electricity


This is what happens in a transitional economy. All the big brave tough bullies, Captains of Industry, turn into silly whiny little sissies begging for handouts. Isn’t life interesting. And no, this is not an April Fools Joke.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/04/coal-nuclear-plant-operator-files-for-bankruptcy-asks-trump-for-a-bailout/

business cycles —

Coal, nuclear plant operator files for bankruptcy, asks Trump for a bailout

FirstEnergy’s request comes after regulator struck down an industry-wide bailout plan.

On Saturday, power corporation FirstEnergy placed its coal and nuclear generation units under chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although coal and nuclear plants across the country have struggled to compete with the low prices of natural gas, FirstEnergy’s filing is unique because it stands to take on a political dimension. Just two days before FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy filing, the company petitioned the Department of Energy (DOE) for an emergency bailout, citing concerns about reliability.

The petition could reinvigorate a debate started by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who proposed a rule last year to change how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for their power. The rule was denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which said that there was not enough evidence to justify changing how coal and nuclear are compensated.

FirstEnergy disparaged FERC’s decision in its Thursday petition (PDF), claiming that “as a result of FERC’s and the RTO’s [Regional Transmission Organization’s] failure to address this crisis, swift and decisive action is needed now to address this imminent loss of nuclear and coal-fired baseload generation and the threat to the electric grid that this loss poses” (emphasis FirstEnergy’s).

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Go there and laugh your asses off. More next week.

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Solar and Wind Power are on a huge tear. This is both in price, where coal is dead and natural gas is getting iffy. But in terms of availability and cutting edge technology. I see a future where generating electricity through renewables may be a same day thing and cheap as dirt. I know I am a dreamer but I am not the only one.

By the way, some people say that size doesn’t matter. I ain’t one of those.

SOLAR BLANKET

What Saudi Arabia’s 200 GW solar power plant would look like—if placed in your neighborhood

Obsession

Energy Shocks

April 01, 2018

Saudi Arabia has a plan to wean its economy off oil. In the biggest sign of what the future of the Gulf state would look like, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese multinational Softbank to build 200 GW of solar power by 2030 at a cost of $200 billion.

These are eye-popping numbers. If built, that solar-power plant will be about 200 times the size of the biggest solar plant operating today. It would more than triple Saudi Arabia’s capacity to produce electricity, from about 77 GW today.

With current technology, solar panels capable of generating 200 GW would likely cover 5,000 sq km—an area larger than the the world’s largest cities.

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No it is not an April’s Joke. Go there and read. More next week.

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In Florida no less. I could hype this piece up, but why? They do such a good job. The place even has its own website.

Home

So here is one version of the story.

https://www.planetizen.com/news/2018/01/96772-residents-move-americas-first-solar-powered-town

Residents Move Into America’s First Solar Powered Town

Residents will live in solar powered homes and ride around the community in self-driving, solar-powered shuttles. Babcock Ranch outside of Fort Myers, Florida, has been in the making since 2005. A city of 50,000 is forecast.
January 18, 2018, 1pm PST | Irvin Dawid

“Families are starting to move into what is being called America’s first solar-powered town,” announces John Dickerson for CBS This Morning on Jan. 16. “Babcock Ranch, about half an hour northeast of Fort Myers, Florida, is supposed to produce more energy than it consumes once it’s finished.”

Developer Syd Kitson is building 20,000 homes for a projected 50,000 people, states Dickerson in the newscast video accompanying the article.

There are more than 300,000 solar panels spread across 440 acres there, producing enough electricity not only for the town, but also the surrounding areas, reports CBS News’ Manuel Bojorquez.

One critical energy element lacking in the solar-powered community will be adequate energy storage to allow the city to be truly self-powered:

The town doesn’t run on solar power all the time. At night, when the sun is down, it has to draw from the traditional electrical grid. Kitson says the technology for storing all that surplus energy the solar cells generate during the day is still too costly.

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Go There. I mean literally go there if you can. If not go there and read. More next week.

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The real important point from this article for me is that, ‘The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”’. In other words, for the last 2o years the utilities should have been investing in renewables and they did not. The point being that renewables are easier to turn “off” when you do not need them. If the utilities start investing heavily now in renewables they may survive. It is a horse race at this point.

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17052488/electricity-demand-utilities

The US electricity sector is in a period of unprecedented change and turmoil. Renewable energy prices are falling like crazy. Natural gas production continues its extraordinary surge. Coal, the golden child of the current administration, is headed down the tubes.

In all that bedlam, it’s easy to lose sight of an equally important (if less sexy) trend: Demand for electricity is stagnant.

Thanks to a combination of greater energy efficiency, outsourcing of heavy industry, and customers generating their own power on site, demand for utility power has been flat for 10 years, and most forecasts expect it to stay that way. The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”:

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Go there and read gleefully. More next week.

