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Learning Calculus via Demand and Energy

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
Last week, I was commenting on some retro-commissioning findings, and I was considering demand savings estimates versus energy savings estimates. A colleague asked, “If you are aware of any energy versus demand papers I would like to know more.” I was informed that the Association of Energy Engineers coursework for becoming a Certified Energy Manager only skims the surface, using a garden hose as a metaphor, for demand and energy. The flow of water represents the flow of power (kilowatts), and the water represents energy – the sum of power over time. This is a disservice because demand charges can...
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Electric Vehicle Grid Integration, er Accommodation

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Twenty-five years ago, I lived in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington: the distance from my condo apartment to work was four miles as the crow flies; a half hour as the car drives.  Monthly parking fees were $100, so I biked.  Today, in Wisconsin, these numbers are: practically free parking, eighteen miles, and still a half hour.  I enjoy the drive, and apparently so do most of the rest of the US.  This report by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provides interesting information on commuting practices in the US.  What is this all about?  Electric...
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Utility Death Spiral? The Duck has Your Back

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff 15 Comments
There is weekly, if not daily, chatter about the end of the monopolistic electric utility systems we have today.  They call it the utility death spiral, and it goes like this: Distributed generation, also known as DG, which includes rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will compete directly with utility power. Utilities are stuck with fixed rate base for which they need to be paid through purchased energy from customers. Photovoltaic may produce competitively-priced energy for some customers after the bevy of incentives and tax breaks.  Home-generated electricity drives down the utility’s revenue. Utility raises prices to cover their fixed cost....
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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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Soothsayer: Analyze This

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy, Sustainability No Comments
How many times have you read "we can create 40 million jobs and reduce our energy consumption by 90% if only we did x, y, and z."  Lester in this article says by 2035 we can double our fuel economy.  Well I should hope so!  Lester is actually one guy that is conservative in his estimates/goals.  David Goldstein in the same article says we can decrease our energy consumption by 88% by 2050.  Now where does he or any other egghead come up with these numbers? I had to laugh out loud regarding the results of an energy efficiency potential...
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Jacque – Fix My Car

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
There is a running joke in our business that electrical engineers don’t know anything about energy efficiency.  It is only a joke.  One of the sharpest energy guys I have interviewed was a physics major who started on the ground floor of an energy efficiency consulting firm filling orders of equipment they also happened to sell.  In 10 years he worked his way up to really understanding how buildings and their complex systems work and he became a manager of a team of energy engineers teaching his group how buildings work and how to model them. This article made laugh...
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Renewable NIMBY

By Energy Rant, Renewable Energy 2 Comments
"There should be a place for these -- someplace that isn't going to impact families quite so much."  This was a quote regarding wind turbines from a woman in the Wall Street Journal article Renewable Energy, Meet the New Nimby. I laughed out loud for a while when I read this California has a mandate for 33% renewable energy consumption by 2020.  New York: 25% by 2013.  Oregon: 25% by 2025.  These states and similar ones have meager interim targets and/or have meager portfolios today.  Some serious ramp up is required. However, it seems people claim to want it but...
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