Friday, July 28, 2017

States Can Save Consumers and Businesses $113B with New Appliance Standards | ACEEE

States could save consumers and businesses $113 billion by adopting new efficiency standards for products such as computers and faucets, according to a new report, States Go First: How States Can Save Consumers Money, Reduce Energy and Water Waste, and Protect the Environment with New Appliance Standards, released July 25, 2017 by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report recommends 21 appliance standards that states can adopt in the near term.

“These standards give states a great opportunity to save energy and water, lower utility bills for consumers and businesses, and reduce air pollutant emissions,” said Joanna Mauer, technical advocacy manager of ASAP and lead author of the report. “By adopting new appliance standards, states can also boost local economies and reduce strain on the electric grid.”

The 21 recommended standards in the report cover a wide range of energy- and water-using residential and commercial products. They include computers and monitors, commercial dishwashers, faucets, and portable air conditioners. The report estimates potential savings through 2035 assuming that the standards would take effect in 2020. On a national level, the report found that the 21 recommended standards could:
  • Provide $113 billion in net present value savings for consumers and businesses, taking into account both utility bill savings and estimated impacts on product costs for items sold between 2020 and 2035
  • Save 41 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually in 2035, or about 1.5% of current total residential and commercial annual electricity use
  • Save 155 trillion Btus of natural gas annually in 2035, or about 2% of current total residential and commercial annual natural gas use
  • Save 630 billion gallons of water annually in 2035, or about 6% of current annual residential water usage
  • Reduce annual CO2 emissions in 2035 by 23 MMT, which is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of about seven average coal-fired power plants
Other key findings include:
  • The top three products in terms of potential economic savings are water-using products: faucets, showerheads, and lawn spray sprinklers.
  • More than half of the total potential primary energy savings come from the recommended standards for faucets, high color rendering index (CRI) fluorescent lamps, and computers and monitors.
  • The average US household could save $106 annually on its energy and water bills from the recommended standards in 2035. The potential savings vary from $72 per average household in Iowa to $215 in Hawaii.
  • The US energy and water bill savings over the useful life of the 21 products outweigh the estimated additional costs by a factor of more than 7; in every state, these potential savings outweigh the costs by a factor of more than 4.
Most of the recommended standards in the report are based on standards that already exist in at least one state or ENERGY STAR® or WaterSense specifications. Three of the standards are for products for which final federal standards have been put on hold by the Trump administration.
At least 18 states have enacted appliance standards at various times. Most of today’s national standards, which cover products ranging from refrigerators to commercial air conditioners to electric motors, started out at the state level.

“State standards have not only provided benefits to states adopting standards, but have also helped spur national standards,” said Steven Nadel, executive director of ACEEE. “Even when just a small number of states adopt standards, it can be sufficient to affect national markets.”

The full report is available at:

State-by-state savings estimates for each of the 21 recommended standards are available at:

ASAP ( organizes and leads a broad-based coalition effort that works to advance, win, and defend new appliance, equipment, and lighting standards that deliver large energy and water savings, monetary savings, and environmental benefits. Working together, the ASAP coalition supports new and updated standards at the national and state levels through technical and policy advocacy and through outreach and education. 

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ACEEE
Press Release dated July 25, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

What Is the Cost of a Renewable Energy–Based Approach to Greenhouse Gas Mitigation?

Energy policies for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation in the United States have set sector-specific standards, such as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for the transportation and the electricity sectors, respectively. This paper examines the welfare costs and effectiveness of GHG abatement with these policies and compares them with those under a carbon tax normalized to achieve the same level of abatement over the 2007–2030 period. We show that the global welfare cost per ton of GHG abatement with the RFS and RPS is $171, while with the carbon tax it is $7.

Map of States with Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards

by Anthony Oliver, and Madhu Khanna
Land Economics via University of Wisconsin Press
August 1, 2017; Volume 93, Number 3; Pages 437-458

Thursday, July 20, 2017

PNNL: News - Cut U.S. commercial building energy use 29% with widespread controls

along without maintenance being performed on the building controls designed to keep them running smoothly.
And sometimes those controls aren't used to their full potential, similar to a car at high speed in first gear. Instead of an expensive visit to the mechanic, the result for a commercial building is a high power bill.
A new report finds that if commercial buildings fully used controls nationwide, the U.S. could slash its energy consumption by the equivalent of what is currently used by 12 to 15 million Americans.

