10. All states shall accelerate R&D of HVDC electric grids, energy storage, and Demand System Management

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Rapporteur: Michel Duguay 17 June 2019

In North America, as well as in Europe, the price of electricity from wind turbines and from photovoltaic panels is now low enough to compete with electricity produced by conventional power plants based on burning coal or natural gas. At least two problems, however, must be tackled in order to make renewable power large enough to alleviate the climate change issue. The first one is storage. The wind does not always blow with enough strength and the electrical output of solar panels fluctuates with cloud coverage. The second problem is the need to transmit electric power from power-rich regions to power-poor ones while at the same time maintaining grid power reliability and frequency stability.

The renewable power fluctuation problem is being alleviated by the recent development of high capacity batteries for electric cars and for buildings. The idea is that cars are parked during a good part of the day and that we could keep them connected to the electric power grid while parked. When the power grid has excess electricity it could store it in the electric car and building batteries. When the power grid faces a very high demand for electric power it could go and fetch electrical energy stored in the building and car batteries. Computers would be used to smoothly manage this exchange of electric power.

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Great news from Sweden in that Sweden shut down their last coal-fired power plant 2 years ahead of schedule!

Title: Two Years Early, Sweden Shuts Down Its Final Coal-Fired Power Plant
Author: Hirsh, Sophie
Publication(s): Green Matters
Date: 29 April 2020 / 30 April 2020
Link: https://www.greenmatters.com/p/sweden-closes-last-coal-fired-power-plant

Article Excerpt(s):

“It seems like a lot of countries are falling behind on their climate goals lately, and Sweden is currently putting them all to shame — and that’s not only because the Nordic country produced Greta Thunberg. Sweden just shut down its last remaining coal-fired power plant, two years before it was scheduled to close.

The coal-fired cogeneration plant KVV6 at Värtaverket, located in Hjorthagen in eastern Stockholm, has been in operation since 1989, according to Stockholm Exergi, the local energy company that owns the plant. Stockholm Exergi is equally owned by the municipality of Stockholm and Fortum, a Finnish energy company that operates across Europe and Asia.

As Stockholm Exergi explained, before the winter of 2019-2020, the company shut down one of KVV6’s two boilers, and converted the other to a power reserve. Because the winter wound up being mild, Stockholm Exergi did not need to use energy from the reserves, meaning the company was able to close the plant down this month, rather than in 2022 as planned.

Additionally, there is a chance that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Sweden’s recent energy use. For example, Britain just beat its personal record of going more than 18 days without using coal-powered electricity, thanks in part to the recent mild weather, but more interestingly, due to people needing less power during the coronavirus pandemic. With many areas on lockdown, people are using less electricity and driving cars less, reducing dependence on fuel overall.

“Our goal is for all our production to come from renewable or recycled Exergi,” Anders Egelrud, CEO of Stockholm Exergi, said in a translated statement. “This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time, today we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we do so several years before the original plan.”

“Since Stockholm was almost totally fossil-dependent 30-40 years ago, we have made enormous changes and now we are taking the step away from carbon dependency and continuing the journey towards an energy system entirely based on renewable and recycled energy,” Egelrud added.

In 2018, 54.6 percent of the energy used in Sweden came from renewable sources, according to the Swedish Energy Agency. While that is still pretty far from the country’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy, Sweden is far ahead of many other countries. For example, in 2018, renewable energy sources only accounted for 11 percent of U.S. energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

As reported by The Independent, Sweden is the third country in Europe to cut off its reliance on coal. Belgium closed its last coal power plant in 2016, according to Climate Change News, and Austria said Auf Wiedersehen to its last remaining coal-fired power station earlier this April, as per CNBC. Hopefully now that three European countries no longer have coal-fired power plants, other nations across Europe — and all over the world — will ramp up efforts to do the same.”

CBC published this interesting article yesterday (15 February 2020) of the Canadian impacts of Russia’s $300 billion investment in the Arctic – specifically within the realm of gas and oil. These investments would encourage development of and increased traffic in Northern sea routes. There is hope that this could assist with economic bolstering and potential development of remote Northern communities along the Northern Sea Route. What impacts these activities will have on locals – including Indigenous (Chukchi, Nenets, etc.) peoples – has yet to be fully determined. However, there is international concern that gas and oil drilling in this ecologically sensitive region could result in long-term, environmental damage – such as through leaks or spills.

