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Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Mar 29, 2022 at 7:00 AM
Energy Policy, Climate Change

I believe that the demonstration project described in the previous commentary should be conducted rigorously and transparently, with broad website access to hourly, daily, monthly and annual data.

The first step in this process would be detailed documentation of the generation resources serving the demonstration zone by type, capacity and capacity utilization over a historical reference period. This information would provide the basis for the design of the renewable plus storage system.

The next step in the process would be the initial design of the renewable plus storage system to replace the existing conventional, dispatchable fossil generation resources. This would include designation of the types and capacities of the wind and solar generators, plus designation of the capacities and delivery rates of short, intermediate and long duration storage to be installed or simulated by pseudo-storage.

The demonstration would commence once the solar and wind generators and any actual storage capacity had been installed and tested. The new wind and solar generators plus the existing non-fossil generation would be used to meet the contemporaneous demand of the grid and to charge both actual and pseudo-storage.

The demonstration website would report the quantity of electricity generated by each type of generation both in absolute terms and as a percentage of rated capacity, as well as the electricity in both actual and pseudo-storage and its deliverability.

Failure to satisfy contemporaneous grid demand with the demonstration zone resources would be compensated for by measured deliveries from conventional fossil resources, but would require immediate determination of the renewable generation resources and/or storage resources required to avoid such emergencies in the future, and the costs of acquisition and installation of those resources.

Transparency would also require that all renewable generation and storage resources installed in the demonstration zone be capitalized at their full cost, with no federal or state incentives of any kind. The full costs of land acquisition, site preparation and facilities installation would also be included. Actual storage facility costs would be documented and pseudo-storage costs would be set equal to wind and solar generator costs for systems with equivalent delivery capacity times the number of days of capacity stored. Such calculated costs would be replaced with real facility costs when real storage equipment becomes commercially available. This approach would assure that customers in the demonstration zone pay the real costs of the electricity they consume.

All emergency generation and pseudo-storage electricity deliveries would be priced at the full cost of providing the service on an emergency basis. This pricing could be negotiated between the demonstration zone management and the utilities positioned to provide the service. These costs should be based on the cost of the next increment(s) of generation for the supplying utilities, since this is the electricity which would have to be generated over and above the supplying utility’s contemporaneous grid demand.

These approaches to the demonstration should assure that the demonstration zone facilities would be designed to be a reliable and flexible renewable electric system and that the electricity costs in the demonstration zone would representative of a renewable plus storage grid on a national scale.