Announcing Power Africa 2.0

by Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator for Power Africa

Let’s publicly exhale and celebrate our just completed Partners Week in Washington, D.C. It was wonderful to see many of you and we can’t thank you enough for continuing your outstanding collaboration that is helping Power Africa make a huge difference. We’re now at 90 deals that have reached financial close and more than 50 million people have access to electricity for the first time.
During our Partners Week from February 26 to March 2, we convened members of the interagency, the diplomatic corps, African government and utility leaders, our multilateral and bilateral partners, and our private sector partners at a series of events that showcased and deepened our cooperation in support of our shared electrification goals in Africa. It’s not every day that two U.S. Cabinet secretaries, four federal agency heads, and the National Security Council publicly express overwhelming support for Power Africa all in the same week. And while that’s certainly satisfying, we were even more enthused by the visiting African officials in Washington and in Houston (during CERAWeek) who told us that Power Africa is having an enormous impact and that they each greatly appreciate our support and interventions.

USAID Administrator Mark Green.
“This strategy will ensure that Power Africa can continue to bring innovative ideas and enterprise-driven approaches to bear to help meet Africa’s power needs, but more importantly help expand Power Africa’s power opportunities.
Under Power Africa 2.0, we will be expanding beyond our previous targets of increased energy generation and access and looking to make gains in the areas of distribution and transmission. And perhaps most importantly, we will be taking on the enabling environments that allow private enterprise to grow and thoroughly flourish.
The strategy supports U.S. economic prosperity by expanding the number of American firms we work with, in particular, small and medium-sized businesses. It strengthens American engagement leadership by fostering free and open markets, as well as sustainable and fair business practices. And it will improve regional stability as African economies continue to grow and expand and to create opportunities for their young people.”
National Security Council Senior Director for Africa, Cyril Sartor, at our Partners Meeting described Power Africa as a successful initiative that the Trump Administration has fully embraced — a testament to our partnership model and private sector results that have been achieved to date. Sartor noted the Administration’s interest in encouraging reform for more effective governance and improving the enabling environment in coordination with like-minded partners.
Acting MCC CEO Jonathan Nash, USTDA Director Tom Hardy, and OPIC President and CEO Ray Washburne all expressed support of our interagency model during our Partners Meeting. Washburne noted that through Power Africa, “We’ve introduced the best of American business practices and standards throughout Africa. And we’ve helped American businesses access some of the fastest growing economies on the planet. This tremendous success is a testament to the strength of collaboration both among all the U.S. Government agencies that are part of this initiative and all the private sector partners we’ve worked with.”
At CERAWeek in Houston, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry spoke highly of Power Africa. He emphasized that the U.S. is paving the way towards “global energy security and mutual prosperity.” He praised Power Africa’s efforts repeatedly during sessions with African ministers and business leaders.

2018 AGOA CSO Spring Conference

The 4th Annual AGOA Spring Conference will take place April 18 -19, 2018 in Washington, DC, at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and on Capitol Hill.

The conference will focus on President Trump’s policy on Africa; and will include a review of the Adminstrations’ recent visit to Africa; trade numbers for AGOA over the past twelve months under the Trump administration; and will discuss the opportunity that bi annual AGOA Utilization Strategies offer eligible Sub-Saharan African countries for increasing exports and advancing economic cooperation under AGOA. A highlight of the event is a Congressional Briefing on the legislative agenda for AGOA that is scheduled to take place on April 19th on Capitol Hill.

The event will feature high-level speakers from across US and African institutions, civil society, the private sector, and others committed to expanding US Africa trade and economic cooperation.

Registration for the event is open to the general public and everyone is invited to attend, and the schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
3519 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008
And
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Time: TBD
Congressional Briefing on AGOA
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20515

AGOA CSO Network Secretariat
| 202.331.1333 ext. 7 | Email:agoacsonet@democracy-africa.org |
Website: www.agoacsonetwork.org

Robert E. Lighthizer, US Trade Representative
The Chairman of the AGOA CSO Network Secretariat testified at a public hearing regarding U.S. Trade and Investment with Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Developments. The hearing took place on January 23, 2018 at UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION (USITC) in Washington, DC. The investigation was instituted by the USITC following receipt of a request from the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The request asked the Commission to provide a report on U.S. trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It asked that the Commission’s report focus primarily on the years 2010-2016, to the extent information is available, but examine longer-term trends since 2000 where appropriate. The request also asked that, to the extent practical, the report provide the most recent 2017 data on U.S. trade flows of goods with SSA. Read the Chairman’s testimony

US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria presents US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018, highlighting the many untapped investment opportunities in Nigeria for U.S. investors and companies. The theme of the 2018 US-Nigeria Investment Summit is Nigeria is Open for Business.

Hosted by Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Unites States, H.E. Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor, the Summit attendees will include senior Nigerian government officials and business leaders, who will provide U.S. investors with the necessary assistance and guidance on investment, establishment, and operation of enterprises in Nigeria.

Register and Information: www.UNIS2018.com

4TH ANNUAL MEETING AND AGOA ROUNDTABLE
*****
The Togolese Diaspora in the United States (DTUSA) cordially invites you to its 2018 Annual Meeting and the African Diaspora in the U.S.’ AGOA Roundtable

Date: April 28, 2018
Venue: 51 University Blvd E. Silver Spring MD 20901 Time: From 12pm to 12am.
The 4th annual meeting comprises the Economic Forum and the Commemoration of the 58th Independence Day of Togo

Registration and additional information email:diasporatogousa@gmail.com

2018 AGOA Forum
The 17th U.S. – Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (also known as the AGOA Forum) will be hosted by the United States Government, and will take place in Washington, DC. The annual event is tentatively scheduled for July* of this year. The AGOA CSO Secretariat is poised to began the planning process for
the CSO/AWEP Joint Session of the Forum, so watch your inboxes, because we will be reaching out to members of the Network, and other partners, for your input regarding organizing this noteworthy event.

