On the Blogs: The Rising Market in Electricity Storage

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享WamstedOnEnergy.com:Electric utility executives already fretting about slow/no growth in their service territories have another item to add to their growing list of worries: the prospect that many of their commercial customers could begin installing behind-the-meter storage to lower their demand charges.A recent white paper from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Clean Energy Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization, shows that it could be economic for almost 28 percent of commercial customers across the country to install batteries at their business sites to cut their electricity consumption during specific periods of the day, thereby reducing their exposure to utility-imposed demand charges. This would amount to a one-two punch for utilities: electricity sales would drop if the batteries were linked with solar and the amount of revenue collected from these charges would fall, not a pretty picture for the utility industry.The analysis, “Identifying Potential Markets for Behind-the-Meter Battery Energy Storage: A Survey of U.S. Demand Charges,” does not look at actual rates being paid by commercial customers (the hours involved in collecting that data would almost certainly be cost prohibitive) but rather surveyed 10,000 utility tariffs on file across the country, developed representative load profiles for 10 different building types, and then examined which tariff(s) could be used by the differing buildings. A full discussion of the methodology is including in the study, which can be found here. Once that overall sorting was done, NREL examined the fraction of the overall universe of commercial buildings that could be using tariffs above a threshold of $15 per kilowatt, a commonly used marker for the cost effectiveness of battery storage.The results were eye-opening. According to NREL, roughly five million commercial customers are eligible for electric tariffs with a demand charge rate of at least $15 per kilowatt—more than a quarter of the 18 million commercial customers in the U.S. Interestingly, the study also found that there are opportunities for this battery-enabled defection in almost every state. California and New York, which have been early and consistent supporters of energy storage initiatives, top the list with the most commercial customers that could be paying demand charges of more than $15 per kilowatt. But as the graphic below demonstrates, the opportunities are spread across the country. Georgia, for example, which is not generally thought of as a high-cost region, is third on the list, with some 237,000 commercial customers potentially paying demand charges above the $15 per kilowatt threshold.Raising the threshold to $20 per kilowatt would lower the number of potential customers for battery storage to three million, but this still represents a sizable market opportunity that should be worrisome to utility executives nationwide. Given the recent significant price declines in battery costs, looking at a threshold of $10 per kilowatt may be more representative of where the market is heading; in this case, NREL said, six million commercial customers potentially could benefit by looking for a battery storage option to cut their utility demand charge. The study’s authors also noted that if storage costs fall to those levels, it “may alter the bulk power system sufficiently to prompt a reduction in demand charge rates.”How this will play out is clearly uncertain, but it cannot be good news for the utility industry, which has been troubled for years by flat demand growth. As the Energy Information Administration reported this summer, overall residential electricity sales have dropped 3 percent since 2010 while per capita sales have dropped 7 percent in the same period. (see charts below). The situation is much the same in the commercial and industrial sectors: Looking back to 2007 (before the great recession), sales in both segments are essentially flat as the second chart below illustrates.More: Storage Puts Utilities on a Big Bind on Demand Charges On the Blogs: The Rising Market in Electricity Storagelast_img read more

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Plans for Carmichael coal mine in Australia run into another roadblock

first_imgPlans for Carmichael coal mine in Australia run into another roadblock FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The controversial Carmichael coalmine has been delayed indefinitely by the Queensland government, which has ruled that Adani’s proposals to protect the endangered black-throated finch do not meet the miner’s approval conditions.The decision, made by the state environment department and not by the political arm of government, forces Adani to complete significant additional work before it can begin construction of the mine.The finch management plan is one of two key hurdles before Adani can start work on its mine. The second is a groundwater plan, which also requires state approval and is under review.In a statement, the department said it was seeking a number of new commitments from Adani, including that the company gathers more accurate information about the black-throated finch population “which is vital to effectively manage and monitor the impacts of the project on the … finch and essential habitats in the project area”.While the decision was welcomed by environmentalists, amid an election campaign where Adani’s coal project has become a significant issue, it does not amount to a rejection or a block on the Carmichael mine. In some respects, the advice from the department offers Adani a clear path to approval of the plan, by outlining the actions authorities require.More: Queensland delays Adani mine indefinitely, citing fears for endangered finchlast_img read more

