Vermont leads the way in climate war. Russia, China and India do not follow !

"As a bedrock principle of state energy policy, Vermont law requires the Public Utility Commission to specify “strategies for reducing electric rates to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate six-year period, for the next succeeding six-year period, and long-term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates over the full 20-year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont”. 

 Please read more from Steve Thurston at :

https://vermontdailychronicle.com/2021/12/08/thurston-vt-leads-the-...

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Comment by Willem Post on December 9, 2021 at 11:19am

Thurston: VT ‘leads the way’ in climate war, Russia, China and India don’t follow

by Steve Thurston

As a bedrock principle of state energy policy, Vermont law requires the Public Utility Commission to specify “strategies for reducing electric rates to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate six-year period, for the next succeeding six-year period, and long-term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates over the full 20-year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont”.  

Disturbingly however, by requiring highly subsidized wind and solar electricity our elected officials have prevented this law from being followed.  

The electric grid in Vermont must operate reliably as if wind and solar do not exist, because much of the time these sources are not generating any electricity. Wind and solar are in essence redundant and add extra cost to the taxpayer who subsidizes these sources, and to the ratepayer whose electric bills are increased as a result of these sources. 

Disregarding established “lowest possible electric rates” energy policy, the Democrat supermajority in the Vermont legislature has in recent years given preferential treatment to renewable energy developers by requiring taxpayers and ratepayers to pay more for electricity than they otherwise would have.

The legislature’s argument for these policies is to address climate change – even though it’s “settled science” that nothing Vermont does will have any effect on the world’s climate.

Policy makers and policy influencers often refer to changes in weather patterns in Vermont as a problem that must be confronted so that the maple syrup, skiing, or other weather dependent industries will not be adversely affected, but of course we know that Vermont ultimately has no control over its weather.  

We are also told that if Vermont “leads the way” in the fight against climate change the rest of the world will follow. 

Apparently unaware of Vermont’s leadership,  at the recent Glascow COP26 climate summit, Russia, which supplies Europe with natural gas, did not even show up, and both China and India, two of the world’s biggest coal consumers refused to sign the final agreement unless coal fired electrical generation was not to be “phased out”, but rather “phased down”. 

Three of the world’s major powers proved that they are more concerned about their economic well-being than climate change. China and India believe not burning coal would be worse for people than the effects of climate change.

 

In a recent Bloomberg Green report on Middle East oil producers, the UAE Minister of State for Climate Change promised, “as long as the world needs hydrocarbons we will continue to produce hydrocarbons.”

Likewise Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister said Saudi Arabia committed Saudi Arabia to be “net zero” by 2060, but this calculation will not include hydrocarbons that it will continue to export to an energy hungry world. The world’s largest oil exporters have no plans to stop producing oil.

Here in the United States, surveys continually find that climate change is not high on the list of people’s concerns.  In a recent Gallup poll of most important problems “Poor leadership” topped the list, followed by the pandemic, immigration, unifying the country, the economy, budget deficits, inflation, race relations.  Climate change did not make the top ten.

In the midst of all this contrary evidence, we have the Vermont Climate Council, an unelected assortment of special interests and ideologues created by the legislature when it overrode Governor Scott’s veto of the self-contradictory and deceptively named Global Warming Solutions Act. 

 

The Climate Council recently issued its first report.  This pie-in-the-sky document speaks in woke-isms of “just transitions” through an “equity lens” to an all-electric future where all Vermonters will be required to install heat pumps and drive electric vehicles. 

This is not surprising, since most of the Council members were appointed by Democrat/Progressive legislators and come from backgrounds in renewable energy, community organizing, racial bias activism, or climate activism, not from the business sector where balance sheets matter.

By its own admission the Council failed to engage with a significant cross section of the public. This is also understandable, because most Vermonters are not paying attention to the Climate Council, being more focused on the demands and stresses of their day to day lives. 

In the Climate Council’s view, even though the existing transmission system cannot accommodate more renewable energy, not to mention the increased electrical demand of heat pumps and electric vehicles, Vermonters must bear the cost of installing heat pumps and purchasing EVs for themselves and for those who cannot afford them, while simultaneously paying more for gas and oil because of increased taxation on these fuels. 

