I love the following article because it really portrays how the efforts to combat climate change (warming, disruption or whatever other name you prefer) are taking hold.  While I believe in the science and evidence that I have seen that indicates that adding CO2, methane and other elements to our atmosphere is heating up the planet and only beginning to cause major consequences, there are still skeptics, non-believers and agnostics (as the CEO described in this article).  

What I love about this article is that it shows that the size of the population that is concerned that we could face unacceptable consequence if we do nothing is now so large that our leaders are beginning to see the inevitability of change regardless of what they personally believe.  And they are preparing to “go with the flow” realizing that resistance is becoming impossible.  

The lesson to take from this is that it is not  necessary to convince everyone to perpetrate change.  We are reaching Critical Mass!

Another aspect to this article that I really like is that it reiterates so much of what I have been saying for so long such as the enormous economic opportunity in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables:

“U.S. power demand even as the sector could see $1 trillion or $2 trillion in investment over 10 to 20 years.”


Texas utility CEO describes ‘inevitability’ of low-carbon future

Edward Klump, E&E reporter
Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas — Just a day after Texas officials renewed criticism of a federal plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions, the head of San Antonio’s electric utility stood before an industry gathering to deliver a much different message.

“It behooves most of us to at least think about low carbon, irrespective of your position on climate change,” said Doyle Beneby, CEO of CPS Energy, a municipal provider of power and natural gas in the San Antonio area.

Beneby, speaking at the Gulf Coast Power Association’s fall meeting here yesterday, said CPS remained agnostic on whether climate change is caused by humans. But he described a certain “inevitability” of low-carbon policies, citing the views of young people known as millennials.

“To them, there’s no argument about climate change,” he said. “You’re a major outlier if you don’t believe in climate change.”

Texas leaders, companies and interest groups have leveled blistering criticism at U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan since it was announced in June. The plan seeks a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. State targets vary, and the goal for Texas is about a 39 percent decline compared with 2012 in pounds per megawatt-hour.
Complaints have ranged from worries that the plan would damage Texas’ economy and drive up power prices to charges that the federal government is seeking to dictate energy policy to states. A Texas legislative committee hearing on the subject this week attracted more strong concern about the proposed rule, as well as some support (EnergyWire, Sept. 30).
Beneby said CPS has made a push in renewable energy and efficiency, with a goal of leveraging a diverse portfolio and keeping rates low. By 2020, CPS is seeking to have about 65 percent of its fleet with low-carbon intensity and a renewable capacity of about 20 percent.
The utility has added gas capacity and plans to retire some coal units, Beneby said. He said the aim is to avoid exposing the city to potential regulation, noting that CPS isn’t opposed to fossil fuels with lower carbon intensity and is poised to be in keeping with the EPA carbon plan.
“We really hope to work with the state and our regulators and other generators to see if there’s some way that, with tweaks from that plan, Texas maybe might find a way to make it work,” he said.
Beneby said customers are better informed and are making choices around timing and pricing that are driving some innovations related to electric vehicles, battery storage, demand response and conservation.

The industry will need to think creatively about business plans, Beneby said, including coping with potential changes in U.S. power demand even as the sector could see $1 trillion or $2 trillion in investment over 10 to 20 years.

“We’re going to have decades of flat to declining demand, driven by probably to some degree distributed generation,” he told the audience. “So we’ve got to deal with this. You have to deal with it.”

The concept of the grid is poised to involve everything from utility-scale and rooftop solar to batteries and storage to electric vehicles and smart meters, Beneby said.
Regulator’s perspective
Earlier in the day, Donna Nelson, chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said that while distributed generation often comes up at conferences, much of that trend is happening near the East and West coasts of the United States.
“And you’re seeing it, in my view, because prices are so high there, people are looking for a way of avoiding the large retail prices,” Nelson said.
Others may perceive that they’re doing a “public good” by seeking to disconnect from the grid, Nelson said, even if they’re not really disconnecting.
“We haven’t really been faced with those issues in Texas because we don’t have any sort of unhealthy — I’m going to characterize it as unhealthy — obligation for retailers to purchase solar,” she said.
Speaking to reporters, Nelson said Texas regulators would continue their work on potential comments on the EPA carbon plan. EPA has extended a comment period deadline from mid-October to Dec. 1.
Beneby, in an interview after his speech, said he’d like to see Texas “get all the generators together with the regulators and just talk and just hear the point of view of the generators.” With low-carbon and wind sources in Texas, he said, the state might be able to make the EPA plan work with some modifications.
For example, EPA probably didn’t give enough credit to nuclear energy or to Texas for the wind it put online over the past decade, and the proposed capacity factor for some natural gas generators may be too high, according to Beneby.

Still, he portrayed a lower-carbon sector as a coming reality.

“There’s an inevitability to this,” he said. “Whether you agree or disagree with it is somewhat irrelevant.”
It’s “much better to be prepared and try to be at the table to work with it,” Beneby said, “so it’s more constructive for the state of Texas.”
Twitter: @edward_klump | Email: eklump@eenews.net

Leave a comment

FranklyTalking © 2024 All rights reserved.