Below, CBS News on the drought impact in agricultural areas.

Utility Dive:

  • As the grid operator for most of Texas warns of a high-demand summer that could strain electricity supply, a new analysis finds that the state is one of the country’s top markets for new energy storage development. 
  • An S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis finds that Texas could have as much as 1,400 MW of battery storage available by September of this year, eight times more than was online the year before. 
  • That storage capacity could help improve reliability ahead of a summer with unusually high demand. Already, ERCOT asked residents to conserve electricity this week during a heat wave because of tight grid conditions.

The challenges of the Texas grid were on display in February when a winter storm led to the loss of almost half of ERCOT’s generation, leaving millions without power for days. In May, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) warned that Texas faces an “elevated risk” of energy emergencies this summer due to high heat or potential long periods of low wind production. Although ERCOT itself said that it expects to have sufficient generation to meet peak loads, it did outline three “extreme” scenarios that could lead to blackouts, including extended hot weather that spikes demand, thermal generator outages or a shortage in generation from wind and solar.

The grid operator is expecting record-breaking demand this summer, but ERCOT had a 15.7% reserve margin, slightly below preferred levels, at the beginning of the summer. 

Although the grid set a June record for electricity demand on Monday with 69,943 MW, ERCOT says the reliability of the grid remains strong

“One of the pretty clear lessons learned from Texas’ power challenges this year is that renewable power is outperforming other forms of generation when the grid is under stress,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. 

According to S&P, there are nearly a dozen storage projects ranging from 50 MW to larger than 200 MW scheduled to start up this summer, headlined by the 203 MW Crossett Power Battery Storage system in Crane County. ERCOT expects that battery storage on the system could rise from 225 MW at the end of 2020 to 1,771 MW at the end of 2021 and 3,008 MW in 2022. Developers have announced large-scale projects expected to come online in 2022, like a pair of 100 MW battery storage facilities announced by Wärtsilä Energy a month after the February cold snap. 

North Carolina-based FlexGen is one of the largest storage installers in the state, claiming to be responsible for more than three-quarters of the storage there by megawatts. Yann Brandt, FlexGen Chief Financial Officer, said ERCOT’s market is attractive for developers looking to engage in energy arbitrage, but value of storage as an ancillary resource has risen as Texas faces more extreme weather events. 

“It’s a unique situation where you’re able to maximize revenue when the market needs it because you’re providing a valuable service,” Brandt said. “I hope grid operators and planners start viewing energy storage as part of the planning process and not try to plug it into a generation-first power market.”

S&P Global:

If the plans of developers and utilities pan out, total installed utility-scale energy storage capacity in the U.S., not including conventional pumped hydroelectric storage, could jump roughly 185%, to 5,582 MW, through August from a year prior, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

This summer’s storage surge, consisting mostly of four-hour lithium-ion battery systems designed to discharge during critical periods of peak demand, is centered in California and Texas, the country’s two largest states by population and economic output, respectively.

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We’ve seen the Tesla Cybertruck, the Rivian, and the Ford F-150.

Now here’s another player that is getting enough attention, and funding, that they are building a new plant in Oklahoma.

Business Facilities:

After considering multiple states, electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo has decided to create more than 2,000 jobs and build its first mega microfactory on a 400-acre site at the MidAmerica Industrial Park located near Tulsa, OK. Canoo Chairman and CEO Tony Aquila made the announcement at the company’s inaugural investor relations day at Texas Motor Speedway, where he praised Governor Kevin Stitt for his focus on innovation to diversify the state’s economy and Oklahoma’s business-friendly policies.

“We ran a multi-state competition and invested millions of dollars to find the right manufacturing facility,” said Aquila. “Oklahoma was a head and shoulders above the other contenders because of its leadership, energy forward initiatives, strategic location and the hardworking ethic of its people. We would like to congratulate Governor Stitt and his team who competed to have Canoo in their state – and we pledge our commitment to bring more clean energy to the great State. Our investment in this manufacturing and technology center means we will deliver vehicles faster at scale – and fulfill our mission to bring affordable, purpose–built EVs to Everyone. We’re proud to be American made and to bring more than 2,000 jobs to Oklahoma.”

Below – the contradiction between climate change, heat waves, and golf courses in the southwest.

Above, George Carlin addresses his beef with golf, starting at 2:34 if you’re in a hurry.

AZCentral.com:

Managers of some Arizona golf courses are fighting a plan that would cut water use at a time when the state is being forced to confront shrinking water supplies.

A group representing golf courses has been pushing back against a proposal by state officials that would reduce overall water use on courses, instead offering a plan that would entail less conservation. 

Opposition to the state’s proposal for golf courses has emerged over the past several months, aired in sometimes-tense virtual meetings where representatives of courses have said they understand the need to conserve but are concerned the proposed reductions in water allotments would damage their businesses.

The latest proposal by the Arizona Department of Water Resources would require Phoenix-area golf courses that use groundwater to reduce their total combined water use by 3.1% compared to current allotments under a previous plan.

