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

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Get Ready ‘Cause Here It Comes
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World Power Grids Are Ready For New Energy
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World Wind Numbers Reach New Highs
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global Data Giants Drive New Energy Growth
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, February 15:

  • TTTA Thursday-Conception In A Time Of Climate Change
  • TTTA Thursday-Introducing The EV Policy Fights
  • TTTA Thursday-The Oklahoma Wind War
  • TTTA Thursday-New Things To Do With Solar
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Stop, collaborate and listen: California works the details of bringing on distributed energy
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii Regulators Accept The Utility’s New Energy Plan To Move Ahead
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Grid Modernization Right Now
  • QUICK NEWS, February 13: Infrastructure Spend Fails To Prepare For Changing Climate; Pennsylvania Loves Solar Job Growth; Pennsylvania Wind Moves Nestle Toward 100% New Energy
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: California’s Nation-Leading Clean Cars Plan
  • QUICK NEWS, February 12: 2017 Media Turned Climate Change Into Reality TV; How New Energy Protects The Grid; Nevada’s Gigawatt 1 Solar Bet
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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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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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, February 17-18:

  • Colbert Nails EPA Head Pruitt
  • Ocean Life And Offshore Wind, Better Together
  • Australia’s 50,000 Home Virtual Power Plant

    Saturday, February 17, 2018

    Colbert Nails EPA Head Pruitt

    This is a short, sadly hilarious description of EPA Head Pruitt’s effort to silence climate scientists at the Agency. From The Late Show with Stephen Colbertvia YouTube

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    Ocean Life And Offshore Wind, Better Together

    New England fishermen give personal accounts of how offshore wind, marine life, and the local Block Island economy fit together. “Already, in an empty piece of ocean, there’s more fish than there were two years ago.” From American Wind Energy Association via YouTube

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    Australia’s 50,000 Home Virtual Power Plant

    Tesla is partnering with the state of South Australia on this groundbreaking project that will link solar-plus-battery storage systems in 50,000 homes to the power grid to strengthen and stabilize power delivery and lower homeowner electricity costs. From TomoNews USvia YouTube

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    Friday, February 16, 2018

    Get Ready ‘Cause Here It Comes

    Scientists Just Issued a Grim New Warning on Climate Change: 'We Are Not Prepared'

    Justin Worland, February 15, 2018 (Time Magazine)

    “New research shows that countries around the world are falling short of greenhouse gas goals in the Paris climate deal, and the consequences will likely be unprecedented extreme weather…[Unprecedented climate events: Historical changes, aspirational targets, and national commitments] found that the likelihood of extreme heat, dryness and precipitation will increase across as much of 90% of North America, Europe and East Asia if countries do not accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions…[Its authors say the world is] not prepared for today’s climate, let alone for another degree of global warming…[The study shows the difference between the Paris Agreement’s target to keep the global average temperature increase to below 3.6°Fahrenheit by 2100 and the] ideal target of 2.7° Fahrenheit…would lead to dramatic increases in the likelihood of record warm or wet days…” click here for more

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    World Power Grids Are Ready For New Energy

    Study: Solar and Wind Won’t Break the Grid

    Zsofia Vegh, February 14, 2018 (Energy Collective)

    “…[Major power systems around the world] are able to cope quite well with increasing shares of intermittent renewables, if the right measures are taken…[I]ncreased generation of these renewables does not make the grid less reliable or compromise security of supply, [according to Power-Industry Transition, Here and Now, a new study from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).] Critics of renewable energy have often warned that there are strict limits to the amount of intermittent power that the grid can handle…Yet so far, despite strong growth of solar and wind, no limits appear to be on the horizon. The expansion of renewables does present challenges and require measures, but with the right measures, systems are able to cope quite well…The IEEFA researchers looked at nine countries and regions which last year had shares of renewables ranging from 14.3% to 52.8%, while the global average was 5.2%...[They were Denmark (52.8%)…South Australia (48.4%)…Uruguay (32.2%)…Germany (26%)…Ireland (24.6%)…Spain (23.2%)…Texas (18%)…California (15%)…[and] the state of Tamil Nadu, India (14.3%)…The study outlines various methods for countries to integrate a higher share of wind and solar power into their systems. There is no general rule as to which of the options to follow; countries should adopt and adjust these measures according to their specific needs. The report did not look into the cost of these measures…” click here for more

