Truth in Electricity Generation Labeling Act

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Summary

This model act will require the labelling of all electric generation plants, to include wind and solar installations, to provide accurate generation values for their output. This requires those installing energy sources to make known the capacity factors weighted for local conditions, to include their performance in the real world, and to also provide the maximum on demand output the energy source is able to generate, also known as firm power.

Truth in Electricity Generation Labeling Act

The Problem

Electric grids must match demand with supply immediately. If not, curtailment or blackouts are caused. The push for “Green” energy, notably solar and wind power, has exacerbated the problem of producing reliable energy for two reasons.

First, the variability of wind and solar generation makes it difficult to match load requirements to meet electricity demand all the time. Wind and solar often produce little or no electricity when there are extreme weather conditions. When electricity is in high demand, often when it is very cold or hot, wind and solar output can plummet dramatically.

Second, renewables often overbill their nameplate value. Frequently they are promoted as being able to produce 5, 10, or 100 MW or more of reliable electricity when in fact they produce just a fraction of that on an annual basis.

Wind has as a variable output, depending on the location, which typically ranges from 28% to 42% of its nameplate value. This means wind has a capacity factor of 28% to 42%.

Solar also has a capacity factor that is far less than their nameplate value. Depending on the state, the location, and time of year, solar produces 18% to 25% of its nameplate value.

Traditional forms of energy are allotted no such grace. Nuclear power plants, for instance, generate 100% of their nameplate value until they are turned off for maintenance or repair. Natural gas and coal power plants can produce their nameplate value as well. These sources must be called upon to compensate by lowering their output for renewable energy’s shortcomings, and consumers pay the price.

Clarification in labeling is necessary. This legislation seeks to address this problem by requiring all forms of energy, including renewables such as wind and solar, to provide accurate energy generation figures of their annual output. Mandating such “truth in labeling” will help the public, legislators, and regulators better understand critical differences between what they are told renewable sources will generate, and what they actually do provide in the real world.

Summary of the Act

This model act will require the labelling of all electric generation plants, to include wind and solar installations, to provide accurate generation values for their output. This requires those installing energy sources to make known the capacity factors weighted for local conditions, to include their performance in the real world, and to also provide the maximum on demand output the energy source is able to generate, also known as firm power.

 

An example of how this might look is detailed below:

Nuclear               Nameplate 1,000 MWh Capacity 940 MWh         On Demand              1,000 MWh**

Natural gas        Nameplate 1,000 MWh Capacity 800 MWh*       On Demand              1,000 MWh**

Coal                     Nameplate 1,000 MWh Capacity 750 MWh*       On Demand              1,000 MWh**

Wind                   Nameplate 1,000 MWh Capacity 300 MWh         On Demand                  0 ***

Solar                    Nameplate 1,000 MWh Capacity 200 MWh         On Demand                  0 ***

 

*Includes the time that they could have produced electricity, but were displaced by wind and solar or throttled back to load match demand

**When they are operating at full capacity

*** Wind and solar, with the addition of batteries can produce small amounts of on demand electricity

 

SECTION 1. Legislative Findings

The legislature of [name of state] finds that:

  1. American families and industries depend on reliable and affordable electricity for everything they do, from lifesaving medical equipment to lifesaving climate control in homes and workplaces;
  2. Nameplate electricity plant ratings are often presented in a confusing manner. This is because those who promote Green energy publicize its optimal output under ideal conditions, not its maximum “on demand” capacity. Such fudging makes it more likely to overpromise renewable energy’s ability to meet our electricity needs;
  3. Electricity demand must be met with electricity supply instantly, or interruptions of service result;
  4. The North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), the Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) MISO, and PMJ have warned that large swathes of the United States face elevated risks of electricity shortfalls now and in the future;
  5. Clarification of nameplate value, capacity, and firm capacity is necessary for planning, public, legislative, and regulatory understanding;
  6. A failure to manage the grid properly, which is hampered by a poor understanding of nameplate capacity of the various energy sources feeding it, can lead to disruptions in the supply of electricity that jeopardize reliability and affordability, and could ultimately cause a failure of service;
  7. Electric usage in the United States has remained flat for the last 20 years, yet investments in new generation has accelerated. This acceleration is occurring at a time when there is scant information on the reliability of the renewables replacing the traditional sources of generation.
  8. Rising electricity prices and decreased reliability contribute to overall inflation, unemployment, and economic hardship;
  9. Affordable and reliable electricity is of major importance to the poor who spend a disproportionate percentage of their income on energy. They are harmed the most by expensive, unreliable electricity.

 

SECTION 1. Definitions

As used in this section:

(a) “Dispatchable” or on demand power means a source of electricity that is readily available for use on demand and can be dispatched upon request of a power grid operator, or one that can have its power output adjusted according to market needs, except for routine maintenance or repairs;

(b) “Nameplate value” is the estimate of the maximum amount of electricity that can be generated by the electricity unit under ideal conditions.

(c) “On Demand or Firm power” includes dispatchable power generation, as well as battery storage in excess of 8 hours. On demand or firm power does not include power that is not dispatchable.

(d) “Capacity factor” is the amount of electricity estimated or historically produced annually in the same units of nameplate value. Capacity shall include the electricity that could have be generated if it were not curtailed to meet demand. Capacity does not include amounts curtailed because of transmission congestion.

(e) “Electric generation facility” means a facility that uses water, coal, natural gas, wind, solar, or nuclear to generate electricity for the owner or customers;

SECTION 2. Providing accuracy in electric generation nameplate, capacity and on demand labeling

(a) Electricity generation sources shall provide nameplate, capacity and on demand values in the description of their product. It shall be listed in the first five (5) sentences of any description of the product.

(b) When electricity generation sources are described by their nameplate value, the capacity and on demand amounts shall also be included. This extends to any marketing material.

SECTION 3. Penalties

(a) Violators of this section shall pay a $5,000 fine for each violation.

SECTION 4. Severability

Each section, paragraph, and portion of each paragraph of this Act is severable. If one or more sections, paragraphs, or portions of one or more paragraphs of this Act are held invalid on their face or as applied to particular facts, then the remaining portions and applications of the Act shall be given full effect to the greatest extent practicable.

SECTION 5. Applicability and Effective Date

This Act applies to all electric generation sources offered for sale or proposed to be decommissioned after [DATE].