Hundreds of behavioral energy efficiency programs have sprung up across the U.S. in the past five years, but the effectiveness of the programs -- both in terms of cost savings and reduced energy use -- can in fact be very difficult to actually gauge.
The crux of the problem is a positive feedback loop that raises utility rates as more customers produce more of their own power. They use less power from the grid, and so the fixed costs of transmission, distribution, and generating assets must be recovered over a shrinking base That drives up rates and gives customers that much more incentive to produce their own power. Moreover, the fixed costs themselves increase, as the shrinking demand for kilowatt-hours torpedoes credit ratings and raises the IOU's cost of capital. The end result could ultimately be wholesale bankruptcy.
We were just fooling around with the notion that new fuel cell technology could shake up the electric vehicle market, when here comes GE with another alternative: a flow battery that combines with a fuel cell to push EV range up to the Department of Energy’s goal of 240 miles, and even farther. The official rated range of Tesla Motors’ highly regarded but highly costly Model S is already 265 miles on a lithium-ion battery pack, so the big factor here is going to be affordability. With that in mind let’s take a look at that GE flow battery and see what’s doing.
Researchers at MIT have developed a battery that could bring us reliable and cheap large scale energy storage. Based on flow battery technology, the researchers took out the costly membrane and created a battery that has a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than lithium-ion batteries and three times greater than other membrane-less systems.
What would a low carbon energy system look like? (And let's avoid such fanciful ideas as "zero carbon," because that would be truly self indulgent.) In essence we would get as much electricity as possible from some combination of renewable and nuclear energy, and electrify as many aspects of our energy systems as is feasible. Predicting the relative composition of such a system is a largely fruitless exercise. However, we can say something about the extent to which it a low carbon energy system will be distributed and "local". This confidence comes from the difference between the high physical concentrate of energy use in cities, and the relatively low physical concentration of renewable energy resources.
In the six months since a consultant to the Edison Electric Institute wrote a paper describing “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business,” many utility officials, analysts, investors and consultants have been mulling over how investor-owned electric utilities may have to change principally due to the growth of demand response and distributed energy, especially solar power.
As a result of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), about 40 technical standards were developed to harmonize the energy calculation methods concerning buildings. EN 15232 is the standard that concerns the energy impact of building automation, controls and building management. The basic principle of EN 15232 is to use building controls to ensure that energy is used only if a demand exists. The functions are being mapped to classes D to A. The resulting factor indicates the approximate amount of savings per function/class. These factors are of course dependent on building type (e.g. office, hospital).
Northern Ohio is coal country. These days, that’s a problem. The lack of coal capacity in coming years drove up prices in PJM’s capacity auction in 2012, so PJM responded with a solution: transmission.
Electric-vehicle battery packs could shrink 20 to 30 percent, and make electric vehicles more affordable, if new sensors were developed to monitor the cells in a pack, according to the U.S. government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). The agency says such sensors could have an even greater effect on hybrid gas-electric vehicle batteries, causing them to shrink by half.
I’ll be 75 years old in 2030, so it’s likely that I’ll still be around to validate what I’m about to say: the idea, expressed in this article, that fuel cell vehicles will grow to $73.8 billion in sales (not $74 billion mind you) by that date – or any other — is preposterous.
The world will not be retrofitting its fuel delivery infrastructure (3.5 million square miles in the continental U.S. alone) to serve up hydrogen, nor will we be generating vast amounts of hydrogen by electrolyzing water or reforming methane. Why not? Because electricity is already ubiquitous, battery prices are coming down, and electric vehicles represent the capability to integrate more renewable energy (wind in particular) into our grid mix.
Leading environmental charity the Centre for Alternative Technology has released a report in which it attempts to show that it is possible for the UK to decarbonise rapidly using the current level of technological development.