Josiah Johnston will be presenting a review of approaches for dealing with uncertainty in the context of Switch, an investment planning tool for low-emission electric power grids. The discussion will also include an introduction to stochastic programming and decomposition tools available for use with the new version of Switch from the PySP python libraries.
This lab meeting will roughly be divided into equal time for presentation and discussion. It will be of most interest to people interested in working with uncertainty in Switch, or general interest in computational tools for optimizing under uncertainty.
Join in for a fun meeting discussing the progress of a variety of SWITCH projects and potential research ideas. Dan Kammen will also provide food to boost brain power and stimulate a lively discussion!
September 29, 20115
The very first customers who bought Tesla's new brand new SUV, will get to drive them away Tuesday night.
The Tesla Model X is pricey, but right now, gas is not. Gas prices could be putting the future of electric cars in danger.
Tesla's ModelX will be the technology motor company's luxury SUV model. With a price tag of more than $80,000 it's not the best option for saving a few dollars by avoiding gas pumps, especially since the price of gas has plummeted over the last year.
"It's not only that Saudi Arabia and the traditional oil countries are flooding the market, we're seeing much more oil and gas being pumped in U.S. states in Canada. There is a glut of oil on the market because of new exploration technologies for fossil fuels," said University of California Berkeley professor Daniel Kammen.
Those falling gas prices might be having an effect on electric car sales. This year, more than 72,000 plug-in vehicles, or EVs were sold, which is lagging behind last year's sales by about 7,000 units.
But Kammen at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy says electric cars will likely continue to grow for a few reasons.
"The price to go a mile in an electric vehicle is about a third what it is to go, even with today's gas prices, than to drive a combustion vehicle," Kammen said.
He says California is under a mandate to have a million EV's on the roads by 2020. And there are lots of incentives for car companies and potential owners, including HOV stickers and rebates.
Chevrolet is re-launching the Volt with a sticker price that's significantly less than a Tesla.
"The 2015 Volt starts at $33,995 and that's before a Federal Tax Credit of $7,500 and in California you can also apply for a $1,500 clean vehicle rebate," said General Motors product specialists Darin Jesse.
It's not clear how much longer gas prices will continue to drop, but in the meantime car companies are hoping buyers will pay attention to these EV options.
SWITCH (Solar and wind energy integrated with transmission and conventional sources) is a linear programming modeling platform used to examine least cost energy systems designed to meet specific reliability, performance and environmental quality standards.
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="615"] SWITCH Project locations: April 2015[/caption]
SWITCH is a capacity expansion model that invests in new generation and transmission assets as well as in end-use and demand-side management options (including electrified vehicles and storage) with a high-resolution assessment and planning package to explore the system performance resting from different scenarios.
SWITCH was initially developed for California, but has been expanded and refined to explore energy choices across the US West (the WECC, Chile, Nicaragua, China), with future plans to cover the East African Power Pool (EAPP) and India.
A wide range of SWITCH publications are in print and in use at various energy, climate, and development agencies.
Decarbonizing electricity production is central to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Exploiting intermittent renewable energy resources demands power system planning models with high temporal and spatial resolution. We use a mixed-integer linear programming model – SWITCH – to analyze least-cost generation, storage, and transmission capacity expansion for western North America under various policy and cost scenarios. Current renewable portfolio standards are shown to be insufficient to meet emission reduction targets by 2030 without new policy. With stronger carbon policy consistent with a 450 ppm climate stabilization scenario, power sector emissions can be reduced to 54% of 1990 levels by 2030 using different portfolios of existing generation technologies. Under a range of resource cost scenarios, most coal power plants would be replaced by solar, wind, gas, and/or nuclear generation, with intermittent renewable sources providing at least 17% and as much as 29% of total power by 2030. The carbon price to induce these deep carbon emission reductions is high, but, assuming carbon price revenues are reinvested in the power sector, the cost of power is found to increase by at most 20% relative to business-as-usual projections.
Despite Its Oil-Industry Past, Energy Transitions Commission Foresees A Full-Renewables Futureby Jeff McMahon, based in Chicago. Follow Jeff McMahon on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, or email him here.
Renewables could provide nearly all the power in some regions in less than 20 years, reliably, and at a cost competitive with fossil fuels, according to a report released today by the Energy Transitions Commission.
The report's striking confidence in solar and wind is likely to surprise not only critics of those technologies but also environmentalists, who greeted the commission with skepticismwhen it was founded in 2015. The commission was launched by Royal Dutch Shell and includes executives from Shell, GE Oil and Gas, Australia's BHP Billiton, Norway's Statoil and other traditional-energy companies.
"We believe that close to zero-carbon power systems with very high levels of intermittent renewable penetration (up to 98% in countries like Germany) could deliver reliable power in many countries at a maximum of $70 per MWh by 2035," the commission states in its flagship report.
In 2015, Carbon Tracker's Anthony Hobley criticized the ETCbecause of its initial goal to study how to fuel half the power sector with zero-carbon energy sources by 2050, a path that Hobley said would put the world on course for 4˚C of warming. The ETC appears to have raised its ambitions since.
Worldwide, zero-carbon sources could represent 80 percent of the global power mix by 2040, the commission now says, with solar and wind comprising the majority of that. That still leaves 20 percent of the world power market to fossil fuels. But that's a big drop from the current state of affairs, in which fossil fuels provide about 80 percent of primary energy production.
“We are ambitious but realistic," said commission chairman Adair Turner, a British businessman, via email. "Despite the scale of the challenges facing us, we firmly believe the required transition is technically and economically achievable if immediate action is taken.”
When I contacted Carbon Tracker Monday, Hobley had not had an opportunity yet to review the report or comment.
The report calls for reducing CO2 emissions more rapidly than the Paris Agreement. Its reliance on solar and wind depends in part on its projection that the cost of batteries will continue to drop. But it stresses there are cheaper means than battery storage to smooth out the intermittent performance of solar and wind. It cites a suite of technologies and techniques, including:
demand management, especially of industry
flexible electric vehicle charging
load shifting between regions
automated load shifting
better grid management
large-scale heat storage
distributed thermal storage in the built environment
compressed air storage
The commission modeled the use of these technologies in California and concluded that if California builds a power system that relies nearly entirely on solar and wind, these lower-cost options could offer the system reliability for almost half the cost of the traditional method of achieving reliability—turning on gas-turbine plants.
University of Berkeley energy professor Daniel Kammen has been outlining a similar scenario:
"The dramatic ramp up in solar resulted in the dramatic realization that a diverse, decentralized system can provide the same critical features that we think about with a baseload highly centralized system," Kammensaid last summer. "Not tomorrow, but in the time frame that we need it, it's absolutely there."
It's easier to see how zero-carbon sources can conquer 80 percent of the energy market, the commission concedes, than the last 20 percent. If the world is to keep the global average temperature from rising more than 2º C, the report says, four energy transitions have to be pursued simultaneously in each country:
Decarbonization of the power sector combined with electrification of transportation, buildings and industry.
Decarbonization of activities that cannot be affordably electrified, by using biofuels or hydrogen for heating or by capturing carbon emissions.
Improvements in energy productivity and efficiency.
Optimization of fossil fuels within the constraints of the world's overall carbon budget, including the continued replacement of coal with natural gas, an end to methane leaks and methane flaring at oil fields, and development of carbon capture and storage.
To achieve these transitions, the world needs to change the way it finances energy, and it needs "coherent and predictable" policy from governments, the report says, recommending a price on carbon.
"A meaningful carbon price would help drive a faster and more certain transition."
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wave energy has the potential to power over 100 million US homes, but is completely underutilized at the moment. Wave energy has the advantage of higher predictability, nighttime availability, and a high energy density (~30 kW/m of coastline). Such high energy densities also enable the use of the renewable resource for desalination. The Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC Berkeley has partnered with CalWave Power Technologies, one of the winners of the US Wave Energy Prize, to better assess this potential. To learn more about CalWave, please visit http://calwave.org. This presentation will include preliminary results from this collaboration including appropriate siting, economic modeling, and performance characterization for wave energy technologies.
The GRID Alternatives International Program has been installing off-grid solar electric systems on homes, schools, and clinics in Nicaragua for the last 9 years, and in Nepal since last year. Lauren Farwell, Program Coordinator, will be a guest at the RAEL lunch on April 12 to share more details about their work and energy access model. Over lunch we'll learn about the work GRID International is doing, discuss approaches to studying energy access, and share best practices for program evaluation.