Will batteries and solar have a place in Puerto Rico’s reimagined grid?

AUTHOR: Robert Walton@TeamWetDog PUBLISHED Dec. 19, 2017

‘s been three months since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and destroyed its electric system. Many residents are still without power with only 70% of generation back online.

The push to rebuild the island’s electric utility infrastructure got off to a rocky start, slowed by a $300 million contract debacle and the Atlantic Ocean. But the troubled deal with Whitefish Energy has been canceled, and now thousands of aid workers are on the island, including 3,000 focused on power restoration. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tapped Fluor Enterprise for an $831 million time-and-materials contract to restore electric power in Puerto Rico. The work is estimated to be complete by Feb. 28.

“Puerto Rico is in a good position for sun and wind, so that became a part of the analysis. And we realized that probably solves a lot of issues.”

Chris Shelton
AES Chief Technology Officer
But alongside restoration work, new visions for Puerto Rico’s electric grid are emerging. While thousands of linemen from around the country continue to repair the system, the utility industry and government are simultaneously developing a longer-term vision for the island’s electric system. As multiple concepts come to the table, the challenge will be integrating modern grid architecture while keeping in place some of the basic grid building blocks. An industry work group has developed a plan that builds on the island’s last integrated resource plan, while AES, which owns a large coal plant on the island, has floated a concept that is focused on solar and storage.

But while Puerto Rico’s grid will be modernized and renewables added, the backbone of the system will remain fairly traditional.
Vision’s for Puerto Rico’s grid

Johnny Price, a section manager in electric operations for Consolidated Edison, just returned from San Juan where he led a group of workers restoring power in the island’s capital. He said the challenges faced on the ground may be unique, but Puerto Rico’s electric grid isn’t anything workers haven’t seen before.

“The system is pretty similar to what we’re used to,” Price said. “We’re just trying to figure out how it was wired before, and put it back the same way.”

The tourist-focused area of Old San Juan is entirely back up and running, and most of the city has power as well. But the task has not been simple. Downed trees and language barriers have complicated restoration in more rural areas.

A 300-year-old Spanish fort in Old San Juan meant crews did a lot of climbing, Price said. Concrete poles too heavy for trucks had to be repositioned by crane. “Each job was intellectually challenging, to figure out how to safely do things,” he said.

A lot of the island’s generation is in the south, and lengthy transmission repairs slowed repowering efforts initially, Price said. But since November, when the some major transmission backbone repairs were complete, crews have been making more progress.

Alongside efforts to repair the system and restore power, Puerto Rico’s utility is also looking at ways to strengthen its infrastructure, and include more of the advanced technologies that have become common stateside.

A broad range of utilities and electric groups have developed a $17.6 billion plan to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric distribution system, including a focus on resilience to withstand future storms and the inclusion of modern grid technologies and control systems. Members in the group include New York Power Authority, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), Consolidated Edison, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), several national labs, Edison International and others.

PREPA’s new system will need to withstand a Category 4 storm, which produces wind speeds of 155 miles/hour, in addition to heavy floods. The utility’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which helped inform the rebuilding proposal, already called for more distributed energy and renewables. Those two advances could strengthen the system.

But of the plan’s expenditures, more than $9 billion is targeted for the overhead transmission and distribution system. While more modern technology and concepts will play a role — the Department of Energy (DOE) has identified 200 locations for potential microgrids — the backbone remains quite traditional.

Rob Manning, EPRI’s vice president of transmission and distribution infrastructure, said the working group’s proposal uses the idea of a traditional grid, but with modern technologies brought to bear.

“It’s built to be far more resilient, but there is a foundation that is the traditional grid,” Manning said. “There are new components being integrated into the grid.”

Energy storage, microgrids, distributed renewables and demand response have all moved past the experimental stage and will be included. However, Manning said a traditional grid structure “is the most reliable, the most proven robust system there is available today, and it just makes sense that it becomes the foundational concept.”

The working group report’s recommendations address rebuilding for resiliency against future storms, and include deploying distributed energy resources industry best practices in automation and control system technologies. Microgrids are also recommended for critical infrastructure: industrial and commercial.

The current power system includes six fossil fuel and seven hydroelectric generation sites owned and operated by PREPA, as well as privately-owned generation facilities consisting of two cogeneration plants, two wind farms, and five solar farms. The electric grid includes almost 2,500 miles of transmission line, 31,000 miles of distribution lines and 334 substations.

Pre-storm electric power generating capacity was 5,839 MW, according to the report, including almost 1 GW provided by two co-generators, EcoElectrica and AES, through 20-year power purchase operating agreements. At 500 MW and 450 MW respectively, their plants are the island’s largest sources of generation.

AES has been working on the island for 15 years, providing coal-generated energy. Five years ago, the company developed a 24 MW solar plant there. Chief Technology Officer Chris Shelton said the company’s 100 workers have been a part of the community there for years and were “first and foremost” participating in the recovery.

But AES, responding to a solicitation from the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, has also developed a “vision” for how Puerto Rico could alter its system: a network of connected minigrids, reinforced by key transmission and distribution lines. The system would be powered by 10,000 MW of large-scale solar and 2,500 MW of 10-hour battery-based energy storage.

Shelton stressed that this isn’t a “plan” AES putting forth — he describes more like a “technical vision.” But as Puerto Rico considers its energy choices, Shelton said different proposals need to be considered in concrete ways. A massive solar build is just one of those ideas.

But the company says it is imperative that Puerto Rico not simply restore the electric system. AES’ proposal would connect low-cost generation to critical load centers in the north side of the country, and connect neighboring minigrids to enable them to pool resources and reduce restoration times during outages.

The recovery process, and how the island’s grid is structured today, was central to AES thought process in developing its vision. But Shelton also said AES believes “the grid is still a central component of value to the electric system.” The company’s vision is a series of “federated minigrids … we’re talking about something bigger than microgrids, that builds on the existing distribution system.”

Microgrids are small batches of connected demand and generation which are capable of maintaining power in the event of a wider outage. The minigrids envisioned by AES would be similar, but much larger and built around the existing system. AES envisions six or seven regions, each on its own “minigrid” that on a normal day would use the transmission system to help optimize the island’s power grid.

