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.


  • TODAY’S STUDY: New Numbers Show Grid Modernization Gaining

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Defense Of Rooftop Solar
  • QUICK NEWS, May 21: Stop Climate Change To Save “Tens Of Thousands” Species; Willing To Pay For New Energy; Lawmakers, Regulators Working To Grow EVs

  • Weekend Video: About Mr. Pruitt
  • Weekend Video: The Impacts Are Now
  • Weekend Video: The Winds In New Mexico

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-More Migrants From Climate Change Than From War
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-India’s New Energy Jobs Boom
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Japan’s Nissan Moves Into Solar-Plus-Storage In UK
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Big Economic Boosts From EU Wind


  • TTTA Thursday-Alaska On The Climate Change Front Lines
  • TTTA Thursday-The More Renewables, The More The Price Drops
  • TTTA Thursday-Building A Better Battery From Solar And Water
  • TTTA Thursday-Nuclear Power Going Broke
  • --------------------------


    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish



    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.

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, May 22:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii Leads New Energy Again With Solar Breakthrough
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Grid Modernization Accelerates

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii Leads New Energy Again With Solar Breakthrough

    One small step for Hawaii solar, one leap toward 100% renewables; After Hawaii regulators approved two new solar tariffs last month, solar customers in the state must now decide whether to buy, lease or pass on battery storage.

    Herman K. Trabish, November 9, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Hawaii continues to point the way to the New Energy future. It just opened a proceeding which will shift the power system's focus from utility profits to electricity customers' demands.

    A new Smart Export solar tariff ordered by Hawaii’s regulators is so popular that both distributed energy resource (DER) advocates and Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) say it was their idea. They are probably both right because the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC) used ideas from nine months of workshop negotiations to shape the final Decision and Order. The ruling ends the Technical Track in Hawaii’s groundbreaking DER proceeding (Docket 2014-0192). It is, the parties agree, the logical next step toward Hawaii’s 100% renewables by 2045 goal. Smart Export is one of two new interim tariffs in the order. It and the Customer Grid Supply-plus (CGS+) tariffs will replace tariffs created in the HPUC’s landmark 2015 decision ending retail rate net energy metering (NEM).

    Each tariff has its own advantage and provides different incentives on whether to pair storage with residential solar systems. With Smart Export, owners of solar-plus-storage systems will be able to maximize their use of stored solar to offset their nighttime consumption of electricity priced at Hawaii's high retail rate. They will also earn some below-retail compensation for generation sent to the HECO grid outside peak solar generation hours. With CGS+, owners of solar-only systems will earn modest compensation for any excess generation they send to the grid, whenever the sun is shining. Solar-plus-storage system owners will be able to choose how much electricity to send to the grid and how much to store to offset the retail rate at night. HPUC's order sends policymakers and stakeholders into the docket’s Market Track. In it, they will grapple with even more complicated rate design and DER valuation questions to construct a final NEM successor tariff... click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Grid Modernization Accelerates

    As feds focus on baseload, grid modernization is sweeping the nation; More than 30 states are considering far-reaching modernization and utility business model reforms, including new initiatives to integrate battery storage into grid planning processes.

    Herman K. Trabish, November 14, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: As shown in yesterday's "Study of the Day," grid Modernization efforts across the country have accelerated since this story ran. Q1 2018 saw an astonishing 75% increase in actions over Q1 2017.

    As the Trump administration continues to throw its weight behind legacy power assets, states and utilities are busy building the grid of the future...Grid modernization actions make the power sector “more resilient, responsive, and interactive,” according to "50 States of Grid Modernization," the new Q3 2017 policy update from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC). "Actions" are legislation or regulation that addresses smart grid, advanced metering infrastructure, utility business model, or rate reforms, or ways to expand access to DER...The clear trend in 2017 has been in state-initiated investigations of grid modernization, said Autumn Proudlove, NCCETC Manager of Policy Research and lead author of the update. “We are still at the beginning of grid modernization but more and more states are doing broad investigations to understand it better," Proudlove said...

