Press "Enter" to skip to content

SB 66: Legislature Delays City/Rural Electric Battle with Summer Study

Municipalities and rural electric cooperatives were about to go to war in January over Senate Bill 66, which proposed to take away the ability of municipalities to replace rural electric service in territory they annex with city-owned electric service. On Friday, the munis and the coops put off their war for a year, as Senate Local Government hoghoused SB 66 into a summer study.

Nine legislators will meet at least four times to study and evaluate the following issues:

  1. The option of a municipal electric utility to provide electric service in an annexed area and associated processes;
  2. Economic development practices of electric utilities as it relates to subdivision (1);
  3. The history of assigned service territories; and
  4. The process by which electric utilities set rates.

The annex-electric committee must report before the 2020 Legislature goes to work.

Under current law, municipalities like Brookings and Watertown that own electric utilities don’t get to just kick rural electrics out of their newly annexed territory. SDCL 49-34A-50 requires the annexing municipality to pay the rural electric provider for the electric power gear in the annexed area and the cost to the rural electric provider of reintegrating its system outside the annexed area. The annexer must also give the rural electric 25% of its take on its newly annexed electric customers for eleven years.

If the Legislature spent less time obsessing over guns and gender-nonconforming children, maybe they could have figured out a solution to this muni/coop conflict sooner. But I guess putting off a serious policy issue with talk for a year is the best our Legislature can manage.


  1. leslie 2019-02-25 08:40

    We recently discussed Xcel energy’s renewable energy permitting with SDPUC in comments. Boulder CO has been developing its own utility to achieve it’s renewable goals in lieu of fossil fuels usage by Xcel, since about 2010.

  2. leslie 2019-02-25 09:19

    Democrats have taken governorships in CO NM MI Wisc and have BOTH houses in CO and NM and are demanding 100% renewables instead of carbon free power Xcel has promised by 2050 in its 8 state service area. A vertical monopoly, Xcel makes gobs of money with rate based accounting gimmicks based on building new infrastructure including nuclear power and depreciating old coal and natural gas plants. VOX, D. Roberts 12.13.18.

    100% clean energy is another term to understand as Xcel promises 80% carbon free by 2030.

  3. leslie 2019-02-25 11:00

    VOX 4.05.18 Roberts discussion of nukes on the way to 100% Renewables. Goals: CA by 2045; CO by 2040; Xcel by 2050.

    Studies of 23 coastal states show increasing inundation in 2030, 2040, 2050-2100., Dahl, Spanger-Siegfried 2018.

    NASA sea level scientists meet in March in Annapolis MD (US Navy) and Trump has NM disgraced politician SDSMT president distracting USAF and NASA with a new Reagan era Space Patrol fake national space marines chasing egg laying aliens (Heather Wilson: we are entering a new war culture-that will vastly benefit her lobbyist clients: the defense industry.Techcrunch Feb 2019; mike; Forbes).

    Meanwhile EAST Antarctica super glaciers (Totten and others) capable of raising sea level almost 3 meters, have lost 9 feet of elevation in recent NASA/JPL (12.10.18) monitored measurements. Carbon emissions continuing will cause devastating flooding of the Atlantic coast by 2040. Scientific American, 2016.

  4. leslie 2019-02-25 11:05

    Nukewatch, not autocorrected mikewatch. Stupid millenial/gen x Apple coders waste the world’s time. Zuckerberg destroys privacy.

  5. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 11:11

    Utilities provide power when people demand it….whenever people demand it. Moreover, they make some amount of profit, and intermittent resources can only make money when they are operating…that is the only time they have something to sell. Subsidies are like a membership to a wind or solar energy fan club to supplement the income from direct energy production.

    The issue of satisfying on-demand power is the biggest issue that the green new deal has yet to reconcile. You can have a 100% renewable grid that is not 100% reliable, but I believe the lack of on-demand power will be a political non-starter. And you have to win elections in order to implement policy.

    We have also built a lot of new gas plants to supplement renewables, so nobody will want to shut those down, write them off, and replace them with something that does not deliver power whenever we want it. Gas does solve the reliability problem, but not the carbon problem.

  6. Porter Lansing 2019-02-25 12:01

    REA is a superlative example of how Americans choose to buy things they all need (as a group) to save money. If REA has an established territory and a city want to take over that territory, it’s only proper that REA be fully reimbursed for it’s losses. Republicans would privatize the Catholic Church if they could get away with it.

  7. leslie 2019-02-25 12:16

    Political nonstarters in Pierre are going to get stepped on by cities suggests David Roberts @drvox

  8. jerry 2019-02-25 12:45

    All things considered, carbon use with renewable energy is roughly the same as with nukes. Coal is the big factor along with gas burn off’s.

  9. jerry 2019-02-25 12:59

    Before the REA, cities and towns had their own power plants. I am thinking that with the Tesla battery packs, solar and wind, along with geo thermal, could do the job. All through west river country, there are great geo thermal possibilities. The hot baths in Midland are a good example of that. As long as we have regional schools, why not regional power companies? Not only would that produce power, it would produce jobs jobs jobs. Our economy is slumping badly as it is looking more and more like 2009. Job based renewable energy could keep our young people in the area.

