Posts Tagged ‘Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’

11 February

Are We Moving Fast Enough Toward Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass?

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Allow me to share with you the finalized data from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for U.S. Energy Infrastructure Update for 2013.  Some of the key findings from Office of Energy Projects-Energy Infrastructure Update of U.S. by 2013 from FERC are presented in the two tables below:

U.S. New Generation In-Service Power Capacity During 2013, Data Made Available By FERC

1. U.S. New Generation In-Service (New Build and Expansion), Jan.-Dec. of 2013 Chart: On horizontal axis, 10 top sources of new U.S. power capacity (in 2013) are ranked in terms of Newly Installed Capacity (MW) during 2013, in the order from: 1st being Natural Gas (7,270 MW), 2nd is Solar (2,936 MW), 3rd is Coal (1,543 MW), 4th is Wind (1,129 MW), 5th is Biomass (777 MW), 6th is Water (378 MW), 7th is Waste Heat (76 MW), 8th is Geothermal Steam (59 MW), 9th is Oil (38 MW), 10th is Nuclear (0 MW).

Even though Solar’s rank of 2 is impressive from the above chart, in reality the actual solar power capacity generated during 2013 is much greater than 2,936 MW. If you’d refer to FERC’s key findings from Office of Energy Projects-Energy Infrastructure Update of U.S. by 2013 from FERC , you would realize that the 2,936 MW did not include the distributed solar (rooftop solar power systems) installed in 2013. Various sources indicated that California added more rooftop solar capacity in 2013 than in the past 30 years combined . As the distributed solar will continue to play an increasingly significant role in solar capacity generation, such data needs to be included in the calculation in the future in order to provide a more complete picture.

U.S. Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity (GW) By Dec. of 2013, Data Made Available By FERC

2. U.S. Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity By December of 2013 Chart: On horizontal axis, 10 top sources of total U.S. power capacity by 2013 are ranked in terms of Total Installed Capacity (GW) up to December of 2013, in the order from: 1st being Natural Gas (487.21 GW), 2nd is Coal (333.43 GW), 3rd is Nuclear (107.32 GW), 4th is Water (97.88 GW),  5th is Wiind (60.29 GW), 6th is Oil (47.03 GW), 7th is Biomass (15.74 GW), 8th is Solar (7.42 GW), 9th is Geothermal Steam (3.83 GW), 10th is Waste Heat (1.13 GW).

The second table above reminds us that despite how much renewable energy has grown in U.S., the total installed operating generating capacity from renewable such as solar, water,geothermal, biomass, and wind only add up to about 15% of the total U.S. installed operating generating capacity as of 2013.  Solar only represents 0.64% and wind represents 5.2% of the total U.S. installed operating generating capacity as of 2013.  Renewable Energy is still in its early stage of its evolution. In 2014 solar power is projected to have another year of record growth. To this I say: we surely need it!

Flood at Key Heaven as a result of Hurricane Wilma (Author Marc Averette, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Flood of Toowoomba (Author Kingbob86, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of my friends, acquaintances, and relatives find it puzzling why I would be so anxious while optimistic about the Solar/Renewable future.  The two tables above truly reflect my state of mind toward current state of affair: optimistic with exponential growth of Solar Capacity (table 1) while anxiously worried about millions of people who will be losing their homes as a result of climate change (this would be the case if Clean and/or Renewable Energy takes up such a small percentage of the overall total power capacity as demonstrated in table 2 above )….we need to move toward Renewable…toward Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass much faster….in order to avoid more of what is likely to come……for millions and millions of people on planet earth…..

Let’s maintain our optimism in moving forward. We need to optimize the most effective incentive policy to drive all Renewables forward…be it Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass….in order to prevent millions and millions of people in becoming homeless in the decades to come…..

~may we all have a bright and sunny day~

Written, gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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7 December

Ohio Joins Top States Improving Interconnection Procedures for Renewables

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Since I grew up in the state of Ohio, it is with great fondness that I am sharing this email from Ruth Fein of IREC (Interstate Renewable Energy Council) yesterday, to be shared, below:

December 6, 2013
Ruth Fein : ruthw@irecusa.org

Sun Above Cloud (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Ohio Joins Top States Improving Interconnection Procedures for Renewables

Ohio joins the ranks of progressive states like California, Hawaii and Massachusetts this week as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio adopted greatly improved interconnection procedures that make it easier for small renewable energy systems to connect to the distribution grid.

The decision comes on the heels of a similar move by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which adopted many of the same provisions in a recent revision of the federal Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP)., available at FERC.

“Ohio’s decision represents a very positive step forward for the deployment of clean energy in the state,” said Jane Weissman, president and CEO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC). “It makes it possible for more individuals and businesses to benefit from renewable energy and sets a great example for other states that may be considering improvements to their interconnection processes.”

With a steady increase in the number of small renewable energy systems connecting to the distribution grid, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that they can do so in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner.

