“Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems” was a paper by the Canadian ecologist C.J. Hollings published in the Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 1973. The concept of resilience was used to describe the persistence of natural systems in face of changes in the ecosystem. The paper has had a major impact within ecology and the concept of resilience has later been expanded to many other areas, including the electric grid.
The 2003 Northeast blackout and extreme weather events like hurricane Katrina (2005), superstorm Sandy (2012), polar vortex (2014), hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (2017), as well as awareness of new risks, such as physical and cyber-attacks, etc., have contributed to the increased attention to the resilience of the electric grid and ways to strengthen it.
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When summing up 2017, it should be noticed, that it was the first year, when annual worldwide sales of EVs (electric vehicles, both battery only and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) exceeded 1 million vehicles.
The exact numbers are not yet available, but it looks to be well over 1.1 million EVs. By far most of the EVs, about 580,000 were sold in China. 200,000 EVs were sold in United States, and about 305,000 were sold in Europe.
There is a military saying, when faced with a discrepancy between the map and the terrain, trust the terrain!
In a similar way, when faced with a discrepancy between what a company offers and what the customers want, trust the customers!
According to Utility Dive 71 of Fortune 100 companies and 215 of the Fortune 500 have now defined targets for clean energy or sustainable energy. Many of them seems very determined to achieve their targets.
What looked like a start of a U.S. nuclear renaissance in 2008, when the first new nuclear units to be built in 30 years were announced, now, 9 years later, looks like a renaissance on hold.
The supplier of the four units, Toshiba/Westinghouse is in bankruptcy. Two units at Summer, South Carolina, have ceased construction and the owner consortia, SCANA/South Carolina Electric & Gas (55%) and Santee Cooper (45%) has announced they are abandoning the project. The two units at Vogtle (Vogtle 3 and 4), Georgia, will continue to be built with the owner consortia Southern Co./Georgia Power (45.7%), Oglethorpe Power (30%), MEAG Power (22.7%) and Dalton Utilities (1.6%) taking over the completion. However, instead of the originally planned start of operations in 2016/17 at a cost of $14 B the start of operation has moved out to 2021/23 and at a cost estimated to reach $28-29 B.
In May 584 000 cars and 935 000 light duty vehicles were sold in the United States. Only 1.1 %, or 16,788 to be precise, of these vehicles were electric (EV) or plug-in electric (PEV)s. Not a big number, but in terms of battery storage the numbers get more significant.
For the month of May, the total amount of battery storage in the EVs and PEVs cars is 570 MWh. In comparison, according to GTM Research/ESA US Energy Storage Monitor, for all the first quarter this year 234 MWh of stationary “utility scale” electric storage was added and another 13 MWh of distributed storage was installed behind the electric meter.
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In the last 10 years USA has reduced the carbon dioxide (CO2) by 13 % to the lowest annual level since 1992. During the same time China has become the world’s largest CO2 emitter by far, 28.2% of the global CO2 emissions (2016).
In the electric industry, baseload refers to the minimum level demand over 24 hours. The baseload is generally about 30 – 40 % of the peak load. Traditionally the baseload has been served by low cost power generators, operating steadily and continuously.
Coal fired power plants, nuclear, and (depending on geography) hydro have been the backbone of baseload generation. Operating in “baseload mode” is more or less a prerequisite for nuclear and coal-fired power plants. That is because of their high fixed costs and need to run due to long start-up times and limited ability for load-following.
This paradigm has started to change.
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For all car buyers, regardless conventional car or electric car (EV), convenience is a prerequisite. For EVs the charging of the battery is an important part of the convenience.
Even though for most the daily use of an EV there is enough electric energy stored in the battery, range has always been an issue. One solution is a series hybrid vehicle (plug-in electric vehicle, PEV) with a small reciprocating engine as an onboard battery charger. For pure EVs (battery only) the solution for range has been to equip the car with a large battery. Tesla has been a leader in this respect. Model S base model has a 60-kWh battery providing 200 miles’ range. There is also a 90 kWh option providing 300 miles. Nevertheless, for long distance driving that range may not be enough. More energy than what can be stored in the battery is needed. Tesla early recognized the importance of developing a proprietary network of fast chargers, called super chargers. Access to their super charger network, which until last year was free, has been a selling point. The power of the super charger has been increased to 145 kW. It can charge a 90-kWh battery to 50 % of its capacity in 20 minutes.
Four German automakers, BMW, Mercedes, VW and Audi, in 2016 announced the roll-out of “ultra fast” chargers for EVs in Europe. These chargers will deliver 300 kW of power. At a first glance that high amount of power may give the impression it will provide a very fast charge. However, it is not a given, since lithium ion batteries have limitations how fast they can be charged. In fact, fast charging is more about lithium ion chemistries than the power of the charger.
Jämtkraft, a municipal electric company in Östersund, Sweden, announced December 13 the launch of a “cloud-based” energy storage for residential customers. For a cost of 20 SEK ($2.50) per month the customer can deposit excess power from its solar installations and use it later.
Germany is the 4th largest economy in the world. Consequently, when Germany launched its Energiewende to transform its electric industry from fossil fuels to 80 % renewable by 2050, it got worldwide attention. If such a large economy could make this transformation and stay competitive as a nation, other large economies should also be able to follow.
Germany started out with trademark German determination. To make transformation even more aggressive, after the Fukushima nuclear incident, they decided in 2011 to exit all nuclear by 2022. Progress has been impressive. By 2015 renewable energy represented 31 % of all electric energy consumption.
If California was a nation, it would be the world’s 6th largest economy. In an executive order, B-30-15, the statewide goal was set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 % below 1990 levels by 2030. As part of this goal California has set the ambitious goal to transform their electric consumption to reach 50% of renewables by 2030. At the end of 2015 renewable energy has reached 26 %. However, contrary to Germany this target does not include large hydro! Trying to compare apples and apples with Germany by including large hydro, California was well over 30 % of all electric consumption from renewables.
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