    In Q3 2017, there were 40 actions to “tweak” existing policies and 38 actions to implement incipient programs or deploy “first-step” technologies. But there were 32 actions initiating studies or investigations on grid modernization, as well as 74 actions studying markets, planning, rate and business model reforms, and financial incentives. Also significant was the fact that 26 of the 33 states engaging with grid modernization took actions on energy storage policies and deployment. The emerging question asked by state investigations, Proudlove said, is what grid modernization should include to enable a 21st century power sector... click here for more

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    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: New Numbers Show Grid Modernization Gaining

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization, Q1 2018 Quarterly Report

    May 3, 2018 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary


    Grid modernization is a broad term, lacking a universally accepted definition. In this report, the authors use the term grid modernization broadly to refer to actions making the electricity system more resilient, responsive, and interactive. Specifically, in this report grid modernization includes legislative and regulatory actions addressing: (1) smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure, (2) utility business model reform, (3) regulatory reform, (4) utility rate reform, (5) energy storage, (6) microgrids, and (7) demand response.


    The purpose of this report is to provide state lawmakers and regulators, electric utilities, the advanced energy industry, and other energy stakeholders with timely, accurate, and unbiased updates about how states are choosing to study, adopt, implement, amend, or discontinue policies associated with grid modernization. This report catalogues proposed and enacted legislative, regulatory, and rate design changes affecting grid modernization during the most recent quarter. The 50 States of Grid Modernization report series provides regular quarterly updates and annual summaries of grid modernization policy developments, keeping stakeholders informed and up to date.


    The authors identified relevant policy changes and deployment proposals through state utility commission docket searches, legislative bill searches, popular press, and direct communications with industry stakeholders and regulators…

    Actions Included

    This report focuses on cataloguing and describing important proposed and adopted policy changes related to grid modernization and distributed energy resources, excluding policies specifically intended to support only solar technologies. While some areas of overlap exist, actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design are tracked separately in the 50 States of Solar report series, and are generally not included in this report.

    In general, this report considers an “action” to be a relevant (1) legislative bill that has been introduced or (2) a regulatory docket, utility rate case, or rulemaking proceeding. Only statewide actions and those related to investor-owned utilities are included in this report. Specifically, actions tracked in this issue include:

    Studies and Investigations

    Legislative or regulatory-led efforts to study energy storage, grid modernization, utility business model reform, or alternative rate designs, e.g., through a regulatory docket or a cost-benefit analysis.

    Planning and Market Access

    Changes to utility planning processes, including integrated resource planning, distribution system planning, and evaluation of non-wires alternatives, as well as changes to state and wholesale market regulations enabling market access.

    Utility Business Model and Rate Reform

    Proposed or adopted changes to utility regulation and rate design, including performancebased ratemaking, decoupling, time-varying rates, and residential demand charges.

    Time-varying rate and residential demand charge proposals are only documented if they are being implemented statewide, the default option for all residential customers of an investorowned utility, or a notable pilot program. Actions related to inclining or declining block rates are not included in this report.

    Grid Modernization Policies

    New state policy proposals or changes to existing policies related to grid modernization, including energy storage targets, energy storage compensation rules, interconnection standards, and customer data access policies.

    Financial Incentives for Energy Storage and Advanced Grid Technologies

    New statewide incentives or changes to existing incentives for energy storage, microgrids, and other advanced grid technologies.

    Deployment of Advanced Grid Technologies

    Utility-initiated requests, as well as proposed legislation, to implement demand response programs or to deploy advanced metering infrastructure, smart grid technologies, microgrids, or energy storage…


    In the first quarter of 2018, 37 states plus DC took a total of 259 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 258 actions catalogued, the most common were related to policies (73), studies and investigations (44), and deployment (42).


    Five of the quarter’s top policy developments are highlighted below.

    Arizona Regulator Proposes Energy Storage Target and Clean Peak Standard

    In January 2018, Commissioner Tobin filed a proposed Energy Modernization Plan, including an energy storage target of 3,000 MW by 2030, as well as a clean peak target. The proposal is currently under consideration as part of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s proceeding examining the modernization of the state’s Renewable Energy Standard.