“These updates will really help streamline the interconnection process,” said Sky Stanfield an attorney who represents IREC. “Specifically, they will help developers find high-value locations for siting projects and expand the opportunities for projects to follow an expedited review, all while maintaining the safety, power quality and reliability of the grid.”

IREC participated in the Ohio and FERC rulemaking processes for several months beginning in late 2012.

The Ohio commission’s order adopted many of IREC’s key recommendations and makes the following significant improvements upon the existing rules:

Increases the capacity threshold for simplified Level 1 interconnection review from 10 kilowatt (kW) to 25 kW for inverter-based systems and reduces the initial review time from 1 month to 15 business days;

Adopts flexible size eligibility requirements for Level 2 “Fast Track” interconnection review that expands beyond the current two-megawatt limit, depending on proximity of a generator to a substation and line voltage levels;
Implements a uniform, well-defined supplemental review process for applications that may fail one or more initial review Fast Track screens, but that do not impose challenges significant enough to warrant a more extensive study process;

Adopts the emerging best practice of using 100% of minimum load as a penetration screen in the supplemental review process; and

Requires utilities to provide interested customers with a pre-application report, for a $300 flat fee, to help identify areas on the grid that will accommodate distributed generation.

This proactive approach makes Ohio the first state to update its rules since FERC’s approval of the SGIP modifications. While Ohio had a head start on the revision process, the adoption of these new state rules so soon after the FERC’s order encourages a broader move among states to incorporate similar updates for small generator system interconnections into their own state procedures.

About IREC
IREC is a non-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. Since 1982, IREC’s programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. For more information, visit http://www.irecusa.org
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~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via sunisthefuture@gmail.com (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)

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25 November

Good News From FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)

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Great news to share with you: a response to the recent release from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) below:

NEWS FOR RELEASE

Sun Through Cloud (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Contact: Sky Stanfield

sstanfield@kfwlaw.com

This release is in response to the announcement and summary provided by FERC on Nov. 21st, the final rule language and decision have not yet been released.

FERC Announces Rule Changes to Facilitate More Efficient Interconnections for Small Renewable Energy Systems

November 22, 2013 – In a far-reaching decision, yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted significant modifications to the agency’s Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP), which should facilitate a more efficient interconnection process for small renewable generators.

“FERC’s rule changes are an important step forward for interconnection in the United States,” said Jane Weissman, president and CEO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).  “The changes will enable utilities to more effectively process applications for small generators, while maintaining the safety and reliability of the interconnection process – critically important as the country begins to experience a greater penetration of renewables on transmission and distribution circuits.”

The final language of the rule has not yet been released, but based upon the summary provided by FERC, two particularly significant modifications to the review process were authorized that will enable a greater number of small renewable generators to safely interconnect quickly without the need for a lengthy study process.

First, the current SGIP Fast Track size limit was modified by adopting an approach pioneered by IREC’s work. Instead of utilizing a single threshold across the entire system, IREC proposed adopting a size limit that would vary depending upon the generator type, the voltage of the line at the point of interconnection, the thickness of the wire, and the generator’s distance from the substation.

IREC developed this approach after hearing from utilities across the country regarding the relevant factors that determine what size generator can safely interconnect at different points on the system without the need for detailed study.  Instead of limiting Fast Track access to generators sized below 2 MWs, the newly adopted rule will allow certain appropriately located, inverter-based generators up to 5 MWs to interconnect using this expedited process.

Second, in response to the growing volume of interconnection applications and the number of circuits that are starting to see high penetrations of renewables, FERC modified the supplemental review process to incorporate a 100 percent of minimum load screen along with two additional technical screens that evaluate a generators’ impact on safety, reliability and power quality.

Under this modified rule, if a generator fails any of the initial Fast Track review screens, including the contested 15 percent of peak load screen, it can choose to be reviewed under the supplemental review screens rather than proceeding to full study.

“IREC helped to develop these proposed changes through active engagement with a wide range of stakeholders across the country,” said Sky Stanfield of Keyes, Fox & Wiedman, LLP, who represents IREC in regulatory matters. “We believe these changes at the federal level reflect best practices on interconnection and will act as a model for state procedures across the country.”  Michael Sheehan, an electrical engineer working on behalf of IREC, agrees.  “These updated rules will ensure that small renewable projects meet the safety and reliability needs of both the energy end-user and the utility.”

IREC worked in both California and Hawaii on the development of this improved process and believes it will help maintain the efficiency of the interconnection process across the country.

In its ruling, FERC also adopted an innovative Pre-Application Report that will enable generators to access greater information about existing system conditions prior to submitting a formal application. This process is expected to reduce the overall volume of interconnection requests and help make more efficient use of the existing distribution system. IREC assisted with the development of this process in California and Massachusetts and strongly supports its adoption at FERC.

Finally, FERC’s rule modifications allow generators the opportunity to comment on any upgrades that are determined by the utility to be necessary for interconnection of their system.

