NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

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

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

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: Al Franken Explains Climate Science To Secretary Perry
  • Weekend Video: John Oliver On Coal Jobs Absurdishness
  • Weekend Video: Coal King Sues John Oliver For Defamation
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Al Gore On The Morality Of The Climate Fight
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Solar In Latin America Can Boom
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Scotland Buys Into Kite Wind
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Tesla Eyes The China EV Market
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, June 22:

  • TTTA Thursday-What Does Exxon’s Carbon Tax Mean?
  • TTTA Thursday-The Rump Flails Factlessly At Wind
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy To Get Bigger And Cheaper
  • TTTA Thursday-EVs To Be Cost-Competitive By 2025
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Big Bonus From Plugging Cars In
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What About Nuclear?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Renewables Mandate To Beat The Peak
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Global New Energy Now
  • QUICK NEWS, June 20: What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 1)?; What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 2)?; New Energy Is NO Threat To U.S, Grid
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Why The U.S. Needs A Western Energy Market
  • QUICK NEWS, June 19: More Artists Join The Climate Fight; U.S. Power Just Hit 10% Wind And Solar; The Dangers Of Oil And Gas Drilling, Detailed
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

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

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

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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

    -------------------

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

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, June 26:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Proven – New Energy Is NO Threat To The Power System
  • QUICK NEWS, June 26: What Climate Change Really Means; New Energy Now Bigger Than Nuclear; The Rump Angers Iowa With Ignorant Wind Remarks

    Monday, June 26, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Proven – New Energy Is NO Threat To The Power System

    Electricity Markets, Reliability and the Evolving U.S. Power System

    Paul Hibbard Susan Tierney Katherine Franklin, June 2017 (Analysis Group)

    Executive Summary

    It is a common occurrence for the issue of reliability to be raised when market, technology or policy changes are affecting the financial outlook of different segments of the electric industry. This phenomenon has occurred several times over the past two decades, as the prospect of new industry and market structures, technological advancement, air pollution controls and customer-driven changes stood to alter the operations and economics of various types of power plants on the electric system. Sometimes these warnings spring from genuine concerns, such as the need to address the localized reliability impacts of potential plant closures; other times they reflect a first line of defense by opponents of the changes underway in the industry.

    Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like existing coal and nuclear units) and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability. In addition, some have suggested that federal and state policies supporting renewable energy are the primary cause of the decline in financial viability. The evidence does not support either hypothesis.

    There is little doubt that the transition under way in the industry will lead to a power system resource mix and consumption patterns quite different from the ones to which the industry has grown accustomed in recent decades. The ongoing diversification of generation supply (See Figure 1) has lowered wholesale electricity costs in most parts of the U.S. and has contributed to recent declines in consumers’ overall cost of living.

    Yet the nature and pace of change have raised two fundamental questions in public debates among electric industry participants, regulators, stakeholders and practitioners:

    First, what exactly are the primary drivers of the transition underway in the electric industry?

    Second, are the changes impacting the mix of generating resources in a way that could undermine power system reliability?

    In this Report we evaluate both questions. Based on our review, we arrive at the following observations and conclusions:

    1. Market Forces are Driving the Change in the Generation Mix, to the Benefit of Consumers

     Fundamental market forces -- the addition of highly efficient new gas-fired resources, low natural gas prices, and flat demand for electricity -- are primarily responsible for altering the profitability of many older merchant generating assets in the parts of the country with wholesale competitive markets administered by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs). As a result, some of these resources (mostly coal- and natural gas-fired generating units, but also many oil-fired power plants and a handful of nuclear power plants) have retired from the system or announced that they will do so at a future date.

     Other factors -- such as rapid growth in newer energy technologies (whose costs have declined significantly in recent years), and state policies and consumers’ actions that support such technologies -- also contribute to reducing the profitability of less economic assets. These are, however, a distant second to market fundamentals in causing financial pressure on merchant plants without long-term power contracts. In the PJM regional market, which accounts for a large share of the nation’s coal plant retirements, decreases in natural gas prices have had a much larger impact on the profitability of conventional generators than the growth of renewable energy, as illustrated in Figure 2.

     The retirement of aging resources is a natural element of efficient and competitive market forces, and where markets are performing well, these retirements mainly represent the efficient exit of uncompetitive assets, resulting in long-run consumer benefits.

    2. The Transition Underway in the Electric Resource Mix is Not Harming Reliability

     Although some commentators have raised concerns that the declining financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies (like coal and nuclear power plants) that operate as merchant units in several wholesale electricity markets may be jeopardizing electric system reliability, there is no evidence supporting that conclusion. In fact, a recent reliability review by the National Electric Reliability Council (NERC) -- the nation’s designated reliability organization - - shows that the changes in regional wholesale markets are not leading to lower bulk-power system reliability metrics.

     Many advanced energy technologies can and do provide reliability benefits by increasing the diversity of the system. The addition of newer, more technologically advanced and more efficient natural gas and renewable technologies is rendering the power systems in this country more, rather than less, diverse. These newer generating resources are also contributing to the varied reliability services -- such frequency and voltage management, ramping and loadfollowing capabilities, provision of contingency and replacement reserves, black start capability, and sufficient electricity output to meet demand at all times -- that electric grids require to provide electric service to consumers on an around-the-clock basis. As a result, increasing quantities of natural gas and renewable generation are increasing the diversity of the power system and supporting continued reliable operations.