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I am so amazed by this, that I do not know what to say. I wish these type projects had started 30 years ago. You would say, impossible. I would say the technology would have been different and the work harder, but it could have been done. Still I am so proud of Renault and I hope more companies try this out. GO Renault!

https://www.engadget.com/2018/02/21/renault-ev-second-life-batteries-smart-island/

Renault’s ‘smart island’ runs on wind power and recycled batteries

The experiment in Portugal aims to prove you can live without fossil fuels.

Renault has launched a “smart island” in Portugal that uses its Zoe electric vehicle, home batteries, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2E) energy storage to run without fossil fuels. The idea is to make the Madeira island of Porto Santo energy independent and stimulate renewable energy production. “[We want] to build a model that can be carried over to other islands and cities,” Renault Electric Vehicle Director Eric Feunteun told Engadget.

Unlike Tesla’s massive Powerpack installation, the Renault project is more of a community endeavor on the small (16 square mile) and sparsely populated (5,483 inhabitants), tourism-oriented island. It will unroll in three phases: In the first, 20 fortunate Porto Santo volunteers will get 14 Zoes and six Kango Z.E. utility vans to use every day. They’ll benefit from 40 new connected public and private charging stations set up by Renault and local utility Empresa de Electricitade da Madeira (EEM).

“Let’s say you come home from work at 7 PM with a decent charge left, and only need two to three hours of charging,” said Feunteun. “The smart charging system we’re testing will decide when the best time to do that is, based on usage, energy availability and other factors. Then, it can charge up to eight times a day in chunks as small as 15 minutes.”

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Go there and read every glorious word. More next week.

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This is a short article, but when you consider his company launched Heavy Falcon this week as well, it has been a very good year for Elon. It is just getting started.

https://www.techspot.com/news/73140-tesla-massive-100mw-south-australian-battery-putting-big.html

Tesla’s massive 100MW South Australian battery is putting a big dent in ‘gas cartel’ profits

Tesla’s battery is significantly undercutting traditional ‘gas cartel’ energy charges

By

Back in March, Tesla boss Elon Musk promised to provide South Australia with a 100MW battery to help the state make the switch to more affordable, renewable energy. At the time, he promised to get the project done in under 100 days or give it to them for free – more than living up to his promise, Tesla finished the battery installation in only 63 days.

After officially being switched on in December, the battery has gone on to save South Australia millions of dollars. It’s accomplished this by easing some of the burden associated with high FCAS costs.

For the unaware, FCAS (frequency control and ancillary services) charges are costs the Australian Energy Market Operator must pay when they ask energy companies to contribute some of their network services to the government in the case of scheduled maintenance or energy system faults.

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Go there and read. I did say it was a short article. More next week.

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I have to admit I love European design and innovation. They seem to want what is best for human kind in a stylish sort of way. Still this is big for even the Dutch who always dream big.

The Dutch plan to build an artificial island to support the world’s largest wind farm

ICE-AGE DREAMS

The Dutch plan to build an artificial island to support the world’s largest wind farm

Wind farms need a lot of space—not something the world has much to spare. That’s why they’re being pushed out into the sea.

TenneT, the operator of the Netherlands’ electric grid, has come up with an ambitious plan to build an artificial island in the middle of the North Sea that on completion would support the world’s largest wind farm.

The location for the artificial island is a region called the Dogger Bank, about 100 km (60 miles) off the coast of Yorkshire in the UK. During the last Ice Age some 20,000 years ago, when sea levels were 100 meters lower than today, Dogger Bank was actually a landmass called Doggerland, which connected mainland Europe to the British isles. The bank’s shallowness means it won’t require ungodly amounts of sand to build the island, and it will be able to support the thousands of wind turbines that need to be tethered to the sea floor. Its location also puts any electricity generated from the farm within reach of five countries.

Wind power generators are searching for better locations because wind farms are a much less dense form of electricity generation compared to fossil-fuel power or nuclear power. A nuclear power plant can generate 400 times as much energy per unit of area compared to a wind farm.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Disclaimer: I know no student involved in this endeavor nor do I know anybody at their High School. These have got to be brave and hard working students. They deserve all the support we can give. According to the article they need at least $9,000 to complete the project so please give all you can.

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20171211/pana-students-take-on-solar-car-challenge

Pana students take on solar car challenge

PANA – Apparently building a moonbuggy wasn’t hard enough.

Pana High School students this year are setting out to build a solar-powered car from scratch and race it across Texas to California as part of the 2018 Solar Car Challenge.

Building the battery-powered four-wheeled rovers that Apollo astronauts used on the moon in the early 1970s is a tradition at Pana.

But industrial arts teacher Steve Bonser said students learned about the solar car challenge this summer and decided to give it a shot — despite being warned it wouldn’t be easy.

“The kids voted unanimously to up the game and take on a lot more work and build this solar car,” he said.

Starting to take shape

The framework of what will hopefully become a solar-powered car is beginning to take shape in the shop at the junior high school.