If we have to rebuild the transmission system, so be it, they say.   This at a time when Vermont has been on federal life support during the Covid-19 induced shutdown of much of the economy, creating enormous and ongoing suffering for many residents.

As an example of its disregard for opposing views, the Climate Council ignored PUC Commissioner and energy policy expert June Tierney,  who said about the proposals the council was preparing to unleash, “I don’t think Vermonters understand the Mack truck that’s coming at them when you start matching up resources to priorities this plan is going to embody. I just don’t think they understand how this is going to impact their lives and what it’s going to cost.” 

One might ask, “If none of this will make a difference to Vermont’s climate, what’s the point?” Who will profit from such irrational and economically suicidal policies which are contrary to long established law? As the saying goes, “follow the money”.

Wind and solar developers buy their turbines and solar panels with subsidies provided by taxpayers. Lobbyists and special interest groups like the Conservation Law Foundation, Renewable Energy Vermont, and Vermont Public Interest Research Group are supported by wind and solar developers.

Politicians receive campaign contributions from both the special interest groups and wind and solar developers. It is called crony capitalism. 

Vermonters could alter this self-destructive, authoritarian course by electing new legislators with common sense, energy realism and respect for the rights of Vermonters to decide for themselves what kind of car to drive and how to heat their homes.

The author is an Addison County Republican.

 

 

Comment by Willem Post on December 9, 2021 at 11:04am

Your write-up is a true masterpiece covering all the issues
Succinct and True, every word of it.
Congratulations!

I have made the same points for at least 20 years.

None of the RE “loving” legislators and RE businesses give one rat’s a.. about us VOTERS, as long as they are in the positions of power to graft and grift their way to 1) grants, 2) federal and state subsidies, 3) waving of taxes, fees and surcharges, all paid for by already overtaxed, over-regulated ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debts.

Comment by Willem Post on December 9, 2021 at 10:56am

“All-in” Electricity Cost of Wind and Solar in New England

 

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-na...

 

Pro RE folks point to the “price paid to owner” as the cost of wind and solar, purposely ignoring the other cost categories. The all-in cost of wind and solar, c/kWh, includes:

 

1) Above-market-price paid to Owners 

2) Subsidies paid to Owners

3) Owner return on invested capital at about 9%/y

4) Grid extension/augmentation

5) Grid support services

6) Future battery systems

 

Comments on table 5

   

- Vermont legacy Standard Offer solar systems had greater subsidies paid to owner, than newer systems

 

- Wind prices paid to owner did not have the drastic reductions as solar prices.

 

- Vermont utilities are paid about 3.5 c/kWh for various costs they incur regarding net-metered solar systems

 

- "Added to rate base" is the cost wind and solar are added to the utility rate base, used to set electric rates.

 

- “Total cost”, including subsidies to owner and grid support, is the cost at which wind/solar are added to the utility rate base

 

- “NE utility cost” is the annual average cost of purchased electricity, about 6 c/kWh, plus NE grid operator charges, about 1.6 c/kWh

for a total of 7.6 c/kWh.

 

- “Grid support costs” would increase with increased use of battery systems to counteract the variability and intermittency of increased build-outs of wind and solar systems.

 

NOTES:

1) NE wholesale grid price averaged about 5 c/kWh, starting in 2009, due to low-cost CCGT and nuclear plants providing at least 65% of all electricity loaded onto the NE grid, in 2019.

 

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix/

https://nepool.com/uploads/NPC_20200305_Composite4.pdf


2) There are Owning costs, and Operating and Maintenance costs, of the NE grid

ISO-NE charges these costs to utilities at about 1.6 c/kWh. The ISO-NE charges include: 

 
Regional network services, RNS, based on the utility peak demand occurring during a month

Forward capacity market, FCM, based on the utility peak demand occurring during a year.

