Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Search Results

“Flow” Batteries Could Help Energy Storage for Renewables

without comments

As has been discussed before on this website, batteries and energy storage technology are key to increasing renewables in our energy grids. Particularly wind and solar energy have too much variability to work efficiently with the diurnal consistency of current energy usage. Efficient storage of the energy generated during wind gusts or bright sun would allow it to be used when it’s needed. Ideally this would come from private firms rather than taxpayer dollars, but either way it’s good to see progress being made towards these objectives.

.

.

.

New Battery Design Could Help Solar and Wind Power the Grid

April 24, 2013 – 4:20pm

WASHINGTON – Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life “flow” battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.

Continue reading here.

Written by Jason

May 1st, 2013 at 11:27 am

Navigant to Compare Community vs. Residential Energy Storage

without comments

Distributed energy is the future of our electricity supply. Rather than our electricity coming from centralized providers straight to homes, offices, etc., electricity will be generated and/or stored at various locations closer to the end users. Determining the safest and most energy-efficient and cost-effective ways to do this is an enormous, on-going task. Navigant Consulting is one of many firms working with municipalities to continue development and innovation.

Read more in these two articles:

Smart Grid Today

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and Navigant will have a healthy list of the pros and cons of community energy storage (CES) versus residential energy storage (RES) by the time their battery-testing project is finished in September, Jay Paidipati, associate director in Navigant Consulting’s energy practice, told people attending a long-duration, distributed energy-storage project workshop at Storage Week in Austin, Texas, yesterday…

Continue Reading

Navigant Research

Distributed Energy Storage Systems for Voltage Support, Frequency Regulation,
Islanding, and Peak Shaving: Market Analysis and Forecasts

Community and residential energy storage systems are sited at the “end of the line” on the grid. These systems are typically much smaller than utility-scale or bulk energy storage and are either situated at the distribution transformer or at the customer premise. Of the varied application areas for energy storage systems, community and residential storage is one of the newest and least understood applications. Currently, utilities, vendors, and even governments are demonstrating community and residential energy storage systems with a goal of understanding the value of these small, distributed systems sited at the edge of the electrical grid. These groups are testing CRES for the purposes of smoothing peaks in electricity demand, enabling voltage support and frequency regulation, and providing islanding capabilities.

Continue Reading

Improving Energy Storage Tech Is Key

without comments

Due to the high variability of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar, improving the efficiency of energy storage is essential to the future of our energy matrix. Unlike coal, natural gas, or nuclear power, renewables vary with wind speeds, sunshine, and other uncontrollable factors. This makes our dependence on these resources quite tenuous.

If firms like the one described in the article below can create batteries that can store energy longer, and produce them using materials that are not as rare and unsafe as many used in today’s batteries, we will be in a much better position to power our electricity grid with energy that ebbs and flows.

In Presidio, a Grasp at the Holy Grail of Energy Storage

By KATE GALBRAITH
Published: November 6, 2010

Dozens of gray compartments, lined neatly in rows, inhabit a boxy concrete building on the edge of the impoverished border town of Presidio. The only sound, aside from occasional clanking, is the whirring of air-conditioners to keep the compartments cool.

This $25 million contraption is the largest battery system in the United States — locals have dubbed it Bob, for Big Ole Battery. It began operating earlier this year, and is the latest mark of the state’s interest in a nascent but rapidly evolving industry: the storage of electricity.

Storage is often referred to as the holy grail of energy technology, because it can modernize the grid by more efficiently matching demand for power with the generation of electricity.

[…]

The state is especially keen on storage because of the proliferation of wind turbines in West Texas. The machines generate the most power at night, when people are sleeping — so if their power could be stored for use during the day, the usefulness of wind power, which currently accounts for about 6 percent of the state’s electricity generation, would significantly increase.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

November 8th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Energy Storage Tech Must Improve for a Clean Energy Future

without comments

These energy storage technologies are so important to the energy matrix we’ll be seeing in the coming years. The huge advantage of coal, natural gas, hydroelectric dams, and nuclear is that they deliver consistent streams of energy into the grid.

Solar and wind simply cannot mass their consistency. But if battery technology can improve (right now it is highly inefficient (link to article explaining this), it will allow us to rely much more heavily on those variable power sources.

As Gov. Granholm discusses, perhaps one of the biggest advantages is the boon to our economy as we become more self sufficient for our energy needs, creating jobs here at home that have been lost in places like the auto industry.

Keep innovating, Michigan.

