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decarbonization Archives - Michaels Energy

carbon reduction

Opening Salvo to Grid-Interactive Buildings

By Energy Rant No Comments
To help accommodate intermittent renewable solar and wind power generation while minimizing grid and supply-side energy costs, the Department of Energy, its national labs, and our industry are exploring possibilities to use buildings as grid resources. The acronym de jour is GEBs, for grid-interactive, efficient buildings. What about the I? A focus group decided that gebs sounds better than giebs; therefore, GEBs[1]. Potential GEB benefits include: Accommodating large penetrations of renewable energy by shaping loads to take excess power when it is available for use when it is not available. Decarbonization. Energy conservation. Less-expensive energy supply. More customer control over...
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green energy

Does Green Investing Work? Expert Says No

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m just a mechanical systems[1] engineer but assume for a moment that I was a structural or civil engineer, and you asked me what it would take to build a bridge from Los Angeles to Honolulu. We can build anything, including that bridge. If the Golden Gate Bridge could be built in the 1930s, a nuclear submarine in the 1950s, and we put a man on the moon in the 1960s, we can sure as heck build a bridge to Hawaii in the 2020s. The bridge would be easier than zeroing out carbon emissions from the energy sector. See, I’m...
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civic lesson

Civics Lesson in Federal Carbon Policymaking

By Energy Rant No Comments
As the weeks, webinars, conferences, and workshops click by, I contemplate the barriers to decarbonization policy. Next week in our decarbonization course through AESP (register while there is still time) we will discuss policy on the state and regional levels. This post describes federal policy. This next chapter of the discussion comes via the EE Global Forum, an online conference presented by the Alliance to Save Energy last week. That provided more fertile soil to consider issues and barriers with decarbonization policy. The Alliance is rooted in the Washington area and is committed to efficiency at the national level. The...
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scientist

Think Like a Scientist – Let it Go, Hey Oh

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The more I see, the less I know, the more I like to let it go – hey oh. That would be from one of my five favorite bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and their hard-driving genius lead singer, Anthony Kiedis. That is what came to mind when I read this article, Why Thinking Like a Scientist is Good for You. The feedback I get from this blog is that it’s honest, critical, discernment of facts and science without bias or emotion. It’s a breath of fresh air – or maybe bad breath from your beloved dog or child...
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china

China Holds the Climate Cards

By Energy Rant No Comments
This week’s post is prompted by further research developing my decarbonization course scheduled for May 19, 2021, via AESP, and information provided by the American Energy Society. Would you believe the course is filling up? Just asking. I like and respect the American Energy Society for its no-spin reporting. Again, this week we are looking at carbon emissions. Last week I reported that the carbon intensity of US-generated electricity fell by 40% from 1.45 lb/kWh to 0.89 lb/kWh. This week, via Energy Society’s newsletter, Energy Matters[1], the Lawrence Berkeley Lab reported that carbon emissions are down 40% in absolute tonnage...
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avoided costs

Answer: Avoided Cost – What’s the Question?

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“Can I ask a question?” My response to that, in good company, is, “You just did. Would you like another chance?” Now that, my friends, is a paradox. As you ought to know, I’m preparing a mind-blowing three-hour course on decarbonization for AESP’s Spring Training. One conclusion: 100% decarb is going to take decades and it will be expensive and disruptive. A lot of progress has been made, but it has been easy for reasons I will explain next following this chart, which shows how decarb cost will soar as the percent reduction increases. Average CO2 emissions per kWh produced...
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US Energy Consumption

Combined Heat and Power – a Serious Decarb Weapon

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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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Case Study in Energy Transition

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No one will confuse me with Simon Sinek, a great speaker, but one thing I can do is nail my timeslot. If I’m mindful of the time I have available, 20 minutes, etc., I will nail it – except one time[1]. That was last fall as I was doing my fourth rendition of electrification for the Wisconsin Public Utilities Institute. I update my presentation every year for current data and trends because the audience deserves it. But I tried too much stuffing for that bird. After several practice runs, I was consistently 10 minutes over the time limit. I thought...
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ouiji board

Performance Programs, Ouija Boards, and Mark Twain

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I could not compete with my former self and Gene Simons from last week, but I went back to the Gallup psychoanalysis barrel for more inspiration. I don’t want to write about myself unless it helps you understand why I’m so, uh, peculiar. Like Mr. Simons, I’m an insatiable consumer of information, maybe not books so much – although I’m sure I broke personal records since the Covid – but digital publications, interviews, conference papers, and journals. The psychoanalysis says, “It’s very likely that you rely, to some extent, on your passion for reading to help you launch conversations. Engaging...
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utilities

Are Electric Utilities in for a Taxi Ride?

By Energy Rant No Comments
I spent part of last week at the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s Grid Evolution Summit. In my notes I wrote, SEPA is out of the closet. They are full-throated in support of decarbonization of the grid. A carbon-free grid brings a limitless stream of what-ifs. This post features a few of those. Regulated Vertical Markets In regulated, vertically-integrated electricity markets, utilities drive decarbonization in collaboration with stakeholders across the board – cities, communities, industry, landowners, consumer advocates, regulators, legislators, and economic development authorities. I realized from Summit presentations that some utilities do better than others managing and lining up all...
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