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  • TODAY’S STUDY: How Get The Stacked Values Of Battery Storage
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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, October 17:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Global Nuclear Now
  • QUICK NEWS, October 17: Top 5 Climate Change Solutions; EVs To Lead By 2030; Diversity In Solar

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Global Nuclear Now

    The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017

    Mycle Schneider, Antony Froggatt, et. al., September 2017 (MacArthur Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Heinrich Böll Foundation France, Greens-EFA Group in the European Parliament, and Swiss Renewable Energy Foundation)

    Key Insights In Brief

    Global Overview—The Chinese Exception, Yet

    Ɇ Global nuclear power generation increased by 1.4% in 2016, due to a 23% increase in China, although the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation stagnated at 10.5% (–0.2%).

    Ɇ Ten reactors started up in 2016, of which one-half were in China. Two reactors were connected to the grid in the first half of 2017—one in China, one in Pakistan (by a Chinese company)—the first units to start up in the world whose construction started after the Fukushima disaster began.

    Ɇ Three construction starts in the world in 2016—two in China, one in Pakistan (by a Chinese company)—down from 15 in 2010, of which 10 were in China. One construction start in India in the first half of 2017, none in China or in the rest of the world.

    Ɇ The number of units under construction is declining for the fourth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 53 by mid-2017, of which 20 are in China.

    Closures and Construction Delays

    Ɇ Russia and the U.S. shut down reactors in 2016, while Sweden and South Korea both closed their oldest units in the first half of 2017.

    Ɇ Election of a new President in South Korea, who closed one plant and suspended the construction of two more, puts hopes of the national nuclear industry to expand and export into jeopardy.

    Ɇ Thirteen countries are building new reactors, one less than in WNISR2016, as the construction of Angra-3 in Brazil was abandoned following a massive corruption scandal involving senior project management.

    Ɇ There are 37 reactor constructions behind schedule, of which 19 reported further delays over the past year. China is no exception, at least 11 of 20 units under construction are behind schedule.

    Ɇ Eight projects have been under construction for a decade or more, of which three for over 30 years. Ɇ WNISR2016 noted 17 reactors scheduled for startup in 2017. As of mid-2017, only two of these units had started up and 11 were delayed until at least 2018.

    Bankruptcy/Bailout of Historic Nuclear Giants – Deep Financial Crisis for Nuclear Utilities

    Ɇ After the discovery of massive losses over its nuclear construction projects, Toshiba filed for bankruptcy of its U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse, the largest nuclear power builder in history.

    Ɇ AREVA has accumulated US$12.3 billion in losses over the past six years. French government has provided a US$5.3 billion bailout and continues break-up strategy. Ɇ The large quality-control scandal at AREVA's Creusot Forge further erodes confidence in the industry. Ɇ Share-value erosion and downgrading by credit-rating agencies of major nuclear utilities.

    Fukushima Status Report

    Ɇ Six years after the Fukushima disaster began, the Japanese Government started lifting evacuation orders in order to limit skyrocketing compensation costs. The total official cost estimate for the catastrophe has doubled from US$100 billion to US$200 billion. A new independent assessment has put the cost at US$444–630 billion (depending on the level of water decontamination). Only five reactors have been restarted.

    Renewables Distance Nuclear

    Ɇ Globally, wind power output grew by 16%, solar by 30%, nuclear by 1.4% in 2016. Wind power increased generation by 132 TWh, solar by 77 TWh, respectively 3.8 times and 2.2 times more than nuclear's 35 TWh. Renewables represented 62% of global power generating capacity additions.

    Ɇ New renewables beat existing nuclear. Renewable energy auctions achieved record low prices at and below US$30/ MWh in Chile, Mexico, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Average generating costs of amortized nuclear power plants in the U.S. were US$35.5 in 2015.

    Executive Summary and Conclusions

    The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017 (WNISR2017) provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear power plant data, including information on operation, production and construction. The WNISR assesses the status of new-build programs in current nuclear countries as well as in potential newcomer countries. The WNISR2017 edition includes a new assessment from an equity analyst view of the financial crisis of the nuclear sector and some of its biggest industrial players. The Fukushima Status Report provides not only an update on onsite and offsite issues six years after the beginning of the catastrophe, but also the latest official and new independent cost evaluations of the disaster. Focus chapters provide in-depth analysis of France, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy chapter provides global comparative data on investment, capacity, and generation from nuclear, wind and solar energy. Finally, Annex 1 presents a country-by-country overview of all other countries operating nuclear power plants.