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    World Wind Numbers Reach New Highs

    Wind Power Capacity Reaches 539 GW, 52,6 GW Added In 2017

    February 12, 2018 (World Wind Energy Association)

    Global installed wind capacity at the end of 2017 was 539,291 MW and 52,552 MW were added during the year, according to preliminary World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) data. The 2017 total is more than the 51,402 MW added in 2016 and the third biggest growth ever. The year on year growth of 10.8 % was, however, the lowest growth in this century. Wind’s total installed capacity is equal to over 5% of world electricity demand. Denmark set a new world record by getting 43% of its electricity from wind in 2017. China remained the biggest market, building 19,000 MW. The U.S. added 6,800 MW and reached a cumulative 89,000 MW. Germany added 6,100 MW to reach 56,000 MW overall. click here for more

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    Global Data Giants Drive New Energy Growth

    Hyperscalers drive renewable energy generation, says study

    Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox, 16 February 2018 (Data Center Dynamics)

    The data centers of hyperscale companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft use 2% to 3% of developed countries’ electricity and are transitioning to New Energy to cut operational expenses, take advantage of incentives, and respond to criticisms about the impacts their excessive electricity consumption may have on local grids, according to a new market report. Apple reached 100% New Energy five years ago and Google reached it in 2017. Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon data centers remain around 50%, though Microsoft data centers have been carbon neutral since 2014. Amazon and Facebook have 100% New Energy goals. The two most popular New Energy resources are solar and wind power. All the companies also have ongoing energy efficiency and energy storage efforts. click here for more

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    Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Conception In A Time Of Climate Change

    No Children Because of Climate Change? Some People Are Considering It

    Maggie Astor, February 5, 2018 (NY Times)

    “…It is not an easy time for people to feel hopeful, with the effects of global warming no longer theoretical, projections becoming more dire and governmental action lagging…[There is little data on the role climate change plays in people’s childbearing decisions but interviews show young women have] a sense of being saddled with painful ethical questions that previous generations did not have to confront. Some worry about the quality of life children born today will have as shorelines flood, wildfires rage and extreme weather becomes more common. Others are acutely aware that having a child is one of the costliest actions they can take environmentally. The birthrate in the United States, which has been falling for a decade, reached a new low in 2016. Economic insecurity has been a major factor, but even as the economy recovers, the decline in births continues. And the discussions about the role of climate change are only intensifying…[Most of those interviewed] lamented having to factor climate change into their decisions at all…” click here for more

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    Introducing The EV Policy Fights

    NCCETC Launches The 50 States of Electric Vehicles Report; Finds 43 States Took Action on Electric Vehicles in 2017

    February 7, 2018 (The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center)

    “…[The 50 States of Electric Vehicles, with a special 2017 Review, previews a new quarterly that will provide] insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure…[The report finds that 43 states and the District of Columbia took some type of action related to electric vehicles during 2017…34 states considered or adopted changes to the regulation of electric vehicles, including registration fees, electricity resale rules, and siting of charging infrastructure…20 states plus D.C. took action to study or investigate some aspect of electric vehicles…19 states and D.C. considered or approved new financial incentive programs, or changes to existing incentive programs for electric vehicles or electric vehicle supply equipment…Utilities or legislatures in 17 states plus D.C. took action related to the deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure…17 states considered policy changes to encourage electric vehicle market development…[and] Utilities or state legislatures in 13 states plus D.C. considered new utility rate tariffs for electric vehicle charging, or changes to existing tariffs…” click here for more

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    The Oklahoma Wind War

    In Oklahoma, a war over wind power

    Ryan Maye Handy, February 14, 2018 (Houston Chronicle)

