NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

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

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: 4 Drivers Of Solar Growth Everybody Needs To Know
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Maryland RPS And The National Divide On Clean Energy
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why California Wants Western Electricity Delivery Organized
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Who In Clean Tech Is Boosting New Energy
  • QUICK NEWS, January 17: New Energy’s Fight Against Climate Change Won’t Be Done; New Energy Jobs Leapt Again Last Year; Nebraska Gets Wind Power Economy Bump
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: A Call To Climate Action From Al Gore
  • Weekend Video: A Closer Look At Wind And Solar
  • Weekend Video: Why Solar Beats Coal
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Does Climate Change Make Nuclear A Good Idea?
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Who In The World Is Winning With Solar?
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Wind Powers Scotland Four Straight Days
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Will China Bust Open The Global EV Market?
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

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

  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy Mandates, Part 1 - Cleaner Air and Water
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy Mandates, Part 2 - More Jobs
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy Mandates, Part 3 - Better Health, Less Climate Change
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy Mandates, Part 4 - The Great Deal
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Rates That Will Grow Energy Efficiency
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Big Utilities Like Solar’s Future
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Grow The U.S. Electron Superhighway
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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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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  • THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, January 19:

  • The Heat Stayed On In 2016
  • Three Ways Solar Will Grow
  • North Carolina Ocean Wind Bidding To Open
  • Plugs Could Change The Future of Cars Completely

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

    The Heat Stayed On In 2016

    U.S. scientists officially declare 2016 the hottest year on record. That makes three in a row.

    Chris Mooney, January 18, 2017 (Washignton Post)

    “…[T]wo leading U.S. science agencies Wednesday jointly declared 2016 the hottest year on record, surpassing the previous record set just last year — which, itself, had topped a record set in 2014…Average surface temperatures in 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, were 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 2015, and featured eight successive months (January through August) that were individually the warmest since the agency’s record began in 1880…The average temperature across the world’s land and ocean surfaces was 58.69 Fahrenheit, or 1.69 degrees above the 20th century average of 57 degrees…[T]he record for the global temperature has now successively been broken five times since the year 2000. The years 2005 and 2010 were also record warm years…NASA concurred with NOAA…[President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency] has written that the “debate” over climate change is “far from settled”…[In hearings, State Department nominee Rex Tillerson and Interior Department nominee Ryan Zinke acknowledged] at least some human contribution to the phenomenon…[Scientists largely agree climate] change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is serious….” click here for more

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    Three Ways Solar Will Grow

    3 Predictions For Solar Energy in 2017

    Sarah Kezer, January 18, 2017 (Mother Earth News)

    “Renewable energy sources are expected to make up 80 percent of the new electricity-generation capacity in the U.S. during 2017…The solar industry is coming off a record-breaking year, with an estimated 13.9 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity in 2016…[In 2017, the cost of solar panels, which dropped about 30% in 2016, is likely to continue declining]…This will make solar energy a much more compelling and viable investment…[The look and functionality of solar panels will] continue to develop…This expansion of solar panel styles will be an additional benefit for homeowners…[and] increase their property value…[Finally, battery] energy storage will become more affordable in 2017…which will help foster solar power adoption this year…” click here for more

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    North Carolina Ocean Wind Bidding To Open

    Feds move ahead with plans for huge 'wind farm' off Kitty Hawk

    January 19, 2017 (WRAL Tech Wire)

    “The federal government plans to lease nearly 200 square miles of ocean off the Outer Banks for a commercial wind farm…[Bidding will open in March for the nine companies] qualified to bid on the wind energy project…The 122,405 acres to be sold are 27.6 to 29.5 miles off the coast of Kitty Hawk, and federal officials say the wedge-shaped area is away from shipping routes, military training zones and sensitive environmental ecosystems…[Though it will likely be five to ten years until turbines are installed, residents are already concerned about the impacts. Development proponents say predictions of harms are overstated while the project will produce local jobs and other economic benefits as well as] electricity…The government plans to start the bidding for the North Carolina site at about $245,000, but the lease is expected to fetch millions of dollars.” click here for more

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    Plugs Could Change The Future of Cars Completely

    How Electric Vehicles Could End Car Ownership as We Know It; ‘Rideables’ are likely to speed up adoption of self-driving technology, turn transportation into a service

    Christopher Mims, January 15, 2017 (Wall Street Journal)

