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electrification

Energy Inflation and Resetting the Dislocated Shoulder

By Energy Rant No Comments
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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Importing Illusions & Exporting Pollution

By Energy Rant No Comments
I had to go to my well of topics and found this interesting article from Clean Technica from last summer, A Realistic US Transport Electrification Plan - The Challenges We Can't Ignore. That is a catchy title because I am the woodchipper of grand ideas. Norway’s EV etc. Policies As Will Ferrell instructed us during last year’s Super Bowl, Norway crushes the United States in electric vehicle adoption. Clean Technica says 85% of new vehicle sales in Norway are electric and then complains about the lack of policy in the United States to support EVs. It makes a difference. For...
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A Franchise Organization for Decarb

By Energy Rant No Comments
About every six months, while participating in a strategic planning, leadership, marketing, or business development meeting, I hear “we should be doing decarb,” or “we’ve been talking about decarb for years, and that’s all we do is talk about it.” “We’ll be right back here talking about it a year from now.” Whoa! First, what is decarb? My guess is most people would say reducing the consumption of hydrocarbons in a catalytic process with airborne oxygen to produce heat which may be used for heating, power generation, or locomotion – while producing coproducts of gaseous water, carbon dioxide, and minuscule...
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Resilience for a Power Grid Green Swan Event

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week’s Reckoning post featured findings from a Wall Street Journal article that demonstrated our power grid is becoming less reliable, and I added that this would accelerate in the wrong direction over the next ten years. Like the Texas fiasco of February 2021, the causes of unreliability are smeared over many stakeholders such as regulatory, state, and federal government agencies, power suppliers, and voters. Utilities can be stuck in the middle, attempting to keep prices low while maintaining profits and keeping the pitchforks and torches at bay. Talk of adding an efficient combined-cycle natural gas plant will draw pitchforks...
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Looking back at 2021 Forecast

Looking Back at the 2021 Forecast

By Energy Rant No Comments
Predicting the future with infinite degrees of freedom is hard, especially when projected years into the future. A few years ago, Public Utilities Fortnightly posted an article about the accuracy of The Jetsons forecasting the future. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera got about half of it right, which isn’t bad for a 60-year projection. I researched this because I found an error in the PUF article that said there were no area codes in Jetson time (1962-1963). A quick online search indicates area codes started in the 1940s. Technologies from the Jetsons that we have today include moving walkways, treadmills,...
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Fork in the Road

Middle Actors Take the Fork, Customers Take the Change

By Energy Rant No Comments
When I stick my neck out, it’s often nice to discover others are on board to slow down the machete. I stash potential topics in an electronic pile, and when something triggers a need, I’m ready to go. This time, a co-presenter triggered me as I was delivering an electrification presentation for the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute’s Utilities Basics Course. The co-presenter was Erin Monroe-Nye, who discussed and provided the essentials of energy efficiency programs. Erin described a scenario in which she wanted to install a cold-weather heat pump. She got resistance and a runaround from her HVAC contractor. I...
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image of a group of buildings

Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings Part 4: Utilities Ask, Why?

By Energy Rant No Comments
This is the fourth in a series of posts on grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs). Here is a summary of the series: August 23 – Why GEBs? What is it, and why do it? August 31 – GEBs are difficult to achieve, beyond efficiency that should be done regardless. September 7 – What will customers think of this madness? Let’s peek at where we’ve been and where we are going. This series is based on a list of challenges noted in DOE's National Roadmap for Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings: Consumer awareness (Covered 07SEP21) Complexity (Covered 31AUG21) Utility interests (Today) Regulatory models Policymaker...
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ouiji board

Performance Programs, Ouija Boards, and Mark Twain

By Energy Rant No Comments
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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electricity storage - climate change

Innovative Electricity Storage Crushes Batteries; Death Sentence for Duck

By Energy Rant One Comment
I’m not in the electricity storage business, but I can recognize lousy ideas when I see them. Grid-scale battery storage is a bad idea. It will never be anything more than a frequency and voltage regulation technology, although I have to say these are critical functions that batteries can provide. Innovation comes out of left field while everyone else is trying to make a pig fly. And when I see it, I think, “Wow, why did I not think of that?” The Roots of Sound Storage Thermal power generation, particularly from coal, and to a lesser extent, nuclear, have enormous...
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electric vehicles

Get People into Electric Vehicles Through the Zone of Acceptance

By Energy Rant No Comments
A few weeks ago, I observed a webinar [1]sponsored by the Advanced Energy Economy to help me triangulate what the next great trend(s) might be. That meshed well with the electric vehicles (EV) post of last week and this week. The webinar featured two electrification apostles and two critics. The apostles led off with the no-brainerisms of the EV. The economics are hysterically bullish. It costs a tiny fraction to power personal transportation with electricity, primarily through cheap renewable energy, versus petroleum-based fuels. Point taken. Technological Determinism Later, when the critics came onto the scene, one of them noted that...
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