 

Table 5/VT & NE sources

Paid to

Subsidy

Grid

GMP

 Added

ISO-NE

Total

NE

Times

 

 

paid to

support

 

to rate

RNS+

 

utility

 

owner

towner

cost

adder

base

FCM

cost

cost

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

c/kWh

Solar, rooftop, net-metered, new

17.4

5.2

2.1

3.5

20.9

1.6

29.8

7.6

3.92

Solar, rooftop, net-metered, legacy

18.2

5.4

2.1

3.5

21.7

1.6

30.8

7.6

4.05

Solar, standard offer, combo

11.0

6.74

2.1

11.0

1.6

21.44

7.6

2.82

Solar, standard offer, legacy

21.7

10.5

2.1

21.7

1.6

35.9

7.6

4.72

Wind, ridge line, new

9.0

4.1

2.4

9.0

1.6

17.1

7.6

2.25

Wind, offshore, new

12.1

5.4

2.8

12.1

1.6

21.9

7.6

2.88

 

Sample calculation; NE utility cost = Purchased, 6 + (RNS + FCM), 1.6 = 7.6 c/kWh

Sample calculation; added to utility base = 17.4 + 3.5 = 20.9 c/kWh

Sample calculation; total cost = 17.4 + 5.2 + 2.1 + 3.5 + 1.6 = 29.8 c/kWh

 

Excludes costs for very expensive battery systems

Excludes costs for very expensive floating, offshore wind systems

Excludes cost for dealing with shortfalls during multi-day wind/solar lulls. See URL

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide...

 

“Added to rate base” is for recent 20-y electricity supply contracts awarded by competitive bidding in NE.

“Added to rate base” would be much higher without subsidies and cost shifting.

Areas with better wind and solar conditions, and lower construction costs/MW have lower c/MWh, than NE

 

Comment by Willem Post on December 9, 2021 at 10:55am

WIND AND SOLAR TO PROVIDE 30 PERCENT OF NEW ENGLAND ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY 2050

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide...

Turnkey Capital Costs of Grid-scale Battery Systems

 

Starting in 2015, EIA has prepared annual reports regarding grid-scale battery systems.

It has superior access to users regarding the turnkey capital costs of battery systems

The average duration of delivering electricity increased from 0.5 h in 2015 to 3.2 h in 2019.

 

Excluded are: 

 

1) Financing costs

2) Benefits of subsidies, such as grants, tax credits, accelerated depreciation, loan interest deductions, waiving of state and local taxes, fees and surcharges, etc.

3) System aging costs, because the systems had been in operation only a few years.

 

EIA 2020 Report

The EIA graph, based on surveys of battery system users, shows slowly decreasing costs after 2018

It appears, the range of values likely would become $900/kWh to 450/kWh in 2025.

The values would be near the high end of the range in New England. See URL

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=45596

 

EIA 2021 Report

Table 6 combines the data of prior reports and the 2021 report.

See table 6 and page 18 of URL

https://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/electricity/batterystorage/pdf...

 

The US average turnkey capital cost of battery systems was about $590/kWh, delivered as AC, in 2019.

The NE average turnkey capital cost for such systems is about $700/kWh, delivered as AC, in 2019

 

Such costs are likely to prevail for at least 5 more years, unless major technical breakthroughs are discovered, and subsequently implemented on a large scale

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/economics-of-utility-s... 

 

NOTE: Grid-scale battery systems, used 8,766 h/y, have a much higher turnkey cost per kWh (at least $600 per kWh, at present), than mass-produced battery packs for EVs, used about 750 h/y (about $125 - $175 per kWh, at present). They are not comparable.

 

NOTE: Various financial services entities, such as Bloomberg and Lazard, issue reports that project lower battery system costs/kWh, delivered as AC, than the EIA, likely to hype their financial services business interests. It would be prudent to ignore those reports.

 

Table 4/Battery system turnkey cost

Range

Duration

Average

Year

 $/kWh as AC

hour

 $/kWh as AC

2015

 2500 to 1750

0.5

 2102

2016

 2800 to 750

1.5

 1417

2017

 1500 to 700

1.8

 755

2018

 1250 to 500

2.4

 625

2019

1050 to 475

3.2

589

2025

 900 to 450

 

 500

 

APPENDIX 2

 

Grid-scale Battery System Operating Cost in New England

 

I found no usable information regarding real-world operating costs, after googling on the internet for many hours. I decided the cost categories of operating a rental property are similar to a battery system.

 

1) The owning and operating cost of a rental property usually involves a down payment, say 20%, and a mortgage for 80%. The annual owning and operating cost of the property includes: 1) the cost of the mortgage, and 2) other costs, such as heating, cooling, electricity, taxes, upkeep/repairs, etc. Both costs must be offset by the rental income to break even.