    Hawaii Initiates Transition to Performance-Based Ratemaking

    During Q1 2018, the Hawaii State House moved forward legislation initiating a transition to performance-based ratemaking in order to align utility regulatory policies with customers’ interests and the state’s public policy goals. The bill later passed the Senate and was signed into law in April 2018. The Public Utilities Commission is to establish performance incentives and penalty mechanisms for the state’s investor-owned utilities by January 1, 2020.

    Texas Regulators Deny AEP Proposed Battery Storage Project and Open New Proceeding

    In January 2018, Texas regulators denied AEP Texas North Company’s proposal to deploy two battery storage systems as non-wires alternatives. At issue is whether energy storage is categorized as generation or not because the state’s deregulated utilities may not own generation assets. The Commission subsequently opened a rulemaking docket to establish a framework for energy storage.

    Virginia Legislature Enacts Grid Modernization Legislation

    The Virginia legislature enacted omnibus energy legislation in Q1 2018, which includes major provisions related to grid modernization. The bill defines electric distribution grid transformation project and declares that these are in the public interest. These projects include advanced metering infrastructure, distribution system modernization, energy storage, microgrids, cybersecurity measures, system hardening not including undergrounding, and several other types of measures

    Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Concludes its PowerForward Proceeding

    Ohio’s PowerFoward grid modernization proceeding concluded in March 2018 with its third and final segment, examining ratemaking and regulation. The exploratory proceeding, which was first announced in March 2017, was focused on learning from industry experts and engaging stakeholders. No official policy recommendations came out of the proceeding, but it will inform future grid modernization activities in the state.


    The most common types of actions across the country related to advanced metering infrastructure rules (22), followed by energy storage deployment (21), grid modernization investigations (17), and utility business model reforms (17). While deployment actions were the most common type of action taken through all of 2017, the most common types of actions taken in Q1 2018 related to policies and studies and investigations.

    The states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization in Q1 2018 can be seen in Figure 4. New York, California, and Massachusetts continued to see the most action during the quarter, followed by Hawaii, New Jersey, and Minnesota. The total number of grid modernization actions being taken by states is quickly increasing, with 75% more actions being taken in Q1 2018 over Q1 2017.


    Grid Resilience Planning Emerges as a New Area of Focus Among States

    Grid resilience is becoming a growing priority among states, particularly after last year’s devastating hurricane season. Three states – California, Florida, and Hawaii – considered legislation in Q1 2018 requiring states or utilities to undertake grid resilience planning. Florida and Hawaii also considered legislation creating incentive programs to boost grid resilience.

    States Working to Define the Scope of Grid Modernization

    As more states, utilities, and energy industry stakeholders address the topic of grid modernization, it has become evident that a common definition of grid modernization does not exist within the industry. Several states are working to define grid modernization as part of their investigatory proceedings. The California Public Utilities Commission issued a decision in March 2018 establishing a definition for grid modernization and a classification framework to standardize the terms used for different grid modernization investments.

    Growing Number of States Addressing Access to System and Customer Data

    Access to data – both distribution system data and customer usage data – has emerged as a key aspect of grid modernization. A growing number of states are undertaking distribution system planning efforts and hosting capacity analyses to increase the availability of system data, while many states are also considering customer data access rules, including rules for third party access to customer data.

    States Express Support For and Concerns About Advanced Metering Infrastructure

    In Q1 2018, the most common type of action related to advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) rules, such as opt-out provisions and fees. Proposed rules have taken very different approaches, ranging from requiring utilities to deploy AMI to imposing a moratorium on AMI deployment. Legislators in multiple states have proposed studies examining the public health impacts of AMI, while regulators continue to consider deployment proposals from utilities, with the majority of these proposals being approved.

    Most U.S. States Taking Action on Energy Storage

    Of the 37 states taking grid modernization actions during Q1 2018, 32 states took actions related to energy storage. A wide range of actions were taken, including conducting studies, proposing incentive programs, and revising planning processes. The majority of grid modernization legislation considered in Q1 2018 related to energy storage, with energy storage incentives, procurement targets, and studies being key topics of interest to state legislators.

