Wind Integration: An Emerging Paradigm

By José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio

After reading the article by Sandy Smith, Communications Coordinator, Utility Wind Integration Group, some of its references, the articles by Roger Arnold, and all of the really valuable comments on all 4 articles, I like to select what J. Charles Smith wrote in the article Winds of Changeas a summary message:

For many of us, this has created the necessity of a fundamental realignment in our thinking. We must understand all the implications of this and go about the business of helping to create the future.

The following are my generative dialogue suggestions (I am not my opinion) for a fundamental realignment in our thinking :

1) A carbon tax should be negotiated on a global setting, i.e. the World Trade Organization. Each country that does not apply the negotiated tax, will then free ride the global system.

2) Most of the discussions are indirectly supporting generation as a monopoly. Generation competition is not only possible, but absolutely necessary to go forward.

3) Wind generation variability is an important consideration, but wind generation uncertainty is even more important. Power system systemic risk management of system failure (system security) responds to uncertainty. Supply side management of systemic risk of system failure should be complemented by demand side management of systemic risk of system failure. See An Alternative Business Case for Demand Response and a Dominican strategy.

4) Wind generation best performance will come from balancing areas, in which generators are widely dispersed and mostly located in the distribution system. Open transmission access is insufficient to integrate wind generation in the state of the art.

5) There is thus a need for full transportation access. Transmission and distribution reintegration requires dismantling native loads, which changes the concept of a utility to wires only utility. See NERC Compliance and Power Sector Structure.

6) Fully functional and competitive wholesale and retail markets can then allow the development of the resources of the demand side. See We Need 2GRs as the Forecast is Always Wrong.

All of the above implies an emerging EWPC is Pragmatics’ Winning Market Architecture and Design.

To go forward to EWPC as the End-State of the electricity industry for quite some time, I made a presentation at Carnegie Mellon University that can be found on the Grupo Millennium Hispaniola Blog, as A Generative Dialogue to Reach the End-State of the Power Industry.

Animals, the (Almost) Forgotten Victims of Nuclear Energy

By Antonio Pasolini

 

2011′s tsunami in Japan triggered off the worst nuclear accident in recent history. The nuclear reactor at Fukushima was damaged by the March 11 natural disaster and people living within 20km (12.4 miles) of the power plant were forced to leave the area, which shows the extent of the danger of nuclear power.

Those people were not allowed to take with them their personal belongings. But to add to their pain, their beloved animal companions had to stay behind as well. When the hydrogen explosion took place on March 14, people who lived in the affected zone could no longer return home, not for a long time.

At the end of March 2011, a group of volunteers entered the ‘No go’ area at their own risk to take food and water to their animals. Amongst them was photographer Yasusuke Ota, who set about to take pictures of the animals left behind in the area around Fukushima.

What the volunteers found in the area was a vision of hell: cows on their knees bellowing for lack of food and water, or stuck in bogs and ditches; emaciated horses and pigs amidst corpses of their kind; corpses of pets who had died waiting for their owners to return or for being left chained to their kennel or trapped indoors. Some animals survived by eating whatever they could find and were still waiting for the return of their human carers.

Ota took pictures during a year, between March 2011 and March 2012, to call attention to this terrible story. “This tragedy was for some reason not reported by the Japanese media at first, and the truth is that there has been no proper help given to these animals even after one and a half years. I felt I needed to inform the world and leave evidence of what really happened. So I started to take photos of this while going inside the zone on rescue,’ she said.

Her photos have become a book and were recently shown at Huis Marseille gallery in Amsterdam as part of an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of those animals, which was not caused by earthquake or tsunami but by a nuclear power plant and official neglect.

For those wondering what an ostrich is doing in Fukushima, apparently they were introduced to the region as mascots for the very nuclear plants that forced them into such a terrible fate. But why ostriches? Because they grow on a small amounts of food; nuclear power is generated on a small amount of uranium. A very flimsy explanation, for sure, but not flimsier than any justification to pursue nuclear power as a source of energy.

Renewable Energy Needs Comprehensive Policies, Says Stanford Scholar

By Antonio Pasolini

 

A new paper by Stanford lawyer Felix Mormann argues that pricing alone will not drive the transition to renewable energy, one of the key ingredients to a low-carbon economy necessary to mitigate the impacts of climate change. He identifies and analyzes the obstacles presently barring the rise of renewables, evaluates the role of the current policy favorite emission pricing, and offers design recommendations for a comprehensive U.S. renewables policy.

He argues that a comprehensive renewables policy is required to address each and every one of the existing barriers. So why is that not being done?

“Like every new technology, renewable energy technologies first have to prove themselves in the lab. Hence, the initial focus is on their scientific and engineering aspects. As lab results make way for demonstration projects, potential for commercialization triggers more economic analysis. Only once scaling and large-scale deployment appear within reach, do regulators tend to get involved”, he told Energy Refuge. “This rather reactive role of regulators is by no means unique to renewables, but applies to almost all transformative technologies. What’s special about renewables, however, is that the potpourri of financial support policies around the world appears to have distracted from regulatory barriers to their large-scale deployment. Simply put, public policy presently tends to compensate for these obstacles, rather than eliminate them.”

Mormann believes there is a whole plethora of technical, economic, regulatory, behavioral and other obstacles to overcome. “On the regulatory side, for instance, the permit process for renewable energy plants and its requirements deserve special attention – to streamline it but also to ensure that all relevant factors receive proper consideration. The entire electricity sector will require substantial regulatory reform to integrate a growing share of intermittent renewables like solar and wind, the smart grid, demand response, and distributed generation, to mention but a few of the changes to come”, he said.

And in order to make the transition to alternative energy, multidisciplinary action is required. The trick is how to get different sectors to work together on this massive project. Mormann offers an example on how this could work. “Sweden’s Advisory Council for the Promotion of Wind Power is an interesting example of a multidisciplinary policy forum. The council brings together the Ministry of Education, Research and Culture, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, and the Ministry of Defense to collaborate for the common goal of large-scale deployment of wind turbines in Sweden”, he said.

He also believes that bottom-up action is essential. “In this context, education and outreach will be key. My work highlights the legal and regulatory challenges but there are many other factors in the renewables equation. The more we know about the benefits and risks of renewable energy technologies, the better each of us can determine whether and how to take action.”