Energy Link Archipelago 04/16/22
Bitcoin as a new asset class for the power system, energy efficiency, and geoengineering
Bitcoin Mining and the Grid: “Bitcoin’s place as a grid resource is pretty clear. Large flexible loads that have the ability to pay themselves to be online and respond immediately to frequency events is a new asset class for the power system.” BRAIINS
Jason Fordney, Editor of California Energy Markets, on Robert Bryce’s Power Hungry Podcast: “…if you take a chance and listen in on a PUC public hearing on the PG&E rate hikes, it’s just amazing. I mean, people are really, really angry. They’re upset, they’re scared. I mean, people are saying they can’t run their air conditioners, they can’t run their heat.” POWER HUNGRY
Joel Kotkin, Executive Editor of New Geography, on Robert Bryce’s Power Hungry Podcast: “…if you want to understand the Biden administration, you have to understand California, because basically, it’s a kind of brainless administration, and whatever ideas that are going to be there, they’re going to be very much the ideas that were in California. So in California, where we have some of the richest oil fields and gas fields in the country, where Governor Newsom essentially told them, ‘You guys are dead, we’re going to kill you, you won’t exist.’ Meanwhile, we’re importing oil from Saudi Arabia, and we were importing it from from Russia. So my sense of it is, is what the Greens really want to do is not so much reduce emissions, because you know, those emissions just happen somewhere else. It’s to fundamentally destroy the energy industry, as an economic and political player in America. That’s really what it’s all about.” POWER HUNGRY
PUBLIC UTILITIES CODE: California Globe breaks down the contents of California’s Public Utilities Code.
Planting Clouds — Geoengineering the weather to curtail climate change: brilliant or mad? “The reduction of carbon emissions should be a central goal, but governments should also make every effort to develop solar geoengineering into a safe and predictable approach that would complement work on reducing emissions. A path to accomplishing this has just been presented in Reflecting Sunlight (2021), a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the premier scientific advisory group for the U. S. government. Produced by a panel of distinguished scientists and technologists, and experts in public policy, ethics, and conservation, the report recommends that the federal government substantially fund essential research in the science, technology, and social impact of solar geoengineering.” RETURN
Did Alberta Overbuild its Energy Infrastructure? “Fees charged to Calgary residents for electrical transmission and distribution more than doubled since 2010 — when Alberta embarked on a decade of upgrades.
Consumer advocate Jim Wachowich says that's because it's overbuilt.
Wachowich is a lawyer for the independent Consumers' Coalition of Alberta, which argues on behalf of regular Albertans when companies pitch new projects and customer fees to the Alberta Utilities Commission.
He's been doing that job for almost 30 years, and says in his view, Alberta made predictions on energy demand that never panned out. So it built more than it had to.” CBC
VIA @ANTIROBUST’s LINK NEXUS
ENERGY EFFICIENCY/GEOTHERMAL HEATING
Judged solely by his twitter account, David Roberts is in end-stage politics brain disease & will soon be dead by ideology poisoning. but much of his actual energy stuff is still pretty good. He had two great podcast interviews recently.
First, a creative new business model for commercial building energy efficiency. instead of the typical ‘subsidize the building owner to pay for upgrades,’ you have an efficiency company come in and do it as a ‘tenant’ that can persist across ownership changes. They pay a stream of income to the building owner for the privilege (becoming an asset to the owner rather than a liability), & sell metered energy reduction to the utility via long-term PPA. The utility then bills the real tenants at the same level as before, now with a portion of customer bills going to pay for the upgrades. The tenants benefit in the form of free upgraded physical amenities (less drafty, better air quality, etc). Each party has now captured some of the positive-sum value of efficiency, solving the fractured-incentive problem that has hindered this market. Similar things have been out there forever, but part of the innovation here seems to be just a fairly technical change in the contract structures, which makes longer-term investments more viable.
Second, geothermal heating networks as an evolutionary pathway for gas utilities to survive decarbonization. This is slightly different from district heating, which is highly centralized. In the GeoGrid concept, each home has their own ground-source heat pump, & they are connected through a network of pipes that can share heat & coolth. This has benefits for efficiency, resilience, modularity, load predictability, & all the standard advantages of eliminating gas (safer, less air pollution). The catch is that it’s currently pretty expensive up-front. but part of the idea is that utilities can incrementally build out these networks in places where doing equivalent gas infrastructure is very expensive or difficult. A nice property of this system is that it reduces peak electricity load at times of high heating & cooling demand, relative to air-source heat pumps (ground temp is less variable than air temp). Extreme peak load events are a nontrivial problem for the vision of mass all-electric buildings, so doing more geothermal seems wise.”
Wind Turbine Makers Selling at a Loss: “Supporters of wind and solar energy often crow about the falling cost of wind and solar, but they never talk about the fact that these falling prices were only achieved because the manufacturing of ‘green’ technologies has shifted to China, which has no qualms about polluting the environment or using slave labor for manufacturing solar panels.” AMERICAN EXPERIMENT