AES: Large solar+storage rollout would be cost-effective

One of Puerto Rico’s largest challenges is the cost of fuel. Almost half of the island’s generation came from petroleum in 2016, with just 2% from renewable resources. Gas made up about a third of its generation, and coal supplied 17%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Puerto Rico is in a good position for sun and wind, so that became a part of the analysis. And we realized that probably solves a lot of issues,” Shelton said. “If you bring different types of fuel to the island, you still have the issue of getting it around to the different points where the load is.”

AES’ vision maximizes solar, and to do that, it had to also include significant storage.

“Job one was to use the grid as much as possible,” Shelton said. But he said the solar and storage solution would be less than the expected fuel costs over the next decade.

AES estimates utility-scale solar generation in Puerto Rico would cost roughly $40/MWh to $50/MWh, and the battery-based energy storage system between $55/MWh and $65/MWh .The proposal estimates 15,000 GWh of solar could replace up to 12,000 GWh of pricey diesel or oil generation.

That is very aggressive vision: Shelton said the amount of solar the company suggests is about the same as California’s total solar capacity. Total pricetag: $15 billion.

“That’s about the same as the avoided fuel costs,” Shelton said. “So this could be a 20-year set of assets paid for with 10 years of fuel savings.”

Total cost for solar-storage is between $95/MWh and $115/MWh, Shelton said, but some fossil fuel power is still cheaper and the two large plants on the island would remain in the mix. AES’ coal plant and EcoElectrica’s gas plant both offer lower-cost power, with the AES plant below $90/MWh.

Keeping those running, but using solar-storage for the remaining load, would take Puerto Rico to 60% to 70% carbon-free power, Shelton said.

But for now, the focus remains on just getting the lights back on

DOE Solar Forecasting 2 FUNDING

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office

The Solar Forecasting 2 funding program builds on the Improving Solar Forecasting Accuracy funding program to support projects that generate tools and knowledge to enable grid operators to better forecast how much solar energy will be added to the grid. These efforts will improve the management of solar power’s variability and uncertainty, enabling its more reliable and cost-effective integration onto the grid. This funding program supports the Energy Department’s broader Grid Modernization Initiative, a crosscutting effort that helps to better integrate all sources of electricity, improve the security of our nation’s grid, solve challenges of energy storage and distributed generation, and provide a critical platform for U.S. competitiveness and innovation in a global energy economy. The Department of Energy announced selections for Solar Forecasting 2 on December 19, 2017. Read the announcement.

Approach

Projects funded under Solar Forecasting 2 fall under three topic areas:

In the first topic, one project is developing a test framework to benchmark solar irradiance and solar power forecasting models, as well as a transparent set of rules and metrics that will allow industry and academia to compare different models and evaluate performance. This test framework will be used to validate the models developed by other awardees.
In the second topic, projects are developing predictive irradiance models that significantly improve on existing capabilities and reduce errors associated with large-scale cloud movement.
In the third topic, projects are researching solutions that integrate solar power generation models with energy management systems to enhance grid operation. Each project partners with a utility or system operator to test the solution under real-life conditions.
Objectives

These projects seek to improve solar irradiance and power prediction, which includes quantifying the impacts from clouds and other weather conditions while untangling customer load from PV generation on the distribution system, where visibility is often limited to the net load (coupling load and PV generation). Specifically, these projects target the improvement of solar resource predictions that occur in two time frames: 24 to 48 hours in advance for day-ahead planning, and from one to six hours in advance for real-time grid operation. Forecasts in these two particular time windows have been particularly challenging for existing solar forecasting models. These targeted performance improvements will generate tools and knowledge that will enable utilities to more accurately plan for generation reserves and real-time load balancing.

Awardees

— Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations –

University of Arizona

Project Title: Open Source Evaluation Framework for Solar Forecasting
Location: Tucson, AZ
SETO Award Amount: $999,808
Awardee Cost Share: $261,414
Project Description: This project develops an open-source framework that enables evaluations of irradiance, solar power, and net-load forecasts. Team members have previously collaborated on forecasting trials for utilities, developed operational solar and wind forecasts, and led projects using the open-source PVLib simulation and performance tool. The goal is to make the open-source evaluation framework more easily available for forecast providers, utilities, balancing authorities and fleet operators for non-biased forecast model assessment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Project Title: Development of the Next Weather Research and Forecasting Model – Improving Solar Forecasts
Location: Richland, WA
SETO Award Amount: $1,214,872
Awardee Cost Share: $150,306
Project Description: This project is developing the next generation of solar resource capabilities integrated into the weather research and forecasting (WRF) model to include enhancements for intra-day and day-ahead forecasts of solar irradiance. The new or improved treatments include absorptive aerosol, cloud microphysics, subgrid variability in irradiance, and application of uncertainty quantification techniques.

University of California San Diego

Project Title: Hybrid Adaptive Input Model Objective Selection Ensemble Forecasts for Intra-Day and Day-Ahead Global Horizon Irradiance, Direct Normal Irradiance, and Ramps
Location: San Diego, CA
SETO Award Amount: $1,316,203
Awardee Cost Share: $162,500
Project Description: This project develops a Hybrid Adaptive Input Model Objective Selection ensemble model to improve solar irradiance and cloud cover forecasts. Major components of this ensemble include a holistic optimization framework and ingestion of new-generation cloud cover products. The goal is to increase the state-of-the-art predictive capabilities for solar generation from their present values of 10 percent to 30 percent (with a stretch goal of 50 percent) consistently for both global horizon solar irradiance and direct normal irradiance.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Project Title: Probabilistic Cloud Optimized Day-Ahead Forecasting System Based on Weather Research and Forecasting Solar System
Location: Golden, CO
SETO Award Amount: $1,720,806
Awardee Cost Share: $212,482
Project Description: This project develops a publicly available ensemble-based solar capability for the weather research and forecasting (WRF) model that will serve as a baseline operational solar irradiance forecasting model. The team will use an adjoint analysis technique to adjust the most important variables and calibrate the WRF solar system ensemble to provide accurate estimates of forecast uncertainties. This resulting system will increase the accuracies of intra-day and day-ahead probabilistic solar forecasts that can be used in grid operations.

