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Are You Serious About the Climate Apocalypse?

By Energy Rant, Featured Energy Rant No Comments
Washington Post headline last week: “World is on brink of catastrophic warming, U.N. climate change report says.” Wolf! Wolf! People aren’t serious about decarb, and this post will prove it, but I provide ways to get it done. Is Solar Plus Storage Competitive? Solar is nice, but the numbers are ugly. If solar and storage with batteries were a serious contender for a clean energy grid, electric utilities would be soiling themselves because solar and batteries would put them out of business as customers would install their own and cut the cord. Let’s look at some basic arithmetic. Lazard pegs…
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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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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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Deregulation – The Hindenburg and Deregulation

By Energy Rant One Comment
The Rant: to boldly go where no man has gone before. Watch what you wish for. You might get it. Now that I’ve ripped off a line from a TV and movie series I’ve never watched and plopped down a cliché, it’s time to answer where I’m coming from. Politics on the day before Election Day. Associated government policy. The play I’ve seen in multiple forms, like a 1970s cop show where Charlie’s Angels, Starsky and Hutch, Cannon, Barnaby Jones , CHiPs, et al, always get their guy in the end of every episode. The opposite happens to corporations as…
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Utility Industry Disruption? Electricity is not a Movie

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 3 Comments
Because everyone reading this blog is in some way reliant on money from electric and/or gas utilities, I pay a lot of attention to the utility business and things like technological disruption and the utility death spiral.  I wrote about the utility death spiral back in April.  As a result of this fine article in greentechgrid, I’d like to bloviate about ballyhooed disruption. Disruption is an updated buzzword for “game changer”.  Prime example: Netflix to Blockbuster Video, Au Revoir. Greentechgrid notes a bunch of examples, and I have taken liberty to enhance the list by tabulating them into disrupted (Blockbuster)…
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Electric Vehicles; I’ll Take the Bus, Thanks

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
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 from the Edison…
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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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Delta Lambda Jamba Effect

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
I was recently pushed over the edge again by multiple opinion pieces declaring that energy efficiency is a waste of time and money because of rebound effect.  Rebound basically means that if consumers buy an efficient appliance, car, or light bulb, they will simply use it more and therefore save less, or even use more energy at the proverbial “end of the day”. First in this series was an opinion piece from a Cal State Fullerton professor published in The Wall Street Journal.  Below is my response to the journal: Robert J. Michaels’ commentary on August 20th suggests energy efficiency…
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Dodging the Absurd

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
In Stalin Lives, I mentioned our plan for securing an ENERGY STAR® clothes washer and dryer for our house.  What I did not mention was that the local appliance stores do not even stock gas-heated dryers. Think about how stupid it is to generate electricity with maybe 35% thermal efficiency, lose 10% of it to line losses, as discussed last week, in it’s transport to the home and then use this high-value energy as a toaster coil to dry clothes.  We, as well as I am sure millions of households, use “gas”, natural gas in our case and propane in…
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