Crackdowns on Solar Net-Metering Are Building a Market for Home Batteries

first_imgCrackdowns on Solar Net-Metering Are Building a Market for Home Batteries FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Dana Hull for Bloomberg News:Net-metering policies, which allow residential solar customers to sell their excess solar electricity back to utilities, have limited the appeal of home batteries in many states. But that’s shifting: Net metering is being phased out in some states, making storage more attractive. “The picture is rapidly changing across several markets,” said Yayoi Sekine, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Changes to net-metering policies and implementation of time-of-use rates will improve the case for residential energy storage systems going forward.”Net-metering policies, which allow residential solar customers to sell their excess solar electricity back to utilities, have limited the appeal of home batteries in many states. But that’s shifting: Net metering is being phased out in some states, making storage more attractive. “The picture is rapidly changing across several markets,” said Yayoi Sekine, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Changes to net-metering policies and implementation of time-of-use rates will improve the case for residential energy storage systems going forward.”Full article: Tesla Powerwalls for Home Energy Storage Are Hitting U.S. Marketlast_img read more

SNL Data Dispatch: U.S. Coal Companies Tightening Supply in Face of Bankruptcies

first_imgSNL Data Dispatch: U.S. Coal Companies Tightening Supply in Face of Bankruptcies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Taylor Kuykendall and Arsalan Gul in SNL:The latest coal miner employment and production data indicates producers took huge steps towards a long-sought and much-needed tightening of domestic coal supply with those undergoing restructuring cutting the most production.A coal supply overhang across the U.S. has kept a lid on prices as demand has rapidly dropped off due to natural gas competition, environmental regulation and mild weather patterns decreasing electricity demand. The state of the market has been particularly troublesome for the debt-laden companies now going through bankruptcy reorganization due to unrealized expectations on global metallurgical coal demand.A new S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of production data shows that some of the nation’s top producers have accelerated their own efforts in supply rationalization in the past few quarters. Three companies that own some of the largest mines in the nation – Peabody Energy Corp., Arch Coal Inc. and Alpha Natural Resources Inc. — have also brought the largest amount of coal offline, on a quarterly basis, since the fuel’s near-term production peak in the fourth-quarter of 2011. All three companies are currently going through bankruptcy reorganization.Environmentalists and other activists have been highly critical of coal companies in bankruptcy. In a recent report, Public Citizens called on CEOs of bankrupt coal companies to divert bonuses they have received toward laid-off coal workers affected by declining production. They claim it is bad business decisions on management’s part that have landed the companies in their current position.“It is unfortunate that the political discourse has been framed by this fictitious ‘war on coal’ narrative, when the truth reveals an industry hampered largely by market forces and poor financial decisions,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “We need an honest dialogue about the future of our energy system and how to prioritize investing in coal mining communities that have been hurt by the transition.”The data analysis groups mines by current ownership, therefore production cuts over the period at mines that were bought and sold are attributed to the current owner.Mines currently owned by Peabody have cut 21.8 million tons of coal output between the 2011 near-term national peak in coal production and the first quarter of 2016, about 40.1% lower. Peabody recently secured approval for its debtor-in-possession financing as it prepares to readjust to current market conditions.“This marks another important step as we move through the Chapter 11 process and reposition the company for long-term success,” Peabody President and CEO Glenn Kellow said in a recent press release.Respectively, Arch and Alpha mines produced 17.1 million tons and 13.4 million tons fewer in the most recent quarter than the near-term nationwide peak in coal production.Companies that have not filed bankruptcy are also responding to a market signal to cut back on production. Cloud Peak Energy Inc. mines produced about 49.2% less coal in the first three months of 2016 than it did when U.S. quarterly coal production peaked. Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. produced about 66.3% less coal in the period.“We’re currently a non-profit,” Cloud Peak President and CEO joked at a recent hearing on potential reforms to the federal leasing process. In remarks in opposition to potential reforms that could make it more difficult or expensive to mine on federal lands, a large piece of Cloud Peak’s business, Marshall emphasized that coal is already in a tight spot.“With most federal coal producers bankrupt, coal prices at historic lows and taxes and fees on Powder River Basin coal alone at over 40% of the selling price there is no economic justification whatsoever to increase royalties or lease rates,” Marshall said. “To put this in context, last year Cloud Peak Energy paid $303 million in taxes and royalties when our business suffered a net loss of $204 million.”Other companies that currently own mines where there have been major supply cuts include Murray Energy Corp.,Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund Inc., Rosebud Mining Co., Revelation Energy Holdings LLC, Texas Energy Future Holdings and Westmoreland Coal Co.Full article $: https://www.snl.com/web/client?auth=inherit#news/article?id=36514802&KeyProductLinkType=4last_img read more

