The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a briefing that challenged widely held assumptions about renewable energy and the infrastructure needed to connect it to the grid. The Midwest’s steady winds could, in theory, power the entire country, according to an analysis conducted in 2010 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and AWS Truewind, a consultancy. So could solar energy in the Southwest. Moreover, the transmission investments needed to tap the enormous potential of American renewable resources can make the grid more efficient and reliable at the same time. And renewable energy is increasingly competitive in some power markets with traditional fuels like gas and coal. At this briefing, various perspectives regarding the overall economics, capacity and reliability of integrating renewable energy into the grid were presented.
Speakers for this forum were:
John Jimison, Energy Future Coalition, Introductory Remarks
Robert Fagan and Ezra Hausman, Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., an economic consultancy focused on energy markets.
Joe Gardner, Executive Director of Real-Time Operations, Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), which controls the transmission system in 11 Midwest states and Manitoba, Canada.
Fred Morse, Chairman, USP Division of SEIA and Senior Advisor, Abengoa Solar, a major developer of central-station solar power generation facilities.
James J. Hoecker, Counsel and Advisor, WIRES (Working Group for Investment in Reliable and Economic Electric Systems), former Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The briefing coincided with the release of a new report, The Potential Rate Effects of Wind Energy and Transmission in the Midwest ISO Region, commissioned by the Energy Future Coalition and produced by Synapse Energy Economics, which concludes that adding more wind power to the Midwest’s grid would place downward pressure on energy market prices and rates, even after factoring in the costs of the additional transmission needed to connect it. Traditional power plants face fuel prices that fluctuate dramatically over time and they must also address regulatory uncertainty and pollution control upgrades, whereas, for example, solar, wind, and geothermal power plants are not subject to such fuel price volatility. What mix of renewable resources and traditional resources is actually the most reliable and cost effective system to meet our energy needs and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
More information at: bit.ly/HCwzth
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosted a Congressional briefing to discuss several renewable energy resources which often do not receive much attention and yet are in plentiful supply across the United States: renewable gas, hydropower, and geothermal. Each of them can provide baseload electricity, and each of these renewable energy resources comes from a variety of sources and can deliver energy through a variety of energy technology applications. The briefing explored the status of these resources, how they are used and why, and what the market drivers are for them.
More information at eesi.org/nexus-between-water-energy-and-climate-shaping-long-term-policy-create-jobs-and-business-success-res
The Royal Danish Embassy and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a Congressional forum focused on how Denmark, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union (EU), is meeting the economic, environmental, and energy challenges of the 21st Century. Denmark's Minister for Trade and Investment, Pia Olsen Dyhr, was the keynote speaker for the event. Minister Dyhr focused on the nexus of energy, water and climate. These are issues important in the Congressional discussion underway on the Farm Bill and other energy and environmental legislation. Moreover, trade, investment, and international competitiveness are major concerns of Congress and the country overall, and Minister Dyhr made the case for long-term, stable investment as the gateway to job creation and economic growth.
This is a video from our briefing on biomass thermal energy as a benefit for households, economic development and energy security in our nation. The event featured speakers from American Wood Fibers, Sustainable Northwest, Maine Energy Systems and the USDA Forest Service. For more information including audio and presentations, please visit: eesi.org/111611_thermal
Experts speaking on Capitol Hill about district energy infrastructure. District energy systems distribute thermal energy (steam, hot water, and/or chilled water) through a network of underground pipes to multiple buildings in an area, such as a downtown district, college or hospital campus, airport, or military base. By aggregating the heating and air conditioning supply for multiple buildings, district energy systems optimize thermal energy efficiency. They also achieve economies of scale that allow for the use of low-carbon, cost-effective thermal energy sources – such as the “waste” heat from power plants or industrial processes, combined heat and power, geothermal energy, deep lake water, or municipal solid waste and other types of biomass – that may not be feasible for individual buildings. More information is available at eesi.org/092311_district