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Project Title: Advancing the Weather Research and Forecasting Solar Model to Improve Solar Irradiance Forecast in Cloudy Environments
Location: Upton, NY
SETO Award Amount: $1,600,000
Awardee Cost Share: $214,195
Project Description: This project is developing solar-specific improvements to the weather research and forecasting model for improving prediction of solar irradiance in cloudy environments. Specific areas of improvements are cloud microphysics, radiative transfer, and innovative analysis packages.

Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.

Project Title: Probabilistic Forecasts and Operational Tools to Improve Solar Integration
Location: Knoxville, TN
SETO Award Amount: $1,800,000
Awardee Cost Share: $759,008
Project Description: This project is developing improved probabilistic solar and net load forecasts for three separate utility case studies, each with different operating procedures. The team is using advanced tools to research and develop methods for each utility to manage uncertainty in a reliable and economic manner in daily operations. In addition, they will validate these methods by integrating forecasts and decision making functions into a scheduling management platform to verify the use of probabilistic forecasts to reduce integration costs.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Project Title: Solar Uncertainty Management and Mitigation for Exceptional Reliability in Grid Operations
Location: Golden, CO
SETO Award Amount: $1,698,933
Awardee Cost Share: $331,930
Project Description: The project is designing novel algorithms to create probabilistic solar power forecasts and automate their integration into power system operations. Adaptive reserves will dynamically adjust reserve levels conditional on meteorological and power system states. Risk-parity dispatch will be developed to produce optimal dispatch strategies by cost-weighting solar generation scenarios on forecast uncertainty. This project will test the integration of probabilistic solar forecasts into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ real-time operation environment through automated reserve and dispatch tools that can increase economic efficiency and improve system reliability.

Johns Hopkins University

Project Title: Coordinated Ramping Product and Regulation Reserve Procurements in California Independent System Operator and Midcontinent Independent System Operator Using Multi-Scale Probabilistic Solar Power Forecasts
Location: Baltimore, MD
SETO Award Amount: $1,738,630
Awardee Cost Share: $482,953
Project Description: This project is advancing the state-of-the-art in solar forecasting technologies by developing short-term and day-ahead probabilistic solar power prediction capabilities. The proposed technology will be based on the big-data-driven, transformative IBM Watt-Sun platform, which will be driven by parallel computation-based scalable and fast data curation technology and multi-expert machine learning based model blending. The integration of validated probabilistic solar forecasts into the scheduling operations of both the Midcontinent and California Independent System Operators will be tested, via efficient and dynamic procurement of ramp product and regulation. Integration of advanced visualization of ramping events and associated alerts into their energy management systems and control room operations will also be researched and validated.

Pepco-Exelon Merger Commitments Tracking Matrix

The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia approved the Pepco-Exelon Merger on March 23, 2016

Customer Investment Fund
1. Exelon will provide a Customer Investment Fund (“CIF”) to the District of Columbia with a value totaling $72.8 million. This
represents a benefit of $215.94 per distribution customer (based on a customer count of 337,117 as of December 31, 2013). Pepco will not seek
recovery of the CIF in utility rates. [The Commission directed and the] Joint Applicants* agree that the CIF shall be allocated as set forth in
Paragraphs 2 through 7 below:
See Conditions 2 through
7 Below See DR 1119-2016-E-311

Customer Base Rate Credit
2. Exelon will provide a Customer Base Rate Credit in the amount of $25.6 million, which can be used as a credit to offset rate increases for Pepco
customers approved by the Commission in any Pepco base rate case filed after the close of the Merger until the Customer Base Rate Credit is fully
utilized. Exelon will also provide an Incremental Offset of up to $1 Million per year to be treated as a regulatory asset with a 5% return. The
parties in the next Pepco base rate case will be provided an opportunity to propose to the Commission how the Customer Base Rate Credit and
Incremental Offset will be allocated among Pepco customers and over what period of time. No portion of the Customer Base Rate Credit shall be
recovered in utility rates.
FC 1139 and Subsequent
Rate Cases

Residential Customer Bill Credit
3. Exelon will fund a one-time direct bill credit of $14 million to be distributed among Pepco residential customers (including RAD Program
customers). The credit shall be provided within sixty (60) days after the Merger closing based on active accounts as of the billing cycle
commencing thirty (30) days after the Merger closing.
Credit first reflected on
customer bills on April
19, 2016.
April 19, 2016 See FC 1119 -2016 – E – 1619

Creation of Formal Case No. 1119 Escrow Fund
4. Within sixty (60) days after Merger close, Exelon shall provide Pepco with the funds and Pepco shall establish a Formal Case No. 1119 Escrow
Fund with two subaccounts: the Formal Case No. 1130 MEDSIS Pilot Project Fund Subaccount and The Energy Efficiency and Energy
Conservation Initiatives Fund Subaccount The escrowed funds shall be placed in an interest-bearing account or invested in instruments issued or
guaranteed as to principle and interest and shall be administered by a third party administrator to be paid from a portion of the interest proceeds with
the approval of the Commission. Any unused interest will be deposited proportionally into the two subaccounts

FY17-FY18 Solar for All Innovation and Expansion Grant Projects

In late 2017, DOEE selected the following proposals to fund; several of those projects are now underway. Each proposal takes a different approach and will, therefore, provide different benefits to households. Each of these nine projects is summarized below.

Grantee Name Grant Amount ($)
Project Description

Community Power Network (CPN) – DC SUN is a project of Community Power Network $2,000,000
This grant will fund CPN’s Low-Income Solar Co-op Program, which will bring low-income residents together in a group or solar co-op, to provide more affordable bulk procurement of solar installations. CPN will pay for the full installation of panels on the homes of low-income residents. Low-income homeowners will receive all the associated financial benefits of solar, at no cost. CPN plans to install 750 kW, serving up to 231 households.

Groundswell, Inc. $1,261,590
This grant will fund Groundswell’s installation of solar panels on six houses of worship in Wards 4, 7, and 8, which will result in free, 22-year community solar subscriptions for low-income households. Groundswell will provide local employment and apprenticeship opportunities, and solar jobs skills training. Groundswell plans to install 366 kW, serving up to 122 households.

New Partners Community Solar Corp. (formed by Nixon Peabody LLP) $2,000,000
This grant will fund New Partners Community Solar Corp.’s installation of solar panels on 15-25 commercial, nonprofit, and apartment rooftops, resulting in free, 25-year community solar subscriptions for low-income households.

New Partners Community Solar Corp. plans to install 1 MW, serving at least 325 households.