    “…[In Oklahoma, where officials are contending with a massive budget deficit, long-simmering tensions between the oil and gas industry and renewables advocates] have broken out into a war over wind power that has already eliminated the state's renewable energy tax credit program and threatens to further undermine financial supports for the burgeoning wind industry. In the latest development, a plan backed by oil and gas interests to impose new taxes on wind energy production failed in the Oklahoma House…[It] was a rare victory for wind power in a year-long battle that has pitted it against Oklahoma's political establishment and the state's powerful oil and gas industry…[Wind advocates] expect the Legislature to try again to impose new taxes on wind power and move to cut incentives already awarded to projects in years past…[The driving force behind the campaign against wind is billionaire] Harold Hamm, chief executive of one of the nation's biggest independent oil companies and an energy advisor to President Donald Trump…His company's political action committee has contributed nearly $180,000 to Oklahoma state legislators from both sides of the aisle since 2015…” click here for more

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    New Things To Do With Solar

    6 Innovations That Are Shaping the Future of Solar Energy

    Earl Resser, February 12, 2018 (Blue & Green Tomorrow)

    “…[Solar energy] offers ten-thousand times the energy required by people worldwide…[Six intriguing solar innovations may help put it into service. Solar windows can help] building owners achieve partial independence from the power grid…[The solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 used 17,000 solar panels to make] a historic trip around the globe…[Researchers are] embedding flexible solar panels into fabric and] solar-powered sunglasses, jewelry, watches, and backpacks…[Prototype solar power harvesting trees are charging] mobile phones, laptops, LED street lights, and electric vehicles…[A] solar desalination system uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and sunlight-harvesting nanophotonic cells to convert salty or brackish water into fresh drinking water…[and the BioSolar Cells project is working on] a sustainable production of energy, biomass, and food using photosynthesis…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Stop, collaborate and listen: California works the details of bringing on distributed energy

    Stop, collaborate and listen: California stakeholders want to open electric system communications; IOUs, DER providers and CAISO collaborate on streamlining communications for higher DER penetration

    Herman K. Trabish, June 22, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This work is proceeding slowly but seriously as the urgency of integrating distributed energy resources to deal with California’s peak demand grows.

    An unprecedented collaboration between California’s grid operator, its investor-owned utilities, and third-party distributed resource providers could streamline electric system communications in preparation for higher distributed energy resource penetration. The groundbreaking work maps out plans to interconnect the bulk transmission system to distributed energy resources (DERs) through utility-operated distribution systems, achieving a new level of communication between the transmission system operator, the distribution system operator, and the DER provider.

    Technology advances and customer demand are transforming the electric power, according to a newly-released report from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). DERs are beginning to reach significant penetration levels on the emerging “decentralized system,” and are on their way to becoming key resources, the paper noted. A working group led by think tank More Than Smart (MTS), which included the IOUs, CAISO, and DER providers, released the paper at the end of the first year of a multi-year effort. The group’s objective is to resolve operational challenges preventing transmission operators and distribution operators from working with private sector developers to meet consumer demand for DER… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii Regulators Accept The Utility’s New Energy Plan To Move Ahead

    Love the one you're with: Hawaii regulators begrudgingly accept HECO energy plan; The order accepting Hawaiian Electric's third plan to get to 100% renewable energy leaves contentious cost and procurement debates to future dockets

    Herman K. Trabish, July 27, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: As stakeholders predicted, the commission’s acceptance of this plan has allowed debate on New Energy to expand.

    Last year, Hawaii utility regulators accepted the third version of their utility’s long-term plan to reach 100% renewable energy. But the PUC stopped short of outright approval, warning that Hawaiian Electric’s (HECO) roadmap fails to fully justify its proposed expenditures. The commission ruling applauded the utility’s short-term ambition to acquire renewables in its Power Supply Improvement Plan (PSIP). But it repeatedly warned HECO that the plan requires improvements and further analysis of proposed investments. Many planned near-term power acquisitions “are supported by sound analysis and are consistent with state energy policy,” the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reported in the final ruling in docket 2014-0183. But some are "not sufficiently justified.” And the commission warned it remained concerned with the affordability of the Companies' plans.