On the Blogs: Long Odds on Coal Industry’s Hopes for Carbon Capture and Storage

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Gary Ellem for The Conversation:One of the great hopes of the industry is carbon capture and storage (CCS), a way to burn coal, remove the carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions and store it safely away from the atmosphere. While there have been several breakthroughs, the technology remains expensive.Advances in energy technologies mean that adding CCS doesn’t just need to work; it needs to work at a lower cost than its growing legion of competitors. And while the alternatives are good news for avoiding dangerous climate change, it’s a substantial challenge for the coal industry.One of the great hopes of the industry is carbon capture and storage (CCS), a way to burn coal, remove the carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions and store it safely away from the atmosphere. While there have been several breakthroughs, the technology remains expensive.Advances in energy technologies mean that adding CCS doesn’t just need to work; it needs to work at a lower cost than its growing legion of competitors. And while the alternatives are good news for avoiding dangerous climate change, it’s a substantial challenge for the coal industry.In the 1990s, many believed that renewables (other than existing hydro, geothermal and biomass for heating) might never be able to replace coal cheaply. The future of energy was going to be a centralised grid, rather than the distributed power models being discussed today, and there were only two widely backed horses in the technology race: CCS and nuclear.But the early part of this century has seen an energy revolution in both renewables and fossil fuels. Among renewables, solar and wind have both taken enormous strides in reducing production costs and building manufacturing scale.For fossil fuels, the expansion in gas pipeline infrastructure, the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipping and the growth of both conventional and unconventional gas production have encouraged fuel switching from coal in European and US markets in particular.Trying to compare the costs of different types of electricity can be tricky. Power stations require capital to build and have heavy financing, operational and decommissioning costs. Nuclear and fossil fuel power stations also have to buy fuel.Analysts use the term “levelised cost of electricity (LCOE)” to aggregate and describe this combination of factors for different methods of electricity generation.A significant challenge for coal and CCS is that the LCOE for wind and solar at a comparable scale is already competitive with coal generation in many places. This is because the cost of manufacturing has fallen as production has increased.In the longer term, there’s a clear pathway for most homes to disconnect completely from the grid, should battery prices continue to fall.The reason that batteries can compete with centralised generation is because the cost of transmission and distribution from a coal-fired power station to your home is considerable.These costs are not normally considered in the LCOE calculations, because it is assumed that all power generators have access to the same, centralised electricity grid.But a battery in your home means that these costs are largely avoided. That makes home energy generation and storage much more competitive with traditional power generation in the longer term.For developing nations without a strong centralised grid it also means that energy systems can be built incrementally, without large investments in infrastructure.This is an ill wind for the competitive future of CCS, which depends on the centralised generation model and a lack of low-cost competitors to stay viable.The odds that CCS will keep coal alive as an industry into the future are getting longer each year.What we are seeing is the start of the great transition from fossil fuel mining to manufacturing as the basis for our energy systems. It’s not dominant yet, but you would be starting to get very nervous if you were betting against it.Full item: Carbon capture and storage is unlikely to save coal in the long run On the Blogs: Long Odds on Coal Industry’s Hopes for Carbon Capture and Storagelast_img read more