September 25-28, 2018
James L. Knight Center*
400 SE 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida, USA 33131

INCREASE your sales by using cutting edge technological services that link your business to the global marketplace
MEET Buyers and Distributors from across the US and other Western Hemisphere that specialize in Apparel Handi-Craft, Beverages, and Ethnic Food and Spices!
GAIN insight from industry experts on topics that impact the way SME’s do business
PROMOTE and MARKET your business by networking one-one -one!
BENEFIT from a one stop opportunity that is focused on assisting small-to-medium size companies looking to export/import For additional information contact: agoacsonet@democracy-africa.org

*The James L. Knight Center is a world-class multipurpose entertainment, meeting, and convention complex located in the heart of downtown Miami’s business, commercial, and financial district.

AGOA CSO Network Membership

The AGOA Civil Society Network is a consortium of non-governmental organizations, (NGOs) and other groups in the United States and Africa working to facilitate the successful application of the AGOA trade bill for the benefit of small business in the US, and Africa. The Network was established by the 102 member organizations from the United States, Mauritius, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo that were in attendance during the AGOA Civil Society Forum on January 17, 2003, in Phoenix, Mauritius.

The AGOA CSO Network’s focus is on increasing the volume and quality of African exports under AGOA and educating stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on this trade policy and its advantages.

Become part of the solution by joining, today! click here!!!

Our heartfelt thanks to those of you that have already joined and /or renewed your
membership!!! We appreciate you and your support!

POSITIVE CHANGE EDUCATIONAL VIDEO GALLERY

Author:Ronald Bethea PCPCLLC info@positivechangepc.com Published 3/15/2018

Videos Are Listed in Archives by Mouth and Under Topic:

November 2016
Educational Opportunities / Green Tech / http://www.greentechedu.org/
US Dept of Energy – Student Design Competition / http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/us-department-energy-race-zero-student-design-competition

December 2016
UNEP Partners with CGTC to Advance Intensive Study on Solar Water Heating in the Region
http://cgtc.uvi.edu/default.aspx

January 2017
The American Association of Blacks in Energy
TEM4US! STEM & Tech Festival – 2014
Green for All

February 2017
HBCU Clean Energy Consortium from HBCU Clean Energy Consortium on Vimeo.
George Washington University Solar Institute March 2, 2015 Capitol Hill Briefing
MEDSIS Initiative
BOWIE SOLAR CO-OP
Building a Diversity Energy Workforce-2016 State of America Energy

March 2017
Energy Equity Alliance
Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO)
Three signs that the Great Energy Disruption is already here
South Union Community Development Corporation
April 2017
First African American-owned Solar Manufacturer Creates Local Jobs in Anacostia
Will Tesla Model 3 Be 10x Safer Than the Average Car?

May 2017
The Politics of Disaster Recovery Katrina, Where Did All the Money Go?
NC Climate Justice Summit / 2016 Climate Justice Summit
All You Need to Know About Charging Stations for EV’s in US.
What role has DC Sun played on impacting public policy On Solar In DC?

June 2017
Transitioning Co-ops Away from Coal
5 Concentrating Solar Power Technologies Impacting Industry MAY 18, 2017

July 2017
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT Volvo, Betting on Electric, Moves to Phase Out Conventional Engines

October 2017
Live from DC, it’s Wednesday night!
Why There’s Room for Competition in Home Solar Loans

February 2018
PUT A PRICE ON IT D.C., EXPLAINED

March 2018
Sylvester Bush – Washington, D.C.
Looking to the future while celebrating community solar in D.C.

STEM4US : Infrastructure Workforce Summit
What Is EMF Radiation Contamination in Water?
The Future of Solar Panels | Mohamadou Bella Bah | TEDxYouth@DAA
The energy manhattan project that will change everything | Jeff Chamberlain | TEDxNaperville
Africa’s Clean ENERGY REVOLUTION: Future MEGAPROJECTS
The future of Clean Energy Jobs

April 2018

Solar for All: How we got here and what’s nex

Solar Energy, Equity, and Health at 2018 D.C. Solar Congress – David A. Clarke School of Law

May 2018: The Power Local Green Jobs Campaign

June 2018: Bowie State University sustainability video

What Is EMF Radiation Contamination in Water?

Dr. Rhoda Zione Alale, PhD, DHP, President of The Environmental Health Global

Environmental Health Global experts are Change Agents for cities, farms, and families that are plagued with illnesses caused by air and radiation toxins in the environments. Because of this problem, America is under a NATIONAL ADVISORY ALERT by many Federal Agencies. In some communities, everyone on the “Street” has cancer or asthma, diabetes, seizures and other diseases. We believe environmental diseases CAN BE eradicated and health regained! We are working to find ways to build capacity for reducing exposure to indoor toxins and creating healthy indoors.

Top of Discussion: What Is EMF Radiation Contamination In Water?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Electromagnetic Pollution And Your Toxic Tap Water

Posted by Lloyd Burrell on February 16, 2011

You might think I’m a bit off subject talking about tap water. Actually I’m right on subject.
You probably remember from your physics classes at school, water is the liquid which is the one of the best conductors of electricity. Our bodies are made up of 70% water. Its probably because of this that electromagnetic pollution can permeate so effectively the biology of our bodies. People often ask me how I went from being very electrosensitive to living normally. There are many things I did and changes I made in my life but probably one of the most important was the day I decided to stop drinking tap water (that includes soups, tea and other beverages).

EMFs, Water And The Blood Brain Barrier

According to statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency there are hundreds of chemicals in our drinking water. Most prominent are chlorine and fluoride, which are added intentionally. In this video Professor Paul Connett tells the truth about fluoride in tap water. You will recall that previously I had talked about how EMFs impacted the blood brain barrier, well so does fluoride according to Professor Connett. Mmm?

These senior EPA officials can now moonlight for secret private-sector clients

By Keith GabyFollow Published March 7, 2018 in Politics Explores the intersection of politics and climate change.

Breadcrumb
News is breaking this week in Washington about another ethical lapse on the part of Scott Pruitt’s embattled agency – one that goes beyond the administrator’s personal preference for taxpayer-funded luxury travel.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an ethics waiver to one of Pruitt’s political appointees, John Konkus, to let him work for unknown outside private clients. These clients, and their political or commercial interests, won’t be divulged, raising troubling questions about possible conflicts of interest.

We already know that Konkus – a Republican operative from Florida who worked for a political consulting firm with Koch Brothers’ entities and GOP candidates on its client roster – was screening EPA grants for political suitability.