Representatives of a newly formed group called the Arizona Alliance for Golf opposed those reductions and offered a counterproposal that, based on the state’s analysis, would decrease water use on courses that pump groundwater by 1.8%.

The group’s attempts to assert its position have included repeated meetings with state officials, the launch of a new website urging people to “speak up for Arizona golf,” and emails seeking to recruit more members to “have a united voice” and “protect our game.” The group also welcomed Gov. Doug Ducey as their featured speaker at a kick-off event in April.

The resistance from the golf industry has surfaced as Arizona’s water outlook has grown increasingly complicated, with a shortage looming on the Colorado Riverand groundwater declining in many areas beneath growing cities and suburbs.

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Was actually searching for another version of this song, by a 70s era artist, I think Bryan Bower was his name. Let me know if anyone has a link to that.
Stumbled across several versions, including this pretty nice one by Woody Guthrie.

The song references a Biblical verse from Ezekiel, frequently mentioned as being evidence of ancient sightings of UFOs, or in current vernacular, UAPs. Not sure the Prophet’s description fits exactly, seems more to me like evidence of some kind of Hebrew homebrew psychedelic.

No Biblical analog to the Tic Tac phenomena of recent note, so far as I know.

Below, a couple other worthy renditions.

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Mark Dyson for Rocky Mountain Institute:

What could electric pickup trucks mean for a resilient electricity system in Texas? Some rough calculations illustrate the potential benefits for pickup truck owners, their neighbors, and Texans at large:

  • Backup power for electric pickup owners: Large batteries, such as those required to power pickup trucks, can provide a meaningful supply of backup power during a grid outage. An electric pickup like the F-150 Lightning might have approximately 115 kWh of usable capacity, with the ability to charge or discharge on the order of 10 kW via a Level 2 bi-directional charger.When resiliently connected to a home service panel that can safely “island” the home from the grid during an outage, a fully charged battery of that size could meet the electricity needs of the average American household for more than three days. An average 1.5 kilowatt output level over that span would be enough to power lights, medical equipment, WiFi, refrigerators, and furnace fans in the winter or some occasional air conditioning in the summer. Coupled with a rooftop solar PV system to recharge the truck battery during the day, this power reserve could be sustained much longer, provided the sun keeps shining.
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“..the lake can hold a capacity of 19,500 acre feet. Right now, it’s at 50 acre feet.”

This week’s drought map from NOAA now updated:

Current Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison had a viral moment in 2017, when, in the midst of a climate-fueled heat wave, the then-Treasurer held up a lump of coal in parliament to ridicule (he thought) his science-literate colleagues.

Guardian:

There is no way you can write the sentence, “The treasurer of Australia, Scott Morrison, came to question time with a lump of coal on Thursday,” and have that sentence seem anything other than the ravings of a psychedelic trip, so let’s just say it and be done with it.

Scott Morrison brought coal into the House of Representatives. A nice big hunk of black coal, kindly supplied by the Minerals Council of Australia.

“This is coal,” the treasurer said triumphantly, brandishing the trophy as if he’d just stumbled across an exotic species previously thought to be extinct.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, soothingly, “don’t be scared.”

No one was afraid, or scared. People were just confused. What was this fresh idiocy?

Journalists sitting above the fray blinked, as if this might have been a mirage. I’m still not entirely convinced it wasn’t: a cabinet minister – the treasurer, no less – with a lump of coal, in the people’s house in 2017.

The coal was passed from hand to hand, or some hands, anyway. Some pointedly declined to touch the lump, which, to be frank, didn’t look that appealing.

Now, another member has taken a creative opportunity to parody the now-Prime Minister Morrison’s moment.

Renew Economy:

Federal Labor spokesperson for climate change and energy, Chris Bowen, has channelled prime minister Scott Morrison’s ‘lump of coal’ moment, brandishing a solar panel in parliament and telling the federal Coalition government it should not be afraid of renewable energy.

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Florida Power and Light making the no-brainer move from coal to solar.

Interestingly, according to this CNBC report above, a Hydrogen component is in the works starting soon.

WPTV-West Palm Beach:

FPL will be replacing it with a $100 million new solar energy plant.

The company has replaced old oil-burning plants, such as the one at Port Everglades, with natural gas plants. FPL is also investing heavily in solar power.

“We’re able to actually lower customer bills, because coal plants are just expensive to operate, and we’re able to, obviously, clean up the environment because coal plants produce, unfortunately, emissions, and we’re going to be replacing it with a solar facility that produces zero emissions and uses no water,” FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy said.

Above, Texas Governor Abbott touts the new legislation he said last week would solve Texas electric instability. Almost immediately, the state’s electric Grid manager ERCOT issued warnings to conserve power in the midst of a heat wave and unspecified mechanical failures at thermal plants, mostly fossil gas powered.

Below, report from KHOU Houston has some skepticism about the new legislation.

Below, ERCOT has been less than transparent throughout this period.

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