There are few more important questions for the 21st century than how we will power our electric grids. Literally trillions of dollars and are at stake, and possibly even the future of the planet. It’s a good bet that wind and solar will make up the majority of the future grid. But, wind and solar are not the same. Wind turbines benefit from economies of scale. As they get bigger, their costs go down; but only up to a point. By comparison, solar’s cost declines are driven by something even more powerful, economies of volume – the more you make of something, the cheaper it gets.Continue Reading
I recently moderated a panel at the Energy Leaders Symposium called Disruptions in the Energy Industry. This event was hosted by Georgia Tech’s Center for Distributed Energy. To help frame the discussions, I defined a disruption as an industry changing so quickly that incumbents can’t keep up. I listed three drivers threatening to disrupt the power industry: a shift from economies of scale to economies of volumes, a shift from top-down to edge-in, and battery storage.Continue Reading
Nuclear power plants produce almost no greenhouse gases. If you want a huge amount of steady 24/7/365 electricity that has minimal impact on climate change, nuclear is your go-to option. But the environmental promise of minimal greenhouse gas emissions comes with an environmental cost: nuclear waste. Decades of nuclear power has resulted in 250,000 tons of accumulated waste.Continue Reading
* Utilities have a problem. The public wants clean energy and quick.
* New battery promises cost-competitive grid-level storage.
* Solar farms across North Carolina were unscathed by Hurricane Florence.
* ARPE-E goes on a quest for the holy grail of the grid – long-term energy storage.
Radioactivity triggers a deep dread in most people. It is invisible and hard to detect. It is associated with birth defects. It can lie dormant in adults only to emerge as cancer decades later. But just how dangerous is it really? How harmful is the radiation from nuclear accidents?Continue Reading
Nuclear power has a unique challenge. While it’s much safer than most people realize, it easily conjures up thoughts of meltdowns, sickness, and bombs. Decades of movies and the occasional nuclear disasters have kept these fears at the forefront of people’s minds. Up until recently, the future of nuclear power looked grim. However, the growing concern over greenhouse gases has put nuclear back in the spotlight as a possible source of carbon-free electricity.Continue Reading
In my recent article, “What is the best way to make electricity? The answer isn’t simple”, I put together a list of the most important considerations for choosing new power plants. In this article, I’ll put this list to use and take a look at one of the most complex and contentious kinds of power… Read MoreContinue Reading
How should we generate electricity for the world’s grids? This may be one of the most important questions of the 21st century. The stakes are incredibly high. At $2 trillion a year, electricity is one of the largest and most influential industries on earth. Whichever directions we take, some of the world’s largest corporations will… Read MoreContinue Reading
* Freeing Energy is on Facebook!
* The world reaches 1,000 gigawatts of wind and solar power.
* California is about to commit to 100% clean energy by 2045.
* “Big oil asks the government to protect it from climate change.”
* Wind energy is now at 2 cents per kilowatt-hour
* Facebook commits to 100% clean energy by 2020
That outdated business models, conflicting interests, and aging technologies hogtie today’s behemoth electric utilities is no more evident than in the picturesque rural community of Taos, New Mexico. It is there that an inspired and tenacious collection of local energy champions have upended the sluggish pace of change that is the “business as usual” of many utilities.Continue Reading
I was recently invited to speak a group of Georgia-based technology executives. I’ve included some excerpts from the slides and a list of some of the more exciting clean energy companies in the region.Continue Reading
On August 7, 2018, an untrimmed tree fell on an electrical transmission line in Puerto Rico, leaving 130,000 people in San Juan without power for an hour and a half. Big deal, right? When compared to the immense and long-lasting damage done to the island’s grid by Hurricane Maria the year before, a brief power… Read MoreContinue Reading