Energy efficiency planning – Going global, working locally

Luisa Freeman

“Countries that use energy more efficiently use fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources, and gaining a competitive edge over other countries.” This statement introduces the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy’s (ACEEE) 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard report, where Germany, Italy, the EU, China and France head the list of the world’s 16 largest economies included in the analysis. The countries included in the annual survey represent around 80% of global GDP and about 70% of global electricity consumption. But recent years have seen many other countries and regions of the world start to explore and capitalize on their energy efficiency opportunities as well. Continue reading

Global initiative on risk management reveals the top 10 risks in the Power Sector

DNV GL annually invests 5% of its revenue in research and development. This year, among several projects, we have conducted a research project on global risk management in the power sector—combining world-wide risk management expertise from our legacy organizations—DNV, GL, and KEMA. Through this post, we will share our latest perspectives on the risks to the power sector—highlighting the top 10 global risks that all companies in the sector face, and should be ready to mitigate. Continue reading

What are the advantages of proper reactive power control?

Peter Vaessen

Earlier this week I attended the CIGRE conference in Paris. Walking around at the exhibition I noticed that underground cables, monitoring and diagnostics, substation automation and power flow and voltage control received a lot of attention—which inspired today’s blog post about what can be gained from proper reactive power control.

Reactive power (Q measured in VAR) is needed for a proper functioning AC power system—to keep the voltage up—and is related to the active power (P measured in W) and apparent power (S measured in VA) through the power triangle. For a reliable and stable operation of the power system, an active power balance must be present at all times, and the reactive power has to be balanced as well. Unlike active power, reactive power cannot be transmitted over long distances; it has to be generated locally. Continue reading

How do the differences between utilities affect energy efficiency program outcomes?

Christopher Dyson

Why does the same energy efficiency program design produce different results in different utility service territories? That question has often puzzled program evaluators. A simple explanation might be that Utility A has done a better job than Utility B in delivering the program, yet we often find that it has to do with underlying differences between the utilities themselves and the customers they serve. Understanding these different utility characteristics and how they might affect energy efficiency program outcomes is important for improving program design and delivery, and doing more thoughtful program performance benchmarking.

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Opening a new frontier in utility resource planning

Olof Bystrom

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) opened a new rule making for distribution planning that could have a major impact on market participants in the West[1].  The OIR, officially named “Order Instituting Rulemaking Regarding Policies, Procedures and Rules for Development of Distribution Resources Plans Pursuant to Public Utilities Code Section 769” brings last year’s assembly bill 327 to life for investor owned utilities in California. It requires that IOUs file distributed resource plans (DRP) by July 2015 that define how they will integrate distributed energy resources (DER) on their systems. The new rulemaking recognizes that DER could potentially benefit rate payers by providing lower cost and more reliable service. Utilities must now define a methodology for planning for DER, for determining their cost effectiveness, and provide a roadmap for operating their systems with these new resources in place. Why is this important? Continue reading

Future-proofing buildings – Part 2: Why LEED is not enough

Kate Randolph

In Part 1 of Future-proofing buildings, we described the three primary drivers that should motivate building owners to address resiliency at the facility level: cost to insure, cost to operate and business continuity. As we’ve been working on developing our resiliency services, these questions have been raised:

  • If you want to design and operate a resilient building, how far does LEED certification get you toward that goal?
  • Is it enough to get a high-level certification (Gold or Platinum)?
  • If not, what strategies do building owners have to look to increase resiliency?

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Tuning the optics to see renewables clearly

David Fullbrook

Solar and wind are stacking up some impressive numbers in terms of raw generating capacity. In 2013, for example, the world installed a record 39 gigawatts of solar despite investment falling, while China plans to add 50 gigawatts between 2014 and 2017. Wind is already the number three power source in China, while globally capacity is sufficient to meet the residential needs of 506 million Europeans. In the US, 1.8 gigawatts of solar and wind accounted for more than half the generating capacity installed during the first six months of this year.
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A FORCE for the future: cost savings in offshore wind

Tim Camp

Back in June, we announced the news that Project FORCE (For Reduced Cost Energy) had identified potential cost savings in the generation of power from offshore wind which could save the industry a staggering 10% of its current costs.

If there is a single topic of discussion that can be said to have defined offshore wind over the last few years, it is cost reduction. Compared to its land-based cousin, offshore wind is a new energy technology. This relative immaturity as well as the technical challenge of offshore wind means that it is currently around 50% more expensive to produce a unit of energy offshore than it is onshore.
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Is it time to look into Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)?

Yuri Yankovski

A typical Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) network is extremely hard to manage because it entails low-cost, low-speed, low-power communication network elements, such as low-speed wireless MESH or a low-speed power line communication (PLC). All best-practice network monitoring tools developed for high-speed networks are basically useless for AMI communications management. Utility engineering teams equipped with the only AMI network management system provided by a vendor (typically relying on queries of data stored in the AMI’s database) are thus often ill-prepared to answer simple yet crucial business questions: Continue reading

Can we manage the water-energy nexus sustainably?

Jon Vencil

Water plays an integral role in energy generation—for hydroelectricity, cooling in thermoelectric power plants (those that burn coal, for example), fuel extraction and production, fuel refining, fuel transportation and emission control. Electric power generation accounts for 41 percent of the nation’s freshwater withdrawals (primarily for cooling), according to a 2010 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Water and energy have been linked for centuries. Chinese and Roman societies used water wheels to power grain mills as early as the second century B.C. In recent years, this water-energy nexus has become more critical due to three main concerns: prolonged drought in the Western United States, hydraulic fracturing water use, and the threat of climate change. Can we sustainably manage the water-energy nexus? Continue reading