A presentation I gave last Friday to the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Western grid operators have been making plans for large-scale renewable energy imports into the California electricity market, prompting the governor’s Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy Facilities to write a “self-reliance” response.
Here are a few highlights of his letter to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC):
California has plenty of in-state development: “The California Independent System Operator indicates that renewable projects totaling 70,000 MW of installed capacity [nearly enough to meet all of the state’s peak summer demand] are seeking to connect to the CAISO-managed grid.”
Transmission costs are up, waaay up. In particular, “the developer of at least one significant line, TransWest Express, expects the project to cost about 70 percent more than WECC’s original assumptions…we thus appreciate the ongoing efforts of WECC staff to review these and other assumptions and to revise capital cost assumptions upward.”
Transmission line risks: “transmission lines proposed to stretch hundreds of miles over private and public lands face significant permitting and development risk – perhaps most so in the case of DC lines, which offer few electrical benefits to the states they cross.”
In summary, California has a robust in-state market for renewable energy and sufficient in-state renewable resources to serve its entire electricity needs, so Western states would do well to temper their export optimism.
This is a little taste of a project I’m doing comparing solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) with a state solar mandate to Clean Contracts (a.k.a. feed-in tariffs). One metric for comparison is the risk created by market uncertainty, and there’s no better illustration of the risk and uncertainty in SREC markets that this chart. In the … Read More
In August 2011, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell gave this presentation to a group of rural utilities and environmental organizations in Kentucky. The slides illustrate the enormous renewable energy potential in Kentucky and the cost-effectiveness of clean, local power in meeting the state’s electricity and economic needs. Clean Local Power for Kentucky from John Farrell
In our 2009 report Energy Self-Reliant States, we published the following map detailing the percent of a state’s electricity that could come from in-state renewable energy resources.
Click the image for a larger version.
Tom Carlson of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network recently contacted me to let me know that a newer report substantially increases the estimated offshore wind potential for Maryland (in fact, we had found no studies at the time of publication showing any offshore potential).
A 2010 study by the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment found that Maryland could in fact get two-thirds of its electricity from shallow-water offshore wind (depths of 35 meters or less).
With that update, our Energy Self-Reliant States map would show that Maryland could in fact get 107% of its electricity from in-state sources, rather than just 40%.
Over at Climate Progress, Stephen Lacey recently asked why there isn’t more development of micro hydro in the U.S., given its potential to provide more than 30,000 low-cost megawatts of power to U.S. states (and bipartisan political support).
We can’t answer that question any better than Stephen, but we can provide a good illustration of that potential, replicating a map from our 2010 report Energy Self-Reliant States (click here for a larger version):
New Micro Hydro Power Potential (Percent of State Electricity Sales)
A serialized version of our new report, Democratizing the Electricity System, Part 5 of 5. Click here for: Part 1 (The Electric System: Inflection Point) Part 2 (The Economics of Distributed Generation) Part 3 (The Political and Technical Advantages of Distributed Generation) Part 4 (Regulatory Roadblocks to Democratizing the Electricity System) Download the report. The electricity … Read More