    Reactor Status and Nuclear Programs

    Startups and Shutdowns. In 2016, ten reactors started up, five in China, one each was commissioned in India (Kudankulam-2), Pakistan (Chasnupp-3), Russia (Novovoronezh-2-1), South Korea (Shin-Kori-3) and the U.S. (Watts Bar-2, after 43 years of construction). Two reactors were closed in 2016, Novovoronezh-3 in Russia and Fort Calhoun-1 in the U.S.

    In the first half of 2017, two reactors started up in the world, one each in China (Yangjiang) and Pakistan (Chasnupp-4, built by a Chinese company), while two were shut down, the oldest units respectively in South Korea (Kori-1, after 40 years of operation) and in Sweden (Oskarshamn-1, after close to 46 years of operation).

    Operation and Construction Data

    Reactor Operation. There are 31 countries operating nuclear power plants.1 These countries operate a total of 403 reactors—excluding Long-Term Outages (LTOs)—just one unit more compared to the situation mid-2016, 35 fewer than the 2002 peak of 438. The total installed capacity increased over the past year by less than one percent to reach 351 GW,2 which is comparable to levels in 2000. Installed capacity peaked in 2006 at 368 GW. Annual nuclear electricity generation reached 2,476 TWh in 2016—a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year, but about 7 percent below the historic peak of 2006. As in 2015, the 2016 global increase of 35 TWh is due to the production hike in China, where nuclear generation increased by 23 percent or 36.6 TWh.

    WNISR2017 classifies 33 Japanese reactors as being in LTO,3 three less than in WNISR2016, as two were restarted (Ikata-3 et Takahama-4) and Monju was closed permanently.

    Besides the Japanese reactors, two French units (Bugey-5, Paluel-2), as well as one unit each in Argentina (Embalse), India (Kakrapar-2), Switzerland (Beznau-1) and Taiwan (Chinshan-1) meet the LTO criteria.

    All ten reactors at Fukushima Daiichi and Daini are considered permanently closed and are therefore also excluded in the count of operating nuclear power plants.

    Share in Electricity/Energy Mix. The nuclear share of the world’s power generation remained stable4 over the past five years, with 10.5 percent in 2016 after declining steadily from a historic peak of 17.5 percent in 1996. Nuclear power’s share of global commercial primary energy consumption also remained stable at 4.5 percent—prior to 2014 the lowest level since 1984.5

    The “big five” nuclear generating countries—by rank, the U.S., France, China, Russia, and South Korea—generated 70 percent of the world’s nuclear electricity in 2016. China moved up one rank. The U.S. and France accounted for 48 percent of global nuclear generation.

    Reactor Age. In the absence of major new-build programs apart from China, the unit-weighted average age of the world operating nuclear reactor fleet continues to rise, and by mid-2017 stood at 29.3 years. Over half of the total, or 234 units, have operated for 31 years and more, including 64 that have run for 41 years and more.

    Lifetime Extension. The extension of operating periods beyond the original design is regulated differently from country to country. While in the U.S., 84 of the 99 operating reactors have already received license extensions for up to a total lifetime of 60 years, in France, only 10-year extensions are granted and the safety authorities have made it clear that there is no guarantee that all units will pass the 40-year in-depth safety assessment. Furthermore, the proposals for lifetime extensions are in conflict with the French legal target to reduce the nuclear share from the current three-quarters to half by 2025.

    Lifetime Projections. If all currently operating reactors were shut down at the end of a 40- year lifetime—with the exception of the 72 that have passed the 40-year mark—by 2020 the number of operating units would be 11 below the total at the end of 2016, even if all reactors currently under active construction were completed. The installed capacity, however, will increase by 4 GW, because many of the older units have lower power outputs when compared to most of the reactors currently under construction. In the following decade, between 2020 and 2030, 194 units (179 GW) would have to be replaced—almost four times the number of startups achieved over the past decade. If all licensed lifetime extensions were actually implemented and achieved, the number of operating reactors would still increase by only five, and adding 16.5 GW in 2020. By 2030, 163 reactors would have to be shut down and the loss of 144.5 GW would have to be compensated for.

    Construction. Thirteen countries are currently building nuclear power plants, one less than in previous years. Construction at the only new-build project in Brazil, Angra-3, was halted after corruption charges were brought against senior management.

