1 California and distributed PV GW Solar Institute Third Annual Symposium Bill Powers, P.E., Powers Engineering April 26, 2011

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Page 1: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


California and distributed PV

GW Solar Institute Third Annual SymposiumBill Powers, P.E., Powers EngineeringApril 26, 2011

Page 2: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


John Geesman, California Energy Commissioner, 2007source: California Energy Circuit, State Sees DG Providing 25% Peak Power, May 11, 2007.

“There’s an ongoing schizophrenia in state policy between what we say we want to do and what we actually allow to happen.”

Page 3: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


What is California’s plan? Energy Action Plan

Energy Action Plan Loading Order: Energy efficiency & demand response

(net zero energy buildings – EE/rooftop PV) Renewable energy Combined Heat & Power - CHP Conventional gas-fired generation Transmission as needed

Challenges – 1) inadequate regulatory oversight, 2) energy efficiency and distributed generation run counter to conventional utility business model

Page 4: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


How much rooftop PV does California need to meet 2020 net zero energy targets for existing buildings? ~15,000 MWCPUC, California Long-Term Strategic Energy Efficiency Plan, January 2011 update

Target: 25% of existing residential reaches 70% reduction by 2020 Assume 30% reduction with EE, 40% with PV

Residential rooftop PV requirement = 4,800 MW

Target: 50% of existing commercial reaches net zero energy by 2030 [assume 25% reach net zero by 2020] Assume 30% reduction with EE, 70% with PV

Commercial rooftop PV requirement = 9,800 MW

Total 2020 residential/commercial rooftop PV = 14,600 MW

Page 5: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


California Gov. Jerry Brown Clean Energy Jobs Plan – local focus

12,000 MW of local renewable power by 2020, out of 20,000 MW target

Feed-in tariff for renewables under 20 MW

4,000 MW of new combined heat & power (can be fueled with biogas or biomethane)

Page 6: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Distributed PV in California – the pace is accelerating

PV Project Underway Capacity (MW)

Completion date

California Solar Initiative 3,000 2016Utility distributed PV 1,100 2014SB 32 feed-in tariff 750 2014CPUC renewable auction mechanism

1,000 2014

SMUD feed-in tariff 100 2012Total committed DG PV ~6,000

Page 7: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


What is the California IOU renewable energy plan?CPUC, 33% RPS Implementation Analysis Preliminary Results, June 2009, p. 87. J. Firooz, Transmission in Short Supply or Do IOUs Want More Profits?, Natural Gas & Electricity Journal, July 2010. graphic: Black & Veatch and E3, Summary of PV Potential Assessment in RETI and the 33% Implementation Analysis,Re-DEC Working Group Meeting, December 9, 2009, p. 10.

Original plan was 10,000 MW of large-scale, remote solar.

Priority emphasis on new, high profit (12% ROI) transmission.

Up to $15 billion in new transmission additions in California, justified on renewable energy, if utility plans realized.

Now up to 3,000 MW of distributed PV, beyond 3,000 MW in California Solar Initiative, also in the pipeline: IOU-owned PV, Renewable Auction Mechanism, SB 32 FIT.

Page 8: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


10,000+ MW Path 46, passing thru Mojave and Colorado deserts, has lightest load in West. However, access is uncertain due to existing proprietary long-term capacity contracts.Sources: 2005 CEC Strategic Transmission Investment Study; June 2010 WECC Path Utilization Study Part of TEPPC 2009 Annual Report.

Page 9: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Achilles heel of remote central station generation, whether solar or wind - cost of new transmissionsources: 1) RPS Calculator, 2) J. Firooz, P.E., CAISO: How its transmission planning process has lost sight of the public’s interest, prepared for UCAN, April 15, 2010.

California Public Utilities Commission calculated $34/MWh transmission cost adder in June 2009 for remote renewable generation.

CPUC assumed renewable generation financed over 20 yr, transmission over 40 yr.

Cost adder is $46/MWh if generation and transmission financed over same 20 yr period (apples-to-apples).

Page 10: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Cost of energy for solar and wind – California agency analysessource: Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, RETI Phase 2B Final Report, May 2010, Tables 4-5, 4-7, 4-8, CPUC 2010 LTPP proceeding, Long-Term Renewable Resource Planning Standards, Attachment 1, Table 1, June 2010.