Konkus calls climate change “the double C-word” and vets grants accordingly.

He is now one of two employees in senior EPA leadership positions allowed to earn $135,000+ government salaries while also drawing paychecks from outside clients that may have a direct stake in EPA’s work.

EPA appointee can “solicit prospective clients”
The second ethics waiver Pruitt cleared this week was for Patrick Davis, a political appointee in EPA’s Denver office who owns a Republican political consulting firm. Davis will be allowed to “solicit prospective clients” as he continues to receive his taxpayer salary.

It’s worth noting that his prior private-sector work was already controversial. Davis was accused of inappropriately steering hundreds of thousands of dollars from a conservative PAC to organizations linked to himself and his friends.

All this continues to call into question Pruitt’s focus: Is it on EPA’s mission of protecting the environment and public health – or on the personal and political interests of his inner circle?

A pattern of ethical lapses and conflicts
Since taking the helm at the agency, Pruitt has come under fire for a series of questionable appointments to leading EPA roles – either because he put industry representatives in charge of regulating the companies they came from, or simply because his own personal and financial ties came into play.

Administrator Pruitt also, of course, is the subject of three separate investigations by the EPA Inspector General for his travel and use of government money after flying first class and using expensive military aircraft. All the while, he operates under a cloak of secrecy.

This week we’ve seen once again how Pruitt, one of President Trump’s most trusted allies in Washington, is helping to fill the swamp.

U.S. mayors ask EPA not to repeal Clean Power Plan in new letter

By Patrick Sisson Feb 20, 2018, 10:26am EST

Shutterstock
A bipartisan group of city leader known as the Climate Mayors released a joint letter today imploring the EPA not to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a move they warn would damage public health, clean air initiatives, and efforts to combat climate change.

The group of civic leader, 233 mayors from 46 states and territories representing 51 million Americans, released the joint letter, set to coincide with an EPA listening session set to take place tomorrow in Kansas City, Missouri. Mayors from Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, along with hundreds of others, have signed the letter.

The cities argue that, as the centers of commerce and population, they are on the front lines of climate change. The Clean Power Plan is critical to get government at every level to collaborate to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

In addition to cutting pollution from power plants and transportation, the mayors argue that the price of inaction against climate change is too high. The letter states that the annual price tag for coastal storm damage is expected to climb to $35 billion by the 2030s.

This collective action comes at a time when cities are increasing taking the lead in the climate change battle in the United States. Cities have pledged to stay in the Paris Climate Accords, transition to renewable power, and work together as a group to push more environmentally sustainable policies.

“The nearly 400 members of the Climate Mayors network have already begun to implement policies to drive emission reductions and address adaptation concerns in their cities,” says Sarah King, a project manager for the Climate Mayors group. “I believe that this mayoral focus on effective climate policies will continue regardless of whether or not the Clean Power Plan is in fact repealed. “

King points to plans for collective action, such as procuring electric vehicles for city fleets, the mayors are already planning to undertake.

But without federal assistance, the road to climate change mitigation become much more difficult.

“[W]e cannot act alone,” the statement says. “We need the federal government to provide a path forward to making meaningful reductions in carbon pollution while preparing for the impacts of climate change.”

The letter explains why the Clean Power Plan is so vital to local plans to combat pollution and reduce carbon emissions:

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to protect our citizens against the worst impacts of climate change. A peer reviewed study conducted by EPA projected stark differences between a world in the year 2100 where global warming averages 2 degrees Celsius—a goal for which the Clean Power Plan is critical—and one in which global warming averages 4 degrees Celsius: 57,000 fewer domestic deaths per year due to poor air quality; 12,000 fewer domestic deaths per year from extreme heat and cold in 49 U.S. cities; up to $6.4 billion in avoided annual adaptation costs from severe precipitation in 50 U.S. cities; $3.1 billion in avoided annual damages and adaptation costs from sea level rise and storm surge on the coasts; and up to $2.5 billion in avoided damages from inland flooding.

The energy manhattan project that will change everything | Jeff Chamberlain | TEDxNaperville

TEDx Talks Published on Dec 24, 2014

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. We’re all handcuffed by a terrible weakness in our energy system. At work, in our homes, and across all of society, this shackle constrains and consumes our lives, tightening more each year. A project is underway to combat this terrible burden – a project so profound and magnificent that, when brought to fruition, will change every aspect of our lives forever.

Jeff Chamberlain leads Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy Storage Initiative, which drives innovations in advanced batteries for vehicle and grid applications. Prior to his position in JCESR, he served as the head of Argonne’s Electrochemical Energy Storage Department for three years, during a period of growth in both government and market interest in developing new energy storage technologies. During that time, he also contributed to the management of Argonne’s Li-air battery development initiative.

Jeff has two decades of experience managing the research and development of commercial battery technologies. His combination of scientific expertise and entrepreneurial know-how makes him an ideal choice for managing the translation of scientific discovery to technology development and serving as the liaison between Argonne and entities that are interested in commercializing laboratory technologies.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

The future of Clean Energy Jobs

Environmental Defense Fund Published on Mar 8, 2018

The clean energy and sustainability job industry remains a growing source of employment for over 4 million Americans, compared to the coal industry, which employs only 160,000 workers.

Clean energy and sustainability jobs are well-paying, local jobs available to individuals of all different educational and career backgrounds. However, changes to incentives and policies – like Trump’s recent 30 percent tariff on solar imports – continue to impact the clean energy economy, leading to an uncertain outlook for jobs growth. Helping to keep the industry’s momentum, businesses and local governments are setting goals, targets and signing on to commitments.

In this EDF member webinar held on March 1, 2018, Ellen Shenette, EDF Climate Corps manager, and Ben Metcalf, former EDF Climate Corps fellow, shared highlights from EDF’s recent clean energy jobs report and discussed the implications of the Trump administration’s policies on the future growth of the industry.

Michigan, Louisiana press utilities to return tax savings to customers

AUTHOR:Robert Walton@TeamWetDog PUBLISHEd Feb. 23, 2018

Dive Brief:
Regulators in Michigan and Louisiana are pressing utilities to return federal tax savings to customers as soon as possible, rather than withhold the largesse resulting from corporate rates declining to 21% from 35%.
Utilities recover taxes from customers, and so the lower rates are expected to result in lower rates. For utilities, however, the lower taxes comes with potential downsides.
Regulators in Michigan and Louisiana are setting deadlines for utilities to estimate savings and return overcollections, pressing to get any savings returned as quickly as possible.

