Duke Energy Corp. said it reached a settlement with the a handful of environmental and activist organizations over outstanding issues with the.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>The Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued the new Knox County, Ind., plant’s air permits in 2008, and- -under the settlement with the Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition, Save the Valley and Valley Watch–they remain approved with no changes. The dispute centered on technical issues surrounding the permits that enabled the company to build and operate the plant, the company said.
The settlement also addresses deadlines for retiring units at Duke’s Wabash River Station in Vigo County, Ind. Prior to the settlement, the company had said it planned to retire four, 1950s-vintage units totaling 350 megawatts at the station by the 2015 federal mercury rule deadline. In the agreement, the company agreed to finish the retirements by the compliance deadline or, if the mercury rule is vacated or delayed, by June 1, 2018, whichever comes first.
Duke also had been exploring converting another unit at the Wabash station to natural gas, and, under the settlement, the company agreed to cease burning coal at that 318-megawatt unit by June 1, 2018. The deadline won’t prevent Duke Energy from converting the unit to natural gas earlier.
The settlement also includes a commitment to pursue additional green energy sources.<
Managing the effect of intermittent renewables on the grid is one of the critical challenges we address in making the transition to renewables. One of the primary goals of grid modernization (aka “Smart Grid”) is to adapt grid management to account for the effects of intermittency in real time.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>Microgrids are one possible solution to these challenges. Microgrids, part of the Smart Grid toolbox, are autonomously managed and powered sections of the distribution grid that can be as small as a single building, or as large as a downtown area or neighborhood. Automation and digital communications are used to manage rooftop solar, small scale combined heat and power systems and storage systems, along with matching supply to demand. Heating or cooling may also be a part of a microgrid. Microgrids can efficiently manage smaller sections of the grid, according to the local demand patterns and availability of renewable resources. They can also disconnect, or “island” from the larger grid to provide higher reliability.
Can microgrids reduce complexity and increase options for electricity market participants? What are the major barriers to microgrid implementation, and how might they be overcome? Are there other approaches, besides the microgrid, that might be employed as well?<
Cloud computing should be driving sustainable development, but its turning us into energy consuming monsters, write Stuart Newstead and Howard Williams
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>There is a familiarity and comfort in our almost-everywhere connection to always-on communications networks and to the ever-increasing array of services they deliver us. We don’t just consume these network services directly, they give us what economists call “options” – options to connect, options to seek out new services, options to find new information. Clearly we don’t use this network services 24/7, but we value highly the options for instantaneous and simultaneous access at any time.
Cloud-based applications – those stored and managed by massive data centres run by the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook or Apple – are providing step changes in the financial and environmental efficiency of delivering these services. But the centralising power of the cloud has its corollary in the dispersing effect of wireless networks and devices.
In wireless networks and devices we see fragmentation, duplication and a fundamental shift from mains power and green sources of energy to battery powered always-on devices. In environmental terms here lies the rub. Rather than the “aggregation of marginal gains” (the Sir Dave Brailsford strategy that has propelled success in British cycling), in which lots of tiny improvements add up to a large visible improvement, we are witnessing the aggregation of environmental disadvantages from billions of low-powered but fundamentally energy-inefficient antennas and devices providing the ‘last metre’ connectivity to global networks.
Wireless networks and devices, technologies that should drive sustainable development, are turning into energy-consuming monsters.<
Revisiting the Automotive ThermoAcoustic Refrigerator – ATAR
Diagram of Simplified ThermoAcoustic Engine
I wish to further investigate the idea of thermoacoustics for waste heat recovery processes. Also, will in future look into latest developments in thermoacoustics, including any applications, studies, reviews or products and manufacturers.
In today’s new economy of energy efficiency, there are technologies available that are worth further investigation that can be utilized for improved performance. Automotive air conditioning is one industry which could bear further scrutiny, where running compressors consume valuable fuel, decreasing the energy efficiency and increasing operating cost of a vehicle.
For professional drivers where fuel consumption increases will come out of pocket, the utilization of air conditioning is an important consideration. The idea of using the waste heat in the exhaust system to provide the cooling energy necessary to provide air conditioning is a novel approach to improving vehicle efficiency and comfort. The concept of thermoacoustic refrigeration is not new, and was previously reviewed by concerns of the ozone layer depletion and refrigerants, which ultimately lead to changes in the refrigeration and HVAC industries.
See original reference paper presented at 2005 Proceedings of Acoustics: http://bit.ly/17qwTYK
>To be effective, a huge amount of money must be withdrawn from a company. Where boycotting unites individual buyers to have impact, individual stockowners aren’t likely to make a huge enough hit with divestment or negative investing for a corporation to take notice. Institutional owners, though, could impact a company or industry because collectively they control vast amounts.
The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign
The current student campaign to divest from fossil fuels is interesting. For example, Harvard has $30 billion in endowment while Yale has $16.7 billion.
