By Ellen Lee, EcoMotion 2017 Summer Intern
The growth of the renewable energy market has sparked an evolution in electricity procurement and begun to shift towards a local and community-based model. The new concept in the sustainable grid and utility world is Community Choice Aggregation. In order to answer the demand for renewables and further push clean energy into the grid, many cities and counties have been partnering or “aggregating” their electrical demand, such that the CCA can procure and supply electricity to its conglomerate residents, businesses, and municipalities. Serving as a localized energy provider, CCAs, along with its communities, will allow for more control over the procurement and sources of electricity to accelerate the green power movement while saving consumers money.
Read the full white paper here: Community Choice Aggregation
By Eric Getz, 2017 Summer Intern
In 2017, the electric car movement is considerably underway and well known throughout the US. Tesla and its visionary CEO Elon Musk are household names throughout the country and nearly every major automotive manufacturer has invested in this movement in some form. However, ask someone about electric buses and you are hard pressed to find anyone who can confirm their existence, let alone anyone who’s actually seen one in person. Yet the electric bus movement is quietly advancing to be on pace with the electric car movement. Much like the electric car industry, the electric bus sector has greatly benefitted from recent advances in electric technology, falling battery prices, and a growing number of heavily funded companies vying for dominance in a market ripe with an immense potential for growth. Indeed, due to several factors unique to the bus transit industry it will almost certainly surpass electric cars very soon in terms of market penetration.
Microgrids are all the rage, one of the hottest trends in the power sector. Taking advantage of technology gains, we’re experiencing a return to smaller power grids; shifting back from centralized utility systems to neighborhood-scale power. Small is beautiful! Microgrids are elegant, sustainable, resilient, and can be cost-effective.
Microgrids are not a new construct. Thomas Edison began with a microgrid. They’ve been on college campuses and at medical centers for years, often based on combined heat and power systems… thermal power plants. The 15 MW power plant at Princeton University, built in the late 1990s, can switch between natural gas and biodiesel and supports the power, heating, and chilled water needs of all 150 campus buildings there. Harvard has been operating a steam loop on campus since 1916. In 2003 its Blackstone Steam Plant was upgraded to generate power and 400 degrees F steam at 100 psi. The 13,800-volt system now connects 250 buildings on Harvard’s Cambridge and Alston campuses and can island with 12.5 MW of power and a “black-start capable” microgrid.
This paper, however, is about a new and exciting form of microgrid. The microgrids that are the root of this paper – that combine renewable energy with energy storage — may become ubiquitous throughout North America, for campuses, for communities. They are a new form of microgrid, carbon-free microgrids. They do not replace utility grids; they complement them, adding key features, like onsite renewable power and emergency back-up systems. They’re mini grids that work daily and then that really spring into action when the big grid goes down. And they are enabled by advanced energy storage.
EcoMotion is pleased to announce a new white paper on Energy Storage and the role of lithium in the hybrid-electric building revolution. The paper documents the longstanding quest for effective electricity storage, seven forms of storage from flywheels to compressed air, and the rise of battery-based storage systems for consumer, utility, and grid benefits.
For consumers, storage allows for a means of hedging against rising demand charges. Just as consumers now have means to cut energy costs — through efficiency and renewables — now they have a means of reducing demand charges. For utilities, storage is a new form of distributed capacity that can be effectively dispatched. For grids, distributed energy systems provide new means to provide balancing, “spinning reserve,” frequency regulation, and voltage support.
The white paper presents a primer on lithium — the lightest metal, alas a flammable one — different business models stacking battery services, and a checklist of consumers keen on screening their own facilities for cost-effective storage deployments. The 21-page white paper complements a slide-show presentation by Ted Flanigan titled, “The Lithium and Hybrid-Electric Building Revolution.”
To download without charge, click here!
EcoMotion ‘s mission is the cost-effective greening of cities, corporations, and campuses. We’re an owner’s rep… helping to find beneficial arrangements for our clients. Currently we are working with Irvine Ranch Water District and three California school districts on battery-based storage solutions. Don’t miss any of EcoMotion’s White Papers…sign up here.
