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Posts Tagged ‘energy & fuel’

“To be thrown upon one’s own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible” ~ Benjamin Franklin


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A study from the US Department of Energy answered many questions discussed in the article cited below and highlight future needs for more investigation to help power generation owners insight on deciding to retrofit or rebuild power plants. Even though system-wide impacts of cycling are modest, an individual unit could suffer higher than average cycling. Plant owners in this situation will want to know whether they should retrofit their unit or change their operations to better manage cycling at a lower overall cost. Ongoing work includes research on potential retrofits or operational strategies to increase the flexibility of fossil-fueled generators. This includes analysis of the costs and benefits of retrofitting existing plants for options such as lower minimum generation levels or faster ramp rates.

Additional analysis work that would illuminate the impacts of cycling and further compare wind and solar includes the following:

  • Market impacts on fossil-fueled plants: How do increased O&M (operations and maintenance) costs and reduced capacity factors affect cost recovery for fossil-fueled plants? What market structures might need revision in a high wind and solar paradigm? How do the economics look for those plants that were most affected?
  • Fuel-price sensitivities: How are operations and results affected by different fuel prices for coal and gas?
  • Different retirement scenarios: How are operations and results affected if significant coal capacity is retired or if the balance of plants is flexible versus inflexible?
  • Storage: Does storage mitigate cycling and is it cost effective?
  • Impacts of dispersed versus centralized PV (photovoltaic): How does rooftop versus utility-scale PV affect the grid?
  • Reserves requirement testing to fine tune flexibility reserves: What confidence levels of flexibility reserves are most cost effective and still retain reliable grid operation?
  • Scenarios with constrained transmission build-outs: If transmission is constrained, what is grid performance and how is cycling affected?
  • Reserve-sharing options: How do different reserve-sharing options affect grid operations?
  • Increased hydro flexibility and modeling assumptions: How does flexibility in the hydro fleet affect grid operations and what is the impact on cycling?
  • Hurdle rates to represent market friction: With higher hurdle rates to mimic less BA (balancing authority) cooperation, how are grid operations and cycling affected?
  • Comparison of the detailed 5-minute production simulation modeling with cycling costs to hourly production simulation modeling without cycling costs: How much more accurate is the detailed modeling?
  • Gas supply: Is additional gas storage needed? How does increased wind/solar affect gas scheduling and supply issues?

Dr. Greg Unruh tells me that in years past the financial benefits of energy management might have “looked minor compared to investing in new product development or a new marketing campaign.” But now, he says, with the price of energy going up, the economics of energy management become “much more interesting.” As a unit of energy goes up in price, “it cuts the payback period” for an energy-management project[1].

For more information, read this article for more information: How to save $7 billion by greening up the grid

Footnote:
[1] Al Bredenberg; Energy and Carbon Management Are Increasingly on Manufacturers’ Radar; ThomasNet http://news.thomasnet.com/green_clean/2012/08/27/energy-and-carbon-management-are-increasingly-on-manufacturers-radar/; August 27th, 2012

When Science and Business Create Cleaner Energy:  How to save $7 billion by greening up the grid

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The year 2050 is the usual target for global sustainable transformation. Here is an article that has a silver lining to those who plan ahead to anticipate actions to achieve a more efficient society.

$70 Trillion (via Environment News Service)

PARIS, France, July 15, 2013 (ENS) – Energy demand for urban transport is expected to double by 2050, but the latest report from the International Energy Agency sees potential savings of up to US$70 trillion through energy efficiency. “Energy efficiency…

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This was a published press release by KPMG, and outlines the ten megaforces which will shape the commercial landscape for the next 20 years. Articles, reposts and videos, in this category, will relate to current and possible future impact of these ten megaforces.

The KPMG study, Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World, explores issues such as climate change, energy and fuel volatility, water availability and cost and resource availability, as well as population growth spawning new urban centers. The analysis examines how these global forces may impact business and industry, calculates the environmental costs to business, and calls for business and policymakers to work more closely to mitigate future business risk and act on opportunities.
Michael Andrew, Chairman of KPMG International, said: “We are living in a resource-constrained world. The rapid growth of developing markets, climate change, and issues of energy and water security are among the forces that will exert tremendous pressure on both business and society.”
“We know that governments alone cannot address these challenges. Business must take a leadership role in the development of solutions that will help to create a more sustainable future. By leveraging its ability to enhance processes, create efficiencies, manage risk, and drive innovation, business will contribute to society and long-term economic growth.”
The KPMG research finds that the external environmental costs, which today are often not shown on financial statements**, of 11 key industry sectors jumped 50 percent from US$566 to US$846 billion in 8 years (2002 to 2010), averaging a doubling of these costs every 14 years.