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Scatec Solar starts commercial operation at first phase of 258MW South African solar park

first_imgScatec Solar starts commercial operation at first phase of 258MW South African solar park FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Scatec Solar and its partners have both grid connected and reached commercial operation for the 86MW first phase of a 258MW PV installation in Upington, South Africa. The first phase of the project, known as Sirius, is expected to generate 217 GWh of renewable energy and cut down on more than 180,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.The solar facility in Upington, which will be comprised of three total phases, was awarded back in April 2015 through the fourth bidding round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPP) in South Africa.Ownership of the plant is split between Scatec Solar (42%), Norfund (18%), South African investor H1 Holdings (35%) and the surrounding community of Upington (5%).The remaining two phases of the installation, featuring a combined installed capacity of 172MW, are expected to reach commercial operation over the next couple of months.South Africa has continued to allocate more and more resources toward expanding its renewable-energy sector, especially thanks to a number of measures taken over the last couple of months. Back in October 2019, the country’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) signed off on a ruling to set aside 6GW of new large-scale solar over the next decade, with this new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) allocating the capacity in 1GW instalments each year in 2022, 2023, 2025 and from 2028-30. South Africa had already committed solar allocations of 114MW in 2020, 300MW in 2021, and 400MW in 2022.[Conor Ryan]More: Scatec Solar completes first phase of 258MW PV project in South Africalast_img read more

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California regulators back major increase in renewables, ban on new natural gas plants

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:California on Thursday adopted a new emissions target for its electric sector that would double the state’s clean energy capacity over the next decade and close the door to development of new natural gas plants, but green groups said the goal was not aggressive enough.The state’s Public Utilities Commission set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 46 million metric tons by 2030, 56% below 1990 levels. The goal outpaces the state’s overall goal of slashing emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.California electricity providers will need to develop nearly 25 gigawatts of renewable energy and battery storage to achieve the goal, nearly double the amount the state has currently, CPUC Commissioner Liane Randolph said in a statement. The agency anticipates 8,900 MW of energy storage will be included in that total, or about eight times more than existed in the entire United States at the end of 2018.Environmental groups had pressed for a more aggressive target of 30 MMT that would get the state closer to its 2045 goal of sourcing electricity exclusively from carbon-free sources. They favor a rapid shift away from fossil fuels to fight global climate change.In a win for green groups, the CPUC closed a loophole that would allowed development of new natural gas plants if paired with energy storage. Expansion of existing natural gas plants is allowed if paired with energy storage, however.New gas plants are allowed if they use biomethane, which comes from manure, landfills or wastewater and is interchangeable with gas drilled out of the ground. It cuts greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring significant volumes of methane, that would have been produced anyway, never reach the atmosphere.[Nichola Groom]More: California sets goal to double clean energy by 2030 California regulators back major increase in renewables, ban on new natural gas plantslast_img read more

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Solar takes largest share as Maine regulators okay 546MW of new renewable energy projects

