2025, and 100 percent by 2030.

    Some natural gas-fired generation will be necessary even after 100 percent net reduction in greenhouse gases is achieved, primarily during extended periods of inclement weather when solar, hydropower, and existing nuclear generation, along with batteries and pumped storage, are insufficient to meet demand. At other times, especially spring and fall when heating and cooling demand are low, renewable power will be generated in excess of what is needed to meet in-state demand and can be exported to neighboring states.

    Public utilities are innovators in the clean energy transition – investor-owned utilities can join them

    Public utilities (municipal utilities and cooperatives) have been in the vanguard of local solar and battery storage deployment in the United States. The typical utility business strategy has been resistant to implementing this innovative model. However, IOUs that commit to an explicit public benefit purpose – thus aligning shareholder interests with those of the public – can adopt a stable and profitable corporate structure that achieves a cleaner and less costly electricity supply for their customers.

    At least one IOU, Green Mountain Power, has adopted the public benefit as an explicit corporate objective, balancing shareholder value with the public good. President and CEO Mary Powell expressed the nature of this public benefit obligation in the following terms:

    Leveraging the latest innovations like battery storage, we are working with customers to move away from the antiquated bulk grid, to a cleaner and more reliable energy system, where power is generated closer to where it’s used.

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