Entity

Time filter

Source Type

New York, NY, United States

News Article
Site: http://www.scientificamerican.com

Earlier this month, I attended the 2016 Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Market Summit. The summit brought together thought leaders and stakeholders to discuss the future of Texas’ electric grid. Many of the discussions at the conference centered around the expected boom in new solar and wind energy capacity in Texas, and how ERCOT is planning to cope with the evolution of its electric grid and market as more and more renewable energy is added. While Texas will add a lot of new wind and solar capacity over the coming years, the grid operator is more than prepared to manage the reliability of the electric grid into the future. Even More Wind Energy on the Horizon Since the early 2000s, Texas has emerged as the national leader in wind energy. Last year, Texas sourced 11.7 percent of its electric energy from wind, with wind eclipsing nuclear energy, which provided 11.3 percent, for the first time ever. On an instantaneous basis, wind energy has provided about 45 percent of electric power on more than one occasion. On December 20 of last year, wind peaked at 44.7 percent of total power generation and provided about 40 percent of instantaneous generation for 17 straight hours. And on February 18 of this year, wind peaked at 45.1 percent of total generation and provided roughly 40 percent of instantaneous power generation for the entire day. Texas isn’t done adding wind energy yet. Over the next two years, Texas is expected to add more wind energy than ever before thanks in part to the declining cost of wind turbines and the extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit, which gives wind energy an extra 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced. With all of the new anticipated wind energy capacity, expect Texas to continue breaking wind energy integration records for the foreseeable future. For the first time, wind energy isn’t the only form of renewable energy expected to see significant growth in Texas over the coming years. Thanks to steadily decreasing costs for utility-scale solar plants and the extension of the federal investment tax credit, which covers 30 percent of upfront investment costs, Texas is expected to add 1,725 megawatts of new utility-scale solar capacity between now and 2017 — increasing the total amount of solar capacity installed more than six-fold. All of the anticipated solar installations in Texas are solar farms that use photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight directly into electricity. ERCOT doesn’t track the amount of solar capacity installed in the form of rooftop photovoltaic panels, so there might be even more solar energy installed than meets the eye. A New Market Design for the Future Texas benefits from a large fleet of flexible natural gas generation that has the capability to balance the output from wind and solar energy with the rest of the electric grid with relative ease. However, as the amount of wind and solar capacity increases, there will be less and less flexible generation available on a real-time basis to compensate for the additional intermittency introduced by wind and solar energy. Fortunately, ERCOT is already in the midst of a major electricity market redesign to ensure electric reliability even as wind and solar make up a larger and larger share of total electricity generation. To operate the grid reliability, it is important to perfectly balance electricity supply with demand in real time. Today, this balance is maintained by flexible generators that provide “ancillary services,” which refers to a collection of services procured by the grid operator to maintain electric reliability no matter what. ERCOT ancillary services consist of “regulation” (generators that adjust their output to maintain the second-to-second balance between supply and demand), “responsive reserve” (generators that are spinning and ready to supply power in case of a contingency), and “non-spinning reserve” (generators that are offline but ready to turn on in a pinch if needed). All of these services are procured in the market and are part of the total cost we pay for electricity. Beginning with a concept paper released in 2013, ERCOT proposed a newly designed ancillary services market better able to cope with rising solar and wind energy intermittency as conventional generation makes up a smaller share of overall generation. The new design proposes unbundling balancing services traditionally provided by fossil generators into separate services that more adequately address the needs of a heavy-renewable grid and are compatible with new grid-balancing technologies like energy storage. The newly designed ancillary services market doesn’t just help integrate wind and solar energy, it also makes the electricity market more economically efficient overall by breaking up conventional ancillary services into their component parts. An independent analysis from the Brattle Group, widely considered a thought leader in electricity markets, found that ERCOT’s proposed future ancillary services market would provide $137 million in cost savings over the next ten years, or ten times the anticipated implementation cost of $12 to $15 million. Texas Set to Lead the Way With lots of solar and wind energy on the horizon, and a new electricity market design in the works, Texas is set to continue its role as a leader in the integration of renewable energy with the grid. This might come as a surprise considering the state’s frequent legal battles with the federal government over environmental regulations. It just goes to show how the technology-agnostic nature of competitive markets can lead to renewable energy growth even where local government is against carbon dioxide regulations of any kind.


News Article | March 22, 2016
Site: http://www.theenergycollective.com/rss/all

The European Commission's Market Design Initiative rightly identifies investment and security of supply, demand-side participation in markets, and market governance as three central pillars of a successful market reform. But the Commission has neglected obstacles to success in each of these critical areas.read more


News Article | August 27, 2010
Site: mashable.com

Google has acquired Ångströ, a service for delivering intelligent search results about a person's professional network. It has also hired its founder, likely in an effort to build a legitimate competitor to Facebook. "With the help of investors like CommerceNet and advisors such as Avery Lyford, our team shipped apps to discover hot new photos on Facebook, improve Caller ID by using LinkedIn profiles, adding style and links to Twitter, create a real-time social address book, and a slew of other services," the company said in its farewell announcement. Founder Dr. Rohit Khare has already joined the search giant, according to the Los Angeles Times. Before Ångströ, Khare founded KnowNow, an RSS service for the enterprise, and before that he was director of CommerceNet Labs. Khare will be working on Google Me, the company's still-unconfirmed social network. He will likely be working with Max Levchin, the former CEO of Slide, CTO of PayPal and Google's newest VP of engineering, as well as Google VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra, who was reportedly instrumental in recruiting Khare. Google has more riding on its upcoming social network than almost any other project in the company's history. The search giant has failed multiple times to make inroads in social media, while Facebook is growing like wildfire. Google perceives Facebook as a major threat to the company's dominance of the web. Khare's arrival is yet another sign that the tech titan isn't fooling around anymore when it comes to social.


