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Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
Energy and Resources 223 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.

 

Lessons from Australia: Reducing Solar PV Costs Through Installation Labor Efficiency

Report or White Paper, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-11_RMI-AustraliaSIMPLEBoSFinal

The development of Australia’s solar market, and the drastic cost reductions it saw over a short period of time, emphasize that high market demand and transparency in costs is a key towards reducing soft costs. When the market is large enough, solar installers and retailers can rely more upon volume for profitability and can create reductions in soft costs in order to compete in the marketplace.

 

Micropower Database 2014 (July)

Guide, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2014-18_MicropowerDatabase

2014 (July) Edition: The purpose of the micropower database is to present a clear, rigorous, and independent assessment of the global capacity and electrical output of micropower (all renewables, except large hydro, and cogeneration), showing its development over time and documenting all data and assumptions. With minor exceptions, this information is based on bottom-up, transaction-by-transaction equipment counts reported by the relevant suppliers and operators, cross-checked against assessments by reputable governmental and intergovernmental technical agencies. For most technologies, historic data runs from 1990 through 2013. Available information includes installed capacity (GW) and electricity generation (TWh/y) per generating technology. The Micropower Database Methodology is also included in this ZIP-file. For previous versions, please see the 2008 Micropower Database (RMI ID E05-04) and the 2010 (May) Edition (RMI ID 2010-06).

 

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. 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.

 

The storage necessity myth: how to choreograph high-renewables electricity systems

Interview, 2014
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2015_Buildings

This video was re-recorded by RMI to serve the energy community until its original version, delivered in the TED All-Stars session in Vancouver on 18 March 2014, is posted at ted.com. Copyright (c) 2014 Rocky Mountain Institute. Spreading this video for noncommercial use is permitted and encouraged. It's frequently said that variable wind and solar power endanger reliable electricity supply; and so we need either "baseload" fossil fuel-burning power plants, or breakthroughs in bulk storage. That's a myth. Amory Lovins explains why. WATCH VIDEO »

 

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.

 

Heat Pumps: An alternative to oil heat for the Northeast

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-05_HeatPumps

Heating oil is an economic drain on the Northeast region of the US. Users of heating oil are at a crossroads, as the fuel is increasingly untenable for long-term use. Heat pumps are an attractive alternative to heating oil. While there are some barriers to the widespread adoption of heat pumps, states can take steps to address these barriers. Reducing the upfront cost of heat pumps will drive the industry toward self-sufficiency and resolve many of the other barriers.

 

New Business Models for the Distribution Edge (eLab New Business Models Report)

Report or White Paper, 2013
http://www.rmi.org/Knowledge-Center/Library/2013-06_eLabNewBusinessModels

This e-Lab discussion paper was prepared to support e-Lab deliberations and discussions and to engender a broader industry-wide dialogue about new approaches to the utility business model ecosystem at the distribution edge. This paper describes 1) how and why the forces changing the electricity system challenge existing pricing and business models, 2) principles that should guide the creation of new business models, and 3) the emerging “solution set” of new business models.

 

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