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If the settlement passes state regulators – Xcel energy has scoped with the help of multiple parties, a $23.4M Micro-grid development plan.
The build outs in Colorado will add much needed resilience in the grid for the airport, schools and other public/community areas. The expected size of the system is an estimated 6 MW/15 MWh.
The concern with these developments is that while it will in fact provide much needed resilience people and companies are not yet OK paying a premium for the new infrastructure. Yielding a discussion of how Xcel can rate base the investment they are making into ESS and Solar for each of these properties.
At some point the market will need to be tuned to paying a premium for a higher quality service. We pay more for Verizon/AT&T for better coverage and network capacity, the same is likely going to have to happen for electricity.
The pandemic has disrupted supply chains and shifted demand and supply of goods. As a result, manufacturers are stepping up to try to piece together the fragmented supply chain and fulfill an increased demand in goods. Many of these goods consist of plastic, including PPE (gloves and masks) and plastic packaging for consumer-packaged goods (food and cleaning supplies).
To add to the pandemic, low oil prices do not help the cause, as it’s cheaper for plastic manufacturers to purchase oil to manufacture virgin plastics, rather than purchasing recycled plastic.
A 2019 study claims that global plastic production has quadrupled over the past four decades, and if this trend continues, plastic manufacturing will make up 15% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Another aspect to consider is that only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling globally, with the rest ending up in landfills and oceans. As a result, we are seeing an increased amount of microplastics end up in our ecosystems.
At the current rate, the total amount of plastic waste in the oceans will weigh more than all fish by 2050. Microplastics, in general, are harmful to the environment – even posing a threat to public safety.
Leaders in the space will push to resolve these issues in different ways.
Going forward, we will be seeing a push to resume efforts to reduce plastic usage:
Companies have already been fighting this cause, and it looks like others will follow.
Net metering might get overhauled to a point where it will most definitely be more valuable to include battery storage or utilize load shaping technologies to get the best value from your solar system.
Currently in many states utilities will pay retail rates or provide a credit for the amount of electricity you push back into the grid from solar. However, what is happening is that it is putting additional burden on the utility – in some cases paying more than what value they are being delivered.
This means each kWh you push back into the grid will only provide a fraction usually as low as 50% of the true cost you would have paid to receive that power. Naturally, this is the utility looking at self-preservation and onlookers looking at it as a reason that solar installs and sales will tank and prices will begin to rise again. Especially with the decline in Federal ITCs occurring.
However, we look at it as a positive. It allows for new solutions and more grid modernization efforts to push forward. Timing this with the wind down in ITCs we will likely see more value for solar + storage systems than we will for solar systems alone. Buying it mostly for the premium service of renewable and resilient power.
While the economics might not be perfect – the change and nationalizing the standard could certainly hurt people with existing solar systems waiting to pay off their investment, but can help the overall market as a whole in the coming years.
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