    Why would the PUC accept what it sees as a questionable plan? The answer lies in the coming phase-out of federal tax incentives for renewable energy. To procure renewables most cost-effectively, HECO “must move quickly to enable customers to benefit from available tax credits,” regulators wrote. Both the federal investment tax credit, which supports solar development, and the federal production tax credit, which supports wind, expire in the early 2020s. Colton Ching, a HECO senior vice president, applauded the ruling because it allows the utility allows the utility to move ahead on its renewables objectives “and take advantage of the tax credits.” There is a “definite difference between ‘accept’ and ‘approve’ but we never expected approval in this docket,” he said. Earthjustice Attorney Isaac Moriwake, who represented Sierra Club in the PSIP docket, agreed the plan’s “big positive” is that it allows HECO to move ahead. But the ruling also represents regulatory resignation… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: Grid Modernization Right Now

    The 50 States of Grid Modernization: 39 States and D.C. Took Grid Modernization Actions in 2017

    January 31, 2018 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    Executive Summary

    WHAT IS GRID MODERNIZATION?

    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.

    PURPOSE

    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.

    APPROACH

    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. Questions Addressed This report addresses several questions about the changing U.S. electric grid:

    • How are states adjusting traditional utility planning processes to better allow for consideration of advanced grid technologies?

    • What changes are being made to state regulations and wholesale market rules to allow market access for distributed energy resources?

    • How are states and utilities reforming the traditional utility business model and rate designs?

    • What policy actions are states taking to grow markets for energy storage and other advanced grid technologies?

    • Where and how are states and utilities proposing deployment of advanced grid technologies, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response programs?

    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.

    Actions Excluded

    This report excludes utility proposals for grid investments that do not include any specific grid modernization component, as outlined above, as well as projects that have already received legislative or regulatory approval. Actions related exclusively to pumped hydroelectric storage or electric vehicles are not covered by this report. While actions taken by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are not comprehensively tracked in this report, particularly noteworthy or high-impact actions will be covered. The report also excludes changes to policies and rate design for distributed generation customers and changes related to electric vehicles; these changes are covered in the 50 States of Solar and 50 States of Electric Vehicles quarterly reports, respectively.

    2017 GRID MODERNIZATION ACTION

    In 2017, 39 states plus DC took a total of 288 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 288 actions catalogued, the most common were related to deployment (63), followed by policies (61), and planning and market access (45).

    TOP TEN MOST ACTIVE STATES OF 2017

    Ten states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization, or some of the most impactful actions, are noted below.

    New York

    New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding, which continued throughout 2017, addresses many different aspects of grid modernization, including distribution system planning, non-wires alternatives, and storage compensation rules. The Governor signed into law a bill creating an energy storage target, as well as a property tax exemption for electric energy storage.

    California

    California regulators addressed distribution system planning, the state’s energy storage target, a grid modernization investment proposal from Southern California Edison, and several other topics during 2017. Modifications were made to the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Program, and stakeholders worked with the California Independent System Operator to address rules for demand response and storage participation in the wholesale market.

    Rhode Island

    The state of Rhode Island initiated its Power Sector Transformation Initiative in 2017, an expansive grid modernization proceeding addressing several topics, including data access, distribution system planning, utility business models, and transportation electrification. National Grid filed its Power Sector Transformation investment plan later in 2017. The state also addressed evaluation of non-wires alternatives and solar-plus-storage compensation.

    Hawaii

    Regulators considered a grid modernization proposal from Hawaii’s three investor-owned utilities in 2017, as demand response and energy storage proposals. The Public Utilities Commission also addressed compensation for solar-plus-storage systems, and a study of alternative utility regulatory models is underway. Several bills were under consideration during the year, including legislation to create an energy storage tax credit and facilitate microgrid development.

    Maryland

    The Maryland Public Service Commission continued with its broad grid modernization proceeding in 2017, addressing several topics, including data access, electric vehicles, energy storage, interconnection, and rate design. The state legislature also initiated an energy storage study and adopted the nation’s first state tax credit for energy storage systems.

    Massachusetts

    Massachusetts regulators established an energy storage target, addressed compensation rules for solar-plus-storage, and considered grid modernization investment proposals from all three investor-owned utilities in 2017. Several bills were introduced during the year that would create new incentives for energy storage, grid modernization planning processes, and rate design guidelines.

    Michigan

    Pursuant to legislation enacted in late 2016, the Michigan Public Service Commission undertook a number of grid modernization activities in 2017, including studies addressing demand response, alternative utility business models, and solar-plus-storage compensation. The Commission also addressed integrated resource planning rules, and two utilities – Consumers Energy and DTE Electric – filed draft grid modernization investment proposals.

