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natural gas

Wild Energy Ride

Next Up: A Wild Energy Ride

By Energy Rant One Comment
It has been a frothy year for the energy industry, and it will continue well into next year and beyond. How far? Heh heh. Let’s start with coal. After plummeting 30% in 2020, consumption bounced back, gaining 35% in 2021. Doing the math, that doesn’t quite get coal back to 2019 consumption. Coal plants are still closing at a breakneck pace, so consumption in the United States is bound to decline in the long haul, but will load balancers and utilities be able to keep the lights on in 2030? This is a concern to me because no source of...
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Years of Dominos Fall in Texas

By Energy Rant No Comments
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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Lithium is Not Nirvana

By Energy Rant No Comments
I am typically afforded the freedom to chase rabbits as I write these posts, but last week my mission was to reflect on 2020 and forecast 2021. In the process of starting that, I chased a rabbit that is the subject of this post. It is as easy to shoot down ideas as it is to be negative because humans have a negativity bias, which means negative events have a greater impact on brains than positive ones. For example, I recently read that the joy of finding $20 in a coat pocket, say from a year ago, is overwhelmed by...
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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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natural gas savings

Natural Gas Savings II – I will Huff(!) aanndd Puff(!) and Not Blowdown!

By Energy Rant No Comments
Two weeks ago, in Natural Gas Savings – Traps and H Vacs we looked at some basic natural-gas-saving measures. The post was wildly popular, and I had a good time, so let’s do it again! We compared some aspects of natural gas end-uses and waste that compare to compressed air. For example, we looked at steam traps versus compressed air leaks. Similarly, there are a lot of things that can be done with steam supply sources v compressed air sources, both including controls and other things. Minerals Tap water typically has a lot of dissolved minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and...
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natural gas

Natural Gas Savings, Traps, and H Vacs

By Energy Rant One Comment
I flipped open AESP’s[1] annual magazine to pick up a topic for this week. I chose the last article on natural gas programs. I’ve always found it interesting that folks perceive natural gas to be an enigma for finding savings. If natural gas is being used, the potential for savings is not more difficult to find than electricity savings. Steam “Traps” Let’s start with steam traps. Programs that maintain and replace steam traps are akin to electric programs that fix compressed air leaks. Traps capture things, right? Mousetrap. Ant trap. Beartrap. Ackbar trap. However, a steam trap doesn’t trap steam....
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energy

Soaked to Crisp Threats and 100% Renewable Energy

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week I attended the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference, IEPEC, which I had affectionately dubbed the Energy Program Evaluation Asylum, EPEA, six years ago. Back then, I called it the Asylum because it included annual scrums over subjects such as net-to-gross (NTG) studies, free ridership, and so on. The Family Feud is Dead You’ll never believe this, but the industry seems to have moved on. The only time I heard “NTG” was during the opening-night entertainment exercise – a gameshow wannabee modeled after the Family Feud. “One hundred evaluators were surveyed. The top six answers are on the board....
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bipartisan

Efficiency’s Problem: Cyborgs, Fragments, and Climate

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
The number of bipartisan political issues that can be counted on one finger is shrinking fast. All this while the definition of bipartisan has been lowered to a single vote from the opposing party. Energy efficiency is not among the bipartisan issue (sic). It is unfortunately limited to the left-wing of the political spectrum as once again demonstrated by Ohio where the deep red legislature in House Bill 6 passed a $1.1 billion bailout to keep two nuclear plants afloat, and efficiency - dead. Ohioans – Screwed, Coming and Going But there is more. Since it would be unfair to...
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Before and after wind and deregulation

Wind’s Dramatic Impact on Pricing – In Two Directions – Why?

By Energy Rant One Comment
This is the second in a two-post series on electricity prices as impacted by deregulation and renewable energy penetration. Last week we explored deregulation in Regulation v Deregulation in True Color. This week, we examine the effects of increasing shares of renewable energy (like wind) being added to the grid. Again, the source for all this information is the U.S. Energy Information Administration, so you can fact check away! To recap, we are examining four regional markets as follows: Regulated Midwest states of South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa Deregulated Midwest states of Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Deregulated Texas Deregulated and...
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