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Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear and Grid Reliability?

           

Lessons from the Lone Star State: A surge in wind power on the Texas grid didn’t cause reliability problems (and brought down electricity prices) because regulators improved the efficiency of wholesale electricity markets. Sarah Fields Photography/Shutterstock.com

theconversation.com - by Joshua D. Rhodes, Michael E. Webber, Thomas Deetjen and Todd Davidson - May 11, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.

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Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves

           

Patrick Schnell, a participant in the Brooklyn Microgrid, with solar panels on his roof in Gowanus.
Credit Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

nytimes.com - by Diane Cardwell - March 13, 2017

 . . . In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of the borough, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door.

The project is still in its early stages — it has just 50 participants thus far — but its implications could be far reaching.

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As Solar Booms, Utilities Look to Build New Business Models With Strategic Investments

           

Image credit: Flickr user 10 10

utilitydive.com - by Herman K. Trabish - March 14, 2017

Beyond simply contracting for solar, utilities are increasingly investing in the sector to ‘position themselves to be the utility of the future'

Solar energy is becoming a generation resource so ubiquitous that utilities are looking beyond simply contracting for new capacity and are increasingly moving into the sector themselves.

Solar added a record-breaking 14,762 MW of capacity in 2016, nearly doubling its 2015 growth. The resource added 39% of all new U.S. generation capacity in the year, making it the leader among all resources for the first time.

Growth was dominated by utility investment in 2016, a trend that’s expected to continue, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

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How California Utilities Are Managing Excess Solar Power

news.morningstar.com - by Cassandra Sweet - March 4, 2017

California utilities including PG&E Corp., Edison International and Sempra Energy are testing new ways to network solar panels, battery storage, two-way communication devices and software to create "virtual power plants" that manage green power and feed it into the power grid as needed.

The Golden State is ramping up renewable energy as it pledges to be a bulwark against the Trump administration's pro-fossil fuel policies. But first, it has to figure out what to do with all the excess power it generates when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

           

Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.

bloomberg.com - by Tom Randall - December 15, 2016

A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. 

This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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As rooftop solar costs drop, utility attempts to raise barriers may not work

A solar array at Duke Energy Florida's 3.8 megawatt solar array in Osceola County, near St. Cloud. [Times files]

Image: A solar array at Duke Energy Florida's 3.8 megawatt solar array in Osceola County, near St. Cloud. [Times files]

tampabay.com - November 13th 2016 - Mary Ellen Klas

Florida's utility industry steered more than $20 million of their profits into a failed constitutional amendment to impose new barriers to the expansion of rooftop solar energy generation, but developers say that as the cost of installing solar panels drops, the state could quickly become a leader in private solar energy expansion no matter what the energy giants do.

The Florida Solar Energy Industry Association estimates that over the next five years, Florida homeowners, businesses and utilities are projected to take advantage of the falling prices and install 2,315 megawatts of solar electric capacity — 19 times more than the amount of solar installed in the last five years.

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Before the Flood

nationalgeographic.com - October 30, 2016

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award®-winning actor, environmental activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent the disruption of life on our planet.

CLICK HERE - National Geographic - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - YouTube - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - About the Film - Before the Flood

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District of Columbia Mayor Signs 50% Renewable Energy Standard

                         

utilitydive.com - by Robert Walton - July 26, 2016

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has signed legislation to push the nation's capital towards 50% renewable energy within the next 15 years, a goal she says will increase residents' access to clean energy while also creating jobs and new businesses.

The goal includes promises to serve 100,000 low-income residents with solar energy by 2032 and reduce their power bills by 50%.

To meet anticipated demand for solar energy, the city has partnered on a jobs program to provide District young adults with paid training in solar panel installation, energy efficiency, and basic safety and construction skills.

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FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Federal and Private Sector Actions on Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets

submitted by Gordian Raacke

CLICK HERE - White House Council of Economic Advisors - Incorporating Renewables into the Grid: Expanding Opportunities for Smart Markets and Energy Storage (40 page .PDF report)

whitehouse.gov - June 16, 2016

. . The Administration is announcing new executive actions and 33 state and private sector commitments that will accelerate the grid integration of renewable energy and storage.  Together, these announcements are expected to result in at least 1.3 gigawatts of additional storage procurement or deployment in the next five years. .

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Coalition of US States Pledge to Accelerate Renewable Energy Efforts

          

Wind turbines near Rancho Mirage, California. The wind farm contains more than 4,000 separate windmills and provides enough electricity to power the entire Coachella Valley. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Media

Bipartisan accord signed by governors of 17 states sets out commitments to expand energy efficiency and use more solar and wind generation for electricity

CLICK HERE - Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future

CLICK HERE - Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future (3 page .PDF file)

theguardian.com - by Oliver Milman - February 16, 2016

A bipartisan group of governors from 17 states has pledged to accelerate their efforts to create a green economy in the US by boosting renewables, building better electricity grids and cutting emissions from transport.

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