Category Archives: All RF100 Real Talk

Anaerobic digestion

Image courtesy: Indian Biogas Association a collection of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste or to produce fuels. Pros Can be used to create and capture methane gas at sewage treatment plant. Cons The upfront technology…
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Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

"Smart meter" by miheco is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 an integrated system of smart meters, communications networks, and data management systems that enables two-way communication between utilities and customers. Pros Allows for higher level of electrical system awareness and control Cons It's expensive to switch over from analog meters Real Talk Energy systems rely…
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Ancillary markets

Image courtesy: Argonne National Laboratory a general term for markets that facilitate the provision of specialty services and functions beyond generation and transmission. These services generally maintain grid stability (e.g. frequency control), ensure that supply meets demand (e.g. spinning reserves) and support grid security (operating reserves). Pros Provides access to energy revenues that can fund…
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Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

"1 MW 4 MWh Turner Energy Storage Project in Pullman, WA" by UniEnergy Technologies is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 a device that is able to store electrical energy in the form of chemical energy, and convert that energy into electricity. Lithium-ion and lead acid chemistries are common. Pros Can balance, maintain or shift energy…
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Biomass

"Biomass energy generator of Dockside Green" by John Newcomb is licensed under CC BY 3.0 organic material that comes from plants and animals and is a renewable source of energy. Biomass contains stored energy from the sun. Plants absorb the sun's energy in a process called photosynthesis. When biomass is burned, the chemical energy in biomass is released as heat. Pros Biomass is abundant. Exists around…
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Capacity factor

Image Courtesy: NREL the unitless ratio of a generation source's actual electrical energy output over a given period of time to the maximum possible electrical energy output over that same period. Capacity factor = Annual MWh / (365 x 24 x nameplate MW). Pros Enables comparison of energy generation sources regardless of fuel type Cons RE sources…
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Capacity transaction

Image courtesy: Delft University of Technology the acquisition of a specified quantity of generating capacity from another utility for a specified period of time. Measured in megawatts (MW). Pros Allows for proper allocation of resources and fees Cons Poor capacity planning/controls can result in expensive capacity fees. Real Talk A practical tool for transmission owners to collect fees…
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Coal

" Coal Seam at Coal Mine" by Peabody Energy is licensed under CC BY 3.0 a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock with a high amount of carbon and hydrocarbons. Coal is classified as a nonrenewable energy source because it takes millions of years to form. Coal contains the energy stored by plants that lived…
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Community solar

"The Tipmont REMC Community Solar Array" by Robford15 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Pros Increases consumers' access to RE and can improve the business case. Cons May not always be…
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Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)

Image Courtesy: CleanPowerSF a program enacted at the state level that allows local governments to procure power on behalf of their residents, businesses, and municipal accounts from an alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider. Pros Allows communities to utilize their collective purchasing power to purchase renewable energy…
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Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES)

Image Courtesy: U.S. Department of Energy a way to store energy generated at one time for use at another time using compressed air. At utility scale, energy generated during periods of low energy demand (off-peak) can be released to meet higher demand (peak load) periods. Pros Safe energy storage that can be put anywhere. Cons Not very efficient. Large scale CAES…
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Concentrated solar photovoltaic

Image Courtesy: U.S. Department of Energy Concentrated solar photovoltaic systems utilize lenses or curved mirrors to focus sunlight onto specialized solar cells for the production of electricity. Pros Can significantly increase PV electricity production from a smaller footprint. Cons Technology providers have struggled to develop and maintain market products Real Talk If perfected, concentrated PV could…
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Concentrated solar thermal

"Concentrated solar power - concentrated solar thermal icon" by Tommaso.sansone91 is licensed under CC0 1.0 Concentrated solar thermal systems utilize mirrors or lenses to focus the sun's thermal thermal energy onto a working fluid like water (creates steam that drives electric generators) or salt (creates molten salt, which stores the thermal energy). Common configurations are…
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Day-ahead energy markets

"Earth" by Yuri Samoilov is licensed under CC BY 2.0 a financial market that lets market participants commit to purchasing or selling wholesale electricity one day before the operating day, to help avoid price volatility. Pros Provides a great alignment of the technical and financial operations related to delivering electricity; allows for better resource planning…
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Decoupled electricity markets

"Train coupling" by Daniel Schwen is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 In public utility regulation, decoupling refers to the disassociation of a utility's profits from its sales of the energy commodity. Instead, a rate of return is aligned with meeting revenue targets, and rates are adjusted up or down to meet the target at the end of the adjustment period. Pros…
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Deregulated electricity market

Image Courtesy: Pulakesh K Kalita A designated service area where the generation and delivery of electricity are fulfilled by two or more entitles. Pros They allow for more market competition and third-party investment Cons There is still a centralized utility gatekeeper that can slow development of renewable and distributed energy resources. Real Talk Deregulated markets…
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Diesel

Image Courtesy: Environmental Protection Agency a specific fractional distillate of petroleum fuel oil. Non-petroleum alternatives such as biodiesel, biomass-to-liquid (BTL) and gas-to-liquid (GTL) diesel are increasingly being developed and adopted.  Pros Energy dense. Cons It's a carbon-producing fossil fuel. Real Talk We need to support electrification of trucking and earth-moving equipment. A transition to 100%…
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Distributed Energy Resource (DER)

Image Courtesy: Dover Air Force Base Distributed energy resources are small, modular, energy generation and storage technologies that provide electric capacity or energy where you need it. Typically producing less than 10 megawatts (MW) of power, DER systems can usually be sized to meet your particular needs and installed on site. DER systems may be…
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Distribution system

"American Distribution System" by No such user is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 the portion of the system that facilities the delivery of electric energy from the transmission system to the end user. Pros Allows for cost-effective market operation and access to a diverse generation supply, like your rooftop PV system. Cons Adapting the system…
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Distribution System Operator (DSO)

Image Courtesy: Western Power Distribution an emerging business model that expands on the traditional role of Electric Distribution Companies (EDCs) – delivering power from transmission networks to retail customers – to actively managing more complex two-way power flows to and from retail customers. Pros Enables customers to be both producers and consumers (i.e. prosumers) by…
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