In this episode of the Local Energy Rules podcast, John Farrell interviews Lena Entin about an inspiring and successful community-driven campaign in Holyoke, Mass., to shut down an aging coal plant operated by one of the world’s largest multinational electric utility companies. The two discuss the campaign’s efforts to replace the dirty plant with clean energy to improve health outcomes for the community and provide a just transition for the power plant’s workers.… Read More
In an October 2018 op-ed featured in PV Magazine, John Farrell, ILSR Co-Director and Director of the Energy Democracy Initiative, argues how important shifts in both technology and decision-making are transforming the energy sector.… Read More
For 100 years, most decisions about the U.S. electric grid have been made at the top by electric utilities, public regulators, and grid operators. That era has ended, and our report details how the collective impact of individual consumers installing solar-plus-storage reverses the flow of power on the electricity grid.… Read More
Energy storage is the “next charge” for distributed renewable energy, and the small town of Minster, OH, provides a powerful illustration. Committed to building a 3-megawatt (AC) solar facility, the village’s energy department (municipal utility) was blindsided by the state … Read More
The Hawaiian utility, made local when the investor-owned utility left the business a decade ago, is surging toward 40% renewable energy in the next year, with a third of that total from customer-generated solar. Half its daytime energy will come from solar arrays by the end of 2015.
Learn more about how a cooperative utility has blown past purported technical barriers to renewable energy and pioneered energy storage to make solar a prominent part of their energy mix in this interview with Jan, recorded via Skype on Feb 25, 2014.… Read More
In the long run, there’s no avoiding energy storage for a 100% renewable energy society. The two major sources of renewable power are wind and sun, and they are either fickle or reliably not available at night. The problem is … Read More
I just came across an interesting interview that radio host Diane Rehm did with Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution. The excerpts below lay out his vision for an energy future that is decentralized and democratized. (He also notes that this vision has just emerged in the past two to four years, but we’ve been around since 1974…).
The book is organized around five pillars of the third industrial revolution:
Pillar one, renewable energy. Pillar two, your buildings become your own power plants. Pillar three, you have to store it with hydrogen. And then Pillar four…the internet communication revolution completely merges with new distributing energies to create a nervous system…Pillar five is electric plug-in transport…
when distributed Internet communication starts to organize distributed energies, we have a very powerful third industrial revolution that could change everything…
You can find some renewable energy in every square inch of the world. So how do we collect them? … If renewable energies are found in every square inch of the world in some frequency or proportion, why would we only collect them in a few central points? …
[it] jump starts the European economy, that’s the idea. Millions and millions and millions of jobs. Thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises have to convert 190 million buildings to power plants over the next 40 years…
That’s the vision: a decentralized energy system can be democratized with local ownership, spreading the production of energy and the economic benefits as widely as the renewable energy resource itself.
Yesterday New York Times reporter Matt Wald had a piece on the role of energy storage in supporting the expansion of renewable energy. However, his specific focus on solar thermal power generation overlooks the potentially high costs of relying on … Read More
The U.S. Northwest could get an additional 12 percent of its electricity from local wind power if 1 in 8 of the region’s cars used batteries.
That’s the conclusion of a new study from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories investigating how electric vehicles can help smooth the introduction of more variable renewable energy into the grid system.
The study examines the Northwest Power Pool, an area encompassing roughly seven states in the Northwest. With around 2.1 million electrified vehicles, the grid could support an additional 10 gigawatts of wind power. With electricity demand from those seven states of about 250 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, the additional 10 gigawatts of wind would provide 12 percent of the annual electricity demand (roughly 30 billion kilowatt-hours per year).
The results are no doubt applicable to other regions of the country. In fact, at least 33 states have enough wind power to meet 10 percent or more of their electricity needs and if the same portion of vehicles (13%) were electrified in those 33 states, it would allow them to add a collective 100 gigawatts of wind power, meeting nearly 14% of their electricity needs.
In the long-run, a fully electrified vehicle fleet would theoretically – just do the math! – provide enough balancing power for a 100% renewable electricity system. And since the large majority of those vehicle trips would be made on batteries alone, it would be a significant dent in American reliance on foreign oil for transportation.
Further reading: learn a bit more about electric vehicles helping wind power in Denmark, too.
Hat tip to Midwest Energy News for the original story.