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm

Governor of Michigan

Posted: September 14, 2010 07:06 AM

Shaping America’s Clean Energy Future

Livonia, Michigan. Home to over 100,000 citizens, great schools and parks, one of Michigan’s best burger joints (Bates Hamburgers) — and now home to North America’s largest advanced battery plant, further solidifying Michigan’s position as the advanced battery capital of the world.

[…]

It’s great news for Michigan. It’s great news for American manufacturing. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s great news for our nation’s energy future, helping to ensure that we don’t replace our current dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on foreign batteries. No other place in the country is doing more to lead the advanced battery industry than Michigan — and it’s paying off, through innovative public-private partnerships like the one that caused A123 to center its U.S. manufacturing in Michigan.

Read the entire article here.

Five myths about green energy

with one comment

Mr. Bryce raises several very important points here. While some of his numbers may be debatable, the fact that some of the technologies we often paint with a green brush have some rather unsightly flaws beneath the veneer.

Energy storage technology that does not rely on rare materials, metals and others that are not only rare but highly toxic, is a major hurdle that will have to be overcome. Efficiencies of solar and wind will need substantial improvement if they are to grow beyond the 1-2% of U.S. energy they currently supply.

These and many other factors lead me to call for an energy strategy that relies first on increased energy efficiency–using less energy reduces costs, exposure to risk, and environmental damages associated with ALL energy resources–and then on further, market-led development of a wide variety of energy technologies.

By Robert Bryce

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Americans are being inundated with claims about renewable and alternative energy. Advocates for these technologies say that if we jettison fossil fuels, we’ll breathe easier, stop global warming and revolutionize our economy. Yes, “green” energy has great emotional and political appeal. But before we wrap all our hopes — and subsidies — in it, let’s take a hard look at some common misconceptions about what “green” means.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 25th, 2010 at 9:39 am

Posted in Efficiency,Policy,Renewables,The Economy,The Environment,U.S.

Tagged with , , ,

3,000 Megawatts of Renewable Energy Planned for Montana

without comments

Grasslands Renewable Energy introduces ‘smart grid’ transmission concept aggregating diverse renewable energy at a competitive price

BOZEMAN, Mont., April 8 /PRNewswire/ — Grasslands Renewable Energy LLC (Grasslands) today announced that it has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting regulatory approvals needed to advance its innovative Wind Spirit Project.

Based in the wind-rich state of Montana, Grasslands has introduced the Wind Spirit Project, an integrated and green approach to harnessing, storing, and transporting clean renewable energy to consumers.  “Our goal is to create a package of renewable energy that can compete on reliability and price, not just with renewables like solar, but with non-renewables such as coal,” said Carl Borgquist, President of Grasslands. “By combining the wind resources of the Northern Plains in an integrated solution, we can help fight climate change and be a leader in America’s energy future.”

Grasslands is developing a transmission system to access geographically diverse renewable energy from across Montana and the Northern Great Plains.  Through the Wind Spirit Project, renewable energy from multiple geographic areas will combine with energy storage technologies and smart grid components to create a more consistent renewable energy supply.  The energy for the Wind Spirit Project would be collected via series of 230KV AC transmission lines and transported to large markets using high voltage AC and DC transmission lines.  By combining renewable energy from different geographic areas, the Wind Spirit Project will make renewable energy more efficient and cost effective.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 8th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Posted in Efficiency,Policy,Renewables,Smart Grid Technology,The Economy,The Environment,U.S.

Tagged with , ,

Secretary Chu Announces $37.5 Million Available for Joint U.S.-Chinese Clean Energy Research

with one comment

Washington, DC – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the availability of $37.5 million in U.S. funding over the next five years to support the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center.  Funding from the Department of Energy will be matched by the grantees to support $75 million in total U.S. research that will focus on advancing technologies for building energy efficiency, clean coal including carbon capture and storage, and clean vehicles.  The Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) will be located in existing facilities in both the U.S. and China and will include an additional $75 million in Chinese funding.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

March 31st, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Posted in China,International,Policy,Renewables,U.S.

Tagged with , , , ,

U.S. turns to Sweden as model in nuclear waste storage

without comments

Yes, it is difficult to see how the Obama administration is being so supportive of nuclear energy with those loan guarantees, and yet oppose Yucca Mountain, and have no clear plan regarding what to do with the waste from new or existing nuclear plants. There’s an editorial today in the Columbus Dispatch arguing the similar sentiments.

While progress here has lagged, the Scandinavian country has successfully chosen a site for a geological repository after including citizens and local government in the discussion.

