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Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
Energy and Resources - Energy Efficiency 61 Items

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Stepping Up: Benefits and Cost of Accelerating Fort Collins' Energy and Climate Goals

Report or White Paper, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/80FortCollinsReport-WEB_2014-02

This report examines the opportunity for accelerating Fort Collins’ energy and climate goals to reflect the community’s values while capturing economic, social, and environmental benefits. In the five years since Fort Collins initially established its current greenhouse gas emissions goals, rapid changes in the cost and availability of clean, energy efficient technologies, together with the emergence of new business models and financing methods for implementing these measures, have dramatically shifted the solutions space for addressing the community’s energy needs. The cost of solar panels, for example, has fallen nearly 75% since 2008, with further dramatic declines yet to come; the retail price for energy- efficient LED lightbulbs has fallen by 50% in the past year. These and other changes have opened the door for the City to implement new solutions to reduce emissions and waste, stimulate local economic development, improve security, and reduce risk. This analysis indicates that, in the accelerated scenario, Fort Collins can achieve an approximate 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, two decades ahead of its existing 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target. In doing so, the community could: • reduce building energy use by 31% through efficiency, • achieve a carbon neutral electricity system by 2030, and • reduce transportation energy use by 48%.

 

The Economics of Grid Defection: When and Where Distributed Solar Generation Plus Storage Competes with Traditional Utility Service (4-Pager)

Fact-sheet or One-pager, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/RMI_GridDefection-4pager_2014-06

4 Page fact sheet detailing the spiral of falling sales and rising electricity prices that make defection via solar-plus systems even more attractive and undermine utilities' traditional business models

 

The Economics of Grid Defection: When and Where Distributed Solar Generation Plus Storage Competes with Traditional Utility Service

Report or White Paper, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/RMIGridDefectionFull_2014-05

Though many utilities rightly see the impending arrival of solar-plus-battery grid parity as a threat, they could also see such systems as an opportunity to add value to the grid and their business models. The important next question is how utilities might adjust their existing business models or adopt new business models—either within existing regulatory frameworks or under an evolved regulatory landscape—to tap into and maximize new sources of value that build the best electricity system of the future at lowest cost to serve customers and society. These questions will be the subject of a forthcoming companion piece.

 

An initial critique of Dr. Charles R. Frank, Jr.’s working paper “The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies,” summarized in The Economist as “Free exchange: Sun, wind and drain”

Journal or Magazine Article, Letter, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-21_Frank-Rebuttal

A May 2014 working paper by nonresident Brookings Institute fellow Dr. Charles Frank, highlighted in The Economist, claims that wind and solar power are the least, while nuclear power and combined-cycle gas generation are the most, cost-effective ways to displace coal-fired power. (He didn't assess efficiency.) This detailed twelve-page critique by RMI's Amory Lovins shows that those priorities are artifacts of Dr. Frank's obsolete data. Replacing nine of his wrong numbers with up-to-date empirical ones, even without correcting his methodology, reverses his priorities to the ones most energy experts would expect: after efficiency, the best buys are hydropower (on his purely economic assumptions), then windpower, photovoltaics, gas combined-cycle (assuming 1.5% methane leakage and medium price volatility—assuming zero price volatility would put gas ahead of solar), and last of all nuclear power. Dr. Frank argued that the way most investors pick power-sector investments—lowest long-run economic cost—is wrong, or at least incomplete, because different technologies generate power at different times, creating different amounts of value. He's right that value as well as cost should be considered. But interestingly, using correct data, the cost- and value-based calculations yield the same priorities, so adjusting for time of generation doesn't matter. Those priorities would probably be further reinforced (other than big and some small hydropower) if other kinds of hidden costs, risks, and benefits were also considered. The more obvious of Dr. Frank's data problems were assuming wind and solar power half as productive and twice as costly as they actually are, gas power twice as productive as it actually is but with no methane leakage or price volatility (let alone extractive side-effects of fracking), nuclear power at about half its actual cost and construction time and one-fifth its actual operating cost, a supposed need for new generating capacity and for bulk electricity storage, and no efficiency opportunities worth mentioning. His method of analyzing grid reliability was also unique and strange. These assumptions drove his unwarranted but, thanks to the Economist, widely publicized conclusions. Dr. Frank argued that the way most investors pick power-sector investments—lowest long-run economic cost—is wrong, or at least incomplete, because different technologies generate power at different times, creating different amounts of value. He's right that value as well as cost should be considered. But interestingly, using correct data, the cost- and value-based calculations yield the same priorities, so adjusting for time of generation doesn't matter. Those priorities would probably be further reinforced (other than big and some small hydropower) if other kinds of hidden costs, risks, and benefits were also considered.

 

Response to "J.P."'s column "New numbers, same conclusion"

Journal or Magazine Article, Letter, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-21-JP_Rebuttal

Dr. Charles R. Frank, Jr.'s May 2014 Brookings Institution Working Paper claimed that new nuclear and gas-fired power plants can displace coal plants' carbon emissions far more cost-effectively than solar and windpower can. This claim was featured and endorsed in late July by a full-page "Free exchange" article in The Economist. Amory Lovins promptly rebutted Dr. Frank's paper in detail (www.rmi.org/frank_rebuttal). Three weeks later, an anonymous Economist writer posted a new essay called "New numbers, same conclusion" claiming that unpublished recalculations by Dr. Frank confirmed his original conclusions even if a few of the original errors asserted by Lovins were corrected to some unstated degree. This response by Lovins refutes that claim, describes 17 errors or misrepresentations in the new Economist essay, and encourages Dr. Frank to reply transparently and specifically to the original critique.

 

Electricity Distribution Grid Evaluator (EDGE) Model

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-02_EDGEModel

This paper describes the Electricity Distribution Evaluator (EDGE) model, a MATLAB-based simulation tool developed by RMI and designed to comprehensively assess the DER value proposition in different regulatory and utility business model environments based on a detailed assessment of the technical and operational implications. Though designed to study an individual utility or region, the model maintains the flexibility to be adapted for use with many different utilities or regions. The ability to alter the model’s parameters allows RMI to identify conditions that optimize value, and to test the effects of new, innovative business models and rate structures. The EDGE model provides an analytical basis for assessment of the costs and values created by all resources, including DERs.

 

Building the Electricity System of the Future: Fort Collins and FortZED

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-07_FCFZFinalReport

Fort Collins Utilities has been working to meet its clean energy goals including a flagship effort, called FortZED, to build a net zero energy district in downtown Fort Collins. Fort Collins Utilities and its partners worked with the Electricity Innovation Lab (e-Lab) to design and carry-out a two-day charrette on November 7th and 8th, 2012. The charrette team identified innovative solutions to some of Fort Collins’ most difficult challenges around planning, investment, and execution of efficiency and renewable energy.

 

The Atlantic Mann Rebuttal

Journal or Magazine Article, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-08_AtlanticMannRebuttal

On April 24, 2013, The Atlantic ran a cover feature by writer Charles C. Mann, “What If We Never Run Out of Oil?” The piece contained a number of inaccuracies, to which Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder and chief scientist Amory B. Lovins responded in a rebuttal the magazine posted on May 13, 2013. One day later, Mann offered a counter of his own, but perpetuated a range of errors. In this definitive reply, Lovins sets the record straight.

 

Advancing Military Microgrids

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-15_NavyReport

The U.S. Navy is leading the way in the technical and economic testing and validation of microgrid technology as it looks for new ways to bolster the energy security on Naval bases. Much of the Navy’s leadership in this area will emanate from demonstrations happening on its U.S. bases located in the Southwest. As these bases begin to experiment with the technology, they face several major questions around microgrid design, evaluation, economics, and operation. To begin to address these questions, NAVFAC Southwest worked with e-Lab on the design and execution of a two-day workshop April 16–17, 2013. Drawing on key stakeholders from inside the Navy and experts from outside, the workshop team identified five findings: NAVFAC Southwest is still developing a strategy to implement energy security goals stated by the Department of the Navy, Current approaches to renewable energy procurement place emphasis on utility-scale resources, which may not support efforts to bolster energy security through microgrids, Investment in expanding controls presents a near-term opportunity to begin to build toward microgrids while mitigating price risk, Microgrids connected at the distribution level are likely to incur high transaction costs to enable participation in electricity markets, Several entrenched barriers must be addressed to enable microgrid adoption across the Navy

 

Global Energy Affairs

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-20_GEA_October2013

The current issue of Global Energy Affairs features two unique perspectives on nuclear energy. Amory Lovins highlights how Germany, unlike Japan, utilized its decision to abandon nuclear energy to create a revolution in efficiency and renewable energy. Malcolm Grimston contends that despite a highly favorable environment for nuclear development in the UK, the market response remains weak. Sheril Kirshenbaum highlights how the public opinion in the U.S. contributes to defining global energy priorities. Audi’s e-gas car and tracking progress of Masdas City are the projects of this month. News highlights, innovations, and briefs cover recent major developments in the field of energy and environment. Roel Sweirenga’s reflections on the on Sustainable Mobility for the Decade 2014- 2024 and the profile of Quale Hodek, a young leader in renewable energy, completes this issue

 

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