    Nevada

    In 2017, the Nevada state legislature enacted legislation creating an energy storage incentive program and initiating an energy storage study to consider whether or not the state should adopt an energy storage procurement target. Voters and regulators are considering restructuring of the state’s electric industry in advance of a second ballot vote, and integrated resource planning and time-varying electricity rates were also addressed during the year.

    Vermont

    The Vermont Public Utility Commission opened a broad investigatory proceeding in 2017, addressing grid modernization and utility business models. The state’s Department of Public Service also published an energy storage study and policy recommendations, as directed by Act 53. Green Mountain Power filed applications for approval of three energy storage projects during the year and announced a new program to deploy battery storage systems at customer homes.

    Arizona

    Arizona regulators issued a decision requiring Arizona Public Service to consider energy storage options in integrated resource planning and as alternatives to transmission and distribution investments. Regulators also considered special rate tariffs for energy storage owners, residential time-varying electricity rates, interconnection rules for energy storage systems, and adoption of a clean peak standard.

    Honorable Mention: North Carolina

    The North Carolina state legislature initiated an energy storage study in 2017, while the Utilities Commission considered interconnection rules for emerging technologies and data access rules. Duke Energy announced plans for a $13 billion grid investment package, which includes AMI and self-optimization investments, and received approval to develop a microgrid in western North Carolina.

    TOP GRID MODERNIZATION TRENDS OF 2017

    States Taking Diverse Approaches to Grid Modernization

    Throughout 2017, states took a wide variety of approaches to grid modernization. Some states focused heavily on studies, while others took greater action on deployment and pilot projects, took several different types of action. Furthermore, some states placed a greater emphasis on technology, while others keyed in on policy or rate design. In line with a trend toward comprehensive approaches, many states considered technology, policy, rate design and utility business model reforms simultaneously.

    Gathering Information through Studies and Pilots

    A major trend present throughout 2017 was that of states and utilities working to gather information on various aspects of grid modernization through studies, investigations, and pilot projects. Studies and investigations were undertaken on both broad and narrow topics during the year, while most pilot projects related to time-varying rates or deployment of energy storage and microgrids.

    Energy Storage Taking Focus

    As 2017 progressed, state and utility action related to energy storage climbed. At least 31 states took actions related to energy storage during the year. A wide variety of actions were taken, including conducting studies, amending resource planning and interconnection rules, considering incentives for storage systems, adopting procurement targets, and deploying storage facilities.

    Comprehensive and Coordinated Approaches to Grid Modernization

    Several states – including Illinois, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont – initiated broad proceedings in 2017, addressing many different elements of grid modernization in a coordinated fashion. Similar proceedings also continued in Maryland, New Hampshire, and New York. A common element of these comprehensive approaches is stakeholder engagement, with working groups and workshops frequently utilized.

    Evaluating Storage as Part of Integrated Resource Planning

    A growing trend among states is consideration of the way in which energy storage is evaluated within the integrated resource planning process. Regulators in New Mexico and Washington amended statewide integrated resource planning rules to require the evaluation of storage alternatives, while regulators adopted similar rules for individual utilities in Arizona and Louisiana.

    Rate Reforms Center on Time-Varying Rates

    In 2017, time-varying electricity rates was by far the most frequently considered type of utility rate reform. Policymakers and regulators in 11 states took statewide action related to timevarying rates, or considered utility proposals related to default or mandatory time-varying rates. Time-varying rates were also considered as part of tariffs designed specifically for battery storage owners.

    Questions Emerge Over Utility and Third-Party Technology Ownership

    In several states, questions related to technology ownership were considered. In Maine and Texas, utility requests to own microgrid (including a solar PV array and battery storage system) and battery storage assets, respectively, came into focus as regulators considered whether the utilities (both in restructured states) are permitted to own these assets. In Arkansas, the Public Service Commission is considering utility ownership versus third-party ownership of DERs as part of a generic proceeding on DERs and data access.

    Grid Modernization Investment Costs Often a Point of Contention

    In several proceedings considering utility grid modernization investment proposals, the issue of cost became a major point of contention among parties during 2017. In Hawaii, regulators directed the utilities to revise their original plan because of its high cost, while plans in California and North Carolina have also received criticism over cost and which specific investments should be prioritized.

