Progressive State Climate Change Playbooks

From Roger Caiazza

On December 12, 2018 the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the availability of three “playbooks” produced by the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition that includes 16 states and Puerto Rico, to address climate change and implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. Each of these playbooks deserves detailed review and comment but this post only gives an overview based on my initial skim through the reports.

According to the announcement: “The playbooks will serve as implementation resources for states in deploying solar energy, spurring electric grid modernization, and enhancing resilience in the face of climate impacts and natural hazards. The three solutions are highlighted in the following playbooks: solar deployment, non-wire solutions (NWS), and resiliency.”

The Solar Deployment Guidebook, developed in collaboration with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), was created to assist states and localities in accelerating solar adoption. The guidebook provides “strategies and tools to reduce non-hardware costs of solar deployment, including permitting, zoning, property taxes, and municipal procurement so that solar energy deployment can continue to grow.” Most of this document is a wish list from the solar industry for ways to make solar deployment easier.

The community solar component that is encouraged in this guidebook is more problematic. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. My problem is that providing homeowners, renters, and businesses who cannot install solar with access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation claims is that without unlimited funds someone is going to get left out. Why should one segment of society get a benefit paid for by the rest of us?

The Non-Wires Solutions Implementation Playbook, developed in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Institute, highlights how “electric utilities increasingly can reduce their system infrastructure investments and save customers money by employing non-wires solutions to cost-effectively meet growing grid needs.” According to this report, non-wire solutions can be applied in specific locations to defer or eliminate investment in “traditional and costlier ‘wires and poles” infrastructure. Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) are the specific components of a non-wire solution portfolio that can address the inefficiencies of the traditional system according to the authors. Examples include:

  • Responsive Building Equipment Controls (e.g., lighting sensors/controls, thermostats, water heater controls)
  • Behavioral Demand Response (i.e., human responses to signals sent through various media)
  • Energy Storage (e.g., battery, thermal, and others)
  • Building Equipment Upgrades (e.g., lighting, HVAC equipment, or appliance replacements)
  • Distributed Generation (various renewable and non-renewable resources).

Although the report claims that the utilities invest in traditional distribution infrastructure to make money they overlook the fact that in many places that infrastructure is so old that it needs to be replaced anyway. Unless the proposed non-wires solutions can eliminate the need for the existing system then infrastructure maintenance and upgrade costs will still be required. Because the renewables they claim are necessary are intermittent and diffuse the transmission grid will still be required. The playbook recommends that states require these programs for their utility companies. Note, however, that when the utilities are negotiating their rate cases it is unlikely that they will call out this scam for what it is because they cannot afford to antagonize the political appointees that decide the rate case. When the rate negotiations reduce the amount requested I suspect necessary infrastructure maintenance will be sacrificed to the politically correct playbook “solutions” suggested in this playbook.

The New Governors’ Resilience Playbook provides information to new governors assuming office in January 2019 on how to “minimize climate risk, maximize clean economic growth opportunities and reduce future costs from extreme weather and climate variability”. The playbook proposes a ten-step strategy for new governors to engage local actors and direct state agencies to enhance resilience. According to the introduction “During the next four years, every Governor will likely grapple with critical resilience issues in their state – from extreme weather events and natural disasters to crumbling infrastructure and cyber threats. The human and economic toll of not being prepared is highly consequential to your state’s residents, communities, and the economy. Finding ways to mitigate these costs and threats through effective resilience and climate preparedness strategies are therefore an essential responsibility for Governors.” I agree completely that increased resiliency is a good thing and should be encouraged.

However, the Playbook illustrates its case for the climate risk resiliency with graphs showing the growing burden of uninsured natural catastrophe losses and the number of FEMA disaster declarations. Both graphs are based on Swiss Re analyses. Not to be too cynical but, an insurance company has a vested interest in just such a depiction of societal losses. Roger Pielke Jr.’s work on hurricanes and weather disasters both show that appropriately adjusting the data gives the opposite result. Of course when peer-reviewed literature that does not show the politically correct answer and industrial grey papers does give the answer desired, the inevitable result is to ignore the peer-reviewed standard.

