Hybrid Electric Buildings; A New Frontier for Energy and Grids

.OneMaritimePlaza-300x225 PeakerPlantSanFranHybrid Electric Buildings are the latest in developments for packaged energy storage in buildings which offer several advantages including long-term operational cost savings. These buildings have the flexibility to combine several technologies and energy sources in with a large-scale integrated electric battery system to operate in a cost-effective manner.

San Francisco’s landmark skyscraper, One Maritime Plaza, will become the city’s first Hybrid Electric Building using Tesla Powerpack batteries. The groundbreaking technology upgrade by Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) will lower costs, increase grid and building resiliency, and reduce the building’s demand for electricity from the sources that most negatively impact the environment.

Building owner Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing hired San Francisco-based AMS to design, build, and operate the project. The 500 kilowatt/1,000 kilowatt-hour indoor battery system will provide One Maritime Plaza with the ability to store clean energy and control demand from the electric grid. The technology enables the building to shift from grid to battery power to conserve electricity in the same way a hybrid-electric car conserves gasoline. (1)

In addition to storage solutions these buildings can offer significant roof area to install solar panel modules and arrays to generate power during the day.  Areas where sunshine is plentiful and electricity rates are high, solar PV and storage combinations for commercial installations are economically attractive.

For utility management, these systems are ideal in expansion of the overall grid, as more micro-grids attach to the utility infrastructure overall supply and resiliency is improved.

In recent developments AMS has partnered with retailer Wal-Mart to provide on-site and “behind the meter” energy storage solutions for no upfront costs.

solar-panels-roof-puerto-rico.png

Figure 2.  Solar Panels on Roof of Wal-Mart, Corporate Headquarters, Puerto Rico (3)

On Tuesday, the San Francisco-based startup announced it is working with the retail giant to install behind-the-meter batteries at stores to balance on-site energy and provide megawatts of flexibility to utilities, starting with 40 megawatt-hours of projects at 27 Southern California locations.

Under the terms of the deal, “AMS will design, install and operate advanced energy storage systems” at the stores for no upfront cost, while providing grid services and on-site energy savings. The financing was made possible by partners such as Macquarie Capital, which pledged $200 million to the startup’s pipeline last year.

For Wal-Mart, the systems bring the ability to shave expensive peaks, smooth out imbalances in on-site generation and consumption, and help it meet a goal of powering half of its operations with renewable energy by 2025. Advanced Microgrid Solutions will manage its batteries in conjunction with building load — as well as on-site solar or other generation — to create what it calls a “hybrid electric building” able to keep its own energy costs to a minimum, while retaining flexibility for utility needs.

The utility in this case is Southern California Edison, a long-time AMS partner, which “will be able to tap into these advanced energy storage systems to reduce demand on the grid as part of SCE’s groundbreaking grid modernization project,” according to Tuesday’s statement. This references the utility’s multibillion-dollar grid modernization plan, which is now before state regulators.  (2)

References:

  1. San Francisco’s First Hybrid Electric Building – Facility Executive, June 28, 2016
    https://facilityexecutive.com/2016/06/skyscraper-will-be-san-franciscos-first-hybrid-electric-building/

  2. Wal-Mart, Advanced Microgrid Solutions to Turn Big-Box Stores Into Hybrid Electric Buildings, GreenTech Media, April 11, 2017  https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/wal-mart-to-turn-big-box-stores-into-hybrid-electric-buildings?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_campaign=GTMDaily

  3. Solar Panels on Wal-Mart Roof  http://corporate.walmart.com/_news_/photos/solar-panels-roof-puerto-rico

Twelve Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem

Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, economists seem to be guided by their badly flawed models; they miss  real-world problems. In …

Source: Twelve Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem

The End of Oil Domination? – German Government Votes to Ban Sales of ICE Vehicles by 2030

aid_diesel-2

Figure 1:  Chart showing recent drop in Diesel Car sales, AID Newsletter

 

“[…] Germany’s Bundesrat has passed a resolution to ban the internal combustion engine starting in 2030,Germany’s Spiegel Magazin writes. Higher taxes may hasten the ICE’s departure.

