FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:   || 2 |

«January 4, 2013 AUTHORS Frank Ackerman, PhD Thomas Vitolo, PhD Elizabeth A. Stanton, PhD and Geoff Keith Synapse wishes to thank the Civil Society ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Not-so-smart ALEC:

Inside the attacks on

renewable energy

Prepared for the Civil Society Institute

January 4, 2013


Frank Ackerman, PhD

Thomas Vitolo, PhD

Elizabeth A. Stanton, PhD

and Geoff Keith

Synapse wishes to thank the Civil Society Institute for funding this report, and for providing

critical input into its content. Responsibility for errors and omissions rests entirely with Synapse

and not with the Civil Society Institute.

Table of Contents







1. Introduction Renewable energy is clean, sustainable, non-polluting, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, improves the health of communities surrounding power plants, and protects the natural environment. Who could be against it?

Answer: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a lobbying group that is active in drafting and advocating controversial state legislation on many issues.1 When it comes to energy, ALEC wants to speed up the permitting process for mines, oil and gas wells, and power plants – and to eliminate all state requirements for the use of renewable energy. The latter goal is packaged as the “Electricity Freedom Act.” ALEC uses studies by the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) at Suffolk University in Boston to claim that the “Electricity Freedom Act” will free ratepayers from the allegedly immense costs and job losses said to come from renewable energy standards.

A look inside the ALEC energy reports2 reveals numerous flaws, both in energy calculations and in economic analysis. This memo summarizes what’s wrong on both counts, and concludes with talking points for responses to the ALEC anti-renewable energy studies.

2. What ALEC “knows” about energy Issued with great fanfare by an unmistakably partisan group, the ALEC studies have not been reviewed by independent researchers. Close your eyes and imagine every accusation that opponents of renewable energy might make, if no one were checking their facts. Now open your eyes and look at one of the ALEC state renewable energy studies. Did you imagine all of the following?

►ALEC’s Claim:

The costs of renewable energy are huge and rising. To estimate a range of renewable energy costs, ALEC takes the carefully developed, conservative estimates of wind and solar power costs from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) as the low end of the scale. Arbitrary, unsupported numbers far above the EIA level are used as the high end, so their “mid case,” between the two extremes, is well above real costs. Moreover, ALEC assumes that wind turbine construction costs will rise over time as demand increases, because turbine parts will become more expensive.

The Facts:

Wind power is a bargain. Many credible sources project that wind power costs will be as low as, or even lower than, the EIA estimates, including the engineering firm Black & 1 American Legislative Exchange Council, http://www.alec.org.

2 The Beacon Hill Institute, frequently with an in-state co-sponsor, has published studies regarding the economic impact of renewable portfolio standards in a number of states, including Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon, as well as study on the United States economy. The studies are listed in the appendix, and are referenced with their state abbreviation, e.g.

ALEC-KS. This report is based on a detailed review of ALEC-CO, ALEC-MI, and ALEC-KS, as well as a brief examination of the other studies listed in the appendix.

–  –  –

As Figure 1 demonstrates, actual prices have averaged less than $60/MWh for many years. Prices are often lower than the national average in the windiest states, while higher in other states, especially California. ALEC’s low estimate, however, is above actual contract prices, even in California. ALEC’s low, mid, and high estimates for wind power costs in 2010 are roughly 2, 3, and 4.5 times higher than the national average for wind power contracts in that year.

Despite ALEC’s imagined rising price of renewable energy, the actual trend is clearly downward, in both wind and solar photovoltaic costs.8 3 Ryan Pletka, Black & Veatch’s (RETI’s) Cost of Generation Calculator, Black & Veatch (2011), http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011_energypolicy/documents/2011-05workshop/presentations/Ryan_Pletka_B&V.pdf.

4 Lazard Ltd., Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, Version 5.0, (2011).

5 California Energy Commission, Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation: Final Staff Report, (2010), CEC-200-2009-07SF.

6 Wiser, et al., 2011 Wind Energy Technologies Report, prepared for the US Department of Energy, (2012), http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/2011_wind_technologies_market_report.pdf.

7 Since the other estimates in Figure 1 include a $22/MWh Production Tax Credit, we have decreased ALEC’s $201/MWh mid-range estimate to $179/MWh, and similarly for the high and low estimates, for comparability.

