Tag Archives: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

U.S. electric power source projections: solar still most by 2023

According to FERC’s own figures from 2012 and 2016, my solar projections from 2013 (and former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff’s) were pretty good, and more U.S. electricity will still come from solar power by 2023. LAKE Solar Table 2017 Since coal and nuclear are already crashing, and natural gas isn’t increasing even as fast as formerly projected, solar could win even faster.

I constructed table below from the 2012 and 2016 summaries of total U.S. electric power generation from all sources, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Look at the 2012 column: only coal and natural gas generated more than 25% of total U.S. electricity.

But in 2016 it’s only natural gas, because coal’s growth rate actually turned negative: utilities are shutting down coal plants, not building them. Back in 2013 I did not predict that to happen so quickly.

Now look at the growth rates, both my 2013 projections (see also the graph on the right) and my corrected 2017 projections. Only wind (and waste heat) is higher than 5%, plus solar alone at more than 50% new installed capacity per year. According to FERC’s 2016 figures (the “actual:” numbers in the 2016 columns), my 2013 solar projection was a little high by deployed utility-scale solar power, but was actually low as a proportion in 2016, because coal and nuclear are already crashing. Sure, one new nuclear power plant opened in 2016, but more than one closed.

And remember, utility-scale solar power, which is all FERC records in its Energy Infrastructure Updates, isn’t the whole story. FERC recorded 7.748 GW of new solar power in 2016, but SEIA added in rooftop and community solar power for a total of 14.6 GW of new solar power in 2016.

You don’t see rooftop coal, or nuclear, or natural gas. You don’t any of those installed in 9-month or less timeframes, as for solar power: they all require multi-year permitting processes because they’re so environmentally destructive. So it’s very unlikely there are any significant additions to coal, nuclear, or natural gas U.S. energy generation beyond what FERC reported.

Solar power has what we could call the personal computer or mobile phone advantage: anybody can own one. Practically by definition, you’ll never see that advantage for utility-scale power generation.

Looking that the 2021 and 2023 projections in the table, of course they’re naive projections, simply taking the old 2013 rate and the new 2017 corrected rate and projecting them forward. The 2013 rate I made by comparing FERC’s 2012 total figures to previous years. The 2017 rate I made by comparing FERC’s 2016 total figures to its 2012 total figures.

By 2021 coal won’t even account for 25% of U.S. electricity generation, and it didn’t even in FERC’s actual 2016 figures. In 2021 natural gas will account for a higher proportion because of coal’s capitulation, even though it’s actually growing slower than my 2013 projection.

Also in 2021, solar and wind will both be greater than 10% of U.S. generation, although wind will not yet reach that by the corrected projection. Since in 2016 according to SEIA solar actually beat wind for new installed capacity, I wonder if wind is already having trouble competing with solar power.

In 2023, by either my old or new projections, solar power will generate more U.S. electricity than anything else. Wind doesn’t grow nearly as fast by the corrected 2017 factor. Maybe 2016 was a glitch for wind, or maybe there’s something deeper going on.

For how naive these projections are, look at the Total row. U.S. electricty demand is unlikely to increase by 20% by 2021 (only four years from now) and it’s even less likely to increase by 52% by 2023 (only seven years from now). What that actually probably means is that coal and nuclear will crash faster and natural gas will follow them down, leaving solar and wind power as the main sources of U.S. electricity.

These projections and this table are just to illustrate some basic points. Other people are doing much more sophisticated projections, such as Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson and his research team, which graphically show fossil fuels and nuclear crashing while solar and wind win.

Goldman Sachs already called this a year ago, and many other big financial institutions predicted even earlier that solar and wind will win. This economic sea change is driven by solar prices dropping faster than Moore’s Law, which is accelerated by economies of scale as solar deployment increases. Economics are driving politics. Even Georgia in 2015 revised its antique law so third party power-purchase-agreements are now possible, and Georgia has become the fastest-growing U.S. solar market.

