Edison International, the owner of California’s second-largest utility, will seek contracts for at least 50 megawatts of energy-storage capacity to ensure long- term energy supplies in the Los Angeles area.
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Morgan Stanley Installs Bloom Energy Fuel Cells At Purchase, NY Facility
Duane Tilden's insight:
The project will provide clean and uninterruptible power for the 750,000 Sq. Ft. Office Building
PURCHASE, NY, Nov. 14 — [...]
The fuel cell system, along with a solar panel field completed earlier this year, are the latest in a series of initiatives to improve the facility's energy efficiency and resiliency.
The Bloom Energy fuel cell system produces electricity without burning fossil fuels, thus reducing emission of greenhouse gases. It will supply approximately 250 kilowatts (kW) of constant base load power to the facility, as well as grid-independent electricity to power portions of the building's critical load during grid outages. [...]
The new solid oxide fuel cell system (SOFC) technology converts fuel into electricity through a highly efficient electrochemical process, resulting in on-site, clean and reliable power. Combined with the solar field, these new installations are expected to produce approximately 3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy a year. During peak energy consumption times, they can supply approximately one megawatt, or up to 30 percent of the building’s demand.
Support for this project was provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Founded in 1975, NYSERDA is a public benefit corporation that provides information, services, programs and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
About Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy is a provider of breakthrough solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient on-site power from multiple fuel sources. The company was founded in 2001 with a mission to make clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world. Bloom Energy Servers are currently producing power for several Fortune 500 companies including Apple, Google, Walmart, AT&T, eBay, Staples, The Coca-Cola Company, as well as notable non-profit organizations such as Caltech and Kaiser Permanente. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com.
About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. [...]"<
The U.S. has been harnessing geothermal energy since 1960 and if recently announced research projects and startups are successful, even more geothermal power might soon be available.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] in the past, wastewater from oilfield production processes was viewed as a nuisance byproduct that needed to be disposed of. But new research has shown that much of the 25 billion barrels of this geothermally heated “wastewater” produced at oil wells each year in the U.S. is hot enough to produce electricity. It is estimated that many of the wells might have clean energy capacities of up to 1 MW.
Oil and Gas Coproduction in the US
In 2008, the DOE developed the first low-temperature geothermal unit in an oil field at the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC) in Wyoming. The well is producing energy and has a capacity of approximately 217 kW. RMOTC continues to test power units produced by Ormat Technologies and UTC/Pratt and Whitney Power Systems at the center and more than 30 oil firms have visited the center to learn about coproduction technology. The technology is also being implemented in Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas.
In Nevada, Florida Canyon Mining Inc. is using the 220°F groundwater in a coproduction project that uses ElectraTherm’s 50-kW waste heat generators, aka “Green Machines” to generate electricity.
Energy can be harnessed at working oilfields and used to power them without interrupting their operation. A Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE) coproduction project at the Denbury oilfields in Laurel, Mississippi, is using this technique again with ElectraTherm Green Machines. It replaced Denbury’s electric submersible pump and cut electricity costs by a third. GCGE has a second 50-kW geothermal natural gas coproduction project in Louisiana.
University of North Dakota was awarded $1.7 million through the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Program to install a geothermal Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system at another oilfield operated byDenbury. For two years the plant will be used to develop engineering and economic models for geothermal ORC energy production. The technology could be used throughout the Williston Basin.
Liberty County Pilot Project
Texas is oil country, and the 4000+ dormant oil and gas wells speckled across the landscape provide a new, or perhaps recycled, frontier in geothermal energy production. To tap some of that energy,Universal GeoPower CEO and petroleum geologist George Alcorn Jr. and his partner, Chris Luchini, a PhD physicist will use the $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds that they were awarded to bring geothermal energy to Liberty County, Texas. The company said that to prepare its DOE application, it worked with Southern Methodist University. The university has performed extensive research on coproduction and has found that it is applicable to an estimated 37,500 oil and gas wells in the Gulf Coast region.
Universal GeoPower’s pilot project is expected to be one of many that will recomplete the wells to produce low temperature, geopressured brine water. The brine will run through a commercial off-the-shelf turbo expander and an ORC binary generator.
Alcorn spoke recently at GEA’s global geothermal meeting in Washington, DC, offering a snapshot of the economic benefits of the process. “The lead-time to revenue generation is about 6 months, whereas traditional geothermal can take up to five years,” he said. “The wells already have known geothermal potential, and capital costs are dramatically reduced.”
Additionally, Alcorn noted, units are installed at existing oil wells, eliminating the need for investment in drilling, new roads or transmission lines. [...]"<
The near-term applications for Phononic's science are high-end refrigeration for labs and medical facilities, as well as cooling for fiber optics and data servers that are "necessary to continue Moore's law," according to the company.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The 75-employee Phononic develops thermoelectrics -- materials that can convert a temperature gradient to a voltage or vice versa. The technology is a brilliant pursuit, but no one has brought it to mass markets economically or at scale just yet. Traditional thermoelectrics use materials such as bismuth telluride or silicon germanium, and more recently, silicon nanowires.
[...] Phononic is looking to develop thermal management technology for consumer devices, and, more strikingly, to replace cheap, ubiquitous and century-old incumbent compressor technology.
CEO Anthony Atti told us this morning that the investment thesis around Phononic is that "semiconductors have revolutionized IT and LEDs, but have not had that same impact on cooling and heating." He notes that Phononic's thermoelectric technology is in the realm of Peltier cooling technology, but addresses three major shortcomings of that technology: efficiency, ability to scale, and ease of integration.