About IREC

IREC is a non-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. Since 1982, IREC’s programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. For more information, visit http://www.irecusa.org

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via sunisthefuture@gmail.com (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)

Homepage: http://www.sunisthefuture.net

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20 August

Thank You, Jon Wellinghoff, For Clearing The Fog

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Thanks to our friends of the Nebraskans For Solar in sharing a very important link explaining why one of the country’s (USA’s) top regulators is so bullish on solar: FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff: Solar ‘Is Going to Overtake Everything

Sun Will Overtake Everything ( Generous Florida Sunshine, credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

 

Chairman of the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), Jon Wellinghoff, is quite aware of the rapidly changing energy landscape. During a sideline conversation at the National Clean Energy Summit last week in Las Vegas, Jon Wellinghoff commented, “Solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything….if a single drop of water on the pitcher’s mound at Dodger Stadium is doubled every minute, a person chained to the highest seat would be in danger of drowning in an hour.” That’s what is happening in solar. It could double every two years. This phenomenon is also recently concluded by MJ Shiao of GTM (GreenTechMedia) Research. In the graph below, this phenomenon of doubling in the next 2 1/2 years, the U.S. will double its entire cumulative capacity of distributed solar–repeating in the span of a few short years what it took four decades to deploy…description of the behavior of an exponential curve:

Cumulative U.S. DG PV Installations at Year End, 2000-2015 (Chart: GTM Research/SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight)

Wellinghoff continues, “…geothermal, wind, and other resources will supplement solar. But at its present growth rate, solar will overtake wind in about ten years. It is going to be the dominant player. Every body’s roof is out there.” And other resources have not seen declining prices like solar has. He added, “Solar PV is $0.70 or $0.80 per watt to manufacture. Residential rooftop is $4 to $5 per watt. But they are going to drive that down to $2 and then to $1 per watt.” Wellinghoff also mentions that advanced storage technology also promises lower costs in the future. He said, “Once it is more cost-effective to build solar with storage than to build a combustion turbine or wind for power at night, that is ‘game over’. At that point, it will be all about consumer-driven markets.”

Wellinghoff emphasized, “Even though the FERC oversees wholesale markets, utilities, and other jurisdictional entities at the wholesale level, the consumers needs to be our major concern….if FERC does not ensure the grid is ready to integrate the growing marketplace demand for distributed solar and other distributed resources, we are going to have problems with grid reliability and overall grid costs.” Transmission infrastructure will be able to keep up with solar growth. The big changes will be at the distributed level where FERC has less influence, he explained. But the commission has been examining the costs and benefits of distributed generation (DG) in wholesale markets. “Rate structures need to be formulated in ways that fully recognize the costs and benefits of distributed resources. In many utility retail rates, a disproportionate amount of the fixed costs are recovered through a variable rate. That is problematic, when a lot of people go to distributed generation….the net metering controversy can only be solved by fully allocated, fully analyzed cost and benefit study of distributed resources….distributed solar can be captured and realized by the distribution utility that is not currently being paid to PV system owners because they have not been analyzed, quantified, and monetized.”

Below, a video of The Hill’s ‘Energy Efficiency, Reliability, and the Smart Grid’ Briefing, with Jon Wellinghoff:


Wellinghoff noted, The Crossborder Energy study in California concluded the benefits of DG are near retail rates, “If utilities say that study is wrong, let’s get their studies and the studies from the solar side, and let’s have a hearing, let’s have a full discovery, and let’s have a full litigated process. That’s what regulatory commissions at the federal and state levels are for, to put all that data on the table and see what the accurate answers are.”

Wellinghoff explained that FERC isn’t involved in that process because it is a retail rate issue. “But DG and distributed solar can be wholesale grid resources if a wholesale grid operator can access those resources and have some control over them. What FERC has to do is ensure these distributed systems get recognized and compensated and integrated into the wholesale grid.”

Introduction of more competition is definitely the goal Mr. Wellinghoff has in mind, “I would do a full analysis of anything not now competitive, like the distributed system, and then try to ensure I could recover costs in a way that adequately reflected all costs and benefits for all users….the sales of retail energy, capacity, and ancillary services should all be competitive and coupled with the wholesale grid….Consumers should have access to and be able to respond to five-minute wholesale prices. They should have the opportunity–not the requirement, but the opportunity –to respond to those prices and modify their loads and usage to lower their energy costs. The result would be an optimized use of the grid.”

To learn more about Jon Wellinghoff, please feel free to refer to links below:

  1. FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff Stepping Down
  2. Departing FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff: A Day in the Life of the Grid

I want to clarify: FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. Former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff submitted his resignation letter to President Barack Obama in May of 2013. A former Nevada utility regulator, Wellinghoff served as chairman of the energy panel since 2009 and has been a commission member since 2006. Senate Energy Committee Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon says that Wellinghoff launched important investigations to protect consumers from manipulation of energy markets and pushed to increase renewable energy supplies.

Thank you, Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, for your clarity and effort! It is truly appreciated by us consumers and earthling.

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via sunisthefuture@gmail.com (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)

Homepage: http://www.sunisthefuture.net

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