    Introduction and Overview

    A common occurrence in the electric industry is for observers to raise reliability concerns when policy changes -- combined with technology or market trends -- are affecting or may affect the financial outlook for different segments of the electric industry. This phenomenon has occurred several times over the past two decades. Such concerns about electric system reliability were voiced in the mid- 1990s, for example, when changes in efficient co-generation technologies, combined with high rates in certain states, led large industrial customers to call for retail choice and many states to begin to restructure the industry. Such concerns were raised when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states began to implement Title IV of the Clean Air Act, which controlled sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants. More recent examples include the debates over reliability impacts in the period leading up to EPA’s adoption of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS) and the Clean Power Plan, all of which would have affected air emissions from various fossil-fuel power plants.

    The maintenance of power system reliability is a fundamental necessity for the protection of public safety, health and welfare, as well as to support the nation's economy and standard of living. Expressions of concern over power system reliability are thus common whenever there is major change underway or anticipated in the industry. Sometimes the warnings spring from genuine concerns, such as the need to address localized reliability impacts of potential plant closures; other times they reflect a first line of defense by opponents of the changes underway in the industry, or those potentially adversely affected.

    There are many sound reasons why policy and/or market changes rarely, if ever, actually end up adversely affecting electric system reliability. A vast network of entities and organizations, and a robust set of reliability laws, rules, practices, and procedures, ensures this outcome. Nevertheless, these discussions play an important role in focusing the attention of the industry on taking the steps necessary to continue to ensure reliable electric service to Americans.

    Over the past decade, the electric industry has witnessed significant transitions. The changes result from a combination of forces: dramatic increases in the production of domestic natural gas and the resulting decreases in the price of natural gas; displacement of coal-fired generation with output at gas-fired power plants that had previously been underutilized; flat demand for electricity; continued improvements in the efficiency, capabilities, and costs of new gas-fired generating technologies and of both grid-connected and distributed solar and wind generation; widespread and growing adoption of small-scale, decentralized generating technologies on customers’ premises; requirements that coal plants without adequate controls on mercury and other toxic pollutants adopt modern equipment; and other forces. These changes have lowered wholesale electricity costs in most parts of the U.S., and have contributed to recent declines in consumers’ overall cost of living.

    These changes challenge the economics of older fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants in many parts of the country and are driving a steady transition in the nation's resource mix towards more gas-fired and renewable resources. This raises two fundamental questions that have found their way into the discourse among electric industry participants, regulators, stakeholders, and practitioners:

    First, what exactly are the primary drivers of the transition underway in the industry?

    Second, are the changes impacting the mix of generating resources in a way that could undermine power system reliability?

    This Report attempts to answer both questions. Regarding the first question, we review the fundamental economic and policy factors that affect the profitability of various types of generating sources competing in today's electricity markets. Further, we show how various factors -- changing fuel costs, demand for electricity and various policies -- have influenced the evolving resource mix in various regions. This analysis is presented in Sections III and IV.

    Next, we review the evolving resource mix through the lens of power system reliability. This section evaluates the specific contributions of various technologies -- dispatchable and non-dispatchable power plants offering slow-ramping and quick-ramping capabilities, and so forth -- to providing the essential reliability services needed to keep the lights on. We evaluate whether the overall mix of resources resulting from economic and regulatory drivers may somehow degrade power system reliability. This review is presented in Sections V and VI.

    Finally, in Section VII we present our observations based on the analysis…

    Observations and Conclusions

    While the nation's mix of electric generating resources has always changed over time, it is increasingly evident that the U.S. electric power system is now going through a major transition. The current changes have been driven by several things: fundamental shifts in the prices of fuels for power generation (in particular, natural gas); improvements in traditional and renewable generating technology cost and performance; the rapid emergence of distributed resources including energy efficiency; and state and federal policies promoting the development and commercialization of advanced energy technologies.

    These changes take place in the context of some important continuities: the electric industry’s successful maintenance of power system reliability. Even so, a common occurrence in the industry is for observers to raise reliability concerns whenever technology, market or policy trends or events are affecting or may affect the balance of resources on the system. Such reliability concerns have been raised regularly over decades in the face of industry changes. It is a particularly powerful tool in public discussions, because reliability simply cannot be jeopardized. Sometimes the warnings spring from genuine concerns, such as the need to address localized reliability impacts of potential plant closures; other times they reflect a first line of defense by opponents of the changes underway in the industry, or those potentially adversely affected. Yet in every case, the prospect of change has led to reliability assessments, careful evaluations of new and upcoming challenges, and steps taken to avoid reliability problems from actually coming to fruition.

    There are many sound reasons why policy and/or market changes rarely if ever actually end up adversely affecting electric system reliability. A vast network of entities and organizations, combined with a complex set of reliability laws, rules, practices, and procedures, ensures this outcome. Nevertheless, these discussions play an important role in focusing the attention of the industry on taking the steps necessary to continue to ensure reliable electric service to Americans.