    As of 1 July 2017, 53 reactors were under construction6 —five less than one year earlier and 15 fewer than in 2013. Twenty of the 53 reactors are being constructed in China.7 Total capacity under construction is 53.2 GW (–8%).

    Ɇ The current average time since work started at the 53 units under construction is 6.8 years, an increase of 0.6 years from the status one year ago. The main reasons are the low number of construction starts and new delays. At mid-2017, 11 of 17 scheduled startups for the year had already been pushed into 2018 or beyond.8

    Ɇ All of the reactors under construction in 8 out of the 13 countries have experienced delays, mostly by a year or more. Over two thirds (37) of all construction projects are behind schedule. Most of the 16 remaining units under construction, of which 9 are in China, were begun within the past three years or have not yet reached projected start-up dates, making it difficult to assess whether or not they are on schedule.

    Ɇ Of the 37 reactors behind schedule, 19 have reported increased delays over the past year since WNISR2016. Ɇ Construction of three reactors has started more than 30 years ago: Mochovce-3 and -4 in Slovakia and Rostov-4 in Russia.

    Ɇ Two units, the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) in India and Olkiluoto-3 in Finland, have been listed as “under construction” for a decade or more, while Shimane-3 in Japan and Flamanville-3 in France will reach 10 years of construction before the end of 2017.

    Ɇ The average construction time of the latest 51 units in ten countries that started up in the past decade, since 2007, was 10.1 years with a very large range from 4 to over 43 years.

    Construction Starts & New Build Issues

    Construction Starts. In 2016, construction began on 3 reactors, 2 of which were in China and one in Pakistan (by a Chinese company). This compares to 15 construction starts—of which 10 were in China alone—in 2010. In the first half of 2017, only India started building a reactor. Historically, construction starts in the world peaked in 1976 at 44.

    Construction Cancellations. Between 1977 and 1 July 2017, a total of at least 91 (one in eight) of all construction sites were abandoned or suspended in 17 countries in various stages of advancement.

    Newcomer Program Delays/Cancellation. Only two newcomer countries are actually building reactors—Belarus and UAE. Progress was halted at Belarus' Ostrovets project, when the reactor pressure vessel was dropped during installation and had to be replaced. The UAE announced that it had to delay startup of the first of four units to 2018, due to a lack of locally trained and licensed domestic personnel.

    Further delays have occurred over the year in the development of nuclear programs for most of the more or less advanced potential newcomer countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Vietnam abandoned its new-build project due to slowing electricity demand increases, concerns over safety and rising construction costs.

    Nuclear Finances: A Tough Market Environment

    Bankruptcy of Historic Builder Toshiba-Westinghouse. Following technical problems, delays and massive cost overruns at its U.S. construction projects V.C. Summer and Vogtle, the Japanese group Toshiba in March 2017 filed for bankruptcy protection of its US. subsidiary Westinghouse. As a consequence, construction at the two V.C. Summer reactors in the U.S. was halted.

    AREVA Debacle (another new episode). The French state-controlled integrated nuclear company AREVA went technically bankrupt after a cumulative six-year loss of US$12.3 billion. The French government has provided a bailout for US$5.3 billion and continued a break-up strategy that has state utility EDF take over the nuclear building and services subsidiary AREVA-NP. The rescue scheme has been approved by the European Commission. AREVA has been delisted from the Paris stock market since August 2017. The embattled company is struggling also with a vast quality-control scandal that led to the provisional shutdown of a dozen reactors in France. Thousands of fabrication dossiers have to be examined for irregularities or falsifications. The safety implications remain to be assessed.

    Nuclear Utilities in Difficulty. Many of the traditional nuclear and fossil fuel based utilities continue to struggle with low wholesale power prices, a shrinking client base, declining power consumption, high debt loads, increasing production costs at aging facilities, and stiff competition, especially from renewables.

    Ɇ In Europe, energy utilities Centrica (U.K.), EDF, Engie (France), E.ON, and RWE (Germany) have all been downgraded by credit-rating agencies over the past year. As of early July 2017, compared to their peak values during the past decade, the utilities' shares had lost most of their value: RWE –82%, E.ON –87%, EDF –89%, Engie –75%.

