Posts Tagged ‘Germany’


Wonders never cease. Quality takes time.

At least now that CA SB 43 is being realized, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown signing it into law back on 28 September 2013, some are taking notice an opportunity to explore developing decentralized, utility-scale hybrid renewable energy systems technologies [and not just solar only] on existing electrical distribution networks in the urban/built environment in N. California. And what’s particularly great about this law is, 100 MW of the 600 MW needs to be developed in under-represented, marginalized communities.

The Germans persist in being the vanguards in this arena of distributed generation (DG). Just have a look at the following read:

Integrating Variable Renewables as Germany Expands Its Grid 

SDG&E’s Borrego Springs real-world micro-grid performed well during a severe weather storm that affected 2780 customers power outage due to a severe storm on 6 Sept 2013. I understand this was one of the first times in the USA that a micro-grid in the actual working environment, and not just a model, has been used to power a large portion of a community during an emergency situation.

  • uses new smart grid technology – including local power generation, local energy storage, and automated switching
  • variances to island are in place for emergency scenarios
  • 1060 customers power restored in a few hours
  • All 2780 customers power restored w/in 25 hours

I have some enquiries to SDG&E, and am awaiting feedback on the following–which I will update on this thread, once received:

  • RE systems technologies deployed
  • Performance metrics

A break-off from a group I have been volunteering for, has been brainstorming on how to make this a reality in the SF East Bay Area. For now, our progress can be followed, here.

I have said for many, many years, it just makes sense to generate energy closer to where it will be utilized. And once the IT, smart(er) grid communications protocol ‘glue’ is implemented and tuned, we’ll be off to the races. And this is just one version of the future outlook:


SMART GRID – a real time dynamic network of electrical demand, supply and control (


If it is a matter of the quality of life…

…it remains to be seen when investing in renewable energy technologies will achieve the same ‘sexy’ status and value as say a luxury car, a fur coat, a diamond ring, etc. Surely, since renewable energy resources have a lower overall negative impact on nature and public health systems, many people can benefit from the quality of life these technologies hold so much promise, yes?

Most of the world’s energy resources are from the sun’s rays hitting Earth. Some of that energy has been preserved as fossil energy, some is directly or indirectly usable. e.g. wind, hydro- or wave power. According to Volker Quaschning’s Understanding Renewable Energy Systems: 

Annually,   39 exajoules  (3.9×1024 J) = 1.08×1018 kWh of solar energy reaches the surface of the Earth. This is about ten thousand times more than the annual global primary energy demand and much more than all the available energy reserves on the Earth. In other words, using one-ten-thousandth part of the incoming sunlight would cover the whole energy demand of mankind.

For some perspective on the Earth’s energy resources, one only needs to look at the world energy resources versus consumption. The volume of the cubes represent the amount of available geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar energy in terawatts (TW), although only a small portion is recoverable. The small cube shows the proportional global energy consumption, in a word, thermodynamics. Put another way,  this is equivalent to an annual average power consumption rate of 15 terawatts (1.50×1013 W).


Perhaps if President Obama were to issue an Executive Order, say, to implement a national solar Feed-in Tariff (FIT) policy to require PG&E in California to buy all solar from homeowners & farmers at $0.54 kWh, this would create ~22 million new jobs in one year, creating a HUGE opportunities for improvement in the quality of life for many. In Germany, who has far less sun than the USA, the FIT has contributed making the economy in Germany the strongest in Europe. I defer you to a former post:

VIDEO :: Environment MN & SolarHotDish got game! Putting the Sun to Work for Minnesota


Nothing short of a planet wrecking speech… & Pippa drops some science

Mitt Romney’s presidential nomination acceptance speech was nothing shore of a planet wrecking speech.’ Energy independence by CONG (coal oil nooklar natural gas).’ Please. A single mention of renewables does not equate to support for renewables. Poking more holes in our spaceship, anthropogenically exacerbating this climate instability, because of the wanton, satiation addiction to oil?! Not a good idea.

This climate instability positive feedback loop is in full effect. Have a look at the following image on the Arctic Sea Ice Extent. Grim.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent

Not sure what we’re doing will be enough, AT ALL, to force a feedback. We need to stop emitting post haste, not drilling.