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    QUICK NEWS, February 13: Infrastructure Spend Fails To Prepare For Changing Climate; Pennsylvania Loves Solar Job Growth; Pennsylvania Wind Moves Nestle Toward 100% New Energy

    Infrastructure Spend Fails To Prepare For Changing Climate Trump's infrastructure plan may ignore climate change. It could be costly.

    Dan Drollete, Jr., 12 February 2018 (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

    The White House’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure building plan transfers $1.3 trillion of the cost to state, local, and private sources. Along with the administration’s discounted climate science and weakened climate change regulations, engineers and researchers say it leaves the new build plans obsolete and vulnerable to rapidly changing flood patterns and extremes of weather. prepare U.S. infrastructure for this century’s climate change-driven chaos. The White House has been unwilling to say whether climate realities were considered in the preparation of its infrastructure plan. click here for more

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    Pennsylvania Loves Solar Job Growth With solar-friendly policies, state solar jobs rise 26 percent

    Daniel Moore, February 13, 2018 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    “…Jobs in Pennsylvania’s solar sector increased by 26 percent to nearly 4,000 people in 2017…It was the second consecutive year of employment growth after three years of declines, a sign that solar-friendly policies at the state level — and falling equipment prices encouraging more installations — are making their mark…The gains come as the national solar workforce declined by 4 percent, the first annual drop since the group began releasing job counts in 2010…[Larger installers and manufacturers are also threatened by new] tariffs on solar imports…[But solar] jobs went up in 29 states…[showing] that solar is taking hold across the country…[I]n 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection gathered input from solar advocates on policy changes that would help spur growth. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he wants to boost solar generation to at least 10 percent of in-state electricity sales by 2030…” click here for more

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    Pennsylvania Wind Moves Nestle Toward 100% New Energy Nestlé Leverages Wind Power in Partnership with EDP Renewables in Step Toward 100% Renewable Electricity Goal; Power purchase agreement will provide approximately 80 percent of the electricity load for five Nestlé facilities in southeastern Pennsylvania

    February 12, 2018 (Nestle via PR Newswire)

    “…[A new 15-year power purchase agreement for wind power] will provide approximately 80 percent of the electricity load for five Nestlé facilities in southeastern Pennsylvania. The agreement is a major step forward for Nestlé's ambition to procure 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources…EDP Renewables' Meadow Lake VI wind farm will generate and deliver 50 megawatts of electricity through the PJM Interconnection grid to manufacturing facilities and distribution centers operated by Nestlé Purina PetCare, Nestlé USA and Nestlé Waters North America in Allentown and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Because the wind farm and the recipient facilities are located on the same regional grid, the power purchase agreement provides traceability from the Pennsylvania facilities back to the wind farm. With the addition of the energy from the wind farm, 20 percent of the electricity Nestlé uses in the U.S. will come from renewable sources in 2019…This renewable energy project will help Nestlé cut energy costs, avoid the volatility of fossil fuel prices, and stay competitive…” click here for more

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    Monday, February 12, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: California’s Nation-Leading Clean Cars Plan

    The Road Ahead for Zero-Emission Vehicles in California Market Trends & Policy Analysis Adam Fowler, Hoyu Chong, Peter Breslin, January 30, 2018 (Beacon Economics for Next 10)

    Executive Summary

    In March of 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown set a goal of putting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California’s roads by 2025. Today, California is well on its way toward reaching that goal. There have been bumps in the road, but technology and market trends in California and around the world are accelerating adoption of electric vehicles. And just as cell phones upended the telecommunications industry, electric and autonomous vehicle technologies, combined with new business models, promise to transform the transportation industry.

    By October 2017, 337,483 ZEVs had been sold in California, and market growth is accelerating. ZEV sales increased 29.1 percent in California between October 2016 and October 2017, with ZEVs reaching 4.5 percent market share compared to 3.6 percent market share in 2016.

