South East Asia draws inspiration from Chile on ocean energy

Felicity Jones 150x200The regional academic network SEAcORE has laid the foundations for ocean energy in South East Asia. All eyes are now on development financing institutions to see whether the region follows the precedent set by the Inter-American Development Bank in Chile. 

With its archipelago geography and rapidly growing energy demand, South East Asia is an obvious place to harness the power of the ocean.

Ocean energy offers many benefits: clean power that reduces reliance on fossil fuel imports, and which complements the generation profile of other renewables. Continue reading

Copy, paste: Duplicating smart energy cities across the globe

Frits Verheij-smallSmart grid demonstration projects worldwide have shown how the energy landscape could look like and how energy users can change into producing consumers (prosumers). This is not only nice to know; it’s essential to apply the lessons learned when making the next step: designing smart energy cities.

The Pecan Street project in Austin, Texas (US) is designed as a smart (energy) city with about 1,000 citizens involved. Some of them are net energy producers earning money from their solar panels instead of paying their utility—and they use that in a smart way. As an example, Pecan Street found that it’s better for the grid if the solar panels face west, not south which is more common. The reason for this is that their solar panels now are catching the most sunlight and generating the most electricity at the very moment in late afternoon when power usage is highest. Test have started to charge electric vehicles with solar power during the day and deliver electricity at night to power houses in this project for free. Continue reading

Is low or zero electricity demand growth the new reality?

GIFFORDCan end-use information shed some light?

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) held its annual conference earlier this month in Washington, D.C., to discuss issues facing policymakers and energy markets. The conference covered a broad set of topic areas that on the surface may seem disparate, but are actually deeply connected. Resource extraction, gas prices at the pump, renewables integration, demand side management, and revenues all play in the balance between the forces of energy supply and end-use customer demand. Continue reading

A centralized reactive power compensation system designed for small distribution systems

ChenReactive power planning of power systems provides the strategy of reactive power compensation so that the real power loss can be reduced and the system voltage profile and power factor can be improved. The current industry practice is to locally install reactive power compensation system to maintain the local bus voltage and power factor, which we called decentralized method.

During the planning of optimal reactive power compensation, decentralized methods only provide optimal capacitor placement for a particular load situation. If the load situation changes, a new set of optimal capacitor placement will be given by the decentralized method. However, during actual operation, it is not practical to keep moving capacitor banks from one location to another according to the load situation. Hence, the capacity of the reactive power compensation system at a location is fixed normally once it has been installed. Continue reading

Future-proofing buildings: Why bother?

RANDOLPHIt would be easy to believe that climate projections alone would be enough to motivate building owners to protect their assets. One doesn’t have to search far for the data on how dire the climate situation has become. With drought in the Western U.S. and flooding elsewhere, these extreme weather events are having a significant impact on U.S. economy. And hurricane and wildfire season has only just begun.

But these extreme conditions have not motivated building owners to proactively increase resiliency or develop adaptation strategies. Which should not be a surprise—moral imperatives have never been much of a motivating force. Knowing that, DNV GL’s Sustainable Buildings and Communities (SBC) team set out to identify the three primary drivers that we believe our clients should be thinking about. Continue reading

Clean energy takes stage in China as national interests evolve

Solar and wind energy with clear skyEnergy policy in China has reached a turning point. Clean energy, recent comments and actions suggest, is moving centre stage in response to shifting national interests and global responsibilities.

Last month, President Xi Jinping placed energy efficiency and switching from conventional coal to cleaner coal, oil, gas and new energy at the top of the energy agenda. Xi highlighted two policy drivers with great significance for renewable energy. One, produce more energy within China to increase security. Two, reduce pollution.

Energy pollution includes soot and carbon dioxide. Tackling soot that is choking cities has become part of the national interest. Dealing with carbon is a global responsibility falling most heavily on the largest emitters, including China. Continue reading

How will Title 24 affect energy efficiency programs moving forward?

AJBOn July 1, 2014, California’s Energy Commission dropped a regulatory bomb on the energy efficiency industry. Its name is Title 24, a set of aggressive building standards that aims to reduce energy usage by drastically changing the baseline for new construction and existing building retrofits. For turnkey energy efficiency programs, this change could spell the end of an era. Before 2012, implementing a lighting project for a small or medium sized business was a relatively straightforward affair. Savings were calculated based on the wattage delta between the existing and replacement measures. Continue reading

The Smarter Home – How about the regulated utility’s role?

LUISAFREEMANTIME Magazine recently published an extensive series of articles in its July 7th special report called The Smarter Home. The various articles showcase a range of consumer technologies that can be remotely controlled—or control themselves (e.g., the NEST thermostat)—to improve the home environment and consumers’ daily lives.  The overall theme that can be gleaned from this issue is that wireless technology is providing an important platform that will increasingly allow people to interact with their gadgets, appliances, and various home systems to provide them better services. Continue reading

The future of Distributed Energy Resources in retail markets: What’s next?

Kanlier_PRINTThe 2014 Retail Energy Executive ForumTM brought together leaders in the retail energy industry to facilitate discussions about differentiating between price and non-price products and services, retail and wholesale price and contracting dynamics, the role of M&A, and partnerships in retailers’ growth strategies, while also addressing potential scenarios that may evolve in an incredibly competitive environment with compressed margins and no new competitive markets expected to open in the foreseeable future. Participants shared their perspectives on forecasts, trends, and customer relationships, while also generating excitement about the potential paths forward for competitive retail energy markets. Continue reading

How do you cope with the “double risk trend” in reliability? (Part 2)

Peter Vaessen - smallThis is the second post in a series of blogs that discusses how to cope with “the double risk” trend in reliability, and how smart transmission and distribution grids can mitigate this risk. In my first blog I introduced the double risk trend and provided some background information on reliability. In this blog I will elaborate on the five factors that highly contribute to this double risk trend, as well as discuss how they will shape the future of the electric power system. These factors include:

1)    Increasing age of (most) western power systems
2)    Growing complexity and interdependencies
3)    Time duration of the planning process for generation plants and transmission & distribution (T&D) infrastructure
4)    Geographic distribution of generation and load
5)    Flexibility to balance between supply and demand
Continue reading