Engerati’s Week In Smart Energy

Published: Mon 13 Jul 2015
A blog entry by Jonathan Spencer Jones

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Jonathan Spencer Jones
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Some weeks ago we published an editorial on bladeless wind turbines, which attracted a good deal of interest. [Bladeless Wind Turbines To Cut Energy Costs by 40%] The concept has been around for a number of years and has been widely criticized for its impracticability. But that is where R&D comes in. From a theoretical perspective generating energy from wind and waves is very similar and oscillating technologies are being used in the marine environment. Whether an oscillating mast, or any other means to extract energy from the air, proves to be able to generate sufficient energy at a sufficiently low price remains to be seen but without the R&D we could remain in the dark.

So how about tidal lagoon power, which is set to be pioneered on Britain’s west coast? [Swansea Bay Project To Pioneer Tidal Lagoon Power] The concept is straightforward, essentially transferring the traditional hydro concept to the sea with an artificial lagoon and dam which is able to generate power on both incoming and outgoing tides. This first project of 240MW is of pilot scale and claimed to be cost competitive with offshore wind. Further schemes in the 2,000MW range, potentially cost competitive with onshore wind, are under development and tidal lagoon power could provide up to 8% of the UK’s electricity requirements.

2020 will be a landmark year with many targets coming due in the global fight to slow climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among these, European nations are expected to achieve 80% coverage of smart electricity and/or gas metering, if found to be cost-effective. With three new contracts for some 6 million smart meters, the Netherlands, one of the few countries going for both electricity and gas, is well on its way to achieving the target. [Netherlands Smart Meter Rollout Goes Large-Scale]

India faces challenges on several fronts when it comes to energy, not least power shortages, theft and lack of access. But these aren’t all national and there are some states, such as Chhattisgarh, which have a power surplus but there isn’t the capacity to evacuate the excess. [India’s Transmission Projects-A National Economic Concern] With up to US$50 billion in transmission investment expected over the next 5 years, issues such as land availability and right of way will need to be addressed to ensure this is effectively spent.

In an exclusive interview, Jan W. Bleyl-Androschin discusses the challenges of undertaking energy efficiency projects in Europe. One of these is the length of time it takes for a customer to commit to a project, and a facilitator can help in structuring the financial, technical and organizational perspectives. He suggests also that customers would get more value from a building portfolio approach rather than an individual building one, and advises that utilities should act as an ESCO saying they can expect a number of benefits but warning that if they don’t do it, others will. [Energy Efficiency Challenge - Stepping Up Projects]

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