- California’s duck curve is even duckier than expected, due to heavy rains (meaning more hydropower) and high solar penetration. This means substantial curtailment of some generation is going to have to happen.
- Elon Musk has vowed to help Australia with its blackout problems by installing 100 MWh of energy storage, the equivalent of roughly 500 Powerpacks. He said so on Twitter, so it must be true.
- Legal fallout from Japan’s Fukushima disaster: a Japanese court ruled that both the government and the utility should have prevented the meltdown, and ordered them to pay damages to evacuated residents.
Lately, one of my favorite curmudgeonly phrases is “What fresh hell is this?”. It was, inadvertently, the first thing that came out of my mouth this morning when my alarm went off while it was still pretty dark outside. Screw you, daylight savings time.
But then I remembered that this week also marks the start of the most wonderful time of year: March Madness. We’ll once again be doing a Power Trip group on ESPN, with the first place finisher getting a free drink at a future happy hour. To enter, click here. The password is “notoffthegrid”. Don’t forget to enter and fill out your brackets before Thursday. Entry is free, unless you’re betting on Duke in which case you’re basically selling your soul.
Also, quick reminder that our March happy hour will be tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14th at 6pm. We will be meeting at The Irish Bank (10 Mark Ln, just off of Bush St near the intersection of Bush and Kearny).
On to the news!
- In a bid to advance market adoption of energy storage technologies in NY, the NY PSC has ordered the state’s IOUs to install at least 2 energy storage systems by the end of 2018: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/new-york-psc-directs-utilities-to-deploy-2-or-more-grid-scale-storage-proje/437846/
- Speaking of the state of NY, the PSC has also approved a new compensation structure for DERs, allowing utilities to move away from retail net metering and towards a future where compensation is based on wholesale energy, distribution, and environmental values: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/new-york-issues-der-valuation-order-under-rev-docket-to-transition-from-net/437775/
- This week in unnecessary acts of arbitrary partisanship, the Trump administration is going to try to eliminate the Energy Star program: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/07/this-federal-energy-program-is-good-for-the-climate-and-economy-trump-wants-to-kill-it-anyway/?utm_term=.dd0216cbb2f5
Hi-diddly-ho there, Power Tripperinos! Welcome to the last post before Daylight Savings Time (happening this Sunday March 12th), aka every energy analyst’s least favorite thing. There’s no better way to make really complicated TOU tariffs even more complicated than to shift time around arbitrarily like some sort of mischievous, cackling time-imp.
Also! Our bimonthly happy hour is coming up on Tuesday March 14th at 6 PM in San Francisco. Exact location to be announced soon.
- Australia’s take on distributed energy resources is pretty cool. Homeowners are feeding kWh from their batteries and solar arrays into a decentralized energy market. For example, homeowners can rent out their battery capacity during periods when electricity is being overproduced. http://breakingenergy.com/2017/03/03/crowdsourcing-solar-energy-and-battery-systems/
- Here’s a primer on what Rick Perry’s appointment to the DOE means. The article also contains a nice summary of what the DOE does, which would probably be good for Rick Perry to read. http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/3/2/14794096/rick-perry-confirmed-energy-department
- Beijing is converting its gasoline-powered taxis to electric taxis, which is probably a smart move when pollution is such a huge problem. It’ll be interesting to see how the international market for electric cars looks in 5-10 years. https://futurism.com/china-is-replacing-70000-taxis-with-electric-cars/
Happy Presidents Day! I think most folks have the day off today, so hopefully you’re out enjoying all the rain this day has to offer.
Thanks to everyone who came out last week for our roundtable on energy storage economics, led by Thomas Yu. It was great learning about the subject through a variety of perspectives on the various value streams that energy storage taps into, so thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion.
On to the news:
- The Nevada state legislature is considering a bill that would increase the state’s RPS to 80% by 2040, which could boost the prospects for utility-scale and rooftop solar: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/bill-would-increase-nevada-renewable-energy-mandate-to-80-by-2040/436388/
- GTM has a good article looking at the issues arising from the upcoming implementation of TOU rates in California that may impact residential solar: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/with-net-metering-secure-california-solar-now-faces-threat-from-time-of-use
- El Paso Electric has filed a proposal to recover costs associated with a quick-start gas facility that is necessary to integrate more renewables by hiking rates and imposing a demand charge on solar customers: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/texas-utility-proposes-increased-fees-demand-charges-for-solar-customers-i/436346/
Happy Valentine’s Eve, y’all! A reminder that Thomas Yu of Advanced Microgrid Solutions will be leading a discussion on the economics of energy storage. The talk will be at the Nexant office (101 Second St, 10th floor, San Francisco) starting at 6:30pm on Tues, Feb 14th. A trail of artfully scattered rose petals will guide your way to the event. Disclaimer: this event is BYO scented candles and Barry White LP’s.
Building security will need the names of those who plan on attending, so please RSVP for the event (even if you are on the fence about attending): https://goo.gl/forms/2vxClkTLIK6xHK1Z2
Despite the collapse of American democracy, the energy industry still seems to be humming along. Here’s what happened last week:
- In our fair state of California, a lot of noise is made about the solar “cost shift” and its purported existential threat to utilities. A new report from LBNL basically says not to worry just yet, because the costs are relatively small. And a different DOE report says that the benefits of solar and other DER’s are poorly understood and unsystematically valued, meaning that it would be super useful to come up with a logical pricing mechanism to quantify the grid benefits of these technologies:
- Some conservatives are embracing the carbon tax, claiming it’s consistent with “the principles of free-market economics and limited government.”