U.S. Energy Lab Sees Battery-Storage Systems Lowering Electric Bills for Millions of Businesses

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg News:More than a quarter of U.S. businesses could lower their monthly power bills if they installed batteries to reduce peak energy demand.Companies that have demand charges of at least $15 per kilowatt would benefit from installing battery systems, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Clean Energy Group found in a study of over 10,000 utility rate plans released Thursday.While falling battery costs and rising utility fees have made it possible for savings in high-cost states such as California and New York, the study shows that storing energy can be a profitable investment for at least a million commercial consumers in Georgia, Colorado, Michigan, Texas, Florida and New England. It’s a new tool companies can use to reduce costs in addition to investments in energy efficiency, solar panels and fuel cells.More: Batteries Can Cut Power Bills for 5 Million U.S. Businesses U.S. Energy Lab Sees Battery-Storage Systems Lowering Electric Bills for Millions of Businesseslast_img read more

TVA moves closer to shuttering Bull Run, Paradise coal plants

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Solar Industry Magazine:The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is asking for public input on a review of the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of closing the Bull Run and Paradise coal plants.Bull Run, located in Anderson County, Tenn., is a single-generator, coal-fired power plant. Paradise, located near Drakesboro, Ky., has one coal-fired generator still operating, Unit 3. Two other coal-fired units at Paradise were retired when a new natural gas plant began operating at the site in 2017, says TVA.In August, TVA announced a review of generating assets, focusing on Bull Run and Paradise, based on the future cost of maintenance and environmental compliance and other factors. TVA says it must continually evaluate its fleet to ensure flexibility and financial responsibility.TVA has now prepared separate environmental assessments (EAs), one for Bull Run and another for Paradise, to look at the site-specific impacts of the potential retirement of each site. The assessments are required under the National Environmental Policy Act and will be part of the information used to inform the TVA board early next year before a decision is made whether to retire either of the units.According to the Sierra Club, TVA derived more than 60% of its electricity from coal a decade ago, but by 2020, that number is expected to shrink to about 18%.More: TVA seeks input on potential coal plant closures TVA moves closer to shuttering Bull Run, Paradise coal plantslast_img read more

Shale gas slows renewable energy adoption in PJM service territory

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:In the contest between competing energy sources to produce electricity in the United States, select regions of the U.S. — especially windy Texas and the Great Plains, as well as the sunny Pacific Coast — are tilting to renewable technologies.But in cloudy and cold rural West Virginia counties surrounding this small city, and in the 12 neighboring mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states served by PJM — the nation’s largest electrical transmission grid operator — the confrontation between renewable technology and fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, is a mismatch. And it is anticipated to stay that way for at least the next two decades, maybe longer.Of the more than 180,000 megawatts of installed generation capacity available from PJM’s members, less than 6 percent is produced by wind or solar technology. Nationally about 15 percent of generating capacity comes from these two renewable resources.Coal-fired power, counted on a decade ago to generate over 40 percent of the power in the PJM service area, has fallen to less than one-third. Natural gas, meanwhile, which was 25 percent of generating capacity a decade ago, is nearing 40 percent. Nuclear power accounts for 19 percent. PJM executives anticipate that a decade from today solar and wind capacity will still not exceed 10 percent of generating capacity. A sizable portion of that, PJM executives say, will come from distributed rooftop solar stations.Economic ramifications of the development and ecological risks — especially of the hydrofracking technology that makes it possible — are the source of considerable public disagreement across this mid-Atlantic region. There is, however, no question about the effects of gas production on electricity generation. PJM, based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and charged with managing an 84,000-mile transmission network across all of six eastern states and parts of seven others in the Midwest and South, is supervising an electrical transmission network fueled principally by natural gas that looks considerably different than what the grid operator anticipated a decade ago.“It’s an inverse relationship. The potential for wind and solar generating capacity tends to be less in our footprint than in other regions,” said Mike Bryson, PJM’s vice president for operations. In the meantime, natural gas is abundant through much of PJM’s area. “The potential generating capacity for natural gas is high,” Bryson said. “There also is a geophysical dynamic playing into electrical generation here. A combined cycle 1,200-megawatt natural gas-fired plant takes two years to build and 40 people to run it. It’s sitting right on top of shale wells. Developers are looking for natural gas liquids and are practically giving away the gas. The cost of operations is sufficiently low they are competing with subsidized renewable generation.”More: Shale gas boom slows progress on renewables in PJM grid territory Shale gas slows renewable energy adoption in PJM service territorylast_img read more