Taxes and ratemaking are complicated areas, but regulators across the country are pressing for utilities to move quickly in returning savings to customers. A recent Brattle Group report finds regulatory proceedings are underway in about half of states.

This week in Louisiana, the Public Service Commission gave staff until March 21 to work with utilities on a way to return the savings. “Revenue requirements for most Louisiana utilities thus are currently overstated for at least two reasons,” regulators wrote in a special order.

In Michigan, utilities must calculate a rate reduction, “Credit A,” that would begin in July and last until the utility’s next rate case.

The Michigan Public Service Commission expects to rule by June 31 on the credit, which would represent the majority of refunds ratepayers will receive. Nine utilities will need to calculate the rate reduction by March 30, while several others have current rate cases where the refund will be calculated.

Michigan regulators say the tax law change will reduce current and future long-term deferred tax payments for 10 utilities by a total of nearly $3.7 billion.

While utilities will benefit from other parts of the tax overhaul, the lower corporate tax rates present some risk for shareholders. The new rates mean utilities will collect less from customers, reducing cash flows. Moody’s has said changes in tax laws will dilute a utility’s ratio of cash flow. The new tax law also cuts bonus depreciation.

Make, buy, or partner: New business model innovation for U.S. utilities

PUBLISHED: Feb. 27, 2018

In the midst of the energy transformation, holding onto a “business as usual” agenda can put incumbent utilities at risk of disruption, if not obsolescence. Discover three new business model innovation paths that can help your utility take advantage of change and optimize opportunities.

Look around—it’s a wild new frontier. With rapid increases in distributed energy, an upsurge in electric vehicles, and the advent of big data, U.S. utility executives today are facing multidirectional disruption. While incremental improvements to processes and product offerings may help ensure survival and relieve margin pressure, both are short-term solutions in a landscape where change is the rule, competition is fierce, and margins are continuously eroding.

READ THE ARTICLE
For many incumbent utilities, business model innovation can feel like an uphill battle. After all, it entails creating novel ways of delivering value outside of standard operations. In reality, business model innovation could be as simple as a move from selling commodities to marketing services.

MAKE, BUY, OR PARTNER

To future proof your utility, there are three strategic routes worth considering. You can “make” new models and revenue streams from within your utility; you can buy other companies to acquire new models; or you can partner with businesses up and down the energy value chain, and beyond. Here are innogy consulting’s recommendations as to the “how’s”:

“MAKE” | PREPARE FOR THE TOMORROW THAT YOU CAN’T ANTICIPATE TODAY

The aphorism goes that a company can’t disrupt itself. However, through careful structuring of resources, utilities can see success from owning the process of business model innovation.

Cultivating innovation from inside your organization—as through an innovation hub—requires a few key components. First, it’s necessary to create a separate operational approach under separate management, and establish a dedicated execution team. Second, it’s important to give internal business model innovation efforts longer runways for testing and verifying their value.

As with any innovation agenda, there’s a risk associated with open-ended ideation. However, you can mitigate this risk by looking at underutilized assets and channeling ideation around them. For example, innogy consulting worked inside a German utility and helped it build a new predictive maintenance system for wind turbine developers and operators. The system created operational efficiencies, but the new business model innovation came in the form of mining and monetizing the data collected along the way.

BUY | CATCH UP TO—OR JUST OWN—YOUR COMPETITION

New business model innovation isn’t just about creating new products or services from scratch. It can also involve buying a company in an adjacent industry or shares in a company.

Though acquisition is a quick path to market share (and catching an innovation train that has already left the station), it’s a big commitment. It’s critical to consider asset integration when taking in a startup or a growing business with a unique model and culture. If acquisition is part of your utility’s plan, consider allocating resources to set up your new ventures for success, whether through co-branding, sales team training, or central management. Note that this strategy may work best if your utility has a track record of integrating new assets or businesses. Alternatively, you can seek out a partner experienced in integration.

For example, innogy consulting helped a utility client with its post-acquisition innovation efforts, successfully building a unified, innovation-led organization (all the while reaping $100 million in annual synergies).

PARTNER | THE TIME AND THE PRICE IS RIGHT…NOW

In addition to creating new business models or acquiring them, consider partnerships. When vetting the possibility of any partnership, it’s good to ask: What are our core competencies? Where can a partner complement our model, or help us capture new value?

One possible venture might be to partner with specialized startups or new market entrants to expand your utility’s product offerings. Partners benefit from your utility’s scale and reach; your utility benefits from collective knowledge and exposure to nimble approaches. It has also become increasingly common for utilities in rural areas to partner with other utilities to own and operate power plants, pooling their risk.

If you do partner, keep in mind that you’re opening up your business model. Though the rewards come in value creation, you’re no longer completely in control.

While deregulated utilities have more incentives to innovate now, both regulated and deregulated utilities can reap the many rewards of new business model innovation. Often, the biggest hurdle is simply overcoming that initial resistance to change.

Evaluating the timing, risks, and rewards entailed in introducing new business model innovation in your utility, or ready to make your move with an experienced strategic partner? Reach out, and let’s have a conversation.

innogy consulting is an energy-focused management consulting firm with operations in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Backed by 40,000 energy experts at the innogy group, our 200 consultants drive projects from restructuring to innovation, change management to market capitalization, for leading U.S. energy companies intent on fortifying their businesses for the future. To learn more, visit innogyconsult.com.

Do new rooftop solar price projections mean ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ for utilities?

Rooftop solar’s 2030 price could be $0.05/kWh and drive 30 GW/year of new capacity, DOE finds

Uility-scale wind and solar generation is now putting coal and nuclear plants out of business and is price-competitive with natural gas plants — but what would happen if rooftop solar was that cheap?

The retail residential electricity price varies regionally, but the national average in November 2017 was $0.13/kWh. There are ways to bring the cost of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar to $0.05/kWh by 2030, according to a new Department of Energy (DOE) paper. That value proposition could be appealing enough to change the already falling demand for grid-supplied electricity noticeably.

