NREL has made its capacity planning model freely available for anyone to use. The model can optimize the amounts of solar, wind and storage to be added to the U.S. electric grid. Documentation is included, but a powerful computer and additional software are required.
SEIA worked with 100 leaders in the solar and storage industries to develop a 12-year strategic plan, which covers all the bases. Yet funding is inadequate to pursue all strategies immediately, so some strategies must wait.
Two potentially “self-fulfilling” energy transition narratives are in competition, says a World Economic Forum report. Only one, the “rapid narrative,” would help us limit global warming to the Paris Agreement goal of “well below two degrees Celsius.”
Memphis is studying the potential to save money by exiting its contract with TVA. At issue is how much solar and storage to include in any new generating portfolio.
Utilities routinely make modeling choices that disadvantage low-cost solar in their 15- or 20-year resource plans. With transparent modeling, states and intervenors could easily see those biased choices. And if they also have access to the same model used by the utility, they can fix those errors by running the model themselves, as recommended by a modeling expert. Considering all states, billions of dollars are at stake.
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.
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