Bonser said the students have finished most of the design work and constructed the frame for the 8-foot long car. The goal is to have the entire vehicle, which will be street legal, finished in March.

Still early on in the process, Bonser said, the school was fortunate Battery Specialists in Taylorville donated a golf cart, which will provide some parts.

 The school also acquired solar panels that will power the battery. But much of how it will all come together is still an unknown.

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Go there and read. Please donate to this project. More next week.

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On this cold early winter day, I would like to return to our residential roots with a discussion of water heaters. After your furnace and air conditioner , the largest user of energy in your house. Yes this is a guest post. No I can not swear by everything she says or thinks. But she does a pretty good job.

https://www.jenreviews.com/water-heater/

Jen Reviews – only the best reviews

How to Choose a Water Heater, According to Science

There are many who want to buy an efficient and stable water heater for their homes. But do they? Water heaters do the difficult job of heating the water supply of your home. Providing you with immediate hot water when needed through various fixtures and knobs.

Like many other appliances, a water heater is more convenient than manually heating up the water whenever needed. It cuts back time and effort, for most homeowners, while making life simpler. So why do most people hurry when choosing the right water heater? Something this important needs careful consideration of features and functions.

The best part about using the best water heater is that it lasts for years. It requires minimal maintenance and even if you hire a professional to maintain one, it doesn’t cost you big bucks. That said, finding a dependable water heater isn’t easy.

Because water is being constantly heated inside the tank, it needs to be energy efficient and spacious enough to accommodate the entire house. Anything that takes up more energy is a waste, costing you a hefty power bill.

So how do water heaters work?

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Go there and read pages. More next week.

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I agreed to publish this here because it is such a different perspective then the one I have or CES has. We tend to blame builders for not just serving up top notch energy efficient residences. Then there is the issue of retrofitting. As always this is no endorsement of Ryan or his Real Estate firm. Believe me I have no intention of buying a home in Alaska.

 

Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR®
Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group
101 W. Benson Blvd. Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Check out my all new Great Alaskan Getaway Guide

http://www.constructiondive.com/news/more-buyers-want-green-homes-real-estate-agents-say/439944/

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Now, a “green home” really isn’t all that green when observed on its own, but the fact
remains that most of new construction and existing homes are going to be detached
single-family residences. This means that we need to do the best we can with the hand we
have been dealt, and that would suggest that incremental improvements across the board
may be the best option in terms of reducing waste. Recent trends in US real estate have
affected what buyers are looking for in some positive ways, but there are still far too few
green homes available for buyers who want this option.!That makes it a frustrating search
for potential green home buyers, and discourages them from truly setting their sites on a
home that works for them. Additionally, because they aren’t making their voices heard,
many builders are not working to make homes that meet green specications (beyond the
bare minimum). They don’t realize the level of demand that would be there, if buyers felt
they would have the option.
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More Buyers Should Push for Green Homes
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There’s really one way to remedy the issue: buyers who want green homes should push
for them across as many channels as they can. If more buyers continue to ask for green
homes, more builders will produce these homes out of necessity. But buyers need to be
the catalysts in both demand and advocacy aimed toward other potential green buyers.
More of them want green homes, but they back down when they see these homes aren’t
available. Builders and sellers both need to know the value of creating these kinds of
homes or making changes to existing homes, so buyers will be more likely to purchase
those homes instead of other options. This might mean more negotiations with sellers and builders, and it will likely come at an increased cost — costs that will likely be recouped over time, but another upfront cost nonetheless.
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What are Buyers Looking For?
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When the average buyer!wants a green home, they don’t necessarily require one that’s
completely off grid. Some buyers will seek these out, but most will be looking for energy
efifciency, sustainable materials, and a smaller carbon footprint than what would be seen
with a standard house. In many cases, that’s enough to entice buyers to make a purchase,
and to keep them happy with the home they have selected. It also depends on the area of the country and the local market, because some buyers want and need different options due to weather or other factors.
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More Demand Will Require an Increase in Supply
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The more buyers start asking for green homes, the more likely it is that builders will create them. Sellers will also start making changes to the homes they are putting on the market, in order to entice buyers to come see their home instead of a different one. That’s an important consideration, too, since sellers may need to retrofit their homes in some ways and add options that they would not have chosen to put in if they were remaining in the house. Some green living changes can be expensive, but these changes don’t always have to be costly. There are lower priced options, as well.
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Trends are Moving in the Right Direction, at Least
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Even though there are still far too few green homes, and even though buyers aren’t making their voices heard as loudly as they could, the trend of green living is still going in the right direction. More buyers see the value of it, and more builders and sellers are starting to make changes in that direction. There is still a long way to go before energy efficiency and reducing waste becomes the standard for new homes and improved existing homes, but a larger pool of buyers demanding these features can help move the needle bit by bit.

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Go to the web links and read. More next week.

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