Building Controls for Energy Efficiency
The report examines how 34 different energy efficiency measures, most of which rely on various building controls, could affect energy use in commercial buildings such as stores, offices and schools. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found the measures could cut annual commercial building energy use by an average of 29 percent. This would result in between 4 to 5 quadrillion British Thermal Units in national energy savings, which is about 4 to 5 percent of the energy consumed nationwide.
"Most large commercial buildings are already equipped with building automation systems that deploy controls to manage building energy use," said report co-author and PNNL engineer Srinivas Katipamula. "But those controls often aren't properly programmed and are allowed to deteriorate over time, creating unnecessarily large power bills.
"Our research found significant nationwide energy savings are possible if all U.S. commercial building owners periodically looked for and corrected operational problems such as air-conditioning systems running too long."

An easy, low-cost fix

The report offers the first detailed, national benefit analysis of multiple energy efficiency measures to address building operational problems. Many of these problems can be corrected with very little effort. Unlike other practices that require expensive new technologies, most of the measures evaluated improve energy efficiency by enabling already-installed equipment to work better.
Roughly 20 percent of America's total energy use goes toward powering commercial buildings. And about 15 percent of U.S. commercial buildings have building automation systems that deploy controls, such as sensors that turn on lights or heating a room only when it's occupied. As a result, helping commercial buildings better use their controls could profoundly slash America's overall energy consumption.
Katipamula and his colleagues examined the potential impact of 34 individual energy efficiency measures that can improve commercial building performance, including:
  • Fixing broken sensors that read temperatures and other measurements
  • Turning off power-using devices like printers and monitors when a room isn't occupied
  • Dimming lights in areas with natural lighting
Because combining individual measures can increase energy savings, the researchers also estimated the impacts of packaging energy efficiency measures together. PNNL designed packages of combined measures based on the needs of three different building conditions: buildings already efficient and with little room for improvement, inefficient buildings with a lot of room for improvement, and typical buildings in the middle.
PNNL used computer models of nine prototypical commercial buildings, and extrapolated them to represent five other, similar buildings so it could evaluate energy use in a total of 14 building types. The research team used these prototypical building models with DOE's EnergyPlus building software, which calculated potential energy use given local weather and whichever energy efficiency measures were applied.

Results oriented

Of the individual efficiency measures studied, those with the greatest energy-saving potential nationwide were:
  • Lowering daytime temperature setpoints for heating, increasing them for cooling, and lowering nighttime heating setpoints: about 8 percent reduction
  • Reducing the minimum rate for air to flow through a variable-air volume boxes: about 7 percent reduction
  • Limiting heating and cooling to when building is most likely to be occupied: about 6 percent reduction
Though the study found all commercial buildings across all climates could have an average total energy savings of 29 percent, some building types were found to have the potential to save more, such as:
  • Secondary schools: about 49 percent
  • Standalone retail stores & auto dealerships: about 41 percent
As expected, researchers found inefficient buildings have the greatest potential to save energy. After estimating how common each building condition is in the U.S., researchers found combined efficiency measure packages have the following potential national energy saving ranges:
  • Inefficient buildings: 30 to 59 percent
  • Typical buildings: 26 to 56 percent
  • Efficient buildings: 4 to 19 percent
The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funded this research.

Reference: N. Fernandez, S. Katipamula, W. Wang, Y. Xie, M. Zhao, C. Corgin, "Impacts of Commercial Building Controls on Energy Savings and Peak Load Reduction," PNNL report to DOE, May 2017.
Press Release dated June 23, 2017

Friday, July 7, 2017

Electric Vehicles to Accelerate to 54% of New Car Sales by 2040 | Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Tumbling battery prices mean that EVs will not just have lower lifetime costs, but will also be cheaper to buy than internal combustion engine cars in most countries by 2025-29.

Electric vehicles will make up the majority of new car sales worldwide by 2040, and account for 33% of all the light-duty vehicles on the road, according to new research published today.

The forecast, put together by the advanced transport team at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, draws on detailed analysis of likely future reductions in price for lithium-ion batteries and of prospects for the other cost components in EVs and internal combustion engine, or ICE, vehicles. It also factors in the rising EV commitments from automakers and the number of new EV models they plan to launch.

The central finding of the research is that the EV revolution is going to hit the car market even harder and faster than BNEF predicted a year ago. The team now estimates that EVs will account for 54% of all new light-duty vehicle sales globally by 2040, not the 35% share it forecast previously. By 2040, EVs will be displacing 8 million barrels of transport fuel per day and adding 5% to global electricity consumption.