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    Monday, May 21, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: A Defense Of Rooftop Solar

    Affordable, Clean, Reliable Energy; A better system created by the people, for the people.

    Lynn Jurich, April 2018 (Sunrun)

    (Editor’s note: This is a passionate defense of rooftop solar that deserves to be heard but it contains factual inaccuracies)

    Executive Summary

    This paper details the trends that are converging to develop a better energy system. A system that will radically remake our dated, economically inefficient existing energy infrastructure into a more affordable, clean, and reliable system that puts people at the center of energy production and consumption.

    We shed light on the political and regulatory decisions we are making today that will determine our future, and how quickly and cost-effectively we can move to a superior, cleaner energy system. A pressing question is whether incumbent powers will allow this transition to happen swiftly and without wasting significant capital on rebuilding yesterday’s centralized utility infrastructure.

    After 10 years of living and breathing the home solar and battery market, witnessing rapid technology developments, engaging policymakers, watching special interest groups get nervous, understanding the energy customer, and analyzing future trends, this paper summarizes what we’ve learned.

    Most Americans are surprised to learn that the cost of moving electricity through transmission lines, transformers, and local power lines is greater than the cost of generating the electricity itself. Many power lines are old and frail and in need of massive upgrades. That means more power outages from extreme weather events and even higher bills to upgrade infrastructure. How can we reduce these costs and improve reliability while lowering our dependence on harmful fossil fuels? We can put the clean power where it’s used: solar power on roofs and batteries in garages. Households and businesses that adopt solar and batteries save money for themselves and their communities, reduce pollution, and increase system reliability and resilience for everyone. They also benefit from the power stored in their batteries, keeping their families and employees comfortable and safe during power outages.

    Let’s Stop The War On Solar

    Utility investors lose money when they cannot build new power plants because people adopt solar. This means powerful interests are motivated to make it unnecessarily difficult and punitive for households to produce their own clean power. In 2017 alone, in 250 different places across the country, proposals were put forth to increase rates for households that choose to adopt solar.10 A recent report found that “a national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel-backed think tanks has provided the funding, model legislation and political cover to discourage the growth of rooftop solar power.”11 Policies that support consumer choice and home solar are under attack across the United States.12

    These proposals attack a clean energy resource that is overwhelmingly popular with the American public.13 They are introduced from a place of fear and often with the following static logic: even though the penetration of home solar is low today, as people generate more of their own electricity from the solar panels on their roofs, utility revenues will decline, and, unless the utility can find a more efficient way to operate, the remaining utility customers will have to pay more for the powerlines to keep the system running. That would increase the incentive for the remaining customers to leave. This is known as the utility “death spiral”.

    This reasoning fails to consider the overwhelming benefits of local energy. Without considering benefits, the punitive measures against solar are more about the threat of competition and reduced revenues than they are about protecting consumers from high prices. Most of the research suggests that solar customers already save utilities and energy consumers more money than they cost them.14

    We will likely invest enough dollars to rebuild our entire energy system in the coming decades. investing in a system that puts energy consumers at the center, with the clean, local resources available today, can save us from investing in yesterday’s redundant technology. It will also build the foundation for a more efficient, resilient system.

    Most dangerously, the constant and premature changes to the consumer’s solar value proposition removes the market stability required for innovation and the novel solutions technology will inevitably bring.

    Utilities cannot be relied upon to drive this consumer centered clean energy future. Even if they wanted to, utility investors are risk-averse and unlikely to support a program that could cause a short-term loss in revenue and dividends. Case in point: In 2016, utilities spent $20 million on an anti-home solar ballot initiative in Florida - one of the nation’s sunniest states that has 22 of the top 25 cities most threatened by sea level rise.15

    Let The Market Work

    Let’s stop this war on affordable, clean, reliable energy and create a market for innovation. These resources should be viewed as an opportunity. We should welcome and encourage power created by the people, for the people and give the market time to develop. Americans want clean power and backup power during outages, and they want the freedom to control their monthly energy costs. Let’s incentivize it to happen quickly, allow competition to lower costs for the whole system, and accelerate the adoption of a better system.