    “…[W]ith the convergence of better battery technology, lighter materials and smaller, more powerful electric motors, entirely new kinds of transportation have bloomed. The electric powertrain, unlike that of the internal combustion engine, scales smoothly from tiny to huge…[and] enables two other revolutions: self-driving technology, and the shift from vehicle ownership to transportation as a service…[T]hese forces have the potential to transform our way of life as much as Ford Motor Co.’s Model T did over a century ago. As the convenience and safety of electric, autonomous ride-hailing services appeals increasingly to the masses, the nature of network optimization means it will probably make sense for the Ubers and Lyfts of the world to cater to our needs with everything from a one-seater to a party barge…Enormous] problems of both infrastructure and battery technology have yet to be solved…[But makers of electric vehicles] are already overcoming big obstacles…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Nation Powered By Distributed Energy Resources (DER)

    A grid of DERs: DOE program aims for 100% solar penetration on the distribution system; The new SunShot program will dole out $25M to solutions aimed at integrating truly unprecedented amounts of distributed generation

    Herman K. Trabish, May 24, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The momentum behind DER continues to build.

    The U.S. had 24 GW of solar and 75 GW of wind at the end of 2015. Both are growing faster than ever. The EIA’s just-released Annual Energy Outlook 2016, which typically underestimates renewables, forecasts 246 GW of new solar and 149 GW of new wind by 2040. Cost cuts driven by the Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative drive to lower the cost of solar electricity to $0.06/kWh without incentives by 2020 has supported growth. Its target would make solar cost-competitive with conventional generation and grow it from today’s 1% of the power mix to about 14% by 2030 and 27% by 2050. A growing portion is expected to come from distributed energy resources (DERs) but they can cause big problems for utilities and grid operators alike so the DOE just opened a competitive funding opportunity for projects that enable utilities to handle 100% penetration of rooftop solar at peak hours.

    Through the Enabling Extreme Real-Time Grid Integration of Solar Energy (ENERGISE) program, ten to fifteen awards totaling $25 million will go to field-demonstrated solutions that make it possible to manage distributed solar penetrations of 50% of distribution peak load or higher. Those will receive awards between $500,000 and $4 million. A second round of awards from $500,000 to $2 million will go to large-scale simulated solutions that demonstrate how to manage 100% peak solar penetration on the distribution grid by 2030. DOE is asking for software and hardware solutions to enable dynamic, automated, and cost-effective management of the distribution system and are highly scalable, data-driven, and capable of real-time system operation and planning. They must also incorporate sensor, communications, and data analytics technologies that will allow grid operator to see, forecast, and optimize DERs performance… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Maryland RPS And The National Divide On Clean Energy

    It's the economy: Maryland RPS debate illustrates national divide on clean energy policy; States with RPS laws are doubling down, while those without take little interest. Maryland could help explain why.

    Herman K. Trabish, May 10, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The change in politics at the federal level since this piece ran is expected to make state efforts all the more important.

    A curious trend is emerging when it comes to renewable energy mandates: Many states that have them are doubling down, while those that don’t are showing little interest at all. Since 2009, only Vermont has enacted a new renewable portfolio standard (RPS), yet five states with an RPS on the books strengthened them in the last two years alone. The debate behind Maryland’s recent decision to strengthen its renewable energy standards shows there’s more to the recent trend than ideology alone. The Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016 (SB 921) passed by large majorities in both houses increased the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 20% by 2022 to 25% by 2020 but it took three years to push through because a lot of legislators wanted to know what good it would do their constituents.

    A strong backing coalition began with environmental groups and brought in business and labor organizations in the second year. In the past year, they reached out to health care groups and faith groups. Each of those then engaged their constituencies, creating a grassroots momentum the lawmakers could not ignore. Choptank Electric Cooperative, the biggest cooperative on Maryland’s rural, largely conservative Eastern Shore, was the main utility supporting the bill but other electricity providers didn’t oppose it. More votes turned in favor of the bill when current analyses showing the plan will result in estimated economic benefits of between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion in increased economic output by 2020 and help create and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs were highlighted… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why California Wants Western Electricity Delivery Organized

    Better together: How an organized market can help clean up the western US grid; Today 38 separate balancing authorities deliver power out West. A new paper says a single market would be more efficient.

    Herman K. Trabish, May 11, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This California grid operator effort continues at a steady pace despite political changes at the federal level.