    There is little doubt that the transition under way in the industry will lead us to a power system resource mix and consumption patterns quite different from what the industry has grown accustomed to in recent decades. The recent changes result from a combination of forces, have lowered wholesale electricity costs in most parts of the U.S., and have contributed to recent declines in consumers’ overall cost of living. Yet the nature and pace of change have raised two fundamental questions in public debates among electric industry participants, regulators, stakeholders and practitioners:

    First, what exactly are the primary drivers of the transition underway in the electric industry?

    Second, are the changes impacting the mix of generating resources in a way that could undermine power system reliability? In this Report we have evaluated both questions. Based on our review, we arrive at the following observations and conclusions:

     Fundamental market forces -- flat demand for electricity, low natural gas prices and the addition of highly efficient new gas-fired resources -- are primarily responsible for altering the profitability of many older, merchant generating assets in the parts of the country with wholesale competitive markets administered by RTOs. As a result, many such resources (mostly coal- and natural gas-fired generating units, but also many oil-fired power plants and a handful of nuclear power plants as well) have retired from the system or announced that they will do so at a future date.

     Other factors -- such as rapid growth in advanced energy technologies and state policies supporting such technologies -- also contribute to reducing the profitability of less economic assets, but such factors are secondary to market fundamentals in causing financial pressure on merchant plants without long-term power contracts.

     The retirement of aging resources is a natural element of efficient and competitive market forces, and where markets are performing well, these retirements mainly represent the efficient exit of uncompetitive assets, and will lead to lower electricity prices for consumers over time.

     Recently, some observers have raised concerns that the transition prompted by market and policy factors may be undermining the financial viability of certain existing generating units that use conventional power plant technologies (like coal and nuclear power plants) that provide ‘baseload’ power supply, and in so doing, may be jeopardizing electric system reliability. There is no evidence supporting that conclusion. In fact many advanced energy technologies can and do provide reliability benefits by increasing the diversity of the system and by providing important reliability services to the grid. The addition of newer, technologically advanced, and more efficient natural gas and renewable technologies is rendering the power systems in this country more, rather than less, diverse. The evolving power system is tending to increase fuel diversity, technology diversity, size diversity, and geographic diversity of power supply. NERC's own analysis suggests that the trend in reliability performance is increasing rather than decreasing in all regions. Further, newer generating resources are contributing diverse reliability services, too: frequency and voltage management, ramping and load following capabilities, provision of contingency and replacement reserves, and black start capability. Given the many attributes associated with a reliable electric system, the term "baseload resources" is an outdated term in today’s electric system which sees gas-fired resources and renewable capacity together capable of providing both around-the-clock power and the flexibility to cycle and ramp as needed to meet and sustain bulk power system reliability objectives.

     The electric system will inevitably continue to change in the future as it has in the past, as new technologies and investments come about through innovation, market forces, consumer preferences, and policy signals and directives from states and the federal government. As this occurs, it will be important to continuously evaluate the reliability implications of a power system that is transforming in truly fundamental ways. Fortunately, existing FERC, NERC, ISO/RTO, state, and utility planning and regulatory functions ensure that evaluation will occur and that reliability will be maintained.

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    QUICK NEWS, June 26: What Climate Change Really Means; New Energy Now Bigger Than Nuclear; The Rump Angers Iowa With Ignorant Wind Remarks

    What Climate Change Really Means How Climate Change Will Transform the Way We Live

    Laura Entis, June 25, 2017 (Fortune Magazine)

    “…[Nearly 50 flights out of Phoenix were cancelled as the heat rose past the airline’s 118 degrees maximum operating temperature…It’s difficult not to connect the delays to climate change—scientists estimate the planet’s overall temperature has increased by 1.8 degrees since preindustrial times. Last year was the hottest on record, followed by 2015, followed by 2014…[Here are a few other ways scientists expect climate change to] impact day-to-day life in the U.S. within the next century…[S]ummer will take place indoors…[because it will be] unsafe to go outside for extended periods of time…Roads and train tracks will melt and buckle under the heat…Those with resources, particularly residents of first-world countries, will be spared the most serious repercussions, at least at first. But for the billions of poor people living in developing nations, global warming has already proven deadly...[Scientists urge action, even if it’s minor things like driving less, turning down your thermostat, or reducing your meat intake, because we] can’t afford to not think this is a problem…” click here for more

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    New Energy Now Bigger Than Nuclear Renewables Now Provide More Electricity Than Nuclear Power; 2nd Month In A Row: Solar + Wind Top 10%, Now Surpassing Hydropower…

    June 25, 2017 (Sun Day)

    “…[F]or the first time since the beginning of the nuclear era - renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar - inc. small-scale PV, wind) are now providing a greater share of the nation's electrical generation than nuclear power…For the first third of this year, renewables and nuclear power have been running neck-in-neck with renewables providing 20.20% of U.S. net electrical generation during the four-month period (January - April) compared to 20.75% for nuclear power. But in March and April, renewables surpassed nuclear power and have taken a growing lead: 21.60% (renewables) vs. 20.34% (nuclear) in March, and 22.98% (renewables) vs. 19.19% (nuclear) in April…While renewables and nuclear are each likely to continue to provide roughly one-fifth of the nation's electricity generation in the near-term, the trend line clearly favors a rapidly expanding market share by renewables. Electrical output by renewables during the first third of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 has increased by 12.1% whereas nuclear output has dropped by 2.9%...In fact, nuclear capacity has declined over the last four years…” click here for more