Tri-State to close Escalante coal plant in New Mexico in 2020, 25 years early

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Denver Post:Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, increasingly under pressure from its members and renewable energy advocates for its reliance on coal, plans to close two of its coal-fired power plants and a coal mine in Colorado and New Mexico.Tri-State said Thursday it will close the Escalante Station in northwest New Mexico by the end of this year. It intends to close its operations at the Craig Station plant in Craig and at the Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030.The earlier-than-planned closures are part of the utility’s larger Responsible Energy Plan, Tri-State CEO Duane Highley said during a call with reporters. He said Tri-State will release details Jan. 15 about adding more renewable energy to its system and meeting state goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.Last year, the Westminster-based wholesale power provider shut down its Nucla coal plant in western Colorado, ahead of plans to close it in 2022. It previously had said it will close one unit of the Craig plant by the end of 2025.Thursday’s announcement applies to the remaining two units at the Craig facilities owned by Tri-State, a not-for-profit cooperative that serves a total of 43 electric associations in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska.The original closing dates for the plants were: Craig Unit 2, 2038; Craig Unit 3, 2044; and Escalante, 2045.[Judith Kohler]More: Under fire for use of coal, Tri-State to accelerate closure of plants, mine in Colorado and New Mexico Tri-State to close Escalante coal plant in New Mexico in 2020, 25 years earlylast_img read more

IRENA: Renewable energy resources totaled almost 75% of new generation capacity in 2019

first_imgIRENA: Renewable energy resources totaled almost 75% of new generation capacity in 2019 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Renewables accounted for nearly three-quarters of global power capacity additions last year – half of which was switched on in Asia, according to latest figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).According to Irena’s Renewable Capacity Statistics 2020, the wind, solar, hydropower, bioenergy, geothermal and off-grid energy sectors together added 176GW (72%) of new generating capacity worldwide in 2019, slightly lower than the 179GW added a year earlier.Asia dominated the renewable expansion last year, accounting for 54% of these additions.“Renewable energy is a cost-effective source of new power that insulates power markets and consumers from volatility, supports economic stability and stimulates sustainable growth,” Irena director-general Francesco La Camera said. “With renewable additions providing the majority of new capacity last year, it is clear that many countries and regions recognise the degree to which the energy transition can deliver positive outcomes.”Total renewable power growth outpaced fossil fuel growth by a factor of 2.6, continuing the dominance of renewables in power expansion first established in 2012. Solar and wind contributed 90% of all renewable capacity added in 2019.Solar added 98GW in 2019 (60% of which was in Asia), while wind energy expanded by close to 60GW led by growth in China (26GW) and in the US (9GW).[Bernd Radowitz]More: Renewables make up three quarters of global power build-out in 2019: Irenalast_img read more

