Renewables business dials into telecoms for strategic partnership

Fliss Jones

In the fifth in a series of ‘Beyond Integration’ blogs on renewables and the grid, Fliss Jones explores how the renewables business is going beyond old silos through partnering with telecoms.

You wouldn’t be without your smart phone. And in future, neither will the renewables industry.

Earlier this year, we conducted a global research initiative on a future high penetration renewables system. When asked about new entrants, one interviewee response was striking:

 ‘In the near future we will see many new entrants from telecommunications…we will see more effective pricing and service packages—telecommunications companies are particularly good at this.’ – Hiroshi Okamoto, General Manager, TEPCO. Continue reading

Innovation funding under RIIO: “Money left on the table?”

Just over one month into RIIO ED-1, DNOs are dealing with the outcome of their review process, which means looking into ways of cutting costs. In our previous blog, we proposed that DNOs will need to adopt a holistic approach to managing networks and consider that the answer lies in optimizing the mix of ‘traditional’ network investments and the deployment of smart grid and non-network technologies, subject to operational standards and quality of service requirements.

Of these factors, developments in smart grid technologies [1] and non-network technologies [2] are arguably the most promising (or challenging), given the pace and variety of technological developments. The previous (DPCR5) and current (RIIO) price controls contain innovation funding packages, allowing DNOs to explore the potential of such technologies. Continue reading

What factors drive countries’ environmental protection and perceived risk from climate change?

Over the past few decades, various countries have displayed extremely different levels of interest in addressing climate change as a major threat and, for that matter, protecting the environment more generally. But why do attitudes vary so much around the world? This is a question of interest as governments around the globe work to address climate change issues through national processes (such as EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan in the U.S.) and international means (such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

We explored some of the factors that may help to explain why attitudes about climate change and environmental health and protection are so different across countries. We used two different sources as a standard for public attitudes about these issues. For attitudes about climate change, we used a recent Gallup poll measuring perceived personal risks from climate change. For environmental health and protection, we used an index developed by Yale and Columbia universities. We ran a linear regression analysis to understand the relationships between these two (dependent) variables and other (explanatory) factors. Table 1 defines the dependent variables. Continue reading

Forthcoming MBTA rules could impact wind energy permitting

Ellen Crivella

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has engaged in the earliest stages of rulemaking to potentially create an incidental-take permitting process under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which could affect many wind facilities across the U.S.

Congress enacted the MBTA in 1918 as part of a convention between the U.S. and Great Britain to establish federal protection for migratory birds. In later years, additional countries were added as signatories to the convention and enacted similar laws.

Approximately 800 species are covered under the MBTA, which makes it illegal to “pursue, hunt, take, capture [or] kill” or “attempt to take, capture or kill, [or] possess” any migratory bird or their parts, nests or eggs, except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to federal regulations. Continue reading

Voltage control of distribution systems: the modern grid

Frederic Dubois

Hawaii’s House and Senate are close to reaching an agreement on House Bill 623, which would set the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), or supply mix goal, to 100% by 2045.  The current target is at 40% by 2030, which already classifies the Aloha State as the most ambitious kid in the class.  Most of the states in the contiguous United States have adopted an RPS of 10-30% within the next 20 years, other than California, which is set to reach 33% by 2020, and most other states range between 10-30%.

Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are intermittent and mostly unpredictable relative to their conventional counterparts.  Consequently, the integration of large amounts of renewable energy translates into increased complexity of system operations and security of supply.  Hawaii’s ambitious goal is further exacerbated by the fact it is an isolated island system, which means no neighboring entity can come to the rescue if they need to purchase power when their supply is inadequate. Continue reading

Energy modelers, playmakers or scorekeepers?

Tarek Salameh

Is a geothermal heat pump system right for my building? How much can I save by reducing my lighting levels by 20 percent? Can I achieve Net-Zero-Energy? These are just a few of the questions that may come up during the design or renovation of a building. Providing answers to each of these questions can aid building owners and design teams in getting on a path towards optimum energy performance. Due to the sophistication of modern building systems and the complex interactions between these building systems, answering these questions can be difficult and time consuming. Energy modeling software packages such as eQUEST, EnergyPlus, Trane Trace and Carrier HAP unleash a set of powerful tools that help engineers and design teams answer these questions and many others that can lead to deep energy savings. Continue reading

How long does it take for new technology to realize a vision like the “internet of energy?”

Peter Vaessen

In the sixth of a series of ‘Beyond Integration’ blogs on renewables and the grid, DNV GL’s Peter Vaessen considers the timeline for new technologies.

Questions similar to the one in the title of this blog have often been asked of me during my nearly 30 year power engineering career, and they were also asked at the Beyond Integration webinar. Of course such questions are difficult to answer, because first of all there is the “if” part. Basically you don’t know if a vision will become a reality, but you can work to make it happen. And if the signs are there that it is going to happen, then the “when” question becomes relevant. If we assume, as I do, that in the future an “internet of energy” does exist then the answer to the question above is often too optimistic, e.g. “it will take at least ten years.” On the other hand, the effects that such new technologies have on society are in general grossly underestimated; a classic example of this is the internet. Continue reading

US Clean Power Plan Building Blocks

While the Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires compliance at the state level, we know from our recent discussion that a close collaboration between the state regulators and the electric utilities will be a crucial part of meeting these targets.  Overall, the CPP calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from existing fossil-fuel fired electric generating units by 2030.  Continue reading

Will microgrids become the dominant electric power supply source of the future?

Peter Vaessen

In the fifth of a series of ‘Beyond Integration’ blogs on renewables and the grid, DNV GL’s Peter Vaessen answers your questions on microgrids.

During our March 2015 global webinar on renewables integration, my colleagues and I identified three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid, which sparked several questions about energy storage and microgrids. Over the past few weeks, my colleague Ali Nouari has addressed many of your questions on energy storage technology and the energy storage value proposition. In today’s blog post I will address your questions on microgrids. Continue reading

Measurement and verification for volt var optimization: why bother?

Will Gifford

At a recent Volt Var Optimization (VVO) conference, one of the presenters made a disparaging comment about measurement and verification (M&V) for VVO, suggesting that it’s a heck of a lot of trouble to go through when it’s now well established that the demand and energy reductions are within narrow ranges, e.g., 2-4% energy savings for conservation voltage regulation (CVR) which is full-time implementation.  As an M&V practitioner, hearing this perspective naturally put me into a defensive mindset.  Of course M&V is worthwhile!  But after the initial reaction faded, I sympathized with this perspective. Rigorous evaluation of VVO activities is time-consuming. However, their potential benefits more than outweigh their costs. Continue reading