Getting to that low cost would require major business model innovation by solar installers. It would also require significantly more use of “integrated” solar roofing products still being developed. But if the solar industry makes those changes, it will offer electricity customers big new opportunities to which utilities may be forced to respond.

Rooftop solar is already growing fast and these projected low prices can only accelerate adoption. High penetrations can create challenges for utilities because of midday over-generation and an accentuated evening demand peak. But policies that encourage the use of battery storage and smart technologies can turn those challenges into opportunities.

The rise of solar

The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for residential PV declined from $0.52/kWh to $0.15/kWh from 2010 to 2017, according to “Cost-Reduction Roadmap for Residential Solar Photovoltaics (PV), 2017–2030” from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Effective partnerships between solar installers and roofers, now only beginning to emerge, could, at scale, bring the 2030 LCOE for PV on new roofs to $0.055/kWh. Similarly efficient and scaled up hypothetical partnerships between new home builders and installers could bring the 2030 new home LCOE for PV to $0.05/kWh.

NREL Solar Analyst and paper lead author Kristen Ardani said this thought exercise was to explore how solar’s 2030 LCOE could get to the target $0.05/kWh recently set by the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office. The potential is there, but it would require significant changes in the solar installation, home building and roofing industries, she told Utility Dive.

“Between 2017 and 2030, an average of 3.3 million homes/year will be built or require roof replacement,” NREL estimated. Capturing even a small part of that technical potential of approximately 30 GW per year of rooftop PV “could have a significant impact on the evolution of the U.S. electricity system.”

Vikram Aggarwal is CEO for EnergySage, which offers a version of its solar market data and online marketplace to utilities. They are beginning to realize that “solar is disruptive, customers are looking to utilities for guidance with solar, and other companies are going after their customers,” he told Utility Dive.

The numbers in the NREL paper will only accelerate the utilities’ reaction, he said. “It could be a classic case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’”

IRS: Residential storage eligible for ITC when charged by onsite solar

Dive Brief:

  • The Internal Revenue Service on Friday released a private letter ruling determining that a residential energy storage facility may qualify for federal solar tax credits if it is charged completely by an onsite solar array.
  • The ruling stated that a storage facility can qualify for the 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC) only if it is charged 100% by the onsite solar. The recipient of the letter was not released.
  • The ruling applies only to the individual case addressed by the IRS in its letter, but provides an indication of how the agency views residential storage’s eligibility for tax credits.

The IRS issues private letter rulings, like the one released Friday, to interpret tax law based on inquiries from taxpayers. While they technically only apply to a single scenario — and cannot be used for precedent in other cases — they give an indication of how agency staff views application of tax law in a specific situation.

In this case, the questioner inquired whether a residential storage facility added to a home that already had a solar array could qualify for the 30% ITC for solar energy. The IRS ruled that it can, but only if it is completely charged with solar energy from that onsite array.

In Section 25(d) of the federal tax code, Congress specified that a solar water heater may qualify for the ITC when at least 50% of the power it uses comes from the sun, the IRS noted. No such language exists for energy storage in the code, however, leading the agency to conclude that all of a battery’s power must come from the sun to make it eligible.

“Congress expects the energy used by a ‘qualified solar electric property expenditure’ to be derived solely from the sun,” the ruling reads. “Accordingly, 100% of the energy used by the Battery must be derived from the sun. If this is not the case, the Battery does not meet the definition of ‘qualified solar electric property’ in the Code.”

The ruling applies to a storage systems installed the year after a solar array is deployed on a home. Earlier installation of a qualifying storage facility, however, would “not affect the availability of the credit for qualifying property in later years,” the IRS wrote.

The IRS’s interpretation of residential energy storage eligibility in this case differs from its rules for larger, utility-scale storage. Those facilities must be charged at least 75% by solar energy to qualify for the ITC, and the value of the credit depends on how how much of their electricity comes from the sun.

“For example, a system charged by renewable energy 80% of the time is eligible for the 30% ITC multiplied by 80%, which equals a 24% ITC instead of 30%,” researchers from the National Renewable Energy Lab wrote in an explainer.

If the IRS replicates this interpretation of tax law in subsequent scenarios, it could significantly increase the market for energy storage retrofits. Until more cases are decided or the agency releases a formal guidance on residential storage eligibility, it will be up to individual investors to gauge the risks of tax credit qualification when installing new batteries.

All in or half there: Maryland Legislature debates two different RPS bills

Dive Brief:

  • Maryland is poised to expand its renewable portfolio standard, but the extent of the expansion will depend on which of two bills makes it through the legislature.
  • The Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act would put Maryland on track to source 100% of its energy from renewable resources by 2035.
  • The Clean Energy and Jobs Act would expand the state’s existing 25% RPS target to 50% by 2030.

The more ambitious of the two bills under consideration in Maryland, the Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act, sponsored by Delegate Shane Robinson (D), aims not only to make Maryland one of the few states to adopt a 100% RPS, but also seeks to fix what advocates see as a flaw in the state’s existing RPS standard. The existing standard views burning trash and farm-produced methane as renewable energy.

The opposing bill would expand the state’s 25% RPS to a 50% by 2030 target and would continue giving credit for generation sources such as incineration.

The difference between the two approaches has become a charged issue in Maryland, even a racial issue. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Gerald Stansbury, president of the NAACP’s Maryland State Conference, argued in favor of expanding the state’s current 25% RPS to 50%, calling it a move toward climate justice. He cited a 2013 MIT study that found that Baltimore had the highest rate of deaths from pollution among 5,695 U.S. cities.

But for some, the doubling of the state’s RPS does not go far enough. In anop-ed in the Baltimore Sun, Dr. Gina Angiola and Tim Whitehouse of the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, backed the more aggressive 100% standard, arguing that the current RPS standard subsidizes polluting sources of generation such as burning of garbage and wood waste.

But not all environmental advocates are on the same page. “We agree with the Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act’s goals, but it is not our goal,” Denise Robbins, communications director, with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, told Utility Dive.

The Clean Energy and Jobs Act would improve what exists and is the more “achievable policy” at this point, Robbins. She also added that states usually overshoot their RPS targets, so the 50% standard would likely be exceeded.

Robbins also said that the Clean Energy and Jobs Act is also the more practical option. “We have the votes” to pass the Clean Energy and Jobs Act, Robbins said.