    When brownouts and price spikes caused the California energy crisis in 2000, the momentum for power sector deregulation and organized markets stalled, leaving the nation with a complicated mix of market and regulatory structures. Utilities in the Southeast and West, except for the California Independent System Operator (CA ISO), continue to operate in the vertically-integrated model, absent the organized market structure that now serves more than two-thirds of Americans. But a formal proceeding at the CA ISO is now underway that would integrate the 38 separate Western balancing authority areas (BAAs) into a market potentially richer in resources than the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) or the PJM Interconnection.

    Organized markets in other regions have proved that grids with larger geographic footprints and bigger resource bases are cleaner, cheaper, faster, and safer to operate than those run by vertically-integrated utilities, according to Regional Transmission Organizations: Recommendations for the West from the Natural Resources Defense Council. It argues that a single organized Western market could integrate significantly higher amounts of renewable energy generation. Real time, economic dispatch would allow the system operator to choose the lowest-cost resources to meet demand. Renewables, because they have no fuel cost, are often the lowest cost and first dispatched generation resources though the historically low price of natural gas means it undercuts wind and solar in some regions. The more renewables there are, the less fossil generation is used to meet load and the less competitive conventional plants become… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Who In Clean Tech Is Boosting New Energy

    Clicking Clean: Who Is Winning The Race To Build A Green Internet?

    January 2017 (Greenpeace)

    Executive Summary

    The internet will likely be the largest single thing we build as a species. Tasked with creating and then catering to the world’s insatiable appetite for messages, photos, and streaming video, along with critical systems supporting our financial, transportation, and communication infrastructures, the internet serves as the central nervous system of the modern global economy.

    Not surprisingly, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to manufacture and power our devices, data centers, and related infrastructural needs. The energy footprint of the IT sector is already estimated to consume approximately 7% of global electricity.1 With an anticipated threefold increase in global internet traffic by 2020, 2 the internet’s energy footprint is expected to rise further, fueled both by our individual consumption of data and by the spread of the digital age to more of the world’s population, from 3 billion to over 4 billion globally. 3

    How we build and power our quickly growing global digital infrastructure is rapidly becoming central to the question of whether we will be able to transition to renewable energy in time to avoid dangerous climate change. If data centers and other digital infrastructure are 100% renewably powered, our increasing reliance on the internet can actually accelerate our transition to a renewably powered economy. But, if our growing digital infrastructure is built in the opposite direction, locking us into a dramatic increase in the demand for electricity from coal and other dirty sources of energy that are changing our planet’s climate, it will be far more costly and take an unnecessarily longer time to reach a renewably powered economy.

    In light of the sector’s pivotal role, Greenpeace began benchmarking the energy performance of the IT sector in 2009, challenging those companies who are the largest global architects and operators of the internet to commit to powering their rapid growth with 100% renewable energy. Ultimately, the largest players will be deciding whether our entire digital footprint is powered with renewable energy or antiquated fossil fuels.

    Thankfully we actually are seeing a significant increase in the prioritization of renewables among some of the largest internet companies. The race to build a renewably powered internet started with digital platform leaders such as Facebook, Apple, and Google who first made 100% renewable commitments four years ago and have now been joined by nearly 20 internet companies,4 including global cloud and colocation companies who had previously been lagging far behind. Companies entering the race to build a renewably powered internet are motivated by:

    -Customers who have carbon or renewable energy goals demanding that their digital infrastructure is powered by clean sources of electricity;

    -The rising cost competitiveness of renewable energy, with long-term contracts increasingly at cost parity or even beating fossil fuels in many markets, while also providing long-term price security.

    -Competitiveness among IT companies and the linkage of brand identity with a renewable supply of energy, given the growing concern on climate change among employees and customers.

    IT companies who have made 100% renewable commitments are already seeing results in the deployment of a significant amount of renewable energy to power data centers and are modeling leadership for companies outside the IT sector to pursue their own 100% renewable energy goals. Direct purchase of renewable energy by corporations in the U.S. has increased dramatically since 2010, exceeding 3.2GW in 2015 alone, with over two-thirds of this volume attributed to renewable electricity deals by major internet companies. 5

    But while the number of companies committed to a 100% renewable future continues to grow, many of the 100% RE commitments are being pursued on a path that is much more status quo than transformational. These companies are erroneously seeking to receive similar recognition as did the more impactful leadership of Apple, Google, Facebook, and others in the marketplace for being green. Shortcuts threaten to undermine the high impact efforts set by leaders within the sector, reducing pressure on utilities to shift their investment to bring new renewable energy onto the grid and creating a longer path toward a brighter and more sustainable future.

