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utilities

Demand Response Primer

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week I described how net zero sounds grand, it’s easy to do, but it doesn’t work to support the transition to a clean-energy grid. The reason is that everyone, whether utilities or customers, overproduces simultaneously, and then later, customers all need energy from thermal power plants simultaneously. We have an exploding deficit of customers to take that overproduction and shift load or store it for use when intermittent renewable supplies shut down. In Renewables at Scale, I described how renewable supply and batteries would never be sufficient. The gaps in intermittent renewable supply are too big for batteries to...
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Cure Net Zero with Demand Response

By Energy Rant No Comments
I lambasted net zero many times, one time calling it an unserious weapon against climate change. Why is that? We’re going to see in this post. What is net zero? Simply, it is a building or property that produces as much renewable energy on-site as it consumes, typically over a year. Some utilities claim their net zero trophies for producing as much renewable energy as their customers buy. Why is Net Zero a Con? To answer this question in one word; exports. When a property or utility generates more electricity than it consumes, it must be exported to someone else....
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Champion Elements for Energy and Demand Management Programs

By Energy Rant No Comments
This is the finale of better than best commercial and industrial program practices – including a summary cheat sheet for program administrators. Energy Analyses Utilities want to build efficiency businesses in their service territories, which is very important. However, few service providers, designers, or contractors are proficient with energy calculations, especially for complex measures. Moreover, they don’t live in our goofy world of arbitrary baselines and will likely determine actual savings or some other goalposts to give their project a better shine. If you have reviewed papers, articles, or maybe some reports, you know what I mean when I say,...
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The Power Grid’s Glide Path to Reckoning

By Energy Rant No Comments
“The U.S. electrical system is becoming less dependable. The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.” – The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2022. I can take down another one of my seven predictions for 2022. Some numbers from the WSJ: in 2000, there were fewer than two dozen major disruptions. In 2020 there were more than 180. Customers experienced over eight hours of disruption (on average) in 2020, more than double the number in 2013 when the government began tracking this metric. The Journal reports several reasons for the rickety grid. The Markets’ Disincentives for Reliability...
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Climate Resistance Blog Post Image

Climate Resilience – Flood, Fire, Ice

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A reader last week asked, “What kind of home can withstand fire, hurricanes, floods, heat domes, and polar vortex?” This is a great question. I love the challenge, so here we go[1]. Flooding and Landslides Think ahead and ask yourself, “what if” before or even after buying a property. For example, my first home was built to suit my engineering brain. It is wonderful for heating with a wood stove and is very practical; it is not huge and can be expanded with nice amenities for a family. It is built on the side of a bluff in the great...
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Wild Energy Ride

Next Up: A Wild Energy Ride

By Energy Rant One Comment
It has been a frothy year for the energy industry, and it will continue well into next year and beyond. How far? Heh heh. Let’s start with coal. After plummeting 30% in 2020, consumption bounced back, gaining 35% in 2021. Doing the math, that doesn’t quite get coal back to 2019 consumption. Coal plants are still closing at a breakneck pace, so consumption in the United States is bound to decline in the long haul, but will load balancers and utilities be able to keep the lights on in 2030? This is a concern to me because no source of...
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ham

PBR Me, and Spare the Ham

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week we explored the mélange of combinations of energy efficiency portfolio administration, delivery, and evaluation among stakeholders, including public utilities’ commissions, utilities, for-profit and non-profit administrators, and program implementers. No two states are alike. This week we will discuss a few more things from the article in Public Utilities Fortnightly, Top Performing States in Energy Efficiency. Impact of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) States have everything from carrots, sticks, both, or neither for meeting efficiency goals. Some states have energy efficiency resource standards. The map below, courtesy of ACEEE, shows recent EERS across the fruited plain. An EERS “is...
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pay for performance

THE Successful Model for Pay for Performance

By Energy Rant No Comments
Livin' it Up in Hotel California I’ve written about pay for performance (P4P) programs no less than six times in this blog. I’ll start with a recap of those posts and move the ball forward once again. We’re well within field goal range! In Tooling Pay for Performance, I wrote that energy models and dashboards with regression models showing savings performance or lack thereof provide the following Leatherman-like benefits. It provides leverage with visual evidence, so customer stakeholders do more and climb higher. It’s a vise-grip to maintain what was accomplished. It’s a hammer to “persuade” folks. It’s a screwdriver...
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energy industry predictions

Soothsayer Says: Eight Predictions for the Energy Industry

By Energy Rant No Comments
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing now. That quasi-cliché is why I have never had a New Year’s resolution, and I’m not going to start in 2021, but I can review the past and forecast (guess) the future. Soothsaying is part of my job, and I’m at least as accurate as next week’s weather forecast. At the start of 2020, we had just reorganized, defined who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Sounds simple, right? What is your personal purpose? What do you value? What makes you tick? Keeping it concise is very hard. Our...
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ouiji board

Performance Programs, Ouija Boards, and Mark Twain

By Energy Rant No Comments
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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