An Arizona regulator has advocated for using a modeling tool being developed by Arizona State University, to help the state plan how to phase in more renewable energy. Yet the university’s initial plan for the modeling tool would not serve that purpose well.
Aiming for 70% clean energy by 2030, Colorado’s Holy Cross Energy is piloting a household-scale virtual power plant technology that will help integrate more rooftop solar and storage. A device in each home optimizes provision of power to the grid, as well as grid services.
A regulatory proceeding raises issues of monopoly control; whether distributed resources will be compensated for providing grid services; and the capability of smart inverters to operate autonomously, without external controls, in response to signals on price, voltage and frequency.
The same report that expects utility-scale PV costs to fall 54% from 2017 to 2021 also presents a constant-cost scenario from 2018 onward, on an equal footing with the “mid” and “low” cost scenarios. Utilities could be tempted to use the constant (high) cost scenario in their resource plans, and thus plan little or no added solar.
England’s Highview Power has contracted with U.S. energy developer Tenaska to pursue gigawatt-hour scale cryogenic energy projects in the U.S. Highview reports a storage cost of $140/MWh at industrial scale; the firm currently operates a 5 MW pilot facility in England.
The investment from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners suggests that new pumped hydro storage projects can compete with battery storage. Construction of the 400 MW, 3400 MWh facility could begin as early as next year.
Interconnection requirements for mid-sized and large inverter-based systems directly connected to the transmission grid may change based on new guidance issued in draft form by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. The guidance does not apply to distributed PV.
In an annual report card on North America’s grid reliability, coal and gas are sent to the principal’s office, while solar gains operating guidance related to 2016 and 2017 wildfire-related outages. Texas is cautioned for its lower-than-desired reserve margin, although that was not a problem in 2018.
Solar, wind and storage would take the place of 150 proposed gas-fired generators in a Beyond Carbon campaign launched by Michael Bloomberg and the Sierra Club. Building on the success of the Beyond Coal campaign, Beyond Carbon aims to stop new gas-fired generators, while continuing to retire coal units.
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