The previous iteration of the bill, with the 25% RPS, was only passed into law last February after Democratic lawmakers were able to rally andovercome Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto.

“We think the 50% RPS faces more favorable passage in the Democrat heavy legislature, provided lawmakers can move quickly,” Timothy Fox, vice president at ClearView Energy Partners, told Utility Dive. He noted that the Maryland Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 9, which provides “sufficient but not extensive” time for lawmakers to pass the legislation this year.

The Legislature could override a veto again, Fox said, but the fact that Hogan vetoed a modest increase in the state’s RPS from 20% to 25% suggests a more ambitious 100% RPS could be a “heavier lift.”

Maryland is 290K shy of its EV goal; Can a broad stakeholder process get it there?

My State regulators brought utilities, customer advocates and charging companies to the table. The result could be the second largest charging network in the nation.

Maryland wants 300,000 electric vehicles on its roads by the end of 2025 — far higher than the 10,000 or so in the state now. But utilities and other stakeholders filed a proposal this year, laying the groundwork and building consensus for parties to work together and meet the goal.

The proposal envisions the second largest EV charging network in the United States. While no one will challenge California on that front anytime soon, the $104 million plan calls for an impressive 24,000 chargers. But it remains an initial step in the state’s broader transportation electrification goals, and importantly establishes not just technical groundwork but industry partnerships as well.

We know Maryland has a very challenging goal for zero emissions adoption,” said John Murach, Baltimore Gas & Electric’s manager of energy programs and services. “That’s a big curve. We have seen the uptake accelerate over last year, but we still have a long gap.”

Last year, the state’s utilities, environmental groups and EV industry reps, came together in a working group to tackle the problem. The outcome was a 150-page “Proposal to Implement a Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio” that had 14 signatories.

“Maryland undertook a challenging, year-long open stakeholder process, and the result is the second largest program for EV charging outside of California.”

David Schatz

Director of Public Policy, ChargePoint

Exelon utilities BGE, Delmarva Power & Light and Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco) joined with First Energy’s Potomac Edison Co., ChargePoint, Greenlots, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and several other parties.

“This isn’t about taking over a marketplace, but key parties working together as a catalyst to further drive adoption,” Murach said. With more new EVs hitting the market, the question becomes, “how can we move this forward collectively?”

Noah Garcia, a transportation analyst for NRDC, said the final proposal was “by no means perfect from everyone’s perspective, but certainly stronger” for using such a collaborative approach.

“There was so much work on the front end, to be collaborative and open and essentially share information ahead of time,” Garcia said. “The process did create an environment where everyone felt comfortable sharing ideas.”

David Schatz, ‎director of public policy at California-based charging infrastructure company ChargePoint, echoed those sentiments.

“Maryland undertook a challenging, year-long open stakeholder process, and the result is the second largest program for EV charging outside of California,” Schatz said, noting that the process could well be a model for other states to follow.

The plan

The EV proposal would lead to statewide investment of $104.7 million, spent between the middle of 2018 and 2023. The result is expected to be 24,000 chargers “that will enable smart charging in residential, non-residential, and public settings.”

In the long-term, the proposal is expected to benefit the system as a whole. And the near-term monthly impact is projected to be small: Residential customers are expected to realize a peak monthly impact of: $0.35 at BGE, $0.34 for Pepco, $0.42 for Delmarva and $0.25 for Potomac Edison.

BGE’s $48 million proposal calls for $7.5 million to be spent on incentives for residential Level 2 charging, resulting in 15,000 installations. Another $11 million would go to help install Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers for non-residential customers, with the aim being about 2,100 chargers.

The proposal also includes combined commitments from multiple utilities of more than $10 million for an “innovation fund” that could result in almost 500 chargers in areas typically difficult to serve.

The largest item in BGE’s proposal, however, is $17 million to develop a utility-owned public charging network. Murach said the utility is still deciding how it will invest, though it will be a blend of Level 2 and DC Fast Charging.

“It’s our bucket of dollars that will be the cap,” he said.  “We may not get to a thousand units, but the concept is to work with our municipal customers, our cities our counties, to address those areas they want.” Overall, however, the share of utility-owned charging stations remains at less than a third, he said, leaving plenty of room for competition in the market.

Pepco Maryland’s $32 million proposal includes $3 million for Level 2 workplace charging incentives, $4 million for public DC Fast Charger stations and $6 million for neighborhood Level 2 chargers.

Pepco’s plan also includes expansion of a whole house time-of-use rate, and offers off-peak charging credits for customers with a Fleetcarma device. Both of these programs are testing whether the utility can manage customer charging without the expense of a second meter.

“What we’re trying to look at, is can we eliminate the need for revenue-grade metering, can we eliminate the need for billing and even time-of-use rates,” said Rob Stewart, Pepco’s smart grid and technology manager. “If we could just develop a way to indicate whether the customer is charging off-peak, that is valuable to us.”

In developing the proposal, Garcia said one of NRDC’s key concerns was “making sure areas that are traditionally a harder nut to crack were adequately addressed. … A lot of the value in the proposal comes from deploying infrastructure that is needed in areas that haven’t traditionally been well served.”

Among those are multi-family dwellings like apartments, and low-income areas. The proposal calls for thousands of chargers outside single-family home installations, including neighborhood charging banks, apartment buildings, workplaces and public fleets.

Proposal lays groundwork for wider adoption, managed charging

The move toward electric vehicles, and electrified transport more broadly, will add demand to utilities’ systems. That is one of the major benefits utilities are eyeing, and one reason Garcia says the proposal will ultimately benefit all consumers.

Over time, EV adoption will lead to increased load. Managed correctly, it can have the effect of reducing average energy costs for all customers.

“But it is important to shape this new EV load,” Garcia said.

Maryland utilities, and the sector as a whole, are focused on making EVs a flexible resource. Through time-of-use rates, demand management programs and incentives, utilities are aiming to push charging to off-peak hours. As long as they can do that, meeting the demand will not be a problem, Murach said.

“We are taking this opportunity to bring the concept of managed charging to our residential customers,” he said.

The utilities are trying to walk a thin line in rolling out charging infrastructure that is neither so complicated nor expensive that it drives customers away. Installing a second meter is pricey, and finding ways to incentivize off-peak charging without one could help drive EV adoption.