On a related topic: it is important to note that the Soviet Union formerly used the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, and areas around Novaya Zemlya as a nuclear waste dump. These areas abut and/or intersect the Northern Sea Route. I am hoping that some of these $300 billion in investments could go towards cleaning up these sites. Former President Boris Yeltsin’s science advisor first reported on the state of the Kara Sea nuclear waste dump in 1993 – though according to recent media articles – little has been done in subsequent decades to clean-up and contain the nuclear waste, move it to a more appropriate and secure location, and remediate the contaminated environments. Interestingly, several gas and oil companies proposed drilling the Kara Sea due to its large gas and oil reserves – but shifted plans about 5 years ago. Multiple agencies – including environmental groups – indicated concern of drilling activities in close proximity to a nuclear waste dump. In recent years, Russia additionally has developed floating nuclear reactors which can be moved along the Northern Sea Route to supply power to remote regions – with a particular focus on resource extraction activities.

Title: What Russia’s $300B investment in Arctic oil and gas means for Canada
Author: John Last
Date: 15 February 2020
News Agency: CBC News / CBC North
Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/russian-arctic-oil-and-gas-explained-1.5462754

Article Excerpt:

“Last month, the Russian government pushed through new legislation creating $300 billion in new incentives for new ports, factories, and oil and gas developments on the shores and in the waters of the Arctic ocean.

The incentives are part of a broader plan to more than double maritime traffic in the Northern Sea Route, on Russia’s northern coast — and give a boost to state energy companies like Gazprom, Lukoil, and Rosneft.

But analysts say their immediate impact will be increased exploration and development for offshore oil and natural gas.

With Canadian and U.S. offshore oil developments still on ice, here’s what Russia’s big spending could mean for the Arctic — and Canadians.

How is the money being spent?
Russia’s government is offering tax incentives for offshore oil and gas developments, including a reduced five per cent production tax for the first 15 years for all oil and gas developments.

Projects in the east Arctic, closer to Canada’s Beaufort Sea, receive an even greater incentive — no extraction tax for the first 12 years of operation.

Russia may be borrowing a page from Canada’s book in drafting the policy. Doug Matthews, a Canadian energy writer and analyst, said the incentive package sounds “rather like our old national energy program in the … Beaufort [Sea] back in the ’70s and ’80s.”

What new projects are getting the go-ahead?
Russia’s minister of the Far East and Arctic, Alexander Kozlov, said in a press release that those incentives are resulting in three new massive offshore oil projects.

Currently, there is only one producing offshore oil platform in Russian waters — the Prirazlomnaya platform, located in the Pechora Sea.

Russia’s state oil companies are also expected to massively intensify their onshore Arctic operations.

Rosneft’s Vostok Oil project, billed as the “biggest in global oil,” will involve the construction of a seaport, two airports, 800 km of new pipelines, and 15 new towns in the Vankor region.

“The project is expected to become the stepping stone for large scale development of Arctic oil,” said Nikita Kapustin, an energy researcher with the state-funded Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in an email.

Developments in the Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas — nearer to Alaska — are “more distant prospects,” Kapustin said.

But massive incentives for Arctic ports and pipelines could make exploiting those regions more feasible in the future.

What could the environmental impacts be?
Simon Boxall, an oceans scientist at the University of Southampton, said sending more goods via the Northern Sea Route could actually have a positive environmental impact.

“You’re knocking thousands of miles off of that route, and that of course saves energy, it saves fuel, it saves pollution,” he said.

The problem, Boxall says, comes with what those ships are carrying. Any spilled oil degrades slowly in cold Arctic waters, and is easily trapped beneath ice.

Boxall is optimistic that moderate spills from Russia’s offshore oil projects could be contained to “a fairly small locality,” and would be unlikely to affect Canadian shores.

But Tony Walker, an assistant professor at the School of Resource & Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University, disagrees.

“Any petroleum products released into surface water could easily get to the Northwest Territories in just a matter of days,” he said.

“Basically, it’s everybody’s problem.”

Walker says most Arctic nations have limited capacity to perform cleanups in the region. Russia’s fleet is mostly based in Murmansk, near its western border, he says, and is mostly decommissioned anyway.

“So it would really be virtually impossible,” he said.

How could this affect oil and gas prices?
Despite enabling access to more than 37 billion barrels of oil — equivalent to about a fifth of Canada’s total remaining reserves — analysts say the effect on prices should be negligible.

