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Energy Rant

This is a satirical and at times humorous but critical commentary on energy efficiency issues of the day.

“Keep up the good work! I like the variety of topics; never boring. It's like a Box of Energy Chocolates.... you never know what you're gonna get!”

Mike MernickSenior Vice President, ICF
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Electrification – Damn the Torpedo

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I attended Electric Power Research Institute’s Electrification 2022 Conference in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago. As a critical thinker and engineer, I often listened and thought, what about this or that, what does that look like at scale, or what you really need to do is ___. Silos of Excellence Everyone seems to think about an endpoint where the entire country will run on solar panels, windmills, heat pumps, and electric vehicles. No one talks about what must happen between here and there. The silos of excellence include: Our industry and associated tiny departments representing utilities expect a 100%...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Process Optimization – Elvis Gets It

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When I was a kid, maybe in junior high, we were assigned a project to describe, step by step, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. After moment of, “huh,” I understood the task and purpose of the assignment. There isn’t enough of this type of assignment in efficiency programs or business today. On many occasions in recent years, I’ve had to explain how the utility business works, how we handle aspects of our business, or how a program process works. When the receiving end is fully invested in understanding these things as well as they can, both...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

S&P ESG, Tells of a Scam

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I knew a little about ESG – environmental, social, and corporate governance. I even saved a few articles to my pile, but when Tesla was recently booted from the index and Elon Musk called it a scam, I thought, this is a good time to investigate. Musk took to Twitter, “Exxon is rated top ten best in the world for environment, social & governance (ESG) by S&P 500[1], while Tesla didn’t make the list!” And later, he added, “ESG is a scam,” followed by “It has been weaponized by phony social justice warriors.” Raarrr! Let’s take a look. I wrote...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Energy Inflation and Resetting the Dislocated Shoulder

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As of last week, year-to-date energy prices are up 58% for NYMEX crude oil, 91% for NYMEX gasoline, and only 39% for retail gasoline. Retail prices seem to have a long way to climb as the high NYMEX prices make their way to the local gasoline pump. This week we look at how inflation is hitting our industry of efficiency and electrification and what might lie ahead. Let’s start with one-year price changes for a basket of commodities and roll forward with that[1]. Diesel Fuel is Food Diesel fuel is used to transport seed, chemicals, fertilizers, and equipment to the...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Jack Linked on Gasoline Markets

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I drove the 3.5-hour route to see my mother last weekend. In preparation, I decided to fill my little tank the night before. And besides, I thought, prices are likely to be higher tomorrow. It was $4.149 per gallon. The next day, about 45 miles down the road on I-90 in Southern Minnesota, Love’s posted price was $4.599. WHAT? I thought I slept through a timewarp, but it was confirmed by sign after sign. Petty Games How are you dealing with high energy prices? I have filled my tanks on multiple occasions before I otherwise would in order to buy...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Managing Utility Bills with Automation and Information

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Another week and we have two more dire warning shots of forecast blackouts this summer. These come from The Wall Street Journal and describe challenges from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) region to California. Michigan’s Palisades Nuclear Generating Station shut down permanently on May 20th taking out 6.5% (800 MW) of the state’s electricity supply (gulp). The Journal notes it is part of Michigan’s transition to all renewable energy. They also write that it was slated for closure for five years, but Governor Whitmer waited to throw a last-minute Hail Mary just one month before closure to the federal...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Leveling the Skateboard Curve with a Demand Side Attack

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NERC sounds alarm on solar tripping in sobering summer reliability report, May 19, 2022, UtilityDive.com. This seems like a timely sequel to last week’s Blistering Wind and Solar Energy post, in which I summarized the results of a renewables integration study performed by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. The blisters represent pockets of excessive renewable energy generation and the “very different reliability risks than are experienced today,” as described in the MISO report. Electronics provide voltage and frequency control from solar panel generation. When the solar tiger grows from a cub that we had a few years ago into the...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Blistering Wind and Solar Energy

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Grid reliability issues are upon us, and they will become more severe and disruptive in the next 10-20 years. But first, why is this happening? If governments mandated things in medicine[1] as they do with the grid, they would declare that chemotherapy will phase out by 2030 and cancer will be cured by 2035. Period. Because they said so. Meantime, we will have to deal with the deleterious effects of forced fantasies, so let’s get to work on that. The transition to high penetrations of renewable energy will increase in cost exponentially, as I wrote a year ago in Answer:...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Abstract Writing with Marvin and The Old 96er

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I love reading and scoring abstracts, so sign me up! This post provides advice for abstract writing to get selected for a paper, award, webinar, or article. But first, a secret: I advise that you pay attention because my scores are heavily weighted. How do you do that, Jeff? Easy. On a scale of one to five, where five is best, I give a few fives, and I assign the rest to purgatory or hell with a two or one, respectively. That gives more muscle to my opinions – like 4x compared to folks who score 4s and 5s on...
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Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Weaponized Energy by Xi and Putin

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This week I’m going to my news stack, starting with an interesting article from Zerohedge - How Far are We from Phasing out Coal. Answer: a long way and getting longer. CCP’s Exploding Coal Fleet Coal-fired power generation jumped 9% in 2021, to an all-time high. That increase is the biggest leap since I was in Ha Skewl and the DeLorean was hot. How is coal consumption growing worldwide today? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP). They continue to build and fire huge coal plants with zero reservation (or pollution control). The difference between governors and the governed in the U.S....
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