    Ɇ In Asia, the share value of Japanese utility TEPCO, de facto nationalized after the Fukushima disaster, as of early July 2017, was still 89% below its February 2007 peak value. Toshiba, hit by the bankruptcy of its U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse, saw its share value shrink again to a quarter of its 2007 peak level. Chinese utility CGN, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange since December 2014, over the past year and a half never recovered from the 60 percent loss of its share value compared to the peak in June 2015. The Korean utility KEPCO, the only major nuclear utility to reach its peak share value in 2016, has lost 37% of its value over the past year following tariff cuts, increased operating expenses and the temporary shutdown of four reactors. The election of a new president exacerbates the situation.

    The German Singularity. Lower electricity and commodity prices, added to increased competition and the implementation of the country’s Energiewende have led private utilities RWE and E.ON to make the strategic choice to split themselves in two. They separated their generation and trading activities from network operations and renewables in an attempt to reduce their exposure to commodity price movements, while providing new growth opportunities and value creation. Following this, the German government set up an independent commission (KFK) to review the process. As a result, the German government created a sovereign nuclear waste fund to cover future storage costs, transferring the risk from operators to the government.

    A Low-Rate Environment. The positive effect from a lower cost of debt following the financial crisis had additional effects on nuclear operators. As in many cases nuclear generators are also operators on electricity networks, allowed returns have been revised downwards by regulators to avoid excessive gains. Moreover, lower interest rates imply that nuclear operators have to set aside more money today for future expected costs, increasing the total amount of provisions required.

    Sector Developments.

    Ɇ Emission Trading System (ETS) prices are near historical low levels, while new measures have been taken by the European Union to boost prices in the mid-term by reducing allowance supply. New trading systems are being implanted in the world similar to the European model to comply with COP21 agreements.

    Ɇ Power prices touched historical low levels in the first half of 2016, with a rebound on the second half, which continued in 2017. The increase has been driven by a rebound on coal prices added to capacity shortages in France due to a lower nuclear generation from reactor inspections concerning the AREVA manufacturing irregularities. The rebound should positively impact earnings from 2018 onwards, but profits in 2017 are expected to tighten further as most of the generation has already been contracted at a lower price level.

    Fukushima Status Report

    Six and a half years have passed since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accidents (Fukushima accident) were triggered by the East Japan Great Earthquake on 11 March 2011 (also referred to as 3/11 throughout the report). A number of onsite and offsite challenges have arisen since and remain significant today.

    Onsite Challenges. The latest revision (June 2016) of the government’s mid-and-long-term roadmap fixed new target dates, some of which, one year later, are already outdated.

    Ɇ Spent Fuel Removal. Spent fuel was to be removed from unit 3 in Financial Year (FY) 2017, but is now envisaged for the middle of 2018. Spent fuel removal from unit 1 was to be carried out by FY 2020 and is now scheduled for in 2021 at the earliest. No new timescale is available for unit 2.

    Ɇ Molten Fuel Removal. Radiation levels remain very high inside the reactor buildings and make human intervention impossible. Fuel debris removal at unit 1 has been delayed to start in 2021. A robot was introduced into unit 2, but it got stuck in debris. No conclusive video footage is available and it remains unknown where the molten fuel is actually located. A radiation dose level of 210 Sv/h has been measured close to the pressure vessel.

    Ɇ Contaminated Water Management. Every day, still over 200 m3 of water are injected into the three reactor cores to cool the molten fuel. The highly contaminated water runs out of the cracked containments into the basement where it mixes with water that has penetrated the basements from an underground river. A frozen soil wall that was designed to reduce the influx of water was commissioned at end of March 2016. Its effectiveness is limited and has reduced the influx of water only from 760 m3 to 580 m3 per day. The cumulated amount has increased by 100,000 m3 to 750,000 m3 over the past year. The commissioning of a dedicated bypass system and the pumping of groundwater has reduced the influx of water into the basements to about 130 m3 /day. An equivalent amount of water is decontaminated to some degree, but still contains very high levels of tritium (over 500,000 Bq/l) and is stored in large tanks.

    Ɇ Workers. About 8,000 workers per month are involved in decommissioning work. Several fatal accidents have occurred at the site. In December 2016, the Ministry of Health recognized, for the first time, recognized the thyroid cancer developed by a TEPCO employee in his forties as occupational disease.

    Offsite Challenges. The future of tens of thousands of evacuees, the assessment of health consequences of the disaster, the management of decontamination wastes and the costs involved range amongst the main offsite challenges.

