Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Storage, GHG Emissions, Regulation  -  February 13, 2021

Weekend reads: Wyoming's struggle to convert from fossil fuels; the human cost of air pollution

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

Fossil Fuel Pollution Kills 8.7 Million a Year, Twice Previous Estimate (Bloomberg) Efforts to slow the process of global warming focus on the future harms of continuing to burn fossil fuel, but new research released Tuesday shows that deadly consequences from pollution are killing larger numbers of people right now than had been assumed. Fossil fuels are alone responsible for more than 8 million premature deaths annually, according to new research by a team of U.S. and U.K. scientists published in Environmental Research. That's double the previous high-end estimate of fine-particle pollution mortality, and three times the combined number killed by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in 2018.

Facing A Reckoning, Wyoming Wrestles With A Transition From Fossil Fuels (NPR) The Biden administration's new climate agenda is forcing a reckoning for states that are dependent on fossil fuels, like Wyoming. Much of its economy — and its state budget — is built on exporting coal, oil and gas to the rest of America. The state is now expected to sue over President Biden's ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land. Wyoming's history is one of wild swings between booms and busts, but some have been saying that the state needs to diversify for decades. "The money is so good, that people's eyes just glaze over," says Linda Baker, an environmental activist in Pinedale who also spent five years working in the oil patch. For Baker, the latest bust feels different though. Wyoming, the least populated state in the US, is on the financial brink, and now the Biden administration is trying to wean the country off fossil fuels due to the climate crisis.

Webinar: Applying AI to Commercial HVAC Systems (Siemens) Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. HVAC systems consume on average between 20% and 50% of total building energy. While saving energy, aggressive efficiency standards established by regulators and organizations drive complexity and cost. At the same time, air quality and public health issues such as COVID-19 introduce new demands on safe and responsible operation of HVAC systems outside of efficiency or comfort demands. Cloud-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning can help solve these problems through use of dynamic models. These methods unlock ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and create dynamic flexibility as priorities change. This seminar will discuss methods, best practices, and pros and cons of using these approaches to controlling HVAC systems in modern buildings. REGISTER HERE

DOE lab aims to answer the 'big questions' about storage and help dramatically increase deployment (Utility Dive) The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched its Storage Futures Study last month to create a framework for a "dramatic increase in deployment" and "answer the big questions around the role of storage in our future grid." The first report in the series outlines four phases of storage deployment, with each phase defined in part by the duration of batteries and their role in the grid. While the divisions are not prescriptive, the phases could help give every party involved in battery development some common terms to use when discussing the evolution of the grid, said Nate Blair, study co-author and group manager of the Distributed Systems and Storage Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center of NREL.

Biden won't revive Obama's Clean Power Plan. So now what? (E&E News) Michael Regan, Biden's pick to lead EPA, told Capitol Hill lawmakers last week that the administration would look for its own solution to limit power plant carbon rather than reuse the one crafted by President Obama. During his confirmation hearing Wednesday, Regan explained to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that EPA staff would draw lessons from the regulatory records of rules from the last two administrations before constructing their own. "The reality is that [the lack of an existing standard] presents a significant opportunity for the Environmental Protection Agency to take a clean slate and look at how do we best move forward," Regan told the committee. "There are lots and lots of, I would say, examples of success and failure that we've seen in past tries."

When is clean hydrogen fuel coming for Colorado cars, and who needs to get ready? (The Colorado Sun) It will take more than one alternative fuel powering cars and trucks to meet Colorado’s ambitious goals of 50% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within just nine years, and signs are growing that much-hyped hydrogen is about to have its turn. Hydrogen has been the clean fuel of the future for decades among energy and environment researchers, but has so far disappointed with its “where’s my jetpack” status, even as all-electric vehicles improved in quality, price and access to a growing charging network. Hydrogen vehicle builders and potential fueling stations hesitate until they have real buyers, and buyers hesitate until they have reliable vehicles to buy with reliable places to fuel up, a standoff advocates call the chicken-or-the-egg problem in new technology.

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