8 On trends in wind power costs, see the US Department of Energy’s 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, cited above (note 6); on trends in photovoltaic installed costs, see the Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Energy Facts: Q3 2012, (2012), http://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2012%20SMI%20Q3%20Factsheet_Final5.pdf.

–  –  –

(Data for actual contracts by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; ALEC estimates added by Synapse) ►ALEC’s Claim:

Renewable energy is so unpredictable that it can’t be relied on; conventional backup generation capacity is always required. In the words of ALEC’s Kansas study, “Wind is not only intermittent but its variation is unpredictable, making it impossible to dispatch to the grid with any certainty. This unique aspect of wind power argues for a capacity factor rating of close to zero.”9 The ALEC studies assume that new, conventional capacity must be built and run whenever wind power is used, adding to the estimated expense of renewable energy.

9 ALEC-KS, page 6.

Not-so-smart ALEC ▪ 3

The Facts:

Wind generation is highly predictable, and is relied on by electric utilities. System operators rely on highly accurate near-term weather forecasts. They track local weather patterns closely as they move across the country, and this makes wind generation in a given area quite predictable over a several-hour time frame. Furthermore, as more wind farms are built in a region, their collective generation behaves in an even more predictable manner.10 There is a broad consensus across utilities and system planners that wind can be relied on for significant load-carrying capacity throughout the country, without causing extraordinary expenses. There are 11 states in which 7% or more of electricity generation is already from wind; every one of these states has electric rates below the national average.11 It is not necessary to build new conventional capacity to back up every renewable energy resource.

Many parts of the country have surplus capacity at present, and will not need to build new plants for years to come.12 ►ALEC’s Claim:

Enormous new transmission costs are required for renewable energy. ALEC estimates huge costs for transmitting electricity from new renewables to customers. The average cost used in their studies, about $60/MWh, makes new transmission about as expensive as power generation itself, while their high-end transmission cost is twice the cost of generation!13

The Facts:

New transmission accounts for just a small fraction of the cost of renewable energy. Once again, the ALEC numbers are nowhere near what other researchers find. In fact, one study cited by ALEC states that transmission costs have “a median of $15/MWh.” Nonetheless, the ALEC studies use a mid-case estimate four times that expensive.

►ALEC’s Claim:

Renewable energy leads to rapidly rising electricity costs per customer. Projected impacts per customer are exaggerated by ALEC’s unusual approach to forecasting the likely future demand for electricity. In their Colorado study, for example, they forecast that electricity demand 10 K. Orwig et al., Economic Evaluation of Short-Term Wind Power Forecasts in ERCOT: Preliminary Results, Conference Paper NREL/CP-5500-56257, (2012), http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/56257.pdf.

11 The states are Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Wind generation and total generation data for first 10 months of 2012, and average retail electric rates for all sectors for 2011, from EIA, Electric Power Monthly, downloaded January 2, 2013.

12 Of the 17 NERC assessment areas in the contiguous United States, 12 have surplus capacity beyond 2021, and another 2 do not need any capacity additions to come online until 2021. NERC, 2011 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, (2011), p. 5. http://www.nerc.com/files/2011LTRA_Final.pdf.

13 The study, Andrew Mills et al., The Cost of Transmission for Wind Energy: A Review of Transmission Planning Studies, (2009), http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/emp/reports/lbnl-1471e.pdf states that “In terms of cost per megawatt-hour of wind power generation, the aggregate range of transmission costs is from $0/MWh to $79/MWh, with a median of $15/MWh and most studies falling below $25/MWh”. (p xi).

Not-so-smart ALEC ▪ 4 will grow 3.6% each year, while the number of customers stays the same.14 In essence, they assume that each family’s and each business’ demand for electricity – and the impacts of rising electricity prices – will grow by 3.6% each year.15

The Facts:

Costs per customer will rise more slowly, if at all. ALEC not only exaggerates costs per kWh of renewable electricity; they exaggerate the growth in electricity use. Figure 2 (next page) compares nine ALEC forecasts16 of electricity demand growth through 2025 with comparable forecasts from the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) – the federal government report that is widely taken as a standard source of near-term energy projections. AEO offers electricity use projections for nine regions of the contiguous United States. The lowest, median, and highest of these regional projections are shown by the blue lines on the graph. We looked at nine ALEC state studies, and included the highest, median, and lowest of their forecasts, shown in the red lines on the graph. (In fact, four of the nine, including the Colorado study, forecast identical rates of growth, shown by the “ALEC max” line on the graph.) The lowest of the ALEC studies roughly matches the AEO median forecast. The median, let alone maximum, ALEC forecasts are far above the AEO range.

