News & Events

Although Wind Farm Neighbors Notice Turbine Shadow Flicker, Few Are Annoyed By It

3/3/2022

New Berkeley Lab study provides insights into wind turbine shadow flicker perception and annoyance

The moving shadows caused by wind turbines, referred to as “shadow flicker” (SF) (see figure 1), are known to generate annoyance in some people. However, the relationship between the amount of SF exposure and the annoyance it causes is poorly understood. A better understanding of the magnitude, drivers, and potential mitigation strategies of SF annoyance is needed to better understand this concern and be able to properly regulate it, if desired.

New Berkeley Lab report on solar-adopter income and demographic trends

3/2/2022

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has released the latest edition of its annual report, Residential Solar-Adopter Income and Demographic Trends. The report, based on address-level data for 2.3 million residential solar adopters across the country, describes trends in solar-adopter household income levels, race and ethnicity, language preference, rural vs. urban, education levels, occupation types, age, home value, and credit scores

What can surface wind speed trends tell us about wind generation?

2/16/2022

The capacity factor of wind plants in the United States has improved significantly in recent years, with newer plants exhibiting higher capacity factors than older plants. Some researchers have attributed this increase to technology improvements that boost energy capture per unit capacity, while others have instead argued that the role of technology may be overstated, and that a substantial portion of the gains in wind plant output are instead due to a global trend of increasing wind speeds.

Helping Puerto Rico Achieve 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

2/15/2022

Berkeley Lab joins in broad federal effort to develop pathways for island’s clean energy future

Researchers at the Lab are working with five other DOE national labs to develop a roadmap for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to meet its 100% renewable energy mandate.

Signposts for States Show Ways to Flex Power Use

2/7/2022

Meeting state energy and climate goals requires policies and programs to make electricity use more flexible and efficient.

A new Berkeley Lab report, State Indicators for Advancing Demand Flexibility and Energy Efficiency in Buildings, provides signposts in 10 categories: building energy codes, appliance and equipment standards, resource standards, utility planning, utility programs, advanced metering infrastructure and meter data, rate design, state programs, state energy planning, and related state policies and regulations.

What is the Cost of Errors in Solar Power Forecasts?

1/20/2022

An unexpectedly cloudy day can cause solar generation to dip below expectations, and in consequence, other generators will need to compensate with additional output. One possibility is that fast acting gas combustion turbines would fill this generation gap, and while this is suitable solution from a reliability standpoint, a more fuel efficient combined cycle generator might have been able to compensate for the reduced solar output given enough prior warning.

Electricity Regulation with Equity and Justice for All

1/19/2022

Poring over the line items on your monthly electricity bill may not sound like an enticing way to spend an afternoon, but the way electricity bills are structured has a significant impact on equitable energy access and distribution. For example, fixed fees can have a disproportionate impact on low-income households. And combined with other factors, low-income households and households of color are far more likely to report losing home heating service, according to recent federal data.

Utility-scale PV’s power (MW/acre) and energy (MWh/acre) density have improved significantly over the past decade

1/18/2022

Berkeley Lab is pleased to announce the publication of a new article—“Land Requirements for Utility-Scale PV: An Empirical Update on Power and Energy Density”—that was recently published in the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics.

New Report Investigates How Utilities Can Better Capture Distributed Battery Grid Value

12/22/2021

Berkeley Lab’s “Opportunities and Challenges to Capturing Distributed Value via Retail Utility Rates and Programs” explores how regulators and utilities can use rate and program offerings to encourage distributed battery owners to dispatch their systems in ways that provide value beyond individual bill savings for the adopter.

New Report Available on Quantifying Grid Reliability and Resilience Impacts of Efficiency

12/15/2021

Berkeley Lab's new technical brief, Quantifying grid reliability and resilience impacts of energy efficiency: Examples and opportunities, explains in plain terms how utility planning processes today value energy efficiency's contributions to electricity system reliability and resilience and recommends ways to overcome current limitations in considering those impacts.

Berkeley Lab study investigates how plentiful electricity turns wholesale prices negative in the US

12/2/2021

The year 2020 upended routines in nearly all aspects of our lives. In the realm of energy economics, we saw prices turn negative for U.S. crude oil, natural gas, and wholesale electricity. While negative prices were unprecedented for oil, similar conditions existed for natural gas in 2019, when pipeline capacity could not accommodate the rapid expansion of associated gas production in the Permian Basin.

Who is participating in residential energy efficiency programs?

12/1/2021

new Berkeley Lab report describes how 11 demographic and household characteristics including income, race and ethnicity, and education affect participation in residential utility customer-funded energy efficiency programs.

Meeting the Twin Goals of Equity and Decarbonization: December 16th Public Webinar With Authors of New Report

11/29/2021

Equity issues are being raised across all sectors of society. In a general sense, equity is just and fair inclusion. In terms of how we power our homes and our economy, equity is the fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of energy production and consumption.

Berkeley Lab study demonstrates the time-sensitive value of residential space conditioning energy efficiency measures in California

11/16/2021

Many assessments of energy efficiency measures and program impacts provide only annual electricity savings estimates. Energy efficiency savings, however, are not constant throughout the year and instead can vary over the course of the day and by season. Since the cost of electricity generation and delivery also varies within a day and over the year, non-hourly estimates of energy efficiency impacts fail to recognize times when both savings and system costs are high.

Berkeley Lab Assesses Opportunities to Integrate Marginal Cost Data of the Cambium Model into Electric-Sector Decisions

11/9/2021

NREL’s freely available Cambium tool generates forward-looking simulations of marginal wholesale electricity costs associated with NREL’s Standard Scenarios.

New Report: ‘Advancing Equity in Utility Regulation’

11/4/2021

States are increasingly recognizing equity as a goal of utility regulation, going beyond traditionally stated objectives to ensure that electricity systems are reliable, safe, and fairly priced. But they are just beginning to grapple with how to achieve this goal.

A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Advancing Equity in Utility Regulation, provides four cutting-edge perspectives on advancing equity in electric utility regulation.

Hybrid power plants are catching on. But only some are cost effective.

11/3/2021

New research from Berkeley Lab studies the impacts of configuration choices on the recent economics of solar-plus-battery and wind-plus-battery hybrid energy plants.

Berkeley Lab study explores supply-side barriers to solar adoption equity

10/21/2021

Although there is growing interest in policies and programs to ensure that the benefits of solar power are equitably reaching households of all income levels, lower income households are still less likely to go solar.

Berkeley Lab uses empirical PV+battery data to evaluate how business models influence dispatch

10/18/2021
  • Berkeley Lab analysis of empirical PV+battery data from a sample of 11 plants operating in 2020 finds that dispatch and impacts to the grid depend on the owner’s business model.
  • In addition, Berkeley Lab updates the Solar-to-Grid report with new data for 2020, detailing trends in system impacts, reliability, and market value of stand-alone solar in the United States.

Variable Renewable Energy Participation in U.S. Ancillary Services Markets: Economic Evaluation and Key Issues

10/14/2021

As wind and solar energy become a larger share of electricity generation, there is growing interest in enabling these resources to provide reliability services to the grid through participation in ancillary services (AS) markets. Participation in AS markets could provide an additional source of revenue for resource owners to offset the declines in energy and capacity value that result from higher solar and wind penetration.

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