LAKE Solar Table 2017

Data from: FERC Office of Energy Projects
Energy Infrastructure Update For December 2012
Energy Infrastructure Update For December 2016
Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity
Projections by: Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)
2012 2016 2021 2023
Power Source Projected Rates Installed GW 2012
(% of Total)
Projected GW 2016
(% of Total)
Projected %increase to 2016 Projected GW 2021
(% of Total)
Projected %increase to 2021 Projected GW 2023
(% of Total)
Projected %increase to 2023
Coal 2013: 1.3% 2017: -3.6% 337.71
(29.17%)
355.62
(26.93%)
actual: 291.79 (24.65%)
105%
actual:
86.4%
379.34
(19.95%)
corr.: 242.79 (17.13%)
112%
corr.:
71.9%
389.27
(15.13%)
corr.: 225.63 (12.74%)
115%
corr.:
66.8%
Natural Gas 2013: 1.8% 2017: 1.0% 491.82
(42.48%)
528.20
(39.99%)
actual: 511.74 (43.23%)
107%
actual:
104%
577.48
(30.37%)
corr.: 537.90 (37.95%)
117%
corr.:
109%
598.46
(23.26%)
corr.: 548.71 (30.98%)
121%
corr.:
111%
Nuclear 2013: 1.0% 2017: -0.1% 107.01
(9.24%)
111.36
(8.43%)
actual: 106.58 (9.00%)
104%
actual:
99.6%
117.04
(6.16%)
corr.: 106.05 (7.48%)
109%
corr.:
99.1%
119.39
(4.64%)
corr.: 105.84 (5.98%)
111%
corr.:
98.9%
Oil 2013: 1.0% 2017: 1.9% 41.32
(3.57%)
43.00
(3.26%)
actual: 44.85 (3.79%)
104%
actual:
108%
45.19
(2.38%)
corr.: 48.95 (3.45%)
109%
corr.:
118%
46.10
(1.79%)
corr.: 50.82 (2.87%)
111%
corr.:
123%
Water 2013: 1.0% 2017: 0.5% 98.12
(8.47%)
102.10
(7.73%)
actual: 100.59 (8.50%)
104%
actual:
102%
107.31
(5.64%)
corr.: 102.62 (7.24%)
109%
corr.:
104%
109.47
(4.25%)
corr.: 103.65 (5.85%)
111%
corr.:
105%
Wind 2013: 22.8% 2017: 9.2% 57.53
(4.97%)
130.82
(9.91%)
actual: 81.87 (6.92%)
227%
actual:
142%
365.33
(19.21%)
corr.: 127.03 (8.96%)
635%
corr.:
220%
550.90
(21.41%)
corr.: 151.48 (8.55%)
957%
corr.:
263%
Biomass 2013: 3.7% 2017: 2.6% 15.00
(1.30%)
17.35
(1.31%)
actual: 16.78 (1.42%)
115%
actual:
111%
20.80
(1.09%)
corr.: 18.90 (1.33%)
138%
corr.:
125%
22.37
(0.87%)
corr.: 19.89 (1.12%)
149%
corr.:
132%
Geo- thermal Steam 2013: 4.2% 2017: 1.5% 3.70
(0.32%)
4.36
(0.33%)
actual: 3.93 (0.33%)
117%
actual:
106%
5.36
(0.28%)
corr.: 4.23 (0.30%)
144%
corr.:
114%
5.82
(0.23%)
corr.: 4.36 (0.25%)
157%
corr.:
117%
Solar 2013: 60.9% 2017: 57.0% 3.90
(0.34%)
26.14
(1.98%)
actual: 23.70 (2.00%)
670%
actual:
607%
281.88
(14.82%)
corr.: 226.03 (15.95%)
7227%
corr.:
5795%
729.76
(28.36%)
corr.: 557.14 (31.46%)
18711%
corr.:
14285%
Waste Heat 2013: 0.4% 2017: 14.4% 0.69
(0.06%)
0.70
(0.05%)
actual: 1.18 (0.10%)
101%
actual:
171%
0.72
(0.04%)
corr.: 2.32 (0.16%)
103%
corr.:
335%
0.72
(0.03%)
corr.: 3.03 (0.17%)
104%
corr.:
439%
Other 2013: 0.0% 2017: -8.5% 1.04
(0.09%)
1.04
(0.08%)
actual: 0.73 (0.06%)
100%
actual:
70.2%
1.04
(0.05%)
corr.: 0.47 (0.03%)
100%
corr.:
45.0%
1.04
(0.04%)
corr.: 0.39 (0.02%)
100%
corr.:
37.6%
Total 2013: 0.0% 2017: 0.5% 1157.86
(100.00%)
1320.69
(100.00%)
actual: 1183.74 (100.00%)
114%
actual:
102%
1901.49
(100.00%)
corr.: 1417.29 (100.00%)
164%
corr.:
122%
2573.3
(100.00%)
corr.: 1770.94 (100.00%)
222%
corr.:
152%
corr.: LAKE 2013 projection corrected by LAKE in 2017 according to growth rate from 2012 to 2016.
Factor colors: red: < 0%; orange: < 2%; blue: > 5%; green: > 50%. Proportion background colors: darkyellow > 10%; yellow > 25%.

