The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/california-governor-western-grid-no-imports-renewable-energy-needed/
Western grid operators have been making plans for large-scale renewable energy imports into the California electricity market, prompting the governor’s Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy Facilities to write a “self-reliance” response.
California has plenty of in-state development: “The California Independent System Operator indicates that renewable projects totaling 70,000 MW of installed capacity [nearly enough to meet all of the state's peak summer demand] are seeking to connect to the CAISO-managed grid.”
Transmission costsare up, waaay up. In particular, “the developer of at least one significant line, TransWest Express, expects the project to cost about 70 percent more than WECC’s original assumptions…we thus appreciate the ongoing efforts of WECC staff to review these and other assumptions and to revise capital cost assumptions upward.”
Transmission line risks: “transmission lines proposed to stretch hundreds of miles over private and public lands face significant permitting and development risk – perhaps most so in the case of DC lines, which offer few electrical benefits to the states they cross.”
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/severe-volatility-illustrates-risks-using-solar-recs/
This is a little taste of a project I’m doing comparing solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) with a state solar mandate to Clean Contracts (a.k.a. feed-in tariffs). One metric for comparison is the risk created by market uncertainty, and there’s no better illustration of the risk and uncertainty in SREC markets that this chart. In the past 9 months, SREC prices have tumbled in nearly every market in the U.S.
The cause is the same everywhere – the solar industry met the state mandate, cratering demand for SRECs. Prices won’t recover until the market slows down.
From an Econ 101 standpoint, SRECs beautifully price market demand and are a powerful indicator of when the state-created market is saturated. From an industry standpoint, however, they represent a real roller coaster. It’s hard to be a solar installer when your entire market dries up for 9 months waiting for next year’s quota to roll in (in NJ and PA, legislation is being considered to accelerate the state mandate to solve the problem).
Clean contracts (if uncapped) solve the problem, because the market doesn’t bust (of course, a solar mandate that can keep ahead of supply would also work).
It’s a serious question for policy makers to consider when creating a market for solar. Is an SREC market that depends on a state solar mandate any more “market-based” than Clean contracts that simply provide a standard offer to solar developers? And if the latter means cheaper solar for ratepayers, then shouldn’t that trump considerations of “markets”?
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/economic-impact-review/3177-2/
In September 2011, the California Legislature pased a bill requiring cities and counties to have an economic impact analysis prepared before deciding whether to approve an application to develop a large superstore. The legislation defines a superstore as a retail store of at least 90,000 square feet that devotes 10 percent or more of its space to groceries. The law lists a range of impacts that the study must assess and quantify. Continue reading
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/clean-local-power-kentucky/
In August 2011, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell gave this presentation to a group of rural utilities and environmental organizations in Kentucky. The slides illustrate the enormous renewable energy potential in Kentucky and the cost-effectiveness of clean, local power in meeting the state’s electricity and economic needs. Clean Local Power for Kentucky View more presentations… Continue reading
Tom Carlson of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network recently contacted me to let me know that a newer report substantially increases the estimated offshore wind potential for Maryland (in fact, we had found no studies at the time of publication showing any offshore potential).
A 2010 study by the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment found that Maryland could in fact get two-thirds of its electricity from shallow-water offshore wind (depths of 35 meters or less).
With that update, our Energy Self-Reliant States map would show that Maryland could in fact get 107% of its electricity from in-state sources, rather than just 40%.
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/new-small-hydro-could-add-significantly-state-renewable-power/
Over at Climate Progress, Stephen Lacey recently asked why there isn’t more development of micro hydro in the U.S., given its potential to provide more than 30,000 low-cost megawatts of power to U.S. states (and bipartisan political support).
We can’t answer that question any better than Stephen, but we can provide a good illustration of that potential, replicating a map from our 2010 report Energy Self-Reliant States (click here for a larger version):
New Micro Hydro Power Potential (Percent of State Electricity Sales)
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/could-rooftop-solar-prevent-texas-blackouts/
Just a reminder that while Texas swelters and its electric grid sags, rooftop solar PV alone could meet 35 percent of the state’s electricity needs. Map from Energy Self-Reliant States:
State Potential Rooftop PV:
Not only is the potential high, but the cost is low. The levelized cost of solar is just 14 cents per kilowatt-hour in Texas, when including the federal 30 percent tax credit. Cost estimates from ILSR.
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/solar-minnesota-great-promise/
Back in April 2011, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell gave this presentation on the potential for solar power in Minnesota to a group of solar businesses and advocates. Solar in Minnesota: Great Potential View more presentations from John Farrell. Continue reading
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