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Renewable Energy

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Profiles in Decarb – I Call Ham

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When I started at Michaels millennia ago, we had a brilliant walking encyclopedia of knowledge and engineering know-how. His name was Dave Hamilton, or Ham for short. He was probably 30 years older than me. My boss at the time said Ham knew the answer to any problem. Younger engineers would spend a few weeks to prove he was right. Scaling Electrification A couple of weeks ago, in the final of a series on electrification prompted by the EPRI conference in Charlotte, I wrote in Electrification at Scale that decarb fans need to 1) brace for consequences such as 9,000...
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Managing Utility Bills with Automation and Information

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Another week and we have two more dire warning shots of forecast blackouts this summer. These come from The Wall Street Journal and describe challenges from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) region to California. Michigan’s Palisades Nuclear Generating Station shut down permanently on May 20th taking out 6.5% (800 MW) of the state’s electricity supply (gulp). The Journal notes it is part of Michigan’s transition to all renewable energy. They also write that it was slated for closure for five years, but Governor Whitmer waited to throw a last-minute Hail Mary just one month before closure to the federal...
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Leveling the Skateboard Curve with a Demand Side Attack

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NERC sounds alarm on solar tripping in sobering summer reliability report, May 19, 2022, UtilityDive.com. This seems like a timely sequel to last week’s Blistering Wind and Solar Energy post, in which I summarized the results of a renewables integration study performed by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. The blisters represent pockets of excessive renewable energy generation and the “very different reliability risks than are experienced today,” as described in the MISO report. Electronics provide voltage and frequency control from solar panel generation. When the solar tiger grows from a cub that we had a few years ago into the...
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Blistering Wind and Solar Energy

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Grid reliability issues are upon us, and they will become more severe and disruptive in the next 10-20 years. But first, why is this happening? If governments mandated things in medicine[1] as they do with the grid, they would declare that chemotherapy will phase out by 2030 and cancer will be cured by 2035. Period. Because they said so. Meantime, we will have to deal with the deleterious effects of forced fantasies, so let’s get to work on that. The transition to high penetrations of renewable energy will increase in cost exponentially, as I wrote a year ago in Answer:...
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energy rant with doug scott

Special Rant Vlog with Performance-Based Ratemaking Guru, Doug Scott

By Energy Rant, Featured Energy Rant No Comments
This week, we’re continuing our discussion on GEBs (Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings) with our special guest Doug Scott. Doug is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Great Plains Institute and is a great resource for performance-based ratemaking which is a key component of GEBs for both customers and utilities. Check out our fun conversation with Doug!
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Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings Part 4: Utilities Ask, Why?

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This is the fourth in a series of posts on grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs). Here is a summary of the series: August 23 – Why GEBs? What is it, and why do it? August 31 – GEBs are difficult to achieve, beyond efficiency that should be done regardless. September 7 – What will customers think of this madness? Let’s peek at where we’ve been and where we are going. This series is based on a list of challenges noted in DOE's National Roadmap for Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings: Consumer awareness (Covered 07SEP21) Complexity (Covered 31AUG21) Utility interests (Today) Regulatory models Policymaker...
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carbon reduction

Opening Salvo to Grid-Interactive Buildings

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To help accommodate intermittent renewable solar and wind power generation while minimizing grid and supply-side energy costs, the Department of Energy, its national labs, and our industry are exploring possibilities to use buildings as grid resources. The acronym de jour is GEBs, for grid-interactive, efficient buildings. What about the I? A focus group decided that gebs sounds better than giebs; therefore, GEBs[1]. Potential GEB benefits include: Accommodating large penetrations of renewable energy by shaping loads to take excess power when it is available for use when it is not available. Decarbonization. Energy conservation. Less-expensive energy supply. More customer control over...
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Years of Dominos Fall in Texas

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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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Case Study in Energy Transition

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No one will confuse me with Simon Sinek, a great speaker, but one thing I can do is nail my timeslot. If I’m mindful of the time I have available, 20 minutes, etc., I will nail it – except one time[1]. That was last fall as I was doing my fourth rendition of electrification for the Wisconsin Public Utilities Institute. I update my presentation every year for current data and trends because the audience deserves it. But I tried too much stuffing for that bird. After several practice runs, I was consistently 10 minutes over the time limit. I thought...
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