By Margot RooseveltFebruary 21, 2010

If the United States is at a loss over what to do about nuclear waste, it may be time to check out the Swedish model.

[…]

The Scandinavian success comes in stark contrast to efforts in the U.S., where spent nuclear fuel rods have remained for decades in temporary storage at power plants around the country. Meanwhile, Congress has debated where to bury them, decided on a repository under Yucca Mountain in Nevada, and then changed its mind.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

February 21st, 2010 at 8:36 am

Posted in Efficiency,International,Policy,The Environment,Traditional Energy Resources,U.S.

Tagged with , , ,

Ice Energy rolling out utility-scale project

without comments

Improvements in energy storage technology are extremely important to our 21st Century energy grid. It would enhance efforts at decentralization as well as energy security.

January 27, 2010 — WINDSOR – Ice Energy’s energy storage technology will be rolled out in Southern California in what the partners are calling the first cost-effective, utility-scale distributed energy project in the nation.

The Southern California Public Power Authority entered into an agreement with Windsor-based Ice Energy on the 53-megawatt project. Ice Energy’s Ice Bear energy storage system shifts demand on the electrical grid from air conditioning units from peak to off-peak hours. In simple terms, energy generation during off-peak, evening hours is more efficient due to lower temperatures and reduced transmission line-stress.

Read the entire story here.

Written by Jason

January 30th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Efficiency,Policy,Renewables,The Economy,The Environment,Traditional Energy Resources,Transportation,U.S.

Tagged with , ,

New energy bill not a green light for nuclear power

with one comment

I have often had conversations with people who, like myself, are tentatively and hypothetically in favor of expanding nuclear power in the U.S, particularly breeder reactors and other technology that can use more of the uranium and reduce waste and the need to store it. But there are two reservations often held by interested citizens. The weapons question is one reservation. As I understand it, developing the technology for electricity is not too far removed from developing the technology for weapons. And as we have seen, technology is inherently democratic, meaning that the more work we do on improving the efficiency, the better the chance that the technology may fall into the hands of those interested in using nuclear weapons.

But the bigger obstacle in the public consciousness, I think, is that of where to place nuclear facilities and the storage sites they necessitate. Whenever people say they are in favor of nuclear energy, I tell them I just read that there was a proposed site not too far from where they live. Some know I’m kidding, but the ones who don’t have a variety of negative reactions, from the passively obstinate–“I think that’d be great, but there are some citizens groups/politicians/etc., who would never let it happen”–to the rediculous–“Oh, it wouldn’t work here; there are far too many children.” Oh, I guess we’ll have to find cities that could use increased clean-electricity generation, but have no children.

If NIMBY is going to be the major problem, the obvious solution is to place these facilities in rural areas with fewer people. One problem is that many of these places are in agricultural areas or places with other valuable natural resources that would still carry heavy citizen resistance, even in the absence of local citizens. Another is that even when there are fewer risks to natural resources, such as with Yucca Mountain, discussed in this article, there still seems to be ample resistance to citing a storage facility, perhaps even more than with the reactors themselves.

A friend of mine whose parents have been engineers at NASA for quite some time has recommended loading the waste onto rockets and shooting it into the sun. As ridiculous as I’ve often thought this to be, at least from a safety and efficiency standpoint if not a feasibility one, it may be the only viable option for nuclear power.

Could we fit those rockets with solar sails? Now that’s clean energy.

The Cap Times

By LAVILLA CAPENER and MIKE IVEY | The Capital Times | mivey@madison.com | Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 6:20 am | (4) Comments

A view of the Point Beach nuclear power plant.

The new clean energy bill trumpeted by Gov. Jim Doyle has been called everything from a forward-thinking green initiative to a jobs-killing mandate that would cripple the Wisconsin economy.

One thing it’s not, however, is a green light for nuclear power.

While the measure does modify the state’s quarter-century moratorium on nuclear plant construction, enough obstacles remain that make it doubtful a new facility would be built here anytime soon. This comes despite the fact that nuclear power does not create global warming carbon emissions — unlike burning coal, which accounts for 70 percent of Wisconsin’s homegrown electricity.

“I think it’s fair to say anyone who wants nuclear energy will be very disappointed with this bill,” says Scott Manley of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby.

Dubbed the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the measure would require that 25 percent of the state’s energy come from wind, solar, biomass or other renewable sources by 2025. It also toughens building codes to increase energy efficiency, restricts idling of diesel trucks to reduce pollution and raises vehicle emissions standards to match many other states, including California.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 18th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Policy,The Environment,Traditional Energy Resources,U.S.

Tagged with , , ,