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Richard Brooks's picture
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer Reliable Energy Analytics LLC

Inventor of patent 11,374,961: METHODS FOR VERIFICATION OF SOFTWARE OBJECT AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY and the Software Assurance Guardian™ (SAG ™) Point Man™ (SAG-PM™) software and SAGScore™...

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  • Jul 24, 2020
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Key Takeaways for me:

  • Grid operators agree on short-term gas benefits, but say it shouldn't limit renewables growth
  • "We have some very, very plentiful hydro assets, some good performing nuclear assets, but very frequently, natural gas is what's on the margin and what is the balancing resource for most of the renewables that have been added over the system," Richard Dewey, president and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO)
  • PJM Interconnection President and CEO Manu Asthana warned against prescribing too many issues to renewables so early in the game. "If we get to 100%, we're gonna have to solve some of these really, really challenging problems, but I think that compared to where we are today, we shouldn't let the great be the enemy of the good,
  • states across the U.S. have begun to set increasingly ambitious clean energy goals for their power systems, sometimes coming into conflict with grid operator policies they see as a hindrance to bringing on high levels of renewable energy at once.
  • And unlike the California and New York ISOs, some grid operators have more than one legislature to keep in mind, noted Asthana. (each State with their own energy targets and objectives, which must be considered [RJB])
  • "We're not trying to … favor particular fuel, but the policy discussions that we're seeing are significantly trending in the direction of decarbonization ... and so it's interesting to think about what is the art of the possible?" Asthana said
  • "So imagine what is going to happen with increased renewable penetration over time," he said. "I think gas will continue to be an important part of the mix, particularly in the near term, because the dispatchable generation is essential to ensure reliability. But in the longer term, you know, a lot of it depends on the penetration of renewables and the penetration of batteries."  ( my own research concurs with this view [RJB])
  • By 2045, California expects less than 5% of energy production to come from gas, likely from some form of renewable gas or hydrogen gas. But in the short term, the fuel will continue to play an essential role, Rothleder said. And the key to higher renewable energy penetration will be to think about how those resources can provide the same benefits, namely, local reliability in constrained areas with limited transmission, a source for evening peaks, resiliency for multi-day weather events, and voltage support, frequency response capability and other reliability services.  ( my own research concurs with this view [RJB])
  • "The difference between 100% decarbonization and 90% decarbonization is actually not that big a difference in terms of carbon. But in terms of the ability to solve a lot of these other issues. I think it's a huge difference," he said. "There's so much room for decarbonization from here."

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 27, 2020

"If we get to 100%, we're gonna have to solve some of these really, really challenging problems, but I think that compared to where we are today, we shouldn't let the great be the enemy of the good,

"The difference between 100% decarbonization and 90% decarbonization is actually not that big a difference in terms of carbon. But in terms of the ability to solve a lot of these other issues. I think it's a huge difference," he said. "There's so much room for decarbonization from here."

Thanks for sharing, Dick-- these quotes really stand out to me and they need to be a more common part of the discussion. 100% renewable energy by 20XX makes for great slogans and rallying cries, even as an aspiration, but when we focus on the challenges that doing so would bring we're ignoring the great value and importance of getting even halfway there in the short to medium term. Let's put our efforts into that decarbonization today, and not put the cart before the horse in terms of trying to predict what will or won't be practical 15 years from now once we've made immense headway towards these goals. No matter what goals we set today or what areas we focus on, it's naive to think the goal posts won't move in some form or another as we start to march towards them-- but that's not a reason to refuse to start the march!

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Jul 27, 2020

I totally agree, Matt. The late, great John Lewis said "keep your eye on the prize". IMO, this means working as an industry toward one goal:  Insure we have reliable electricity for all Americans and Support State initiatives to pursue clean air and other objectives States deem necessary and to achieve these two objectives at a just and resonable cost to consumers and provide sufficient revenues to those we rely on to deliver the reliable energy we all need.

We MUST all work collaboratviely to find the sweet spot solution to this challenge. I believe we can succeed in this endeavor, if we "keep our eye on the prize" and work together toward this one goal. We cannot have a winner and a loser, this must be a win-win outcome, otherwise we all lose.

Gary Hilberg's picture
Gary Hilberg on Jul 28, 2020

Richard - great message, I would even make the case that 80% vs. 100% is not too far in carbon terms but trillions of dollars in investment difference.  We probably should get that data firmed up and really start making that case.  The very large, profitable, and low energy usage companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google where energy is not a major part of their costs and their gross margins are 50%+, 30% increase in energy is not an issue.  For mid sized and smaller companies in manufacturing, processing, transportation - margins are single digit and accepting that level of energy inflation is a death sentence.  It would be great to have a COE comparison vs. % carbon reduction analysis, I suspect as we get above 80% the incremental cost is tremendous.   

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Jul 28, 2020

I agree, Gary. Economic factors must be considered in the decision making process.

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