Atti claims that the compound semiconductor material used in his firm's thermoelectrics can be manufactured using high-volume, standard semiconductor tools and equipment.
Bruce Sohn, the former president of First Solar, is on the board at Phononic. When we spoke with him this morning, he told us that he had been working with the firm for four years and believes the startup is doing something "revolutionary that can do to compressors what the [integrated circuit] did to the vacuum tube."
Other companies developing thermoelectric technologies for cooling or capturing waste heat include the following:Alphabet Energy is commercializing thermoelectric waste-heat harvesting technology developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has raised more than $30 million from Encana, a developer of natural gas and other energy sources, TPG Biotech, Claremont Creek Ventures, and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund.GMZ Energy, spun out of MIT with funding from KPCB, BP Alternative Energy, and Mitsui Ventures, is working on a bismuth-telluride thermovoltaic device that converts solar heat directly into power via theSeebeck effect. In the Seebeck effect, a sharp temperature gradient can result in an electric charge.MTPV describes its product as a thermophotovoltaic. MTPV uses a silicon-based MEMS emitter which takes heat and transfers radiation to a germanium-based photovoltaic device, according to an article inSemiconductor Manufacturing and Design. The company just raised $11.2 million led by Northwater Capital Management’s Intellectual Property Fund, along with Total Energy Ventures, SABIC, the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and follow-on investments from Spinnaker Capital, Ensys Capital, the Clean Energy Venture Group and other existing shareholders.Silicium, funded by Khosla Ventures, is investigating high ZT thermoelectrics. The firm's website claims, "Silicium is developing silicon thermoelectrics that enable substantially increased battery longevity for wearable electronics. By using body heat, Silicium technology can help power an entire spectrum of wearable devices...using off-the-shelf silicon wafers."Recycled Energy Development (RED) and Ormat have retrofitted factories to capture waste heat, not using thermoelectrics, but by adding CHP or cogeneration. [...]"<
Swedish Stirling Engine generator specialist, Cleanergy supplies its GasBox generators to two landfill sites in Poland for the production of energy from low quality methane gas emitted from two major, following a successful pilot project earlier in the year.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] GasBox – the centrepiece of its Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system – has been specifically developed to generate electricity and heat from low-quality methane gas produced by the decomposition of organic matter at the 2000+ landfill sites across Europe, most of which are more than 10 years old.
According to Cleanergy, many such landfill sites choose to flare the methane they produce.
The European Union Landfill Directive of 1999 states that flaring is only an option if it is impossible to extract energy from the methane gas. But up until today, older landfill sites have often broken these directives because the gas combustion engines traditionally used at newer landfills where methane levels are above 40% simply cannot produce electricity from lower grade, ‘dirty’ methane.
However, at the two Polish landfill sites the methane was released straight into the atmosphere rather than being flared. To address this, Cleanergy’s GasBox was deployed at the Regional Centre of Waste Management in Domaszkowice in Poland in August.
This 25 hectare landfill site closed in the 2000. Since the installation of the GasBox, the electricity generated has been used to power equipment and to heat and electrify buildings at the site.
Following this success, Cleanergy’s CHP system has also been deployed at the Waste Neutralisation Enterprise in Sulnówko, a 7.5 hectare landfill site.
Anders Koritz, CEO at Cleanergy commented: “We developed our GasBox to meet a specific need – a complete CHP system that can run on low-grade methane gas. Sure enough the industry response since our launch in June has been amazing.”
According to Cleanergy its GasBox addresses this specific problem and is able to produce both electricity and heat from a methane gas concentration down to 18%.
Installed inside a modular container, Cleanergy’s GasBox is an autonomous and flexible stirling engine unit. Also inside the container is a real-time power management system with remote access; a fuel pipe; plus a heat and electricity connection to a house/factory/warehouse with optional grid functionality.
With a claimed ROI of three to five years, the company said that its GasBox is now commercially deployed at several locations in Norway, Slovenia, Sweden (in collaboration with the Swedish Energy Agency) and the UK. [...]"<
A new report from ACEEE, Energy Savings from Information and Communications Technologies in Personal Travel,estimates that aggressively incorporating a handful of ICT strategies could reduce energy consumption in transportation by almost 13% by 2030.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] Intelligent efficiency is the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to improve the overall productivity and efficiency of a given sector.
In transportation, intelligent efficiency can affect the way we travel by providing us with real-time feedback and information on fuel economy, making it easier for us to use alternatives to driving such as public transit and bicycles, and by moving traffic away from peak travel times and consolidating travelers into fewer vehicles.
[...] The strategies discussed in the report include:Car and bike sharingReal-time transit informationIn-vehicle feedbackVehicle-to-vehicle communications and driver assist applicationsICT-based transportation demand management programs (TDM)
The report aims to provide readers with a sense of the relative magnitude of energy savings possible from these strategies, and is by no means a definitive overall estimate. ICT could be incorporated in many additional ways in the transportation sector. The strategies described here are simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to implementation. Studies from Europe have shown that reductions could be as high as 26% if we consider the whole universe of strategies and options. [...]"<
Turboden, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has implemented the first ORC-based heat recovery plant on an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) in the world
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The heat recovery system was started up on December 2013. It is connected to the off-gas treatment system of the melting electric furnace. The recovered energy reduces net power consumption, allowing significant CO2 reduction.
In addition to electricity production, the remaining portion of the steam is fed into the Riesa Municipal steam supply system and used in a nearby tire factory production process.
Turboden designs, develops and implements generation plants, allowing reduction of industrial energy consumption and emissions containment through heat recovery from unexploited residual heat streams and exhaust gases in production processes and power plants.