    Fortunately, the building blocks are in place. There are many positive case studies to share and some states are already drawing the roadmap for the future. The faster we do it, the more local jobs we create, and the faster we can get to a clean energy system. We’ll avoid tearing up our land with polluting fossil fueled power plants and power lines that will become obsolete in the near future.

    We have incredible potential before us. Solar energy generated just 2% of U.S. electricity last year;25 home solar alone could meet 40% of total U.S. electricity demand.26 As we are witnessing in California and New York today, regulators are creating mechanisms to utilize homes and businesses with solar and batteries as alternatives to building new fossil fuel power plants, transmission, and distribution infrastructure.27 For example, California’s grid operator has a new plan that saves 2.6 billion dollars in future costs by directing utilities to tap into home solar and efficiency resources, rather than building transmission projects.28 When the sun is shining, homes and businesses can store extra power in their batteries and send it to the community when and where it is most needed. Households that adopt solar make the system more affordable for everyone – even for those that don’t go solar.

    The cost of this future is significantly lower than the alternative. This future will meet the values and expectations of Americans, and accelerate the retirement of harmful and polluting power plants to the great benefit of future generations…

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    QUICK NEWS, May 21: Stop Climate Change To Save “Tens Of Thousands” Species; Willing To Pay For New Energy; Lawmakers, Regulators Working To Grow EVs

    Stop Climate Change To Save “Tens Of Thousands” Species Limiting climate change to 1.5°C increase would save thousands of species: report

    Jessica Vomiero, May 20, 2018 (Global News)

    “Just half-a-degree Celsius difference in temperature could make the difference between saving the majority of the world’s species from climate change, or increasing the extinction risks for plants, animals and insects…[K]eeping global warming under a 1.5 C increase in temperatures would preserve tens of thousands of land-based species, plants, vertebrates and insects on Earth, even in comparison to a rise in temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius…[T]he upper temperature limit set during the Paris Agreement is 2 C…[but the] impacts on biodiversity multiply significantly with a 2 C increase in global warming levels compared to 1.5 C [according to a new study from the University of East Anglia]…An additional study published by NASA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reveals that not only is the Earth getting warmer every year, temperatures are increasing by greater amounts year after year…” click here for more

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    Poll On New Energy Americans want more clean energy. Here's what they're actually willing to do to get it

    Tom DiChristopher, 16 May 2018 (CNBC)

    “Americans have long supported the idea of clean power. The question has always been how much effort they're willing to expend to make a green energy future a reality…[A new Deloitte survey] suggests the gap between environmental concern and consumer action may be shrinking…[because of] falling prices for solar power, higher awareness of clean energy options, growing concern about climate change and the inclinations of millennials…68 percent of electric power buyers said they are very concerned about climate change and their carbon footprint. That's the highest percentage ever recorded in the study…74 percent of respondents believe climate change is caused by human actions, up 5 points from 2017. Just 37 percent said environmental concerns are overblown, down 8 points from last year…7 in 10 companies reported that customers were demanding that they draw at least some of their power from renewable sources...Building out more solar and wind farms was widely seen as the main answer to climate change…” click here for more

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    Lawmakers, Regulators Working To Grow EVs The 50 States of Electric Vehicles Report Released by NCCETC; 42 States and DC Took Action on Electric Vehicles During Q1 2018

    May 15, 2018 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center [NCCETC])

    “…[NCCETC’s Q1 2018 The 50 States of Electric Vehicles] finds that 42 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q1 2018 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to electric vehicle fees, fast charging deployment, and electric vehicle studies…[Four trends are apparent or emerging… (1) states considering multi-faceted electric vehicle plans, (2) contention around utility ownership of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, (3) examining the role of demand charges in vehicle charging rates, and (4) piloting the co-location of energy storage systems with electric vehicle charging infrastructure…A total of 275 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q1 2018 – more than were taken in the entirety of 2017 (227 actions)…” click here for more

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    Saturday, May 19, 2018

    About Mr. Pruitt

    “Absolutely no scruples or allegiance to the post…” From NationalSierraClub via YouTube

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    The Impacts Are Now

    Impacts from climate change-induced environmental devastations cost the U.S. over $1 billion in 2017. From Hot Mess via YouTube

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    The Winds In New Mexico

    Wind turbines, “like ballerinas on the landscape” of the plains, are bringing economic salvation to this rural region. It is a solution for the planet and the planet’s people. From American Wind Energy Association via YouTube

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    Friday, May 18, 2018

    More Migrants From Climate Change Than From War

    Will Climate Change Cause More Migrants Than Wars?

