Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Hydro  -  September 16, 2023

Weekend Reads: Hydropower's Invisibility Problem; Heat Pumps Win in Cold Weather Efficiency

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

Does hydropower have an invisibility problem? (NREL)  Unlike rooftop solar panels or hill-hugging wind turbines, hydropower plants are often hidden in our landscapes and even our minds. And yet, as the country transitions to clean energy, these plants will be the dependable partner that more visible — and variable — energy sources need to produce steady, clean power. “It’s the unsung hero quietly keeping the lights on,” said Jennifer Daw, a water power group manager and senior researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Daw, along with NREL’s Elise DeGeorge and Michael Ingram, are eager to make hydropower visible again — not only because of the key role it will play in a resilient clean energy grid, but also because the industry’s workforce is facing a flood of retirements.

Wave energy gets ready for a big first (CleanTechnica)  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are helping four promising wave energy devices prepare to survive a big first. The four will be the first technologies to face the waves at PacWave South, a new grid-connected wave energy test site off the Oregon coast that opens in 2025. NREL’s pre-PacWave lab support, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, will help ensure these four devices — as well as three additional earlier-stage designs — can either edge closer to commercial success or ace their open-ocean trial.

WEBINAR: Overcoming the biggest hurdle in decarbonizing buildings (TRANE)  When it comes to decarbonizing buildings, one of the biggest roadblocks is simply getting started. Understanding how to fund an energy services project and how to set measurable goals is critical to success. From rebates to incentives to determining the appropriate financing structure (on- or off-balance sheet) for a program, get practical tips on ways companies can get out of the starting gate to do what’s right for their business and the climate. REGISTER HERE

U.S. transportation energy use lags behind pre-pandemic levels (EIA)  Average U.S. transportation energy use decreased by 5% from 2019 to 2021, according to the EIA's State Energy Data System (SEDS). Although transportation energy use did increase in every state in 2021 compared with 2020, transportation in the majority of states still remained below 2019 pre-pandemic levels in 2021. The transportation sector estimates encompass energy used by vehicles to transport people and goods from one place to another, such as cars, trucks, trains, planes, and boats.

Heat pumps twice as efficient as fossil fuel systems in cold weather, study finds (The Guardian)  Heat pumps are more than twice as efficient as fossil fuel heating systems in cold temperatures, research shows. Even at temperatures approaching -30C, heat pumps outperform oil and gas heating systems, according to the research from Oxford University and the Regulatory Assistance Project thinktank.

Your future car may be made of garbage (Newsweek)  Magna International, a $36 billion USD company, is a Tier 1 supplier and plays a part in everything automotive: software and hardware, electric Jeep and truck axles, even full vehicle assembly. Magna is working with startup company UBQ — based in Tel Aviv, Israel — to replace plastic auto parts with pellets (also called UBQ) made from landfill trash. The plastic substitute uses un-recyclable household waste — including banana peels, chicken bones and pizza boxes, together with baby diapers and mixed plastics — to make a homogeneous thermoplastic.

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