How the Southeast can achieve 100% clean energy – pv magazine usa

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How a federal clean energy standard could shape the production landscape of the Southeastern United States is the subject explored in a new report from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Achieving 100% Clean Electricity in the Southeast.

The report examines different scenarios that the region’s three major utilities (NextEra, Duke Energy and Southern Company) as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) could adopt to achieve 100% renewable generation under a federal mandate.

The study assumes that any federal clean energy (CES) standard would require TVA to reach 100% clean electricity by 2030 and other utilities to follow suit by 2035. The report is not either a lower cost optimization and does not take into account most transmissions. or distribution limitations.

The report also only considers existing technologies that do not emit carbon dioxide, without speculating on future technological improvements; he said that these future technologies would only facilitate the realization of an ESC.

Customer-oriented DER

The first of the two avenues envisaged focuses on distributed energy resources held by customers (RED) which would play an important role in the energy transition.

As part of this path, the report states that TVA can achieve 100% clean energy with a mix of capacities of 10% distributed solar and energy efficiency measures, 41% large-scale solar energy, 17% wind power, 8% other renewable resources, 12% existing nuclear power. capacity and 13% energy storage.

In the scenario, the storage is used to meet winter reserve margins and is not fully utilized, even on peak days. This means that the amount of storage offered for TVA is there “just in case” of equipment failures or failures during peak events.

Inside Georgia Power’s Vogtle Unit 4 nuclear containment building.

Image: Georgia Power

Southern Company’s energy mix is ​​split between its three utilities: Alabama Power, Georgia Power and Mississippi Power. These utilities currently depend on fossil fuels, particularly Mississippi Power, which is currently expected to have 90% of its 2035 generation mix based on fossil fuels. The customer-centric path would change the mix of each utility:

  • Alabama Power: 12% energy and solar efficiency measures distributed, 37% solar energy, 21% wind energy, 7% other renewables, 7% existing nuclear capacity and 16% storage of energy;
  • Georgia Power: 16% distributed energy and solar efficiency measures, 38% solar energy, 16% wind energy, 5% other renewables, 8% existing nuclear capacity and 17% storage of energy;
  • Mississippi Power: 7% distributed energy and solar efficiency measures, 42% solar energy, 34% wind energy, 3% other renewables, 0% existing nuclear capacity and 14% storage of energy.

For these utilities, the resource capacity requirements are determined by the form of peak demand in winter, although there is relatively little excess production during peak summer days. Renewables and storage to meet summer and winter peaks should be sufficient to meet the load on a typical spring day, meaning utilities could likely operate some or all nuclear capacity only in winter and summer.

Solar on the Daytona race track in Florida.

Image: Florida Power & Light

The NextEra plan includes the utility’s plan to integrate Gulf Power into Florida Power and Light by 2022. The resources required for this scenario are determined by the winter peak, due to declining solar production levels in winter.

The proposed energy mix consists of 15% distributed solar and energy efficiency measures, 51% solar, 9% wind, 2% other renewable energies, 6% existing nuclear capacity and 17% storage of energy.

This scenario also makes NextEra’s grid less dependent on importing fuel from out of state, due to the proposed solar and storage penetrations.

And, like Southern Company, Duke Energy’s mix is ​​split between its three utilities: Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Florida. The scenarios for Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress differ from those for Duke Energy Florida, as the Sunshine State utility has no nuclear capacity and does not build onshore wind in its territory. The scenario looks like:

  • Duke Energy Carolinas: 12% energy and solar efficiency measures distributed, 46% solar energy, 17% wind energy, 4% other renewables, 10% existing nuclear capacity and 11% gas storage energy;
  • Duke Energy Progress: 8% energy and solar efficiency measures distributed, 51% solar energy, 15% wind energy, 3% other renewable energies, 7% existing nuclear capacity and 17% gas storage energy;
  • Duke Energy Florida: 9% distributed energy and solar efficiency measures, 55% solar energy, 6% wind energy, 3% other renewables, 0% existing nuclear capacity and 27% gas storage ‘energy.

Because Duke Energy Florida has little wind and no nuclear power, solar power and storage play a bigger role here than in any other scenario explored.