But once the adoption curve picks up, utilities must have the equipment and rate structures in place to manage the new load. Managing the load can mean fewer expensive upgrades to the distribution system, like larger transformers, in turn helping to keep utility costs and customer rates low.

“If we start the education early, you don’t have to go back and unlearn behaviors,” Murach said. He likened the process to the learning curve for energy efficiency and demand response, both of which have required customer education to increase adoption. “In this case, we have the learnings of those experiences and we can start the conversation early in support of our customers,” he said.

“As EV volume comes up, it will be a high load center but we’ve been there, we’ve done that.”

John Murach

Manager, Energy Supply & Services, BGE

Educating customers is key, and the utilities have committed more than $5 million to the effort.

“Eventually, we see residential being most beneficial for managed charging,” Pepco’s Stewart said. “We don’t have to turn the charger on or off — we can just turn it down a little.”

Pepco is also considering a trial to couple DC Fast Chargers with energy storage, potentially up to 1 MW on the utility’s system. As automakers and charging companies move toward faster and higher-capacity equipment, Stewart said microgrid technology will come into play. Future fast charging stations could be constructed with energy storage and generation on site, possibly including solar or micro turbines.

Next steps

The proposal went to the Maryland Public Service Commission in January, with the 14 signatories and more than 40 letters of support. “It is a very powerful package,” Murach said.

The proposal is framed as a petition, and the docket is currently a “legislative” proceeding as compared with a more rigorous “evidentiary” proceeding that might be used in a utility rate case. The PSC is taking public comment through March 16, and the working group is hoping for a decision by June. A key to that schedule is keeping the proceeding’s legislative status.

“This is more of a discussion around policy than around arguing facts — how many cars and how many chargers are needed,” Murach said.

As for the total demand EVs might add to Maryland’s electric grid, Murach said it’s too soon to make an educated guess, in part because the technology is just beginning to take hold and utilities are unsure if the behavior of early adopters will be similar to the next wave of EV drivers. Whatever the amount, Murach said the industry has experience with the situation and there is ample available capacity — after all, only a few decades ago, residential air conditioning was only beginning to be common.

“As EV volume comes up, it will be a high load center but we’ve been there, we’ve done that,” Murach said. “This is our bread and butter. If it helps our customers with their business or lifestyle, we will do it in a way that makes sense for them.”

 

Canada approves disputed Northern Pass transmission line

BRIEF
Canada’s National Energy Board has approved Hydro-Quebec’s application to construct an international transmission line to New Hampshire as part of the disputed Northern Pass transmission project.

Hip Hop Caucus Launching Weekly Radio Show and Podcast to Power Climate Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2018 CONTACT: Mark Antoniewicz, mark@hiphopcaucus.org, 202-506-5882

Cutting-edge show infuses climate and culture to tell the stories that inspire action to stop climate change and protect the frontline communities fighting for their existence

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, March 13th, Hip Hop Caucus is launching “Think 100%, Coolest Show on Climate Change”, a groundbreaking radio show and podcast that will harness the power of culture to broaden the climate movement. The hour long show will air at 6:00 PM ET on 89.3 FM WPFW, a Pacifica Station in the Washington D.C. Metro Region, and will be available everywhere via internet radio, podcast, and online video. The show will counter attacks on our environment and communities, and advance solutions to climate change that propel a just transition to 100% clean energy for all.

The show will be hosted by national civil and human rights, and environmental and climate leaders, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. and Mustafa Santiago Ali, with special guest hosts featured from across the climate movement.

“From Flint, to Standing Rock, to Puerto Rico, our planet and communities are under attack from environmental injustices, deadly policy decisions, insufficient action on climate change, and an Administration that is moving us backwards,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. “All people must benefit from the fight for clean air, clean water, and a sustainable planet.​”

The show’s platform and marketing strategy will ​provide the climate movement with the ability ​to break down silos, reach and empower new audiences, mobilize supporters, and position frontline communities for bold action.

“Think 100% comes at a crucial time for our communities now and for future generations, whose health and lives are jeopardized by the fossil fuel industry and elected leaders that value profits over people,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali. “Featuring stories from communities facing deadly impacts from pollution and climate change, and conversations with celebrities, artists, activists, youth leaders, Congressional Members, issue experts, and more, the show will break down barriers between issues within the movement for justice and a sustainable planet for all.”


The show will drive real talk on a range of issues impacting our health, security, wallet, and the ability to ensure our planet is habitable for for future generations. The issues and solutions to be discussed will include but are not limited to clean air and water, fossil fuel development, public lands and waters, oceans and coasts, smart infrastructure, energy access, climate change resilience and adaptation, climate mitigation, clean energy financing and innovation, wildlife, green business and labor, chemicals and toxins, immigration, democracy, security, and faith.


Guests for the first show include leading voices in the environmental justice movement; Dr. Robert Bullard, the “Father of Environmental Justice”; United States Representative Donald McEachin (VA-04), co-chair of the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force; and Dr. Adrienne Hollis, Director of Federal Policy at WEACT for Environmental Justice, a pioneer organization fighting against environmental injustices for 30 years at the local, state, and federal levels.


“Hip Hop Caucus Think 100%, Coolest Show on Climate Change”, will air live every Tuesday from 6:00-7:00 PM ET on 89.3 FM WPFW, a Pacifica Station in Washington D.C. Metro Region, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia. The weekly hour long live show will also be disseminated as a podcast and as online video, providing ongoing opportunity for content distribution to large and diverse audiences. Episodes will be available to live stream and download at www.wpfwfm.org and podcast platforms.

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Hip Hop Caucus is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 2004 that uses the power of Hip Hop culture to engage and empower young people and communities of color in the civic and political process. 

GE aims to enhance solar, wind power performance with new storage platform

Dive Brief:

  • General Electric has launched an energy storage platform and says its first order, for a 20 MW, 80 MWh project, will be deployed late next year.
  • GE’s Reservoir storage platform is based on a 1.2 MW, 4 MWh modular unit the size of a shipping container.
  • By using its proprietary Battery Blade design, GE says its Reservoir platform can deliver a 15% improvement in battery lifecycle, 5% higher efficiency, and reduced installation time and costs.