Colin McKerracher, lead advanced transport analyst at BNEF, said: “We see a momentous inflection point for the global auto industry in the second half of the 2020s. Consumers will find that upfront selling prices for EVs are comparable or lower than those for average ICE vehicles in almost all big markets by 2029.”

The forecast shows EV sales worldwide growing steadily in the next few years, from the record 700,000 seen in 2016 to 3 million by 2021. At that point, they will account for nearly 5% of light-duty vehicle sales in Europe, up from a little over 1% now, and for around 4% in both the U.S. and China.

However, the real take-off for EVs will happen from the second half of the 2020s when, first, electric cars become cheaper to own on a lifetime-cost basis than ICE models; and, second – arguably an even more important moment psychologically for buyers – when their upfront costs fall below those of conventional vehicles.
Credit: Creative Commons/FLICKR/Mariordo59
The key component of an EV – the battery – is set to plunge in price, building on recent, remarkable cost declines. Since 2010, lithium-ion battery prices have fallen 73% per kWh. Manufacturing improvements and more than a doubling in battery energy density are set to cause a further fall of more than 70% by 2030.

The result will be rapidly rising market shares for electric vehicles in the biggest markets, even with oil prices staying low. BNEF sees them accounting for nearly 67% of new car sales in Europe by 2040, and for 58% in of sales in the U.S. and 51% in China by the same date. Countries that have made early progress in EV uptake are expected to be among the leaders in 2040, including Norway, France, and the U.K. Emerging economies such as India are forecast not to see significant EV sales until the late 2020s.

Jon Moore, chief executive of BNEF, said that that growth in EV market share “will come about during a time when the power system is also undergoing a revolution, towards cleaner, more distributed generation. This means that not only do EVs surge, but their emissions profile improves over time.”

BNEF’s forecast is based squarely on the relative economics of EVs and ICE cars. It assumes that current policies to encourage EV take-up continue until their scheduled expiry, but does not assume the introduction of any fresh measures. BNEF analyzed the auto market not just by country but also by segment, encompassing everything from small run-arounds to SUVs and large family cars.

Salim Morsy, senior analyst on BNEF’s advanced transport team and lead author of the report, commented: “There is a credible path forward for strong EV growth, but much more investment in charging infrastructure is needed globally. The inability to charge at home in many local and regional markets is part of the reason why we forecast EVs making up just over a third of the global car fleet in 2040, and not a much higher figure.”

The team incorporated work into their EV forecast work on two other hot topics in the transport revolution – autonomous vehicles, and ride sharing. It concluded that the impact of autonomous driving will be limited in the next 10 years but will play an increasing role in the market after 2030, with 80% of all autonomous vehicles in shared applications being electric by 2040 due to lower operating costs.

An executive summary of BNEF’s 2017 electric vehicle forecast can be downloaded by the media from the micro-site on this link.

Figure 1: Annual global light-duty vehicle sales

Figure 2: Global light-duty vehicle fleet

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)
Press Release dated July 6, 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Court Orders Owners of Former Plating Company in Richmond to Pay $5.2 Million for Hazardous Waste Violations

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) was recently awarded $5.2 million in civil penalties from Marion Patigler and the estates of her parents, Gerhard and Ingrid Patigler, for years of hazardous waste violations.

The judgment took into account the more than $500,000 in enforcement costs incurred by the California Attorney’s General Office and $300,000 in cleanup costs incurred by DTSC. Marion Patigler was also permanently banned from engaging in any future hazardous waste management practices in California.

Marion Patigler was sentenced to three years in jail for her failure to complete the cleanup of hazardous waste left at the facility in Richmond in 2015. For many years Electro-Forming operated as an electroplating and metal polishing company located in a mixed-use residential neighborhood in Richmond.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

G20 Nations Sending Billions in Finance to Fossil Fuels

Each year, G20 countries provide nearly four times more public finance to fossil fuels than to clean energy, according to a new report released July 5, 2017. Each year, G20 countries provide nearly four times more public finance to fossil fuels than to clean energy, according to a new report released July 5, 2017 by Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth U.S., the Sierra Club and WWF European Policy Office. In total, public fossil fuel financing from G20 countries averaged some $71.8 billion per year, for a total of $215.3 billion in sweetheart deals for oil, gas, and coal over the 2013-2015 timeframe covered by the report. Fifty percent of all G20 public finance for energy supported oil and gas production alone.