Phipps Bend Solar Park in Tennessee, built by United Renewable Energy, near a canceled TVA nuclear project.

Image: United Renewable Energy

All of these scenarios are based on some major changes in mentality for the region, including an immediate and significant commitment to energy efficiency, demand response and distributed solar energy, from 2022, increased investment in utility scale solar and storage additions; and some reliance on local wind, which has historically been viewed with low feasibility.

Large-scale renewable dependency

The second main track relies more on major large-scale renewable energy capacity additions and assumes that DER penetration levels are lower than DER-driven CES tracks, but still higher than utility plans. current.

In this second way, TVA can reach 100% clean energy with a capacity mix of 9% of distributed solar and energy efficiency measures, 38% of large-scale solar, 22% of wind, 8% of other renewable resources, 12% of existing nuclear capacity and 12% energy storage.

Norris hydroelectric dam. TVA’s existing hydroelectric and nuclear resources help it achieve 100% clean electricity by 2030.

Image: Tennessee Valley Authority

TVA’s existing hydropower and nuclear resources help it achieve 100% clean electricity by 2030, even with lower DER penetration, although it is only 1% lower and TVA has not the most widely distributed in solar energy history. The file would also require a quasi-doubling of the wind developed on the territory of service of TVA.

As for the three Southern Company subsidiaries, their large-scale mix places most of the capacity on solar and wind power, while maintaining significant penetration of DER. Here is how it works:

  • Alabama Power: 11% energy and solar efficiency measures distributed, 32% solar energy, 28% wind energy, 7% other renewables, 7% existing nuclear capacity and 15% storage of energy;
  • Georgia Power: 15% distributed energy and solar efficiency measures, 39% solar energy, 19% wind energy, 5% other renewables, 7% existing nuclear capacity and 16% storage of energy;
  • Mississippi Power: 7% energy and solar efficiency measures distributed, 38% solar, 42% wind, 2% other renewable energies, 0% existing nuclear capacity and 11% energy storage.
A 110 MW tracker installed in Alabama

Image: NEXTracker

Alabama Power is experiencing the strongest increase in wind and has virtually no excess generation on peak summer days, which means that, as part of this large-scale renewable energy-driven path, peaks in winter and summer entail the need for resources. Georgia Power sees a very similar excess generation situation and Mississippi Power relies heavily on wind and solar in this scenario.

Once again, with NextEra, the large-scale renewable energy path has a strong focus on solar and storage. The electrician’s energy mix would thus resemble 13% distributed solar and energy efficiency measures, 48% large-scale solar, 17% wind, 2% other renewable resources, 6% nuclear capacity existing and 14% energy storage.

Finally, Duke’s utilities are also turning heavily to solar power and storage as part of this large-scale renewable-focused pathway, especially Duke Energy Florida. Here is the breakdown:

  • Duke Energy Carolinas: 11% energy and solar efficiency measures distributed, 47% solar energy, 19% wind energy, 2% other renewables, 9% existing nuclear capacity and 12% gas storage energy;
  • Duke Energy Progress: 7% energy and solar efficiency measures distributed, 52% solar energy, 17% wind energy, 1% other renewable energies, 6% existing nuclear capacity and 17% gas storage energy;
  • Duke Energy Florida: 8% distributed energy and solar efficiency measures, 53% solar energy, 11% wind energy, 1% other renewables, 0% existing nuclear capacity and 26% gas storage ‘energy.

Even with a de-emphasis, in all utilities and subsidiaries analyzed in the report, DERs still play a fundamental role in achieving 100% clean electricity with an emphasis on large-scale renewable resources, as any Reducing the load or peak of DERs reduces the need to build large-scale renewables. The report’s authors remained convinced that aggressive and sustained investment in DERs is important in any path to 100% clean electricity.

The scenarios described in the second path are also based on getting a large number of large projects online quickly, which means that the site selection and authorization processes should be streamlined as much as possible while remaining respectful of the l ‘environment.

Some alternative strategies are outlined in the report, but the purpose of its publication was to highlight that the region can achieve 100% clean electricity using the technologies available today. However, investments in research and development of new technologies should not be overlooked.

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