first_imgSolar takes largest share as Maine regulators okay 546MW of new renewable energy projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Maine utility regulators have announced the results of the state’s largest renewables procurement to date, with solar developers coming away with the majority of winning bids.Solar will account for about 482 megawatts of the 546 megawatts of projects approved Tuesday by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Maine now has about 90 megawatts of solar installed, putting it in the bottom ten states according to rankings from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. But the state is slated to add more than 800 megawatts in coming years.The 17 projects okayed this week also include onshore wind, hydro and biomass. They were the first to get the go-ahead after Maine increased its renewable portfolio standard to 80 percent by 2030 in a suite of climate and clean energy laws signed last year. Maine also set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. In a statement, Governor Janet Mills called Tuesday’s decision a “historic step” toward getting there.The state already gets 80 percent of its electricity from renewables, according to 2019 data from U.S. Energy Information Administration. But hydropower and biomass dominate that total. The RPS legislation that Gov. Mills signed in 2019 — while standing in front of a solar installation — requires the state to rely more heavily on new renewable resources and mandates the public utility commission conduct yearly competitive solicitations for new projects with long-term contracts.Solar developers focused on projects in New England and the Mid-Atlantic, including New York’s Walden Renewables and Glenvale Solar, secured many of the winning project bids for the first of those solicitations. Boston-based Swift Current Energy will develop the largest single solar project in the group, at 100 megawatts. Irish developer BNRG Renewables will work on two installations with local developer Dirigo Solar, part of a larger suite of projects the two are building together in the state.Average winning contract rates were 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, according to reporting from the Portland Press Herald. That price is competitive with incumbent power in the region, Maine PUC Chair Philip Bartlett II told the newspaper.[Emma Foehringer Merchant]More: Solar dominates Maine’s largest renewables procurement on recordlast_img read more

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Draft EU energy plan calls for 60GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030

first_imgDraft EU energy plan calls for 60GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The European Union is considering a plan to increase its offshore wind energy capacity five-fold this decade and 25-fold by 2050, as it seeks to become climate neutral by mid-century, according to a draft policy.The 27-nation EU, which is already home to 42% of the world’s offshore wind capacity, says the technology now produces clean power at a lower price than any fossil fuel-based source.A draft of the European Commission’s strategy for offshore renewable energy, seen by Reuters and due to be published on Nov. 18, says the bloc should aim for 60 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 and 300GW by 2050. Its current capacity is 12GW.The draft also includes a goal of 60GW of wave and tidal energy by 2050.Meeting the goals would require 789 billion euros ($937.10 billion) in investment and a revamp of countries’ current policies, which would see only 90GW of offshore renewables deployed by 2050.“Offshore wind is cheap but requires huge upfront investment,” said Giles Dickson, CEO of industry group WindEurope, pointing to the need for policies that ensure projects have stable income. The draft says guarantees or power purchase agreements could achieve this, while the EU’s 750-billion-euro coronavirus economic recovery fund could support new projects.[Kate Abnett and Susanna Twidale]More: EU eyes huge increase in offshore wind energy to meet climate goals: draftlast_img read more

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U.S., Vietnam to cooperate on rooftop solar expansion efforts in the Southeast Asian nation

first_imgU.S., Vietnam to cooperate on rooftop solar expansion efforts in the Southeast Asian nation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享VnExpress:The U.S.’s official aid agency has signed an agreement with national utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) for rooftop solar power generation.The Vietnam Urban Energy Security project, which the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funds and runs, formalized a partnership Monday to support EVN’s efforts to expand rooftop solar (RTS) energy generation.Power demand in Vietnam is growing by 10 percent annually, making it critical for the country to use modern, clean technologies to sustain its rapid economic growth while also protecting human health and the environment. Vietnam’s demand for electricity might rise to 90,000 MW by 2025 and double that by 2030, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has said. The current capacity is more than 68,000 MW in the first 11 months, up 3.19 percent against the same period last year.By September 2019, the registered capacity of solar power plants had reached 25,000 MW, racing ahead of the government’s target of 4,000 MW by 2025, according to EVN. It said renewables currently account for 9 percent of Vietnam’s energy mix, surpassing the target of 7 percent set for 2020.But RTS adoption would threaten EVN’s revenues and potentially the power grid by reducing voltage quality and causing power losses, USAID said. To address these challenges, and ultimately increase RTS capacity, EVN will conduct utility financial impact analyses of various rooftop solar deployment scenarios in Da Nang with support from USAID through the new agreement.Through the agreement, USAID will also help EVN evaluate rooftop solar systems in its distribution network, build its capacity to mitigate adverse impacts to the grid and design and run innovative communication campaigns to promote rooftop solar.[Minh Nga]More: U.S. to help Vietnam develop clean energylast_img read more