There is another aspect of the resiliency argument to consider. One of the more frustrating aspects of climate mitigation advocates is that they ignore the fact that no one is claiming that if we reduce CO2 to whatever level they think is appropriate that it will mean that there will be no more severe weather. Hurricanes will happen with or without climate change. I believe that it is more cost-effective to harden infrastructure and make it more resilient than to try to reduce impacts by mitigation. Given that our coastlines are a long ways from being resilient then the preferred response seems clear to me.

Roger Caiazza is a retired air quality meteorologist and environmental regulation analyst who blogs at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York.

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41 thoughts on “Progressive State Climate Change Playbooks

  1. So, which is it: 1. 16 States and Puerto Rico have their hands on the control knob for the Earths’ climate,or 2. 16 States and Puerto Rico have , for reasons known only unto them, struck up an alliance with solar energy interests? Follow the money?

    • Excellent point 👍
      It is way past time to build reality based groups to put out plans, visions and most importantly to show the cynical money grubbing rent seeking bs of the consensus.

  2. One good thing about the United States is that when one state does very stupid things, it doesn’t mean the other states have to follow.

    Oklahoma won’t be one of those states. The Oklahoma legislature voted last year to end all subsidies for windmills because to continue would have bankrupted the state. If you want to do wind or solar in Oklahoma, you have to do it on your own dime now.

    Other states will figure this out sooner or later.

    What a disaster this CAGW fraud has turned out to be!

    • Except in electrical power. Unless you are in Texas, which maintains a separate grid your, power could be suddenly interrupted because some large “renewable” source goes offline without sufficient backup in place in a state you wouldn’t even visit because of its leftist political culture and taxes on every aspect of life. So, if you are part of the eastern grid, sudden loss of wind as the clouds roll in in NY, MA and VA could cause your power to go off from Quebec to Florida with the right cascade event and poor management. I could see the regulators in NY not allowing the required rolling brownouts in their state leading to multiple generators having to trip offline due to overload conditions. This would lead to a collapse of the entire east coast grid.

      So, idiotic decision by 16 states WILL impact life in the rational states that avoided the idiocy.

  3. So we have 3 playbooks that are basically a white page of grandiose ideas to make someone feel good in their new role. And like any white page it gives nothing in the way of process steps to achieve those ideas, other than a basic overview.

    Resilience is excellent, building solid infrastructure is excellent, building jobs is excellent….these are all part of the job already….why tack on the overkill of manipulated data to save the planet too…oh and as if your job isn’t hard enough–HERE, are 3 playbooks that we are going to tell you, you need to accomplish too because, “the PLANET man…..it’s the planet!” And if you do this, you get to join OUR club! Yippee….well only if we deem you worthy (a scale that is constantly changing…..but we’re not going to tell you that).

    I am hoping that those playbooks will be shoved in the dark recesses of a drawer, never to see the light of day.

    • “I am hoping that those playbooks will be shoved in the dark recesses of a drawer, never to see the light of day.”

      I’m thinking in disused lavatories in locked basements with signs saying “Beware of the leopard”.

    • I am thinking of third world countries, littered with abandoned grandiose project. And of California’s High Speed Train, from Merced to Bakersfield, some 20 billion dollars.

      • I presume California aspires to become a 3rd World Country.

        The requirements are: the technology has to be:
        Foreign
        Expensive
        Not manageable with local labour
        Involve licences payable to foreign countries
        Have rapidly rising costs over budget during installation
        Extracts from, rather than adds to, the economy
        Be started on the basis that, “If we built it they will come” (classic 1970’s World Bank)
        Be subsidised in the early stages
        Never work properly
        Be abandoned due to incompletion or lack of maintenance from the commencement of operations.

        How are they doing so far?

        • So far they are good down to “Never work properly”, we’ll have to see what happens when they throw the switch on it.

  4. Roger thanks for highlighting the playbooks!

    I am trying to make sense of a just concluded PG&E rate case that reduced the baseline amount, in the summer, for my temperature zone by 10%.

    It’s snowing in temperature zone P yet again today, so our solar panels aren’t going to be generating anything. On the bright side of things for us Zone P folks the baseline quantities for winter months only went down a little bit.