 

2) The owning and operating cost of a battery system usually involves a down payment, say 50%, and a bank loan for 50%. The annual owning and operating cost of a battery system includes: 1) the cost of bank financing at, say 3.5%/y, and 2) the owner’s return on investment at, say 9%/y, and 3) other costs. The three costs must be offset by the income of the services performed by the battery system to break even.

 

Battery System Operating Modes

 

- Arbitrage mode relates to charging at night, when rates are low, and discharging during peak demand hours, when rates are high. See table 4.

- Midday solar surge mode relates to reducing the daily midday solar surge to avoid destabilizing the grid. See table 4

- RNS and FCM Charge Reduction mode relates to reducing a utility’s peak demand to reduce ISO-NE transmission and forward capacity charges. See next section

- Regulation mode relates to fine-tuning voltage and frequency of the grid (not considered in this analysis)

 

RNS and FCM Charge Reduction

 

Regional network services, RNS, are based on the utility peak demand occurring during a month

Forward capacity market, FCM, are based on the utility peak demand occurring during a year.

 

If a utility would have an average peak demand of 800 MW, a 1 MW/4 MWh battery system could reduce the demand by 800 kW (battery discharging from 90% full to 10% full), and thus reduce the RNS and FCM charges imposed on utilities by ISO-NE. The potential savings from peak shaving are estimated below.

 

RNS: 2020 RNS forecast = $129.26/kW-yr /12 = $10.77/kW-month. See page 7 of URL

If a utility could capture 800 kW during the peak hour of a month, the savings would be 800 x 10.77 x 12 = $103,408

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2021/07/a03_tc_2021_...

 

FCM: 2020 FCM forecast = $5.30/kW-month. See URL

If GMP could capture 800 kW during the yearly peak hour, the savings would be 800 kW x $5.30 x 12 = $50,880
This value multiplied by the reserve margin of 1.2, yields $61,056

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2020/02/20200218_pr_...

 

RNS + FCM cost reduction = $164,464/y; the batteries are used only 13 d/y x 4 h/d = 52 h/y, about 0.6% of the year, to achieve this gain. Arbitrage and mid-day solar surge modes are using the batteries 99.4% of the year.

 

NOTE: With more utilities dreaming of a pot of gold to be gotten with battery systems, the high value of the RNS and FCM reduction may be temporary. ISO-NE needs to raise a given quantity of funds with RNS and FCM fees. If ISO-NE does not collect enough money, it merely will increase these fees, or other fees.

 

Amortizing Turnkey Capital Cost

 

The turnkey capital cost of New England battery systems, in 2021, would be about $700/kWh, delivered as AC to a high voltage grid.

Capital cost = 4,000 kWh x $700 = $2.8 million

This cost does not include 1) disposal costs of the batteries, and 2) any owning and operating costs

 

Amortizing based on 50% borrowed from a bank at 3.5%/y for 15 years, and 50% investor money at 9%/y for 15 years

Cost of amortizing = $72,624/y

See URL and Appendix

https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2019/07/f65/Storage%20Co...

 

Other Costs were assumed at $67,002/y

 

O&M costs are for: 1) power electronics, 2) thermal management, 3) HVAC of enclosures, 4) control and monitoring, 4) staffing, 5) miscellaneous items, such as site protection, lighting, insurance, taxes, upkeep/repairs, etc.

 

Assumptions

 

- A battery system able to deliver 1 MW of power for 4 hours, i.e., a rating of 1 MW/4 MWh

- Battery normal operation from 15% full to 80% full, to achieve a 15-y life.

- Battery real-world annual capacity factor at 50%

- Daily charging:

70% night-time from grid, at 3.5, wholesale + 1.6, ISO-NE charge = 5.1 c/kWh; the all-in wholesale cost. See table 5

30% mid-day solar from grid, at 19.84 + 1.6 = 21.44 c/kWh; the all-in solar cost. See table 5

- Electric rate during peak demand is 7.5 + 1.6 = 9.1 c/kWh

- System efficiency 80%, A-to-Z basis. See Appendix 

- No battery system aging. See Note

- RNS/FCM gain is allocated to arbitrage mode and mid-day solar surge mode

 

Allocating Battery System Costs

 

(Battery amortizing cost + Other costs) is allocated to:

 

1) Arbitrage mode ($72,624, amortize + $67,002, other costs) x 0.7 = $97,738

 

With RNS/FCM gain, the arbitrage mode benefit would be {100 x ($13,925, gain - $97,739, cost + 0.7 x $164,464, RNS/FCM gain)}/(0.7 x 2,000 kWh/d x 365 d/y) = 6.13 c/kWh; the “benefit” would become -16.40 c/kWh, without the RNS/FCM gain.

