Tag Archives: demand response

FERC weighs grid plan that could revolutionize clean energy

By Miranda Willson, E&E Reporter, Energywire

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is weighing an overhaul of a major rule that critics say impedes the transition to a low-carbon grid while raising electricity bills. The agency has received comments from dozens of state regulators, electric utilities, clean energy groups and private companies on whether it should remove a policy allowing states to block demand response resources from wholesale power markets. Since the rule was established in 2009, an estimated 18 states have taken advantage of the “opt-out” provision.

Supporters of opening wholesale markets nationwide to demand response say it would go a long way in boosting all types of zero-carbon resources. In general, demand response constitutes a range of energy conservation programs — including “smart” thermostats and water heaters — that reduce or shift electric load to balance the power system. That in turn can allow grid operators to rely less on carbon-spewing power plants. Read more hereScroll down to read NPPD’s comments.

See Also:

VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

Rocky Mountain Power’s distributed battery grid management system puts Utah ‘years ahead’ of California, by Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) seeks to turn distributed solar into solar-plus-storage grid assets in Utah, announcing on Thursday a partnership between battery manufacturer sonnen and Utah contractor ES Solar to retrofit thousands of solar homes. Distributed resource planning proceedings around the country are looking to solar-plus-storage as a “really good option to replacing other types of necessary grid upgrades,” from upgrading transformers to transmission line sizes, according to Rick Gilliam, Vote Solar’s senior regional director of DER regulatory policy. 

Rocky Mountain Power is a part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp.

Previously Posted: DOE teams with Xcel, Berkshire Hathaway Energy on cybersecurity program to protect clean energy, Utility Dive

CARBON DIOXIDE PIPELINES

Proposed carbon dioxide pipeline draws opposition from Iowa farmers and environmentalists alike, by Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio

At a virtual public meeting Tuesday, speakers railed against the proposal by Summit Carbon Solutions to build a sprawling 2,000 mile long pipeline, more than 700 miles of which would pass through 30 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is gathering signatures for a petition opposing the Summit project and another pipeline proposed by Navigator CO2 Ventures. The activist group is blasting the approach of CCS as a “false solution” to climate change. The organization, like other progressive-leaning climate advocates, sees CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] as extending a lifeline to carbon-based industries, at a time when the world needs to be ending its dependence on fossil fuels in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

Previously Posted: Nebraska is likely headed for another pipeline controversy — this time over carbon dioxide, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald

HEATING BILLS

Expect scorching heating bills this winter, by Carolyn Conte,  News Channel Nebraska
“Utility investments used to be the same for 10 or 20 years, but that’s not the case anymore,” [former Nebraska Director of Energy David Bracht], said, noting the creation of natural renewables energy [using energy from animal waste], solar energy; wind energy; and even battery storage. “And that’s why I’m excited about energy in Nebraska because I think we actually have opportunities in all of those areas.”

NEBRASKA LIHEAP

The LIHEAP Program provides heating assistance, cooling assistance, year round crisis assistance, emergency furnace repair and replacement, fan program and weatherization services for eligible Nebraska citizens/households. LIHEAP in Nebraska is solely funded through a federal grant (no general fund authority for aid).

Why every state is vulnerable to a Texas-style power crisis

By Umair Irfan, Vox

Just like a blackout isn’t the result of any single point of failure, protecting the grid against them demands more than any single solution. Faced with the prospect of more outages, there are a number of technical fixes: More energy storage, distributed power generation, interconnections across the major power grids, greater redundancy, microgrids, demand response, increasing energy efficiency, and hardening infrastructure. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

AMERICANS FOR A CLEAN ENERGY GRID

Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. ACEG brings together the diverse support for an expanded and modernized grid from business, labor, consumer and environmental groups, and other transmission supporters to support policy which recognizes the benefits of a robust transmission grid.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASE 

DOE Launches Design & Construction of $75 Million Grid Energy Storage Research Facility
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the beginning of design and construction of the Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL), a $75 million facility located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington that will boost clean energy adaptation and accelerate the development and deployment of long-duration, low-cost grid energy storage.