    For the most common type of ZEV — the electric vehicle (EV) — the battery is the most expensive component by far, and battery costs are falling fast.1 From 2010 to 2016, battery costs fell from $1,000 to $209 per kilowatt-hour.2 This has allowed car companies to offer greater driving range and better performance at lower price points, while expanding the number and type of EV models they offer. Consumers are responding positively, not just in California but also around the world. Last year, in 2017, global passenger electric vehicle sales reached about 1 million,3 up from half a million in 2015.4

    As the world moves toward electrified transportation, China has emerged as a market leader. Chinese manufacturers produced 43 percent of EVs worldwide in 2016, while the U.S. produced 17 percent.5 China is leading on the policy front, as well, joining India, France, the UK and the Netherlands in announcing intentions to ban sales of gasoline-powered cars.

    As the rest of the world puts a priority on ZEVs, the U.S. government appears to be moving in the opposite direction, but California remains committed to accelerating the transition to ZEVs. A bill before the California legislature would ban sales of non-ZEV cars by 2040, and Gov. Brown has expressed interest in the idea of phasing out vehicles powered by internal combustion engines (ICEVs). As the sixth-largest economy in the world, California’s actions affect the global automobile market.

    This report analyzes California’s ZEV market, including historic sales, costs, technology trends, forecasts and challenges. It also reviews policies and implications that could affect future market growth.

    Summary of key findings

    California’s leadership:

    California is a leader among U.S. states, but ZEV sales are on the rise across the country.

    • California 2017 ZEV sales increased 29.1% over 2016, while US 2017 ZEV sales grew by 28.8% over 2016.6

    • ZEV market share in California was 4.5% in 2017, up from 3.6 % in 2016.7 This compares to 2017 ZEV market share of 1.1% in the U.S. and 1.8% in China.8

    • When the state’s ZEV goal was enacted in 2012, California needed to average 35.5% annual growth in ZEV sales from 2013 to 2025 to meet its goal.9 But given the 29.1% increase in year-to-date 2017 sales, the annual growth rate required to meet the ZEV goal has decreased to 20% annually.

    • Even if California’s sales growth were to slow by 5%, we project the state will easily meet its 1.5 million ZEV goal by 2025, if not before.10

    Market Trends:

    Factors driving acceleration or deceleration of ZEV adoption include: price, performance, choice, convenience, and public policy. Current trends suggest that cost, range, selection and charging-time barriers to EV adoption are likely to continue to lessen, while increased competition will continue to lower costs and improve technology. Figure 1 illustrates that as EV sales rates have continued to increase in the state, range has steadily improved and battery cost has steeply declined, indicating a maturing market for EVs.

    Total Cost of Ownership:

    While upfront costs for electric vehicles are higher than their ICE equivalents, life cycle fuel and maintenance costs are decidedly lower. An analysis of 17 popular 2017 models found some ZEVs can be price competitive now, without government incentives.

    Price:

    The most expensive component of a ZEV is the battery. From 2010-2016, average battery cost per kilowatt-hour has dropped 74% from over $1,000 to just $273/Kwh (see Figure 2).

    Performance:

    For the last 25 years, battery density has improved 5-7% annually, and in recent years, battery range has been improving considerably. In 2017, Tesla Model S had the farthest EPA-rated range for an all-electric vehicle, at 315 miles.

    Choice:

    150 different plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles are available worldwide, with that number set to rise to over 240 by 2021.13

    • In the top California cities for EV penetration, auto dealers offer 25 to 30 different models.14

    • More than half of the U.S population lives in a metropolitan area with seven or fewer available models.15

    • China leads with over 75 EV models. It introduced 25 new models in 2016 and saw sales jump 70%.16

    • Volkswagen, Daimler, Volvo and Nissan have announced plans to electrify their fleets over the next 10 years. GM plans to introduce 20 new ZEV models by 2023, while Ford promises 13.

    Convenience:

    • Infrastructure: From 2011 to 2016, the number of stations for charging electric vehicles increased by 1,138% in the U.S. However, in 2016 there was only one charging plug for about every six electric cars.17

    • As of January 2018, California had a total of 16,549 public and nonresidential privatesector charging outlets, or about six times as many outlets as the next state, Texas. This only works out to 0.05 public charging outlets per ZEV, one of the lowest ratios in the country.18

    • Fueling time: Tesla’s Superchargers can recharge EVs to 80% in 20 to 40 minutes. Others fully charge EVs in three to four hours, while slower charging points take around six to eight hours.

