How energy storage is starting to rewire the electricity industry — @ConversationUS

Image credit

From The Conversation US (Eric Hittinger/Eric Williams):

The market for energy storage on the power grid is growing at a rapid clip, driven by declining prices and supportive government policies.

Based on our research on the operation and costs of electricity grids, especially the benefits of new technologies, we are confident energy storage could transform the way American homeowners, businesses and utilities produce and use power.

Balancing acts

Energy storage in this context simply means saving electricity for later use. It’s like having a bunch of rechargeable batteries, but much larger than the ones in your cellphone and probably connected to the grid.

After annual average growth of about 50 percent for five years, the U.S. electricity industry installed a total of 1 gigawatt-hour of new storage capacity between 2013 and 2017, according to the firm GTM Research. That’s enough to power 16 million laptops for several hours. While this amount of storage is less than 0.2 percent of the average amount of electricity the U.S. consumes, analysts predict that installations will double between 2017 and 2018 and then keep expanding rapidly in the U.S. and around the world.

To see why this trend is a big deal, consider how electricity works.

It takes a hidden world of complexity and a series of delicate balancing acts to power homes and workplaces because the grid has historically had little storage capacity. After being generated at power plants, electricity usually travels down power lines at the speed of light and most of it is consumed immediately.

Without the means to store electricity, utilities have to produce just enough to meet demand around the clock, including peak hours.

That makes electricity different from most industries. Just imagine what would happen if automakers had to do this. The moment you bought a car, a worker would have to drive it out the factory gate. Assembly lines would constantly speed up and slow down based on consumer whims.

It sounds maddening and ridiculous, right? But electric grid operators basically pull this off, balancing supply and demand every few seconds by turning power plants on and off.

That’s why a storage boom would make a big difference. Storage creates the equivalent of a warehouse to stow electricity when it is plentiful for other times when it is needed.

Webinar: Request for Water Acquisitions — @COWaterTrust

Little Cimarron River via the Western Rivers Conservancy

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register:

2018 Request for Water Acquisitions Pilot Process

Are you curious about how you can help keep your local rivers and watersheds healthy, especially during this dry year? Join us and learn more!

Click here to register for the webinar.

Colorado Water Trust staff will explain the Pilot Process, available transaction tools and the protections available to water right owners who share their water with the environment.

Voluntary water sharing arrangements or voluntary acquisitions of senior water rights, on a temporary or permanent basis, are tools that – particularly in dry years – can help restore flows to rivers in need, sustain agriculture, and maximize beneficial uses of Colorado’s water.

This year, the Colorado Water Trust is partnering with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) on a Request for Water Acquisitions Pilot Process. This Pilot Process intends to:

  • Invite voluntary water offers from willing water right owners to benefit streamflow;
  • Provide a user-friendly mechanism for water right owners to explore working with CWCB and the Colorado Water Trust on water acquisition transactions;
  • Streamline transaction processes and utilization of resources;
  • Facilitate implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan objectives, and,
  • Add flows to river segments in need while coordinating with agricultural and other uses.
  • Following the drought years of 2002, 2012 and 2013, the legislature created several new tools for water right owners to lease or loan their water for instream flow or flow restoration use without penalty to their water rights. These new tools have been successfully implemented in several river basins around the state, and benefitted water-short streams during the dry years of 2012-2013.

    This year, with streamflow forecast to be well below average in many of parts of Colorado, temporary, voluntary, compensated leases or loans of water may provide an alternate source of revenue to preserve agricultural operations and may also help sustain streams and aquatic life during critically low flows.

    Additional information about the Pilot Process, including Inquiry/Offer Forms and FAQs, can be found here on our website.

    Register now!

    The Colorado Water Trust Team

    *Presentation of this webinar is made possible by our friends at Water Education Colorado.

    A River’s Reckoning — @AmericanRivers #ColoradoRiver #COriver

    The story of a 5th generation ranching family working to sustain their agricultural legacy while bringing back a healthy Colorado River.

    Learn More.