France boosts renewable energy spending to a record €6 billion in 2021 budget

first_imgFrance boosts renewable energy spending to a record €6 billion in 2021 budget FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):In France, government support for renewable energies will rise by 25% in the upcoming 2021 budget to exceed a record €6 billion, the country’s ministry for ecological transition announced on Sep. 17.The financial injection will be aligned with the government’s longer-term energy roadmap, released in April of this year, which is targeting the diversification of the country’s energy mix, the decarbonizing of heating and transport systems and energy efficiency measures.By 2028, the European Union’s second-largest economy wants to double installed renewable electricity capacity to up to 113 GW, compared to 2017. Onshore wind will generate up to 34.7 GW, offshore wind 6.2 GW, solar 44 GW and hydropower 26.7 GW, the government laid out in its roadmap. Meanwhile, 14 nuclear reactors in the country will be closed by 2035, two of which have already been shuttered at Electricité de France SA’s Fessenheim plant in eastern France this year.France’s power system is dominated by stable nuclear generation, but the country’s grid got an early glimpse of a more diversified power mix during the demand slump caused by coronavirus-related shutdowns. “The health crisis has demonstrated the ability of renewable energies to contribute to our security of electricity supply and their resilience. On some days in spring they provided more than 35% of the total electricity production, without noticeable difficulty on the stability of the electricity system as a whole,” the government said.EDF is still in the process of building a new nuclear power plant in Flamanville, northern France, but the construction has been delayed and costs have ballooned beyond the initial budget. A decision over new nuclear capacity and the future of nuclear in France’s power landscape is meanwhile being delayed until after the completion of the Flamanville plant.Simultaneously, adding new green power has become cheaper. “Thanks to the support provided to them and their rapid development, renewables are becoming more and more competitive: support prices for solar photovoltaic energy have fallen by 40% over the past five years, those for onshore wind power have seen a decline of 20% over the past three years,” the ministry for ecological transition said.[Camilla Naschert]More ($): France to increase renewables spending to €6B in 2021 budgetlast_img read more

The Need for Speed: Sprint your way to a faster 5K

first_imgIt’s 5:30 a.m., and a dozen middle-aged runners are circling the University of Virginia track in Charlottesville. Local running guru Mark Lorenzoni is out there with them, coaching the runners through any number of sprints, intervals, and pace work. Lorenzoni, a lifelong runner with a 59:42 PR at the Virginia Ten Miler under his belt, owns Ragged Mountain Running and has coached thousands of amateur runners through their PR quests. These Wednesday morning speed workouts are an integral element of Lorenzoni’s coaching.“Most people come to me with a goal that’s a bit of a stretch. Something that’s going to take hard work,” Lorenzoni says. “If you’re just looking to finish a 5K, don’t worry about speed. But if you’re looking to get your 5K PR, you have to start running faster.” Most recreational runners ignore speed training altogether. Instead of sprints, tempo runs, or intervals, we simply run farther, but we might be missing a key element in our training, particularly if we’re interested in setting a personal best.“If you’re only running for distance, you’re only developing one energy system and ultimately, you’ll limit what your body can do,” says Norman Blair, a professional running coach and owner of Jus Running in Asheville, who coaches regular Tuesday evening track workouts at the University of North Carolina track. “Everyone should be doing speed drills, particularly as you get older. You either use it or you lose it.”That’s not to say speed should be taken lightly. There are a number of different drills you can incorporate that will help increase your overall speed, but true speed work, which involves short sprints, can be dangerous if done haphazardly.“Speed kills,” Lorenzoni says. “Speed work can injure you just as quickly as it can help you.”The key to incorporating speed safely into a running routine, according to both Lorenzoni and Blair, is easing into higher speeds. Never hit the track for “faster” speed work until you’ve spent some time doing “slower” speed work on the roads (see below), and never sprint cold turkey.“Speed work should be done at the end of a workout so you’re properly warmed up. Otherwise, you’re gonna get hurt,” Blair says.Here are three different speed workouts you can tailor to your fitness level to help develop a faster 5K time.1. Beginner Speed Pace Work Lorenzoni uses a weekly three-prong approach to basic speed training. The first run is performed at race distance and race pace. The second run is a shorter distance (two miles if you’re shooting for a 5K PR) at slightly faster than race pace. The third run is longer (seven miles) at slower than race pace. Increasing the pace of your run once a week will help bring down your 5K time while laying the foundation for the faster speed work ahead. 1 2 3last_img read more