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    The Rump Angers Iowa With Ignorant Wind Remarks Trump made Iowans really mad by ranting about wind energy

    Jeva Lange, June 23, 2017 (The Week)

    “…[The president] is a little bit obsessed with the evils of wind energy, a topic that did not go over so well at his rally in Iowa…where the rapid growth of the state's wind energy industry has been a bipartisan success story…[E]nvironmentalists and politicians said the president's suggestion that wind is unreliable was outdated and off-base…Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), a longtime supporter of wind energy in his state, said that [the president’s] anti-wind ambitions would only be enacted ‘over my dead body’…[And the president’s ignorant remarks about wind’s threat to bald eagles were completely uninformed. Just 134,000 to 327,000 birds of any kind] die in wind turbine collisions annually compared to a minimum of 365 million that die from collisions with windows of towering buildings like urban hotels]…” click here for more

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    Saturday, June 24, 2017

    Al Franken Explains Climate Science To Secretary Perry

    Sen. Franken reveals Energy Secretary Perry as the dolt he is on climate science. “100% of peer-reviewed scientists have reached the consensus that this is happening.” From Reflect via YouTube

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    John Oliver On Coal Jobs Absurdishness

    The sad truth about the coal lies this president is selling, told in a funny way. From Last Week Tonight With John Oliver via YouTube

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    Coal King Sues John Oliver For Defamation

    A few relevant facts about why John Oliver called out King Coal. From Washington Post via YouTube

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    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Al Gore On The Morality Of The Climate Fight

    Al Gore: battle against climate change is like fight against slavery; Former US vice-president says green revolution is bigger than industrial revolution and happening at faster pace than digital revolution

    Damian Carrington, 21 June 2017 (UK Guardian)

    “The fight against global warming is one of humanity’s great moral movements, alongside the abolition of slavery, the defeat of apartheid, votes for women and gay rights, according to the former US vice-president and climate campaigner, Al Gore…The battle to halt climate change can be won, he said, because the green revolution delivering clean energy is both bigger than the industrial revolution and happening faster than the digital revolution…Gore has played a major global role in raising awareness of the dangers of climate change…[His] new film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is released this summer…Gore told his London audience he was optimistic of success, despite the recent US withdrawal from the global Paris climate accord [because no] one person can stop the climate movement or the sustainability revolution…” click here for more

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    Solar In Latin America Can Boom

    Shaping the Future of Solar Energy in Latin America; Solarplaza and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) convened over 150 international investors, project developers and solar energy experts from more than 30 countries

    23 June 2017 (Solarplaza)

    “Solarplaza and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) convened over 150 international investors, project developers and solar energy experts from more than 30 countries…The IIC, a member of the IDB Group, has pioneered large-scale solar PV energy financing in Latin America and the Caribbean and plans to approve $1 billion in energy deals in 2017…[Attendees explored strategies to overcome financing hurdles to] bankable solar PV projects…[and] shape the future of solar power in the region…[Since IIC started working with Chile in 2008, it has gone from less than 20 MW to 4,000 MW of non-conventional renewable energy…[The IIC has] 16 solar energy projects outstanding in the region valued at over $500 million…” click here for more

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    Scotland Buys Into Kite Wind

    Scottish bank invests in Kite’s novel technology for wind energy sector

    23 June 2017 (Energy Business Review)

    “Kite Power Systems (KPS), a UK-based company developing a disruptive technology for the wind energy sector has secured a £2m equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB)…The company’s new kite power technology developed in Scotland is claimed to have the potential to transform the offshore wind generation industry throughout the world…[with] low manufacturing costs and lesser requirement of construction and installation materials…Its power system comprises two kites which have the ability to fly up to a height of 1500ft. By using tethers, the kites are attached to a winch system that produces electricity as it spools out…KPS has been carrying out flight tests of its 40kW system in Scotland…[and got] planning consent for the deployment of a new 500kW power system…[I]ts power technology can be deployed both offshore and onshore. Power generation through its kite technology would not need subsidies from governments owing to the lower capital and operational costs it is associated with…[SIB joins E.ON, Schlumberger, and Shell Technology Ventures with a total investment of £7m]...” click here for more

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    Tesla Eyes The China EV Market

    Tesla moves a step closer to building electric cars in China

    Norihiko Shirouzu and Paul Lienert w/Jake Spring, Marguerita Choy, Bernadette Baum, June 22, 2017 (Reuters)

    “…[Tesla’s exploratory talks with the Shanghai municipal government moves it] a step closer toward establishing an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in China…Tesla has said it wants to build electric cars in China to avoid a 25-percent tariff on imported vehicles…[but has not provided] a timeline for setting up a China plant…China's central government requires foreign companies such as Tesla to have a Chinese partner in new auto manufacturing ventures, with the foreign company owning no more than 50 percent...Tesla did not say which companies it might partner with, sparking rampant online speculation…[about] Shanghai Electric Group Co (601727.SS), Shanghai Lingang Holdings Co (600848.SS) and Tianjin Motor Dies Co (002510.SZ)…Much of the speculation has centered on Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), the internet giant that is China's largest company. Earlier this year, Tencent acquired a five-percent stake in Tesla for $1.8 billion…” click here for more

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    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    What Does Exxon’s Carbon Tax Mean?