An across-the-aisle Bundesrat resolution calls on the EU Commission in Brussels to pass directives assuring that “latest in 2030, only zero-emission passenger vehicles will be approved” for use on EU roads. Germany’s Bundesrat is a legislative body representing the sixteen states of Germany. On its own, the resolution has no legislative effect. EU type approval is regulated on the EU level. However, German regulations traditionally have shaped EU and UNECE regulations.

EU automakers will be alarmed that the resolution, as quoted by der Spiegel, calls on the EU Commission to “review the current practices of taxation and dues with regard to a stimulation of emission-free mobility.”

  • “Stimulation of emission-free mobility” can mean incentives to buy EVs. Lavish subsidies doled out by EU states have barely moved the needle so far.
  • A “review the current practices of taxation and dues” is an unambiguously broad hint to end the tax advantages enjoyed by diesel in many EU member states. The lower price of diesel fuel, paired with its higher mileage per liter, are the reason that half of the cars on Europe’s roads are diesel-driven. Higher taxes would fuel diesel’s demise. […]

With diesel already on its tipping point in Europe, higher taxes and increased prices at the pump would be the beginning of the fuel’s end. As evidenced at the Paris auto show, the EU auto industry seems to be ready to switch to electric power, and politicians just signaled their willingness to force the switch to zero-emission, if necessary. Environmentalists undoubtedly will applaud this move, and the sooner diesel is stopped from poisoning our lungs with cancer-causing nitrous oxide, the better. Cult-like supporters of electric carmaker Tesla will register the developments with trepidation.

When EU carmakers are forced by law to produce the 13+ million electric cars the region would need per year, the upstart carmaker would lose its USP, and end up as roadkill. Maybe even earlier. Prompted by a recent accident on a German Autobahn, experts of Germany’s transport ministry declared Tesla’s autopilot a “considerable traffic hazard,” Der Spiegel wrote yesterday.Transport Minister Dobrindt so far stands between removing Germany’s 3,000 Tesla cars from the road, the magazine writes. Actually, until the report surfaced, the minister’s plan was to subsidize Autopilot research in Germany’s inner cities. “Let’s hope no Tesla accident happens,” the minister’s bureaucrats told Der Spiegel. It happened, but no-one died.”

Via Forbes:  http://bit.ly/2e8HSQf

 

Apple Creates Clean Energy Subsidiary

“Apple has created a subsidiary to sell the excess electricity generated by its hundreds of megawatts of solar projects. The company, called Apple Energy LLC, filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to sell power on wholesale markets across the US.

The company has announced plans for 521 megawatts of solar projects globally. It’s using that clean energy to power all of its data centers, as well as most of its Apple Stores and corporate offices. In addition, it has other investments in hydroelectric, biogas, and geothermal power, and looks to purchase green energy off the grid when it can’t generate its own power. In all, Apple says it generates enough electricity to cover 93 percent of its energy usage worldwide.

But it’s possible that Apple is building power generation capacity that exceeds its needs in anticipation of future growth. In the meantime, selling off the excess helps recoup costs by selling to power companies at wholesale rates, which then gets sold onward to end customers.

It’s unlikely that Apple, which generated more than $233 billion in revenue in fiscal 2015, will turn power generation into a meaningful revenue stream — but it might as well get something out of the investment. The company issued $1.5 billion in green bonds earlier this year to finance its clean energy projects.” (2)

Related Articles:

References:

  1. http://inhabitat.com/apple-is-launching-a-new-company-to-sell-surplus-solar-energy/apple-cupertino-hq-foster-partners-1/
  2. http://www.theverge.com/2016/6/9/11896502/apple-clean-solar-energy-subsidiary-wholesale

Commission Targets Energy Efficiency Standards for Computers and Monitors

California regulators are intensifying efforts to wring every possible electron out of common household devices.

Source: www.latimes.com

>” […] The California Energy Commission just released the latest in a long line of energy-efficiency standards […]. Past targets have included refrigerators, air conditioners, flat-screen televisions, battery chargers and dozens of other appliances and electronic devices.

The commission is writing proposed minimum power consumption standards that it estimates would save 2,702 gigawatt hours a year of electricity. That’s roughly the combined usage of the cities of Long Beach, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and Riverside. Utility customers could shave a total of $430 million off their annual electric bills, or about $20 a year for a household that owns one desktop computer, one laptop and one monitor.