News Article | March 22, 2016
Site: http://www.theenergycollective.com/rss/all

The European Commission's Market Design Initiative rightly identifies investment and security of supply, demand-side participation in markets, and market governance as three central pillars of a successful market reform. But the Commission has neglected obstacles to success in each of these critical areas.read more


News Article | March 29, 2016
Site: http://www.theenergycollective.com/rss/all

Michael Hogan, Senior Advisor The European Commission’s Market Design Initiative (MDI) rightly identifies investment and security of supply, demand-side participation in markets, and market governance as three central pillars of a successful market reform. In framing the initiative’s priorities, however, the Commission has neglected some of the most important obstacles to success in each of these three critical areas. Priorities for the Market Design Initiative: What’s Missing? What’s Most Important? summarizes these obstacles and offers practical steps toward meeting the EU’s climate and energy objectives in the most secure and cost-effective manner. Investment and Security of Supply The principal cause of the financial woes plaguing the power sector is not market design. It is rather a glut of old, inflexible baseload generation—primarily, but not exclusively coal-fired—that is surplus to requirements and incompatible with the power system’s growing need for more flexible resources. The glut of old, inflexible baseload generation is surplus to requirements and incompatible with the power system’s growing need for more flexible resources. The idea that we should “re-design” the power market springs in part from the perception that the market is failing to support investment needed “to keep the lights on.” On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that this diagnosis misses the mark. With the exception of a few pockets isolated by inadequate transmission, Europe’s power sector is drowning under a glut of production capacity, and not just any production capacity. The top priority in restoring a healthy investment climate to the power sector should be a targeted, “smart” programme for permanently retiring inflexible, old baseload plantsas quickly as they become surplus to requirements. To support this, a new, regional, independent framework for assessing generation adequacy must be created—one that fairly accounts for all resources, including energy efficiency, demand response, storage, and interconnection. The paper also notes that this same issue of a saturated market for new capacity is one of several factors dictating that support for renewables investment must evolve and extend beyond 2020. Demand-side Participation in Markets   “Empowering European consumers” is a rallying cry of the MDI and rightly so. Demand participation is not only essential for the market to work, it is a critical success factor for the energy transition. But the suggestions for action so far fall well short of what it will take to make this happen. Getting price signals right is crucial, and the MDI can go much farther in challenging Member State interventions, such as capacity markets, that distort the information provided by energy market prices. If intervention to support investment is deemed necessary, it should first enhance rather than undercut the effectiveness of energy market prices. But better price signals are only a start: Wholesale and retail markets—and even in some cases national legislation—are rife with provisions that needlessly discriminate in favour of large generators. New entry by innovative players is inhibited by ineffective market monitoring and enforcement. Decarbonisation of the heat and transport sectors is expected to rely heavily on electrification, and yet the strategies for those new sources of electric demand are being developed without adequate coordination with power market strategies. The paper presents a number of specific recommendations for addressing these problems and jump-starting demand’s role in markets, including time-of-use tariffs, especially for transport and heating and cooling applications, “smart appliance” standards, support for building grid-integrated thermal energy storage into heating and cooling applications, and limited supplier obligations. Market Governance No market design can succeed without effective governance. While the MDI refers to the need for a more regional and European approach to market governance, it overlooks the most glaring obstacle to success—the widely held and largely justified belief that the market is not competitive. It would be foolish to expect any market design to succeed unless the conditions necessary for success are in place. From the wholesale to the retail level, consumers, regulators, and government must have confidence that they are not going to be exploited by a few large, incumbent generators and suppliers. Abuse of market power by established players can stifle the innovation and investment needed to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the energy transition. Europe has yet to develop the kind of robust market monitoring, reporting, and enforcement framework that underpins successful electricity markets elsewhere in the world. The MDI must go farther in establishing an independent, expert, and fully resourced market monitoring and reporting function as well as clarifying and consolidating the competition enforcement regime. The paper also identifies a lack of coherence between energy and climate governance regimes and recommends that energy-related climate objectives be explicitly embedded into energy market governance principles. Implementation, Governance, and Complementary Policies Critical to Success The European Commission has opened an important window of opportunity to address critical electricity market-related issues. While there is a temptation to focus on the design of the current market as the problem to be addressed, in fact it is the galaxy of implementation issues, governance structure, and complementary policy challenges that require the most urgent attention. RAP presents a clear list of steps that can be taken within the current market framework that will: Restore a healthy investment climate and enable the transition to a more flexible system; Jump-start the all-important participation of demand and sustain its growth going forward; and Ensure the institutional structure for market governance is state-of-the-art and fit for the purpose. Original Post

Discover hidden collaborations