    Groups Slam Exxon for Deceptive Support of Carbon Tax Plan

    Lorraine Chow, 20 June 2017 (EcoWatch)

    “Environmental organizations are calling foul on a carbon tax and dividend plan supported by ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and other influential businesses, individuals and organizations…[The Climate Leadership Council, developed by former cabinet members James Baker and George Shultz, would] fight climate change by taxing carbon emissions and then redirecting that levy to taxpayers…[But the free market, conservative climate solution also calls for rolling back] Obama-era climate regulations and shields polluting companies from lawsuits over their contribution to climate change…[Environmentalists say Exxon backs the carbon tax proposal because it knows it is politically non-viable and is a distraction] from the ongoing investigations into whether the company lied to the public and its investors about climate change…” click here for more

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    The Rump Flails Factlessly At Wind

    Trump attacks wind power in state that gets nearly third of energy from wind

    Jacqueline Thomsen, June 21, 2017 (The Hill)

    “…[The President ignorantly blasted wind power during a rally in Iowa, which gets] nearly a third of its power from the alternative energy source…[He said he was bringing back coal because he does not] want to ‘just hope the wind blows’ and did not mention that Iowa gets over 36% of its electricity and over 8,000 jobs from wind…During last November’s election campaign, the rump told Iowans ‘wind kills all your birds’ despite the fact that wind causes less than 0.01% of human-related bird impacts and is the least impactful on wildlife of all utility-scale forms of power generation…” click here for more

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    New Energy To Get Bigger And Cheaper

    Solar and wind energy set to get cheaper

    Denisse Moreno, 21 June 2017 (International Business Times via Raw Story)

    “…[Solar energy costs will fall] 66 percent by 2040…[as onshore costs] decrease by 47 percent…[and offshore wind costs plunge] by 71 percent…The decrease in the cost of solar and wind power will undercut the majority of existing fossil power stations by 2030… [A new forecast] predicts $7.4 trillion will be invested in new renewable energy plants by 2040…[which is] nearly three-quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology…Solar power is expected to be cheaper than coal in China, India, Mexico, the U.K. and Brazil by 2021…[Coal will] see a 51 percent reduction in generation by 2040. In its place, gas-fired electricity will rise 22 percent, and renewables 169 percent…” click here for more

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    EVs To Be Cost-Competitive By 2025

    Electric cars will cost less to buy than regular cars by 2025: analysis

    Sean Szymkowski, June 21, 2017 (Green Car Reports)

    “…[Electric vehicles have a number of strikes against them in the minds on consumers, including range anxiety, the lack of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, awareness,] and high purchase prices…[But a new study forecasts EVs will cost less than a normal, gasoline-powered car] as soon as the year 2025…[The biggest factor will be the plummeting price of batteries which, by 2030,] is expected to have decreased 77 percent…By next year, the lifetime cost of ownership in Europe of an electric car is expected to dip below a conventional, internal-combustion engine vehicle…[and 14 percent of new car sales are forecast to] be electrified vehicles in 2025…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Big Bonus From Plugging Cars In

    How California utility regulators are turning electric vehicles into grid resources; Harnessing the power of electric vehicles will be critical to the state’s renewable energy and climate goals, but big questions remain about how to spur adoption

    Herman K. Trabish, Nov. 21, 2016 (Utlity Dive)

    Editor’s note: California is leaving other states in its dust as it moves to capitalize on electric vehicles.

    New numbers show California’s peak demand will stress its grid more than previously thought, and in response policymakers are pushing ahead with an unexpected solution: electric vehicles. In 2015, California’s grid needed as much as 10,091 MW of quick-responding resources to meet a three-hour load spike in the late afternoon and early evening. As soon as 2019, that demand spike could be almost 14,000 MW, according to a recently-released report from analyst ScottMadden. Using natural gas peaker plants to meet that load would impede the state’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And stationary storage, even with California's landmark storage mandate fully met, would provide insufficient ramping capacity. But electric vehicles (EVs) — already a benefit to utilities for the power demand they provide — could offer the grid something more.

    If EV sales rise fast enough to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of putting 1.5 million zero emissions vehicles into service by 2025, EV battery storage could be an answer to the challenge of peak demand, according to a paper from California’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle regulatory proceeding. According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) white paper, EV batteries plugged into smart charging stations can be “fast acting resources” to meet grid needs nicknamed the “duck curve” because a theoretical graph of them devised in 2011 looked like a duck, with the sharp, late-day ramp up in load as the neck. The need to respond to that fast ramp is now more than theoretical. EVs plugged into smart charging stations are flexible load, especially with electricity price signals that influence when and how charging is done. Utilities can use that flexibility instead of natural gas peaker plants to manage the duck… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: What About Nuclear?