    With this year’s update, we have expanded our analysis to look at the performance of East Asian internet giants such as Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, and Naver, who are now positioning to expand to the global level. But the lack of access to a renewable energy from monopoly utilities is a major obstacle toward creating a renewably powered internet in this region. Without key policy changes, the rapid growth of the internet in East Asia will likely be powered by coal and other dirty sources of electricity.

    A fully renewably powered internet will not happen overnight, but for sector companies to adopt a 100% renewable commitment is an important first step. This commitment must be matched with deeds that also show true leadership, taking successive steps in the same direction. While important progress has been made in driving renewable energy investment in several markets, the dramatic increase in the number of data centers in markets such as Virginia, dominated by utilities that have little to no renewable energy, is driving a similarly dramatic increase in the consumption of coal and natural gas.

    In these markets, a much greater focus on advocacy is needed to overcome the entrenched political power of the utilities and create a pathway for the rapid adoption of renewables. This is particularly true in the United States following the election of Donald Trump, who has promised to roll back climate policies and revive the use of coal. Sustained and vocal advocacy by corporations, who recognize the ecological and economic imperative for an aggressive transition to renewable sources of electricity, has never been more important in the United States.

    Given the critical importance of corporate advocacy for climate and renewable energy policies, we have adjusted our evaluation criteria to give increased attention to the advocacy efforts of companies. We have witnessed leaders such as Google, Apple, Facebook, eBay, and now Switch using their influence to push vendors, utilities, and governments to create access to renewable energy where previously there was none.

    A similar but far more limited effort has started among Korean internet companies Samsung SDS and Kakao, who have also begun to push for access to renewable energy. Building the bridge to a sustainable supply of renewable electricity must become a core priority for the rest of the sector. Renewable energy advocacy must be as important as or even more important than current company advocacy efforts around privacy, government surveillance, or reduction of tax burdens.

    Key Findings

    -Apple retains its leadership spot for the third year in a row among platform operators. Both Apple and Google continue to lead the sector in matching their growth with an equivalent or larger supply of renewable energy, and both companies continue to use their influence to push governments as well as their utility and IT sector vendors to increase access to renewable energy for their operations.

    -Switch, new to the Clicking Clean report this year, scored among the highest for any class of company and is the definitive leader among colocation operators for its efforts to transition its data center fleet to renewables as fast as possible through a combination of renewable energy procurement and aggressive advocacy.

    -Major internet companies’ leadership has been a catalyst in driving a broader set of corporations to adopt 100% renewable goals, contributing to a dramatic increase in renewable deals in the U.S. signed directly by corporations, totally 3.4GW of renewable deals signed in 2015, with over two-thirds of this power from renewable deals by IT companies.

    -Cloud computing market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) took some important steps in the past year, including promising leadership in supporting clean energy policy. But given AWS’s continued lack of transparency and its rapid growth in Virginia and other markets largely served by dirty energy, it remains unclear whether the AWS cloud is actually on a path to becoming renewably powered.

    -Video streaming is a tremendous driver of data demand, with 63% of global internet traffic in 2015, and is projected to reach 80% by 2020.7 Netflix alone already accounts for over one-third of internet traffic in North America8 and is in the midst of a worldwide expansion.

    -The transition to the cloud could in fact increase the demand for coal and other fossil fuels despite significant gains in energy efficiency and adoption of a commitment to 100% renewable energy because of the dramatic growth in new data center construction by cloud and colocation companies such as AWS and Digital Realty in Virginia and other hot spots that have some of the lowest percentages of renewable electricity in the U.S.

    -Faced with a lack of access to renewables in monopoly markets, there are increasing signs that some companies are resorting to status quo shortcuts to reach their claims of being renewably powered, increasing the demand for dirty energy and undermining the continued leadership and momentum of market leaders who are legitimately driving additional renewable investment. (see Shortcuts, page 39)

    -The continued lack of transparency by many companies regarding their energy demand and the supply of electricity powering their data centers remains a significant threat to the sector’s long-term sustainability. The least transparent companies such as AWS, Tencent, LG CNS, and Baidu are also among the most dominant in their respective markets, making their lack of movement toward more transparency even more egregious.