- From the consumer’s perspective, energy (including heating, transport, and electricity) is cheaper than ever before. Due to a combination of increased gas production, fuel economy, and generating capacity, and a decrease in renewables’ cost, less than 4% of annual household spending is on energy:
Hello! Hope everyone had a good Super Bowl weekend. I thought yesterday was a fantastic reminder that, as divided as we are as a nation right now, everyone across the country could come together to enjoy this one shared cultural experience – watching Roger Goodell getting booed by an entire stadium during the trophy presentation. Brought a tear to my eye. ‘Merica.
Next Tuesday, we’ll be having a special Valentines Day roundtable. It will be held at the Nexant office (101 Second St, 10th floor, San Francisco) starting at 6:30pm. Thomas Yu of Advanced Microgrid Solutions will lead a very romantic discussion about the economics of energy storage.
On to the news!
- Here’s a good opinion piece on the need for more honest reporting on renewable energy: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/renewable-energy-news-risk-clickbait
- Maryland’s legislature is moving forward with plans to raise the state’s RPS target from 20% to 25%, overriding the governor’s veto: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/maryland-senate-overrides-gov-hogans-veto-of-energy-bill-raising-renewab/435424/
- After failing to pass carbon tax legislation by ballot initiative last fall, the state of Washington is taking another crack at it, this time through the legislature. A state lawmaker has proposed a $15/metric ton tax: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/washington-lawmaker-proposes-second-carbon-tax-at-15metric-ton/434970/
- Oh, goody. The new presidential administration is going to “review” already-published EPA regulations to make sure that they are not too costly and don’t mention climate change too much: http://www.utilitydive.com/
news/trump-epa-to-delay-30- regulations-as-part-of- transition-freeze/434822/
- On a non-horrible note, MIT researchers are developing a very cool way for farmers to turn biomass into usuable fuel instead of burning it:
- Also, it turns out that solar is actually pretty good at creating jobs. I hope that the new administration takes this into account when crafting our energy policy: http://www.forbes.com/sites/
niallmccarthy/2017/01/25/u-s- solar-energy-employs-more- people-than-oil-coal-and-gas- combined-infographic/# 3014c7e67d27
Happy Monday and welcome to another weekly newsletter.
I’m happy to announce that this month marks the 3 year anniversary of Power Trip (formerly On the Grid)! We’ve grown quite a bit as an organization since 2014. I’m proud of all the great events we’ve hosted over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to many more. I’m most especially impressed with how many people have signed up for our weekly newsletters, allowing us to spam their inboxes with terrible jokes and electricity news. The most recent count of our subscriber list is 150 million unique users*, making it the largest audience to ever witness an energy-focused newsletter. Period.
On to the news!
- Aliso Canyon may be able to re-open in the near future, though it will likely have a severely restricted capacity due to the majority of its wells failing to pass required tests: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/aliso-canyon-gas-storage-capabilities-could-stumble-over-proposed-restricti/434510/
- There is significant push back from Arizona’s regulatory commission over APS’ proposed rate increase. The utility is attempting to recover costs for grid modernization projects. It is also attempting to implement a residential demand charge, though critics say this will send unclear price signals to customers: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/arizona-utility-regulatory-staff-recommends-against-aps-166m-rate-increas/434521/
- Despite being one of the few areas of energy policy that enjoys bipartisan support, energy efficiency regulations have already found themselves in the crosshairs of the Trump administration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/21/this-is-how-change-comes-to-washington-detail-by-bureaucratic-detail/?utm_term=.63db3ae6851f
* Source: Sean Spicer’s alternative facts.
- I have to confess that the more whimsical a form of power, the more I probably like it, even if it’s expensive or impractical. Not sure if wave power makes economic or engineering sense for the utility scale, but it’s still pretty cool. Plus there are specialized uses for naval forces (self-powered communications links on the open water, for example) https://cleantechnica.com/
- The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has a new president, Abigail Hopper (formerly of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management). With NEM policy currently in flux in many states, it’ll be interesting to see how SEIA deals with the regulatory world under her leadership. http://www.utilitydive.com/
news/seia-names-new-president- promising-an-era-of-solar- collaboration/433996/
- According to the DOE, it turns out that science is about testing to see whether stuff is true or not, and not confirming the existing opinions of important people. Scientists can now officially say facts instead of what their boss tells them to say. What an age we live in! https://www.
scientificamerican.com/ article/u-s-energy-agency- toughens-protections-for- scientists/
Happy second week of 2017, everyone. If you’re reading this, it means you haven’t been washed away by the rain. Congrats!
Quick reminder that our next happy hour is tomorrow, Tuesday January 10th at Oddjob in SF (1337 Mission St) at 6:15 PM. It’ll be your best opportunity this week to nerd out about electricity while drinking, so don’t miss it.
On to the news!
- The CPUC has shut down SDG&E’s plan to establish a separate division to discuss issues related to community choice aggregation, fearing that it may be indirectly paid for by ratepayer funds: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/california-regulators-halt-sdges-plan-to-tackle-community-choice-aggregat/433504/
- With the presidential transition of power underway, the Obama administration is issuing a number of last minute regulations, some of which pertain to energy efficiency and environmental matters (some details on those are here). But keep an eye out for any talk of the use of the “Congressional Review Act” by the incoming administration to squash those moves. Doing so would not only prevent the implementation of those regulations, but could also prevent the executive branch from issuing new rules on the matter without Congressional approval (yikes): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/04/republicans-can-tear-up-a-few-obama-environment-rules-but-theyll-have-to-choose-carefully/?utm_term=.609d886e9305