Urban Energy Advisors (DBA Urban Ingenuity) in partnership with NHT Enterprise $1,517,655 This grant will fund Urban Energy Advisors’ installation of solar energy systems on affordable, multifamily buildings. Urban Energy Advisors plans to install 1 MW, serving up to 402 households.

PEER Consultants, P.C. $1,250,000 This grant will fund PEER Consultants, P.C.’s installation of solar panels on affordable, multifamily buildings, resulting in free, 15-year community solar subscriptions for low-income households. The grantee will also educate building owners on how their rooftops could be used for solar generation and other environmental measures, including stormwater retention and methods for reducing urban heat island effect. PEER Consultants, P.C. plans to install 500 kW, serving 100 low-income households.

Neighborhood Solar Equity, LLC (collaboration between Community Renewable Energy, Root + Branch, and Kelly Electric) $1,177,506 This grant will fund Neighborhood Solar Equity, LLC’s installation of solar energy systems on several buildings at a local university. Electricity will be provided to the university. Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) revenue from the project will benefit low-income residents for 15 years. Neighborhood Solar Equity, LLC plans to install 595 kW, serving up to 100 households.

Open Market ESCO LLC (the energy services division of WinnCompanies) $1,347,737 This grant will fund Open Market ESCO LLC ‘s installation of solar panels on 4 roofs of Atlantic Terrace, a 195-unit affordable multifamily property in Ward 8, resulting in free, 15-year community solar subscriptions for low-income residents. The grantee will also provide education to low-income residents regarding the benefits of solar. Open Market ESCO LLC plans to install 548 kW, serving the 195 households at Atlantic Terrace.

Ethos Strategic Consulting, LLC $1,790,000 This grant will fund Ethos Strategic Consulting, LLC’s installation of solar canopies over surface parking lots at several affordable housing properties. The benefits from the electricity generated in this community solar project will be provided in the form of direct payments to the low-income residents of the adjacent properties for 25 years. Ethos Strategic Consulting, LLC plans to install 1 MW, serving up to 350 households.
Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) $300,000
This grant will fund CPDC’s installation of solar panels on the rooftops of 14 multifamily properties owned by CPDC. The proceeds from the electricity generated will reduce operating costs for CPDC. CPDC will use these cost savings to invest building upgrades, new amenities, and resident services. CPDC plans to install 1 MW, serving 2,800 low-income households.

Strategic External Partnerships

In addition to the Solar for All Innovation and Expansion Grant Projects, DOEE has funded three projects aimed at catalyzing solar installation. These projects, outlined below, demonstrate replicable solutions.

Community Solar Pilot
DOEE provided $175,000 in grant funding to New Partners Community Solar Corp. to pilot the first community solar project in the District. The grant provided gap financing to assist with the development and operation of community solar arrays on three properties owned and managed by Brookfield Office Properties, located in downtown DC. The grantee installed 187 kW of solar capacity, which now serves approximately 100 low-income residents of National Housing Trust and Mission First affordable housing properties.

Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Audit and Solar Tool for Affordable Housing
DOEE awarded $250,000 to Enterprise Community Partners, in partnership with New Ecology, the National Housing Trust, and the Clean Energy Group, to develop a tool to assess the vulnerability of the District’s affordable housing to the impacts of climate change and to identify opportunities to improve resilience, reduce energy use, install solar and install battery storage systems. The project supports the goals of both Solar for All and Climate Ready DC, the District’s plan to prepare for climate change. In addition to developing the tool, the grantees will complete assessments of at least 20 affordable housing properties. This project will help catalyze the affordable housing sector to strategically integrate resilience planning and solar assessments in their planning, development, and operations.

Low-Income Energy Efficiency and Solar-Ready Roof Demonstration
In 2017, DOEE launched a demonstration project at Garfield Terrace (a DC Housing Authority property) to pair energy efficiency measures with solar, through the federal Weatherization Assistance Program. This demonstration project included the installation of energy efficiency and health and safety measures and a full roof replacement to make it solar-ready. DOEE plans to complete a solar installation at Garfield Terrace in FY18.
DOEE intends to replicate this model, and is currently working with the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) to obtain the necessary approvals for solar PV systems to be considered an energy efficiency measure under the Weatherization Assistance Program.

DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)
In April, 2017, DOEE executed a new multiyear, performance contract with DCSEU, funded with Sustainable Energy Trust Funds, to design and deliver energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and initiatives on behalf of the District. DCSEU planned to install at least 1 MW of solar during FY2017 across the commercial, government, and institutional sectors. DCSEU will report its achievements related to the capacity of solar installed at the end of October 2017.
Inter-agency Partnerships

The Department is developing the following strategic partnerships to increase the rate of solar installation on public land and buildings throughout the District:

Department of Employment Services
DOEE and the Department of Employment Services (DOES) have partnered to develop Solar Works DC, a low-income solar installation and job training program. GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic was awarded a grant in May 2017 to implement the program in year one. In addition to preparing District residents to enter careers in solar and related industries, Solar Works DC will reduce energy costs for qualified low-income District homeowners by installing solar systems on their homes. This pipeline program operates year-round, with three cohorts per year (summer, fall and spring); it will provide trainees with valuable hands-on experience and the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications. Over the course of three years, the program will train more than 200 District residents and will install solar systems on up to 300 income-qualified homes.

The annual funding for the program is $950,000 and is provided through the Renewable Energy Development Fund, with additional funding provided by DOES to facilitate wraparound services to all trainees. This includes an array of support services and soft-skills training to enhance their training experience and professional development.
Department of General Services

DOEE is partnering with the Department of General Services (DGS) on a 1 MW community solar installation to serve low-income households, and a pilot project to test different energy storage solutions and to procure and install solar, coupled with energy storage.
DC Public Library

DOEE is partnering with DC Public Library for the procurement and installation of a 50 kW solar system, coupled with an energy storage system, at a newly constructed DC Public Library.

Department of Housing and Community Development
DOEE is partnering with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to deliver technical assistance to affordable housing developers seeking gap-financing. This technical assistance, provided by the DC Sustainable Energy Utility, will help these developers identify different ways for financing and structuring solar development, and will provide them with tools to assess solar proposals that best suit their projects. This technical assistance is being offered to recent Housing Production Trust Fund recipients.

