jump to navigation

LED lighting April 23, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far
Buy some

Buy some, trust me.

I thought I’d put up a little post about my latest power bill.

Now that you’re all hanging on the edge of your seat…

(more…)

Renewable growth in the US: 1, 2, 3 March 14, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
Tags: ,
add a comment
image of two wind turbines in China

They’re popping up like weeds!

Three reports that came out about the same time highlight the dramatic changes to the US power mix which is going on largely without comment outside the nerdy circles (like this one).

The long and short is this: wind power in the US will double to about 10% in the next five years, and make up something like 35% of the US grid by around 2050. That’s fast, but solar is going in ever faster, outpacing wind. Coal is disappearing, while gas turbines take up its place.

As always, this is really about cost. Wind turbines and gas plants are far, far less expensive than any non-hydro conventional source. PV isn’t that far behind. Coal plants are actually more expensive than any of these, nuclear even more. And that, basically, is that.

(more…)

Too slow and steady: household battery packs are going to take a while October 25, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
Tags: ,
add a comment
That can't be good.

That can’t be good.

I would like nothing more than to have an inverter and battery pack in my home.

The recent ice storms left us without power for just over three days in the dead of winter. We had a gas stove in the basement and some great camp lights that kept us going, but camping in your own basement without any form of communications gets boring fast. I’d love to have backup power, but at something north of $15k, I have other things to worry about.

So it’s with some sadness that I saw recent numbers from Sandia Labs that suggest I’m going to have to keep waiting a while before I can actually afford a whole-home UPS (uninterruptible power supply), but not for the reasons I thought.

(more…)

Japan’s rapid switch to PV September 30, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid, solar.
Tags:
add a comment
Kagoshima Nanatsujima PV plant

Kagoshima Nanatsujima PV plant

I came across this article mentioning that Japan has installed 11 GWp of renewables in the last two years. That’s not record-setting by any means (the US beats that), but definitely worthy of comment for a couple of  reasons…

(more…)

Future grid: energy and transport September 16, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Do not open the door

I was watching the fairly silly Extant last night and saw a bit of tech that caught my eye; it was a burner cell-phone powered by a chemical reaction you started by twisting it like a glo-stick. It’s a little throwaway prop that I just love.

The reason I bring this up is that they also assume every car is electric. Nothing new there, but in this case they use an actual car instead of a made-for-TV model. Lots of Teslas and BMW i3’s.

And that got me thinking. What sort of overall effect is there on the grid if everyone starts driving electric? I know that electric cars use less power overall, but what sort of effect does that have on the big picture?

Well unless I’m doing the math seriously wrong, it looks like the answer is “bring it on!”

(more…)

Hidden in plain sight: EIA highlights massive swing to renewables June 27, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid, solar.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

For many years the gold standard in energy reporting in the US has been the various EIA reports. Over the last five years though, it was clear something was going wrong. Renewables were part of the reports but always listed at high costs and low adoption rates. The numbers weren’t wrong, just outdated, as if you were reading a report from three years ago.

And this month’s report drives that home; the EIA has been predicting slow uptake of various renewables for some time now, and long predicted that it would reach about 13.5% of the electrical mix around 2040. However, the latest report, covering the first third of 2014, shows that renewables covered 14.04% of the electrical mix.

Wow.

(more…)