Category Archives: Electrical Power Generation

MIT Plan for Action on Climate Change

On October 21st the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) issued its Plan for Action on Climate Change. This document was the culmination of a year of discussions within the MIT community on the risks of climate change and the role that MIT should play as a leader on climate sciences and energy innovation. MIT’s position is that overwhelming evidence shows that the world is warmer than it was in the pre-industrial age, and that present-day climate change is due to human activity, in particular the emission of greenhouse gasses. MIT supports the 2C Challenge which aims to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and sees the need for a world-wide, aggressive but pragmatic transition plan to achieve a zero-carbon energy system. Continue reading MIT Plan for Action on Climate Change

California – 50% renewable energy by 2030

On Wednesday California’s Governor Jerry Brown dramatically increased California’s climate-change goals by signing a bill that commits the state to use renewable energy for half its electricity and make existing buildings twice as energy-efficient by 2030. California already has some of the world’s toughest air quality standards, and in 2006, under Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, mandated that renewable energy should make up one-third of its electricity by 2020. The state is well on its way to meet that goal with 25% of electricity coming from renewables last year, driven by significant increases in solar and wind power.  Continue reading California – 50% renewable energy by 2030

One Month into the Clean Power Plan

Approximately one month ago President Obama and the EPA announced the Clean Power Plan as the United State’s regulatory tool to address climate change. The plan’s primary focus is on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants with key goal to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the power industry to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. In OWOE’s August 10th blog, we identified the 4 critical issues toward achievement of the Plan’s goals that will be battled in the coming months/years. While  legal, political, and economic issues are interesting and will provide most of the drama surrounding the Plan, the technical issues are the ones that OWOE feels are most challenging. Two studies issued subsequent to the Plan present some key issues: Continue reading One Month into the Clean Power Plan

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and EPA announced the Clean Power Plan. The plan’s  summary states: “Shaped by years of unprecedented outreach and public engagement, the final Clean Power Plan is fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy. With strong but achievable standards for power plants, and customized goals for states to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, the Clean Power Plan provides national consistency, accountability and a level playing field while reflecting each state’s energy mix. It also shows the world that the United States is committed to leading global efforts to address climate change.” Although the plan addresses a number of different strategies for addressing climate change, its primary focus is on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants with key goal to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the power industry to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. And to achieve this, the plan envisions a significant increase in renewable energy, in particular to replace coal plants that are the primary source of carbon dioxide emissions. Continue reading The EPA’s Clean Power Plan

California approves bundling of distributed power to compete in wholesale electricity market

On July 16th the California Independent System Operator Corp. (ISO) became the first electrical grid operator in the US to approve small distributed electrical generation sources, such as roof top solar, energy storage and plug-in vehicles, to be bundled together in order to compete in the wholesale electricity market in the state.  What this means is that small system owners, who previously had no influence on the price they could get for excess electricity production, can now join together and compete in the open market if, in the aggregate, they meet a 0.5 MW generation threshold. “With the rapidly evolving grid and quantum growth in distributed generation, this framework for integrating smaller renewable resources onto the high voltage grid demonstrates a significant step in re-designing our energy future with lower carbon emissions and helping California meet its clean energy goals,” said ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. “This proposal encourages innovation and entrepreneurs to explore opportunities within the wholesale market by combining resources that individually would be too small to participate on their own.”

The proposal approved by the board outlines how these energy resources aggregations would be metered and how scheduling coordinators will interact with the ISO through a single point of contact; however, detailed processes to implement the proposal still need to be developed and approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

For more details, see CA ISO Board.