DC Housing Authority
In addition to the Low-Income Energy Efficiency and Solar-Ready Roof Demonstration project at Garfield Terrace, DOEE is also working with the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) to solarize its housing properties. In 2017, DOEE provided funding to The Community Foundation to assess solar and battery storage potential property currently under redevelopment with DCHA. The project is currently in the pre-development phase. In 2017, DOEE awarded a $5 million dollar grant to DCHA to support roof repair, replacement, solar installation and battery storage installation at DCHA’s housing properties. This work will continue in 2018.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­University of the District of Columbia
In 2017, DOEE worked with the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) to identify rooftops for solar installation and provide technical assistance. DOEE will continue to partner with UDC in 2018 as the university implements solar projects.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act of 2016

(The Act), effective October 8, 2016, established the District of Columbia’s Solar for All Program (Solar for All). The Act intends to expand DC’s solar capacity, to increase the amount of solar generated within the District, and to provide the benefits of locally-generated solar energy to low-income households, small businesses, nonprofits, and seniors. Funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund and administered by DOEE, Solar for All’s specific targets are to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households (at or below 80% Area Median Income), and to reduce their energy bills by 50% (based on the 2016 residential rate class average) by 2032.

In late 2016, DOEE established the Solar for All Task Force, comprising 13 solar professionals in the private and nonprofit sectors, including solar development, affordable housing, and green workforce. The Task Force was formed to recommend ways to effectively design and implement Solar for All. DOEE also released two Requests for Information (RFI) to solicit ideas from industry professionals and the general public on developing a long-term solar program in the District. Informed by Solar for All Task Force recommendations and feedback from the two RFIs, DOEE submitted its Solar for All Implementation Plan to the Council of the District of Columbia in early 2017.

As described in the Implementation Plan, DOEE will implement Solar for All in five three-year phases to ensure the program is sufficiently flexible to adapt to market changes and overcome barriers. The initial implementation phase (FY17-FY19) will include development of 30 to 60 MW of solar capacity, subject to funding availability. This phase will also focus on researching and developing the solutions necessary to execute large-scale projects in subsequent implementation phases. Much of this work is being completed through strategic external and inter-agency partnerships and Solar for All Innovation and Expansion Grants.

Solar for All Innovation and Expansion Grants

In February 2017, DOEE announced two Requests for Applications (RFA) for $13.2 million in Solar for All Innovation and Expansion Grants. The RFA guidelines focus on research and development and seek to address four overarching program goals: (1) to expand solar energy in the District; (2) to provide benefits to low-income residents; (3) to develop solutions to program challenges; and (4) and to identify solutions DOEE can use to establish the most effective, predictable, and stable medium-term program. The RFA guidelines required projects to address at least one of these five core barriers:

Acquiring access to potential project sites by tailoring incentives to the respective project site owners/lessors;
Addressing competition for access to roof space due to conflicting incentives or requirements
Acquiring low-income customers, educating eligible residents and building owners, and managing community solar subscriptions;
Providing solar power benefits to low-income residents who do not receive electric bills (e.g., master-metered building residents)
Sharing the energy and other financial benefits (SRECs and ITC) associated with the installation of new solar energy systems with low-income residents
The RFAs also encouraged project proposals to address these additional barriers:

Incorporating electric or thermal storage for efficiency and/or resiliency;
Combining solar installation with energy efficiency measures;
Achieving net-zero energy through solar;
Utilizing atypical spaces (e.g., road barriers, brownfields, or windows) for solar installations;
Providing District residents with comprehensive solar job training while installing new solar systems;
Incorporating technologies, such as smart inverters, to add value to the distribution grid; and
Designing the solar PV system to reduce the distribution system’s peak demand.

Don’t stand for attacks on clean energy.

Published By: Dec.6,2017 EDF Action 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20009 | 800.684.3322

There are barely discussed dangers lurking in the tax bill that deal devastating blows to our country’s booming clean energy economy.

We can’t let this stand. Take action today, and tell your Senators that the final House-Senate tax bill cannot include any assaults on clean energy.

The Senate version that passed in a frenzied vote early Saturday morning includes a “poison pill” that threatens to derail one of America’s fastest growing sectors by decimating clean energy investment in the United States. This provision essentially ends the tax benefits gained by investors in clean energy—killing what has been a primary driver of the industry’s growth for decades.

The House version doesn’t do any better. It takes aim at incentives that have catalyzed wind energy investments, meaning wind developers in the middle of projects and counting on those credits will have the rug pulled out from under them. They will have to pay the costs themselves or abandon their projects.

In the meantime, both versions of the bill keep billions of dollars of oil and gas subsidies in place.

In short: This new legislation puts over $12 billion in clean energy investment at risk—without applying the same rules to the fossil fuel industry.

But we still have a chance to stop it. The House & Senate versions still need to be reconciled before a final version gets one last vote.

Speak out before it’s too late: Tell Congress that you won’t stand for any tax bill that undermines America’s booming clean energy economy.

Thank you for standing with us,

Heather Shelby
Action Network Manager

LINE: – SPRING 2016-Pepco Holdings and Exelon Complete Merger Millions of dollars in merger benefits to be delivered to customers and communities.

Pepco Holdings and Exelon Complete Merger Millions of dollars in merger benefits to be delivered to customers and communities.

On March 23, Pepco Holdings, parent company of
Pepco, completed its merger with Exelon Corporation,
making us a member of the Exelon family of companies.

Now that the merger is approved, you can look forward
to several benefits that support both our customers and
the communities we serve.

Customer benefits as part of the merger include:

An immediate bill credit of $50 for all residential
customers in Maryland, followed by a second $50
credit 12 months later

An Fewer and shorter power outages for Pepco
customers and significant financial penalties to
Exelon and Pepco if we do not meet higher
reliability goals.

An $31.5 million for energy efficiency programs,
including 20 percent for low-income customers
In addition to direct customer benefits, we have made
commitments to our communities, including:

An $1.2 million to Prince George’s County and $1.7
million to Montgomery County for workforce
development

An $14.4 million to establish a Green Energy Fund to
stimulate investment in sustainable solutions

An $5 million worth of loans for development of
renewable energy in Montgomery County

An Pilot microgrid projects in Montgomery and Prince
George’s counties

An Commitment to make a good-faith effort to hire at
least 110 union workers in Maryland in the first two
years after the merger closes

An A guaranteed $6.5 million in contributions over
10 years to nonprofits that serve Maryland’s most
vulnerable residents

We look forward to continuing to deliver safe, reliable
electric service to you. For more information about our
merger, visit PHITomorrow.com.