“The main intention of Arctic oil is to replace production of some of the more mature Russian fields,” said Kapustin.

“I don’t see much of an effect on price,” said Matthews.

The primary market for Russia’s Arctic oil and gas is China. Canada’s market share there is so small, Matthews says, it’s unlikely to make a difference.

Could Canadian businesses benefit?
Since U.S. and EU sanctions were put in place in 2014, international oil companies have been reluctant to co-invest in Arctic oil projects. Sanctions prohibit collaboration on offshore oil projects with Russia’s biggest companies.

Canadian businesses also might not have the expertise needed any longer, according to Matthews.

“We were really the leaders back in the ’70s and ’80s for technology for Arctic exploration,” Matthews explained. But “when the oil industry in the Beaufort [Sea] shut down in the mid-’80s … we really lost that technological edge.”

Canada’s recent investment in pipelines means some Canadian companies have built expertise in their construction, including in cold-weather environments.

But Matthews and other analysts say Russia is more likely to look to the East for expertise and investment — to Japan and China, and to India, which Kapustin said has already invested in the Vostok Oil project.”

Geothermal energy has significant potential for a number of global regions. Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility recently shared this article indicating geothermal energy is being explored in Massachusetts. Is there an opportunity for expansion of geothermal systems to other regions?

Title: How A Climate Change Nonprofit Got Eversource Thinking About A Geothermal Future
Author: Bruce Gellerman
Date: 13 January 2020
News Agency: WBUR (Boston University)
Link: https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2020/01/13/heat-eversource-geothermal-energy-climate-change

Article Excerpt:

Natural gas utilities in Massachusetts are facing an existential crisis: they could be out of business by mid-century. That’s because the state’s 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act requires emissions from burning fossil fuels — like natural gas — be cut by 80% economy-wide by 2050.

But now a solution that could help save the companies — and the climate — is at hand. Or, more accurately, underfoot. It’s geothermal energy, which takes advantage of the biggest energy storage system on earth: the earth itself.

Our planet absorbs the sun’s solar energy and stores it underground as thermal energy that can be used to heat and cool homes and businesses. Just a few yards down, the earth’s temperature is a constant 50 to 60 degrees; warmer than the air above during winter, cooler in the summer. You can take advantage of the temperature difference using what is called a geothermal or ground source heat pump: plastic pipes filled with water and antifreeze pick up the heat from the ground, and the pump circulates it through a building.

The technology, developed in the late 1940s, does away with furnaces, air conditioners and hot water heaters, and is the most efficient way to heat and cool a building. While it’s widespread in some countries, like Sweden, it’s been slow to catch on here.

“The site has to be appropriate,” said architect Lisa Cunningham, who recently designed a gut renovation of a private Brookline home using geothermal energy. The best sites for geothermal systems have lots of space to install horizontal pipes in relatively shallow ground. But because the Brookline lot is so small, workers had to drill two holes 500 feet deep.

“One thing that’s so great about having a project like this right in the heart of a very dense town, we’re showing people it can be very cost-effective,” Cunningham said, adding that the cost for installing the system in the Brookline home “came in less than a comparable gas system.”

But that includes thousands of dollars in state rebates and federal tax incentives that are expiring. Cost is still a big hurdle, said Zeyneb Magavi, co-executive director of Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET), a Cambridge-based environmental nonprofit.

“Geothermal ground source heating has been around a long time, and it has usually been installed one house by one house individually,” she said. “It works. However, it is a fairly high up-front cost, and you have to have the means and motivation to be able to do it.”

Magavi, a clean energy advocate, said she asked herself: Who already digs holes and puts pipes in the ground, has big money and is motivated to find a new business model? Her answer: natural gas distribution companies.

Magavi was familiar with the gas utilities through her work — along with HEET co-executive director Audrey Schulman and the Gas Leaks Allies — helping gas companies identify leaky pipes most in need of repair.

Together, they found it would cost $9 billion over 20 years to fix the aging infrastructure. Magavi suggested they use for money to transform the industry instead.

“The idea is that a gas utility takes out its leaky gas pipe and, instead of putting in new gas pipe, we put in a hot water loop,” Magavi said. “If we’re going to invest in infrastructure, let’s invest in infrastructure for the next century. Let’s not invest in infrastructure that was hot in 1850.”

HEET commissioned a study to investigate if there were a way to make geothermal energy appealing to both utilities and environmentalists.

