Three lessons in climate action planning from a community leading the charge

Karl van Orsdol

In 2007, the City of Palo Alto, CA, developed a Climate Action Plan to guide sustainability efforts, solidify sustainability goals, and identify measures focused on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from city operations.  Having quickly surpassed its initial goals, the city is now poised to take on the challenge of carbon neutrality for the entire community, not just city operations.

To realize its ambitions, Palo Alto began by engaging DNV GL to lead a team of subject matter experts to work collaboratively on the city’s 2015 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP).  Following, we discuss three key lessons, drawn from the Palo Alto project, for communities seeking to achieve similar GHG reduction goals.

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What were the two most unnoticed energy storage trends in 2014?

Ali Nourai

Throughout 2014 there were several articles on significant energy storage events or announcements, as well as future predictions for the coming years. However, there were two transformational “side effects” that were skipped over and barely noticed. The first is the return to multi-hour (high-energy) storage applications, and the second is emergence of the “distributed bulk” storage to challenge traditional larger central storage systems.

The return to multi-hour storage applications and devices
Japanese utilities started using multi-hour Sodium Sulfur (NaS) and flow batteries for peak shaving almost two decades ago. Outside Japan, in the US, American Electric Power (AEP) started using NaS batteries in early 2000’s for its grid improvements, which was soon mirrored by some other utilities. In the absence of adequate utility interest, a few companies in the US—including Beacon Power and AES Battery Storage—successfully pioneered the movement to use storage for short-duration applications (i.e., frequency regulation) which shifted the market focus to storage devices with discharges much shorter than an hour. Part of the success was due to the fact that such devices are less expensive than their multi-hour counterparts on the $/kW basis. Their success, at least in the US, took the attention off the former high-energy (multi-hour) applications and focused it on high power applications.

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Utilities: It’s time to transform your lighting program

Chip Poland

Utility energy efficiency programs have relied heavily on lighting projects to meet energy savings goals. But with the phase-out of CFLs and other low-cost program mainstays, will lighting projects lose their prominence in utility programs?

We think not. They simply have to evolve with the market. And with this evolution comes larger opportunities for energy savings—much larger.

Advanced lighting projects can deliver up to three times more energy savings, which makes them attractive candidates for utility programs. These projects also produce a variety of non-energy benefits, which makes them attractive to building owners.

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What is an Energy Master Plan and when might I need one?

Andrea Ranger

As I was pulling together research for this blog, I was reminded of all the planning activities our clients do—capital, land use, emergency preparedness, and climate and sustainability, to name a small handful. With so much planning underway, why does energy need to be singled out in an “energy master plan”?  The answer is that energy markets, procurement, delivery, and consumption have become increasingly complex—not in small part due to the many federal, state, local, and self-imposed mandates to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  If you own or operate a portfolio of buildings, you probably feel the energy landscape is about as clear as the U.S. tax code.

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DNV GL to discuss solar finance, energy storage, and renewable integration at the World Future Energy Summit

Mohammed Atif

The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is the Middle East’s largest gathering on future energy and one that drives actionable solutions to the world’s energy challenges. Now in its eighth edition, WFES 2015 will attract upwards of 30,000 delegates from 170 different countries, representing expertise from industry, technology, finance, and government.  Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, WFES will catalyze partnerships through the Project and Finance Village, TechTalk, and the Sustainability Business Connect Program, where leading companies representing the entire energy spectrum—from hyrocarbons to renewables—will gather to showcase innovations and share best practices.

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Will Wireless Power Technology become a key technology in future power distribution?

Peter Vaessen

As a fan of science fiction I watched the movie “Interstellar” a few weeks ago and I loved it. It was that movie, as well as the (inductive) wireless power charger that my son recently bought for his smart phone, which triggered me to write a blog today about Wireless Power Technology (WPT).

My interest in WPT started 20 years ago, when I met the passionate Ralph Nansen who is the founder and president of Solar Space Industries and is actively involved in space engineering. Around that time I undertook a study to investigate the feasibility of large-scale solar space power as a potential future business opportunity for generating companies, which turned out to be infeasible mainly because of the huge costs associated with transporting material into space. But since that time, I have followed developments in WPT, especially its power applications, and also wrote a whitepaper about it in 2009 on Leonardo Energy. (You can download the paper here).

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How are consumers using energy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

Figure 1: City of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Figure 1: City of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Source)

End-use monitoring offers a deeper understanding amidst sharply rising electricity demand.

The need for new energy resources is urgent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), a country where electricity demand has more than doubled since 2000, and is anticipated to continue increasing rapidly—at an average rate of more than 8% per year—for the next ten years.

Driven by substantial economic, industrial, commercial, and population growth, this surge in electricity consumption is prompting the KSA to aggressively pursue a number of supply- and demand-side options. Among these options, energy efficiency offers significant potential to cost effectively offset demand growth.

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2014: The year of the energy storage RFO

Dennis Flinn

On December 16, 2010, the CPUC opened Rulemaking R. 10-12-0 07, with the aim to determine appropriate targets—for each regulated California load-serving entity to procure technically feasible and financially cost-effective energy storage systems—along with dates for these targets to be achieved. This rule-making culminated in the CPUC Decision D. 13-10-040, also called the energy “Storage Decision,” released on October 21, 2013. Among other things, this decision established an energy storage procurement program which included storage targets for each California investor owned utility (IOU): San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison Company (SCE). The targets were assigned to 4 biennial procurement processes starting in March 2014, and were further divided among three electric grid domains defined as transmission connected, distribution connected, and customer-side applications.

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Year in review: Top 10 Utility of the Future blog posts from 2014

2014 was an exciting year for our organization, as we completed our first successful year as DNV GL, which combines the strengths of DNV, KEMA, Garrad Hassan, and GL Renewables Certification. As 2014 is now officially over, we’d like to take a look back at our most popular Utility of the Future blog posts. Hot topics included energy efficiency, wind, solar, renewable integration, smart metering, and energy storage.

We want to thank you for your readership in 2014, and look forward to sharing more thought leadership with you in 2015! Please use the comments section below to share an opinion or suggest new topics for the upcoming year.

Below are the top 10 posts from our Utility of the Future blog:

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The rise of grassroots energy movements

Frits Verheij

Over the past three years, DNV GL has observed a significant increase in grassroots activity in the energy sector. Private initiatives, such as energy co-operatives, are seeing a sharp rise in numbers, support, and membership.

Individuals are becoming increasingly aware of—and involved in—how their energy is supplied. By turning to such initiatives as energy co-operatives, the aim is to ensure they have more control over this supply and the impact it has on their local community.

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