  5. Regardless of the ultimate results, those states using a wait-and-see approach will come out ahead.

    If, like quite a few of us believe, solar and wind are not economically viable nor technologically suitable, then the early adopters will pay the price. If, perchance, they ever prove their worth, it will not be until the economics change and technology improves. Late adoptees will avoid the expense of the early failures.

    Stalling is the best tactic, both for renewables and anything concerning climate change. If changes are needed, we clearly do not know enough about the situation to decide what changes need to be done, and there is considerable argument as to whether any changes are needed at all.

    • Jtom. A good example of your wait and see idea is the airliner construction business. The first jet airliner made by the British had a serious structural flaw that caused them to burst apart and dump passengers into the air. Those that weren’t dumped didn’t fair any better either. They figured out the problem but not soon enough to save their reputation. No one wanted to ride in them anymore and the late comers ie Boeing won out. Similar story for the supersonic transport and the super jumbo jet. Government do gooders running business they don’t understand. They just care about buying votes of the working masses using someone elses money.

    • jtom: The tried-and-true approach is stalling while talking a green game. Dems have gotten by with talk and some spending to get renewables up to, what, 2%? And R’s get by with talk and research grants to agencies that require a mere passing reference to “co2 emissions caused this bad thing we found.” ‘Til now, the greens were willing to settle. The problem dems have with Alexandria Obama Cortez is, she is so young and naive, she thinks they should DO something! The problem most of us have with her is, everything she wants done is wrong. The problem the press has with her is, well, actually they have no problem with her except they can’t get enough of her!

  6. These state-led actions on “climate change”, which advance the directives of a world authority (the ipcc) pushing their own power-grabbing agenda borders on treason.

  7. Jobs will move to states that have the most rational energy policy. Stable and low cost power drive business, and this will become increasingly more apparent when power is restricted due to lack of wind or sunshine. And the taxes needed to subsidize wind and solar will also drive businesses to locations that have adopted sane energy policies that don’t need substantial taxes to support.
    California is charging businesses nearly $200/ton for CO2 emissions that clearly amount to a tax to support alternative energy production. Businesses are not stupid and will respond accordingly.

    • To bad it costs a lot to move the businesses and the people working for those businesses. I’ve moved about fifteen times. It really sucks.

  8. These ‘idea’logs have taken this stuff out of Jan Kozak’s “Not a Shot Was Fired”, a manual for using democratic institutions to overturn democracy and convert it to Коммчиisм, a thing he accomplished in his hone country of Czechoslovakia. Copies can be bought on Amazon and they have been a good selling item! People concerned about liberty should read this. The book is 70$ and q few years ago it was 2-3$

    https://www.tysknews.com/Depts/gov_philosophy/pt1_shot.htm

  9. Reinventing distributed power? We’ve had this for a few decades. Everyone I know wants a generating station next door. I was involved with putting small generating stations in landfills for about 15 years. I got to hear regularly just how much they loved the idea. Oh, and we plugged them into the distribution grid. Does this scam overlook that?

    Oh, if anyone in California wants to by renewable electricity (Green-E certified) made on the del Marva peninsula, they will be happy to sell you some.

  10. The idiots have created a play book, for a game that is lose-lose, a purposeless game, as engineering facts are ignored. i.e. If states following the ‘playbook’ and spend as much as Germany has spent on wind and sun gathering they will double/triple the electrical rates in their state for minimum real anthropogenic CO2 emissions reduction.

    Germany has also shown their is a hard engineering limit of the percentage of variable non controllable power sources where installing more wind and sun gathering, beyond that hard engineering limit, results in an increase in anthropogenic CO2 emission, not a decrease.

    The wind and sun schemes gathering real engineering value, is in terms of average yearly output vs nameplate (sun and wind nameplate maximum output) maximum, is dependent on location on the planet.

    When comparing wind to natural gas power generation, for example, the wind is assumed to be ‘available’ 35% (available is any wind, what is important is percentage of nameplate average per day) of the time. As noted below the German’s wind farms provided only 17.3% average of nameplate which is half of 35%.

    Obviously in Germany wind farms were installed in locations where there is not sufficient average wind to justify a wind farm and solar farms where installed in locations that do not receive sufficient sun.The Germans ignored reality and continued to install more and more sun and wind gathering equipment, so at peak wind and sun have more ‘green’ electricity than they can use without the magic storage system.

