Advanced Energy Perspectives

NEWS: Summer Breeze Makes Us Feel Fine: First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Complete! Plus: Robot Cars a Reality

Posted by Lexie Briggs

Aug 19, 2016 10:56:14 AM

 

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Image courtesy of Jeff Grybowski, originally posted to Twitter.

It’s officially late August, and, if there’s any justice in this world, you’re reading this on your smartphone or tablet while lounging on a beach somewhere, feeling the sea breeze stir your hair. Even if you’re sitting in a stuffy office or cubicle farm, take a second to imagine the whiff of salt air, the cries of seagulls, and – and I can’t emphasize this enough – the sea breeze. That pleasant breeze is about to change the way some Americans get their electricity. It’s an offshore wind news update here on Advanced Energy Perspectives! (Bonus, if you read to the end: robot cars.)

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Topics: News Update

Shout It from the Rooftops: Solar and Energy Efficiency Save Millions – for Everyone

Posted by Scott Hennessey, SolarCity

Aug 18, 2016 2:53:59 PM

This is a guest post by Scott Hennessey, Vice President of Policy & Electricity Markets and Regulatory Counsel for SolarCity.

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In late March, California Independent System Operator (CAISO) approved its 2015-2016 Transmission Plan, which included gratifying news for consumers as well as distributed generation and energy efficiency providers. Thanks to consumer investments in rooftop solar and energy efficiency, CAISO cancelled 12 transmission projects in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, saving all ratepayers $192 million. In this way, CAISO has validated what many of us have known for years: When private homeowners and companies invest their own money in rooftop solar and energy efficiency, it results in all ratepayers not having to pay for new expensive generation and transmission projects.

Anyone who cares about making energy cleaner, cheaper, and safer should celebrate this story. By averting the need for utilities to build more infrastructure and pass along the cost to ratepayers, private investment in local clean energy and energy efficiency benefits everyone. Everyone who supports or sells distributed generation or energy efficiency resources needs to share this story – and move it to the center of our policy and regulatory discussions.

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Topics: Guest Post

THIS IS ADVANCED ENERGY: Gas Turbines

Posted by Caitlin Marquis

Aug 16, 2016 6:22:41 PM

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Gas turbine technology is mature and widely used, with innovations driving new improvements in efficiency, performance, and cost. In its most basic configuration, the simple cycle gas turbine (SCGT), air is compressed and mixed with fuel (usually natural gas), then the mixture is burned in a combustor. The resulting hot, pressurized gases expand through the turbine section that drives the compressor and an electric generator. In a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant, also called a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plant, the hot exhaust gases leaving the turbine pass through a heat recovery steam generator, producing steam that is used to generate more electricity with no additional fuel. This process can increase efficiency to 60%, compared to about 40% for SCGTs. Most gas turbine plants in operation use so-called “heavy duty” or “industrial” turbines, with units ranging from about 1 MW to over 300 MW. The other main type of machine, an aeroderivative gas turbine, ranges in size up to about 90 MW. These turbines are more lightweight, compact, and even more efficient. Another class of machines, microturbines, have lower efficiencies than the larger turbines, but are well suited for onsite power and CHP due to their compact footprint and smaller size (25 kW to 500 kW).

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Topics: This Is Advanced Energy

NEWS: ‘Yes Nukes’ in New York and Tennessee as Old Plants and New Get New Lease on Life

Posted by Lexie Briggs

Aug 12, 2016 2:02:48 PM

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Image courtesy of Tennessee Valley Authority.

Nuclear power generates about one-fifth of all electricity in the United States, but it’s had a rough 40 years or so. Between high upfront costs for installation, complicated permitting, rare but dramatic accidents, and general NIMBY, development of new U.S. nuclear facilities all but halted in the last part of the twentieth century. But that might be changing. In the news this week: new nuclear projects in the Southeast, new nuke-supporting policy in New York, and small modular reactors unveiling some of their secrets. It’s a physics-filled news update from Advanced Energy Perspectives.

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Topics: News Update

Six Simple Policies that Can Give Corporate Purchasers the Advanced Energy They Want — and 11 States that Would Benefit Most from Adopting Them

Posted by Caitlin Marquis

Aug 11, 2016 1:30:00 PM

Meister-Report-A2R-456153-edited.pngIt’s no mystery that companies want advanced energy—they’re announcing major projects, making large purchases, and setting public goals. Even for companies without a specific target, advanced energy presents an attractive option to control and lower energy costs. Unsurprisingly, companies are pursuing advanced energy in growing numbers, with a record 3,100 MW of wind power purchases in 2015 signed by corporate customers—double the previous year.

But as companies sign power purchase agreements, build rooftop solar installations, install energy storage solutions, and develop fuel cell facilities, impressive national growth trends obscure the important fact that, in many states, the options to pursue such projects are limited at best. To identify how and where the list of purchasing options could be expanded, Advanced Energy Economy Institute commissioned Meister Consultants Group (MCG) to consider opportunities to increase corporate access to advanced energy through policy changes at the state level. What MCG found is six policies that would give corporate purchasers the renewable energy they are looking for, and 11 states that could reap the benefits of the advanced energy development that would result.

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Topics: State Policy Update

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Advanced Energy Perspectives is AEE's blog presenting news, analysis, and commentary on creating an advanced energy economy. Join the conversation!

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