The report, for the first time ever, details public support for energy projects from G20 public finance institutions (such as overseas development aid agencies and export credit agencies) and multilateral development banks. It finds that just 15 percent of this energy finance supports clean energy, while tens of billions of dollars are funneled to oil, gas, and coal producers annually. The best available science indicates that at least 85% of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Yet of the $71.8 billion in fossil fuel finance, $13.5 billion goes to activities that supercharge the exploration phase for even more unburnable reserves of oil, gas, and coal.These findings directly contradict the goals espoused in the Paris climate agreement — touted by these same governments — which specifically calls on countries to align financial flows with low-emission development.

The report, entitled “Talk is Cheap: How G20 Governments are Financing Climate Disaster,” can be found at In addition to the authoring organizations, it has also been endorsed by CAN-Europe, Urgewald (Germany), FOE-France, Re:Common (Italy), Legambiente (Italy), Environmental Defence (Canada), FOE-Japan, Kiko Network (Japan), JACSES (Japan), and KFEM (Korea).

“Our research shows that the G20 still hasn’t put its money where its mouth is when it comes to the clean energy transition. If other G20 governments are serious about standing up to Trump’s climate denial and meeting their commitments under the Paris Agreement, they need to stop propping up the outdated fossil fuel industry with public money,” said Alex Doukas, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International and one of the report’s authors. “The best climate science points to an urgent need to transition to clean energy, but public finance from G20 governments drags us in the opposite direction. We must stop funding fossils and shift these subsidies.”

WWF Research Finds Improved Environmental Performance is Good for Shrimp Aquaculture Business

More intensive shrimp farming can yield better environmental and economic results, according to a new study conducted by World Wildlife Fund in Vietnam and Thailand. By producing more shrimp per hectare of land, farmers can increase production to meet growing demand for shrimp without increasing pressure on the region’s natural resources.

“Natural resources like land, water, wild fish and energy come with a price tag,” said Aaron McNevin, Ph.D., director of aquaculture for WWF’s Markets and Food program, and lead author of the study. “By using them more efficiently, farmers can improve their environmental and economic performance at the same time.”

The study in Vietnam and Thailand showed that, in most cases, intensive operations used land much more efficiently, yielding at least eight additional tons of shrimp on each hectare of land. They also reduced the costs of land use by more than 90% per kilogram of shrimp. The most intensive farms made more efficient use of energy as well, with energy costs that were 74% to 89% lower than the least intensive operations. Intensification can also have negative implications as well such as more concentrated wastes in effluent and the potential to stress shrimp to the point that disease outbreaks occur.

Farmers use feed to produce about 3.6 million tons of shrimp each year. If they all could improve feed efficiency by a factor of 0.1, it would save 106,000 hectares of land, 37 billion gallons of water, 468,000 tons of wild fish, and 3.6 million gigajoules of energy—enough to power nearly 140,000 American homes for a year. Moreover, the greater efficiency would equate to farm-level savings of up to $110 million in Thailand and Vietnam.

Though all natural resources are important, the land used in shrimp farming is primarily located in the coastal zone with high biodiversity, and making more efficient use of land may have the most significant and far-reaching environmental consequences. Leaving habitat intact yields several benefits. First, it mitigates the impact of climate change, which is driven by the loss of forests, mangroves, and other carbon-rich ecosystems.  Second, protecting coastal zones provides breeding and nursing grounds for wild fish and other aquatic life. Third, intact habitat—particularly coastal ecosystems such as mangroves—protects in-land communities from storm surges.

“Of course, intensification is not a silver bullet,” concluded Dr. McNevin. “Transitioning to more intensive production has to be coupled with the halting of further expansion of the industry. If intensification and halting expansion both occur, we can protect habitats and enable greater success for shrimp farmers.”
farming shrimp
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Press Release dated June 22, 2017
The f

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials | Inhabitat - Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

This amazing home by Lifehaus blends low-cost off-grid appeal with ... luxurious details. The Lebanon-based company started by Nizar Haddad is pioneering energy-neutral dwellings made from locally-sourced and recycled materials. People living in the green homes will also be able to generate their own electricity, and grow their own food. The dwellings don’t simply offer a sustainable option, but address many societal issues in Lebanon, such as the trash crisis that brought Beirut to its knees last year.