2012 FERC Source: Data derived from Ventyx Global LLC, Velocity Suite.

2016 FERC Sources: Data derived from Velocity Suite, ABB Inc. and The C Three Group LLC which include plants with nameplate capacity of 1 MW or greater. The data may be subject to update.

* “Other” includes purchased steam, tires, and miscellaneous technology such as batteries, fuel cells, energy storage, and fly wheel.

Waste Heat

What is the mysterious Waste Heat that FERC does not define in either of the source reports? EPA defines it like this:

Waste heat to power (WHP) is the process of capturing heat discarded by an existing industrial process and using that heat to generate power (see Figure 1). Energy-intensive industrial processes—such as those occurring at refineries, steel mills, glass furnaces, and cement kilns—all release hot exhaust gases and waste streams that can be harnessed with well-established technologies to generate electricity (see Appendix). The recovery of industrial waste heat for power is a largely untapped type of combined heat and power (CHP), which is the use of a single fuel source to generate both thermal energy (heating or cooling) and electricity.

So waste heat is efficiency measures for existing thermal industrial processes. Thus it is unlikely ever to account for a significant proportion of electricty generation.

Putting it another way, waste heat is greenwashing obsolete power generation. Case in point: Status of Waste Heat to Power Projects on Natural Gas Pipelines, November 2009, prepared for Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA). Sorry, fracked methane purveyors, waste heat won’t save you.

Solar power will soon account for the largest proportion of U.S. electricity generation.

And that’s just the start. We know how to get to 100% sun, wind, and water power for the U.S. by 2050, for everything, including heating, cooling, and transportation. Solar power will win like the Internet did.

Let the sun rise!

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Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Georgia Power new acquisition AGL’s Pivotal LNG exporting through Jaxport

Back in May 2015, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers both told me “If we can’t do coal, we have to do pipelines”. I-75 through Atlanta, Macon, Valdosta, I-10 through Lake City A year in the making, Southern Company bought pipeline company AGL Resources. Turns out AGL Resources is also an LNG export company, exporting through Jacksonville by LNG containers on trucks. And the plot thickens with the pending corporate takeover of CSX Railroad by the former CEO of Canadian Pacific, given that CSX depends a lot on carrying coal, which remember is what Southern Company is rapidly getting away from. Could CSX want to carry LNG? Meanwhile, LNG containers are already rolling down I-75 and I-10 to Jaxport, apparently through Atlanta, Macon, Valdosta, and Lake City.

Southern Company PR, 1 July 2016, Southern Company and AGL Resources complete merger, create a leading U.S. energy company, Continue reading

Florida Southeast Connection Alignment Maps from May 2016

Small, big, huge, and PDF versions of each and every one of the 144 alignment maps FSC filed with FERC in May 2016 are on the LAKE website.

[21040-510-ALS-00001 STA: 00+00 TO 50+00, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA]
21040-510-ALS-00001 STA: 00+00 TO 50+00, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA
PDF

Follow the link for details of what, and how you can help.

For maps of the rest of the Southeast Market Pipelines Project (SMPP, including Sabal Trail), see SMPP.

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Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Sabal Trail Alignment Maps from April 2016

Rivers, creeks, roads, and counties in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, labelled on small, big, huge, and PDF versions of each and every one of the 527 alignment maps Sabal Trail filed with FERC in April 2016 are on the LAKE website.