This technology is best applied in energy-intensive industries such as glass, cement, aluminum, iron & steel, where production processes typically generate exhaust gases above 250°C.
These new plants not only provide advantages in terms of environmental sustainability, emissions reduction, increased industrial process efficiency and improved business performance, but they also represent opportunities for increased competitiveness."<
By Steven Nadel
" ... a potential emerging trend that could have a large impact on many utilities: the reduction of the traditional mid-afternoon peak, and the growth of an evening peak. (Peak is the time when demand for power is highest.)"
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] In many regions, evening peaks have been growing, as more consumers install air conditioners and operate them when they get home from work. But two other factors are augmenting this trend. First and foremost is the growth in consumer-owned photovoltaic systems. These systems generate the most power on sunny afternoons, which is about when the traditional early afternoon peak occurs. But when the sun goes down, extra power is quickly needed to replace this solar power. [...]
There are many ways to address the growing evening peak, including the following:Energy efficiency, particularly measures that reduce the evening peak such as efficient lamps, water heaters, stoves and ovens.Smart controllers that minimize energy use during the evening peak. To provide just one example, a smart refrigerator would not turn on the defrost cycle during this period and might even turn off the main compressor for a few minutes. Likewise, smart charging systems for electric vehicles could be used, such as a new system recently demonstrated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), working with a consortium of utilities and auto manufacturers.Expanded use of demand-response programs to lower the new peak (and coordination of these efforts with energy efficiency programs).Time-of-use rates and/or demand charges that raise the price of power use during peak times and a lower them at off-peak times.Use of energy storage at a system, community, or end-user level. Storage able to provide power for several hours could be very useful.Fast ramp-up generation to serve the evening peak and other times when renewable energy production plummets, for example when the wind dies down. Hydro is ideal, but fast ramp-up gas units are now entering the market.
In my opinion, the time of the peak will change in many regions. The shift will be gradual in most areas, so we have time to address it. Rather than trying to stop this change by restricting photovoltaic systems, we'll be better off figuring out how to manage it, [...]"<
Santa Barbara – Ice Energy today (Nov 5, 2014) announced it has been awarded sixteen contracts from Southern California Edison (SCE) to provide 25.6 megawatts of behind-the-meter thermal energy storage using Ice Energy’s proprietary Ice Bear system.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] Ice Energy was one of 3 providers selected in the behind-the-meter energy storage category, which was part of an energy storage procurement by SCE that was significantly larger than the minimum mandated by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). SCE is one of the nation’s leaders in renewable energy and the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California.
The contract resulted from an open and competitive process under SCE’s Local Capacity Requirements (LCR) RFO. The goals of the LCR RFO and California’s Storage Act Mandates are to optimize grid reliability, support renewables integration to meet the 2020 portfolio standards, and support the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20% of 1990 levels by 2050.
“SCE’s focus on renewable energy is critical to helping meet California’s long-term goals, and Ice Energy is proud to be part of the solution with these contracts,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Ice Energy, the leading provider of distributed thermal energy storage technology. “Using ice for energy storage is not new, we’ve just made it distributed, efficient, and cost-effective. The direct-expansion AC technology is robust and proven, which is important because SCE and other utilities require zero risk for their customers.”
In 2013, 22 percent of the power SCE delivered came from renewable sources, compared to 15 percent for other power companies in the state. The utility is on track to meet the state’s goal of 33 percent, and procuring energy storage helps them meet those targets while maintaining a robust and reliable grid.
Ice Energy’s product, the Ice Bear, attaches to one or more standard 5-20 ton commercial AC units. The Ice Bear freezes ice at night when demand for power is low, capacity is abundant and increasingly sourced from renewables such as wind power. Then during the day, stored ice is used to provide cooling, instead of the power-intensive AC compressor. Ice Bears are deployed in smart-grid enabled, megawatt-scale fleets, and each Ice Bear can reduce harmful CO2 emissions by up to 10 tons per year. Installation is as quick as deploying a standard AC system.
“Ice Bears add peak capacity to the grid, reduce and often eliminate the need for feeder and other distribution system upgrades, improve grid reliability and reduce electricity costs,” Hopkins said. “What’s special about our patented design and engineering is the efficiency and cost. It’s energy storage at the lowest cost possible with extraordinary reliability.”
In 2013 Tesla's [time-stock symbol=TSLA] Model S won the prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year award. Motor Trend called it “one of the quickest American four-doors ever built.” It went on to say that the electric vehicle “drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive.”
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...]The secret behind Tesla’s success
While the power driving Tesla’s success might be its battery, that’s not the real secret to its success. Instead, Tesla has aluminum to thank for its superior outperformance, as the metal is up to 40% lighter than steel, according to a report from the University of Aachen, Germany. That lighter weight enables Tesla to fit enough battery power into the car to extend the range of the Model S without hurting its performance. Vehicles made with aluminum accelerate faster, brake in shorter distances, and simply handle better than cars loaded down with heavier steel.
Even better, pound-for-pound aluminum can absorb twice as much crash energy as steel. This strength is one of the reasons Tesla’s Model S also achieved the highest safety rating of any car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
But it’s not all good news when it comes to aluminum and cars.Aluminum’s dirty side
Before alumina can be converted into aluminum its source needs to be mined. That source is an ore called bauxite, which is typically extracted in open-pit mines that aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. Bauxite is then processed into the fine white powder known as alumina, and from there alumina is exposed to intense heat and electricity through a process known as smelting, which transforms the material into aluminum.