  10. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 13:12

    Yes, wind, geothermal, and nuclear are about the same in this regard today (which assumes a once-through cycle for both). Solar emits 4 times the carbon per kilowatt-hour over its life-cycle of either one due to its processing requirements.

    Upwards of 90% of our kilowatt-hours today come from coal and gas (30 times and 15 times the carbon per kilowatt-hour than nuclear, respectively). And I do not think the gas estimate takes into account things like leaks or flaring.

    The amount of carbon from renewables or nuclear life-cycles could be reduced if they were to work together. For example some of this bonus carbon comes from transportation or electricity from a natural gas plant.

  11. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 13:24

    Geothermal would require deeper drilling techniques similar to those proposed for the borehole. I would be surprised if such drilling did not generate opposition knowing that the results could be useful for other applications (particularly nuclear waste disposal, but also for toxic waste disposal for solar).

    And there are some areas where it would cost less because of localized hot spots in the state (one would not have to drill as deep)….so you would have a portfolio that is locale-dependent.

    The issue with Tesla are (a.) will the company exist in 5 years, (b.) can it deliver the requisite critical materials to supply enough batteries, and (c.) what will the cost of such battery infrastructure be for a town/city?

    Furthermore, if you do not have ready-to-go energy storage, the excess must be pushed elsewhere, or you have to spend money to use that excess whenever it occurs. We do not do the latter. Getting multiple towns and cities to accept your energy dumps whenever you produce an excess becomes complicated very quickly when everything is uber-decentralized.

  12. jerry 2019-02-25 13:51

    “may have to rely on electricity imports” nothing definite. The Germans are not worried though, they keep building more solar and wind to keep up. Here in the United States, we lack that political will as shown with South Dakota politics.

    Xcel knows one thing for sure, Monticello has 10 years of life left and that will give them time for solar and wind power to replace the old leaker.

  13. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 15:00

    Just making more solar and wind energy does nothing for matching supply with demand. That just makes the intermittency gaps larger!

    It may indeed be the case that one day Germany only produces renewable energy within its borders. But let’s be clear, someone else will be generating the fossil fuel energy that they use to make up the difference. I don’t think such a plan should be referred to as “carbon-free” unless that imported energy was generated without emitting carbon.

  14. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 15:09

    With regard to Monticello and nuclear plants like it, there are no technical roadblocks keeping anyone from maintaining and operating a nuclear power plant up to 100 years according to present studies.

    Economics will drive a decision based upon the level of reliability one desires, the energy capacity one wants for the system, how much carbon one wants to emit, and the costs of maintainence vs. shut down and new construction. The latter includes a consideration of re-building a renewable energy farm several times vs. the maintenance of an existing plant.

    Will a used Honda do the job? Yes. Would it be better in many ways to get a new Honda? Yes, but you would pay more up front. Same thing goes for nuclear. They have run the numbers, and for now it makes sense to make the most of the asset they have already paid for.

  15. jerry 2019-02-25 15:09

    “Carbon free” will never ever involve nukes anymore than it will renewable energy when all is factored in.

  16. jerry 2019-02-25 15:12

    So that means that the legislature is gonna have to tell the cities that the rural electric wants nukes.

  17. jerry 2019-02-25 15:30

    Rebuilding power sources means jobs. Nukes means poison. Big difference

  18. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 15:46

    Neither a 100% renewable plan nor a 0% nuclear plan will both provide reliable power and generate less carbon. We do not have enough energy storage, and we will burn more natural gas without carbon capture to achieve reliability.

    Probably cost-wise it will be better to have a true mix of renewables, gas, nuclear, energy storage, and carbon capture, but the last two are not ready.

  19. jerry 2019-02-25 15:53

    Then we should have the political will to provide the reliable power and the storage. We seem to have more political will in the failed state of South Dakota to manage an electrical battle than we do in Washington with the political control of the senate and the presidency in Republican hands.

  20. Donald Pay 2019-02-25 16:26

    Nothing is more intermittent than a nuclear power plant. Many are shut down for months at intervals of 18 to 24 months or refueling and maintenance. The older a plant gets the more it is out of service.

  21. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 17:10

    Sorry Donald, but even with the shutdowns nuclear has capacity factors above 90%. Renewables don’t come close, 30% would be a good month. Nuclear plants can go up and down with the demand (they generate less overnight, and more during the day). With renewables it is take it or leave it.

    Jerry, if they had big time tritium leaks for 10 years (since the 2009 article), they wouldn’t be operating.

    Tritium is naturally produced in much the same way that Carbon-14 is in the upper atmosphere, but can be produced via nuclear reactions too. The thing with tritium is that it has a half-life of 12 years, but it doesn’t stay in the body as long.

    1 / Effective-half-life = 1 / Radiological-Half-life + 1 / Biological-Half-Life

    where the Biological-Half-Life is how long it takes the body to remove it through natural processes. For Tritium that number is about 10 days. So it is more likely that the tritium exits the body prior to decaying inside the body.

    Moreover, when tritium does decay, it does so with one of the lowest energy beta decays, about 19 keV max (there is a range from 0 to 19 keV, and the average is typically one-third of that max energy). Alpha decays from Radon get up to several MeV (millions instead of thousands of electron-volts).

  22. jerry 2019-02-25 18:36

    These plants are a dog and pony loosing proposition that makes rates higher and endangers citizens.

    “To save financially-ailing nuclear plants, state legislatures in Illinois and New York last year approved subsidies to keep the plants operating after utilities made appeals about protecting consumers and jobs. But other proposed bailouts of nuclear plants have stalled in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania. By doing the right thing – adhering to free-market principles – these states have managed to steer clear of similar bailouts.”

    Folks want to build wind and solar farms. Farmers want to lease their ground to them. That’s the problem, they work so well and are so cheap to build and maintain. Jobs jobs jobs. In this crappy economy, we need the work.

  23. jerry 2019-02-25 18:38

    Anyway, we are drifting from the legislature and their delays to see if the city states and the rural folks can work a deal so they won’t have to do any real work.

  24. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 19:31

    One option for the nuclear plants to “compete more” is to allow them to use the plants in a flexible manner. If the prices are higher when renewables are not enough or not available, then great.

    Design-wise that is not the most efficient way to use a nuclear plant today, and “allowing them” means permitting this mode of operation in their license. But this would be more feasible and cost-effective once the accident tolerant fuels are available.

    Large scale energy storage would in fact help nuclear…a fact that is not well appreciated by many on the left who see storage as the panacea for renewables but nobody else.

  25. Porter Lansing 2019-02-25 19:41

    Prof. McTaggart’s dedication to the product is quite commendable. However ….

  26. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 20:57

    Assuming that energy storage and carbon capture will work as intended may lead to a lot of unnecessary carbon from natural gas while people stick to their high moral principles.

    Let’s take what is available from storage or capture…but we don’t have to rely on them alone to solve climate change.

  27. grudznick 2019-02-25 21:34

    Dr. McT, you have provided a wealth of interesting information on this blogging, and grudznick thanks you. Plus it is always fun to see the greenie types fight for pinwheels and sun dials and boggle with wonder at the discussions of tritiums and my friend Lar’s favorite particle, the tachyon.

  28. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-25 22:00

    Thanks grudznick.


  29. Donald Pay 2019-02-26 08:33

    We are about to hit the time when nuclear power plants go into “shutdown mode.” Roughly a fourth of nuclear power is taken offline. Shutdown period stretches from March into June. Then there is another “shutdown mode” in the fall. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission tracks all this inefficiency on a daily basis. Even right now you can see 5-10 plants shut down, and that’s usual.

    Most intermediacy in wind or solar power lasts a few hours to a few days since it is dependent on weather. Go a few hundred miles away, and you have wind and solar cranking at full power. You would never have a fourth of wind power nationally shut down. If you construct the solar and wind grid right, intermediacy is much less of a concern. Nuclear power’s intermediacy is, however, much more concerning. It lasts months, not days, and you can’t correct it with your system. You can only schedule it for when power requirements are less.

    Wind and solar power are also dispersed across the countryside, making it far less susceptible to terrorist attacks or any kind. Wind and solar farms are usually sited on uplands. Nuclear power requires considerable water for cooling, and must be sited near a reliable water source. Thus, wind and solar have more siting flexibility. Because nuclear power must be sited close to water, they have far great risk to that valuable resource.

  30. jerry 2019-02-26 08:46

    As an add on Mr. Pay, farmers and ranchers get paid for the land use of solar and wind. These farms take little time to put in action to start producing power. Nukes are a constant long term drain on utility customers pocket books.

    Renewable energy could be generated at a local level in rural areas and then sold to the city states that they battle with as a matter of commerce rather than legislative pie fights.

  31. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 09:25

    You never know when the wind or sun will stop or not be enough to meet the demand. That kind of shutdown is not planned. Shutdowns of nuclear plants for refueling should not be a concern, because renewables could simply generate that energy without a problem.

    But that is not the case. They burn more natural gas as a result. When they shut down a nuclear plant for good, the result is that more carbon is emitted.

    How did the wind and solar do after the weather events in Puerto Rico? Hmmm….reliability….hmmm.

    Water cooling was selected because it was cheap, and while a nuclear plant is operating the cost per kilowatt-hour is low. It is the upfront cost that has been an issue, and we make it more expensive than it has to be.

    As long as you keep water to a water-cooled reactor, the power will not grow exponentially. It will oscillate. As water heats it expands. Fewer collisions happen with neutrons, so your population of slow moving neutrons goes down, and the fission rate goes down.

    Plus there is a lot of experience with water-cooled reactors with the Navy. They don’t do any refueling at all. When the vessel is retired, so is the reactor. So to say that reactors HAVE to undergo a regular cycle of refueling is completely false. But other choices have to be made to facilitate no refueling or less refueling with today’s reactors.

    If you do not want a water-cooled reactor, then practice what you preach. Approve the advanced reactors that are either gas-cooled, air-cooled, or molten salt-cooled. Heck, build the better water-cooled reactors that have fewer pumps and valves, use passive heating, and have fuel that can withstand much higher temperatures. Those would have fewer shutdowns for maintenance because there is less to maintain.

    News flash….the natural gas plants that back up renewables……they are cooled by water. Where is the concern about water cooling for natural gas plants? Renewables depend on gas plants that need water to deliver reliable electricity. As the noted poet-laureate Bruce Willis once said “Welcome to the party, pal!”.

    Wind and solar do NOT have siting flexibility, and in fact no energy source really truly does. Wind and solar for bulk energy have to go where the wind and sun deliver the most electricity. They take more land per kilowatt-hour. Recall that the future includes generating more kilowatt-hours. And you have to transmit that power over a longer distance to get back to the populations that use the energy.

    Supplementing home use with solar is different than trying to produce the bulk energy our economy needs. The former is really like efficiency…you pull less from the grid. Whether you make money in the long run depends upon how much you have to pay to install it, how often you have to maintain or replace it, and what the costs of waste management happen to be.

    Wind and solar plants do not have the same security measures that nuclear plants do. Nuclear plants can take a plane impact and keep on going. Wind and solar depend on a transmission grid, so if they cannot transmit power, they can’t deliver any electricity in a time of crisis. Wind and solar are also susceptible to electromagnetic pulse, so it is a problem if we are overly-dependent on wind and solar. Nuclear has to withstand those kinds of issues.

  32. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 09:40

    If there are 5-10 nuclear plants offline at a time, and there are roughly 100 nuclear plants, then doesn’t that mean that roughly 90% of them are in operation?

    Right now, what percentage of wind turbines are (a.) shut down for maintenance and (b.) not generating any power?

  33. jerry 2019-02-26 10:16

    When the sun stops shinning is when the wind will stop blowing. We will cease to exist, so there is that. The demand mostly is for heating and cooling. Both of these can be solved by ground source heating and cooling.

    The millions of jobs that will be created to run the renewable energy sector, will be the transition from how AI has taken over manufacturing of automobiles and the like. Humans need work and renewable energy needs human workers. A win win.

    Nuke energy is dangerous dirty energy that is worse or an equal to coal.

  34. Donald Pay 2019-02-26 10:52

    Dr. McT, That 5-10 is about to go up to 15-20 during the March-June shutdown period. And then another 15-20 will be shut down in the fall. Nuclear power is an unreliable source of energy. Every 18-months a plant has to be taken out of service for months at a time.

    You can have your intermittency in small chunks of a few days with wind or solar. Or you can have your intermittency in months-long chunks every 18-months. The intermittency of wind and solar is far easier to work around.

  35. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 12:32

    Oh no. They are going to do maintenance at the same time they re-fuel and keep their efficiencies high. That is just terrible. On top of that, they will probably run some safety drills too and have lots of extra inspections. That is unconscionable. Sure, the nuclear power industry has the lowest accident rate of any power source, but who cares if blue collar workers have safe, high-paying jobs?

    I don’t think shutting down to do proper maintenance or enhancing safety is any worse than the climateers flying to Europe and Asia for global climate change conferences. Both have a role in defeating climate change.

    If you do not like the current schedule for refueling, then change the methods and licenses accordingly. But let’s be honest, you are not interested in making nuclear work better or reducing the costs for nuclear…even if that would help combat climate change.

    Try powering the upcoming March Madness with renewables alone. And then try to ask for their vote. Not gonna happen.

    Meanwhile, you better talk to those guys who are driving around all over the place fixing and maintaining the wind turbines because they are so spread out. They will probably need a pipeline or something so they can have ready access to gasoline to get back and forth….

  36. jerry 2019-02-26 13:10

    I thought you were sharper than to bring up Puerto Rico’s power. Of course, you have to have a grid to deliver power from whatever the source. Luckily for Puerto Rico there old Domes nuke plant was shut down because it was a failure in the late 60’s. Even if it were not, if you do not have a power grid then ya zilch.

    Right now in Puerto Rico, there are off grid projects for solar and wind.

    “A small number of buildings in Puerto Rico now rely on solar power after hurricane Maria left much of the island in the dark. Industry officials and environmentalists are closely watching the experiment to determine the possibilities of a larger-scale switch to off-grid power.”

    All of this still goes back to what leslie was talking about in Boulder, Colorado, having cities develop and operate their own utility company’s with renewable energy. That is what scares the hell out of the energy folks is that we can become our own sources of power with our own systems. This is why muni’s and rural electric are battling. If the rural were thinking long term, they would cut a deal as they have the room while the muni’s do not for supplying energy needs with renewable’s.

  37. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 13:49

    Puerto Rico should use a lot of solar, but they could use something else like geothermal or small nuclear. They don’t have a choice but to start from scratch, but there are opportunities as well to do things better.

    “The majority New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives yesterday introduced a resolution instructing the chamber’s Government Committee to investigate the possibility of building nuclear power plants on the island, Caribbean News has reported.”

  38. jerry 2019-02-26 15:55

    They don’t have a grid. They don’t have any money and are deeply in debt. Not likely to happen with nukes. Very possible with going off grid with solar…and affordable.

  39. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 16:40

    Many there have the interest for solar, but nobody there has money for solar either. Probably a lot of gas for their power in the meantime.

    The utility is $9 billion in debt, and is currently reliant on coal and oil. Uh oh…electricity has been free in Puerto Rico. That’s likely to change!

    There is a proposal for a 20 year plan to install solar and batteries, but they would need federal assistance in this regard…something on the order of $26 billion.

    Despite an interest by some in 100% renewables, they are planning on 3 natural gas terminals. That battery plan has a backup plan ;^). The Sierra Club doesn’t like the thought of using natural gas apparently.

  40. jerry 2019-02-26 17:51

    Americans with no money. Wow, Americans in debt. Sounds like South Dakota to me. Puerto Rico and South Dakota are a marriage made in heaven. The only solution is to generate power with what ya got…solar and wind, along with artesian shallow wells. Energy self sufficiency with enough to sell to the muni’s from the rural producers.

  41. jerry 2019-02-26 17:53

    Have Hanoi Don declare a national emergency for the 26 Billion and have Putin do the work.

  42. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 19:55

    I can see them doing nat gas, solar, and geothermal, but they are also a good location for a single small nuclear plant….one that doesn’t have to be re-fueled very often….

  43. jerry 2019-02-26 20:19

    They have no grid. They have no money. We don’t care about this American citizens. We will not even allow them to grieve for their lost loved ones from the hurricanes with all our government lies.

    “Rivera Molina is only one of 332,000 Puerto Rican householders whose applications for FEMA help with repairs in the months after Maria have been denied, leaving many in precarious living conditions — often without roofs and in virtually uninhabitable homes — a full year after the storm.”

    Living off the grid would be a much better way for Puerto Rico. Solar will do the job along with wind catching the trade winds.

  44. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 20:44

    You still have to generate enough power when people want the energy. Just because it is sunny and windy doesn’t mean there will be enough power to do everything. That is why those natural gas terminals will be built.

    Solar and wind can be part of the solution, but they are not the entire solution.

  45. jerry 2019-02-26 21:18

    Not in Puerto Rico, as has been proven. There is no grid, you can build all the terminals you want, but as there is no grid, there is no delivery.

  46. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-26 21:44

    So you are talking about skipping solar panels, and going classic Birdman to recharge in the Sun?

  47. leslie 2019-02-27 22:43

    New Yorker had a spread some time ago on PR’s tax haven scam, I recall. Those wealthy tax cheats move there and get huge tax breaks so they can jet in, boat around, eat , drink especially and be merry 24/7 while struggling islanders clean up after them like servants. Just who is consuming power we are so vexed at providing, renewably, carbon free or as 100% clean energy? Capitalism, utility monopoly and health care need to separate. Potable water too.

  48. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 08:32

    This is the kind of tech that will help nuclear know when to throttle up or down….they will have a prediction as to how much wind energy will be available.

    “while wind energy represents an important source of carbon-free electricity, it is fundamentally unpredictable. As a result, despite its positive points, wind power is less useful to the power grid than power sources that can reliably deliver it at set times.”

    “By using machine learning artificial intelligence to predict wind output, Google and DeepMind have trained a neural network to accurately predict wind power output 36 hours ahead of the power being generated. Using these predictions, a computer model can then make recommendations for “optimal hourly delivery commitments” to the grid a whole day in advance.”

  49. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 08:45

    SB 16 — a bill to require funds for decommissioning of wind turbines.

    “All financial security required by the PUC for the decommissioning of wind turbines shall be controlled by the commission through a bank with a nexus in South Dakota. The financial security is not an asset of the person providing it, and may not be cancelled without commission approval. The security shall be a proper amount approved by the commission. It could be a surety bond, escrow account, letter of credit, trust, guarantee, or cash deposit.”

  50. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 08:50

    It looks like SB 16 was deferred to the 33rd day yesterday by the House.

  51. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 09:23

    No dedicated national program for dealing with solar wastes exists. But at least there is an awareness of the issue at the industry level.

    Panel recycling occurs in Europe because it is required. But it helps in US markets if something of value is extracted. (see video).

  52. jerry 2019-03-01 09:40

    China does not accept the world’s trash anymore so it is burned. We here are too damn dumb to figure out what to do with our crap other than that.

  53. jerry 2019-03-01 09:42

    Battery good news!

    “The energy market in the Southwest has hit a turning point, with battery prices falling so low that the technology is now the least expensive way to provide customers electricity, according to officials from Arizona Public Service Co.
    To take advantage of the historic shift, the state’s biggest electric company will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to add large, building-size batteries to the power grid across Arizona.
    APS will use the batteries to soak up surplus energy on the grid early in the day when solar power plants across the region are pumping out more electricity than the homes and businesses require.
    The batteries will then discharge that power in the evening, when the sun sets, solar panels power down for the night, and customers turn on their lights and need the energy.

    More energy, more jobs jobs jobs. We need this as our country is turning away from physical labor to artificial labor.

  54. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 09:50

    There is no national program for battery wastes either. Ironically we do a better job at recycling the lead in lead batteries.

    Having said that, energy storage would help out solar, wind, and nuclear.

    When exposed to the elements, the performance of batteries can decrease. For Arizona that comes from extreme heat, not extreme cold.

    It seems like batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines all have lifetimes on the order of a couple of decades before they need to be replaced.

  55. Donald Pay 2019-03-01 09:57

    We figured out how to deal with recycling of non-hazardous materials in the 1990s. Landfill bans. Companies either have to store the waste themselves or develop recycling technology and markets.

  56. jerry 2019-03-01 10:00

    So what? Until we nationally find a way to recycle anything, it just keeps piling up. The great news is a state like Arizona, that is basically polar opposite of the northern climates, is further reducing greenhouse emissions with affordable batteries!

    In Arizona, this will cut consumer spending by a minimum of $4 Billion bucks in 10 years time. And it will reduce carbon levels as a bonus!!

  57. jerry 2019-03-01 10:06

    Recycling is about to die completely in 2019. A good idea that will die while it piles up around us.

    Companies have already figured out how to get rid of the recycle articles, burn them. We are allowing it, because we are too damn dumb to figure a better way. We are good at putting 2 pounds of plastic around a 1 ounce item for shipping, but that is as far as it goes. We are good a putting a missile in the air to hit a target, but cannot figure a way to rid ourselves of the packaging that surrounds it.

  58. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 10:09

    The costs of recycling are not included. If you have to build a lot more of them because they are inefficient, then the costs go up. If you do not match supply with demand, then you have to pay for whatever else makes up the difference. The costs of landfill storage are not included either.

    And we don’t know what the carbon footprint is for the manufacture and delivery of the battery systems yet. The emissions don’t come from the use of the battery, they come from the beginning and end of the lifecycle.

    Coal is cheap today if you don’t worry about carbon capture or other items regarding environmental impacts. Nuclear is cheap today if you waive the upfront costs of construction. We should be worrying about total lifecycle costs over a 100 year timeframe, not what the costs or savings are right now.

  59. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 10:14

    Burning wastes takes energy, actually a lot of energy. Wind and solar are not providing that energy. You are emitting carbon while doing that with fossil fuels, and releasing carbon from any of the packaging at the same time.

    Yes that will reduce the volume that goes to the landfill, but that adds to the carbon footprint.

    Ultimately one needs to use nuclear to provide the electricity or heat for processing wastes to reduce the carbon footprint.

  60. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 10:19

    Jerry, that is a good article. The same thing is happening with regard to our extraction of the rare earths. All the impacts occur in China, not here.

    We could be mining more of the critical elements here, but we don’t want to deal with the environmental impacts. The sun and the wind are free, but the other stuff needed to convert the sun and the wind into electricity is not free.

    Increase the use of batteries and renewables, the demand for those rare earths will increase. So we better pay for the recycling if we are not willing to do the mining.

  61. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 10:25

    Finding a substitute for the rare earths or critical elements is also an option. Typically you get better access to the supply but lower efficiencies. That could be seen a cost of doing business in a more sustainable manner.

    That’s why having flexible nuclear power, energy storage, and some carbon capture will be a good way to diversify backing up renewables and matching supply with demand.

    We’ll see how SB 16 does…it sort of makes sense to plan for decommissioning of the wind towers in advance, but may come down to how to pay for it and who pays for it.

  62. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-01 10:43

    “The waste-to-energy facilities that dot the U.S. are already processing as much plastics as they can. Building new facilities—at least in the U.S.—is fraught with challenges. Technologies that make fuels from plastics hold promise, but they still must be proved and scaled up further before they can make a difference.”

    The European embrace of waste to energy doesn’t sway some activists, who consider the technology a step backward. Ahmina Maxey, U.S. and Canada regional coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, opposes new waste-to-energy facilities and wants to see existing ones close.

    Atop her list of grievances is emissions. “We are really just converting waste from solid garbage into air pollution and creating a landfill in the sky,” she says.

    One option they provide is feeding these wastes to burn for energy to make cement.

  63. jerry 2019-03-03 10:46

    Good news from the European Union (EU) on renewable energy use.

    “BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union produced 17.5 percent of its power needs from renewable sources in 2017, while 11 of the bloc’s 28 members had already achieved a 2020 goal of 20 percent or more, the latest data released by Eurostat showed.

    Renewables, such as wind, solar and hydro power, accounted for 17 percent of the energy mix in the EU in 2016 and 8.5 percent in 2004, the first year for which figures were available, Eurostat said.

    The 2020 target is a stepping stone to the goal of 32 percent in 2030.”

    We here are working against the destruction of our public lands to make renewable energy that much more mainstream. Good on us.

  64. Jason 2019-03-03 11:04

    Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet
    written by Michael Shellenberger

    Without large-scale ways to back-up solar energy California has had to block electricity coming from solar farms when it’s extremely sunny, or pay neighboring states to take it from us so we can avoid blowing-out our grid.

    Despite what you’ve heard, there is no “battery revolution” on the way, for well-understood technical and economic reasons.

  65. Porter Lansing 2019-03-03 11:19

    Renewables can make things better. Using hyperbole in the form of extremist assertions is invalid. e.g. Save The Planet

  66. Jason 2019-03-03 11:20

    It’s obvious Porter didn’t read the article written by a liberal.

  67. Jason 2019-03-03 11:21

    Btw Porter. Colorado is now on my list of Colleges for my children since they have conceal carry on campus.

  68. Porter Lansing 2019-03-03 11:23

    Your children have been home schooled, haven’t they Jason?

  69. Porter Lansing 2019-03-03 11:24

    I read the article about batteries. The hyperbole of the headline removes much of the validity of the article, though. It now resides in the file of sensationalism.

  70. Jason 2019-03-03 11:26

    Prove the liberal wrong Porter?

    Link us to the evidence you have that he is wrong.

  71. Porter Lansing 2019-03-03 11:45

    Home schooled, Jason? Your underexposed kids grew up in an environment of non tolerance and bigotry. An education in a liberal state would be most helpful to their life outcome. They’ll rarely come back to your home and when they do it will be to tell you how wrong you are and how you damaged them as young kids.
    *The article is correct. So what? It’s the sensationalism of the headline (which is all that’s read by the vast majority) that lowers the credibility of the author. I read the LATimes every morning and know exactly what’s up in CA.
    PS … Tomorrow the next President is announcing his candidacy. Former Governor of CO.

  72. jerry 2019-03-03 11:49

    By 2050, 75% of us will live in muni’s. Rural areas will supply the food and energy for those city states, now is the time for rural areas to start the process of making sure they get the compensation needed for their efforts.

  73. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-03 14:09

    The wind and the sun are free. The conversion of solar and wind energy into electricity and its delivery to the consumer are not free. And the wind doesn’t start blowing or the sun shining whenever you turn on the TV. Renewables can be part of the solution, but I don’t subscribe to them being the ONLY solution.

    If you want to generate most of your energy from renewables, you need to avoid carbon in matching supply with demand (natural gas matches supply and demand, but still emits carbon).

    For me, that means having flexible nuclear energy, but I will take what energy storage or carbon capture for gas/coal can deliver. Sorry, but we do not have the energy storage available to do 100% renewables, principally because we do not mine or recycle enough of the critical elements we need.

  74. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-03 14:25

    Imposing a renewable-only grid will force people to live with what solar and wind provide, instead of providing the amount of energy they demand or need or deserve. It sounds good to be one with nature, but I don’t think that plan is going to win any elections.

    If a green new deal neither fixes climate change nor grows the economy for the average worker, that is a potential train wreck for the Democrats. So I hope more of them like Cory Booker get on-board with incorporating advanced nuclear energy into the mix.

    In the analysis of whether to shut down a nuclear plant that is otherwise fine vs. building more gas and renewables….keeping the carbon-free nuclear plant with low operating costs wins out and avoids unnecessary carbon.

    If one were to expand nuclear…which may be needed to keep up with demand globally…that would increase costs in the near term given the current designs that have been licensed. Thus keeping our existing nuclear plants going until we are willing to pay for solving climate change (and/or until the costs of upfront construction go down) is the more feasible approach at the moment.

    Long-term I see small nuclear plants that are more affordable, plug-and-play, and are walk-away-safe working with renewables. We will also need them for industrial process heat as well as powering carbon capture with clean energy.

  75. jerry 2019-03-03 15:25

    muni’t will need the investment of readily available batteries for the power that rural areas will provide. They need to find ways to work with one another, so it is good for the delay.

  76. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-03 15:43

    Smoothing out a few bumps here and there on the grid over fractions of a second to a few seconds is not the same as sustaining a small town for an hour, a day or a week…let alone powering Rapid City or Sioux Falls for any appreciable length of time.

    That kind of performance is not readily available today from batteries, including those that are more ubiquitous: lead batteries.

  77. jerry 2019-03-03 17:01

    Sorry Doc, AES already has the batteries and are installing them…without nukes…only solar, how about that. “The new installation will soak up electricity generated from solar during the day and dole it out to the utility as the sun goes down, extending the capability of the solar generation into the night. In doing so, it will allow more renewables to be added to the grid, by giving the grid operator more flexibility. AES will operate the new 100 megawatt (MW) unit for the 20-year duration of the lease and guarantees four-hour backup capability.”

    Rural areas of South Dakota seriously need to put this production in gear. We here are a power house of sunlight that could be the bumper crop our landowners need to keep the barn doors on. Climate change is real, and it’s coming on real fast.

  78. jerry 2019-03-03 17:02

    Phoenix is bigger than the state of South Dakota

  79. grudznick 2019-03-03 17:48

    Mr. Jerry,
    the internets say that Phoenix and the entire metro area is about 15,000 square miles.
    the internets say that the Great State of South Dakota is about 77,000 square miles.

    Phoenix is not bigger than the State of South Dakota.

    Did Lar send you funny brownies? If not, I can arrange that for you.

  80. jerry 2019-03-03 18:02

    Correcto mundo Mr. grudznick, should have been the population of Phoenix is bigger than the population of the state of South Dakota. I didn’t realize to whom I was speaking to. BTW, great use of the internets.

  81. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-03 18:20

    Sorry jerry, it hasn’t soaked up anything yet. I keep noticing the word “will”. June 2021 is their target date.

    Sorry again, but energy storage that works as intended would be good for nuclear too.

    Does it say how much they are spending on the system? Cost per kilowatt-hour used by the consumer will be key. This means you shouldn’t divide by the larger number, which is the maximum theoretical capacity. 100 MW is its initial capacity when you open the box.

    Did you notice as well that they don’t say what they will be doing with the batteries when their efficiency drops too low?

    The company generates a sustainability report….and waste management or recycling of the batteries is not included! FYI, the company also has assets in coal, oil, diesel, and gas.

  82. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-10 15:22


    One gets about a 10 year grace period before the batteries need to be replaced. And maybe a slightly longer period of grace after that before their disposal really becomes an issue.

    I just think the cart is being placed before the horse without at least having a functional recycling infrastructure for those batteries within the next decade. Maybe such a plan exists for this company and we don’t know about it yet….let’s hope so.

  83. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-11 08:23

    Those aren’t the batteries that will power your vehicle or supplement renewables.

    But I do agree with your jobs, jobs, jobs…

    “Each nuclear power plant employs 400 to 700 workers.

    Building a nuclear power plant employs up to 3,500 workers at peak construction.

    Nuclear worker salaries are 36 percent higher than the average local salary.

    The typical nuclear power plant creates $40 million in labor income each year.

    For every 100 nuclear power plant jobs, 66 more jobs are created in the local community.

    23,000 jobs will be added to the nuclear field over the next five years.”

  84. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-26 09:22

    Land use and decommissioning/recycling issues in play for a really big solar farm…

    * The proposed solar project is 6,350 acres and would replace a tree farm with solar panels.
    * The proponents refuse to post a bond upfront that would cover decommissioning costs, which include dealing with toxic elements like cadmium in the panels.
    * The power would apparently go to Apple, Microsoft, and the University of Richmond, but there would be no other economic development in the county that would use the power generated by the panels.
    * Other uses of the land would need to wait for 30 years while the solar farm is in use.

    The removal of trees is a problem. Not only are you removing the ability to take carbon out of the air, you now have to burn natural gas to make up for the intermittency of the solar farm. Double-whammy.

  85. jerry 2019-03-26 11:54

    We should have thought of all of that before we killed all the Passenger Pigeon’s, double barreled whammy.

  86. jerry 2019-03-26 12:08

    trump and dummies at work.”The U.S. Department of Energy’s proposal to dramatically narrow the scope of light bulbs covered by the upcoming federal 2020 energy efficiency standards will cost consumers up to $12 billion on their utility bills and cause up to 25 more coal burning power plants’ worth of electricity to be generated every year. This extra electricity use, enough to power all the households in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, translates into 34 million tons of additional climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions each year.”

  87. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-26 13:20

    It doesn’t have to translate into carbon dioxide emissions if you don’t emit carbon from your energy. Who knows…maybe the plan is to build 25 more nuclear plants!

    But yes, I agree that more efficient lighting is worthwhile and has made a difference.

    I don’t think the utilities will have to worry about the demand for electricity…particularly if we replace gasoline-powered vehicles with electric-powered vehicles. I’d rather expend the energy from 25 coal plants with carbon capture or 25 nuclear plants for electric vehicles instead of dumping that into light bulbs.

  88. Dicta 2019-03-26 13:26

    Oh, come on, Cory. That was funny.

  89. jerry 2019-03-26 14:43

    Doc, there are no plans for anything other than destruction with these clowns. This bunch can’t even spell infrastructure little alone understand what it means. That is why they think the incandescent light bulb is such a bright thing to bring out of mothballs. Kind of like when king dummy trump was speaking with a Naval Commander about a steam catapult and its replacement, the EMALS. Replacing a 60 year old systems for upgrade is just more proof positive that trump and his voters cannot pour sand out of their shoes. Voters need to replace a 70 something year old failure in Washington called trump.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.