[STA. 0+00 TO STA. 53+00, PIPELINE BY STATION, PIPING PLOT PLAN ALEXANDER CITY COMPRESSOR STATION (CS-1), COMPRESSOR STATION WORKSPACE PLOT PLAN, 10+81 CL OAKTASASI ROAD, 4+70 CL STREAM (OAKTASASI CREEK), COMPRESSOR STATION, TALLAPOOSA COUNTY, ALABAMA]
STA. 0+00 TO STA. 53+00, PIPELINE BY STATION, PIPING PLOT PLAN ALEXANDER CITY COMPRESSOR STATION (CS-1), COMPRESSOR STATION WORKSPACE PLOT PLAN, 10+81 CL OAKTASASI ROAD, 4+70 CL STREAM (OAKTASASI CREEK), COMPRESSOR STATION, TALLAPOOSA COUNTY, ALABAMA
PDF

Follow the link for details of what, and how you can help.

Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

-jsq

Florida state-owned uplands crossed by Sabal Trail

FDEP is fine with Sabal Trail boring through the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in Marion County, FL, Marjorie Carr Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area, FLORIDA NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL, Marion Co., FL as well as drilling under Suwannee River State Park in Hamilton and Suwannee County, FL.

For that Greenway, see the maps shown here (click on any one of them for a larger image), pulled from Sabal Trail’s Continue reading

Sabal Trail destruction at Bell property, Mitchell Co., GA 2016-09-13

See for yourself what Jeb Bell was talking about to GPB, in these videos he sent of the destruction Sabal Trail is doing on his property. His father, James Bell, says it started immediately after a small protest Monday, and is plowing through gopher tortoise burrows, rare pitcher plants, large pine trees bulldozed and burned, and today within 300 yards of his house. James Bell the elder will be at the US 84 Withlacoochee River bridge 9AM this Saturday, September 17th 2016, to join the WWALS Watershed Coalition protest against Sabal Trail and the Dakota Access Pipeline, which are now owned by the same companies. That’s between Quitman and Valdosta, GA; see you there.

Sam Whitehead, GPB News, 15 September 2016, Sabal Trail Pipeline Plows Through Southwest Georgia, Local Opposition, Continue reading

Twice the acreage than solar for Sabal Trail pipeline to produce the same power @ FERC 2014-03-05

According to Sabal Trail’s own numbers, twice as much land for the entire three-pipeline Spectra -> Sabal -> FSC proposed gouge through three states as would be required to produce as much solar power.

STT’s solar acreage estimates from their Draft Resource Report 10: Alternatives (RR10) of November 2013, Continue reading

Lowndes County Democratic Party opposes the Sabal Trail Methane Pipeline –Gretchen Quarterman @ FERC 2014-03-04

Gretchen Quarterman stood up for local landowners, the economy, and the environment, by reading the statement against the pipeline recently approved by the Lowndes County Democratic Party, of which she is the chair, at the Valdosta FERC Scoping Meeting 4 March 2014.

Here’s the video:


Lowndes County Democratic Party opposes the Sabal Trail Methane Pipeline –Gretchen Quarterman
Sabal Trail Methane Pipeline,
Scoping Meeting, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 March 2014.

Here’s the text she was reading: Lowndes County Democratic Committee Opposes Sabal Trail Methane Pipeline Continue reading

Sierra Club Chapters Oppose Sabal Trail Gas Pipeline –read by Danielle Jordan @ FERC 2014-03-04

Danielle Jordan, VSU student and president of Students Against Violating the Environment, stood up for local landowners and the environment against Spectra’s Sabal Trail pipeline at the Valdosta FERC Scoping Meeting 4 March 2014, by reading a statement against the pipeline by the Sierra Club chapters of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

Here’s the text she was reading: TRI-STATE SIERRA CLUB CHAPTERS OPPOSE GAS PIPELINE: Statement of the Georgia, Florida, and Alabama Sierra Club Chapters Opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline.

Here’s the video:


Sierra Club Chapters Oppose Sabal Trail Gas Pipeline –read by Danielle Jordan
Sabal Trail Methane Pipeline,
Scoping Meeting, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 March 2014.

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Videos: Moultrie FERC Scoping Meeting @ FERC 2014-03-05

Here are videos of the whole thing.

Updated 31 March 2014: Who stood up.
Updated 4 June 2014: Fixed video links.

Not only did Colquitt County pass a resolution about pipeline depth; a County Commissioner the county attorney stood up and reminded FERC about it, which got John Peconom to admit that FERC has required a deeper minimum pipeline depth in some other states.

So far that’s speaking against the pipeline:

Only one of those county commissions claims there’s nothing you can do; the rest are all doing something.

See also: