What an RFIT does is adapt the principles that made feed-in tariffs (FITs) wildly successful in Germany and other parts of the world -- including certainty for investors and early stage support for nascent clean energy markets -- to a radically different operating environment. That's because policy making beyond the grid requires a whole new approach steeped in the realities of the communities it's attempting to serve. That's how you tame the wild west of beyond the grid policy making.
European Utility Week serves as an excellent venue to obtain more global industry perspectives than what is typically found in most North American-based industry events. In the case of the 2014 event, it served to reinforce the conclusion that there are really three global metatrends in play for electric utilities. Three recorded interviews that I conducted during this conference highlight these metatrends, and some of the impacts to utilities.
Improved energy efficiency and reduced energy demand are widely expected to provide the dominant contribution to reduced carbon emissions in the short to medium term – and to do so at little or possibly negative cost.
For example, the IEA’s ‘450 scenario‘ has improved energy efficiency, accounting for 71% of emission reductions (relative to the baseline scenario) in the period to 2020, and 48% in the period to 20351.
However, the link between improved energy efficiency and reduced energy demand (and hence reduced carbon emissions) is not straightforward. The first need not necessarily lead to the second, and both can be interpreted and measured in multiple ways.
Hans De Keulenaer's insight:
A 20% energy efficiency target does not necessarily mean that energy consumption will go down by 20%. This article explains why. And it's not just the rebound effect - there are severla other factors at play.
This is a great summary piece on the renewable energy revolution from one of CleanTechnica’s daily readers. Unlike with many of the recent reader articles we’ve published, this one doesn’t come from a frequent commenter but from one of the many, many lurkers who read CleanTechnica daily and silently. I’m happy he jumped in with
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” That’s the challenge for this generation when it comes creating Smart Grids out of today’s infrastructure for energy and water. We’re much further along in terms of envisioning a modernized electricity grid than we are when the aging infrastructure under consideration is water.
Hans De Keulenaer's insight:
Compared to the challenges of water, making the electricity grid smart is a walk in the park.
The insulation performance of PV modules is vital for sustained field operation and personnel safety. Yet, despite international standards for dry-insulation resistance test procedures, field failures remain prevalent. For some time PV module manufacturers and customers alike have been troubled by the following problem: Why do PV modules occasionally operate uncharacteristically in the field, yet operate normally when returned to a controlled laboratory environment?.
“Does the solar home system work? Do you really get better lights? Or, is it just a big fuss?’ I have been asking solar home systems households in rural Bangladesh these basic questions for the past five years as part of my implementation review missions for the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development program, which has installed over 2.8 million solar home systems since 2002. This has so far contributed to a 9% increase in access to electricity in Bangladesh.
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).
Market analysts expect a tenfold increase in the market for small solar power storage systems over the next three years. In the same period, they expect the hurdles preventing the integration of power storage into private photovoltaic systems to be overcome.
Hans De Keulenaer's insight:
Batteries of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids might have a second life as home storage systems, where the requirements are less. A battery operating at 75% capacity is no longer usable for transport, but perfectly suitable for stationary use.
Denmark, a tiny country on the northern fringe of Europe, is pursuing the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change. It aims to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050 — not just in electricity production, as some other countries hope to do, but in transportation as well.
Calculations of household that energy balances are common, but also misleading. Just because your solar roof produces as much power as you consume does not mean you are off the grid.
In this blog post, British Passive House architect Elrond Burrell critiques the concept of zero-carbon buildings and explores 9 reasons why ‘Zero-Carbon Buildings’ is the wrong target and what the right targets are.
Much has been made of the needs of the electricity grid as more and more renewables with their inherent fluctuations are plugged into the grid. No longer can a certain amount of energy be guaranteed, and with burgeoning populations and energy use the world over, it's becoming increasingly difficult to predict how much energy is
After a somewhat rushed and hasty legislative process, revisions to the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) went into force on August 1st. One of the more controversial amendments is the introduction of a surcharge on self-consumption of locally generated solar power. Now, the transmission grid operators (TSO) have announced that they'll defer the collection of this surcharge until further notice..
In the 100 days since 1 April 2014, the wholesale power prices in Germany was below four cents on 77 days. At present, there is the longest streak of consecutive days this year. But the biggest finding is probably the far lower power prices in France..
The eBike of the future is now, with Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire expected to be available on the market in 2015. It’s the company’s first electric motorcycle – a sleek, futuristic looking ride that sounds like a jet airplane taking off. But will cycling enthusiasts embrace a bike that doesn’t have the loud, torqued rumble associated with Harley-Davidson?
Last year, the electricity Germany exported was 6.3% more valuable per unit than the power it imported – the exact opposite of the narrative that Germany is dumping excess renewable electricity on neighboring countries at low cost. France faces a particularly dire imbalance financial; German electricity is 24.4 percent more valuable..
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.