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Pains & Risks Utilities Will Face If They Don’t Think At Scale and Down Range

By Carbon Reduction, Cost, Grid Capacity No Comments
This document includes pains and risks utilities face if they don’t think at scale and down range – what would “that” look like? Innovation and Pricing This aligns with a slide in my electrification presentation. Utilities must understand in the energy transition that their foothold as a monopoly isn’t going to last forever. This is a threat NOW. Consider microgrids. Microgrids can stand on their own and by definition, if the macrogrid goes down, they keep running. What happens when microgrids start linking together? Who needs a utility? Right now, there are a lot of bad ideas that will fail,...
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Prestige, Not Pain – Efficiency at Home

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
I call your attention to the brilliant marvel of engineering shown in the image below. This model was developed before most of you were born. It is the little diesel engine that could – get 60 mpg, in my second car – a 1984 Ford Escort Diesel. Most people didn’t even know they existed, but as a college sophomore, when I got tired of my crappy, rattling, vibrating, chintzy Mustang, I snapped up this baby for a deep discount from the Billion auto empire in Sioux Falls, SD. There was no air conditioning or power anything, including no power steering....
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The Roots of our AC Power Grid

By Energy Rant No Comments
A while back, a reader asked, “why don’t we switch to at least localized direct current power grids?” The simple answer is it would cost a fortune for both the utility and the consumer to change all distribution and consuming loads to take DC power. As I researched power factor, I recalled why we have an alternating current power grid in the first place. This is interesting and worth knowing, Rant Pack. With that, I apologize for making you wait another week to understand why power factor matters to energy efficiency, directly. A Short Story You know I can’t resist...
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Atmospheric Cooling = Strong Tornadoes

By Energy Efficiency One Comment
We interrupt this rant for this special announcement.  Our cold spring in the northern plains is wreaking havoc in the form of tornadoes in the southern and middle parts of the country. I think the weather phenomena had a lot to do with my interest in mechanical engineering.  Growing up on the farm in the flatlands, I had seen a great many black clouds approaching on the horizon.  As they drew closer, they would either brighten to a lighter gray and rain, or they get ugly.  If the approach is led by a dark band of clouds followed by blue-green...
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Paying to Lose

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff No Comments
Jenny Craig customers do it all the time – pay money to consume less.  This may make perfect sense to people who understand customers’ needs, but to others it seems really stupid to pay somebody to help use less of something.  This is a bit like utility programs that spend money for customers to use less of their product. The vast majority of our energy work comes from referrals and repeat clients.  On numerous occasions, we seemed to have customers at the tipping point, only to have them bail out at the last minute.  Why?  The utility introduced us to...
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