Lifehaus homes include a greenhouse for growing food, and solar panels for generating renewable energy. It promotes sustainable water use through rainwater collection and grey water reuse. And all this comes with a price tag of around half the average cost of an unfurnished Lebanese home, which is around $800 per square meter.
 “Lebanon’s construction industry is one of the leading factors behind desertification in the country,” Media Representative Nadine Mazloum told Inhabitat. “Entire hills and mountains are being turned into wastelands as demand for conventional buildings continues to rise. Also, with Lebanon being a post-war country, successive governments, since 1990, and up until now have been and continue to be unable to provide many of the country’s citizens with round-the-clock water and electricity – so this got us thinking of going off the grid.”

They also allow for composting organic trash for use in the garden as fertilizer.

Passive design keeps a Lifehaus cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The homes can be partially buried, with the roofs offering additional food-growing space. This helps them be more earthquake-resistant and minimizes heat loss.... Lifehaus counts Earthship among their sources of inspiration, and creator Michael Reynolds has endorsed the project.

Lifehaus is drawing on ancestral building techniques, such as using mud and clay as opposed to concrete, and treating those materials with linseed oil and lime. Construction on the first 1,722 square foot prototype will begin next month in Baskinta, Lebanon....
Lifehaus, Nizar Haddad, NH-Architectes, Lebanon, sustainability, off-grid, low-cost, energy neutral, sustainable building, sustainable home, sustainable homes, architecture, design, sustainable architecture, clean energy, renewable energy, passive design, rainwater collection, recycled materials, local materials

Global wind and solar costs to fall even faster, while coal fades even in China and India | Bloomberg New Energy Finance

This year’s forecast from BNEF sees solar energy costs dropping a further 66% by 2040, and onshore wind by 47%, with renewables undercutting the majority of existing fossil power stations by 2030.

Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are set to take almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology over the years to 2040, according to a major independent forecast published today.

New Energy Outlook 2017, the latest long-term forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, shows earlier progress than its equivalent a year ago towards decarbonization of the world’s power system – with global emissions projected to peak in 2026 and to be 4% lower in 2040 than they were in 2016.

“This year’s report suggests that the greening of the world’s electricity system is unstoppable, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including those in electric vehicles, in balancing supply and demand,” said Seb Henbest, lead author of NEO 2017 at BNEF.

NEO 2017 is the result of eight months of analysis and modelling by a 65-strong team at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It is based purely on the announced project pipelines in each country, plus forecast economics of electricity generation and power system dynamics. It assumes that current subsidies expire and that energy policies around the world remain on their current bearing.

Here are some key findings from this year’s forecast:

Solar and wind dominate the future of electricity. We expect $7.4 trillion to be invested in new renewable energy plants by 2040 – which is 72% of the $10.2 trillion that is projected to be spent on new power generation worldwide. Solar takes $2.8 trillion and sees a 14-fold jump in capacity. Wind draws $3.3 trillion and sees a fourfold increase in capacity. As a result, wind and solar will make up 48% of the world’s installed capacity and 34% of electricity generation by 2040, compared with just 12% and 5% now.

Solar energy’s challenge to coal gets broader. The levelized cost of electricity from solar PV, which is now almost a quarter of what it was just in 2009, is set to drop another 66% by 2040. By then a dollar will buy 2.3 times as much solar energy than it does today. Solar is already at least as cheap as coal in Germany, Australia, the U.S., Spain and Italy. By 2021, it will be cheaper than coal in China, India, Mexico, the U.K. and Brazil as well. (For definition of levelized costs, see note below.)

Onshore wind costs fall fast, and offshore falls faster. Offshore wind levelized costs will slide a whopping 71% by 2040, helped by development experience, competition and reduced risk, and economies of scale resulting from larger projects and bigger turbines. The cost of onshore wind will fall 47% in the same period, on top of the 30% drop of the past eight years, thanks to cheaper, more efficient turbines and streamlined operating and maintenance procedures.

Figure 1: Global electricity generation mix to 2040
China and India are a $4 trillion opportunity for the energy sector. China and India account for 28% and 11% of all investment in power generation by 2040. Asia Pacific sees almost as much investment in generation as the rest of the world combined. Of this, just under a third goes to wind and solar each, 18% to nuclear and 10% to coal and gas.