While it’s clearly not all in one company or industry, what kind of impact could university endowments have if they withdrew from fossil fuel companies and allied industries? By my count, there are well over a hundred campaigns at universities around the nation, and there are additional groups working to get towns and communities to join the fight. As a collective action, the potential for these divestment campaigns is fascinating to ponder.
Mass Divestment Creates Cultural Change
Perhaps the most important thing divestment shares with boycotting is publicity. The attention that a mass divestment can bring to an issue could be profound. The student fossil fuels divestment effort is garnering national media attention, and rather than fizzling out seems to be gaining momentum. This attention could be as effective as actual divestment for dealing with climate change and fossil fuel issues.
As Cecelie Counts wrote in January, divestment was just one tool used to combat apartheid and bring change in South Africa. I don’t know if there will be mass divestment among universities, but I suspect that this campaign will be successful in the long run because it’s educating a generation and could create the cultural change necessary to pursue long-term alternatives, change policy and pressure energy companies to adapt.<
Understanding load factor is an important component to energy management and learning how to take control of your electricity use.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>Load factor is a ratio or percentage of the consistency of your electricity consumption – in other words, load factor is a way to answer the “how ‘spikey’ is your load?” question. The easiest way to understand your own load factor is by looking at your real-time energy data. Not only will your energy data indicate your load factor, but it will also highlight other important aspects of your electricity use over time that will enable you to make smarter energy management decisions.
While looking at your real-time energy data is the best way to accurately get your load factor, you can approximate it from your utility bill information. To manually find out your load factor, divide your total consumption (in kWh) by the number of hours in your billing period. Then, divide the result by your peak demand during the billing period, and the number you compute is your load factor. A load factor closer to 1, or 100%, indicates that you are using energy more evenly or consistently over time. It might also mean you are reducing your peak demand or otherwise avoiding spikes.<
WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” with preliminary data through to June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.20 percent of the nation’s net electric power generation during the first half of the year.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>The balance of the nation’s electrical generation mix for the first half of 2013 consisted of coal (39.00 percent – up by 10.3 percent), natural gas and other gas (26.46 percent – down by 13.6 percent), nuclear power (19.48 percent – up by 0.2 percent), and petroleum liquids + coke (0.66 percent – up by 15.6 percent). The balance (0.21 percent) was from other sources and pumped hydro storage.<
>LED technology is one of the highest performing, currently available methods of lighting. Energy savings of 50 to 80 percent are common when compared to the lamps that are typically used in garages. LED lamps also have much longer operating lives, resulting in fewer materials and transportation resources needed over time. The MGM Grand Detroit LED retrofit, will save enough electricity to power more than 350 average homes per year. […]
Earlier this year, the company initiated a program to install 1,600 induction technology lighting fixtures covering 160 acres of open lot parking area at its resorts in Las Vegas. These lamps are ideal for the hot Las Vegas climate and will have an operating life of up to 20 years. An estimated 2.7 million kWh will be saved annually following the project’s completion.
Additionally, MGM Resorts recently announced the planned installation of one of the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic arrays in the world at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center. The 6.2-megawatt installation will be MGM Resorts’ first commercial solar project in the United States and will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,000 homes.<
“While we draw from our direct involvement in Google’s infrastructure design and operation over the past several years, most of what we have learned and now report here is the result of the hard work, insights, and creativity of our colleagues at Google. The work of our Technical Infrastructure teams directly supports the topics we cover here, and therefore, we are particularly grateful to them for allowing us to benefit from their experience.”
The United States has had efficiency regulations for industrial electric motors in place since October 1997, when the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 92) set minimum efficiency levels for 1- to 200-hp general-purpose three phase motors. EPAct 92 was upgraded when the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) went into effect in December 2010.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducted a technical study as to what could be done to raise the efficiency levels of “small” motors. After years of study and litigation, the Small Motor Rule was passed that covers two-digit NEMA frame single- and three-phase 1/3 through 3 horsepower motors in Open enclosures.
Although the Small Motor Rule seems simple, it has the effect of creating motors with much larger footprints, particularly on single phase designs where capacitor start/induction run motors may largely be discontinued in Open enclosures. In some cases, a TEFC motor may be more cost effective and smaller than an Open motor.
The DOE is presently conducting another technical study on “medium” AC induction motors of 1- to 500-hp. In their study, DOE is evaluating a possible increase in nominal motor efficiency of 1 – 3 NEMA bands (approximately 0.4 to 1.5%) above NEMA Premium Efficiency levels as defined in MG 1-2011 table 12-12. Although this sounds simple to do, such a motor redesign could entail new laminations, winding equipment and in many cases, new frames to fit the extra material. Some designs may not fit where existing motor designs of the same ratings fit today. This means that OEMs would need to redesign their machine if that is an issue and end users may have trouble fitting the new higher efficiency replacement motor into their equipment or existing envelope.<