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energy storage Archives - Michaels Energy

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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decarbonization

Net Zero: An Unserious Weapon Against Decarbonization

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You all know people who are always going to do something great but never make it happen. Consider the hapless New Year’s resolution for which someone plans to lose weight. They successfully diet between a cheeseburger and fries for lunch and a mound of pasta with rich sauce for dinner: the “diet” lasted a few hours and accomplished nothing. The empty New Year’s resolution de jure for decarbonization is net zero, where similarly, there is excess at times and shortages at other times. Whether it’s net-zero-energy building design or net-zero-carbon electricity production, the achievement is easy and similarly not helpful....
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energy storage

Energy Storage with Doug Houseman

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In this week's Energy Rant, Jeff Ihnen (CEO at Michaels Energy) interviews Doug Houseman (Principal Consultant at Burns & McDonnell) about energy storage. Doug is a leader and visionary in grid and utility modernization. You'll quickly get a sense of his wealth of knowledge as we take you through our interview-style conversation.
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Years of Dominos Fall in Texas

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Last week when the Rant “went to press,” which is to say, when I wrote it Saturday, the arctic blast was merely a cold shot of weather like I have experienced dozens of times. I didn’t start seeing the chaos in the south until Monday. It was an avoidable tragedy caused by many things over many years. Some places lost water supply and wastewater treatment. A colleague sent me the first picture below from a friend in the Dallas area. Here in the Midwest, we might think that’s an innovative way to keep beer cold at a house party. In...
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MISO Graph

Good, Perfect, and Real Carbon Targets – Finale

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In this week's Energy Rant, we're covering the final segment of good, perfect, and real carbon targets. There are two sources of carbon-free energy. First, we have the category of renewable with wind, solar, hydro, and some geothermal. Second, we have nuclear. Oops – third, we have efficiency and demand management. The electricity market is bizarre to me. Last week I crudely explained how the regional transmission authorities (RTO) and their twins, independent system operators (ISO), balance the grid in real-time. Power supplied must match demand with very tight tolerances of voltage and frequency at all times. The chart below...
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RTO and ISO Map

Good, Perfect, and Real Carbon Targets – Part 3

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In this week's Energy Rant, we're covering part three of good, perfect, and real carbon targets. In Part I of this series, we examined how various storage technologies work, their pluses, and minuses. In Part II, we put numbers to generation and storage technologies, including maximum power, duration of discharge (for storage), cost per megawatt and megawatt-hour to build and operate, and a slew of other great stuff. In Part III, we will size up the numbers from Part II to actual grid demand. The objective is to provide scale to see what we would need to pair high percentages...
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construction cost

Good, Perfect, and Real Carbon Targets – Part 2

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In this week's Energy Rant, we're covering part two of good, perfect, and real carbon targets. Last week we looked at grid-scale energy storage options for a couple of them, namely hydrogen and flywheels; I asked, “What could go wrong?” To be fair, my comment on hydrogen was its use as a buoyant gas to float the Hindenburg. Hydrogen, while very light, is explosively combustible, so putting it in a blimp was crazy. I always like to throw factoids in for budding STEM enthusiasts. Take a helium (non-combustible) balloon on a string, hold it by the string in a moving...
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Gas Turbine Generator

Good, Perfect, and Real Carbon Targets

By Energy Rant No Comments
I recently delivered an electrification presentation for Wisconsin Public Utility Institute’s Energy Utility Basics course. While introducing myself, I said, "I’m an engineer, and I can’t help it." I also said the answer to the question, “Can we ___?” is always, “Yes, it’s just a matter of money.” That led me to briefly discuss politicians, with no background in the subject, declare that “we” (state, city, etc.) will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050. The universe is between here and there. When I hear that renewable electricity is cost-competitive with conventional sources like combined-cycle natural gas or even...
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