    • Automakers are working to reduce charging times. For example, Honda is working on high-capacity batteries capable of 15-minute charging with a 240 km range for release in 2022 models.19

    • Maintenance: ZEVs require significantly less time and money spent on maintenance because they have only about 20 moving parts -- about 1,980 fewer moving parts than traditional internal-combustion vehicles.

    Public Policy:

    International, national and state policy may play a role in California’s ZEV market.

    • National governments including China, the UK, France, the Netherlands and India have stated the intention to phase out the the internal combustion engine.

    • CA and other leading states are moving to accelerate ZEV adoption. Eight states including CA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) committed to bring 3.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025.

    ∙ As of October 2017, California had fulfilled 22.5 % of the MoU goal, followed by Oregon with 10%. California appears to be the only state on track to fulfill its MoU goals.21

    ∙ In January 2018, Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Phil Ting introduced a bill that would ban gas-powered cars by 2040.22

    • There are a number of public policies and funding mechanisms within California to promote the development of charging infrastructure, including settlement funds from Volkswagen’s diesel emissions case.

    • The growth of ZEVs represents a significant potential drain on motor vehicle fuel taxes, which could drive a funding gap in state transportation revenue.

    • Grid overload is another concern. The California Public Utilities Commission is studying the effects this may have on the grid, while SoCal Edison and the Los Angeles Air Force Base are conducting a pilot program that allows electric vehicles to act as battery storage and send power back to the grid.

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    QUICK NEWS, February 12: 2017 Media Turned Climate Change Into Reality TV; How New Energy Protects The Grid; Nevada’s Gigawatt 1 Solar Bet

    2017 Media Turned Climate Change Into Reality TV How broadcast TV networks covered climate change in 2017

    Kevin Kalhoeffer, February 12, 2018 (Media Matters For America)

    “Broadcast TV news neglected many critical climate change stories in 2017…79 percent of the time that corporate broadcast networks spent covering climate change, or 205 out of 260 total minutes, featured actions or statements by the Trump administration. The networks gave vastly less coverage to the many ways that climate change affects people's lives through its impacts on things like extreme weather, public health, and national security…[94 of 95 minutes on Sunday show climate coverage revolved around the administration. 52% of TV news climate coverage was about the] decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement…Despite 2017 being a record year for weather and climate disasters, the corporate broadcast networks rarely covered the link between climate change and extreme weather events…CBS and PBS led all broadcast networks in the number of segments they devoted to climate change in 2017…[but] were also the only two networks to feature guests who flatly denied that human activity causes climate change…” click here for more

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    How New Energy Protects The Grid Want a World Without Blackouts? Power the Future With Renewable Energy

    Dom Galeon, February 9, 2018 (Futurism)

    “…With solar and wind power leading the charge, renewables are steadily finding their way into the energy infrastructure of a number of countries and companies. Some have already become 100 percent renewable, while others continue to carefully wean themselves from fossil fuel…There is, however, a sizable hurdle that early renewable energy adapters will inevitably encounter…A new study from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) argues that [the variability of such a high penetration of renewables] could very well be overcome by a combination of solutions…[The study’s modeling of three scenarios in which nations struck a proper balance between energy output from renewables and predicted energy demand for 2050 showed] blackouts at low energy costs were avoided…[H]aving various energy storage options available was an important factor in that outcome…” click here for more

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    Nevada’s Gigawatt 1 Solar Bet Cheap Solar Energy Makes a Big Bet in Nevada

    Nathaniel Bullard, February 9, 2018 (American Journal of Transportation)

    “…Swiss asset manager Capital Dynamics AG will build a one-gigawatt portfolio of solar farms in Nevada, one of the largest such projects in the U.S., with technology infrastructure company Switch Inc. as an ‘anchor tenant.’ The two companies expect the cost of power generated by Gigawatt 1 to be significantly lower than what the local utility charges…Gigawatt 1 is 16 times larger than a 60-megawatt solar farm in North Carolina that signed on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as its anchor tenant in 2016…Switch’s Northern Nevada data center will require more than 10 times as much electricity as MIT’s project could instantaneously provide…Switch is paying millions [to incumbent utility NV Energy] in exit fees to join Gigawatt 1; Capital Dynamics says it offers financing options for those exit fees to companies looking to join the project…” click here for more

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