D.C. Politics D.C. regulator green-light Pepco-Exelon merger, creating largest utility in the nation

By Thomas Heath and Aaron C. Davis March 23, 2016
District regulators approved a $6.8 billion merger between Pepco Holdings and Exelon on Wednesday, creating the largest publicly held utility in the country.

The decision marked a surprising turn of events for the deal, which D.C. regulators had rejected twice and which appeared to be on life support in recent weeks as D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and other city leaders lined up in opposition.

The merger means that Pepco will be absorbed by a company with the largest number of nuclear reactors in the country and widespread operations throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and New England.

The sale affects about 2 million Mid-Atlantic electric customers who are served by Pepco Holdings, including more than 815,000 ratepayers in the District and in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

And it is widely expected that those customers will see higher electric rates — possibly as soon as this summer — as has happened in Baltimore and other cities after Exelon acquired energy distributors. Pepco has not sought annual rate increases since 2014, when Exelon first proposed its takeover of Pepco, despite having made capital improvements.

The proposal had been closely watched by environmentalists, utility and public-service lawyers and financial analysts across the country. Because of its size, the deal is likely to change the national utility landscape.

It was also seen as a test of strength for the business community in Washington, which lobbied hard for the merger and wants to promote the nation’s capital as business-friendly.

In voting 2 to 1 to approve the deal, the D.C. Public Service Commission said it “was in the public interest,” noting that the utilities would deposit $72.8 million in a “customer investment fund,” set aside $11.25 million for energy efficiency and conservation programs targeted toward low-income residents and carve out $21.55 million for pilot projects, such as modernizing the electric-distribution grid.

“These benefits, among others, would not be available to District ratepayers if the merger is not approved,” the commission said in a statement.

But under terms approved by the commission, millions of dollars that Bowser had wanted to cushion residential customers from rate increases until 2019 could instead go to credits for businesses or the federal government.

Neither Pepco nor Exelon claimed victory after the vote, in part because stakeholders can seek a stay on the order’s implementation.

The utilities wasted no time in completing the merger, announcing late Wednesday afternoon that both sides had completed and filed the paperwork. Pepco stock would cease to exist as of Thursday, with shareholders receiving $27.25 per share.

“Today, we join together as one company to play a vital role as a leader in our industry and the mid-Atlantic region,” Chris Crane, Exelon’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Joseph M. Rigby, previously chairman, president and chief executive of Pepco Holdings, officially retired Wednesday. He was replaced by David M. Velazquez.

Bowser and other officials did not say whether they will try to squash the merger. In a statement, the mayor said residents should brace for higher electric bills. “It appears the Public Service Commission favors government and commercial ratepayers over DC residents,” the mayor wrote. “Instead of a three year rate increase reprieve that we negotiated, it appears that DC residents will be hit with a rate increase as soon as this summer.”

Anya Schoolman, head of the nonprofit group Community Power Network and an opponent of the deal, said she was “shocked” by the reversal.

Power DC, an umbrella group of community organizations that opposed the merger, voted to fight on. “By approving the merger, the PSC has exposed our city to decades of higher rates, weakened its own ability to guide our city’s energy future, and helped ensure that DC will fall behind the rest of the US on clean, efficient energy,” the group said.

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), a fierce opponent of the merger, blasted the commission for the reversal.

“What we’re doing here is fundamentally not in the public interest for the ratepayers or people of the District of Columbia,” she said. “I’ll tell you who the beneficiaries are, quite plainly: It’s Exelon and the shareholders of Pepco who get a big windfall out of this. Those are the people who won. . . . The rest of us, we lost.

“Exelon is a power generator who wants to sell more power,” she said. “We want to encourage less energy use and conservation — it’s a conflict.”

But the business community celebrated.

James C. Dinegar, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, called the decision “a catapult for the region . . . as a place to do business because now we have the strongest, best power company in the country.”

The merger would add resources to the local power equation, he said. “It gives us more resiliency against storms, cyberattacks and more. It also gives us a quicker restart time because resources are closer,” he said. “I don’t have to wait on Texas and Tennessee to provide reserves.”

Former D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams, now the chief executive of the Federal City Council, a nonprofit group that seeks to influence local affairs, lobbied hard for the merger in recent weeks.

“We’re happy with the commission’s decision for both residents and employers in D.C.,” Williams said through a spokesman. “The merger is a win for reliability, financial integrity, sustainability and corporate responsibility.”

The PSC’s approval had been the final hurdle to the merger, which had been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Justice Department, and the states of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

The fact that the District was the last to act, combined with a somewhat complex regulatory landscape, made the city especially challenging, Dinegar said.

Local Headlines newsletter
Daily headlines about the Washington region.
Sign up
The deal means the end of independence for an institution with roots in the late 19th century, but it could bring improved service for consumers and a modest premium for Pepco shareholders.

The all-cash transaction is based on a $27.25 share price that represents a 24.7 percent premium on Pepco Holdings’ closing price of $21.85 on April 25, 2014, when the deal was announced.

That valued the deal at about $6.8 billion, based on the number of outstanding shares reported in Pepco’s most recent securities filing. Exelon also agreed to provide up to $100 million — or about $50 a customer — to give Pepco customers such benefits as rate credits, assistance for low-income customers and energy-efficiency measures.

Debate centered on the role of renewable-energy sources — such as wind and solar — against legacy technologies, such as nuclear power and natural gas. Many environmental groups opposed the deal because they believed it would hinder the migration toward renewable energies.

The proposal was part of a larger trend of utilities undertaking strategies that lower their exposure in competitive power markets in favor of owning regulated utilities that have more predictable, if lower, revenue streams.

