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combined heat and power Archives - Michaels Energy

US Energy Consumption

Combined Heat and Power – a Serious Decarb Weapon

By Energy Rant No Comments
A few weeks ago, we reviewed electricity storage technologies, barriers, and issues. One storage technology is the lowly lead-acid battery, which forms the backbone of uninterruptible power supplies for data centers. They are inexpensive with readily available materials, are 100% recyclable, and therefore, they get no attention. Why? Elon Musk, the ultimate hype provocateur. What happened to the PowerWall, by the way? Disruption of rational thought? A web search of “annual Powerwall sales” results in nothing but distantly tangential content. Similarly, the utility industry, our industry, other companies, and people chase the flashy objects (squirrel!) to obtain decarbonization targets. Flash...
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Utilities – We all Un-Bundle

By Energy Rant One Comment
Our theme the last few weeks has covered technological change, consumer emotions, and irrational ways of thinking. The regulated monopoly and its cost-of-service model will not last forever. Someday it will be replaced. What might that look like? Right after last week’s post, From Crazy to Rational went up, I read Why Electric Utilities Should Replace Electric Rate Base in Fortnightly. Wow. How fortuitous! Cost-of-Service The cost-of-service model (COS) described in last week’s post, and verified by the Fortnightly article, motivates utilities to provide slightly more business efficiency than government. The COS model sets revenue requirements for utilities by capitalizing...
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Energy and Demand Resource Soup

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
The AESP 2017 National Conference is in the rear view mirror. While I was, unfortunately, not able to attend many sessions, most of that time was spent talking with a lot of people. I absorbed a lot of information and hopefully some wisdom. This post discusses the increasingly complex and intertwined electric grid. Shifting Role to Grid Managers My findings from the conference jive with a recent article I read in Public Utilities Fortnightly (PUF). The subject of that article was the Power of Innovation, a utility executive’s roundtable that included representatives from Edison International, Exelon, Duke Energy, Oncor, Southern...
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cannabis

Cannabis – A Big Issue Coming to a Utility Near You

By Energy Rant One Comment
[vc_single_image image="13025" img_size="full" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" link="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/marijuana-pot-weed-statistics-climate-change"] Every kilogram of marijuana produced has a carbon bigfoot print of 4.3 metric tonnes (4.7 tons) of CO2. Marijuana production (U.S) consumes the annual electricity production of 1.7 million homes. Marijuana production consumes 1% of the nation’s electricity, and it’s growing rapidly. Data centers consume 3% of electricity worldwide. Mother Jones reports a growth module that four measly plants consume as much power as 29 refrigerators – probably not even efficient ones at that. Ok. Now that we have some context, you can bet this is a serious post. Public Service Announcement I can’t...
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Technology Application – The Crown Jewel

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff No Comments
As I watched one of the bowl games on New Year’s Day (darned if I can remember which one), the team behind had possession of the ball around mid-field with maybe a minute to go on the clock to score a touchdown and win, or not and lose (behind by four points).  Armchair QB advice: either throw the ball over the middle far enough downfield to be worth the time that will burn off the clock, or chip away with short out patterns to get out of bounds and stop the clock.  So, what is the boneheaded call?  A lateral...
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Combined Heat and Power Ins and Outs

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
Combined heat and power (CHP) is quite easy to understand from an energy efficiency perspective.  Deploying policies to encourage it is very complex due to a number of things: What fuel type are we saving? What is fair for the utility? What are the public benefits? How should any incentives be derived? [vc_single_image image="9082" img_size="full" onclick="link_image"] CHP Overview In a conventional thermal power plant fired by coal, roughly 20% of the energy is lost to the exhaust in the form of waste heat.  Roughly 45% of the thermal energy is rejected to the atmosphere or body of water – river,...
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Utilities and Using Less – Making the Abstract Concrete

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff 2 Comments
The utility business is fascinating and bizarre to me, and this can only mean I’m a hapless, pathetically boring person.  But that is what it may look like to the uninformed.  It’s like soccer, baseball, or Indy car racing.  If you don’t like these games/sports, you just don’t get it. First off, from business and investor perspectives, utilities are not growth stocks, and they haven’t been for decades.  Essentially, they are like US treasuries.  I learned this in a 1989 personal finance class.  Geezers invest in utilities for the steady dividend.  Clearly, I wasn’t interested in a paltry 7% yield...
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Electric Vehicles; I’ll Take the Bus, Thanks

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
[vc_single_image image="9325" img_size="full"] When consumers are considering the purchase of an electric vehicle, what are they thinking?  Good question. I would be thinking, how can I fully utilize it and what are the limitations?  The limitation nearly anyone would consider include the limited driving range.  What can I do with the 70 mile or so cap between charges?  Obvious (I think) answers include driving to work and running errands around the city.  But there are a boatload of other owner and societal issues no one mentions – not this article from Green Tech Media, which is based on this report...
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Threat to Electric Utilities – Pass the Lemonade

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Nothing lasts forever, or in some cases, even a couple years.  The race to displace current products and services of any stripe is rather obvious, except there will never be a replacement for the McDonald’s hamburger, and running shoes haven’t improved in 20 years.  In recent weeks, I have seen perhaps a half dozen articles regarding growing threat to electric utilities.  In the most recent article I’ve seen on the subject from The Wall Street Journal, Nick Akins, Chief Executive with AEP, sums it up cleverly and succinctly: “Am I going to just sit here and take it and ultimately...
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The Future of Energy Efficiency and Big Blue

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 7 Comments
We were recently conversing with folks from AESP about topics of interest for newsletters, and one intrigued me: what will be the big thing in the industry in 2014?   Answering that would be like predicting the S&P’s close on December 31st.  Over the long term (decades) the market tracks the economy.  Over the short term (years) it tracks sheep, which are entirely at the mercy of the Ben Bernanke. First, a quiz.  I love quizzes.  What saves more energy? A) Swapping out a 10 SEER air conditioner for a 13 SEER unit? or B) Swapping a 16 SEER for a...
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