I’d like to see some politico comprehend and understand that investing substantively in the world wide energy web ‘paved road’ for communications infrastructure is worthwhile, so we can actually intelligently and efficiently manage the flow of electrons needed for electrification and ‘hot water’ heating in the USA–silly Americans. I mean, a great deal of what needs to be done requires A LOT of systems engineering. This might actually get our RE industry somewhere, enabling more conservation, and change in human behavior to be mindful, instead of trying to piecemeal singular RE technology solutions together.

We need more support for R&D and implementation of hybrid RE systems on existing distribution networks, and support for storage in the USA, so we can match explosive results of say, the likes of Germany–they installed 3MW of PV alone in December 2011. “…the nation’s PV installations fed 22 gigawatts of electricity into the grid at one point, providing nearly half of the country’s energy needs.”

Now, that’s explosive!

Ancillary aside: Pippa drops some science. Arctic Ice Shelf measures 4km^2 = smallest coverage in recorded history. Bigger than India.


Requiem for a dream : USA vs DE & SK on invoking emissions redux & energy efficiency measures

I had a dream this year that the USA would have taken the role as the vanguard in 2009, leading the way for the world in invoking emissions reductions and MASSIVE investment in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies. Perhaps there are some measures on the books that I do not know about. But based on all the reads I’ve seen via the i-net this past year, what the USA has been delivering up pales to other nations like Deutschland and S. Korea.

Earlier this year, I received the following from a German newsletter for renewable energy and energy efficiency I subscribe.

Deutschland achieves its Kyoto goal

According to the short-term prognoses that are now available from the German Federal Environmental Agency, Germany already reached its Kyoto goal in 2008: the overall green house gas emission in Germany sunk compared to the previous year by 1.2%, nearly 12 million tons. With that, the overall emissions are now 945 million tons of CO2 equivalents, 23.3% less than in 1990. The Kyoto Protocol requirement to reduce emissions by 21% by 2008 to 2012 has already been achieved. A reason for the low CO2 emissions is especially the decreased demand for black and brown coal. At the same time, an increased number of low emissions energy suppliers – such as natural gas and renewable energies – were put into use. With the energy supply adjustment, an increase in the prime energy use of 1% Germany-wide could even be compensated for. Renewable energies now account for 7.4 percent of the overall energy use, that is 7.3 percent more as in the previous year.

South Korea’s whoopin’ ass, too.

South Korea to spend billions on energy efficiency

The Government of South Korea has announced a spending programme worth over $84bn to improve energy efficiency in the country. The money will be spent over five years and will be spent on a broad range of measures, from cutting energy use in buildings and industry to addressing transport emissions.

S. Korea is a nation of ~48mil. Today, the USA is contains a population of just over 304mil. S.Korea’s government is earmarking $84bil. to improve energy efficiency–just energy efficiency! Yet the USA is ONLY forkin’ over $66bil for all RE technologies. I understand it’s going to cost $8-$9+bil to install a high-speed railway in between Los Angeles & San Francisco, CA, USA. Do the math…

You’ll also note/recall, Jimmy Carter’s administration was willing to fork-over $88 bil back in the day for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The current $66 bil being offered up by Obama’s admin has a GREAT deal to be desired. Um, understatement.

I also caught this earlier this year…

July 1, 2009
Renewable Energy Investors Are Cautiously Optimistic

Guidelines for the grant and loan guarantee programs are expected sometime in July. After that, companies will have more clarity on how the process will work. Meanwhile, the U.S. renewable energy industry is in limbo.

The general consensus from investors close to program administrators is that not many of the stimulus funds will be deployed in 2009. It will be 2010 and 2011 when money really starts moving and capital is formed.

And will 2010, 2011 be the end of this ‘long term agreement?’ Why did/is this take/taking so long?! Rhetorical.

As I lament over the aforementioned, just know it would have been my preference to dish out a pithy rhapsody in green instead of a downer dirge.

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What is a Hybrid RE Engineer?

An engineering generalist with an understanding of sustainable development whose skills set are typically comprised of an amalgam of mechanical and electrical engineering. One who is able to design and assemble systems and components that are comprised of more than one renewable energy (RE) technology i.e. solar, wind, hydro-kinetic (ocean/wave/micro-hydro), biomass, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal and storage (battery, fly wheel, pumped-hydro). The RE technologies selected depend on one's geographical predisposition, resource availability, the end-use need, practicing conservation (behavioral change) to name a few considerations...

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