Technology Capital cost




Capacity factor


Cost of energy

($/MWh)Solar thermal,

dry-cooled5,350 – 5,550 200 24 202

Fixed thin-film PV 3,600 – 4,000 20 24 138

Tracking polysilicon PV

4,000 – 5,000 20 27 135

Onshore wind 2,371 utility-scale 33 95

Page 11: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Germany installs residential PV at $4/Wdc, lower cost than utility-scale solar thermal source: C. Landen – Sovella AG, Complexity cost and economies of scale: Why German residential PV costs 25% less than US, presented at Solar Power International, October 2010.

Page 12: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering

Distributed PV as reliable as peaking gas turbine at summer peak in Californiasource: B. Powers, Bay Area Smart Energy 2020, to be released in May 2011.

Top 100 hours of summer peak load in PG&E territory in 2007.

Correlated to hour-by-hour cloud cover at Oakland and San Jose airports.

Correlated to hour-by-hour global irradiance for same sites.

Solar resource > 95% available during all peak hours.

One anomalous data point due to scattered clouds at airports when rest of Bay Area nearly cloud free (see GOES satellite images at right, 3 pm and 4 pm, July 5, 2007).


Page 13: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Utilities – wind power must be backed-up by combustion turbines

World without RPS requirements – utilities build combustion turbines to meet rising peak load.

World with RPS requirements – utilities build combustion turbines, and wind turbines, and new transmission to meet rising peak load.

Or central station solar thermal or solar PV, and new transmission.

Or distributed solar PV (ideally with limited 2 to 3 hr energy storage), and no new transmission.

Page 14: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Germany – the gold standardsource of 7,400 MWdc in 2010: Renewable Energy World, New Record for German Renewable Energy in 2010, Germany , March 25, 2011. source of 50,000 MW distributed PV projected by 2020: DENA Grid Study II – Integration of Renewable Energy Sources in the German Power Supply System from 2015 – 2020 with an Outlook to 2025, April 2011.

7,400 MWdc distributed PV installed in 2010 60 percent less than 100 kW 80 percent less than 1 MW

1,550 MWac of wind installed in 2010

50,000 MW distributed PV projected for 2020

Framework for success: feed-in tariff

Page 15: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


April 20th 2011, Germany – PV provides 20% of country’s electricity at mid-dayGerman source, EEX Transparency Platform: http://www.transparency.eex.com/en/Statutory%20Publication%20Requirements%20of%20the%20Transmission%20System%20Operators

Installed Jan. 1, 2011: wind, 27,000 MWac

solar PV, 16,500 MWdc

Graphic: yellow = PV green = wind gray = conventional

Page 16: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


April 20th 2011, Germany – PV provides 20% of country’s electricity at mid-day, wind < 1%German source, EEX Transparency Platform: http://www.transparency.eex.com/en/Statutory%20Publication%20Requirements%20of%20the%20Transmission%20System%20Operators

Top graphic – PV production, > 12,000 MW at mid-day, weather conditions clear to partly cloudy

Bottom graphic –wind production, ranging from 2,400 MW at midnight to 400 MW at noon

Page 17: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Western Interconnect 2010 loads a bit higher than German loads: min 73,000 MW, max ~150,000 MWBlack & Veatch, Need for Renewables and Gas Fired Generation in WECC - Wyoming Infrastructure Authority Board Meeting, Jan 25, 2010.

Page 18: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Status of utility-scale desert solar on public lands –lawsuits, cancellations, and uncertainty

Solar project Technology MW Status

Ivanpah Power tower 370 lawsuit

Blythe Solar trough 1,000 lawsuit

Calico Dish stirling 663 cancelled

Desert Sunlight PV 550 lawsuit

Lucerne Valley PV 45 lawsuit

Palen Solar trough 500 lawsuit

Imperial Valley Dish stirling 709 cancelled

Genesis Solar trough 250 lawsuit

Ridgecrest Solar trough 250 cancelled

Page 19: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Problem – ARRA projects are going on undeveloped public lands, not retired ag lands or mining/military brownfieldssource of photos: B. Powers and Solar Done Right website: http://solar.ehclients.com/images/uploads/env_impacts_of_lg-scale_solar_projects.pdf

Page 20: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


1,000 MW Solar Millenium Blythe Solar – disturbed ag land alternative is feasible, ARRA deadline is hurdleSept 2010 CEC Decision: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2010publications/CEC-800-2010-009/CEC-800-2010-009-CMF.PDF

Blythe Mesa Alternative would include a 1,000 MW solar facility on three non-contiguous areas totaling approximately 6,200 acres.