    Daniel Gutman, May 17, 2018 (Inter Press Service)

    “Climate change is one of the main drivers of migration and will be increasingly so. It will even have a more significant role in the displacement of people than armed conflicts, which today cause major refugee crises…[Ovais Sarmad, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) told a meeting of international representatives that the 1 million refugees and migrants in Europe because of the Syrian conflict and other conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa will seem] like a small number…[As many as] four hundred million people live in developing countries in low-lying areas, in cities which are very close to the sea…[and if sea level rises, they] will have to move…In many countries around the world, farmers are the most affected by droughts and they will move…‘They won’t have many places to go. We have only one planet and they can’t go to space…There’s no other issue at an international level, besides security and nuclear proliferation, more important than climate change,” he stated…” click here for more

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    India’s New Energy Jobs Boom

    Over 300,000 workers to be employed in solar, wind energy sectors in India: Report; The ILO said in its annual flagship report on the state of the global job market that action to combat climate change could create millions of new job opportunities and "more than" offset losses in traditional industries.

    May 15, 2018 (Money Control)

    "Over 300,000 workers will be employed in the solar and wind energy sectors in India to meet the country's target of generating 175 gigawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2022…[According to World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs from the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO), the fight against climate change will create an estimated 24 million new jobs globally by 2030, which will more than] offset losses in traditional industries…The report noted that India has made environmental sustainability a central objective of its development strategy in its twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012–17) and set up a comprehensive framework for skills development for green transition at the national level, targeting key sectors and institutions…[B]ased on the identification of skills needs in these sectors, 26 new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses have been developed…[T]he regional winners from investment in energy use and production will be Asia and the Pacific, with 14 million jobs created, the Americas (three million) and Europe (two million)…” click here for more

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    Japan’s Nissan Moves Into Solar-Plus-Storage In UK

    Nissan's Following Tesla Into Solar Power And Home Batteries

    Jack Stewart, May 16, 2018 (Wired)

    “…[T]he builder of the world’s best-selling electric car just started [UK sales of] Nissan Energy Solar, a generation-to-acceleration scheme that equips customers with roof-mounted panels and a battery to store some of the electricity they generate. If they drive a Leaf, or Nissan’s e-NV200 electric van, they can combine the whole process and drive from Scotland to Wales to wherever, guilt-free, fog lights on, windshield wipers whisking away…[S]olar works well in the UK. Panels can do their thing even with indirect sunlight, and the country’s northerly position makes for 16 hours of daytime during the summer. Nearly a million people there already use solar panels, according to Nissan. Adding batteries to the mix will help them stay powered up…Nissan says its all-in-one system will start at $5,200 for six solar panels, or $10,300 for panels and a 4-kWh battery, including installation. Customers can choose between a brand new battery, or a ‘second-life’ pack made from cells that have been retired from electric vehicles but remain good enough for the more gentle demands of daily storage. Tesla’s powerwall, which can store 13.5 kWh, costs $5,900, but installation is extra…” click here for more

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    Big Economic Boosts From EU Wind

    According to WindEurope, on a macro level, wind energy contributes €36 billion to the GDP of the European Union, supports 263,000 jobs and generates €8 billion of exports.