GE is stepping up its storage game with the announcement of Reservoir, an energy storage platform aimed at applications that could help enhance the performance and duration of solar and wind power plants, as well as relieving congestion on the grid, for instance, by deferring the need for a new substation.

The Reservoir announcement comes amidst GE’s efforts to revitalize itself and its power business. Late last year, GE said it planned to lay off 12,000 employees at its GE Power unit.

The unit has been hurt by slack demand for electricity that has affected the sale of generating equipment. The slowdown in turbine orders has been compounded by GE’s 2015, $10 billion acquisition of generation equipment manufacturer Alstom.

The GE Power layoffs were preceded by an announcement by GE’s new CEO, John Flannery, of a wider restructuring effort calling for $20 billion in divestments.

Within the power sector, GE recently refocused its energy storage efforts, moving storage personnel back from a unit called Current and setting up a new, stand-alone energy storage unit within GE Power.

With Reservoir, GE is making a bid for a share of the energy side of the utility-scale energy storage market, which calls for storage devices capable of delivering a continuous flow of electrons for relatively long durations. “This is an energy application with a four-hour duration,” Eric Gebhardt, vice president and strategic technology officer of GE Power, told Utility Dive.

Utility-scale energy storage is a market that one of GE’s main competitors, Siemens, is also pursuing. Last summer, Siemens joined with AES Corp. to create a global energy storage technology and services company calledFluence.

GE is also pursuing the power side of the energy storage market with its hybrid gas turbine that incorporates a 10 MW/4.3 MWh battery with a 50 MW gas turbine. The setup enables the turbine to ramp up more quickly and reduce fuel consumption.

Gebhardt said the Reservoir product is aimed at applications that could help enhance the performance and duration of solar and wind power plants, as well as relieving congestion on the grid, for instance, by deferring the need for a new substation.

GE is scheduled to begin manufacturing its Reservoir units later this year, though it will be more of an assembly than a manufacturing process.

Gebhardt said GE uses battery cells and modules from “tier one” manufacturers who assemble the components into GE Blade units. “We do all the engineering,” Gebhardt said.

He likened the Blade units to a server that is comprised of a series of modular processors. The assembly “gives us a large number of knobs to turn and allows us to control the flow of voltage across the individual components,” he said. GE then installs diagnostic and analytics on top of the Blade assembly.

The result, said Gebhardt, is a unit that is the size of a 20 foot storage container that is modular, scalable and easy to install at either utility sites or at remote locations.

A Game-changing Shift in the Way Power is Provided

Authored By Carlos Koeneke, Vice President Project Engineering, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc.

Published: February 13, 2018

As the utilities industry enters its second decade of deregulation, the power market has changedconsiderably, and is still in flux. But great change brings great opportunity. Looking at the evolving shape of the industry today, I’m excited by the opportunities emerging in various sectors.

The most impactful change that deregulation has spurred is, naturally, rapid privatization of formerly state-owned utility companies. This, combined with increasing tech innovation, has opened the playing field for all kinds of actors, from private companies known as independent power producers, to even households themselves, selling power back to the grid. However, one actor more than any other is upending the industry as we know it: private equity firms.

Flush with cash, these firms are eager for new markets to invest in. Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have gone from managing $1 trillion to $4.3 trillion, according to the advisory firm Triago. The deregulated utilities industry is incredibly attractive. Over the past decade, private equity companies have been pouring money into the utilities market as they see myriad opportunities for significant returns.

Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power recently agreed to sell four plants generating 5,200 MW to a joint venture of Blackstone and ArcLight Capital Partners for $2.17 billion. This is just one such sale – the Blackstone Group set up a fund of $40 billion to invest mainly in infrastructure projects.

It’s easy to see why utilities markets would be an attractive investment for private equity firms. Power is a non-negotiable fact of life. Everyone needs it, from the average consumer cooking dinner every night, to large companies running data centers, to cities lighting up urban power grids.

But the last thing firms entering the utilities market can afford to be is complacent. The new competition in the business of providing power has afforded consumers an array of options to choose from. If they don’t like their provider, they now have options for new power providers they didn’t use to have. Indeed, the ability to generate power has never been more democratic.

Utilities today are engaged in a variety of ways of attracting customers, from offering competitive rates and incentives for buying energy-efficient appliances, to appealing to consumer ethics with reduced carbon emission rates. One big plus for natural gas is that emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal, and the shale gas boom has pushed the price of gas to well below that of coal. Cleaner and cheaper will win out every time.

Above all, though, utilities are seeking to offer consumers efficiency and reliability.

At Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), combining maximum power with maximum reliability is how we approach our power generation. The MHPS J-Series gas turbines deliver the best project financials and net present value because of best-in-class reliability, output and efficiency resulting in high-capacity factors. The M501JAC combined cycle plant will have the lowest CAPEX available today with an expected capital cost payback in 4 years.

MHPSA 6.png

The financial value of this reliability cannot be overstated. Choosing an unreliable and unproven technology will negatively impact plant profitability – and in a worst-case scenario, outages could bankrupt a plant. Nothing will sink a utility quicker than disruptions in the production and delivery of electric power to the grid. MHPS estimates that if a 1,000 MW power plant went down for just one day it could lead to $63 million in losses.

Firms investing in utilities need to be certain their power generation won’t fail in the field and lead to expensive down time and maintenance. Understandably, clients are wary of using their own utilities to test out equipment.

Our solution to this constraint was to construct a full-scale verification power plant known as T-Point turbine facility. The facility has been in operation since 1997 and is used to verify the design and operation of their gas turbine fleet during its development. But it also dispatches electric power to a local utility under contractual expectations on high reliability and availability.

The T-Point facility is unique in the gas turbine world in that it allows both single components and whole gas turbines to be verified for extended periods of time under operational conditions on their own power plant attached to the manufacturing plant, an ability that other manufacturers do not have. Thanks to this unique facility, we put our turbines through about 8,000 hours of testing before they go into commercial use. This is about 40 times more testing time than major rivals.

It’s innovations like these that have enabled MHPS to oversee the world’s most reliable fleet of gas turbines. Because if you’re investing in a utility, and you let the lights go out, you will pay a steep price and may find your customer isn’t there when they come back on.

Koeneke is Vice President Project Engineering, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc.