Energy Innovation, Choice and Risk Management for a Sustainable Future
A conversation with Clifton Below
Assistant Mayor, Ward 3
Ever since his father took him on tours of a hydroelectric dam and a nuclear reactor as a young child Clifton Below has had an outsized interest in technology, electricity and energy from both a scientific perspective as well as a public policy one. As a result of this Clifton Below has become one of the foremost thinkers and policy innovators in the country. New Hampshire’s good fortune has been that “Cliff” chose to live here and to grow and think here - instead of somewhere else. Over the course of 30 plus years that has led Cliff from election to the NH House, the NH Senate and then an appointment to the state Public Utility Commission.
Working, often with Republican Senator Jeb Bradley, the two friends have not only bridged the partisan divide but together have developed some of the most progressive, bi-partisan legislation anywhere in the US including one of the first “net Metering” laws, as well as the relatively-newly-enacted Community Choice Aggregation law that provides the opportunity for cities, towns and other legal jurisdictions to create an alternative to the investor owned utility energy supply system to aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts.
Today, after 3 terms in the NH House, 3 in the Senate and 6 years on the PUC Cliff has found his “spot on the porch” where theory and innovation come together to create meaningful change at the community level in his home city of Lebanon.
Other Links to topics in this podcast
What is DISTRIBUTED GENERATION? What does DISTRIBUTED GENERATION mean? DISTRIBUTED GENERATION meaning - DISTRIBUTED GENERATION definition - DISTRIBUTED GENERATION explanation. Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... license. Distributed generation, also distributed energy, on-site generation (OSG) or district/decentralized energy is generated or stored by a variety of small, grid-connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER) or distributed energy resource systems. Conventional power stations, such as coal-fired, gas and nuclear powered plants, as well as hydroelectric dams and large-scale solar power stations, are centralized and often require electricity to be transmitted over long distances. By contrast, DER systems are decentralized, modular and more flexible technologies, that are located close to the load they serve, albeit having capacities of only 10 megawatts (MW) or less. DER systems typically use renewable energy sources, including small hydro, biomass, biogas, solar power, wind power, and geothermal power, and increasingly play an important role for the electric power distribution system. A grid-connected device for electricity storage can also be classified as a DER system, and is often called a distributed energy storage system (DESS). By means of an interface, DER systems can be managed and coordinated within a smart grid. Distributed generation and storage enables collection of energy from many sources and may lower environmental impacts and improve security of supply. Microgrids are modern, localized, small-scale grids, contrary to the traditional, centralized electricity grid (macrogrid). Microgrids can disconnect from the centralized grid and operate autonomously, strengthen grid resilience and help mitigate grid disturbances. They are typically low-voltage AC grids, often use diesel generators, and are installed by the community they serve. Microgrids increasingly employ a mixture of different distributed energy resources, such as solar hybrid power systems, which reduce the amount of emitted carbon significantly.
Net metering (or net energy metering, NEM) is an electricity billing mechanism that allows consumers who generate some or all of their own electricity to use that electricity anytime, instead of when it is generated. This is particularly important with renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which are non-dispatchable (when not coupled to storage). Monthly net metering allows consumers to use solar power generated during the day at night, or wind from a windy day later in the month. Annual net metering rolls over a net kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit to the following month, allowing solar power that was generated in July to be used in December, or wind power from March in August.
Net metering policies can vary significantly by country and by state or province: if net metering is available, if and how long banked credits can be retained, and how much the credits are worth (retail/wholesale). Most net metering laws involve monthly rollover of kWh credits, a small monthly connection fee,[note 1] require a monthly payment of deficits (i.e. normal electric bill), and annual settlement of any residual credit. Net metering uses a single, bi-directional meter and can measure the current flowing in two directions. Net metering can be implemented solely as an accounting procedure, and requires no special metering, or even any prior arrangement or notification.
Net metering is an enabling policy designed to foster private investment in renewable energy.
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), also known as Community Choice Energy, municipal aggregation, governmental aggregation, electricity aggregation, and community aggregation, is an alternative to the investor owned utility energy supply system in which local entities in the United States aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts. The CCA chooses the power generation source on behalf of the consumers.
By aggregating purchasing power, they are able to create large contracts with generators, something individual buyers may be unable to do. The main goals of CCAs have been to either lower costs for consumers or to allow consumers greater control of their energy mix, mainly by offering "greener" generation portfolios than local utilities. Eight states in the United States have enacted CCA enabling law. They are: Massachusetts, Ohio, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Collectively, they serve about 5% of Americans in over 1300 municipalities as of 2014.
What is a Community Power Aggregator?
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), also known as Community Choice Energy, municipal aggregation, governmental aggregation, electricity aggregation, and community aggregation, is an alternative to the investor owned utility energy supply system in which local entities in the United States aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts.
|Stinson Brook in Winter|
Microgrids: This webinar was part of the Clean Coalition's 2019 series on the Clean Coalition's North Bay Community Resilience Initiative (NBCRI), a groundbreaking initiative to provide local governments, developers, and residents in disaster-affected areas with the information and tools they need to rebuild their communities with resilience. John Griffiths of CONTECH-CA presented.
|Flying into a Gathering Storm|
The Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire
On Friday October 1, 2021, thirteen municipalities and one county joined together to incorporate Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire. The nonprofit Joint Powers Agency was created to assist cities and towns in launching Community Power programs.
NH Saves Website
NHSaves has all kinds of tips, rebates and incentives to help homeowners to reduce their energy bill and be more environmentally friendly.
What’s a Negawatt?
(From Technopedia) A “negawatt,” which literally means a negative or an inverse megawatt, is a hypothetical unit of power for measuring the amount of energy saved (in megawatts) because of efficient power consumption.
The term was a typo of "megawatt" and was popularized in 1989 by environmentalist Amory Lovins, who is also the chairman and the chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute (Snowmass, CO, USA), after seeing the typo in a Colorado Public Utilities Commission report.
(From Renewable Energy World) A tremendous amount of energy is wasted every day all around the world. If we are going to tackle global warming, air pollution, water pollution, and energy poverty, it is absolutely critical that we tackle the issue of energy waste and become much, much more efficient. The US wastes 61% to 86% of the energy it generates. In other words, it wastes more of the energy that it generates than it actually uses. And that’s without taking into account energy wasted in homes and businesses! The US may “lead” the world in that category, but other countries also waste a great deal of energy. Energy waste needs to be cut all around the world.
We need a lot of renewable energy in order to turn off dirty energy and cut global warming emissions. But we also really need to stop wasting energy in order to cut these emissions. I think that putting energy savings in terms of negawatts helps people to better understand the value of energy efficiency and energy conservation. Hopefully it will help us save more energy all along the value chain. Clever thinking by Lovins.
Assistant Mayor, Ward 3
25 Perley Avenue
Lebanon, NH 03766