clean energy

Blockchain and energy – a solution looking for a problem to solve?

Blockchain and energy – a solution looking for a problem to solve?

Blockchain has been a buzzword in many industries over the last couple of years, including the energy sector. However, despite best intentions, blockchain for energy continues to struggle to get beyond the hype and provide any real benefit. Instead, it adds complexity to the electricity system rather than solving the critical systemic challenge to provide people with clean, reliable and low cost power – the energy ‘trilemma’. Ready Founder & Chief Technology Officer Matthew Williams’s article that originally appeared on Current+.

Faraday Grid at the Clean Energy Summit

Faraday Grid at the Clean Energy Summit

CEO Andrew Scobie, CMO Jacqui Porch, and Director, Paul Ezekiel travelled to Sydney to represent Faraday Grid and join key players of the energy sphere at the Clean Energy Summit 2018.

Energy Explainer: Renewable Energy Sources and the Challenge of Intermittency

Energy Explainer: Renewable Energy Sources and the Challenge of Intermittency

Intermittency is an essential implication of the differences of utilising renewable and non-renewable energy sources, which leaves non-renewable energy sources with a key advantage over renewable ones.  

The Trilemma Trade Off

The Trilemma Trade Off

What is the "Energy Trilemma"? The Energy Trilemma presents three interconnected goals that have proven exceedingly difficult to address individually.  Recent history has shown that unilateral actions taken to address one dimension of the trilemma often results in undesirable reactions on the other dimensions.  Hence it is currently not practical to simultaneously install new low carbon generation, ensure affordable energy for consumers, and guarantee that there will be security of electricity supply accounting for future demand.

BEIS/OFGEM Call For Evidence - A SMART, FLEXIBLE ENERGY SYSTEM

BEIS/OFGEM Call For Evidence - A SMART, FLEXIBLE ENERGY SYSTEM

We believe energy system regulation must have an essential and explicit philosophy of minimising restriction to the adoption of technology, seen or unseen, in order to reduce the cost of energy, system fragility, as well as greenhouse emissions.

Energy & Policy: The Story of Incentives

Energy & Policy: The Story of Incentives

The intention of policy makers to reduce greenhouse emissions is a story of incentives. It’s always a story of incentives - the question is, incentives for whom and at what cost? Incentives and waste; cost and benefits, can be seen as determining the productivity of public choice. As in all human endeavors means need to be fit to ends. So the institutions and infrastructure of the energy sector need to be enabled to deliver a low carbon future.

Relative economics of renewable energy integration

Relative economics of renewable energy integration

A successful transition to a low carbon economy requires that electricity generated to be dependably available to consumers. This requires low emission energy to either be compatible with distribution grids or distribution grids to be enabled to successfully integrate variable renewable energy.

Renewable energy is necessary but insufficient

Renewable energy is necessary but insufficient

Today, even the most ardent supporter of sustainable living probably recognizes that the problem in achieving that isn’t just the nihilistic short-term self-interest of big oil and big coal. We just don’t know how to get there.

Choosing to save the planet

Choosing to save the planet

My plan to save the planet keeps bumping into the seen and the unseen. Almost no one would argue with the great lesson of the stoic philosopher Epictetus. The world divides into that which depends on me, and that which does not. For the stoics, the lesson was that I shouldn’t worry about that which I can’t control. Instead I should focus on making good choices over those things and events I can control. Right there is where the trouble begins.

Repost: The Economist - Sunshine and clouds

Image reposted from original article

Image reposted from original article

http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21662650-solar-power-growth-renewable-energy-requires-new-ways-manage

Sep 5th 2015 | From the print edition

EARLIER this year, after months of planning, the managers of Europe’s electricity grid were ready for the biggest test so far of an energy system that increasingly relies on renewable power. That event was a partial solar eclipse on March 20th—and the “worst case scenario” was that it would take place on a sunny day, causing a sudden disruption of solar power, creating fluctuations that could damage the grid and anything connected to it.

At the centre of concern was Germany, with some of the world’s biggest solar installations. In 2014, almost 7% of Germany’s electricity was generated by solar panels, although on sunny weekdays the proportion can reach 35% and even 50% at weekends. The passing of the Moon between the Earth and the sun could have been equivalent to the loss of 80 medium-sized European power stations.

As it turned out, although the sun shone in southern Germany and northern Italy, cloudy skies elsewhere limited the eclipse’s impact. Even so, the European grid operators had to greatly increase the backup supplies normally on hand and turn off some energy-intensive processes, such as aluminium smelting. And then it had to cope with the surge in solar generation as the eclipse passed.

An eclipse is an extreme event, but as more homes, offices and factories fit solar panels and become, in effect, mini power plants feeding surplus electricity into the grid, engineers are having to perform a similar balancing act every day. Without careful monitoring, the intermittent nature of solar power—even with the sun passing briefly in and out of clouds—can lead to voltage surges and drops, causing brownouts and power cuts.

Moreover, maintaining a consistent level of power is now vital as modern digital devices, such as computers, televisions and equipment in factories, hospitals and offices, demand a steady voltage and frequency, unlike the clunky electronics of a few decades back.

To protect power quality some countries have placed restrictions on new solar installations. In Hawaii, for instance, sudden swings in electrical output have led to a slowdown in the issuing of solar permits. Australia has also placed constraints on new installations. Even some utilities in all-too-often overcast Britain have limited the amount of solar electricity which can be fed into the grid.

Companies are coming up with ways to maintain power quality. Some of the gear is based on inverters, which are used to convert the variable direct current produced by a solar panel into the alternating current on the grid. Renewable Energy Solutions Australia, for instance, makes a system called VoltLogic which can limit the amount of power exported to the grid from solar panels. This, the company says, allows new solar installations to be automatically approved by a number of Australian utilities.

Some utilities want such solar export-limiting equipment to respond to demand changes on the grid in less than one second, says Fraser Durham, commercial director of Argand Solutions, a British company. His firm produces a control system called GridGEM for companies using solar panels. This constantly analyses an organisation’s power use to determine when to buy electricity or to export any surplus according to a utility’s constraints. The system can also switch equipment on or off, channel any surplus renewable power into batteries and operate “private lines”, which are independent distribution networks which might be set up by a group of neighbouring companies to share locally produced solar power.

Saving some for later

Surplus renewable power could also be stored on the grid with beefier battery systems. Various technologies, from giant lead-acid batteries to pumping compressed air into caverns and letting it out to drive turbines, are being developed (see Technology Quarterly December 6th 2014).

Better batteries will also let businesses and homes store more of the power they generate instead of having to export it. Some of the advanced lithium-ion batteries Tesla will make for its electric cars at a giant factory in Nevada will also be sold as 10kWh and 7kWh storage units for domestic solar installations. Delivery of the first batteries, which will be contained in a unit called Powerwall, are scheduled to begin next year. Multiple Powerwalls can be connected together for sites with greater energy needs.

Instead of being a one-way line to deliver electricity, grids of the future will need to be smarter and more flexible to handle the distributed power systems being created by renewable energy.