Skip to main content


Percent GHG Savings

Ethanol – Where Physics, Politics, and Emission Limits Collide

By Energy Rant One Comment
I recently researched many attributes and market effects for liquid fuels for a project we are working on, and like my digging into the wind and climate studies, this research results in several findings. This post covers ethanol and gasoline blends. A future post will cover fuel cost and impacts on electric vehicles and utilities. My journey began with the ethanol market. We produce a lot of corn-derived ethanol here in the northern plains. By 2020 there may be a big demand for Midwest ethanol as California caps the carbon intensity of its liquid fuels. The cap, part of their…
Read More

Electricity Subscriptions For Trouble – A Baker’s Dozen

By Energy Rant 4 Comments
The recent edition of Public Utilities Fortnightly features an article that showers virtues of subscribed energy – an all-you-can-eat energy bonanza. There is a reason I’ve grown to crinkle my nose at buffets! Consumers subscribe to Amazon, Netflix, SiriusXM, and per the article, even Lyft is offering a new subscription service for all the rides you want in a month. In the1990s, one token would allow me to ride the New York subway all day – forever actually. Now there is a subscription for you – all the toe fungus, gout, and hair implant remedy ads you can stand for…
Read More

Response to Zeno’s Arrow Paradox

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
“The Arrow.  Does the arrow move when the archer shoots it at the target? If there is a reality of space, the arrow must at all times occupy a particular position in space on its way to the target. But for an arrow to occupy a position in space that is equal to its length is precisely what is meant when one says that the arrow is at rest. Since the arrow must always occupy such a position on its trajectory which is equal to its length, the arrow must be always at rest. Therefore motion is an illusion.” I…
Read More

Taking on Parmenides

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
We do a LOT of energy efficiency program evaluation and measurement and verification work all over the country; make that North America.  Program evaluation consists primarily of process evaluation (process) and impact evaluation (impact).  Our work is almost entirely in the impact side and I know just enough to talk dangerously about process. Impact is the analysis of what energy savings are really attributable to the program.  This includes verifying the physical installation and determining the actual savings using some sort of engineering analysis.  This actual savings is known as gross savings in the business.  It also includes determining whether…
Read More

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…
Read More