The 10 global sustainability megaforces that may impact business over the next two decades are:

  1. Climate Change: This may be the one global megaforce that directly impacts all others. Predictions of annual output losses from climate change range between 1 percent per year, if strong and early action is taken, to as much as 5 percent a year–if policymakers fail to act.
  2. Energy & Fuel: fossil fuel markets are likely to become more volatile and unpredictable because of higher global energy demand; changes in the geographical pattern of consumption; supply and production uncertainties and increasing regulatory interventions related to climate change.
  3. Material Resource Scarcity: as developing countries industrialize rapidly, global demand for material resources is predicted to increase dramatically. Business is likely to face increasing trade restrictions and intense global competition for a wide range of material resources that become less easily available. Scarcity also creates opportunities to develop substitute materials or to recover materials from waste.
  4. Water Scarcity: it is predicted that by 2030, the global demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40 percent. Businesses may be vulnerable to water shortages, declines in water quality, water price volatility, and to reputational challenges.
  5. Population Growth: The world population is expected to grow to 8.4 billion by 2032. This will place intense pressures on ecosystems and the supply of natural resources such as food, water, energy and materials. While this is a threat for business, there are also opportunities to grow commerce and create jobs, and to innovate to address the needs of growing populations for agriculture, sanitation, education, technology, finance, and healthcare.
  6. Wealth: the global middle class (defined by the OECD as individuals with disposable income of between US$10 and US$100 per capita per day) is predicted to grow 172 percent between 2010 and 2030. The challenge for businesses is to serve this new middle class market at a time when resources are likely to be scarcer and more price volatile. The advantages many companies experienced in the last two decades from “cheap labor” in developing nations are likely to be eroded by the growth and power of the global middle class.
  7. Urbanization: in 2009, for the first time ever, more people lived in cities than in the countryside. By 2030 all developing regions including Asia and Africa are expected to have the majority of their inhabitants living in urban areas; virtually all Population Growth over the next 30 years will be in cities. These cities will require extensive improvements in infrastructure including construction, water and sanitation, electricity, waste, transport, health, public safety and internet and cell phone connectivity.
  8. Food Security: in the next two decades the global food production system will come under increasing pressure from megaforces including Population Growth, Water Scarcity and Deforestation. Global food prices are predicted to rise 70 to 90 percent by 2030. In water-scarce regions, agricultural producers are likely to have to compete for supplies with other water-intensive industries such as electric utilities and mining, and with consumers. Intervention will be required to reverse growing localized food shortages (the number of chronically under-nourished people rose from 842 million during the late 1990s to over one billion in 2009).
  9. Ecosystem Decline: historically, the main business risk of declining biodiversity and ecosystem services has been to corporate reputations. However, as global ecosystems show increasing signs of breakdown and stress, more companies are realizing how dependent their operations are on the critical services these ecosystems provide. The decline in ecosystems is making natural resources scarcer, more expensive and less diverse; increasing the costs of water and escalating the damage caused by invasive species to sectors including agriculture, fishing, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
  10. Deforestation: Forests are big business – wood products contributed $100 billion per year to the global economy from 2003 to 2007 and the value of non-wood forest products, mostly food, was estimated at about US$18.5 billion in 2005. Yet the OECD projects that forest areas will decline globally by 13 percent from 2005 to 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa. The timber industry and downstream industries such as pulp and paper are vulnerable to potential regulation to slow or reverse deforestation. Companies may also find themselves under increasing pressure from customers to prove that their products are sustainable through the use of certification standards. Business opportunities may arise through the development of market mechanisms and economic incentives to reduce the rate of deforestation.

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Press Release, KPMG, Sustainability “Megaforces” Impact on Business Will Accelerate, Finds KPMG, 14 Feb 2012; Retrieved: 14 Feb 2012

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