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energy rant with doug scott

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

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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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image of a group of buildings

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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Lithium is Not Nirvana

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I am typically afforded the freedom to chase rabbits as I write these posts, but last week my mission was to reflect on 2020 and forecast 2021. In the process of starting that, I chased a rabbit that is the subject of this post. It is as easy to shoot down ideas as it is to be negative because humans have a negativity bias, which means negative events have a greater impact on brains than positive ones. For example, I recently read that the joy of finding $20 in a coat pocket, say from a year ago, is overwhelmed by...
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ouiji board

Performance Programs, Ouija Boards, and Mark Twain

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I could not compete with my former self and Gene Simons from last week, but I went back to the Gallup psychoanalysis barrel for more inspiration. I don’t want to write about myself unless it helps you understand why I’m so, uh, peculiar. Like Mr. Simons, I’m an insatiable consumer of information, maybe not books so much – although I’m sure I broke personal records since the Covid – but digital publications, interviews, conference papers, and journals. The psychoanalysis says, “It’s very likely that you rely, to some extent, on your passion for reading to help you launch conversations. Engaging...
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MISO Graph

Good, Perfect, and Real Carbon Targets – Finale

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In this week's Energy Rant, we're covering the final segment of good, perfect, and real carbon targets. There are two sources of carbon-free energy. First, we have the category of renewable with wind, solar, hydro, and some geothermal. Second, we have nuclear. Oops – third, we have efficiency and demand management. The electricity market is bizarre to me. Last week I crudely explained how the regional transmission authorities (RTO) and their twins, independent system operators (ISO), balance the grid in real-time. Power supplied must match demand with very tight tolerances of voltage and frequency at all times. The chart below...
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construction cost

Good, Perfect, and Real Carbon Targets – Part 2

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In this week's Energy Rant, we're covering part two of good, perfect, and real carbon targets. Last week we looked at grid-scale energy storage options for a couple of them, namely hydrogen and flywheels; I asked, “What could go wrong?” To be fair, my comment on hydrogen was its use as a buoyant gas to float the Hindenburg. Hydrogen, while very light, is explosively combustible, so putting it in a blimp was crazy. I always like to throw factoids in for budding STEM enthusiasts. Take a helium (non-combustible) balloon on a string, hold it by the string in a moving...
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