“We wanted something that was renewable, resilient, reliable, kept gas workers in jobs, [was] equal or lower cost than gas, and safe and doable,” Magavi said. She found that “networking” — connecting geothermal systems to many homes and businesses — ticked all of the boxes.

“The beautiful thing is that when you interconnect them, the more customers you put on the system, the more efficient it gets,” Magavi said.

Magavi showed the results to senior officials with Eversource, the largest energy delivery company in New England.

It was an unusual pitch, but she felt that “they also understood that we were approaching this always from a data- and fact-based conversation, and they took us very seriously,” Magavi said.

Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner said the company likes the idea.

“This looks a lot like the gas business that we’re in except it’s totally clean,” Conner said. “Eversource can bring the capital and the expertise to this. We know how to build infrastructure.”

Eversource conducted its own study of networked geothermal heat pump systems, leading it to propose three different pilot projects to Massachusetts regulators in order to prove that the networked systems are feasible.

Under a networked system, homes and businesses would own the geothermal heat pumps, while Eversource would own and manage the system of pipes, sensors and pressure regulators, Conner said. That would convert the gas utility into a networked, thermal management company.

“Maybe I have a laundromat that has a lot of heat load, maybe it’s working a lot in the evening,” Conner said. “So they are leveraging putting heat back into the system potentially in the evening when others need it for cooling. So you get that benefit.”

State regulators are now reviewing Eversources’s proposals for networked pilot projects, and could give the go-ahead within a year.

“I think we can move fast,” Magavi said. “My vision of the future is that we have wires delivering us renewable energy competing with pipes delivering us renewable energy. So thermal power and electric power grids, and the two benefit each other.”

Geothermal energy heating our homes, with pumps powered by solar- and wind-generated electricity. If this unusual collaboration between a natural gas utility and an environmental organization pays off, a clean energy future could be right under our feet.

I don’t know what is problematic here. What is wrong with the electric grids we have now?

I am alarmed to hear that several Canadian province’s premiers have committed to develop and promote the installation of small modular reactors in their communities. These provinces include New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

Many areas in Canada have concerning trends in the management and trends of radioactive waste products – such as radioactive materials being stored only a few hundred meters from the shores of various Great Lakes (Lake Huron, Lake Ontario.). Where will the eventual waste products (spent activation products) from these small modular reactors be stored for hundreds or thousands of years post-use?

Is it worth encouraging exploration and investment in other modes of energy production? Surely New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have potential for hydroelectric, solar, and wind to various extents… Could these be integrated in ecologically friendly manners?


Financiers and corporate managers had better pay more attention to climate change or they may suffer the same fate as PG & E: bankruptcy. Erik Kobayashi-Solomon has explained the collapse of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a shareholder-owned company that has provided the electricity for 5.2 million households in central and northern California.

The managers of PG&E assumed that every home and business would have to use their electricity. The company’s gas-powered generation plants depended on large turbines. But Californians have been installing solar panels on their rooftops, and instead of depending on PG&E’s electricity, many of them even wanted to sell their excess power back onto the grid.
PG&E did not take this decentralization trend into account so their revenues fell and it was more difficult to maintain transmission lines.

Global Warming had meant that between 2012-15 California experienced a severe drought, which dried out vegetation. Since then, it has undergone five of the ten largest fires in its history. Some of the blame even fell on PG&E for not maintaining its power lines properly and keeping trees pruned back so they could not fall and start fires.

Bankruptcy is the outcome. Let that be a lesson to other corporate managers. Climate change is real. Plan for it.

Source: Erik Kobayashi-Solomon, “PG&E: The First S&P 500 Climate Change Casualty,” Medium. https://medium.com/@Framework_Erik/pg-e-the-first-s-p-500-climate-change-casualty-47d9e33839df

forest fire.jpg

The technology is slowly being implemented Wind farms and https://www.irena.org/newsroom/articles/2019/Oct/Unprecedented-momentum-for-green-hydrogen


Renowned linguist and cognitive scientist (etcetera) Noam Chomsky has noted that: “A very good economist, Dean Baker, had a column a couple of weeks ago in which he discussed what China is doing. They are still a big huge polluter, but they are carrying out massive programs of switching to renewable energies way beyond anything else in the world. [American] States are doing it. Or not.” … In Tucson, Arizona, for example, “the sun is shining … most of the year, [but] take a look and see how many solar panels you see. Our house in the suburbs is the only one that has them [in the vicinity]. People are complaining that they have a thousand-dollar electric bill per month over the summer for air conditioning but won’t put up a solar panel; and in fact the Tucson electric company makes it hard to do. For example, our solar panel has some of the panels missing because you’re not allowed to produce too much electricity …
People have to come to understand that they’ve just got to [reform their habitual non-renewable energy consumption], and fast; and it doesn’t harm them, it improves their lives. For example, it even saves money. But just the psychological barrier that says I … have to keep to the common beliefs [favouring fossil fuels] and that [doing otherwise] is somehow a radical thing that we have to be scared of, is a block that has to be overcome by constant educational organizational activity.”
He concludes: “The way every other popular movement developed — the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the feminist movement — just constant, often very small groups, growing into bigger groups for activism. Occasionally they have a dramatic action like a demonstration, but mainly to stimulate ongoing activity.
And it can’t be delayed.”

This organization seems to be doing a great deal to promote energy self sufficiency https://www.facebook.com/irena.org/

Germany has released plans – several months ago – to shut down 84 of its coal burning plants to help with climate change.

“The decision to quit coal follows an earlier bold energy policy move by the German government, which decided to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.

At the time, that was harshly criticized as reckless by business leaders, who worried that it would raise electricity prices and make their industries less competitive against foreign rivals. They also pointed out the futility of the move because no other major industrial country followed Germany’s nuclear exit.

Twelve of the country’s 19 nuclear plants have been shuttered so far.

The plan to eliminate coal-burning plants as well as nuclear means that Germany will be counting on renewable energy to provide 65% to 80% of the country’s power by 2040. Last year, renewables overtook coal as the leading source and now account for 41% of the country’s electricity.”


“German CO2 emissions fell appreciably in the early 1990s, largely because of the implosion of Communist East Germany and its heavily polluting industry. Still, the country continued to rely on coal-fired plants for a significant share of its electricity.

Powerful utilities and labor unions helped keep coal-burning plants operating and previous governments even planned to expand the number of coal plants to compensate for the pending withdrawal from nuclear power. There are still about 20,000 jobs directly dependent on the coal industry and 40,000 indirectly tied to it.”

Here is a link to an article by Erik Kirschbaum in the Los Angeles Time with more information: https://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-germany-coal-power-20190126-story.html

I think it it is important to re-frame discussions around notions of “decommissioning” of old electrical generating stations. Is simply shutting the plant down good enough? Or should steps be taken to de-construct the plant(s) and safely dispose of materials? I think the scale of electric generating stations are difficult for many folks to grasp.

In many cases – such as the Hearn Generating Station on Unwin Avenue, Toronto – a former coal-powered generating station – the plant was simply powered down, the entrances allegedly sealed off, and it listed as decommissioned on government and public documents. What is to be done with the built and surrounding materials? The Hearn Station is the size of 12 Parthenons combined. The site surrounding this former coal generating station was at one time a large wetland. Is the soil contaminated from decades of coal smoke?

Additionally consider old nuclear plants. Materials exposed to radiation often are impacted by a phenomenon called neutron embrittlement – where the steel, etc. ages about 10 years quicker than un-exposed sources. The materials themselves additionally become radioactive over time. There was an IAEA conference regarding this issue in Eastern Europe – where radioactive materials were entering the scrap metal industry and being smelted with non-radioactive sources. Several nations have installed check points to scan for radioactive material crossing international boundaries on trains, trucks, etc. The term “orphan sources” is occasionally used in these circumstances – where it is unclear where the radioactive material originated. Consider the implications should radioactive metal get mixed into metal used in food packaging – such as drink or soup cans. Consider the implications should radioactive materials be incorporated into structural support beams for new structures – knowing that areas exposed to radiation are weaker on an atomic and molecular level. How do we safely recycle components used in former nuclear stations as regions transition away from this source of power generating? Is it considered “decommissioned” just to turn the station off, shut the doors, and walk away?

An additional field of energy production which should be explored is that of piezoelectricity. Piezoelectricity is the generation of electricity and energy through compression of materials – most often mechanical compression of crystalline materials – such as quartz. Quartz watches have used this form of energy generation for years. Additional proposed applications of this field of energy production include a dance floor at a night club that generates electricity as folks dance; or a road that generates electricity as cars drive on it. A nightclub in the Netherlands has already tried to implement this system via a dance floor situated on a number of springs that aim to produce an electric charge as dancers bounce; move; etc. The roads application could allow for adjacent streetlights to have an additional or supplementary source of electricity. Bones and ceramics – not just crystals – are additionally piezoelectric – though each material generates a different electric charge dependent on stress factors, conductivity, etc. Limitations at present for this technology include mechanical fatigue; corrosion; and conductivity limitations.

Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) is an interesting field for energy research and applications. I am not an expert in this field – but was thinking of potential applications of it for environmentally friendly energy. Here are some excerpts from papers on the topic:

” The fundamental concept behind MHD is the
magnetic field can induce currents in moving conductive fluid, which in turns creates force on the
fluid and also changes the magnetic field itself. The generator used in this process is called Magneto
Hydro Dynamic (MHD) Power Generator. MHD power generator don’t have any mechanical part to
produce current and the actual conductor are replaced by magneto-fluid (plasmas gas, liquid metals, and salt water).
In conventional turbine generator, the rotation of rotor inside the turbogenerator will cut the magnetic
flux and the current will produce perpendicular to the magnetic field. The principal of MHD power
generator also similar with conventional turbine generator which is the moving fluid (plasmas gas,
liquid metals, and salt water) move pass through the magnetic fields, the voltage is induced in the
conductor, which results in flow of current across the terminals that are parallel and opposite to each
other (A.R Kantrowitz, 1962) as shown in figure 1.0. This principle knows as Faraday’s law of
electromagnetic induction.”

Link: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/114/1/012145/pdf

“A seawater magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) power generator / hydrogen generator is a unique system
that not only directly transforms the kinetic energy of an ocean current / tidal current into electric
energy but also generates hydrogen gas as a by-product. The energy of the ocean current / tidal current
is expected to be effective as a sustainable energy source because of its independence of both weather
and season in comparison with solar energy and wind power energy.”

Link: https://www.scientific.net/AST.75.208.pdf

I wonder what the environmental impacts would be to have a series of these on the bottom of the sea floor in areas with large and persistent tidal forces?

There is additionally applications for space exploration with this form of drive.

MHD additionally has applications for the desalination of water. This has been in research and development since the 1980s (I think).

Have folks heard of the Benban Solar Park? It is a series of 41 land plots in Egypt – ranging from 0.3 to 1 square kilometer. The plots are designed to generate solar energy – in the largest such complex globally. Interesting, instead of one company running it- each plot is to be leased (or sold) to a different company or group of companies. Interesting notion here – as it seems most solar panel installations (on a commerical scale) are managed or owned by one company.

Has anyone heard about whether it is still cheaper to import hydroelectric energy from Northern Ontario and Quebec versus. refurbishing the nuclear reactors in Ontario? I heard rumours it was about 12 cents cheaper (over the long-term) per kilowatt to import hydroelectric than it was to invest in re-furbishing the reactors. I wonder how many jobs can be created by tapping Northern Ontario’s renewable energy potential…?

Many folks (politicians included) may only focus on the 4-year election cycle and it is difficult to engage in long-term policy, program, and study discussions with election cycles looming on the horizon.

I saw a photo circulating on social media regarding adaptive use of solar panels as fencing materials. Apparently solar panels are becoming cheaper and more flexible – and as such – there are a range of adaptive uses for them. One of interest was solar panel fences in sunny areas. Could provide an additional boost for a home via a garden!

Solar Panel Fences.jpg

The demand management angle is especially important, but not always recognized. Energy demand management systems aim to optimize the demand-supply and optimize energy generation and transmission systems. Energy demand systems are automated systems that send signals to the customers to shed load depending on systems conditions. It also informs the system supervisors about the coming changes in demand patterns.

The demand system management idea depends on using prices signals to influence consumers, so we use electricity more during the hours when it is cheap. But not many people pay attention to the price of the electricity, do they? Is this an effective motivator?

It must have some effect, Beverly, because carbon taxation works. I don’t hearing anyone discussing the price of gasoline, but nevertheless the evidence shows that they don’t drive as much when it is expensive.

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N.Y. Commits $55 Million to Long Island Energy Storage
Program includes commercial and residential storage projects


Decentralization makes us less vulnerable. And one great form of decentralization is to own the solar panels on your roof and don’t feed the electricity back into the grid but store it. Here’s a familiar sight — the alternative, older approach.