    Without the Clean Power Plan, are nuclear plants essential to combat climate change?; A new report sees emissions skyrocketing if nukes retire, but PG&E says that's not a given

    Herman K. Trabish, Nov. 30, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Since this story ran, the new administration’s disdain for the environment has become clearer, making the question raised here more important.

    Renewables and distributed resources can help the U.S. significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. But a big debate remains over the role of nuclear power in that transition, especially without the Clean Power Plan. A 100% renewables power mix without nuclear is possible for nearly every nation by 2050, according to Stanford professor Mark Jacobson's Solutions Project. But renowned climatologist James Hansen, billionaire Bill Gates, and a roster of other voices say only an energy mix that includes nuclear power can beat climate change. A new paper from Rhodium Group found the closure of the most vulnerable nuclear plants in the U.S. fleet will likely drive greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) up in 2030, despite a renewables boom.

    In the face of higher operating costs and lower electricity prices, the economic viability of the nation's nuclear fleet — supplier of 19% of U.S. electricity — is now increasingly in doubt. Older plants are being scheduled for retirement when operators say they could be authorized to run decades longer. If that happens, the paper finds, greenhouse gas emissions will rise, particularly if the Trump administration throws out the Clean Power Plan, as expected. Nuclear advocates say keeping the vulnerable plants going is the only practical choice. California, as usual, has a different idea. Its climate and energy policies are making baseload generation less relevant and less economic and placing an increasing premium on flexible generation… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Renewables Mandate To Beat The Peak

    New Arizona proposal seeks to mandate renewable generation during peak demand hours; A fix to the renewables mandate floated by the state’s consumer advocate would require wind and solar to deliver power when electricity use is highest

    Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 9, 2016 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: California lawmakers recently added this breakthrough concept to their agenda. And insiders say New York is considering the same step.

    An unprecedented proposal from Arizona’s consumer advocate on how to improve the state’s renewables mandate could be a policy whose time has come throughout the nation. Evolving the RPS: A Clean Peak Standard for a Smarter Renewable Future by Arizona’s Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) would enhance a state’s renewables mandate by adding a mandate for renewables to meet peak demand. While the idea is new, its immediate relevance to grid needs across the nation is already attracting attention of regulators, utilities, and important private sector players in other states.

    The Clean Peak Standard (CPS) adds more renewables, but it adds renewables when the system most needs capacity so it uses renewables to deal with system cost drivers and saves ratepayers money when electricity prices are highest. Peak power needs can be met by pairing renewable energy with storage or designing wind and solar facilities to deliver power at certain times. The CPS concept is intended to provide that incentive. If it works, it could reduce the system’s need for conventional generation at peak times and eliminate costs for delivering it. It would provide a boost not only for renewables, but for storage and distributed energy companies. Tesla, fresh off its acquisition of SolarCity, endorsed the concept… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: Global New Energy Now

    New Energy Outlook 2017; Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual long term economic forecast of the world’s power sector June 2017 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

    Executive Summary

    • Global power demand grows by 58% between now and 2040, or 2% per year. Growth in power demand increasingly decouples from GDP, however – we expect the intensity of electricity consumption per unit of GDP to fall by 27% over 2016-40.

    • We expect $10.2 trillion to be invested in new power generation capacity worldwide to 2040. Of this, 72% goes to renewables, or $7.4 trillion. Solar takes $2.8 trillion and wind $3.3 trillion. Investment in renewable energy increases to around $400 billion per year by 2040, a 2-3% average annual increase. Investment in wind grows faster than solar – wind increasing 3.4% and solar 2.3% per year on average.

    • Wind and solar account for 48% of installed capacity and 34% of electricity generation world-wide by 2040. This is compared with just 12% and 5% today. Installed solar capacity increases 14-fold and wind capacity fourfold by 2040. We anticipate renewable energy reaching 74% penetration in Germany, 38% in the U.S., 55% in China and 49% in India by 2040 as batteries and new sources of flexibility bolster the reach of renewables.

    • The levelized cost of new electricity from solar PV drops by 66% by 2040. By then, a dollar will buy 2.3 times as much solar energy than it does today. The levelized cost of new electricity from onshore wind drops 47% by 2040, thanks to more efficient turbines and streamlined operating and maintenance procedures.

    • Onshore wind costs fall fast, but offshore falls faster. We expect the levelized cost of offshore wind to decline 71% by 2040, helped by development experience, competition and reduced risk, and economies of scale resulting from larger projects and bigger turbines.

    • Consumer-driven PV becomes a significant part of the power sector. By 2040, rooftop PV will account for as much as 24% of electricity generation in Australia, 20% in Brazil, 15% in Germany, 12% in Japan, and 5% in the U.S. and India.

    • Electric vehicles bolster electricity use and help balance the grid. In Europe and the U.S., EVs account for 13% and 12% respectively of electricity generation by 2040. Charging EVs flexibly, when renewables are generating and wholesale prices are low, will help the system adapt to intermittent solar and wind. The growth of EVs pushes the cost of lithium-ion batteries down 73% by 2030.

    • We expect lithium-ion batteries for energy storage to become a $20 billion per year market by 2040, a tenfold increase from today. Small-scale batteries installed by households and businesses alongside PV systems accounts for 57% of installed storage capacity worldwide by 2040.

    • By 2030, wind and PV start to undercut existing coal plants on an operational basis in some countries, prompting an acceleration in the deployment of renewables and the decline of coal generation. Only 35% of new coal power plants that are in planning ever get built. That means 369GW of projects stand to be cancelled and global demand for thermal coal in 2040 ends up 15% lower than in 2016.

    • Global coal-fired power generation peaks in 2026. Growth in coal demand is centred on Asia, but is offset by sharp declines in Europe and the U.S. Coal-fired generation in China is set to peak within the next 10 years.

    • Gas is a transition fuel, but not in the way most people think. Gas-fired capacity increases 16% by 2040 but gas plants will increasingly act more as a source of flexible generation needed to meet peaks and provide system stability rather than as a replacement for ‘baseload’ coal. In North America, however, where gas is plentiful and cheap, it plays a more central role, especially in the near term.

    • Asia Pacific sees almost as much investment in generation as the rest of the world combined. China and India alone are a $4 trillion opportunity for the energy sector. China accounts for 28% and India 11% of total regional investment over 2017-40. Wind and solar both account for around a third of total investment.

    • Powering China and India presents a $4 trillion opportunity. These countries account for 28% and 15% of all investment in power generation to 2040. Asia Pacific sees almost as much investment as the rest of the world combined, at $4.8 trillion. Of this, just under a third goes to wind, a third to solar, 18% to nuclear and 10% to coal and gas.

    • Peak coal is in sight in Asia. Peak coal capacity occurs in 2024, and peak generation in 2028, as retirements begin to outpace new additions. By the mid-2020s, cheap wind and PV begin to undercut new coal on a levelized basis throughout the region, trimming average installations to just 9GW a year. Coal, however, remains the bedrock of the region’s power supply, providing 34% of electricity in 2040 – a larger share than any other fuel.

    • China will go big on renewables, with wind and solar capacity increasing eight-fold to 2040. Coal consumption in China peaks in 2026, but at a level 20% higher than today. Nevertheless, China remains the world’s largest coal consumer and emitter, with that fuel still accounting for 30% of the generation mix in 2040.

    • India significantly expands its coal fleet over the next five years, adding over 40GW of new coal plants. Following that, we expect coal new build to slow but existing plant utilization to increase, pushing up coal consumption by around 3% per year through the 2020s. From 2030, solar begins to sideline coal in India, with the pace of PV additions more than doubling from the 2020s to the 2030s.

    • Japan and South Korea shift from gas to coal, and then to solar. Gas generation declines in both countries as over 30GW of coal capacity is commissioned over the next decade – Japan and Korea are the only two members of the OECD to build significant volumes of new coal in our forecast. Power sector gas demand in Japan and South Korea declines by over 50% in the next ten years with possible ramifications for the global LNG market as the two countries account for half of current demand for seaborne gas.

    • Australia’s electricity system becomes one of the most decentralized in the world. By 2040, around 45% of Australia’s power generating capacity is located behind-the-meter. Its fossil-fuel dominated grid also transforms into a predominantly renewable system, as wind, PV and batteries replace retiring coal.

    • European investment in renewables grows by 2.6% per year on average out to 2040, averaging $40 billion per year. Total investment in renewables across Europe reaches almost $1 trillion over 2017-40. Europe’s firm generating capacity shrinks by 29%, replaced by variable and flexible capacity.

    • Half of European electricity supply in 2040 comes from variable renewables, posing challenges for grid and generators. With 97% of fossil fuel capacity in 2040 required for peak demand, under-utilized thermal plants are the norm. The changing grid creates opportunities for 103GW of new flexible capacity, including 56GW of batteries. These help with peak load, ancillary services, shifting demand or renewable supply and regulating frequency.

    • Gas in Europe benefits from a wave of coal and nuclear retirements over the next decade, but power sector gas consumption never returns to the record level set in 2008 as the role of gas shifts from providing firm capacity to providing flexible generation. Nuclear generation drops 50% and the combination of sluggish demand, cheap renewables and coalto-gas fuel switching slashes coal use by 87% by 2040. This drives down power sector emissions by 73% over 2017-40.

    • Installed capacity in the MENA region moves from 93% fossil fuels to 53% zero-carbon over 2017-40. The region becomes less reliant on oil and more reliant on gas. Gas provides over half of generation by 2040. In Turkey, coal and nuclear push out gas, which declines from 36% to 2% of the generation mix over 2017-40.

    • Investment in renewables across the Americas averages $50 billion per year to 2040, to reach almost $1.5 trillion over 2017-40. Investment in solar grows faster than wind – solar increasing 1.5% and wind 0.8% per year on average. In the U.S., power sector coal consumption drops 45% as coal plants are retired and replaced by cheaper natural gas and renewables.

    • By 2023, onshore wind and PV are competitive with new-build gas plants in the U.S. Five years later, PV undercuts existing gas generation. PV averages 15GW of additions and $10 billion invested per year, such that more PV is added in the U.S. than any other technology. Small-scale PV grows to 140GW by 2040, yet only a minority of systems are paired with batteries as the economics remain difficult for much of the forecast period.

    • Renewables produce 80% of Mexico’s electricity by 2040, a fourfold increase from today. Solar overtakes gas and hydro to dominate Mexico’s capacity mix, which more than triples in size to 2040. Electricity demand is expected to grow 60% from 2016 to 2040 thanks to strong economic growth, but the country also becomes 29% more efficient in how it uses electricity over that time.

    • U.S. natural gas influences the power generation mix all across the Americas, as exports accelerate. Cross-border exports to Mexico and liquid natural gas exports further south keep gas prices in check across both continents, particularly through 2030. This allows new gas plants to displace retiring coal and nuclear in North America while offering a relatively low-cost option in parts of Latin America for new build.

    • We expect U.S. power sector emissions in 2030 to be 30% below 2005 levels, coming very close to fulfilling the Clean Power Plan’s headline goal even in the absence of federal policy. The federal Clean Power Plan was anticipated to reduce power sector emissions by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030 and the U.S. pledge in the UNFCCC Paris Accord set an economy-wide goal of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

    • Global power sector emissions peak in 2026 at 14.1Gt, then decline by 1% per year out to 2040. This is a steeper decline than in our previous forecast, mainly due to a faster rate of Chinese coal retirements compared with NEO 2016. We also expect India's emissions to be 44% lower by 2040 than in our NEO 2016 analysis, as that country embraces solar and invests $405 billion to construct 660GW of new PV.

    • Although the world’s power sector emissions reach a peak within a decade, the rate of decline in emissions is not nearly enough for the climate. A further $5.3 trillion investment in 3.9TW of zero-carbon capacity will be needed place the power sector on a 2°C trajectory

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    QUICK NEWS, June 20: What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 1)?; What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 2)?; New Energy Is NO Threat To U.S. Grid

    What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 1)? 'Full toolbox' needed to solve the climate change problem

    19 June 2017 (Carnegie Instituion for Science via EurekAlert)

    “Solving the climate change problem means transitioning to an energy system that emits little or no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere…[but making the transition will depend on making use of energy technologies such as bioenergy, nuclear energy, and carbon capture technology, according to a new] study from a group of 21 published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…[Wind, solar, and hydroelectric should play a central role in future American energy systems but they] concluded that a much broader array of energy technologies is necessary to transition to a zero-emissions future as quickly and seamlessly as possible…The team is particularly concerned about having backup energy sources to deal with variability in solar and wind, because current energy storage technology is not sufficient to cover gaps in production on a national scale…Careful evaluations of energy system transitions consistently show that broader portfolios form an important base to ensure success…” click here for more

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    What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 2)? 4 Reasons Nuclear and Fossil Fuel Supporters Criticizing 100% Renewable Energy Plan Are Wrong

    Mark Jacobson, June 19, 2017 (EcoWatch)

    "…[The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper arguing a 100% New Energy mix from wind, solar, and hydroelectric powers will threaten reliability] is replete with false information…[It claims] nuclear, fossils with carbon capture and biofuels reduce costs of decarbonization…[but an independent assessment of our 100 percent wind, water and solar plans] concludes neither fossil fuels with CCS or nuclear power enters the least-cost, low-carbon portfolio…[It claims we propose technologies that can't be scaled up…[but underground thermal energy storage in rocks, hydrogen fuel cells, and demand response are proven technologies now in use. It also claims we made modeling errors but multiple data sets show] this is absolutely false…[Finally, it claims our climate model] has never been adequately evaluated…[but it has been used in] 11 published multi-model inter-comparisons and 20 published evaluations…[a 2008 Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Journal comprehensive review concluded it] is ‘the first fully-coupled online model in the history that accounts for all major feedbacks among major atmospheric processes based on first principles’ and hundreds of processes in it still not in any other model…” click here for more

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    New Energy Is NO Threat To U.S, Grid No evidence that changing power mix endangers electric system reliability; Expert report by Analysis Group finds that low-priced natural gas, not renewable energy policies, is fundamental cause of coal and nuclear plant closures

    June 20, 2017 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “…[Market forces, primarily low-cost natural gas and flat demand for electricity, are] causing some coal and nuclear power plants to retire, and not state and federal policies supporting renewable energy development…[and] the changing electricity resource mix poses no threat to reliability of the nation’s power system [according to Electricity Markets, Reliability and the Evolving U.S. Power System from the Analysis Group, which is intended] to answer independently the questions raised recently by Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry…Factors such as rapid growth in deployment of advanced energy technologies, and state policies supporting such technologies also contribute to reducing the profitability of less economic assets, but such factors are secondary to market fundamentals…[In addition, the] retirement of aging resources is a natural element of efficient and competitive market forces…Many advanced energy technologies can and do provide reliability benefits…Given the many attributes associated with a reliable electric system, the term ‘baseload resources’ is an outdated term in today’s electric system…” click here for more

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