    May 18, 2018 (New Europe)

    “…[W]ind energy contributes €36 billion to the GDP of the European Union, supports 263,000 jobs and generates €8 billion in export revenue….[A new Local Impact, Global Leadership toolkit from WindEurope] shows how the wind supply chain is benefitting regions all across Europe, including in those that are economically disadvantaged…[The study also] shows how citizens benefit from shared ownership of wind farms and how wind farms are contributing to local economic activity through the taxes they pay to local governments – covering up to 20% of municipal revenues…The wind industry has brought jobs and investment to many regions that have depended on traditional industries, WindEurope said, adding that shipbuilding areas in northern Spain and on Poland’s Baltic coast now produce towers, foundations, cranes and the jack-up vessels that install offshore turbines…” click here for more

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    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Alaska On The Climate Change Front Lines

    ‘Impossible to Ignore’: Why Alaska Is Crafting a Plan to Fight Climate Change

    Brad Plumer, May 15, 2018 (NY Times)

    “…Alaska, a major oil and gas producer, is crafting its own plan to address climate change. Ideas under discussion include cuts in state emissions by 2025 and a tax on companies that emit carbon dioxide…While many conservative-leaning states have resisted aggressive climate policies, Alaska is already seeing the dramatic effects of global warming firsthand, making the issue difficult for local politicians to avoid. The solid permafrost that sits beneath many roads, buildings and pipelines is starting to thaw, destabilizing the infrastructure above. At least 31 coastal towns and cities may need to relocate, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, as protective sea ice vanishes and fierce waves erode Alaska’s shores…In addressing climate change, Alaska will have to grapple with its own deep contradictions.

    Roughly 85 percent of the state’s budget is funded by revenues from the production of oil, which is primarily exported to the rest of the United States, and local politicians have largely been unwilling to curtail the supply of fossil fuels. Both Governor Walker and Lieutenant Governor Mallott supported the recent decision by Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, a move opposed by environmentalists…[But] the state’s climate task force released a draft in April that included a proposal for Alaska to get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal by 2025, up from 33 percent in 2016. The draft also proposed cutting statewide greenhouse gas emissions one-third below 2005 levels by 2025, tackling sectors like transportation and ‘natural resource development,’ which includes oil drilling operations…” click here for more

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    The More Renewables, The More The Price Drops

    Impacts of High Variable Renewable Energy Futures on Wholesale Electricity Prices, and on Electric-Sector Decision Making

    May 2018 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    “Increasing penetrations of variable renewable energy (VRE) can affect wholesale electricity price patterns and make them meaningfully different from past, traditional price patterns…[V]arious decisions may change with higher shares of VRE…[R]esults from detailed electricity market simulations with capacity expansion and unit commitment models for multiple regions of the U.S. for low and high VRE futures…[show] a general decrease in average annual hourly wholesale energy prices with more VRE penetration, increased price volatility and frequency of very low-priced hours, and changing diurnal price patterns. Ancillary service prices rise substantially and peak net-load hours with high capacity value are shifted increasingly into the evening, particularly for high solar futures…[T]he core set of [qualitative] electricity market prices derived here provides a foundation for later planned quantitative evaluations of these decisions in low and high VRE futures.” click here for more

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    Building A Better Battery From Solar And Water

    New Water-Based Battery Could Help Store Solar and Wind Energy; A new type of battery is cheaper and longer lasting, creating new possibilities for use with renewable energy generation.

    Avery Thompson, May 7, 2018 (Popular Mechanics)

    “…Variable renewable energies like wind and solar require] some sort of backup…[Use of fossil fuels] significantly undercuts the benefits of green energy…[Battery storage could serve but most] utility-scale battery systems are expensive to build, and there’s a limit to how long they last…[A new manganese-hydrogen battery developed by researchers at Stanford solves these problems with a cheap, long-lasting battery perfect for utility-scale energy storage…When electricity is pumped through the solution, it triggers a chemical reaction, creating manganese dioxide and pure hydrogen gas. That hydrogen gas can then be stored and later burned as fuel whenever excess electricity is needed. The battery itself can be recharged with more electricity and the process repeats…The researchers have only tested a small prototype in the lab, and there’s no guarantee that the design will perform as well out in the field…” click here for more

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    Nuclear Power Going Broke

    One-Fourth of U.S. Nuclear Plants Are at Risk of Early Retirement

    Tim Loh, May 15, 2018 (Bloomberg News)