Batteries and new sources of flexibility bolster reach of renewables. We expect the lithium-ion battery market for energy storage to be worth at least $239 billion between now and 2040. Utility-scale batteries increasingly compete with natural gas to provide system flexibility at times of peak demand. Small-scale batteries installed by households and businesses alongside PV systems will account for 57% of storage worldwide by 2040. We anticipate renewable energy reaching 74% penetration in Germany by 2040, 38% in the U.S., 55% in China and 49% in India.

Electric vehicles bolster electricity use and help balance the grid. In Europe and the U.S., EVs account for 13% and 12% respectively of electricity generation by 2040. Charging EVs flexibly, when renewables are generating and wholesale prices are low, will help the system adapt to intermittent solar and wind. The growth of EVs pushes the cost of lithium-ion batteries down 73% by 2030.

Homeowners’ love of solar grows. By 2040, rooftop PV will account for as much as 24% of electricity in Australia, 20% in Brazil, 15% in Germany, 12% in Japan, and 5% in the U.S. and India. This, combined with the growth of utility-scale renewables, reduces the need for existing large-scale coal and gas plants, the owners of which will face continued pressure on revenue despite some demand growth from EVs.

Coal-fired power collapses in Europe and the U.S., continues to grow in China, but peaks globally by 2026. Sluggish demand, cheap renewables and coal-to-gas fuel switching will slash coal use by 87% in Europe by 2040. In the U.S., coal use in power drops 45% as old plants are not replaced and others start burning cheaper gas. Coal generation in China grows by a fifth over the next decade but reaches a peak in 2026. Globally, we expect 369GW of planned new coal plants to be cancelled, a third of which are in India, and for global demand for thermal coal in power to decline by 15% over 2016-40.

Gas is a transition fuel, but not in the way most people think. Gas-fired power sees $804 billion in new investment and 16% more capacity by 2040. Gas plants will increasingly act as one of the flexible technologies needed to help meet peaks and provide system stability in an age of rising renewable generation, rather than as a replacement for ‘baseload’ coal. In the Americas, however, where gas is plentiful and cheap, it plays a more central role, especially in the near term.

Global power sector emissions peak in just over ten years, then decline. CO2 emissions from power generation increase by a tenth before peaking in hit a high in 2026. Emissions then fall faster than we previously estimated, lining-up with China’s peak coal generation. We expect India’s emissions will be 44% lower than in our NEO 2016 analysis as it embraces solar and invests $405 billion to construct 660GW of new PV. Globally, emissions will have dropped to 4% below 2016 levels by 2040, not nearly enough to keep the global average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. A further $5.3 trillion investment in 3.9TW of zero-carbon capacity would be consistent with keeping the planet on a 2-degrees-C trajectory.

In the U.S., the Trump administration has voiced support for the coal sector. However, NEO 2017 indicates that the economic realities over the next two decades will not favor U.S. coal-fired power, which is forecast to see a 51% reduction in generation by 2040. In its place, gas-fired electricity will rise 22%, and renewables 169%.

One of the big questions for the future of electricity systems is how large amounts of variable wind and solar generation can be accommodated, and yet keep the lights on at all times. Skeptics worry about ultra-cheap renewables depressing power prices and squeezing out base-load coal, gas and nuclear plants.

Elena Giannakopoulou, lead analyst on the NEO 2017 project, said: “This year’s forecast shows EV smart charging, small-scale battery systems in business and households, plus utility-scale storage on the grid, playing a big part in smoothing out the peaks and troughs in supply caused by variable wind and solar generation.”

Jon Moore, chief executive of BNEF, said: “NEO reflects the understanding our team has built up over more than a decade of how technology costs and system dynamics have evolved, and are evolving. This year’s NEO shows an even more dramatic low-carbon transition than we have projected in previous years, with steeper drops in wind and solar costs and faster growth for storage.”

Note: Levelized cost of electricity covers all lifetime expenses of generation from a new plant. These costs include site development, permitting, equipment and civil works, finance, operations and maintenance and feedstock (if any).

An executive summary of NEO 2017 and related materials can be downloaded from the micro-site on this link.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, New Energy Outlook 2017

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)
Press Release dated June 15, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

How New York City expects to save 75 MW this summer through demand response | Utility Dive

New York City has been developing its demand response program for years — just last summer it achieved 58 MW of reduced municipal load, bringing in about $10 million in revenue.
Since it brought NuEnergen onboard to manage its demand response program 2013, the city government has provided up to 75 MW of grid relief annually, expanded citywide participation to over 380 facilities across 22 agencies, and earned revenue of more than $22 million.
Committed capacity has risen from less than 10 MW in the summer of 2013 to about 75 MW expected this summer.