    -Advocacy for renewable energy is still sorely needed in South Korea, where utility monopolies dominate the energy market, and almost all power comes from fossil fuels. However, progress is being made in Gangwon Province, where the provincial government recently decided to build the first 100% renewably powered data center complex in Chuncheon City, thanks to the growing demand for and public support of renewable energy from the major IT companies in Korea…

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    QUICK NEWS, January 17: New Energy’s Fight Against Climate Change Won’t Be Done; New Energy Jobs Leapt Again Last Year; Nebraska Gets Wind Power Economy Bump

    New Energy’s Fight Against Climate Change Won’t Be Done Not even Trump can easily reverse our progress on climate change

    David Ignatius, January 16, 2017 (Washington Post)

    “…[The progress made in the fight against climate change by the Obama administration is probably irreversible, according to] eparting Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz…[R]egardless of the policies adopted by Donald Trump, who has expressed skepticism about climate science and government efforts to cut emissions…Clean-energy technologies have become much cheaper and more efficient…and the global market for them will lure U.S. companies. Utility and manufacturing industry executives, who have to plan investments on 30-year time horizons, aren’t likely to make long-term bets on high-carbon projects…[Moniz is] a nuclear physicist for MIT who has been involved in government energy projects for two decades. His designated successor, former Texas governor Rick Perry, has no comparable educational or business background that would equip him for the job…[The Energy Department just] released several studies that underline his argument that climate-change progress is being driven by the market rather than government…” click here for more

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    New Energy Jobs Leapt Again Last Year U.S. Solar Employment Jumped 25% In 2016, Says DOE Study

    Joseph Bebon, January 13, 2017 (Solar Industry)

    "...[The wind industry added 25,000 jobs in 2016 and the solar industry added 73,000, according to a new report from] the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)…6.4 million Americans now work in the [fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, which last year] added over 300,000 net new jobs in 2016 – representing 14% of the nation’s job growth…[Energy efficiency jobs, which increased by 133,000 to a total of 2.2 million, cover] the “production of energy-saving products and the provision of services that reduce end-use energy consumption”…[The wind industry] employs a total of 101,738 workers, which represents a 32% increase since 2015…[The solar industry includes] 373,807 Americans who ‘spend some portion of their time working to install, distribute or provide professional services to solar technologies.’ Like wind, construction/installation represents the biggest employment share…” click here for more

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    Nebraska Gets Wind Power Economy Bump Wind Farms Give Economic Boost To Northeast Nebraska

    Ariana Brocius, January 17, 2017 (Nebraska Public Radio)

    “…Nebraska’s wind development often happens around farm-towns…And it can be good for a small town economy. Each project employs hundreds of construction workers who spend money on food and gas. Wind company Invenergy’s three Prairie Breeze wind farms have created 18 permanent jobs in nearby Elgin. That number will nearly double once their newest Antelope County wind farm comes online…Wind companies pay millions in local taxes. The school district in Elgin has received more than $430,000 in the last two years, letting them ask less from other taxpayers. Wind companies also pay millions in leases to landowners who allow [properly sited] turbines to be built on their property…Those local taxes and landowner payments should continue as long as the wind turbines keep operating…[Publicized concerns about wind development ease] as the economic benefits become more noticeable over the long term…” click here for more

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    Monday, January 16, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: The State OF The U.S. Energy Transition, Part 2

    Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System: The Second Installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review

    January 2017 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    Summary for Policymakers: The Electricity Sector: Maximizing Economic Value and Consumer Equity

    This chapter discusses the role of the electricity sector in creating economic value. The electricity sector has been an economic engine for the United States for over a century, providing reliable and competitively priced electricity that is critical for the United States’ productivity. The vast majority of American consumers—encompassing households, businesses, and institutions—enjoy reliable and affordable electricity that enables a modern economy and a high standard of living. Consumers can now both produce and consume power and increase efficiency through advanced distribution infrastructure, and increasingly can provide energy, capacity, and ancillary services. This changing relationship between consumers and the grid is further driving the convergence of systems, business models, services, policies, and new technologies in a development feedback loop.

    Key Findings

    • Advanced metering infrastructure has had a significant impact on the nature of interactions between the electricity consumer and the electric system, allowing two-way flow of both electricity and information and enabling the integration of assets behind the meter into the larger electric grid.

