It’s been crafted by Cooper allies on the state Utilities Commission — along with some help from some bought-and-paid-for solar goons on Jones Street. The public is being allowed very little say on the matter. Even though it will have a tremendous impact on what we will pay for electricity as we’ll as on the state’s economy itself.
I’m talking about Executive Order 80 — straight outta Blount Street (with a wee bit of help from some bought off Rs on Jones Street):
Executive Order No. 80 acknowledges North Carolina’s leadership in technology innovation, research and development, and skilled workforce to promote clean energy technology solutions. It calls for market innovations that drive economic expansion and job creation to produce a smart, resilient, and a modern electric grid while balancing reliability, cost, economic growth, equity, and environmental and public health impacts.
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is charged with collaborating with businesses, industries, power providers, technology developers, North Carolina residents, local governments and other interested stakeholders to increase the utilization of clean energy technologies, energy efficiency measures, and clean transportation solutions. DEQ is tasked to deliver the Clean Energy Plan to the Governor by October 1, 2019.
In preparing this plan, DEQ used an open and inclusive process that solicited stakeholder input and developed a series of policy, regulatory, administrative, and program recommendations that achieve the intended vision. It is our intent that this plan will be a “living” document that provides a roadmap for pursuing our collective vision. It can be revisited periodically as advancements in technology occur, implementation costs are reduced, and policies and regulatory actions are taking effect.[…]
THIS is going to cost a fortune. (Hey, if it is Soooooooo good for us, why didn’t we run it through the General Assembly with some open honest transparent debate?)
By the way, the public comment period ends MONDAY. Better yet, it’s 137 pages of bureaucratic goodness. All kinds of mandates for local governments and businesses to adopt these “clean energy” mandates demanded by this plan.
Here’s Morehead City-based scientist John Droz offering his take on “The Plan” (directed to its drafters):
A major deficiency in the NC Clean Energy Plan is that there is an exceptional technical error in its documents, and therefore in several of its charts and graphs.
Before I get to that, although a point was made that a stakeholder process came up with this Plan, exactly who was there truly representing the interest of NC citizens?
Further, I see no definition of what “Clean Energy” actually is. It seems like that should be prominently displayed in each of the six supporting Plan documents.
Here is the major deficiency I initially referred to:
The technical reality is that there is no such thing as Wind (or solar) energy on the Grid, by itself. That is a profoundly significant matter.
What actually typically exists on the Grid is a Wind+Gas (or Solar+Gas) package.
Further, it’s important to explain in the Plan documents that there are two very different types of Gas electricity generators: Single-cycle Gas = GasSC and Combined-cycle Gas = GasCC.
You do mention Combined Cycle Gas and give it an abbreviation (NGCC). You also mention Single Cycle calling it Combustion Turbine Gas. Strangely there is no abbreviation listed for that source (Part 1, page 9) which would seem to be NGCT.
More importantly, there is no explanation of the very important three (3) major differences between these two types of gas generators.
These differences are very pertinent, as the auxiliary partner with Wind is almost always NGCT. Therefore all charts, graphs and calculations should be of the Wind + NGCT package. (Solar would most likely actually be a Wind + NGCC package.)
On a related matter, the Lazard LCOE charts (e.g. Part 1, pp 50-51) are inappropriate, as their report very clearly states that such calculations do NOT take into account any reliability considerations. NCUC is statutorily obligated to consider reliability as one of the two most important factors in approving energy projects. As such, LCOE graphs that do not include reliability are inappropriate as a reference in this report.
Another error appears in chart 2.7 (Part 1, page 49). It lists onshore wind capacity factor as 44% — which is seriously inaccurate. Even your own text (on Part 1 page 37) contradicts that. NC onshore wind facilities getting to 35% would be an unexpected accomplishment.
In the nuclear section it was good that you mentioned SMRs (3.2.2).
On the preceding page you listed several nuclear limitations. The question is: why you didn’t also list any of the many limitations of industrial wind energy (9.2.2)? For example, there are numerous well-documented adverse consequences from onshore wind energy: human health effects, environmental destruction, a net financial burden on host communities, military interference, etc. None of these are even mentioned.
Again the Wind+Gas reality is not accurately reflected in the Wind energy section (pp 123-144). For example, 9.5.4, Figure 9.11 is seriously inaccurate because of this error.
Again, none of the other necessary Grid infrastructure costs (transmission, the good words found in your section 9.4.2, etc.) are reflected in these figures. They are all wind- necessitated costs, so they should be fully attributed to the wind energy LCOE, etc.
On page 120 you cited a NREL study, but failed to convey all of what it said. For example, on page vii it says “In this study, we found that up to 33% of wind and solar energy penetration increases annual cycling costs by $35–$157.” Since this was your citation, where did you take those costs into account in the NC Plan?
Etc. etc…. It seems like the Plan authors selectively chose parts from other sources to support the Plan, and neglected to include information that was deemed negative.
This is exactly why we spend enormous amounts of money on some “good-sounding” effort but years later find out (to our surprise) that:
1) the costs were much higher than projected,
2) the benefits were much less than promised, and
3) there were numerous other adverse unintended consequences.
My final comment is to learn from the mistakes of others. A few years ago NYS passed a similar measure called the Clean Energy Standard. Subsequent to its passage, an independent energy financial expert (PhD) did a comprehensive study of the CES. The conclusions were:
1) the CES was going to cost NYS citizens and businesses in excess of $1 TRILLION, 2) the benefits of the CES were so small that they were labelled as immeasurable.
Hopefully NC will focus on science-based alternatives, and not get caught up in a virtue signaling contest.