Related Reading: New era as US Department of Energy gets started on long-duration energy storage R&D facility, Energy Storage News

MORE ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

Texas Power Crisis: No Energy Source Alone Is to Blame and There Is No One Answer

By Sean Gallagher, Vice President of State & Regulatory Affairs,
Solar Energy Industries Association

A lot is being said, written and tweeted about the power outages in Texas. Much of it is not constructive and some is fundamentally dishonest. The hot takes and political analysis that are divorced from reality do nothing to help the millions of people who are without power in freezing conditions, nor are they constructive ways of stopping future outages.

While regulators are trying to restore power, and are making initial assessments of what happened, it is clear that solar plus storage can bring needed power to homes and businesses, emergency facilities such as hospitals and fire departments, and whole communities. Here is one example: Continue reading here.

Explore SEIA’s Initiatives & Advocacy Here.

The Highs and Lows for Solar in 2020: Wrapping up the biggest stories of a chaotic year.

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Joe Biden’s win presents big upside for the solar industry. The candidate campaigned on a national plan to reach 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. Solar offers a key technology to achieve that goal, with 2020 marking its second year in a row to claim the largest share of new generating capacity of any resource. Read more here.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY GREENTECH MEDIA

10 Victories for Virtual Power Plants in 2020, by Julian Spector
This concept goes by various names — virtual power plants, flexible loads, behind-the-meter networks — and encompasses tools like rooftop solar, batteries, smart thermostats, smart appliances and electric vehicle chargers. Though small individually, distributed energy resources are projected to grow to 387 gigawatts in the next five years, according to research by Wood Mackenzie.

So, What Exactly Are Virtual Power Plants?

Greentech Media’s Must-Read Grid Edge Stories of 2020, by Jeff St. John
By far the biggest grid edge story of 2020 was the continued commitment of U.S. utilities to midcentury decarbonization goals — or more pertinently, those utilities that aren’t already facing state-level mandates to eliminate their carbon footprints.

‘Game-Changer’ FERC Order Opens Up Wholesale Grid Markets to Distributed Energy Resources

By Jeff St. John, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) passed Order 2222, which is intended to allow small distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar and behind-the-meter batteries, to participate in energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs).

RTOs and ISOs oversee the transmission grids serving electricity to two-thirds of the country. Much of the impact of the order will depend on how market rules are designed to incorporate distributed resources, which are predicted to reach 380 gigawatts of installed capacity across the country’s grid by 2025. RTOs and ISOs will have 270 days to file implementation compliance plans after Order 2222 goes into effect in 60 days. Read more here.

MORE ON ORDER 2222

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SOLSMART

Since 2016, SolSmart has provided in-depth technical assistance to hundreds of local governments nationwide and has awarded over 370 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations with SolSmart designations for their solar achievements. If you are interested in becoming a SolSmart community, click one of these links: 

Request A Consultation
Apply For Designation 

U.S. AIRPORTS ADOPTING SOLAR

CU Denver Researcher Analyzes the Use of Solar Energy at U.S. Airports, CU Denver News
By studying 488 public airports in the United States, University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs researcher Serena Kim, PhD, found that 20% of them have adopted solar photovoltaic (PV), commonly known as solar panels, over the last decade. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. 

NET-ZERO GLOBAL ECONOMY

Net Zero by 2050 Is Achievable, Affordable, and Will Improve Lives, Rocky Mountain Institute
A net-zero global economy is technically and economically possible by the middle of this century. The technologies and business solutions needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero are already available or close to being brought to market. That is the encouraging conclusion of the latest report, Making Mission Possible, by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC).

Industry Vows to Continue Fight for Pro-Solar Policies, Despite Missed Opportunity This Year

SEIA News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Congress and the White House were unable to agree on including an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in an end of year tax package, meaning the credit will decrease at the end of this year. The measure also failed to include energy storage in the ITC. This represents a missed opportunity to take an achievable step to boost the economy, add jobs and reduce carbon emissions.

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association on this development: 

“While I’m disappointed by this missed opportunity to boost the U.S. economy and jobs, and tackle climate change, I’m heartened that voter support for clean energy policies is at an all-time high. The solar ITC is a proven way to generate tens of billions of dollars in private investment each year, while substantially reducing carbon emissions. We will look for opportunities next year to again engage our incredibly supportive solar community and work with Congress on clean energy policies that work for all Americans.” Read the entire news release here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Road to 100: How one man’s mission to power his hometown by wind created a Northwest Missouri boon

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

This is the first of a four part series based on Utility Dive visits to cities that produce more renewable power than they consume.