    #WorldMetDay: Weather-ready, climate-smart

    Click here to go to the website:

    Weather-ready, climate-smart is the theme of World Meteorological Day, 23 March 2018

    The ever-growing global population faces a wide range of hazards such as tropical cyclone storm surges, heavy rains, heatwaves, droughts and many more. Long-term climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather and climate events and causing sea level rise and ocean acidification. Urbanization and the spread of megacities means that more of us are exposed and vulnerable. Now more than ever, we need to be weather-ready, climate-smart and water-wise.

    This is why one of the top priorities of WMO and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) is to protect lives, livelihoods and property from the risks related to weather, climate and water events. Thereby, WMO and its Members support the global agenda on sustainable development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

    WMO and National Meteorological Services design operational services ranging from daily weather forecasts to long-term climate predictions that help society to be weather-ready and climate-smart. Further National Hydrological Services are essential for the sound management of fresh water resources for agriculture, industry, energy and human consumption, so that we can be water-wise. These services empower us to manage the risks and seize opportunities related to weather, climate and water.

    Early warning systems and other disaster risk reduction measures are vital for boosting the resilience of our communities. Climate services can inform decisions on both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Hydrological monitoring increases our understanding of the water cycle and so supports water management.

    @WaterLawReview: Colorado HB17-1190: Limited Applicability of St. Jude’s Co. Water Case

    Spring Creek (RFC Ditch) Roaring Fork River via Aspen Journalism

    Click here to read the article (Megan McCulloch). Here’s an excerpt:

    After these changes, what remained of the bill was (what was originally) subsection (a). It provided a clear legislative assurance of the validity and preservation of those previously decreed existing water rights that were for aesthetic, recreational, and piscatorial uses. The final bill also protects conditional water rights—rights that have been filed with and decreed by the water court prior to actual use while securing an earlier priority. This bill ensures that owners of conditional water rights for aesthetic, recreational, and piscatorial uses will not face objections based on the St. Jude’s ruling when they return to the water court for diligence or perfection.

    The final bill was designed to preclude an overly broad application of the St. Jude’s Co. ruling and to protect recognized rights. While the parties involved did not agree on everything—as reflected in the multiple amendments—in the end, HB 1190 was a bipartisan consensus effort to address an area of law that had been left unsettled by the Court’s St. Jude’s ruling.

    Video: The End of Snow #ActOnClimate

    Beautifully done video by Day’s Edge Productions:

    Dr. Jane Zelikova is a tropical ecologist living in the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado. She dreams of snow in the summer and tropical forests in the dead of winter. But her snow-capped Fourteeners are changing – no longer bringing the deep winter snowpack once promised.

    This is a future from which she and the people of the West can’t run. What’s a wildly curious, adventurous girl to do? Embark on a journey into the mountains to find the tales of the past, present and future of snow.

    Boulder County comes out against FERC issuing @DenverWater’s requested license amendment for Moffat Collection System Project

    The dam that forms Gross Reservoir, located in the mountains west of Boulder. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

    Here’s the letter from Boulder County to FERC via SaveTheColoradoRiver. Here’s an excerpt:

    Boulder County is an intervenor in this action and offers the following comments on the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) issued by the FERC’s staff on February 6, 2018, related to the Gross Reservoir Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 2035-099).

    As detailed below, Boulder County continues to object to the FERC issuing Denver Water’s requested license amendment. The FERC staffhas failed to address significant issues related to the project; as a result, approval by the FERC is premature and would result in negative and unnecessary impacts on the residents and natural resources of Boulder County.

    The EA analyzes only those potential environmental effects of oe·nver Water’s proposal to expand Gross Dam and Reservoir which were not addressed in the 2014 Final EIS prepared by the Army Corps ofEngineers (Corps). The FERC’s staffreviewed the EA, made a finding of no significant impact, and recommended approval by the Commission, as mitigated by environmental measures discussed in the EA.

    This approach is flawed because ofthe resulting narrow scope ofthe EA, the lack ofspecificity related to adoption of mitigation measures for project impacts, and the FERC staffs wholesale and unquestioning adoption of the Army Corps of Engineer’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which FEIS was completed on April 25, 2014, and for which a Record of Decision was issued on July 6, 2017. The FERC should determine that both the FEIS and the EA fail to meet the standards ofthe National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and therefore reject staff’s unreasonable approach.