    Evacuees and Compensation. According to government figures, the number of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture as of March 2017 was about 79,000 or less than half of almost 165,000 in May 2012. On 31 March/1 April 2017, the government lifted restriction orders for 32,000 people. According to a survey of residents' intentions conducted by the Reconstruction Agency, at the maximum only 18 percent of the households desired to return in each of three of the five municipalities located in the evacuation zones. The government has decided to terminate the monthly compensation of about US$900 per person by March 2018 for all evacuees, except for those from so-called difficult-to-return areas for which there is no plan to lift the evacuation order. Compensation for some 12,400 Fukushima-Prefecture households that evacuated voluntarily was terminated in March 2017. The social effects of this termination are severe.

    Health Issues. The controversy around health effects, especially thyroid cancer, continues. At present, the number of cancer cases found in children is about 30 times that of the national average. The official survey consistently stated that “it cannot be concluded whether or not the incidences of thyroid cancer found in the examination are due to exposure from the Fukushima accident.” This implies that a causal effect cannot be excluded.

    Decontamination. By the end of March 2017, 22,000 residential areas, 8,500 hectares (ha) of farmland, 5,800 ha of forest and 1,400 ha of roads had been "decontaminated". While the Environment Ministry claims dose rate reductions at 1 m above ground between 61% on roads and 71% on residential land, the effectiveness of these measures remains questionable, especially in the case of wooded areas that have only been decontaminated up to a radius of roughly 20 m around homes.

    Cost of the Accidents. Official cost estimates have doubled over the years and increased by one third over the past year to reach about US$200 billion, of which 36% each for decommissioning and compensation, 18% for decontamination and the remaining 10% for interim storage of waste. A new independent assessment has put the cost at US$444–630 billion (depending on the level of water decontamination).

    Small Modular Reactors (SMR)

    WNISR2017 provides an update of the 2015 assessment of the status of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) programs around the world. While some design went to the construction phase with one reactor in China scheduled for startup in 2018, global interest in the technologies has faded. Some of the most promising designs (SMART in South Korea and mPower in the U.S.) have not found any buyers. While SMRs were meant to solve the size issues (capacity and investment) of large nuclear plants, they are affected by the general decline in interest in nuclear new-build.

    Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy Deployment

    Investment and Installed Capacity. After an all-time high of over US$310 billion in 2015, global investment in new renewable energy based electricity generating capacity dropped to about US$240 billion. However, the 23-percent fall in investment volume mainly reflects the rapid reduction in costs per GW as total renewable capacities installed in 2016 (excluding large hydro) added up to 138.5 GW, more than 127.5 GW the year before. Renewables accounted for 62% of additions to global power generating capacity.

    China remains the largest investor with US$78 billion, doubled its solar capacity to a cumulated 78 GW and added 20 GW of wind power capacity to reach just under 150 GW in total, more than all of Europe combined. This compares with China's addition of 4.6 GW of nuclear capacity in 2016 to reach a total of 32 GW.

    Net global increase of nuclear capacity in 2016 was 9 GW—vs. a record 75 GW for solar and 55 GW for wind—and was limited to 3 GW over the year since July 2016.

    Since 2000, countries have added 451 GW of wind energy and 301 GW of solar energy to power grids around the world, which dwarfs the increase of only 36 GW, including all reactors in LTO status, in nuclear power capacity over the same period. Taking into account the fact that 36 GW of nuclear power were in LTO as of the end of 2016, and thus not operating, the current nuclear capacity is just the same as in 2000.

    Electricity Generation. Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K.—a list that includes three of the world’s four largest economies—all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear power.

    In 2016, annual growth rates for global generation from solar was 30 percent, for wind power almost 16 percent, and for nuclear power 1.4 percent, exclusively due to China.

    Compared to 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol on climate change was signed, in 2016 an additional 948 TWh of wind power was produced globally and 332 TWh of solar photovoltaics electricity, compared to nuclear’s additional 212 TWh.

    In China, as in every year since 2012, electricity production from wind alone (241 TWh), exceeded that from nuclear (198 TWh) in 2016. The same phenomenon is seen in India, where wind power (45 TWh) outpaced nuclear (35 TWh) again. In fact, while annual Indian nuclear power generation increased by 5 TWh since 2014, solar power alone added 7.5 TWh over those two years.

    The figures for the European Union illustrate the rapid decline of the role of nuclear: during 1997–2014, wind produced an additional 293 TWh and solar 111 TWh, while nuclear power generation declined by 82 TWh.