Blythe Mesa Alternative is potentially feasible and meets all but one of the project objectives.

Private parcel acquisition would likely not occur quickly enough to complete permitting in 2010 to qualify for ARRA funding.

Page 21: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


1,000 MW Solar Millenium Blythe Solar will disturb 7,000 acres of currently undisturbed public land - nearly size of DCsources: photo of Washington, DC – Google Earth; 7,000 acres of disturbed land - California Energy Commission, Blythe Solar Project webpage: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_blythe/index.html

Page 22: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Mojave Solar Development Zone proposal, April 2007 – Solar Millenium suggests brownfields, anticipates siting challengesource: Solar Millenium public comment, April 17, 2007 IEPR CEC Workshop, Renewable Transmission, Sacramento. See:http://www.energy.ca.gov/2007_energypolicy/documents/2007-04-17_workshop/public_comments/22RainerAringhoffSolarMillenium.pdf

Page 23: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


550 MW Desert Sunlight in shadow of Joshua Tree National Park – too big and too closeAugust 2010 BLM DEIS: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/Solar_Projects/Desert_Sunlight.htmlDecember 2010 CEC Decision: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2010publications/CEC-800-2010-010/CEC-800-2010-010-CMF.PDF

Project site surrounded on three sides by Joshua Tree NP Disturbed agricultural land nearby in Desert Center (photo) Large project not appropriate on border of national park

Page 24: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Recommended guidance to Department of Interior for use in prioritizing 2011 projectssource: California Desert & Renewable Energy Working Group, Recommendations to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Ways to Improve Planning and Permitting for the Next Generation of Solar Energy Projects on BLM Land in the California Desert, December 22, 2010

#1 Low Conflict Areas: timely or expedited permitting/ probable permit approval Mechanically disturbed lands such as fallowed agricultural lands. Brownfields, idle or underutilized industrial areas. Locations adjacent to urbanized areas and/or load centers where

edge effects can be minimized. Locations that minimize the need to build new roads. Meets one or more of the following transmission sub-criteria:

transmission with existing capacity and substations is already available; minimal additional infrastructure would be necessary, such as incremental transmission re-conductoring or upgrades, and development of substations; new transmission line only if permitted and no legal challenges.

Page 25: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


Signers of December 2010 recommended guidance: who’s who of utilities, solar developers, NGOs Lisa Belenky, Center for Biological Diversity Darren Bouton, First Solar, Inc. Barbara Boyle, Sierra Club Laura Crane, The Nature Conservancy Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife Shannon Eddy, Large-scale Solar Association Sean Gallagher, Tessera Solar Arthur Haubenstock, BrightSource Energy Rachel McMahon, Solar Millennium Michael Mantell, Chair, California Desert & Renewable Energy

Working Group Wendy Pulling, Pacific Gas & Electric Johanna Wald, Natural Resources Defense Council Peter Weiner, Solar industry attorney V. John White, Center for Energy Efficiency & Renewable


Page 26: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


EPA’s “RE-Powering America's Land” initiativesee: http://www.epa.gov/renewableenergyland/; photo: PV on former landfill, Ft. Collins, CO.

Siting Renewable Energy on Potentially Contaminated Land and Mine Sites

EPA is encouraging renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated land and mine sites.

EPA would be the appropriate lead federal entity to designate “low conflict area” sites for utility-scale solar projects.

Dept. of Interior/BLM is not the appropriate entity, as many of these low conflict sites are not on BLM land.

Page 27: Bill Powers | Powers Engineering


California is already on the road to a predominantly distributed PV future No technical or economic impediments.

PV at the point-of-use is more cost-effective than remote solar thermal whether or not new transmission is needed.

Remote PV that does not require new transmission is comparable in cost to PV at the point-of-use – line losses negate much of the desert sun advantage.

Hurdles are institutional – investor-owned utility model has not yet been re-aligned to advance distributed PV, and regulators are not forcing the issue.