On the Blogs: Utility Industry Acknowledgement of the Rise of Renewables

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Julie Pyper for Greentech Media:A growing number of electric industry leaders agree that it’s only a matter of time before renewable energy resources dominate their grid systems.In California, it’s already a reality, said Steve Berberich, president and CEO of California Independent System Operator Corporation. On a typical day, CAISO will pull about 30,000 megawatts of energy production, with around 6,500 megawatts from solar, 5,000 megawatts from wind and another 5,000 from geothermal and other services on the system. In addition, California’s grid system has roughly 4,000 megawatts of behind-the-meter solar, which is growing at a rate of about 70 megawatts per month.On any given day, California gets more than 30 percent of its electricity from renewable energy. On many days that amount climbs to 40 percent, and on some days renewables reach 50 percent, said Berberich.California has a state mandate to reach a 50-percent-renewable energy mix by 2030. Other states have similar goals: New York plans to get 50 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030, Vermont plans to be 90 percent renewable by 2050, and Hawaii plans to be 100 percent renewable by 2045. Other state-level mandates will also drive renewable energy deployment. The Clean Power Plan, if upheld by the courts, stands to expand the market even further.In a recent KPMG survey of 150 senior energy industry executives, 67 percent of respondents cited the growth of renewable technologies as the most disruptive trend shaping the sector. More than 60 percent of respondents said they believe the U.S. will get half of its power from renewable energy by 2045 or sooner.The industry shift to a renewable-energy-driven system was reflected at the recent Edison Electric Institute (EEI) convention. SunPower was a top sponsor, several panels were held on renewables and complementary grid-edge resources, and posters showcasing industry statistics on solar and other services were set up throughout the venue.On Tuesday, EEI’s Institute for Electric Innovation released a book detailing some of the ways in which the electric industry is changing in the real world. Jonathan Weisgall, vice president of government relations at Berkshire Hathaway Energy, wrote a chapter on how one of his companies, NV Energy, accommodated a large customer’s demand to go 100 percent renewable. The data storage company Switch had filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to leave NV Energy’s service and obtain renewable energy from a third party. The utility jumped into action and found a way to meet Switch’s needs by tweaking Nevada’s regulatory framework.As customer preferences shift and renewable energy becomes more accessible, utilities will have to adapt — as recent events clearly show.After months of discussions, MGM Resorts International, one of NV Energy’s largest customers, agreed to pay an $87 million exit fee to leave NV Energy’s service and buy its own electricity on the wholesale market. Reducing the gaming company’s environmental footprint “by decreasing the use of energy and aggressively pursuing renewable energy sources” was cited as a primary objective. The MGM case is proof that utilities need to up their game on renewables, because it’s what many customers want.“Our monopoly days are coming to an end,” said Weisgall. “We are in a competitive market, and we have to recognize that as a utility.”Utilities are undertaking major adjustments at the distribution level too. Pedro Pizarro, president of Southern California Edison and soon-to-be CEO, explained that SCE currently interconnects more than 5,000 rooftop solar customers per month. Using the traditional utility mindset and processes, hooking up the systems was taking SCE more than a month.“Looking through the eyes of the customer, we realized that a month-plus was unacceptable,” he said. “So we went back and looked at our processes, and now we’re able to [interconnect] in a day and a half.”Distributed renewables are also having an impact at the ISO level where they potentially help with system balancing, energy ramping and other services.“You have to rethink the entire environment, and that’s what we’re doing,” Berberich said.While it’s already underway, this transition to a renewable energy dominant grid isn’t smooth or uniform.For Berberich, balancing variable loads and ramping up generation to meet peak demand represent challenges. But what he really loses sleep over is surplus power. He said he isn’t worried about being able to keep the lights on for customers; he’s worried about the 13,000 megawatts of excess power that CAISO has to curtail at various times.“Curtailing is throwing away zero-carbon, zero-marginal-cost power, and that becomes both an economic and political problem,” he said. Political pressures could “turn this a little bit,” he added, alluding to a possible shift in public opinion on renewables.Currently, one of the most politically fraught issues in the energy sector is how to value distributed solar. Susan Tierney, an energy policy expert at Analysis Group, said she sees net energy metering for rooftop PV as one of the greatest challenges facing the electricity industry.“Across the states, we started with policies designed to condition the markets and help get things going. Net metering is the poster child of that,” she said. “I think that’s a challenge, because there is now a presumption that this is the way we should continue to go in a lot of places. My personal view is we need to evolve from there, we need to get more surgical in terms of pricing, to target the value of renewables that address [the] imbalance problem and moving demand around as much as possible. So pricing and markets really have to fit, and policy has to evolve.”As more distributed energy resources come on-line, there needs to be greater investment in grid infrastructure to accommodate them.“That isn’t the intuitive response,” said Tierney. “People say we will avoid grid investment [with distributed energy resources], but the two have to go hand in hand.”Reaching agreement among diverse players on these issues is complicated, but not impossible. In New York, for instance, a group of utilities and solar companies were able to jointly file a proposal on how to value distributed energy resources as part of the Reforming the Energy Vision initiative.“I think it’s something of a breakthrough to be able to find that common ground… and it will allow us to find more common ground on these contentious issues in the future,” said John McAvoy, chairman and CEO of Consolidated Edison.Full article: Electric Utilities Prepare for a Grid Dominated by Renewable Energy On the Blogs: Utility Industry Acknowledgement of the Rise of Renewableslast_img read more

DOE: No cost estimate for proposed coal, nuclear bailout

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享RTO Insider:A senior Department of Energy official told Congress on Thursday his agency has no estimates on the cost of the coal and nuclear power bailout President Trump ordered last week, as Democrats blasted the proposal.Trump directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry last Friday to force grid operators to provide a lifeline to struggling coal and nuclear plants, saying their retirements threaten national security. Trump’s directive came after the leak of a 40-page draft DOE memorandum that cited the Defense Production Act of 1950 and Section 202c of the Federal Power Act, which allows the energy secretary to issue emergency orders during energy shortages. The memo proposed creation of a “Strategic Electric Generation Reserve (SEGR) to promote the national defense and maximize domestic energy supplies.”Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) confronted DOE Assistant Secretary Bruce J. Walker over the directive at a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy on Thursday. Walker, head of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, responded tersely.Beyer quoted the president of the Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON), who said the DOE memo’s proposed requirement that RTOs purchase capacity and energy from at-risk plants would “devastate” U.S. manufacturing. “Have you calculated the costs on American business, specifically American manufacturing?” Beyer asked.Walker: “I have not.”Beyer then cited ELCON’s estimate that DOE’s earlier Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to provide cost-of-service payments to plants with on-site fuel — made under Section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act — would cost $8 billion annually in PJM alone. “Now the new plan nationalizes the 403 proposal, so I would expect that $8 billion is going to go up very significantly,” Beyer said. “In putting together this draft plan have you estimated what this will cost the U.S. taxpayer?”Walker: “I have not.”“I have to give you wonderful credit for being able to answer these things very, very tightly,” Beyer responded. “I would suggest though … this is something that you and Secretary Perry and others look very seriously at and should have numbers available for. I think it’s within my purview as a member of this committee to ask you to go back and do the elementary research and report back to the committee on those two things please.”More: Dems hit coal, nuke bailout at House hearing DOE: No cost estimate for proposed coal, nuclear bailoutlast_img read more

Solar helps Japan cope with sweltering summer

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nikkei Asian Review:As temperatures soared to record highs across Japan this summer and people scrambled to beat the heat, power companies turned to solar power to weather the surge in air conditioner usage.After the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which forced the shutdown of all nuclear power plants — most of which are still offline — the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry had asked the country to conserve electricity during hot summer months. But thanks to the rise of solar power, the government has refrained from issuing the requests since 2016, with Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko saying on July 24 that special energy-saving efforts were currently unnecessary.A representative of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, or Tepco, said that during times of peak demand, the company can obtain nearly 10 million kilowatts of solar power, or about 20% of total power needed. A substantial portion of this is provided by companies and households equipped with solar panels, which sell their surplus power to the utility.Before the 2011 earthquake and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi disaster, nearly 30% of Tepco’s annual electricity output was nuclear-derived. Now, despite operating no nuclear plants and having suspended operation at two oil-fired power plants, the utility seems to be doing fine.“It is safe to say that Tepco’s strategy hinges on solar power,” a company executive said.More: Solar power helps Japan sweat out record heat wave Solar helps Japan cope with sweltering summerlast_img read more

Ørsted to invest $30 billion in wind power, green development through 2025

first_imgØrsted to invest $30 billion in wind power, green development through 2025 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:Danish energy firm Ørsted has unveiled an “extensive investment program” that will see it invest around 200 billion Danish krone ($30.26 billion) in green energy between 2019 and 2025.Breaking the figures down, Ørsted said that investments in offshore wind farms were expected to make up 75 to 85 percent of the program, with onshore investments accounting for 15 to 20 percent. Bioenergy and customer solutions were expected to represent 0 to 5 percent of the spending.“Today, our portfolio consists of 11.9 GW (gigawatts) of offshore and onshore wind farms and biomass-fired combined heat and power plants that are either in production, under construction or have been given final investment decision,” Henrik Poulsen, Orsted’s CEO and president, said in a statement Wednesday.“Towards 2030, it’s our strategic ambition to reach an installed capacity of more than 30GW, provided that the build-out creates value for our shareholders,” Poulsen added. “As an important step, we’re raising our 2025 ambition for offshore wind from 11-12 GW to 15 GW.”Ørsted is a world leader in offshore wind. In September, the business officially opened the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm, the world’s largest operational offshore wind facility. Located in the Irish Sea, it has a total capacity of 659 megawatts and is capable of powering nearly 600,000 homes in the U.K. Ørsted owns 50 percent of the project, with Danish pension funds PFA and PKA owning 25 percent each.Europe as a whole is a major player in the offshore wind sector. It is home to more than 4,000 offshore wind turbines across 11 countries, according to trade body WindEurope. Thirteen new offshore wind farms were completed in 2017, including the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland, located 25 kilometers off the coast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.More: Ørsted outlines plans for $30 billion investment in green energylast_img read more

Industry analysts, executives: Coal consolidation is coming, question is when

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):While U.S. coal producers are hesitant to invest in new capacity at the moment, several industry professionals said at a recent energy event that they do not foresee widespread consolidation any time soon.Michael Bauersachs, president and CEO of Ramaco Resources Inc., said that in a “difficult environment” where the sector’s share prices are undervalued and investors are unwilling to take on debt, substantial mergers and acquisitions are unlikely.“Now should it happen is a different question,” he said during a panel Jan. 31 at the 19th Coaltrans USA conference in Miami. “In particular on the steam side, I think you could make the case that substantial consolidation makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense in the Powder River Basin because nobody is making any money at all there.”Clarksons Platou Securities analyst Jeremy Sussman said boards are “uber sensitive to take on risk,” something he doesn’t foresee changing in 2019. Many investors were creditors who inherited their positions from coal bankruptcies, he said, and are not looking for growth at this point.Banks also are hesitant to invest in capacity. While many banks refuse to fund thermal coal projects, “the vast majority will at least be willing to take a look at met coal,” Sussman told S&P Global Market Intelligence in an interview. “Compared to where it was when I began my career in 2006, it’s still a small fraction of what banks were willing to give out back then,” Sussman said. “Access to capital as a whole is still very, very tight.”Jonathan Rose, head of the metals and mining Americas division at Deutsche Bank Securities, said recent mergers and acquisitions were “more situation-specific” and subsequent movements in the sector will be “relatively slow.” Further consolidation or acquisitions will likely occur because of specific opportunities rather than a wave across the industry, he said.Consolidation will eventually be inevitable, Sussman said, because without investment in new capacity, supply growth will be “extremely limited.” He projects metallurgical coal pricing will remain well above the cost of marginal production for the foreseeable future, while thermal coal demand will continue to decline domestically.More ($): Experts do not foresee big spending from coal industry in 2019 Industry analysts, executives: Coal consolidation is coming, question is whenlast_img read more

Atlas Renewables proposes 854MW solar project in northern Chile

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BNamericas:Atlas Renewable has filed plans to build a US$450mn solar park in northern Chile with environmental watchdog SEA.The 854MW Alfa Solar photovoltaic plant will be located in the Antofagasta region. The project involves building a new substation, also called Alfa Solar, and a 220kV transmission line connecting it to the existing Crucero substation.The move highlights the future potential of Chile’s renewable push as part of the country’s plans to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050 and retire all its coal-fired power plants, the backbone of its power grid, before 2040.As BNamericas reported previously, February saw submissions for large projects involving some US$2.54bn in new investments, including Colbún’s US$700mn Horizonte project, which would become Chile’s largest wind farm.Last year, as the government announced an ambitious plan to retire several coal-fired plants over the next five years, Chile reached its 2025 goal of covering 20% of its energy needs with renewable generation. Most of its pipeline is now comprised of wind and solar projects, with run-of-the-river projects, CSP generators and biomass-powered units also contributing new capacity.More: Atlas Renewable plans new US$450mn solar park in Chile Atlas Renewables proposes 854MW solar project in northern Chilelast_img read more

Equinor, Saipem join forces to develop ‘high wave’ floating solar technology

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Transitioning offshore oil industry companies Equinor and Saipem have signed a cooperation deal to develop a floating PV concept for near-coastal sites, adding to the sea-swell of market interest in so-called ‘high-wave’ solar.The technology, based on a modular design by Moss Maritime, part of Saipem’s new-energy XSight division, aims to build on the “already established solar photovoltaic solutions for calm sea locations [but in areas with] rough weather conditions.”A 2018 World Bank report on floating solar – which centred on hydropower plant, water reservoir and in-land installations – concluded the potential of the technology “even under conservative assumptions” to be 400GW.Though floating solar remains an emerging technology, in-land arrays are being seen as an increasingly attractive option for large-scale PV deployment on reservoirs and alongside hydropower facilities, especially where land is limited.The largest such project currently is a 150MW development in Anhui, China, but, as Recharge has reported, that is soon set to be overshadowed by massive developments elsewhere in the world, including a 1GW plant in India and a sprawling 2.9GW complex off South Korea. The world’s largest floating solar array outside China – BayWa’s 27.4MW Bomhofsplas project in the Netherlands – is slated to be up and running later this month, according to its developer.Europe has taken strides in recent months to expand the market for ‘high wave’ floating PV with several projects being developed for open-sea sites. Developer Oceans of Energy’s Zon-op-Zee (Solar-at-Sea) project, the world’s first offshore solar array, “remained stable and intact” after weathering winds of up to 62 knots and waves over five metres high in the Dutch North Sea during the Ciara bomb cyclone late last year.[Darius Snieckus]More: Offshore oil industry giants Equinor and Saipem tie up for floating solar Equinor, Saipem join forces to develop ‘high wave’ floating solar technologylast_img read more

Beyond DEET

first_imgA few weeks ago I wrote about actions you could take that might make your outings a little less buggy. Note the key words are a “little less” buggy; no matter what actions you take, there are going to be times when you’re going to resort to a repellent of some kind or another.Several years ago, a hiking buddy suggested I try one of those plastic bracelets impregnated with insect repellent. During the fitful night of sleep I ended up having, while slapping one mosquito after another, I resolved to do some research to find out what kind of repellent truly works best.Separate studies done by the Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control, Consumer Reports, and the New England Journal of Medicine show that products with DEET worked best at repelling mosquitoes and ticks. Not any real surprise, of course, but what the studies revealed is that DEET is more effective that anything currently available, and that the higher the concentration (up to a point), the longer it keeps the bugs from biting. Products with 24-50% DEET worked for up to five hours. Most of the studies seem to show that there is no advantage in going above 50%, although one researcher claimed nine hours from a 100% DEET solution.It may work best, but I swore off DEET a few years ago when it melted a plastic pen I was writing with. So, I’m happy to see the studies confirm that plant-based repellents do work. They just don’t last as long. Those with citronella were effective for one to two hours, while repellents with soybean oil were deemed effective for a full two hours.Permethrin is made from certain chrysanthemum flower compounds. It’s not approved for skin use, but can be sprayed on clothes, or you can buy permethrin-impregnated clothing. The lowest cost shirt I located costs about $50—and the effectiveness is depleted after a number of washings. By the way, permethrin is harmful to fish and amphibians.Picaridin is a somewhat newer ingredient that is endorsed by the World Health Organization as the best malaria prevention, and U.S. studies indicate it to be about as effective as DEET. It is not a solvent to plastics and synthetic materials, is colorless and odorless, and does not have to be washed off when you’re done hiking.All of the studies recommend not using a combination repellent/sunscreen because you have to apply the lotion liberally for the sunscreen to be effective, thereby slathering on way too much repellent. 1 2last_img read more

Nearly Eight Tons of Marijuana Seized in Colombia

first_img The Colombian anti-narcotics police seized 7.9 tons of marijuana, valued at more than 700,000 dollars, in three operations carried out in the city of Medellín (in northwestern Colombia) and the department of Meta (in central Colombia), that armed body announced on 26 February. In a first operation, 5.6 tons of pressed marijuana ready for distribution were discovered as they were being transported by truck in the city of Medellín (four hundred kilometers northwest of Bogotá), and three people traveling in the vehicle were detained. In the department of Meta, in separate operations in each of two rural areas, a total of 2.2 tons of marijuana was seized. According to the police, the marijuana seized in Meta belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a communist guerrilla group and the chief such group in the country, with forty-six years of armed struggle against the Colombian state and currently with around nine thousand fighters, according to military estimates. In the two rural areas where the marijuana was found, 2.4 hectares sown with marijuana plants were also eradicated by hand, the report by the anti-narcotics police specified. By Dialogo March 01, 2011last_img read more

Bolivia: Kidnappers Use Deception Over Violence

first_imgBy Dialogo April 01, 2011 Kidnappers in La Paz, Bolivia, have traded in their violent tactics for more deceptive means to lure in victims, according to Lt. Everth Cossío of the Special Forces Against Crime Unit. Criminals deceive victims by posing as government authorities, using fake taxicabs equipped with altered locks to impede the victims’ escape from the vehicle. Despite a reduced number of express kidnapping statistics in the past five months, kidnappings continue to pose a threat to citizen security in Bolivia.last_img read more