Other forecasts are typically well below the ALEC levels. In Colorado, for example, the largest utility in the state and the Department of Energy forecast 1% annual growth in electricity demand, similar to the AEO median forecast.17 Having inflated the costs per MWh of renewable energy, in other words, ALEC compounds this error by also inflating the quantity of electricity that will be required in the near future. Moreover, the inflated demand estimates make it appear unrealistically difficult to reduce dependence on coal and other non-renewable energy sources.

14 ALEC-CO, p. 15.

15 A different approach shows up in the ALEC study for Michigan. That state has an explicit cap on cost increases resulting from its renewables standard, but the ALEC study admits that it ignores that cap in order to model the “full impact” of the standard. Thus they are modeling a different, more expensive standard than the one Michigan actually adopted. ALEC-MI, p. 3.

16 From the ALEC renewable energy studies of Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oregon.

17 Public Service Company of Colorado, 2011 Electric Resource Plan, Volume I (2011); EIA, Annual Energy Outlook 2013 Early Release, (2012) Table 2: Energy Consumption by Sector and Source, Electric Power Sector, Mountain Region, Delivered Electricity for All Regions.

Not-so-smart ALEC ▪ 5Figure 2. Forecasts of Electricity Demand Growth

►ALEC’s Claim:

Traditional, non-renewable energy is incredibly cheap. A scattering of other questionable assumptions have the effect of biasing results in favor of non-renewable energy. Some (not all) of the ALEC studies estimate the cost of electricity natural gas-fired power plants at mere pennies per MWh.18 In other cases, land requirements for wind power are said to be enormous, while a nuclear power plant is absurdly said to fit on less than an eighth of an acre of land.19

The Facts:

ALEC studies appear to make simple errors on these points. Their ultra-low gas-fired power costs may result from mistaking dollars for cents in standard data sources.20 Their land requirements for wind power versus nuclear power represent a misreading of a study that reported wind power needs less than 500 times as much land per MW as nuclear power; BHI erroneously cites this study as finding that wind power needs 1,000,000 times as much land.21 18 ALEC-OR Table 4; ALEC-NM, ALEC-MN, ALEC-KS Table 5; ALEC-MT Table 6; ALEC-ME Table 7; ALEC-US Table 8. The title of each of these Tables is “LEC and Capacity Factors for Electricity Generation Technologies.” 19 ALEC-CO, p. 14: “a wind power plant would need a land mass of 20 by 25 kilometers to produce the same energy as a nuclear power plant that can be situated on 500 square meters.” 20 This is our inference, based on the fact that some of their studies report gas power costs two orders of magnitude lower than others.

21 See ALEC-CO, p.14. Even the underlying study, correctly cited, may overstate land requirements for wind power.

Not-so-smart ALEC ▪ 6

Pages:   || 2 |

Similar works:

«2011 Global Microcredit Summit Commissioned Workshop Paper November 14-17, 2011 – Valladolid, Spain How Can Microfinance For Housing, Land, and Infrastructure Catalyze Slum Improvements and New Settlements?Written by: Patrick Kelley, Director of International Housing Finance, Habitat for Humanity International Ted Baumann, Director of International Housing Programs, Habitat for Humanity International A special thanks to the valuable contributions from Allan Cain at Development Workshop,...»

«d THE “WALL IN THE MIND” AND NOSTALGIA FOR SEPARATION IN REUNIFIED GERMANY* Paul Kubicek Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall, the iconic symbol of the Cold War, fell. Its disappearance marked the end of the repressive, communist regime of East Germany (hereafter GDR, German Democratic Republic) and offered prospects for a more hopeful future for its former citizens. Ossis (Easterners) could now take advantage of a variety of personal and civic freedoms. Integration into the larger, more...»

«SELECT COMMITTEE INTO THE FINANCE BROKING INDUSTRY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA TRANSCRIPT OF EVIDENCE TAKEN AT PERTH WEDNESDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2000 SESSION 3 OF 3 Members Hon Ken Travers (Chairman) Hon G.T. Giffard Hon Ray Halligan Hon Greg Smith Hon Norm Kelly Select Committee into the Finance Broking Industry 27 September 2000 Page 1 CONLAN, MR MARK, Partner, RSM Bird Cameron, 8 St Georges Terrace, Perth, examined: The CHAIRMAN: Welcome to today’s meeting. In what capacity do you appear before the...»

