Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Electricity’ tag

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

Colorado Citizens Concerned about Move from Coal to Natural Gas

without comments

Darn, this looked like such a positive move from so many angles, but it’s hard to argue against people who have valid concerns that this move could raise their utility prices or, much worse, threaten their jobs.

The volatility in prices is difficult to control, but is it possible that a slow reduction in coal mining could lead to a smooth retraining for these people into jobs, even within the energy industry, that are safer for Coloradans as well as the people who work in the mines?

These people’s concerns certainly have merit, and I haven’t looked deeply enough into the particulars to offer much insight, but this is a typical example of stakeholders in a somewhat antiquated system fearing change, not because they don’t believe it will be better for all in the long run, but because they fear it will be worse for them in particular in the near future.

If solutions to problems like this one can be found, they could be applied in so many places all over the country in the coming years.

Western Coloradans air concerns on Xcel energy plan

Associated Press
08/30/10 10:00 PM PDT

GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. — Many western Coloradans are urging state regulators to reject moves to switch from coal to natural gas as the fuel to generate electricity.
About 300 people turned out Monday night for a hearing in Grand Junction on a new state law aimed at using natural gas to fuel power plants in efforts to cut power plant emissions. Xcel Energy, the state’s largest producer of electricity, has announced a $1.3 billion plan to convert coal-fired power plants to natural gas in Denver and close a coal plant in Boulder.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

August 1st, 2010 at 8:06 am

Assessing the Electric Productivity Gap and the U.S. Efficiency Opportunity

without comments

This is an excellent report. It’s very well researched, full of informative figures, and, perhaps best of all, is extremely concise (less than 20 pages of text, over half of which is tables and graphs). RMI has taken a very progressive approach towards changing the energy system in the U.S. At times, I have to say, they can verge on the kind of fear mongering that is rarely helpful and usually does more to polarize and discourage people from thinking constructively about how we should move forward with our energy use.

This report, however, is more typical of RMI’s stance, with plenty of positive evidence and constructive thinking. Good stuff.

It is commonly known that energy efficiency implementation has not achieved its technical or economically feasible potential in the United States, and many have attempted to quantify how much electricity the U.S. can save in the future. However, few have compared states to each other to determine why some states have been much more effective at using efficiency as a resource. This paper explores one aspect of the energy efficiency solution: how effectively has the United States used its electricity? RMI conducted this analysis on state-level electric productivity (measured in dollars of gross domestic product divided by kilowatt-hours consumed, or $GDP/kWh) to determine which states are the most productive with their electricity.

You can access this page here, and can download the full report.

Brazil’s Lula Inaugurates World’s First Ethanol Power Plant

with one comment

Brazil’s ethanol refineries have already been generating electricity from the biomass, sometimes called “trash” or “bagasse,” left over after extracting the sugar from the cane. These refineries perform two different types of processes: biological, fermenting the sugar to produce ethanol; and thermal, burning the biomass to generate heat and steam to run the turbines to produce electricity. They’ve now taken that in a different direction by using the ethanol itself to generate the electricity. The thermal processes have been used by other companies, such as Community Power Corporation of Colorado, discussed in an earlier post. The second generation, cellulosic technology we’ve been hearing about involves using biomass such as left over sugarcane bagasse or corn stalks, called stover, or even grasses such as switchgrass or miscanthus that require very little water or fertilizers. Rather than burning that green matter to generate electricity, research is underway to access the 5 and 6 carbon sugars in the cellulose for fermentation into ethanol or other fuels such as butanol, or even creating a virtual replacement for gasoline.

SAO PAULO – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has inaugurated a power plant that represents the world’s first use of sugarcane-based ethanol to produce electricity on a commercial scale.

“The developed world is going to have to look at ethanol with new eyes. I think when it comes to fulfilling our commitments and complying with the Kyoto Protocol, to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, ethanol is going to have to come into the equation,” Lula said during the inauguration on Tuesday.

Read the entire article here.