 

2) Mid-day solar surge mode ($72,624, amortize + $67,002, other costs) x 0.3 = $41,888

 

With RNS/FCM gain, the mid-day solar surge mode drawback would be {100 x ($38,763, loss - $41,888 cost + 0.3 x $164,464, RNS/FCM gain)}/(0.3 x 2,000 kWh/d x 365 d/y) = 14.30 c/kWh; the drawback would become 36.83 c/kWh, without the RNS/FCM gain

 

NOTE:

The drawbacks are not charged to owners, but to ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debts.

At present, the NE fleet of gas-fired CCGTs perform the mid-day solar surge service at about 2.4 c/kWh. See Appendix

If “Other costs” were less than $67,002/y, there would be a gain, which could be applied to improve the c/kWh

 

NOTE: Excluded from this analysis were state and federal subsidies, such as 1) tax savings due to depreciation and loan interest deductions; 2) cash grants; 3) tax credits; 4) waving of various state and local taxes, fees and surcharges, etc., which politically shifts the cost of solar to other entities, to make solar electricity appear less costly, and to enable an owner to sell his solar production at a politically palatable cost of about 11.0 c/kWh, instead of an expensive-looking cost of about 17.74 c/kWh. See Note and table 5

 

NOTE: In the real world, the battery owning and operating cost/kWh would be reduced by at least 45%, due to various subsidies.

However, no cost ever disappears, per Economics 101

Costs are politically shifted from owners to ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debts

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-na...

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-sol...

 

NOTE: Battery system aging at about 1.5%/y (all components, not just the battery) would decrease the capacity of the battery system, and increase the cost/kWh by at least 1.5%, each year

 

Table 4

Grid

ISO-NE

Total

Total

Battery

With

Without

cost

RNS/FCM

RNS/FCM

allocation

benefit

benefit

Arbitrage

Fraction

kWh/d

c/kWh

c/kWh

$/d

$/y

c/kWh

c/kWh

Charging cost

0.7

2500

3.5

1.6

89.25

32576

Discharging revenue

0.7

2000

7.5

1.6

127.4

46501

Gain

38.15

13925

97738

6.13

-16.40

Midday solar surge

Charging cost

0.3

2500

19.84

1.6

160.8

58692

Discharging revenue

0.3

2000

7.5

1.6

54.6

19929

Loss

106.2

38763

41888

-14.30

-36.83

RNS and FCM gain

164464

Net gain

139626

Amortizing

72624

Net gain

67002

Other costs

67002

Net gain

0

 

APPENDIX 3

 

Energy Losses of Battery Systems

 

The electricity loss of battery systems, i.e., efficiency, is much greater than generally understood.

Some energy systems analysts assume a loss for only the battery, such as 10%, but omit 1) Power Electronics, 2) Thermal Management and 3) Control and Monitoring.

.

1) This article identifies 18 losses of a battery system, totaling about 20% for a round-trip, excluding step-down and step-up transformer losses. See Note.

 

The system model has four coupled component models: BatteryPower ElectronicsThermal Management and Control and Monitoring.

Open URL and click on “View Open Manuscript”

See figures 3, 4 and 17 of article.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261917315696

 

2) Per EIA survey of existing battery systems, the efficiency is about 80%, AC to AC basis, excluding step-down and step-up transformer losses.

 

Aging had only a minor effect, because the battery systems were only a few years old.

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46756

 

Battery System Losses, A-to-Z basis: Usually, AC electricity from a distribution, or high-voltage grid, has to pass through a step-down transformer, about a 1% loss, to reduce the voltage to that of the battery, then the AC is converted to DC, then inside the battery. The DC energy from the battery has to be digitized, then made into a sine wave with the same phase and 60-cycle frequency as the grid, then via a step-up transformer, about a 1% loss, to the distribution, or high-voltage grid, for an overall efficiency of about 78%, much less with aging

https://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-inverters-work.html

Comment by Penny Gray on December 8, 2021 at 4:37pm

Excellent commentary, Steve Thurston.  Thank you.

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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