«Mendel University in Brno Proceedings ICABR 2015 X. International Conference on Applied Business Research September 14 September 18, 2015 Organised by: Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovak Republic and Kasetsart University, Thailand © Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic ISBN 978-80-7509-379-0 Contents Akhmedova Anna / Succession as Career Choice – An Exploration of Female Motivation. 11...»

«Biocon Limited’s Q3 FY15 Earnings Conference Call January 23, 2015 Key Participants from Biocon Group’s Senior Management Team Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: Chairperson and Managing Director John Shaw: Vice Chairman Arun Chandavarkar: Chief Executive Officer & Jt. Managing Director Siddharth Mittal: President, Finance Biocon Abhijit Barve: President, R&D Ravi Limaye: President, Marketing Peter Bains: Director, Syngene International M.B. Chinappa: President, Finance Syngene International Manoj...»

«Thoroughbred Financial Services, LLC Investment Advisory Brochure This brochure provides information about the qualifications and business practices of Thoroughbred Financial Services, LLC. If you have any questions about the contents of this brochure, please contact us at (615) 371-0001 or (888)-833-0233. The information in this brochure has not been approved or verified by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or any state securities authority. Additional information about...»

«Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 28(3), p196-208 THREE TEMPTATIONS OF LEADERS by © Professor Andrew P. Kakabadse Professor of International Management Development Cranfield School of Management Cranfield, Beds, MK43 OAL, United Kingdom International Tel: (0044) (0)1234 754400 International Fax: (0044) (0)1234 752382 E-mail: a.p.kakabadse@cranfield.ac.uk © Professor Nada K. Kakabadse Professor in Management & Business Research Northampton Business School The University of...»

«Conwy & Denbighshire NHS Trust Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Siroedd Conwy a Dinbych Conwy & Denbighshire NHS Trust BLACK 87 POLICY FOR CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES Policy Details: Author job titles: Local Counter Fraud Specialist Director of Finance Director of HR Dept/Working Group(s): Finance Validating Body: Director of Finance Date validated: April 2004 Current review changes: Nil New policy Ratifying Body: Audit Committee Date ratified: 30 April 2004 Date...»

«COLMAN KNIGHT ADVISORY GROUP, LLC – Guide to Our Services A Guide to Our Services and How We Serve 1 Colman Knight Advisory Group, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Web CRD/IARD number 119696 www.colmanknight.com COLMAN KNIGHT ADVISORY GROUP, LLC – Guide to Our Services About Colman Knight The Colman Knight Advisory Group, LLC is one of the country’s leading independent wealth advisory firms. In our 25+ years as a firm, we’ve honed our...»

«INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION UNITED STATES AND MEXICO UNITED STATES SECTION AGENCY FINANCIAL REPORT FISCAL YEAR 2013 Prepared by: Albert Moehlig, Strategic Planning Officer, and Mark Duncan, Finance and Accounting Officer February 4, 2014 International Boundary and Water Commission, United States Section TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION 1 – MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS Mission, Organization and Structure Mission Organization Office Locations and General Responsibilities...»

«BEING A LICENSED LAY MINISTER This document contains advice and guidelines, and some regulations, relevant to the day-to-day ministry of an LLM. The sections are:1 PUBLIC DUTIES WHICH MAY BE PERFORMED BY A LICENSED LAY MINISTER 1 Geographic scope of licence 2 Modifications to Standard Services – Absolution and Blessings 2 2 MINISTRY AGREEMENT 2 3 COLLABORATIVE MINISTRY AND PASTORAL CARE being a member of the ministry team 3 4 BREAKDOWN OF COLLABORATIVE MINISTRY 3 5 FINANCE 1 EXPENSES 4 6...»

«[DRAFT] Minutes of the Meeting New York State Procurement Council November 17, 2015 11:00 A.M. Meeting Room 6 | North Concourse | Empire State Plaza | Albany, NY I. Call to Order Susan Filburn, OGS Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, called the meeting to order. A new member was welcomed to the Procurement Council, Sonia Lindell, Manager of Government Affairs for the Business Council of New York State was welcomed as a new member to the Procurement Council. It was announced that Anne Phillips,...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.