Protologue

Anaerobic digestion

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 cost can be a hurdle Real Talk Human and animal waste are serious…
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Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

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 on huge amounts of data—real-time, historical and forecasted. AMI is…
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Ancillary markets

a general term for markets the 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 improvements or projects. Cons Can…
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Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

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 very quickly. Often called the swiss army knife of the grid. Cons The market is not well designed to benefit…
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Biomass

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 the world as a fuel source. Cons It is combusted to create electricity. The process…
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Capacity factor

the unitless ratio of an actual electrical energy output over a given period of time to the maximum possible electrical energy output over that period. Annual MWh/ (365 x 24 x nameplate MW) = Capacity factor Pros Allows you to compare energy generation by fuel type Cons RE sources have low capacity factors Real Talk It's important…
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Capacity transaction

the acquisition of a specified quantity of generating capacity from another utility for a specified period of time. Measured in kW. 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 to reserve line capacity.
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Coal

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 hundreds of millions of years ago in swampy forests. Pros High energy density; can be…
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Community solar

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 access of RE to consumers and can improve the business case. Cons May not always be inclusive and equitable. Real Talk The ultimate alignment of energy and economy is at the community level.…
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Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)

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 and direct the proceeds…
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Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES)

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 requires the use of geologic formation…
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Concentrated solar photovoltaic

Systems focus solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small area 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…
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Concentrated solar thermal

Concentrated solar thermal systems (also known as concentrated solar power, or CSP) focus solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, on to a small area to create stream, to drives electric generators. Pros The thermal energy concentrated in a CSP plant can be stored…
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Day-ahead energy markets

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. Day ahead allows for better resource planning and reduces market volatility. Cons Can be limiting…
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Decoupled electricity markets

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 Cheap way to create more opportunity for consumers and third-parties. Cons…
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Deregulated electricity market

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 need to increasingly enable and…
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Diesel

a specific fractional distillate of petroleum fuel oil. Non-petroleum alternatives such as bio-diesel, 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% RE will mean forcing all…
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Distributed Energy Resource (DER)

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 either connected to the local electric…
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Distribution system

the portion of the system that facilities the delivery of electric energy from the transmission system to the end user. Pros Allows for a cost-effective market operation and access to a diverse generation supply, like your roof top PV system. Cons Adapting the system to bidirectional energy flow can be expensive and time consuming. Often…
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Distribution System Operator (DSO)

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 by facilitating an open and accessible market between…
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