And the city has been working to give agencies and buildings more tools, deploying real-time monitoring equipment that can examine demand broadly, or break it down into agency- or building-specific data. Between 60% and 70% of the city's load has real-time monitoring capabilities.
One of the selling points of the program ... is that revenues are distributed to the agency's which earn them. They are then used to fund a variety of initiatives, including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

by Robert Walton
Utility Dive
June 28, 2017

The Energy Management team has also partnered with NuEnergen to develop a web-based portal called ENERTRAC. This portal is a source of all Demand Response program-related metrics, real-time electric load monitoring data feeds and historical interval data. Through ENERTRAC, participating agencies can monitor the energy usage of each enrolled building and, via this data, reduce energy use as needed.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

For the First Time, Offshore Wind Power Will Be Profitable Without Subsidies - IEEE Spectrum

Europe’s offshore wind power industry recently achieved a major milestone: three projects to be built without government subsidy. Bent Christensen, who is responsible for energy-cost projections for Siemens’s wind power division, credits industry-wide cost cutting that has outstripped expectations. “We’re three to four years ahead of schedule,” says Christensen.
In 2013, when new projects were delivering electricity for about €160 (US $179) per megawatt-hour, the industry collectively set what Christensen calls a “realistic stretch goal” to squeeze that to €100/MWh by 2020. Christensen ... says that by his math the industry is already there.
Christensen’s estimate is echoed by the financial advisory firm Lazard, which projects the unsubsidized cost of newly commenced projects at €105/MWh ($118/MWh)—a 27 percent reduction since 2014. Lazard’s December 2016 analysis finds that offshore wind is cheaper or on par with coal-fired generators, rooftop solar arrays, and nuclear reactors.

Recent bids for near-shore projects, meanwhile, rival the cost of onshore wind and utility-scale solar energy. Several projects in Denmark and the Netherlands promise offshore wind power for less than €75/MWh, and then there are the subsidy-free German bids this April by Copenhagen-based Dong Energy and the German utility Energie Baden-Württemberg. Ulrik Stridbaek, Dong’s senior director for regulatory affairs, estimates its projects’ power cost at €62/MWh.
Dong’s 1.2-gigawatt Hornsea Project One wind park, which it will begin installing next year at a spot 120 kilometers off the United Kingdom’s Yorkshire coast, is nearly twice the output of the current record holder.... Offshore turbines topped out at 3.9 MW each in 2013, whereas today’s biggest deliver 8 MW....

Zero-subsidy projections for those German projects, meanwhile, rely on 13- to 15-MW turbines that don’t yet exist. Dong is betting, says Stridbaek, that suppliers such as Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas Offshore Wind will have such giants ready for the North Sea projects’ completion, in either 2024 or 2025.

... Several novel approaches are now being tested in the Baltic Sea, where a 30-km patch cord between German and Danish wind farms will create an extra interconnector between the Nordic and European grids....

When the Baltic wind farms are idle—about 50 percent of the time—Europe’s software-integrated power markets will use their cables to exchange electricity between northern Europe and Scandinavia....

What made the project feasible, says Jørgensen, is a low-cost arrangement of the high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) converters needed to exchange 400 MW between the two grids, which are not in sync with each other. Early designs would have placed one converter offshore at Kriegers Flak. Instead, the project will place both converters back-to-back in Germany onshore, thus avoiding the roughly 50 percent premium for an offshore platform.

A supersize version of this dual-use cable design hatched last year by the Dutch-owned grid operator TenneT calls for offshore transmission hubs for the North Sea. The proposal, recently joined by Energinet, calls for one or more artificial islands whose power systems would gather up to 100,000 MW of offshore wind generation and parcel it out to the North Sea countries.

These “power link islands” would—like the Kriegers Flak link—minimize transmission costs by keeping HVDC converters on dry land and maximize their value by trading power between grids. They would also host technicians, spare parts, service vessels, and an airport offshore, thus reducing the cost of wind farm maintenance.
26 Jun 2017

San Francisco International Airport uses insights from Autocase to convert "Triple Bottom Line" from Aspiration to Reality on $2.4B Renovation

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is undergoing a $2.4 billion renovation of Terminal 1 in order to add capacity at one of the busiest U.S. airports and one of the fastest growing in the world. The designs for that renovation are being informed by Autocase®, a brand new software tool that automates "Triple Bottom Line Cost Benefit Analysis (TBL- CBA)" for buildings and sites.