Computers and monitors are among the leading users of energy in California and “spend roughly half their time … on but not being used.” Commissioner Andrew McAllister said.

Boosting efficiency is a good deal, he said. For example, a $2 investment in manufacturing a more power-stingy desktop computer would save $69 over five years, he said.

Electronics manufacturers question the commission’s arithmetic. They prefer voluntary efficiency programs, such as a 2012 manufacturers’ agreement that reduced the energy consumption of cable and satellite television set-top boxes. Consumers saved $168 million in 2013, according to an industry report.

California should let electronics makers develop their own products, said Douglas Johnson, vice president for technology policy for the Consumer Electronics Assn. “We don’t wait for regulations to make products more efficient.”

Aggressive energy-efficiency standards, the commission argues, has helped California keep its per-capital electric power consumption flat for the last 30 years, while the rest of the country’s has seen power use jump 40%. […]”<

 

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

The Ripple Effect of Energy Efficiency Investment

“The term “multiple benefits” has emerged to describe the additional value that emerges with any energy performance improvement. The benefits that occur onsite can be especially meaningful to manufacturing, commercial, and institutional facilities. Energy efficiency’s positive ripple effects include increased productivity and product quality, system reliability, and more. ”

 

Source: aceee.org

>” […]  Over the past few decades, researchers have documented numerous cases of energy efficiency improvements—almost always focusing exclusively on energy savings. Non-energy benefits are often recognized, but only in concept. ACEEE’s new report, Multiple Benefits of Business-Sector Energy Efficiency, summarizes what we know about the multiple benefits for the business sector. True quantification of these benefits remains elusive due to a lack of standard definitions, measurements, and documentation, but also in part because variations in business facility design and function ensures that a comprehensive list of potential energy efficiency measures is long, varied, and often unique to the facility.

To give some concrete examples of non-energy benefits at work: Optimizing the use of steam in a plywood manufacturing plant not only reduces the boiler’s natural gas consumption, it also improves the rate of throughput, thus increasing the plant’s daily product yield. A lighting retrofit reduces electricity consumption while also introducing lamps with a longer operating life, thus reducing the labor costs associated with replacing lighting. In many instances, monitoring energy use also provides insights into water or raw material usage, thereby revealing opportunities to optimize manufacturing inputs and eliminate production waste. By implementing energy efficiency, businesses can also boost their productivity. This additional value may make the difference in a business leader’s decision to pursue certain capital investment for their facility.

Meanwhile, energy resource planners at utilities and public utility commissions recognize the impact of large-facility energy demands on the cost and reliability of generation and transmission assets. By maximizing consumer efficiency, costs are reduced or offset throughout a utility system. So the ability to quantify the multiple benefits of investing in energy efficiency, if only in general terms, is an appealing prospect for resource planners eager to encourage greater participation in efficiency programs.

Unfortunately, our research shows that this quantification rarely happens, even though the multiple benefits are frequently evident. A number of studies offer measurement methodologies, anticipating the availability of proper data. When these methodologies are employed with limited samples, we see how proper accounting of non-energy benefits dramatically improves the investment performance of energy efficiency improvements—for example, improving payback times by 50% or better. Samples may provide impressive results, but the data remains too shallow to confidently infer the value to come for any single project type implemented in a specific industrial configuration. Developing such metrics will require more data.  […]”<

 

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Oil price loss seen as gain for consumers: ‘What is saved at the pumps will be spent at malls’

Financial Post | Business

OTTAWA — The federal government isn’t fretting, just yet, over the drain on Canada’s finances caused by a seemingly endless weakening in oil prices, a situation aggravated by OPEC’s decision Thursday not to cut its production levels.

But there will be some obvious benefits to four-year-low oil prices — cheaper gasoline at the pumps, for one, and a possible knock-on buying effect for some consumer-dependent sectors of the economy.

“What is saved at the pumps will be spent at the malls,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets.

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Crude prices experienced the biggest single-day drop since May 2011 after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries kept its production levels on hold — a move widely telegraphed by the cartel — despite the current glut of oil and reduced global demand.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who was previously Canada’s natural resources minister, played down…

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The petrodollar effect: Just how much is the loonie tied to oil prices?

