Who needs ‘baseload’ power? (Or, let the markets do their job)

June 26, 2017 by  
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We should seize the opportunity presented by the Department of Energy’s grid study to ensure tomorrow’s electricity markets work in service of, not contrary to, our society’s goals.

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Who needs ‘baseload’ power? (Or, let the markets do their job)

Safety concerns overshadow energy-slashing potential of smart homes

May 31, 2017 by  
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Until technology companies address hacking incidents and other security issues, it does little good to talk up the environmental benefits.

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Safety concerns overshadow energy-slashing potential of smart homes

How the blockchain could fight grid cyber-threats

May 31, 2017 by  
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The electricity system is about to experience a several-orders-of-magnitude increase in the number of vulnerabilities to cyber-threats.

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How the blockchain could fight grid cyber-threats

Platform-based grids promise a power boost

April 26, 2017 by  
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Platform business models have redefined the modern economy. Next, it may redefine the electric utility sector through DSOs and DERs.

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Platform-based grids promise a power boost

Is employee activism on sustainability nearing a tipping point?

April 26, 2017 by  
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Most of those working for large U.S. companies expect their CEO to be vocal about environmental and social issues, according to new research. And when it comes to the issues they care about most, renewable energy trumps immigration.

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Is employee activism on sustainability nearing a tipping point?

Old, dirty, creaky U.S. electric grid could cost $5 trillion to replace

April 12, 2017 by  
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Where should our infrastructure spending go?

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Old, dirty, creaky U.S. electric grid could cost $5 trillion to replace

This German village generates 500% more energy than it needs

April 5, 2017 by  
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Wildpoldsried , a Bavarian village of about 2,600 residents, is leading the way in Germany’s extraordinary renewable energy transformation . Over the past 18 years, the village has invested in a holistic range of renewable energy projects that include 4,983 kWp of photovoltaics , five biogas facilities, 11 wind turbines and a hydropower system. As a result, the village has gone beyond energy independence – and it now produces 500% more energy than it needs and profits from sales of the surplus power back to the grid. Renewable energy projects in Germany have gained enormous traction in recent years, propelled by government subsidies that are designed to lower costs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and move the nation entirely away from nuclear power; this transformation is known as the Energiewende . As a result, Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable sources—that’s twice as much as U.S. households receive. On a local level, Wildpoldsried has far exceeded the successes seen across Germany. The villages’s commitment to renewable energy began in 1999, when the city council crafted a document titled “Wildpoldsried Innovativ Richtungsweisend” (WIR-2020, or Wildpoldsried Innovative Leadership). The document looked at how the town might encourage growth and invest in new community facilities without incurring debt. As Biocycle explains, the WIR-2020 contained three main areas of focus: “1) Renewable Energy and Saving Energy; 2) Ecological Construction of Buildings Using Ecological Building Materials (mainly wood-based); and 3) Protection of Water and Water Resources (both above and below ground) and Ecological Disposal of Wastewater.” Related: Renewables Recently Provided 74% of Germany’s Energy Demand Through these three areas of focus, Wildpoldsried sought to produce 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. But in a relatively small, engaged community where, as one resident explained , there is a notion of “thriftiness… I don’t need to buy what I can make,” the projects advanced much faster than anyone might have expected. By 2011, the village was producing 321 percent of the electricity it needed, and was receiving $5.7 million in payments for the surplus. The entire list of Wildpoldsreid’s projects is pretty remarkable: in addition to the five biogas plants, 4,983 kWp of photovoltaics, 11 wind turbines and the hydropower system, the town is also home to several municipal and residential biomass heating systems and 2,100 m² of solar thermal systems. Five private residences are heated by geothermal systems and passivhaus techniques have been used in some new construction. One is also likely to see a fair number of electric cars dotting about. Related: German State to Receive 100% Renewable Power This Year With such a diversity of renewable energy sources, the town operates a smart grid that, as Siemens explains “maintains the balance between energy production and consumption and keeps the power grid stable.” As Windpoldsreid’s Deputy Mayor, Günter Mögele, explained to the Financial Times : “I think people were surprised that the Energiewende is happening so fast,” and certainly it is not without it’s headaches for those looking at the issue on a national level. But Windpoldsried is a spectacular example of what can happen on a local level when residents and municipalities take matters into their own hands. + Windspoldried Lead image via Shutterstock

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This German village generates 500% more energy than it needs

The compelling case for creating a nation of microgrids

March 15, 2017 by  
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We so take the electricity infrastructure for granted that we fail to recognize it as a potent public policy tool for economic revitalization. Of all large infrastructures in the United States, nothing is more poised for transformative change, with a host of long- and short-term benefits, as today’s electricity delivery system — not roads, not information technology, not oil, coal and natural gas, not entertainment, not retail, not housing construction, not healthcare.

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The compelling case for creating a nation of microgrids

Partnerships: The key to getting green chemistry tech to market?

March 15, 2017 by  
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How companies such as Levi’s, Apple and Dow are engaging in the pursuit of new materials and industrial ingredients.

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Partnerships: The key to getting green chemistry tech to market?

8 ways cities are upping the ante on building efficiency

March 15, 2017 by  
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Leading by example and linking up with utilities are among the strategies cities are deploying.

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8 ways cities are upping the ante on building efficiency

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