    Record Low-Price Levels. New renewables come in cheaper than operating and maintenance costs of existing nuclear power plants. Renewable energy auctions achieved record low prices at and below US$30/MWh in Chile, Mexico, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. In comparison, average generating costs of amortized nuclear power plants in the U.S., about one quarter of the world's nuclear fleet, stood at US$35.5 in 2015.

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    QUICK NEWS, October 17: Top 5 Climate Change Solutions; EVs To Lead By 2030; Diversity In Solar

    Top 5 Climate Change Solutions Top 5 things to reverse global warming

    Anna Wolfe, October 15, 2017 (Clarion-Ledger via USA Today)

    “…[Reversing global warming] will take a coordinated effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, like carbon dioxide, while deploying measures to draw down and capture carbon, like building more forests…[according to the analysis in Paul Hawken’s Drawdown. Its top five proposals are 5-tropical] forest restoration…[4-shifitng] to a diet of mostly plants…[can reduce] emissions by more than 66 gigatons…[3-using the wasted food that] drives roughly 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions…[2-increasing onshore wind from roughly 3 percent of the world's electricity to 21.6 by 2050,] would result in a reduction of carbon emissions of 84.6 gigatons…[1-changing to refrigeration technology that eliminates] HFCs, the primary chemical used now, because it has] an up to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide…” click here for more

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    EVs To Lead By 2030 World petrol demand 'likely to peak by 2030 as electric car sales rise'; Wood Mackenzie predicts global oil growth will plateau about 2035 – earlier than some previous forecasts

    Adam Vaughan, 16 October 2017 (UK Guardian)

    “…[Beyond 2025, as battery-powered cars go mainstream, global oil gasoline demand will peak, according to The rise and fall of black gold; When will peak oil demand strike?]…The UK and France have recently said they will phase out sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. China, the world’s biggest car market, is mulling a similar move, which would have a significant impact on oil demand…Of the 96m barrels of oil consumed globally each day, 60m are used for transport…[The researchers say] countries that rely strongly on tax income from fuel duty, such as the £28bn the tax brings in for the UK each year, falling gasoline demand will pose a challenge for governments...Battery-powered cars are expected to have a bigger impact later…” click here for more

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    Diversity In Solar Making Solar Accessible For All: Key Takeaways From The Industry Diversity Study

    Pari Kasotia and Melanie Santiago-Mosier, October 16, 2017 (Solar Industry)

    “…While the solar industry performs better than most other industries [on diversity], tremendous room for improvement remains…[to increase] solar access to all communities and individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, household income, geographic localities or any other factors that have historically constrained their participation in the solar industry, both as a solar professional and a solar consumer…[2017 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study shows an upward trend in access to solar but growth among people of color] has remained relatively stagnant over recent years…Findings also show that people of color lag behind in gaining management and executive-level positions, as well as in earning wages at the highest wage bracket. The findings are gravest for women of color, who are grossly excluded from the highest-wage category…” click here for more

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    Monday, October 16, 2017

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

    Stacked Benefits: Comprehensively Valuing Battery Storage in California

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

    Executive Summary


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


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

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

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

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

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

    Key Findings

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

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

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

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

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

    Addressing Barriers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Giles Parkinson, 16 October 2017 ReNew Economy)

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

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    Saturday, October 14, 2017

    Bloomberg To Colbert – New Energy Is The Answer

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

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    Global New Energy Keeps Coming On

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

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    The Long Reach Of New Energy

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

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    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Why Geoengineering Comes With Big Risks

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

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

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

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    The Immense Potential Of Ocean Wind

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

    Chris Mooney, October 9, 2017 (Washington Post)

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

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    The Best Place To Build New Energy Is China – Survey

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

    Craig Richard, 10 October 2017 (Windpower Monthly)

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

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    Japan’s Mitsubishi Sees EV Price Beating Gas Cars

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

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

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

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    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    Big Work Now Ahead On Climate Change

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

    Ryan Cooper, October 11, 2017 (The Week)

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

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    New Energy Ready To Take Over In The New South

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

    October 10, 2017 (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

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

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    How The Ocean Can Store New Energy

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

    John Liljelund, 4 October 2017 (ReCharge News)

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

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

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    Indiana Nun Fights For Solar

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

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

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

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    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Survey Shows Utilities Expect New Energy Expansion

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

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

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

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

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

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