Tuesday, September 11, 2018

how to sell an industrial wind turbine

The lovely thing about policies such as 60% renewables by 2030, and 100% carbon-free by 2045, is they provide easy messages to broadcast.

In my previous post I quoted David Roberts', "in what is effectively a climate Dark Ages in the US, California is carrying a torch." I've argued the state hasn't accomplished much to date, its additions of variable renewable energy resources (vRES) had been chunky and the rapid addition of solar over the past 5 years is unlikely to be sustained. My intent with the post was to show the path to 60% is not clear, but it's a lot narrower without broadening the connections with other states. Cost concerns are better addressed in this twitter thread, within which Cody Hill neatly summarizes the looming issues:
1. In-state wind is essentially built out already, leaving practically nothing but solar to build locally, which leads to major value deflation 
2. The fossil fleet is already struggling to stay solvent, and it is unclear what the best option is to maintain resource adequacy
California's goal is simple, but problematic.

Australia's former Prime Minister tried to sell a National Energy Guarantee (NEG) that was not simple - and that was a problem for him. I liked it a lot more than policies like 60% renewable, but The Australian noted, "Malcolm Turnbull risks all with NEG policy"

And then he was gone. Replaced by Scott Morrison (seen in "This is Coal").
New Prime Minister Morrison appointed Angus Taylor as energy minister (seen here addressing a sparse crowd at a 2013 National Wind Power Fraud Rally).

I find this astounding. I've been raising the alarm on the impact of industrial wind policy on Ontario rates for many years (ie.), and ran a blog for Wind Concerns Ontario for about 18 months. I understood the general population's support for renewables which appeared in poll after pool, but it appears that support may be a mile wide but less than an inch deep.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

wishing winds: California's SB 100

I wanted to tie together some articles of interest I've read in a single post - but I instead I'll deliver two blog posts and spare myself the effort of convincing the reader of the connections between:
For those not closely following the electricity scene, Stop These Things and VOX are dissimilar in the extreme. Those that are following are likely lined up with one or the other may have already abandoned reading this post - but don't worry VOX followers, this one only deals with California.
SB 100, the bill sponsored by state Sen. Kevin de León, would set a target of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. It passed the California Senate last year, passed the state Assembly on Tuesday, and was reconciled by the Senate on Thursday...
...there’s enormous power and symbolism in “100 percent.”
But it’s also important to understand that SB 100 is not some big leap for California...California’s transition to clean energy has been careful and deliberate.
SB 100 is a big deal, in my opinion, specifically because 2045 is not far away in planning electricity generation - and therefore it won't be just another symbolic step. According the Energy Information Administration (EIA), "The capacity-weighted average age of U.S. natural gas power plants is 22 years, which is less than hydro (64 years), coal (39), and nuclear (36)." A building boom in natural gas power plants for 6 years at the start of the century drops that average age to 22 years, otherwise it would similarly show 2045 would be early years for a traditional power plant just being planned today. SB 100 is not binding, but I think it clearly increases the risk for any investor that would plan a generating source with significant greenhouse gas emissions in that state.

Roberts alludes to a possibility the bill won't be signed into law; "Gov. Brown is threatening to veto SB 100 if legislators don’t also pass AB 813, a bill that would set California on the path to joining a larger regional Western power market." He doesn't take the possibility seriously, perhaps because of his belief that, "in what is effectively a climate Dark Ages in the US, California is carrying a torch."

I'm in Ontario - if Americans are looking for a torch, they should look up here.