Working Together to Power Africa / Israel joins Power Africa

Power Africa is a U.S. government-led partnership coordinated by USAID
Published:Power Africa Newsletter, December 2017

Power Africa is so powerful.” — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman

“We believe in Africa, I believe in Africa, I believe in the partnership with Africa, and what better partnership can we have than having USAID, the U.S. government, Israel, and the African countries working together to secure a better future.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
We’re excited to report that just yesterday, Power Africa added a significant, new international development partner — Israel — to the Power Africa family. Israeli companies are well known for their innovation and impact on the African power sector and strong collaboration with U.S. and other Power Africa partner countries companies, using world class technology to deliver power quickly to those living in Africa. In fact, the very first Power Africa project to be commissioned was the 8.5 MW solar array in Rwanda, developed by Power Africa founding partner Energiya Global, which was led by several American-Israelis, including Yosef Abramowitz and Chaim Motzen.

American Tech Stores African Power
Madagascar is a place with abundant natural diversity, resources, and truly warm people. Unfortunately, it is also a place where only 15% of the people enjoy the illumination from an electric lamp at night. The government of Madagascar wants to help, aiming to increase access to electricity to 70% by 2030. 85% of that total will come from renewable sources of energy like the sun, wind and rivers, of which Madagascar has an abundance.
The United States has been a leader in renewable energy for over a century. So it makes sense that Malagasies are interested in working with American firms to figure out how to add millions of connections over the next 13 years.

Credit — Fluidic Energy
Power Africa partner Fluidic Energy is one of these firms. It recently provided an integrated energy storage system — in layman’s terms, an exceptionally high tech battery, hooked up to 700 industrial solar panels — as part of a grant for a pilot project in Belobaka that will supply electricity to over 27,000 homes and businesses. Fluidic was chosen for the pilot, supported by a grant from Power Africa interagency partner U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), because it’s proven technology designed to support 48 hours of autonomous power supply even in times of reduced sunlight, utilizing cloud-based connectivity controlled from a centralized operating center, which can be reliably rolled out to the 99 additional sites if the pilot proves successful.

That relatively small, red-roofed building in the center of the photo is the Fluidic Energy storage facility in Belobaka.
Check out a video of the Belobaka site inauguration here (turn the volume down).

The standard critique is that they only provide power when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. To have power 24 hours per day, 7 days per week means you need a battery, or batteries, and the function of storing the power as inexpensively and reliably as possible is just as important as generating it.
American ingenuity demonstrated by Fluidic Energy shows that you can store intermittent power on a large scale. This is great news for people living in Madagascar, who will get electricity for the first time in the next decade not thanks to a massive national infrastructure project, but from smaller, village-level mini-grids like the one in Belobaka.

Don’t let the EPA become an industry spin shop.

From tobacco to toxic chemicals, Michael Dourson has long been industry’s go-to man to downplay health concerns. He not only helped Big Tobacco play down the health impacts of second-hand smoke, but has spent years working to minimize health concerns for dozens of chemicals—work paid for by the very chemical industry he could soon be in charge of regulating, now that President Trump has nominated him to lead the EPA’s toxics office.

Dourson sees nothing wrong with aiding and abetting companies that put Americans’ health in danger. When asked how he justified working for Big Tobacco, he responded: “Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors.”

We can keep this man out of the EPA—but only with your help. Take action today, and tell your Senators to oppose Dourson’s nomination.

Recipients

US Senator Ben L. Cardin
US Senator Chris J. Van Hollen Jr.

Analysts expect final GOP tax bill will throttle renewable energy

AUTHOR:Peter Maloney@TopFloorPower PUBLISHED Dec. 5, 2017

Dive Brief:

Last minute changes to the Senate tax cut bill passed on Friday could have a negative effect on the growth of renewable energy projects, industry analysts confirmed to Utility Dive Monday.

The Senate bill passed with little change to a base corporate tax provision that would make tax credits, a mainstay of renewable energy financing, less valuable. The bill passed by the Senate also included the last-minute incorporation of a minimum corporate tax that analysts say also could limit the growth of renewable energy.

The Senate bill now goes to conference where differences with the House tax cut bill passed last month will need to be resolved. At least some of the provisions harmful to clean energy are expected to survive the conference, analysts said.

For a while, renewable energy interests saw the Senate tax cut bill as a shield against the House tax bill. No longer.

The Senate bill — despite objections from GOP renewable energy allies — now poses its own threat to the growth of wind and solar power.

In a last minute markup on Thanksgiving eve, the Senate finance committee inserted the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) provision. The aim of the provision is to make it harder for corporations to dodge taxes by backing out tax credits from the calculations used to determine tax rates.

The BEAT provision would make the production tax credit (PTC) favored by wind power developers and the investment tax credit (ITC) used for solar power projects less appealing to the multi-national corporations that dominate the tax equity market. That would create uncertainty in the market for financing many renewable energy deals.

Four trade organizations – the American Council on Renewable Energy, the American Wind Energy Association, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, and the Solar Energy Industries Association – responded with a letter last week urging the Senate to create a carve-out for renewable energy.

Greg Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said the provision would affect $50 billion in annual investment in renewable energy projects.

The BEAT provisions exempt research and development credits. Renewable energy interests had sought the same treatment for the PTC and ITC, but that did not happen.

“My guess is the base erosion tax will survive,” Keith Martin, a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright, told Utility Dive. “It could cause some banks to drop out of the tax equity market for a period of time next year until they can assess their exposure.”

The BEAT tax could make banks and other large tax equity investors reluctant to finance projects in ways that entitle them to tax credits, since every dollar of tax credit would have the potential to create a tax liability.

“A tax equity investor will not know when it invests whether it will receive the tax credits on which it is counting,” Martin said.

The BEAT provision would not only affect new renewable energy deals, it would in effect be retroactive because the calculation would have to be performed every year. So, in any year of a typical 10-year tax equity financing deal, the investor would not know the value of the tax credit until year end.

“Anti-base erosion language in the Senate tax bill, as currently written, would impose a 100% surcharge on overseas companies’ purchases of solar ITCs and PTCs in the tax equity market,” Clearview Energy Partners said in a Monday note. “The provision, which would appear to apply retroactively to existing credits, could significantly dampen financing for wind and solar infrastructure.”

Looking forward, the BEAT provision poses more risks to wind tax equity deals than to solar financing arrangements that use the ITC, which is funded in a single year.

“An investor would likely need to know that he won’t trigger the BEAT liability for next decade, versus only the next 12 months in the case of the ITC,” analyst Julien Dumoulin-Smith with Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a Dec. 1 note.

