Richard T. Flanagan
This is an issue of “firsts!” Alstom is piloting the world’s ‘first’ solar grid; B&W is
building the ‘first’ US-WTE plant in 25 years; PPPL joined ITER, the world’s ‘first’ joint
experiment in magnetic fusion, and Alton Energy joined our family of advertisers for
the ‘first’ time. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we did publishing it.
World-Gen and 34 other journalists from 14 countries visited Alstom’s NICE
GRID, the world’s first solar energy smart grid storage demonstration project
launched with partners ERDF, EDF, SAFT and RTE spread over four years at a cost
of €30 million starting on page 1. Alstom envisions that the smart grid market has
the potential to grow to €51 billion by 2020, up from the present €29 billion creating
100,000 new highly skilled engineering jobs and another 300,000 indirect jobs.
Alstom is studying how data is becoming the fuel of future economic development,
and exchanging data that is at the core of the smart grid development. Alstom, its partners, and the Nice Town Council
responded by building a micro grid, optimizing energy production from solar panels. Alstom supplied its new MaxSine™
eStorage conversion solution connecting batteries to the high/medium voltage network.
The nation’s first new waste to energy power plant to be built in twenty years is being constructed by Babcock & Wilcox
and its consortium partner KBR on a 24 acre greenfield site for the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach, FL, covered on
page 1. The 95 megawatt facility is expected to come online in Q-1-15; Florida Power and Light has a 20 year power
purchase agreement. The new plant reduces the waste sent to the county’s landfill by up to 90 percent. SWA has recycled
more than two million tons of residential and commercial material that otherwise would have been landfilled and recovered
nearly 250,000 tons of clean vegetation annually. The State of Florida counts waste delivered to a Renewable Energy
facility towards the State’s 75% Recycling Goal, and the State provides one ton of recycling credit for each megawatt hour of
Jeanne Jackson Devoe tells us on page 1 that the heart of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics
Laboratory (PPPL) is the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX-U), a device that will help researchers develop magnetic
fusion as a safe, abundant and inexpensive source of electric energy. PPPL is one of 17 national laboratories funded by
the Department of Energy, managed by Princeton University and has about 450 employees. The NSTX-U is undergoing a
$94 million upgrade that will make the facility the most powerful tokamak of its type in the world when it is completed
around the end of the year. The next step in developing magnetic fusion as an energy source is the huge fusion experiment
called ITER in Cadarache, France, that is supported by seven international partners that include the United States. ITER
is designed to create a sustained fusion reaction — or burning plasma — that produces more energy than it takes to create
the reaction. Experiments are to begin in the 2020s.
Lyn Corum writes from California on page 12 that California’s electricity world has been upended following the retirement
of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in June 2013. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas &
Electric are scrambling for new resources to replace the lost 2,200 MW SONGS produced.
However, new resources do not necessarily mean the traditional base-load generating plants. What utilities are looking
for in the load center formerly served by SONGS is fast-starting dispatchable power to buffer renewable resources coming
online and new transmission. In March, the CPUC approved a plan for SCE to acquire 500 MW to 700 MW and SDG&E
to acquire 500 MW to 800 MW by 2022. At least 600 MW must include renewable, demand response and energy efficiency
resources plus 75 MW of energy storage. SCE said it will add the newly approved resources to a solicitation it was
conducting. The CPUC ordered SDG&E to design a solicitation for the newly approved resources. The California
Independent System Operator had recommended 2,400 MW in new capacity but the CPUC believes new transmission
capacity and energy efficiency savings will lower the region’s needs.
Samir Succar tells us on page 13 that the future of the utility industry has become a central focus for many as the sector
grapples with several existential threats. Among the chief threats looming on the horizon is the large projected growth in
distributed energy resources (DERs) and its potential to compound the impacts of the anemic growth in net load observed in
many regions today. But this growth in DERs is relatively recent. While the resource base has certainly grown significantly
for specific resources in particular regions, on a national basis these resources still occupy a relatively small fraction of the
overall mix. Nevertheless, the conditions for growth for this class of resource are approaching a tipping point toward widespread
viability in many more markets and there is growing enthusiasm around the potential for growth of DERs in the
years and decades to come.
The growth of distributed generation and its impact on price formation in U.S. capacity markets implies a fundamental
shift in the structure of resource adequacy mechanisms. As variable, distributed generation increasingly becomes a prevalent
source of generation in regions, changes in capacity market dynamics will have a profound impact on generating
assets and their future economic viability. These impacts will be felt most acutely in organized markets with well-developed
capacity market mechanisms.
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