    • Interconnection standards and interoperability are critical requirements for seamless integration of gridconnected devices, appliances, and building energy management systems, without which grid modernization and further energy efficiency gains may be hindered.

    • Evolving consumer preferences for electricity services are creating new opportunities.

    • The convergence of the electric grid with information and communications technology creates a platform for value creation and the provision of new services beyond energy.

    • There is enormous potential for electric end-use efficiency improvement based on (1) technical analyses, and (2) the differences in energy efficiency performance between states and utilities with and without ambitious electric end-use efficiency policies and programs.

    • Tribal lands and American territories have the highest rates of un-electrified homes—more than half of a million homes. The extreme rurality of some tribal communities coupled with high levels of poverty present an economic challenge for the electric utilities trying to serve them.

    • Optimization of behind-the-meter assets will require the design of coordination, communication, and control frameworks that can manage the dispatch of these devices in a way that is both economical and secure, while maintaining system reliability.

    • Mobile, internet-connected devices foster new ways of consumer engagement, as well as enable consumers to have more efficient and real-time management of their behind-the-meter assets.

    • Consumers and third party merchants that produce electricity can provide economic, environmental, and operational benefits.

    • New grid services, modern technologies, and evolving system topologies and requirements are straining traditional methods of valuation. Appropriate valuation of the grid services by various technologies is technically and administratively challenging and may depend on spatial and temporal variables unique to different utilities, states, and regions.

    • Currently, about 90 percent of the residential electricity consumption, 60 percent of commercial, and 30 percent of industrial is used in appliances and equipment that are subject to Federal minimum efficiency standards implemented, and periodically updated by, the Department of Energy. Between 2009 and 2030, these cost-effective standards are projected to save consumers more than $545 billion in utility costs, reduce energy consumption by 40.8 quads, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 2.26 billion metric tons.

    • Miscellaneous electric loads (MELs), devices that are often inadequately addressed by minimum standards, labeling and other initiatives, are expected to represent an increasing share of total electricity demand, particularly for the residential and commercial sectors.

    • Connected devices and energy management control systems are decreasing in cost and improving in functionality, although their market penetration is still low, particularly in residences and small–tomedium-sized commercial buildings. These new technologies and systems, and the broader ‘Internet of Things’ provide a wide range of options for consumers to manage their energy use, either passively using automated controls, or through active monitoring and adjustment of key systems.

    • Energy management control systems with communication capabilities are increasing opportunities for demand response services in support of grid operations. Third-party aggregators and other business models are facilitating the expanded use of demand response, but the regulatory environment remains unsettled in many states.

    • Lower-income households use less energy, but pay a considerably higher fraction of their after-tax income for electricity services.

    • Insufficient broadband access in rural areas could inhibit the deployment of grid modernization technologies and the economic value these technologies can create.

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    QUICK NEWS, January 16: What Would Dr. King Do About Climate Change?; U.S. To Export Natural Gas; Where Corporates Are Boosting New Energy

    What Would Dr. King Do About Climate Change? Faith leaders reframe climate change as moral issue

    Marion Renault, January 16, 2017 (Columbus Dispatch)

    "…[Would Martin Luther King have joined the fight against climate change? Faith-based] advocacy has emerged as a powerful tool in the environmental movement. By reframing climate change and sustainability as moral issues, [priests, pastors, ministers, imams, and rabbis] hope to advance environmentalism by elevating it above the political fray…Presenting climate change as a [moral and] spiritual issue could be a successful strategy for attracting religious folks to environmental causes…[E]xploitation of natural resources severely affects the world’s poorest populations and violates divine dictates on how people should treat the planet.. [As leaders of intimate community spaces, religious officials’ thinking about the human-rights implications of climate change might well have appealed to Dr. King]…” click here for more

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    U.S. To Export Natural Gas EIA's AEO2017 projects the United States as a net energy exporter in most cases

    January 5, 2017 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

    “…[The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017)] presents updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2050 based on eight cases (Reference, Low and High Economic Growth, Low and High Oil Price, Low and High Oil and Gas Resource and Technology, No Clean Power Plan implementation). This is the first time that EIA is publishing projections through 2050…The United States becomes a net energy exporter in most AEO2017 cases as petroleum liquid imports fall and natural gas exports rise…In all cases but the High Oil and Gas Resource Technology case, which assumes substantial improvements in production technology and more favorable resource availability, U.S. production declines in the 2030s, which slows or reverses projected growth in net energy exports…[All cases except the No Clean Power Plan case include the Clean Power Plan and energy] related carbon dioxide emissions decline [in all but] the No Clean Power Plan case…”

    click here for more

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    Where Corporates Are Boosting New Energy Which States Make It Easy for the Advancement of Renewable Energy?

    John Rogers, January 14, 2017 (EcoWatch)

    “…[The top states for making corporate renewables purchases easy are Iowa and Illinois but New Jersey, California, and Texas round out the top five. No one region has a lock on making corporate renewables purchases easy. But some regions do better, according to the] Corporate clean energy procurement index: State leadership and rankings…The Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions are generally the most favorable regions in the U.S. for corporate customers seeking to power their operations with renewable energy…The analysis assesses how much choice and competition for renewable energy purchases exist by state. One indicator of that is whether companies are allowed to enter into PPAs (power purchase agreements) with third parties, which let companies take advantage of the stable prices renewables are uniquely qualified to offer, to lock in electricity rates over the long term…[The authors also suggest how to] help businesses trying to get access to renewable energy…”

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    Saturday, January 14, 2017

    A Call To Climate Action From Al Gore

    Going forward, things won't happen like they have for the last eight years - but that means taking action is even more important. From Climate Reality via YouTube

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    A Closer Look At Wind And Solar

    New Energy is now the economic and practical choice almost everywhere. From Discovery Education via Vimeo

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    Why Solar Beats Coal

    Tell the incoming administration: New Energy is what the markets want. From Bloomberg Technology via YouTube

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    Friday, January 13, 2017

    Does Climate Change Make Nuclear A Good Idea?

    Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Climate Change?

    January 10, 2017 (Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting)

    “With the election of Donald Trump as president, the United States confronts a new era of climate change discussion…In a special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, leading experts…focus on the complicated question of whether nuclear power can be a significant part of world efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions…[T]here is no consensus…University of Chicago nuclear expert Bob Rosner, for example, writes that it is technically possible for the world to cut carbon dioxide emissions by replacing fossil fuel electrical generation with nuclear power, but the decision to undertake such a wide-ranging effort is ultimately a political one…[F]ormer Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Peter Bradford says the choice among nuclear power and other low-carbon energy sources should be left to power markets that likely will choose against nuclear in the long run…[The analyses] are intended to inform the public discussion before hard decisions on climate change and energy policy are made…” click here for more

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    Who In The World Is Winning With Solar?

    Arab gulf firms set their sights on the region's growing appetite for solar power

    Tom DiChristopher, January 12, 2017 (CNBC)

    “…Middle East and North African countries, blessed by ample sunlight and open space, are increasingly adopting solar power. But it's not European, Chinese or American companies taking the lead on some of the region's largest solar parks. It's local firms that are relatively new to renewable energy…Some of these companies could become global competitors in the fast-growing market for large solar power plants…Regional companies have attracted attention by setting solar costs at record lows…[Last year, Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar and Saudi Arabia's Abdul Latif Jameel] offered to operate 800 megawatts of solar energy [in Dubai at a record-setting] 2.99 cents a kilowatt hour…The economics are somewhat unique to massive Middle East projects and are not feasible elsewhere…[but the knowledge transfer that comes with this type of collaboration] advances efforts by fossil fuel-dependent gulf states to diversify their economies and create new jobs…” click here for more

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    Wind Powers Scotland Four Straight Days

    Scotland’s wind turbines provided more electricity than the country needed four days in a row

    Ian Johnston, January 9, 2017 (UK Independent)

    “…[Wind energy provided more electricity than Scotland used on 23, 24, 25 and 26 December]…The total amount of wind energy produced on Christmas Eve was also the highest ever, with more than 74,000MWh sent to the National Grid – equivalent to the average daily electricity needs of 6.09 million homes…And, as energy use fell on Christmas Day, wind turbines provided 153 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs…At times in Germany and other countries, renewable energy has produced so much power that electricity prices have turned negative, with customers paid to use it…The excess would have been sold through the National Grid to customers in the rest of the UK…[The low cost of renewables is also driving down the oil price, with a senior executive of the world’s largest private power production company saying it could get as low as $10 a barrel for this reason within 10 years]…” click here for more

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