Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Energy Resources, GHG Emissions, Solar, Wind  -  September 5, 2020

Weekend reads: Tesla's pursuit of the European energy market; Running U.S. cars on wind and solar

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

Could The U.S. Automobile Fleet Run On Wind And Solar Power? (Forbes) I like doing thought experiments. I often use them to help me envision the parameters of a complex problem. For example, a dozen years ago I attempted to calculate the area required to supply the entire U.S. with electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) power. Admittedly, these thought experiments require major simplifications. To completely run the U.S. on solar power would require a substantial amount of backup power or storage for when the sun isn’t shining.

Ensuring DER inclusion in capacity markets may require a rethink of resource adequacy (Utility Dive) The growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) has increased the urgency of finding solutions to new complexities introduced by rising penetrations of variable renewables. There is "growing interest in a more decentralized electric grid and new types of distributed resources," the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) 2019 Long-Term Reliability Assessment reported. At lower penetrations, DERs "may not present a risk," but as penetrations increase, "the effect of these resources can present certain reliability challenges that require attention."

Webinar: What’s the Total Cost of Ownership? (Duke Energy One) Thursday, September 10, 2020, 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. It is critical for energy executives to understand and derive the true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for their energy infrastructure before making investment decisions. Even as the impact of COVID-19 and shrinking business margins could discourage investment, innovation will create more value through developing new products and services – but what’s the best financial model for your company to access these products and services? In this webinar, Duke Energy One will explore the key factors you need to know in order to make an informed decision about your company’s energy future. REGISTER HERE

Tesla tests the circuits for German energy market push (Reuters) Elon Musk appears to be opening a new front in the European battle for electric car supremacy: the power behind the wheel. Musk's Tesla <TSLA.O> has recently acquired a licence that will enable the carmaker to trade electricity across western Europe and the company has also been surveying customers in Germany about potentially using Tesla electricity in their cars. Such moves, consultants and energy industry executives say, could set the stage for the company - possibly with one or more partners - to take on established utilities in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market and autos heartland.

Geophysical Survey Marks Next Step Toward Carbon Capture Storage In PRB (County 17) Like a slow-moving trail of ants with heads bowed in concentration, the four vibroseis ‘thumper’ trucks plodded up the gravel hill on the north grounds of Dry Fork Station (DFS) en route to their first target. A blue sky yawned lazily overhead as Wade Bard, director of Carbon GeoCycle, Inc. and site manager for the survey, squinted underneath the lip of his hardhat as he watched the caravan veer left onto a wind-burnt patch of grass with vibrating plates hovering in ready position. The trucks paused in a straight line before lowering the plates in a cloud of dust as the ground gently vibrated. “Feel that?” Bard yelled above the machinery with a big smile. They’re doing their source test, he said, which means syncing up their plates for maximum vibration to reach up to two miles down in the ground underneath. And despite the thundering engines, the tremor on the ground was barely perceptible from less than 100 feet away.

The Gas Industry’s Survival Plan: Make Fuel From Cow Poop (Bloomberg) Polly is a 10-year-old black-and-white Holstein cow, the oldest in a herd of about 300 on the Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield, Mass. Together they produce 2,000 gallons of milk each day. They also make enough poop to fill about two garbage trucks. The farm makes money off of both. In 2014, Bar-Way began working with Vanguard Renewables to install a biodigester, which uses specialized bacteria to convert organic material—for example, cow poop—into biogas, a versatile fuel. Once it’s purified, this biomethane, also known as renewable natural gas (RNG), is chemically identical to the main ingredient in the fossil-based natural gas that comes out of your stove or heats your water.

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