"We have set ambitious goals to excel in passenger experience and health and to meet California's net zero energy requirements," said San Francisco International Airport's Chief Development Officer, Geoff Neumayr. "To do so, we needed to simulate and compare the impacts of possible investments in different building elements, from green roofs to dynamic window glazing to motorized windows to geothermal heat pumps. But I wanted to see those impacts in dollars and cents, and to feel assured we knew how they would affect our 53 million annual passengers and 30,000 employees."
So SFO required that their Design-Build teams, some of the best in the world like Austin Webcor Joint Venture + HKS/WB/ED2/KYA, evaluate each design element through a "comprehensive business case analysis" inclusive of "costs and benefits for all three bottom lines – financial, social, and environmental." "To begin with, together with the Autocase team, we assessed 6 possible design features for Boarding Area B," said Raphael Sperry of Arup, one of the key consultants on the project. "The green roof had a particularly compelling Triple Bottom Line Cost Benefit Analysis (TBL- CBA) - of $5 million over a 50-year timespan, supporting its inclusion in the project. In contrast, the ROI for the ground source heat pump was negative financially (TBL-CBA of -$5.23 million), and the analysis showed that level of investment was not outweighed by its environmental and social benefits. While ground source is an attractive technology, it's not appropriate for every project, and this allowed us to put our resources where they will have a bigger overall impact."

Green Roof
Heating &
Ground Source
Heat Pump
Lifecycle Financial NPV
Social & Environmental NPV
Triple Bottom Line NPV
All figures in millions of US$
Press Release dated June 19, 2017

The Swiss company hoping to capture 1% of global CO2 emissions by 2025 | Carbon Brief

On the roof of a waste incinerator outside Zurich, the Swiss firm Climeworks has built the world’s first commercial plant to suck CO2 directly from the air.

Climeworks says that its direct air capture (DAC) process – a form of negative emissions often considered too expensive to be taken seriously – costs $600 per tonne of CO2 today. This is partly covered by selling the CO2 to a nearby fruit and vegetable grower for use in its greenhouse.

Climeworks hopes to get this down to $100/tCO2 by 2025 or 2030. It aims to be capturing 1% of global CO2 emissions each year by 2025.
Negative emissions might be necessary to meet the goals of Paris, where an overspend against the carbon budget is paid back by pulling CO2 from the air.

Some estimates suggest as much as five billion tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2) would have to be removed from the atmosphere, and then locked away underground, each year by 2050. (Last year, Carbon Brief produced a series of articles on the need for negative emissions, the options available and whether they are feasible – or merely a distraction that encourages complacency).

Direct air capture (DAC) is one of those options, with DAC machines often described as “sucking CO2 from the air” or “artificial trees”. It has a number of attractive features, including a limited land footprint, the ability to site units near to CO2 storage sites and a clarity around how much CO2 it sequesters, in contrast to negative emissions that use biomass.
Academic estimates for the cost of CO2 capture, transport and storage, along with regeneration of chemicals used in the process, range from $400 to $1,000 per tonne of CO2.
According to a 2016 Nature paper, DAC would require a theoretical minimum of 0.5 gigajoules (GJ) of energy to remove and store each tonne of CO2. Or, perhaps, as much as 12GJ/tCO2 once inefficiencies and other stages of the process are taken into account.

On this basis, the paper says that capturing 12 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) per year (around a third of annual global emissions) would require 156 exajoules (EJ) of energy. This is more than a quarter of total annual global energy demand for all uses, of around 550EJ.

The paper says the costs and energy requirements would be “prohibitive” and that research and development is required to bring them down.
10 Climeworks Plant Greenhouse Background Copyright Climeworks Photo by Julia Dunlop.jpg
In the past two years, Climeworks has grown rapidly, reaching 45 employees today. Its $20m in financing includes $5m in Swiss government grants and $15m from private equity.
The market price in Switzerland, for small amounts of CO2, is $200-250/t...

Driving the Climeworks process uses 2.5 megawatt hours (MWh) of heat, at around 100C, for each tonne of CO2, along with 0.5MWh of power. This energy requirement is roughly equivalent to the 12GJ/tCO2 estimates set out above, though the firm hopes to shave 40% off this figure, bringing it down to around 7GJ/tCO2. Gebald says an increase in energy resources – he points to wind and solar – would be needed to scale up direct capture.

Carbon Brief