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power plant

Maxed Out Renewable Energy

By Energy Rant One Comment
We’re leading off with Texas once again – the petri dish mixing massive shares of wind energy, the nation’s largest free-market for electricity, and commensurate spikes in cost. See the $900 per gallon kWh. Fatefully, on July 27, 2018, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) rejected a proposal for 2 GW of new wind generation proposed by American Electric Power. For perspective, that would be about 700 giant turbines, although I’m not sure of the exact capacity of these behemoths today. Wind’s Speed Limit Possibly, the PUCT realizes there is something a little weird with a market providing long...
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Grid Power Generation – Stories Untold

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
Most of you reading this owe your lives to the phenomenon described in this post. Therefore, it is worth understanding precisely how grid power is generated, and what it looks like. And of course, you will not find this anywhere else. Rant topics are inspired by reader comments. At AESP National, a young gentleman approached me to say the Rant provides good information that is easy to understand and read. He referenced a Greentech Media Energy Gang podcast, which explained as much. At the ~50 minute mark of the podcast, they explain that learning how things work, and being able...
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natural gas

Natural Gas is a Wonderful Fuel, Btu, er But,,,

By Energy Rant No Comments
New ideas are great, but there is no replacement for accumulated experience to assess the landscape ahead and see potential trouble on the horizon. This is one of my most important responsibilities for our company. I am no mountain climber, but I am reminded of mountaineering documentaries about summiting Everest and getting past the treacherous Hillary Step. Just last week, I met with a team of engineers cautioning them about crucial steps in the progression of a project that would make or break the project. It involved a combination of technical factors and human factors. Too bad there is no...
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Voter Support for Efficiency = Metal to the Pedal, Thing to the Floor

By Energy Rant One Comment
It may be that I pay more attention compared to several years ago, but there seems to be a lot of churn in energy efficiency policy today. Some states, particularly those with a short track record in efficiency, are getting squeamish or have backed off. These include Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan. With excess capacity, we have utilities, and in some cases their political (money) support against intervenors, and that is a fairly weak position for efficiency in some states, including some of those just listed. There is nothing better for our industry than the need to build power plants...
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Combined Heat and Power Ins and Outs

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
Combined heat and power (CHP) is quite easy to understand from an energy efficiency perspective.  Deploying policies to encourage it is very complex due to a number of things: What fuel type are we saving? What is fair for the utility? What are the public benefits? How should any incentives be derived? CHP Overview In a conventional thermal power plant fired by coal, roughly 20% of the energy is lost to the exhaust in the form of waste heat.  Roughly 45% of the thermal energy is rejected to the atmosphere or body of water – river, lake, or ocean.  This...
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GHG and NG

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
E Source reported last week that green house gas (GHG) emissions are falling fast in this country, as shown in the chart nearby.  Emissions tanked with the economy in 2009, and as I recall, the summer of 2009 was also cool, resulting in lower electricity sales.  Even so, when adjusted for economic output, GHGs are falling fast. The reason for this is rather obvious if one follows the electricity market.  It is much easier to get a natural gas power plant approved for construction as compared to a coal-fired plant.  I have not done the analysis myself, but it is reported...
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RFPs from the Edge

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Stimulus One Comment
Last month, the one session I attended at the AESP national conference was how to write a better request for proposal (RFP).  It was sort of a forum led by our friends at Tetra Tech.  Essentially, it was full of people like me, for whom a major responsibility is business development and marketing – responding to RFPs.  For a while I sat there like a lump, thinking, eh, just deal with it and quit whining.  Toward the end of the session I started getting fired up. Here are some guidelines for writing RFPs: If you’ve already decided who you are...
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Freeloaders and Geniuses from the Universe Next Door

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy, Sustainability No Comments
You know what torques me off, or make that torques us off more than anything else?  I’m saving it for a future rant.  Stay tuned. No really, it’s “prospective” clients, many times end users that have screwed up buildings beyond reproach or wasting energy as though they just want to release all the carbon locked up in fossil fuels and get it over with.  They ask for help but in no way intend to pay for it or take action for anything substantial.  We may have even demonstrated, clearly by benchmarking or other means with specific measures that they could...
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A Frivolous Novelty

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Renewable Energy, Stimulus, Sustainability 9 Comments
For this week’s publication, I was trying to think of an expensive, short-lived, duplicative, inconvenient, limited use, frivolous novelty.  Did I mention expensive?  After a half-hour of wonderment, the best I could do is a Homer Simpson bottle opener.   But really the Homer Simpson bottle opener will last longer and at least be useful (note, I didn’t say serve it’s purpose, which is to make people laugh) probably for a far longer period than the electric car. Twenty years ago “they” were talking about developing electric cars, I guess to save us from carbon dioxide, but I don’t recall the...
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