ATCHISON COUNTY, MISSOURI — In the early 2000s, Eric Chamberlain was leading a funeral procession toward southern Minnesota when he saw several wind turbines spinning slowly over the low Iowa bluffs.

“On the way back, I pulled off. I did not pull off during the procession. I was very polite — I did not pull the hearse over,” he told Utility Dive while driving down the Rock Port, Missouri, street he grew up on, toward the four turbines that made the town of just over 1,200 famous. “But on the way back, I stopped at a local newspaper, which is always a good clearinghouse for information, and asked about some of the wind projects.” Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Additional Recommended Reading

NREL Research 

Tell the kids, that 50% solar powered future of ours, it’s going to work just fine – NREL says so, PV Magazine USA. Modeling done by researchers from the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Sunny with a Chance of Curtailment: Operating the US Grid with Very High Levels of Solar Photovoltaics, shows how the three main power grids in the United States might run on the highest penetration solar days (90%+ of demand being met by solar), when 55% of annual electricity use is met with solar photovoltaics. The hourly model also shows how much extra solar electricity we’d have to do something with, when we’d have it (springtime), and how it might affect (lower) pricing of competing electricity generation sources.

Related Op-Ed

 ‘Economic Curtailment’ – what it is and how to embrace it, PV Magazine
In this op-ed for pv magazine, Morgan Putnam outlines a five-step process for renewable developers, environmental advocacy organizations and state agencies to embrace economic curtailment. My experience is that many utility employees quickly realize that the economic curtailment of excess renewable energy isn’t so terribly different from the use of gas peakers.

A banner year for advancing non-battery storage

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine International

This has been a breakthrough year for non-battery storage, with key advances in pumped hydro, power-to-gas, and thermal storage technologies. Many industry players are moving beyond pilot projects to contracted projects, which could lead to increased scale and lower costs. Last July, for example, Highview Power announced a contract with Nebraska-based Tenaska Power Services to help develop up to 4 GWh of cryogenic energy storage plants in the U.S. over a two-year period. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Highview Power Contracts with Tenaska Power Services for US Cryogenic Energy Storage Projects, Highview Power News Release. Highview Power, a global leader in long-duration energy storage solutions, has contracted Tenaska Power Services Co., the leading provider of energy management services to generation and demand-side customers in the U.S., to identify, model, optimize and provide energy management services for up to four giga-scale cryogenic energy storage plants in the United States over two years. The initial project is expected to be developed in the ERCOT market.

GWh-scale liquid-air battery offers storage at half cost of lithium, Recharge News
A UK technology company has unveiled a “cryogenic” energy storage system that it says can store gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries. Highview Power says its scaleable zero-emissions CRYOBattery technology, which uses liquid air as its storage medium, could potentially replace natural-gas peaker plants that help to balance the grid. A 10-hour, 200MW/1.2GWh system offers a levelized cost of storage of $140/MWh, the company says. By comparison, analyst Lazard puts the price of a similar lithium-ion gas-peaker replacement facility at $285-$581 per MWh.

More Highview Power News Releases

About Highview Power

Highview Power is a designer and developer of the CRYOBattery™, a proprietary cryogenic energy storage system that delivers reliable and cost-effective long-duration energy storage to enable a 100 percent renewable energy future. Its proprietary technology uses liquid air as the storage medium and can deliver anywhere from 25 MW/100 MWh to more than 200 MW/1.2 GWh of energy and has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years. 

Watch a brief video here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Fossil fuel plant in England will get 250MWh liquid air energy storage makeover from Highview Power, Energy Storage News. The project is planned as the first of five of the same size to be developed in the UK by Highview, and [company CEO Javier] Cavada said the choice to replace a fossil fuel plant site on the grid was instrumental. “We will be using the same connection and the same electrical infrastructure [as the thermal plant], so there is no need to make [new] transmission lines. So where we are they are decommissioning a fossil fuel plant, we will use the same point of [grid] connection for the cryobattery.”