Should colleges utilize divestment to address social or environmental issues? Is there any merit to taking on art history research paper ideas financial and institutional risk in the name of positive public influence? Follow this link to learn more…
The Energy Services Agreement or ESA is a relatively new and rather exciting financial vehicle for funding energy efficiency. Much like a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), in an ESA the equipment is installed and owned and operated by the vendor who sells the saved power to the customer.
ESAs are a new financial vehicle, sometimes called “Energy Savings Agreements.” I’ve also now seen the term “Efficiency Services Agreements.” In all cases, the ESA is a contract between a property owner and a company that develops, arranges, and funds energy efficiency retrofits. ESAs offer a clearly defined structure for outside capital to invest in the energy savings potential of a building. The ESA provider is paid for the energy savings of a retrofit project.
The rise of solar power – specifically photovoltaics – is nothing short of remarkable. It is a bonanza, a revolution in the best sense of the word. What a decade of progress. This White Paper on solar in college campuses covers:
The Global Solar Revolution
The Emergence of a Technology and Industry
Global Solar Marketplace
Solar Capacity by Nation
Drivers in Solar Developments
Solar in America
Solar Capacity on the Rise
Financing and the Solar Equation
Campus Solar Leadership
The AASHE Solar Database
Curriculum and Student Engagement
Taking Action on Your Campus
Finding Allies and Building Support
First Steps in Planning and Design
PV 201: Six Warnings from the Solar Advisor
Download The State of Solar on Campus 2014 Edition:
State of Solar on Campus 2014 Edition 10-14-14
Community Solar Plants (CSPs) bring solar to neighborhoods. Your utility has likely done a great job of providing solar incentives to homeowners. Now, instead of your customers owning individual systems, citizens, local businesses, corporate leaders and others, even those without a suitable roof, sunshine or ownership of a building, are able to invest in a green power future, thanks to collective investments. Community Solar Plants are also an affordable way for your customers to go solar. Everyone can “buy a piece of the rock,” photovoltaic panels and dedicated capacity. They combine their panels with others in a community system, just like a community garden.
Today, Community Solar Plants are poised to provide a win-win-win for consumers, communities, and utilities. Consumers have access to local solar production; cities and counties aggregate, promote and achieve their climate protection goals; and utilities not only serve their customers with a new product offering, but provide green services whose fees are recovered directly from participants without utility capital investment. Analysis suggests that CSPs can be more cost effective for utilities than net metering solar, given lower unit and transaction costs as well as more reliable long-term clean power production.
Two CSP models of scale are presented:
One is based on subscriptions for green power, the other based on ownership.
This White Paper provides a review of community solar plants, starting with their evolution from initial “solar gardens.” It presents the robust set of benefits that community solar plants provide for electric utilities, municipal, cooperative, and investor-owned. Two predominant models are presented from working plants in California and Colorado. One is based on subscriptions; the other on direct consumer ownership. The paper concludes with design options for utilities interested in developing CSP activities, drawing lessons learned from the roughly dozen plants that have pioneered the concept.
This White Paper examines the policy instruments available to achieve municipal energy and climate protection goals and to concurrently catalyze California’s solar industry. It examines two “solar support systems” for solar in the urban environment, and concludes that California’s solar generation and renewable production goals can be achieved on schedule by incorporating the successful Feed-In Tariff (FIT) model into the California Solar Initiative.
Hydrogen can play a dramatic role in our sustainable energy future, but to most it’s unclear just how that might work. The potential contribution of hydrogen has been described in various ways from the pragmatic to the fantastic. A lack of adequate information has contributed to confusion that obscures the real promise of hydrogen.
Many proponents of hydrogen claim that it can provide an inexhaustible supply of clean, renewable energy. But hydrogen is not an energy source. Like electricity, it must be produced from primary energy sources, some of which are environmentally sound. Others which are not. There is clearly a major opportunity for the use of hydrogen derived from renewable energy sources. Furthermore, the notion of an unlimited supply of any energy source will perpetuate our wasteful energy consumption patterns. We must encourage an energy philosophy rooted in energy sufficiency, using efficient and environmentally benign technologies. Hydrogen will be a key asset.
This booklet provides a primer on hydrogen, presents future potentials for hydrogen, and concludes with a vision of how hydrogen hits into the sustainable energy future.