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White Nose Syndrome

first_imgDriving along the Blue Ridge Parkway on an overcast New Year’s Day, Luke Appling, a park ranger at Grandfather Mountain State Park, saw a very strange sight: a bat flying in the middle of the day. The bat’s flight was clumsy and uncoordinated, as it flew into nearby branches. Appling knew something was wrong with this bat.Bats flying during the daytime are becoming a common and widespread phenomenon in western North Carolina. Sightings have been called in from rangers at Grandfather Mountain, hikers in Mills River, and staff at the Waynesville Water Treatment Plant. This odd behavior is a side-effect of a disease called White-nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS is caused by a newly discovered fungus called Geomyces destructans, which thrives in the cold, damp climates of caves and mines. As bats hibernate, their immune systems are suppressed and their body temperature falls within a degree of the surrounding temperature of the cave. This makes the bats a perfect host for G. destructans to grow on. The fungus actively invades exposed living skin tissue on areas such as the wings, muzzle, ears, and feet of the bats. The bats awake more frequently from hibernation to groom off the fungus, using up precious fat reserves that should last the entire winter. As a result, bats may wake up and fly outside in search of food and water. But when bats exit their hibernacula in the middle of winter, they find freezing temperatures and very few insects to eat.WNS is a particularly devastating disease due to its rapid spread, lack of discrimination between different bat species, and catastrophically high mortality rates. WNS was discovered in Howe’s Cave in New York State in the winter of 2006 and has since spread to 16 states in the eastern U.S. and 4 Canadian Provinces, currently reaching its most southern extent in North Carolina. Mortality from WNS was recently estimated to be over 5.5 million bats since 2006, with regional population declines estimated at 73-88%. Six species of bats are confirmed to be affected by the disease, including the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). The northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), the eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii), and the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) are currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act due to declines as a result of WNS. The little brown bat was once considered the most common bat species in the Northeast, but this species’ population has declined so drastically from WNS that biologists believe that little brown bats could be regionally extinct from the Northeast in less than 16 years.In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a voluntary moratorium on caving in WNS positive states and adjacent states to prevent human transportation of G. destructans spores. “We are asking people not to enter caves and mines while researchers work to learn more about White-nose Syndrome,” says Sue Cameron, an Endangered Species Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). “While the primary mode of transmission of the disease appears to be from bat-to-bat, there is concern that people can inadvertently carry and spread fungal spores to new sites.  We want to do whatever we can to slow the spread of the disease and prevent large jumps to uninfected states or areas of the country.  If people do choose to enter caves and mines, we ask that they follow the USFWS decontamination protocols (http://www.fws.gov/whitenosesyndrome/pdf/WNSDecon_Cavers_v012511.pdf) to reduce the chance of spreading the spores.”  Many caves and mines on federal and state lands have been closed to the public, although some privately-owned caves are still open. Local caving groups, such as the Flittermouse Grotto, follow USFWS decontamination protocol to prevent spreading spores between caving sites. Linville Caverns, a site that was confirmed as WNS positive in 2011, requires visitors to decontaminate their shoes after they leave the cave.WNS was first discovered in North Carolina last winter in February 2011 and it has now been documented in 4 counties, with 2 additional counties considered suspect for the disease.  Winter bat hibernation surveys for the 2012 season have not yet been completed, but the NCWRC biologists are already seeing indications of declines in the number of bats hibernating in some of the state’s caves and mines. “Folks were holding on to a little bit of hope that White-nose Syndrome would behave differently in the south,” says Cameron. “We are hoping that something about our climate or our bats would curtail the high mortality rates seen in the Northeast. But unfortunately, reports from biologists in Virginia and our recent winter surveys in North Carolina suggest that our bats may be just as unlucky as their cousins up north.”“White-nose Syndrome is the most devastating wildlife disease of our time,” states Gabrielle Graeter, a Wildlife Biologist with the NCWRC’s Wildlife Diversity Program. “We are still hopeful that we won’t see the declines in our bat populations that biologists up North have seen. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do to help the bats right now other than monitor the spread of the disease and hope for the best.”Corinne Diggins is a NCWRC Wildlife Diversity Technician and head of the North Carolina Bat Acoustic Monitoring Program. She has been monitoring North Carolina’s bat populations since 2010.Help the NCWRC Monitor Bat PopulationsIf you see bats flying during the day or roosting in areas exposed to the elements during the winter, please write down the date, time, location, # of bats and their behavior, and the weather conditions and email them to Gabrielle Graeter at [email protected] monitor bats this summer with the North Carolina Bat Acoustic Monitoring Program! As a volunteer, you’ll place a microphone for an ultrasonic bat detector on the roof of your car and drive along a predetermined route, recording bat calls. Contact Corinne Diggins for more information at 828-273-3991 or [email protected] to the NCWRC’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund: The Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund helps fund the conservation of bats and monitoring of White-nose Syndrome in the state of North Carolina. Donations can be made through: 1) donating through the Tax Check-off for Nongame and Endangered Wildlife on your N.C. State Income tax form, 2) registering a vehicle or trailer with a N.C. Wildlife Conservation license plate, or 3) mailing in a contribution form, which can be downloaded at ncwildlife.org/give.last_img read more

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Hot off the Press: The October Issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors

first_imgColors begin spilling down the mountains this month. Blue Ridge Outdoors talks with four photography pros who share their favorite fall foliage spots and secrets with readers. This month, we also celebrate the 50th birthday of The Wilderness Act by exploring Appalachia’s wildest public lands, and we offer the simplest, easiest way to save more of them.Readers get a sneak peek inside the backpack of A.T. record holder Jennifer Pharr Davis and a music preview of Halloween ear candy. And as BRO readers already know, play is more than just fun. It’s an essential ingredient for health, both as kids and adults. In the October issue, we review the latest scientific research showing the benefits of outdoor play. We also pick 10 off-the-radar state parks that offer adventures as epic as national parks but with far fewer crowds.featuresWILDERNESS AT 50Exploring Appalachia’s wildest public lands and The Magic Kingdom of WildernessHIDDEN TREASURESOften overshadowed by national parks, state parks offer equally epic adventures with far fewer crowds. Here are 10 off-the-radar favorites.PICTURE PERFECTFour photography pros share their favorite fall foliage spots and secrets.THE NEED TO PLAYPlay is more than just fun. It’s an essential ingredient for health, both as kids and adults.departmentsEDITOR’S NOTEThe easy way to save the planetFLASHPOINTSolar could power half of AppalachiaQUICK HITSGeorgia runner sets barefoot record/Shirtless steeplechaser stripped of gold medal/and more!THE DIRTPaddling pros share five essential skillsTHE GOODSPeek inside the backpack of A.T. record holder Jennifer Pharr DavisTRAIL MIXJudah & the Lion and their new album Kids These Dayslast_img read more

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Trails Closed in Pisgah National Forest in Wake of Cold Mountain Wildfire

first_imgThe United States Forest Service has closed multiple trails in the Shining Rock Wilderness area of the Pisgah National Forest due to a forest fire that was first reported last Friday afternoon.“At this point, it is human caused, but the exact cause is under investigation,” USFS Public Information Officer Bob Beanblossom told the Asheville Citizen Times.The Cold Mountain wildfire as captured by BRO reader David Wise on Saturday morning from Frying Pan lookout tower.The fire was zero percent contained as of late last night and is now burning on approximately 134 acres in the headwaters of Crawford Creek north toward Cold Mountain.According to the USFS, “all National Forest trails in the Shining Rock Wilderness, Graveyard Fields and Black Balsam areas of the Pisgah Ranger District are closed due to the Cold Mountain fire.”Map of current trail closures courtesy of USFS.Stay up to date with the developments of this wildfire by following the North Carolina division of the USFS on twitter, and click here for a live feed of Cold Mountain with real time air quality reports from the area.Related:last_img read more

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