New RMI Report

Massive Investment is Accelerating the Era of Clean Electrification, Rocky Mountain Institute Blog
RMI’s latest report, Breakthrough Batteries: Powering the Era of Clean Electrification, shows that cost and performance improvements are quickly outpacing forecasts, as increased demand for EVs, grid-tied storage, and other emerging applications creates positive feedback loops for further investment and research, setting the stage for mass adoption. Now, analysts expect the capital cost for new battery manufacturing capacity to drop by more than half from 2018 to 2023.

This momentum is opening new markets, pushing both lithium-ion (Li-ion) and other battery technologies across competitive thresholds for legacy technologies faster than anticipated. That’s important because, although Li-ion remains the leading battery technology, alternative battery technologies nearing commercial readiness will be key to accelerating and scaling climate-critical solutions. For example, alternatives to Li-ion are likely better suited for applications such as long-duration energy storage, heavy trucking, aviation, and EV fast-charging infrastructure.

Related Article

Huge Battery Investments Drop Energy-Storage Costs Faster Than Expected, Threatening Natural Gas, Forbes

OPPD proposes changes that focus on large-scale utility solar

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke said the new generation, the details of which would become clearer after requests for proposal are answered, is needed in light of a changing generation and customer landscape.

At their November meeting, the board could approve a final recommendation and authorize management to negotiate and enter into contracts. The stakeholder process, where customers can provide feedback on the proposal, will be open until Nov. 8 at oppdlistens.com.
Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing 

Previously Posted 

  • OPPD Laying The Groundwork For A Bright Energy Future, OPPD News Release, June 20, 2019
    Initiatives will include a long-term study to address the long-term balance of load generation, along with decarbonization options for the district’s generation mix. Vice President Mary Fisher spoke to the topic, noting that the energy generation landscape is changing rapidly. Fisher said the drivers are primarily improving renewable technology, and environmental considerations around carbon emissions and climate change, “something our customers clearly care about.”
  • With new board members, Omaha utility making moves toward low-carbon future, Midwest Energy News

Data on Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Renewable Energy Versus Fossil Fuels 

  • An introduction to the state of wind power in the U.S., by Philip Warburg, environmental lawyer and former president of the Conservation Law Foundation. Published by Yale Climate Connections. As a non-carbon-emitting technology, wind power has a big environmental advantage over its leading fossil fuel competitors. Onshore and offshore wind has a life cycle carbon footprint of 20 grams or less of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. The “cleanest” natural gas power plants – those that use combined cycle technology – produce more than 400 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. Supercritical coal plants – the least polluting in the industry – generate close to 800 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour.
  • Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Solar Photovoltaics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Photovoltaic (PV) solar has a life cycle carbon footprint of 40 grams or less of COequivalent per kilowatt-hour.

Rocky Mountain Institute Study

Related News Story

  • The Stranded Asset Threat to Natural Gas, Greentech Media
    There are $70 billion worth of natural-gas-fired power plants planned in the U.S. through the mid-2020s. But a combination of wind, solar, batteries and demand-side management could threaten up to 90 percent of those investments. New modeling from the Rocky Mountain Institute shows that more than 60 gigawatts of new gas plants are already economically challenged by those technologies. And by the mid-2030s, existing gas plants will be under threat. How severe is the threat? Could we eventually see tens of gigawatts of stranded gas plants? RMI set out to answer that question in two reports on the economics of gas generation and gas pipelines. The tipping point is now, it concludes. 

What are “stranded assets?”

Stranded assets are now generally accepted to be fossil fuel supply and generation resources which, at some time prior to the end of their economic life (as assumed at the investment decision point), are no longer able to earn an economic return (i.e. meet the company’s internal rate of return), as a result of changes associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Source: Carbon Tracker Initiative

Austin, San Antonio, Orlando are Bloomberg climate challenge winners

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association 

Public power cities Austin, Texas, Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 11 were included among the list of final winners in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Launched in June 2018, the American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million program designed to catalyze efforts in 25 cities “to tackle climate change, promote a sustainable future for residents and help deliver on the America’s Pledge initiative to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement,” according to a Bloomberg news release. The other two cities named as winners in the challenge on Jan. 11 were Albuquerque, N.M., and Denver, Colo. Read more here.

Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST