The U.S. Congress has abandoned yet another climate bill. Gridlock in this august body looms large come November, dampening hopes of effective energy legislation in the foreseeable future. America is stuck. Yet deregulation, a concept all but renounced by the country a decade back in the wake of California's energy crisis, holds the potential to unlock the gates to climatic heaven.
By Dan Delurey
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December did not produce a new, binding agreement among countries that would govern reductions in emissions and concentrations of greenhouse gases. It does not appear, however, to have dampened the momentum for serious action on climate change in individual nations.
In a statement released at the event, the signatories point out that studies show that simply giving people this information can result in energy savings of up to 15 percent. With straightforward additional steps – for example, changing light bulbs, replacing inefficient appliances, and weatherizing homes – even greater savings can be captured. The bottom line is that climate change can’t be solved if people are in the dark about how they use energy in their own homes.
Conference: Smart Metering West Coast
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Presenter: Jeff Havranek
Abstract: Presented by Jeff Havranek at Smart Metering West Coast
Public Affairs, PG&E]San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- February 27, 2008 – U.S. utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company's ClimateSmart™ program today announced the largest investments in verifiable greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions under California's rigorous forest carbon sequestration project protocols. PG&E's ClimateSmart program will purchase 214,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions, including 200,000 metric tons from The Conservation Fund's Garcia River Forest, located on California's North Coast, and 14,000 metric tons from Sempervirens Fund's Lompico Headwaters Forest, located in Santa Cruz County.
Chairman & CEO,
Edison International]New York, NY, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- September 28, 2007 – Southern California Edison, a utility committed to energy efficiency, joined seven other utilities and former President Bill Clinton yesterday in announcing its commitment to investing in energy efficiency and seeking regulatory actions to increase that investment by $500 million annually from 2010 to 2016.
Head of Energy &
Capgemini]London, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- August 31, 2007 – Analysis by consultants Capgemini of the European Union’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and increase the use of renewable energy by 2020 reveals that energy conservation is the key factor in achieving these objectives.
According to Colette Lewiner, head of Energy and Utilites at Capgemini, earlier this year the European Union Ministers asked the Member States to commit to energy consumption and green house effect gases (mainly CO2) emissions reductions of 20%, as well as a portion of 20% of renewable energies in their energy production. The horizon of this ‘three times 20% objective’ is 2020.
While these objectives were articulated in response to climate change issues, and ultimately designed to avoid an increase of the planet’s temperature beyond 2 to 3 degrees, the underlying assumption is an improved security of energy (and electricity) supplies, as well as a growing European economy with sustained tertiary and industrial employment.
2020 is a relatively short time horizon compared to the lead time for construction of large plants such as nuclear plants. It is also a short time frame for the industrialization at reasonable costs of carbon sequestration, for renovation of the buildings and houses park and for the switch of the car fleet to electrical cars. More than 80% of the refrigerators bought in 2007 will still be in operation in 2020; less than 1/3 of the industrial and utility infrastructure in place today will be renewed by 2020; and more than 20% of the cars bought in 2007 will still be on the road in 2020.
In order for Europe to achieve these targets, Capgemini analysis concludes that:
During the event’s keynote session, Uriel Sharef, global head of power at Siemens, told attendees that the industry is in a “wake-up-call” situation, in which major efforts are needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emission levels, and that the future energy landscape will need to become both more technologically complex and environmentally friendly.
Senator Salazar highlighted the need to reduce the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil, and thereby “…maintaining our freedom of action in international arenas should be one of the key principles guiding implementation of the 2005 Energy Policy Act.”
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson also addressed global warming, saying: “The Bush Administration has taken the issue seriously enough to outspend any other nation on earth on new technology and R&D.”
The smart grid
In the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) critical issues panel, Steve Specker (EPRI), Joe Belechak (Transformation Services), Kevin Burke (Consolidated Edison), Joe Welch (ITC Holdings), Michael Lamb (Xcel Energy) and Michael Valocchi (IBM) agreed that AMI will promote and justify the Smart Grid case. However, the challenge ahead will be to ensure that there is not only a common framework across the U.S. but also greater input from customers. The technology should be designed around customers’ needs and the more customers get to experience the positive impact of AMI and smart grid efforts, the greater will be their acceptance.
Utilities have implemented energy efficiency and demand side programs for many years and these can result in greater emission reductions, if technological advances are also adopted. Some of the benefits that AMI and the smart grid will have on both customers and utilities include:
The smart grid will be vital in the big push toward hybrid vehicles in the U.S., (whose usage is being encouraged as a means to reduce oil usage and emissions), as it will allow vehicle owners to plug-in and recharge. However, it does beg the question of how customers will be billed for the consumption during the recharge. Accessing information and data – the AMI delivers vital grid information allowing for efficient energy management decisions and usage both for utilities and users.Maximizing renewable energy resources.Easier integration with distributed generation resources.
In the discussion Valocchi pointed out that the issue of AMI and the smart grid has become one of those that have moved to high-level decision makers’ agendas, highlighting their importance for the industry. Commenting that he felt the industry has reached a tipping point, he said that smart grids are one way to positively influence load shedding and improve getting to grips with environmental challenges as well as maximizing energy efficiency.
Burke highlighted the challenge of interoperability in creating smart grids and Belechak agreed that there is a need for new standards, but at the same time he felt the new technological environments need to be communicated sufficiently to customers and that their needs must be kept in mind.