Financial Post | Business

The recent crash in oil prices has set the stage for the most-anticipated OPEC meeting in years on Thursday. As oil-producing powerbrokers prepare to gather in Vienna, the Financial Post and Calgary Herald this week present Oil Pressure, a look at the forces buffeting, and buffeted by, the new oil world order. Today, the ties that bind Canada’s economic fate to energy prices.

CALGARY – Calling the Canadian dollar a “petrodollar” certainly makes sense if you mean the fact that the latest batch of bank notes are made out of polymer plastic, derived from petroleum products. But more than ever, economists are split on whether or not the term makes sense any longer in describing the correlation between the value of our loonie and the price of oil.

If it is a petrodollar, “it isn’t a very good petrodollar,” said Jack Mintz, director of the University of Calgary’s School of…

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Data Scientists: Explore Game Theory to Boost Customer Engagement | The Big Data Hub

See on Scoop.itTwitter & Social Media

Data scientists may consider themselves fish out of water when it comes to applying game-theoretic approaches to customer engagement. Nevertheless, it provides a valuable set of approaches for behavioral analytics.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Customer engagement is a bit of a game, because, deep down, it’s a form of haggling and bargaining. Let’s be blunt: everybody has an ulterior purpose and is manipulating the other party in that direction. The customer is trying to get the best deal from you, and you’re trying to hold onto them and sell them more stuff at a healthy profit.

Customer engagement is not solitaire, and, unlike many online games, it always has very real stakes. By its very nature, customer engagement is an interactive decision process involving individuals and organizations, entailing varying degrees of cooperation and conflict in the course (hopefully) of a stable and mutually beneficial outcome.

Game theory is a modeling discipline that focuses on strategic decision-making scenarios. It leverages a substantial body of applied mathematics and has been used successfully in many disciplines, including economics, politics, management and biology. There has even been some recent discussion of its possible application in modeling customer-engagement scenarios to improve loyalty, upsell and the like.

Customer engagement modeling is a largely unexplored frontier for game theory. The literature on this is relatively sparse right now, compared to other domains where game theory’s principles have been applied. […]<

See on www.ibmbigdatahub.com

Utilizing Renewable Energy Tax Incentives to Finance First Nations Energy Projects

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>We recommend that a tribe use a request for proposal (RFP) or other competitive process to identify an appropriate taxable development partner, so that they can obtain the best available proposal for the renewable energy project and the best value for the 30% investment tax credit and potentially depreciation. Under the RFP strategy, the tribe would make taxable developers aware of its renewable energy development plans, as well as potentially its willingness to pay for a portion of the renewable energy project.

The RFP would request the taxable developers to provide their best proposals regarding the development and financing of the renewable energy facilities, including proposals regarding:

The overall cost of the renewable energy facilities.The particular equipment to be installed and the warranties on that equipment.The developer’s willingness to limit the amount of the financial contribution by the tribe.The developer’s willingness to limit, in time and amount, any payments by the tribe for energy from or for leasing the renewable energy facilities.

The tribe could then select the taxable development partner that provides the best financial and other terms. A potential result of the RFP process could likely be that if the tribe is willing and able to pay for one half of the renewable energy facilities, a taxable developer might be willing to finance the rest of the facilities. Even if the developer does not share any of the value of the depreciation, it may be willing to at least provide the tribe full value for the investment tax credit. This would mean that there would be only 20% of the project cost to be paid over time. This could be accomplished by having the tribe pay a reduced rate for electricity for a period of at least five years (to avoid any recapture of the tax credits under IRS rules), and then for the developer, once it is made whole on its investment, to turn the facilities over to the tribe, potentially free of charge.

This transfer could be accomplished by allowing the tribe to use its 50% contribution to the LLC to purchase the taxable developer’s interest in the LLC, and for the tribe to have the right to purchase this interest based upon the renewable energy facilities’ value under a theoretical removal and sale of the facilities. Thus, under this scenario, the tribe’s initial capital outlay for the renewable energy facilities would be reduced by half, and the tribe would be able to receive reduced-priced energy for an interim period of time and then obtain full ownership of the renewable energy facilities.<

See on www.gklaw.com