    “More than a quarter of U.S. nuclear power plants don’t make enough money to cover their operating costs, raising the threat of more early retirements…Of the 66 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S., 24 [representing 32.5 GW of capacity] are either scheduled to close or probably won’t make money through 2021, according Nicholas Steckler, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance…It would cost about $1.3 billion a year to plug the revenue gaps for these struggling sites…[A similar analysis in March] showed that half of U.S. coal-fired power plant capacity is on shaky ground…The average U.S. nuclear plant still is expected to make money before taxes, especially on the East Coast…[And policymakers in New York, Illinois and New Jersey have provided incentives for] struggling plants thanks to their emissions-free generation and concerns about job losses…[But] the industry is increasingly challenged by sluggish power demand, cheap natural gas and the rise of renewable energy -- especially in the Midwest where wind power is ascendant.” click here for more

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    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Uptown Funk – Where will NYC get its peak demand capacity?

    Uptown Funk: Where will NYC get its peak demand capacity? Con Ed says aging natural gas plants are fine; storage advocates say a crisis is imminent.

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 26, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The debate about how urgent NYC’s need to act continues, but there is no doubt that the opportunity to meet the need with innovative New Energy-based strategies is there.

    While about 30% of New York City’s peak demand is met by natural gas turbines older than most such plants in service, Consolidated Edison (ConEd), the city's distribution utility, argues “aging is not the same as having to be replaced." And a study by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) concluded power plants now in service “will meet reliability criteria over the 2017-2026 period.” ConEd told Utility Dive peaker units “are easy to maintain” and are used “for only a couple of hours and then shut down.” But ConEd does not own them and has little visibility into how viable the plants are, the utility acknowledged. The NYC Mayor’s Office, cited the NYISO analyses in denying any near-term peak demand reliability concerns…

    The current sufficiency of NYC's peak demand resources was questioned in "New York City’s Aging Power Plants: Risks, Replacement Options, and the Role of Energy Storage" in the September 2017 Strategen Consulting report. A shortfall of 642 MW could develop from the aging peak capacity infrastructure in the metro NYC region, it found from examining NYISO data on natural gas plants. It found that 2,860 MW of NYC’s approximately 11,600 MW of forecasted peak load is provided by turbines older than xthe age at which 95% of such plants retire. In addition, NYC’s peak demand needs are evolving, Strategen found. The NYISO’s evaluation did not assume the retirement of Indian Point, changes in the availability of natural gas supply, changes in regional electricity imports, anticipated new rules restricting ozone, and potential natural gas plant retirements and diminished performance. The advanced age of many turbines providing peak load in NYC is an opportunity to write new rules and policies that allow the city to meet its growing peak demand in ways that support its renewables and climate goals… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Technology, markets and contracts — The keys to profiting from California's duck curve

    Technology, markets and contracts — oh my! The keys to profiting from California's duck curve; California policymakers look to address renewables over-generation through smart investments in supply- and demand-side resources.

    Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 30, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: California’s tense debates over the costs of the recent wildfires and the exploding customer choice movement are impeding the transition reported here.

    California’s grid operator and other energy sector stakeholders want to use the wholesale power market to transform the state’s renewables over-generation from a problem to a solution by aligning technology, markets and contracts and through better long-term planning. Recent average wholesale electricity market price fluctuations reveal a growing burden for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). In 2016, the price during midday hours was about $18/MWh and spiked to $35/MWh during peak demand, according to Energy Department January to June data. This year, the midday price fell below $15/MWh and spiked to nearly $60/MWh at the peak.

    The price differentiation follows CAISO’s load through the fluctuations of the now well-known duck curve. Prices are lowest when midday demand falls off but rise sharply as demand spikes later in the day. California’s 6,000 MW of rooftop solar exacerbate the load and price drop-offs that lead to the real concern — the need to meet the long, high ramp-up to peak demand. California policymakers and others during an Oct. 18 session, Unlocking California's renewables "dividend," at CAISO’s 2017 Stakeholder Symposium, argued smart investments in supply and demand can turn these dynamics from costs to dividends. CAISO can develop resources to use the midday over-generation, flatten the ramp and lower the peak. Doing so, they said, can bring California lower electricity prices, a stronger economy, healthier air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions… click here for more

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