    The problem with the “renewable” power sources of wind and solar is their intrinsic volatility coupled with their poor capacity utilization rates of only 17.4% for wind and 8.3% for solar (average values for Germany).

    http://notrickszone.com/2015/02/04/germanys-energiewende-leading-to-suicide-by-cannibalism-huge-oversupply-risks-destabilization/#sthash.8tE9YRDj.PSllYaQF.dpbs

    The coming age of power cannibalism…Germany on the verge of committing energy suicide

    Capacity without control
    The problem with the “renewable” power sources of wind and solar is their intrinsic volatility coupled with their poor capacity utilization rates of only 17.4% for wind and 8.3% for solar (average values for Germany).
    Yet Germany has a unique peculiarity: its leaders sometimes exhibit a stunning inability to recognize when the time has come to abandon a lost cause. So far €500 billion (William: €500 billion is $550 billion US) has already been invested in the “Energiewende”, which is clearly emerging as a failure.

    all political parties continue to throw their full weight behind the policy rather than admitting it is a failure (which would be tantamount to political suicide). Instead, the current government coalition has even decided to shift into an even higher gear on the path to achieving its objective of generating 80% of German electric power from “renewable” sources by 2050.

    If the situation is practically unmanageable now with 25% renewable energy (William: Note that the Germans are receiving 25% of their electrical power from green scams, the actual carbon reduction is only 15% to 25% due to requirement to turn on/off/on/off single cycle natural gas power plants rather than to run combine cycle more efficient power plants that take 10 hours to start and that are hence left on for weeks), it’ll be an uncontrollable disaster when (if) it reaches 80%.

  11. “Behavioral Demand Response (i.e., human responses to signals sent through various media)”

    They will fit us with internet connected slave collars, and every time the wind mills stop, they will shock us so that we can run around the house and turn off the lights.

    • While some of them would enjoy that, I think their actual plan is more insidious. Namely, with smart metering they will simply de-energize any circuit in your house they feel is drawing too much current. This will also help with one of socialized medicine’s most vexing problems of how to end the lives of people who draw too many resources: when someone has a home healthcare arrangement and the life support equipment is drawing too much current, it will be shut off, thus saving money on two fronts – energy and socialized medicine. Win-Win (/sarc)

  12. Skeptics need to build playbooks to give rational political and policy leaders access to the truth about the climate and energy policies.

  13. So what is happening in Oklamaha ? Are the windmill and solar s managing, or are they getting subsidies from the Federal government. Its a step in the right direction,. hope it works.

    MJE

    • Oklahoma has a certain number of windmill farms they are still being subsidized with state taxpayer money, but Oklahoma passed a law last year to stop all future subsidies to windmill farms, and those contracts currently in effect will not be renewed with taxpayer money when the current contracts expire.

      I don’t know what the federal subsidy is, if any.

  14. Once again, the left wing solution to unreliable power, is to make the grid smart enough to shed load so that demand never exceeds what they feel like supplying.

  15. Warmistas like to pretend to people that reducing CO2 will result in perfect weather all the time. Quite apart from the fact that it is not yet even clear that reducing industrial output will influence global CO2 levels,
    reducing CO2 to any degree will not eliminate severe weather. Cyclones, Storms, Monsoons and Hurricanes will still occur whatever is the CO2 level. It is obviously much more cost-effective to improve climate defenses and infrastructure to make it resilient to whatever will come along in any case. Wasting money on expensive climate toys like wind-turbines and solar panels is foolish.

  16. If the word Progressive which used to mean to move forward in our quest for knowledge, but today appears to mean to move to the Left of politics, then can we say that anti-progressive can mean to move to the right of politics ?

    Such is the misuse of words these days.

    MJE

  17. The Solar Deployment Guidebook, developed in collaboration with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), was created to assist states and localities in accelerating solar adoption. The guidebook provides “strategies and tools to reduce non-hardware costs of solar deployment, including permitting, zoning, property taxes, and municipal procurement so that solar energy deployment can continue to grow.”
    ___________________________________________________

    And on the risk to repeat myself – here’s the cities outcomes:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=new+York+prisoners+freeze+power+outage&oq=new+York+prisoners+freeze+power+outage&aqs=chrome.

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