Dumoulin-Smith noted that there is already talk in the industry about tax equity deals that are in danger and the beginning of negotiations to shift more risk to project sponsors as a result of the pending legislation. He also said the BEAT provision could already be limiting the availability of tax equity during the critical period in which many developers are rushing to bring deals to market before the PTC steps down at year end in accordance with a phase-out schedule put in place by Congress in 2015.

“We expect volatility and deal-making to persist,” Dumoulin-Smith wrote.

The prospects of a BEAT exemption for the PTC and ITC are dwindling, said Dumoulin-Smith. Congress is under pressure to pass the bill by Dec. 22, the earliest date on which a new senator elected in the Alabama special election could take his seat.

It now looks more likely that the most renewable interests could hope for is a two year “hold harmless” provision that would extend to 2019. That could “give certainty to near term new build, and leave open the option of later extension,” Dumoulin-Smith wrote. “However, even this could become an uphill battle.”

Minimum corporate taxes

The Senate also threw the renewables industry another curve ball before passing its tax cut bill. In a Dec. 1 rewrite aimed at plugging a $40 billion gap in order to win over Republican deficit hawks, the Senate introduced a corporate minimum tax.

There are essentially two corporate tax rates — a 35% rate and a 20% rate that is based on a wider definition of taxable income. Corporations compare the two amounts and pay the more favorable rate.

Both the Senate and House tax bills reduce the corporate tax rate to 20%, but under the Senate’s change, if both tax rates are 20%, corporations would have to pay the alternative minimum tax. Investment tax credits can be used against the traditional corporate tax, but under the alternative minimum tax, the PTC could be used for only four years after a project enters service, instead of the current 10 years.

“This may cause developers to switch to investment tax credits on new projects,” an option they already have but rarely use, Martin aid.

The four-year limitation could also “dramatically reduce after-tax earnings on existing and planned wind investments,” Analysts Eric Selmon and Hugh Wynne at research firm SSR, wrote in a Dec. 4 report.

In an earlier report, Wynne noted that cutting the corporate tax rate to 20% could result in a significant decline in tax appetite. He estimated that a 20% corporate rate could reduce the tax appetite of major tax equity providers by 40% and lead to a tighter tax equity market.

Wind power developers unable to access the market for tax equity could be forced to raise their prices by as much as 80%, Wynne estimated, shifting the advantage to larger developers able to use the tax credits internally.

The House tax cut bill does not have a corporate minimum tax. It also does not have the BEAT provision, but it would impose a 20% excise tax on some cross-border payments.

The House bill also leaves the PTC and ITC in place, but it would retroactively end the inflation adjustment clause, rolling back payouts to 1992 levels, and change the deadline for when the PTC can be claimed, which the American Wind Energy Association has said would be the equivalent of a 20% retroactive tax.

“My guess is the roll back of the PTC amount to the 1992 level in the House bill will not survive conference,” Martin said. He also said the provision that alters the eligibility deadline is not expected to survive, but anything can happen in the conference committee.

Follow Peter Maloney on Twitter

DOE NOPR costs would reach $263B, cause 27,000 premature deaths, study finds

Robert Walton@TeamWetDog PUBLISHED Dec. 4, 2017

Dive Brief:
A new analysis by Resources for the Future finds the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposed cost recovery rule to support coal and nuclear facilities would cost more than $250 billion over a quarter century and result in 27,000 premature deaths.
The proposal, which would delay the retirement of approximately 25 GW of coal-fueled capacity and 20 GW of nuclear, only generates net-positive results for the American consumer when the coal plants are left out of the rule.
Late last month, FERC Acting Chairman Neil Chatterjee sketched an “interim plan” demonstrating a potential path forward, granting temporary cost recovery to at-risk plants through a mechanism similar to existing Reliability-Must-Run tariffs.
Story continues below
ad image
2018 State of the Electric Utility Survey
It’s time for Utility Dive’s annual research report that captures the trends, technologies and troubles shaping the sector.

TAKE THE SURVEY
Dive Insight:

As Chatterjee lays out a plan to support struggling coal and nuclear plants, the industry continues to debate whether to support the aging generating plants, and at what costs.

While supporters of the plan say struggling coal and nuclear plants are needed for system resilience, opponents say grid stability is not at risk and aiding the unprofitable resources will cost consumers on multiple fronts.

Total subsidies required to guarantee profits for coal and nuclear generators in 2025 would come to $7.6 billion, according to a white paper released by Resources for the Future.

But if the policy is in effect from 2020 through 2045, researchers say it will result in 27,000 premature deaths in the United States, with an estimated total net cost of $263 billion. Of that amount, about $217 billion is attributed to environmental damages and about $45 billion to non-environmental net costs.

The research concludes the policy’s net non-environmental cost for electricity end-users over 25 years is $72 billion and its net benefit for generation owners is $28 billion. A scenario preventing the retirement of just nuclear capacity, leaving aside coal resources, “is the only simulated variation that produces positive net benefits,” according to the paper’s abstract.

“Those nuclear-only versions are also consequently the only ones that produce positive net benefits,” the paper concludes. “In contrast, a version that applies only to coal-fueled generators produces higher emissions and a greater reduction in net benefits than does a policy that applies to both coal- and nuclear-fueled generators.”

The rule, if implemented, would be in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by DOE in September that called for full cost recovery for merchant power plants with 90 days of fuel supply onsite. A Sierra Club analysis previously concluded the rule would cost up to $14 billion in 2016.

Recommended Reading:

Axios

EMERGING RESEARCHERS NATIONAL (ERN) CONFERENCE IN STEM

February 22-24, 2018 at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Education and Human Resources Programs (EHR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Human Resource Development (HRD), within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). The conference is aimed at college and university undergraduate and graduate students who participate in programs funded by the NSF HRD Unit, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.

The objectives of the conference are to help undergraduate and graduate students to enhance their science communication skills and to better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce. Towards this end, the general format for the 2-1/2 day conference will include:

Student poster and oral presentations.
Other conference activities include workshops focused on:

Strategies for applying for and succeeding in graduate programs and finding funding for graduate school;
Career preparation workshops focused on employment searches and retention; and
Understanding STEM careers in a global context and identifying international research and education opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.
Exhibitors will include representatives from academic, government, business, and the non-profit sector with information about graduate school admissions, fellowships, summer research opportunities, professional development activities, and employment opportunities.