Aluminum smelting is extremely energy-intense. It takes 211 gigajoules of energy to make one tonne of aluminum, while just 22.7 gigajoules of energy is required to produce one tonne of steel. In an oversimplification of the process, aluminum smelting requires temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius to melt alumina, while an electric current must also pass through the molten material so that electrolysis can reduce the aluminum ions to aluminum metals. This process requires so much energy that aluminum production is responsible for about 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Carbon Trust.
There is, however, some good news: Aluminum is 100% recyclable. Moreover, recycled aluminum, or secondary production, requires far less energy to produce than primary production, as the [...] chart shows. [...]"<
"Power grids need extra generating capacity to work properly. For example, about 20 percent of New York State’s generation fleet runs less than 250 hours a year. Because they don’t run much, “peaker plants” are by design the cheapest and least efficient fossil generators."
Duane Tilden's insight:
>"[...] As has happened with solar PV, the costs for multi-hour energy storage are about to undergo a steep decline over the next 2 to 3 years. This cost trend will disrupt the economic rationale for gas-fired simple cycle combustion turbines (CTs) in favor of flexible zero emissions energy storage. This will be especially true for storage assets owned and operated by vertical utilities and distributed near utility substations.
Simple cycle gas-fired CTs have been a workhorse utility asset for adding new peaker capacity for decades. But times and technologies change, and the power grid’s long love affair with gas-fired CTs is about to be challenged by multi-hour energy storage. Flow batteries that utilize a liquid electrolyte are especially cost-effective because the energy they store can be easily and inexpensively increased just by adding more electrolyte.
CTs cost from $670 per installed kilowatt to more than twice that much for CT’s located in urban areas. But the economics of peaking capacity must also reflect the benefits side of the cost/benefit equation. Distributed storage assets can deliver both regional (transmission) and local (distribution) level energy balancing services using the same storage asset. This means the locational value and capacity use factor for distributed storage can be significantly higher compared to CTs operated on a central station basis.
The disruptive potential of energy storage as a substitute for simple cycle CTs has been recognized. For example, Arizona Public Service (APS) and the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) recently filed a proposed settlement which, if approved, would require that at least 10% of any new peaker capacity now being planned as simple cycle combustion turbines would instead need to be energy storage — as long as the storage meets the cost effectiveness and reliability criteria of any CTs being proposed.
Lower cost solar PV and its rising penetration in all market segments will have a profoundly disruptive effect on utility operations and the utility cost-of-service business model. This has already started to happen. Storage offers a way for utilities to replace lost revenues premised on margins from kilowatt-hour energy sales by placing energy storage into the rate based and earning low-risk regulated returns."<
Burton School District, in the heart of California’s sun-drenched San Joaquin Valley, will also house combined solar and energy storage systems[...]
Duane Tilden's insight:
>"In the commercial sector, the cost of energy storage is now low enough that businesses are finding it a useful addition to solar. Generally, businesses’ peak energy consumption is when electricity is most expensive, which makes energy storage especially useful.
As the cost of energy storage continues to decline, large solar companies have been integrating it into their product offerings to complement a solar system. [...]
The district will install solar and DemandLogic to generate and store its own clean, renewable electricity at eight schools. This will be the largest combined solar and energy storage installation SolarCity has undertaken to date. It will allow the district schools to reduce energy costs by using stored electricity to lower peak demand.
SolarCity will install the district’s solar systems and battery storage at eight elementary and middle schools, as well as additional solar generation at a district office. The solar installations will total more than 1.4 MW of capacity, with storage providing an additional 360 kW (720 kWh) of power to reduce peak demand. The new solar systems are expected to save the district more than $1 million over the life of the contracts, and the DemandLogic battery storage systems could save thousands more on demand charges each year.
The new SolarCity systems are expected to generate 2,300 MWh of solar energy annually, and enough over the life of the contract to power more than 4,000 homes for a year. The solar systems will also offset over 43 million pounds of carbon dioxide and save more than 203 million gallons of water, an especially important environmental benefit in the drought-stricken valley. The entire storage project is expected to be completed by May 2015."<
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognised three combined heat and power projects with ENERGY STAR CHP awards.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>"[...] Eastman Chemical Company’s Kingsport, Tennessee, Campus plant (pictured) was recognised for its 200 MW CHP system, which includes 17 GE steam turbine generators. The Kingsport industrial campus, one of the largest chemical manufacturing sites in North America, employs nearly 7000 people [...]
Seventeen boilers produce steam to support manufacturing processes, help meet the space heating/cooling needs of 550 buildings, and drive 17 GE and two ABB steam turbine generators with a combined design output of 200 MW. With an operating efficiency of more than 78%, the predominantly coal-fired system requires approximately 14% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production, saving Eastman Chemical approximately US$45 million per year.
Janssen Research & Development, LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, was granted an award for its 3.8 MW CHP system, powered by a Caterpillar lean-burn low-emissions reciprocating natural gas generator set. The system supplies 60% of the annual power needs for the site and approximately 40% of the thermal energy used to support R&D operations and heat, cool, and dehumidify the facility's buildings.
With an operating efficiency of more than 62%, the system requires approximately 29% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production, saving approximately $1.1 million per year.
Merck’s CoGen3 CHP system at its West Point facility was also recognised by the EPA. A pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing, R&D and warehouse and distribution centre, the project is powered by a 38 MW GE 6B heavy-duty gas turbine and recovers heat to produce steam to heat, cool and dehumidify approximately 7 million square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and office space.
The system, designed by Burns & Roe, is the third CHP system that Merck has installed at the 400-acre West Point, Pennsylvania campus. With an operating efficiency of more than 75%, the natural gas-fired system requires approximately 30% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production."<
According to the report, the market generated revenues of US$84.2 million in 2013 and Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2020 this will rise almost tenfold to US$814.3 million, forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 38.3%.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] This growth is expected to come from activity in establishing microgrids for rural electrification in developing countries, and from commercial microgrids in the developed ones. The report cites the examples of Australia and Japan among the developed countries.
Mining operations in remote parts of Australia are one example of reliance on microgrids, powered by on-site generation. This has come traditionally from diesel generators, which are being combined with or replaced by solar-plus-storage. According to several sources the economics for this are already compelling.
Countries with a strong recent history in rural electrification referred to by Frost & Sullivan include Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. In the example of Indonesia, the country’s utilities are aiming to bring electrification to 90% of the rural population by 2025. In total the report covered the countries of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia.
However, despite this recent activity, the report highlights several barriers that are preventing the market reaching its potential. One such example is the high capital cost of installing microgrids in tandem with energy storage systems. [...]
[...] rising electricity prices in many regions would lead utility companies away from diesel and onto renewables to run their microgrids. It could also encourage “stronger governmental support through favorable regulations, funds and subsidies", as the use of renewable energy for microgrids would require some forms of energy storage, which are still expensive to install [...]
“The utilisation of renewable energy sources, either in standalone off-grid applications or in combination with local micro-grids, is therefore recognised as a potential route for rural farming communities to develop, as well as an opportunity to tackle the health issues associated with kerosene and biomass dependence. For example, the Indian Government aims to replace around 8 million existing diesel fuelled groundwater pumps, used by farmers for irrigation, with solar powered alternatives,” according to Fox. [...]"<
Derived from a common sand-like powder, and leveraging breakthrough advances in materials science, our technology is able to produce clean, reliable, affordable power,... practically anywhere,... from a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.
Duane Tilden's insight:
"Changing the Face of Energy
Bloom Energy is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy.
Our unique on-site power generation systems utilize an innovative new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA's Mars program.
Our Energy Servers® are among the most efficient energy generators on the planet; providing for significantly reduced electricity costs and dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.
By generating power on-site, where it is consumed, Bloom Energy offers increased electrical reliability and improved energy security, providing a clear path to energy independence.
Founded in 2001, Bloom Energy is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California."
Duane Tilden's insight:
Continued growth in domestic natural gas production, along with substantially lower natural gas spot prices compared to crude oil, is reshaping the U.S. energy economy and attracting considerable interest in the potential for fueling freight locomotives with liquefied natural gas (LNG). While there is significant appeal for major U.S. railroads to use LNG as a fuel for locomotives because of its potentially favorable economics compared with diesel fuel, there are also key uncertainties as to whether, and to what extent, the railroads can take advantage of this relatively cheap and abundant fuel.
Freight railroads and the basic economics of fuel choice
Major U.S. railroads, known commonly as Class 1 railroads, are defined as line-haul freight railroads with certain minimum annual operating revenue. Currently, that classification is based on 2011 operating revenue of $433.2 million or more . While there are 561 freight railroads operating in the United States, only seven are defined as Class 1 railroads. The Class 1 railroads account for 94% of total freight rail revenue . They haul large amounts of tonnage over long distances, and in the process they consume significant quantities of diesel fuel. In 2012, the seven Class 1 railroads consumed more than 3.6 billion gallons (gal) of diesel fuel , amounting to 10 million gal/day and representing 7% of all diesel fuel consumed in the United States. [...]
The large differential between crude oil and natural gas commodity prices translates directly into a significant disparity between projected LNG and diesel fuel prices, even after accounting for natural gas liquefaction costs that exceed refining costs. [...]
Given the difference between LNG and diesel fuel prices in the Reference case, railroads that switch locomotive fuels could accrue significant fuel cost savings. Locomotives are used intensively, consume large amounts of fuel, and are kept in service for relatively long periods of time. The net present value of future fuel savings across the Reference case projection for an LNG locomotive compared to a diesel counterpart is well above the roughly $1 million higher cost of the LNG locomotive and tender (Figure IF3-3).
Relatively large changes in assumptions used to evaluate investments in LNG locomotives (such as a significantly shorter payback period or much higher discount rate) or in fuel prices would be required to change LNG fuel economics for railroad use from favorable to unfavorable. [...] "<
Electric cars can save lots of lives from air pollution, but only if they're powered by renewable energy, not energy from coal or ethanol, a new study find
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The study, published Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that deaths from air pollution could be cut by 70% if electric cars use only renewable-source electricity. But if they use energy from "dirty" sources like coal, they could actually make matters worse and could increase the number of deaths by 80% or more.
“These findings demonstrate the importance of clean electricity, such as from natural gas or renewables, in substantially reducing the negative health impacts of transportation,” said Chris Tessum, co-author on the study and a researcher in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering.
The University of Minnesota team estimated how concentrations of two important pollutants — particulate matter and ground-level ozone — change as a result of using various options for powering vehicles. Air pollution is the largest environmental health hazard in the U.S., in total killing more than 100,000 people per year. Air pollution increases rates of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory disease. [...]"<
The NYPSC approved Con Ed of New York's proposed $200 million Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program that would relieve overloads in the city.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] Con Ed’s proposed Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program is consistent with the state’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” program to restructure the electricity market with greater reliance on technology and distributed resources, the commission said. “The commission is making a significant step forward toward a regulatory paradigm where utilities incorporate alternatives to traditional infrastructure investment when considering how to meet their planning and reliability needs,” the order states.
Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman added that because of the recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down federal jurisdiction over demand response in wholesale markets, it’s important for state regulators to set market rules for that resource.
Con Ed said the feeders serving the Brownsville No. 1 and 2 substations began to experience overloads in 2013 and would be overloaded by 69 MW for 40 to 48 hours during the summer by 2018. A new substation, transmission subfeeders and a switching station would cost $1 billion, according to the company. The PSC accepted the company’s estimate of the DM Program’s costs and ordered a cap of $200 million.
The program would include 52 MW of non-traditional utility-side and customer-side relief, including about 41 MW of energy efficiency, demand management and distributed generation, and 11 MW of utility-side battery energy storage. This will include incentives to upgrade building “envelopes,” improve air conditioning efficiency of equipment, encourage greater use of energy controls, and establish energy storage, distributed generation or microgrids.
This will be supplemented by approximately 17 MW of traditional utility infrastructure investment, consisting of 6 MW of capacitors and 11 MW of load transfers from the affected area to other networks. [...]"<
Since the 1850s scientists have known that crystalline materials are organized into 14 different basic lattice structures. However, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) now reports that it has discovered an entirely new form of crystalline order that simultaneously exhibits both crystal and polycrystalline properties, which they describe as "interlaced crystals."
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The interlaced crystal arrangement has properties that make it ideal for thermoelectric applications that turn heat into electricity, they report. The discovery of materials with improved thermoelectric efficiency could increase the efficiency of electrical power generation, improve automobile mileage and reduce the cost of air conditioning. "We discovered this new form while studying nano particles," said Sokrates Pantelides, University Distinguished Professor of Physics and Engineering at Vanderbilt, who coordinated the study. "It most likely exists in thin films or bulk samples, but it has apparently gone unnoticed." [...]
According to the researchers, the interlaced crystal structure may be just what is needed to optimize thermoelectric applications for power generation or cooling. Thermoelectric devices need a material that is an excellent electrical conductor and a poor conductor of heat. The problem is that materials like metals that are good electrical conductors also tend to be good heat conductors and vice versa. Defects and grain boundaries that retard heat flow also reduce electrical conductivity. In addition to CuInS2, there is a large class of materials that should have similar interlaced structures. When made into thin films, they should be excellent thermoelectric materials, the researchers predict. "We haven't tested this yet, but we are confident that these materials have high electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity...just what you need for thermoelectrics. The field is now wide open for scientists who can fabricate thin films and make thermoelectric measurements," said Pantelides."<
The company has developed a marine Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system for waste heat recovery and power generation that could reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%.
Duane Tilden's insight:
"> [...] Enertime’s ORC system produces between 500kW and 1MW of electrical power depending on the available amount of heat. The unit is based on a tailor-made axial turbine and is specifically designed to work in the marine environment. The development work has involved shipyards, shipowners and a classification society, says Mr David.
“Compared to a steam power cycle, ORC systems need very low maintenance, display good part-load efficiency, high availability and can be operated without permanent monitoring,” he said. “Daily operation and maintenance can be carried out without specific qualification.”
The ORC system can work with any kind of heat source. The unit can recover heat from a number of different sources singly or in combination including low-temperature jacket cooling from engines, steam or thermal oil systems and pressurised hot water. Exhaust gas from engines or auxiliaries is the main available heat on board ships, and it can be collected through an exhaust gas heat exchanger and brought to the ORC unit using steam, pressurised water or thermal oil. [...]
The ORC layout is flexible and the unit can also be installed as a retrofit where it is possible to adapt the layout of the machinery to specific constraints by splitting it on different levels, for example.
“This kind of system would be very interesting for bulk carriers, small to medium size oil tankers, ferry boats, small container ships... with payback time between two to five years,” [...]"<
FirstEnergy Corp. has a traditional view of wholesale electricity markets: They’re a competition between iron-in-the-ground facilities that can put megawatts on the grid when those megawatts are needed. Think coal plants, nuclear reactors and hydroelectric dams. Missing from the definition is a consumer’s promise to turn off the lights when the grid is stressed — so-called demand response. Instead of creating energy during peak times, demand response resources conserve it, freeing up megawatts [...]
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...]The idea is not new and has been expanding in the territory of PJM Interconnection, a Valley Forge-based grid operator that manages the flow of electricity to 13 states, including Pennsylvania.
FirstEnergy, which owns power plants and utility companies across several states, wants PJM to abandon the demand response concept.
The Ohio-based energy company says demand response, which doesn’t require any kind of capital commitment, is “starving” traditional generation out of its rightful revenue in wholesale markets.
“We feel that it’s going to lead to even more premature closures of power plants,” said Doug Colafella, a spokesman for the firm.
Specifically, FirstEnergy is fighting to get demand response kicked out of PJM’s annual capacity auction, which ensures there’s enough electricity resources to meet projected power demand three years in advance. The auction establishes a single clearing price that will be paid to all successful bidders, like a retainer fee, in exchange for their promise to be available to be called upon three years from now.
During the May auction, which set capacity prices for the 2017-2018 year, the clearing price was $120 a day for each megawatt of electricity bidders committed. About 6 percent, or about 11,000 megawatts, of the capacity secured came from demand response.
FirstEnergy’s Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant in Beaver County failed to clear the auction. The company has since postponed upgrades to the facility, which could jeopardize its functioning beyond 2016.
Capacity payments are a stable source of revenue for baseload generation plants, Mr. Colafella said, and a price signal to the market about which way demand is headed, giving generators some indication about whether new facilities will be necessary and profitable.
Demand response distorts that dynamic, he said.
Since May, FirstEnergy has intensified its efforts to drive demand response out of PJM’s markets, having seized on a related court case involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“FirstEnergy’s business model is that electricity consumption has been flattening, so they want to take a larger share of the market and how do you take a larger share? You bulldoze everybody out,” said Mei Shibata, CEO of The Energy Agency, a marketing and communications firm and co-author of a recent report on the market for demand response in the U.S. for GreenTech Media Research.
In May, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated a rule created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2011 that said demand response should be treated the same way as power plants in wholesale energy markets. That meant demand response providers could offer to shut down a day in advance, when grid operators book electricity for the following day, and get the same price as megawatts from generation.
An electric power industry group sued the FERC claiming that the call to shut off electricity in exchange for payment is a retail choice and retail falls exclusively within state jurisdiction, not federal. The court agreed, setting in motion FirstEnergy’s challenge to demand response in capacity markets, which were not addressed by the court decision. If demand response is a retail product in one context, then it’s a retail product in all, the logic goes.
The same day the court issued its decision, FirstEnergy filed a lawsuit asking a judge to order PJM to recalculate the results of its May capacity auction stripping out demand response.
PJM objected. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which intervened in that case, charged FirstEnergy with “jumping the gun” on its logic and called its proposal an “unprecedented and wholly unnecessary disruption of the capacity market auction process.”
Even if demand response is excluded from the daily wholesale market as the court decision wills, the market for this resource will continue to expand, said Ms. Shibata.
If, however, FirstEnergy succeeds in kicking demand response out of the capacity market, “that would be a much bigger deal,” she said.
PJM leads the nation in demand response resources, according to Ms. Shibata’s research, and anything that happens to demand response at PJM would likely trickle down to the other grid operators around the country. [...]"<
Ice Energy’s proven Ice Bear system is the most cost effective and reliable distributed energy storage solution for the grid. The Ice Bear delivers up to six hours of clean, firm, non-fatiguing stored energy daily and is fully dispatchable by the utility. Ice Bear projects are job engines, creating long-term green jobs in the hosting communities.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] The Ice Bear system is an intelligent distributed energy storage solution that works in conjunction with commercial direct-expansion (DX) air-conditioning systems, specifically the refrigerant-based, 4-20 ton package rooftop systems common to most small to mid-sized commercial buildings.
The system stores energy at night, when electricity generation is cleaner, more efficient and less expensive, and delivers that energy during the peak of the day to provide cooling to the building.
Daytime energy demand from air conditioning – typically 40-50% of a building’s electricity use during peak daytime hours – can be reduced significantly by the Ice Bear. Each Ice Bear delivers an average reduction of 12 kilowatts of source equivalent peak demand for a minimum of 6 hours daily, shifting 72 kilowatt-hours of on-peak energy to off-peak hours. In addition, the Ice Bear can be configured to provide utilities with demand response on other nearby electrical loads – effectively doubling or even tripling the peak-demand reduction capacity of the Ice Bear.
When aggregated and deployed at scale, a typical utility deployment will shift the operation of thousands of commercial AC condensing units from on-peak periods to off-peak periods, reducing electric system demand, improving electric system load factor, reducing electric system costs, and improving overall electric system efficiency and power quality.
The Ice Bear is installed behind the utility-customer meter, but the Ice Bear system was designed for the utility as a grid asset, with most of the benefits flowing to the utility and grid as a whole. Therefore Ice Bear projects are typically funded either directly or indirectly by the utility.[...]
At its most basic, the Ice Bear consists of a large thermal storage tank that attaches directly to a building’s existing roof top air-conditioning system.
The unit makes ice at night, and uses that ice during the day to efficiently deliver cooling directly to the building’s existing air conditioning system.
The Ice Bear energy storage unit operates in two basic modes, Ice Cooling and Ice Charging, to store cooling energy at night, and to deliver that energy the following day.
During Ice Charge mode, a self-contained charging system freezes 450 gallons of water in the Ice Bear’s insulated tank by pumping refrigerant through a configuration of copper coils within it. The water that surrounds these coils freezes and turns to ice. The condensing unit then turns off, and the ice is stored until its cooling energy is needed.
As daytime temperatures rise, the power consumption of air conditioning rises along with it, pushing the grid to peak demand levels. During this peak window, typically from noon to 6 pm, the Ice Bear unit replaces the energy intensive compressor of the building’s air conditioning unit.
The Ice Cooling cycle lasts for at least 6 hours.
Once the ice has fully melted, the Ice Bear transfers the job of cooling back to the building’s AC unit, to provide cooling, as needed, until the next day. During the cool of the night, the Ice Charge mode is activated and the entire cycle begins again. [...]"<
California’s utilities are building a 1.3-gigawatt energy storage system, one piece at a time.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] PG&E’s solicitation (PDF) is one of the first rounds from the 74 megawatts of storage projects the utility is set to announce by December. That, in turn, is part of the first procurement round for the state’s 1.3-gigawatt mandate for storage by 2021, which is requiring PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric to sign up about 200 megawatts of cost-effective grid storage by year’s end.
Some of these projects will be aggregating distributed, behind-the-meter batteries to help solve local grid needs. But PG&E’s substation RFO is aimed strictly at utility-owned and -operated battery systems -- which makes sense, because PG&E is justifying its cost by showing how much it saves by not building or upgrading new substations.
PG&E’s cost-benefit calculation for these projects is fairly straightforward -- subtract the cost of upgrading the substation from the cost of the battery system. Still, the duty cycle being asked of these energy storage systems (ESS) is pretty severe, according to the RFO:
“[T]his is defined as discharging the ESS from 100% state of charge (SOC) at guaranteed maximum power for the guaranteed discharge duration, then charging it to back to 100% SOC and subsequently discharging it at guaranteed maximum power for half of the guaranteed discharge duration, and finally charging it back to 100% SOC during the course of a single day. The ESS shall be capable of performing the guaranteed site specific duty cycle for up to 365 days per year excluding time for planned maintenance and/or forced outages.”
Asset or investment deferral of this kind is actually a significant route to market for existing battery-based grid storage systems, with projects around the world allowing stressed-out substations to keep operating for years longer by cushioning the peaks with stored battery power. In fact, PG&E has a 2-megawatt project in Vacaville that’s serving that purpose for a transmission substation.
But the new projects are some of the first targeting the medium- and low-voltage distribution grid, where the rules for batteries are different. California regulators are asking the state’s big utilities to come up with ways to value distributed energy assets -- solar panels, batteries, plug-in vehicles, smart thermostats and other grid-edge systems -- in their multi-billion-dollar, multi-year distribution grid investment plans.
PG&E didn’t disclose how much investment it’s hoping to defer with these new projects, or how much it planned to pay for them. But the numbers could be significant. In New York City, utility Consolidated Edison is proposing a plan to replace $1 billion in substation upgrades with a mix of energy efficiency, demand response, and distributed energy resources like rooftop solar and energy storage."<
"Solar PV installations in the U.S. increased an impressive 485% from 2010 to 2013, and by early 2014, there were more than 480,000 systems in the country. That’s 13,400 MW, enough to power about 2.4 million typical American homes."
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] You can definitely see a correlation between electricity price and amount of solar installed, though there are exceptions. Kansas, for example, has fairly high grid prices but little solar — a testament to the fact that good policy is also a key ingredient in promoting solar. And Alaska is not exactly highly populated. For the most part, though, solar is flourishing in states with high electricity rates.
In some states like California, already one of the most expensive places for electricity in the country, residential rates will soon be going up further. Customers in the PG&E service area are looking at a 3.8% increase in electricity bills. Overall, electricity prices in the U.S. have been rising rapidly. According to the Energy Information Administration, in the first half of 2014, U.S. retail residential electricity prices went up 3.2% from the same period last year — the highest year-over-year growth since 2009. [...]
The fact is, solar and other renewables just keep getting cheaper. We’ve noticed a number of stories debating this recently, many in reaction to an Economist article on how expensive wind and solar really are. But as Amory Lovins points out, the reality is that renewables are getting cheaper all the time, regardless of anyone’s arguments.
What does this mean? It means that grid parity is coming sooner than you might think [...]"<
Nissan is assessing the potential of electric vehicles in energy management systems. [...] is participating in the "demand response" energy supply and demand system testing together with businesses and government authorities in Japan.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>"[...] Demand response is a strategy to make power grids more efficient by modifying consumers' power consumption in consideration of available energy supply. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 the supply and demand of electricity during peak use hours in Japan has drawn attention. Under the demand response scheme, power companies request aggregators* to use energy conservation measures, and they are compensated for the electricity that they save.
In the past, energy efficiency was seen as a discrete improvement in devices," says Skip Laitner, an economist who specializes in energy efficiency. "But information technology is taking it to the next level, where we are thinking dynamically, holistically, and system-wide.
Duane Tilden's insight:
>" [...] This emerging approach to energy efficiency is information-driven. It is granular. And it is empowering consumers and businesses to turn energy from a cost into an asset. We call this new paradigm "intelligent efficiency."
That term, which was originally used by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in a 2012 report, accurately conveys the information technology shift underway in the efficiency sector.
The IT revolution has already dramatically improved the quality of information that is available about how products are delivered and consumed. Companies can granularly track their shipping fleets as they move across the country; runners can use sensors and web-based programs to monitor every step and heartbeat throughout their training; and online services allow travelers to track the price of airfare in real time.
Remarkably, these web-based information management tools are only now coming to the built environment in a big way. But with integration increasing and new tools evolving, they are starting to change the game for energy efficiency.
Although adoption has been slow compared to other sectors, many of these same technologies and applications are driving informational awareness about energy in the built environment. Cheaper sensors are enabling granular monitoring of every piece of equipment in a facility; web-based monitoring platforms are making energy consumption engaging and actionable; and analytic capabilities are allowing companies to find and predict hidden trends amidst the reams of data in their facilities and in the energy markets.
This intelligence is turning energy efficiency from a static, reactive process into a dynamic, proactive strategy.
We interviewed more than 30 analysts and companies in the building controls, equipment, energy management, software and utility sectors about the state of the efficiency market. Every person we spoke to pointed to this emerging intelligence as one of the most important drivers of energy efficiency.
"We are hitting an inflection point," says Greg Turner, vice president of global offerings at Honeywell Building Solutions. "The interchange of information is creating a new paradigm for the energy efficiency market."
Based on our conversations with a wide range of energy efficiency professionals, we have identified the five key ways intelligent efficiency is shaping the market in the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector:The decreased cost of real-time monitoring and verification is improving project performance, helping build trust among customers and creating new opportunities for projects;Virtual energy assessments are bringing more building data to the market, leveraging new lead opportunities for energy service professionals;Web-based energy monitoring tools are linking the energy efficiency and energy management markets, making efficiency a far more dynamic offering;Big data analytics are creating new ways to find trends amidst the "noise" of information, allowing companies to be predictive and proactive in efficiency;Open access to information is strengthening the relationship between utilities and their customers, helping improve choices about efficiency and setting the foundation for the smart grid.