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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Volkswagen debut I.D. concept electric car with 600 km range (Modular Electric Drive kit)

Volkswagen debut I.D. concept electric car with 600 km range

Volkswagen is embarking on its journey to the future at the Paris Motor Show with the world premiere of the visionary I.D., a highly automated electric car that will be able to cover a distance of 249 to 373 miles on a single battery charge. The production version of the I.D. is due to be launched in 2020 at a price on a par with comparably powerful and well-equipped Golf models.

Volkswagen is looking even further ahead with this concept car: in “I.D. Pilot” mode, it is capable of fully automated driving, a technology that should be ready for series production in 2025. Volkswagen has also set itself the goal of selling a million electric cars a year by 2025 and the production version of the I.D. will make a decisive contribution towards this ramp-up of e-mobility.

Volkswagen has made electric mobility and fully automated driving conspicuous with its innovative exterior design language and with the interior, too: the conventional driving environment has been transformed into the interactive center of a mobile lounge, or a supremely versatile Open Space. The spaciousness of this area and the intuitive, clear functionality allow you to experience mobility in a completely new way.


The I.D. is the first vehicle to showcase Volkswagen’s iconic new design language for compact electric vehicles. The exterior and interior design preview the year 2020 because while the vehicle is currently a concept, the I.D. is expected to be on our roads within the next four years, and its fully automated driving capability gives us a glimpse of the year 2025. Thus, the I.D. is a standard bearer for the progressive Volkswagen brand strategy called “Think New”. This strategy is based on four central areas of innovation, which are also reflected in the new Volkswagen design approach for electric vehicles:
Smart Sustainability: Volkswagen is advancing the development of innovative high-volume electric cars
Automated Driving: Volkswagen is going to make cars even safer and more comfortable thanks to automated driving
Intuitive Usability: Volkswagen has put its focus on vehicles that are intuitive to operate and feature new display and control concepts;
Connected Community: Volkswagen will interconnect humans, cars and the environment with a Volkswagen user identity in future

A vehicle concept for a new era

The I.D. is Volkswagen’s first compact concept car based on the new MEB vehicle architecture. MEB stands for Modularer Elektrifizierungsbaukasten (“Modular Electric Drive kit”) and it was conceived for pure electric vehicles....

Read more at: http://www.electric-vehiclenews.com/2016/10/volkswagen-debut-id-concept-electric.html

Studied To Death — Solar Customers Don't Harm Non-Solar Ratepayers

Studied To Death — Solar Customers Don't Harm Non-Solar Ratepayers
September 27, 2016
By Tony Clifford


...here’s the argument the utilities want to prove: Solar customers, by consuming their own energy, are avoiding paying for upkeep on the grid, which (in this argument) means those costs shift to non-solar ratepayers.
Frankly, it’s a compelling sell. If I didn’t know better, I’d probably resent solar customers, too. After all, why should solar customers get the grid for “free” while I’m paying for its upkeep?

Now that they’ve got your dander up, the utilities go in for the kill: This freeloading scenario demands that they charge solar customers special charges (monthly fixed charges, solar tariffs, etc.) so equity for all ratepayers can be maintained. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to show their claims are true.

In fact, 16 states have commissioned cost-benefit analyses on whether having solar consumers on the grid negatively affects non-solar customers (the list misses the studies in South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana). Only one study has given even the hint that ratepayers are harmed (Louisiana), and that study was done by a firm so closely tied to the fossil-fuels industry as to be easily discounted.

And yet some states refuse to believe the evidence of their own studies. In recent years, Nevada commissioned two studies that showed solar is a benefit to all consumers. Earlier this year, they commissioned a third study in the hopes that it would show something different.

We’ve seen the same pattern in other states where the fossil-fuel interests are so entrenched that they can fight tooth-and-nail to keep their monopoly power on electrical distribution. Let’s take Maine for an example....
Read more at http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/09/studied-to-death-solar-customers-don-t-harm-non-solar-ratepayers.html

DC Court Judges ‘Very Skeptical’ of Challenges to EPA’s Clean Power Plan, NRDC Says

DC Court Judges ‘Very Skeptical’ of Challenges to EPA’s Clean Power Plan, NRDC Says
September 28, 2016
By Jennifer Delony


The Clean Power Plan would put in place regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in the U.S. by more than 30 percent by 2030.

Ten judges heard the case, which was set up earlier this year for expedited processing. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the lawsuit challenging the plan as soon as it was published officially in the Federal Register last October, and 26 states joined the suit with West Virginia. Eighteen states, along with environmental groups and power companies, became parties to the case to argue on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In a statement to the press Tuesday night, Morrisey said that the arguments of the petitioners covered a “wide variety of legal defects” in the Clean Power Plan, which the EPA established under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. “If the court agrees with any one of [those defects], we will prevail,” Morrisey said.

(NRDC's) Doniger said that the court “understood that the big fiction in the [challengers’] case is that the power industry was just stable and happy delivering coal-fired power and nothing was changing until the…EPA came along with the Clean Power Plan.”
He added that the court understood that the power industry, in fact, is changing quickly and the Clean Power Plan builds on what the industry is doing already.

“The reality is that, even though the [U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS)] has ruled that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant, and even though SCOTUS has ruled that [111(d) of the Clean Air Act] applies to power plants, the other side is still looking for some way to avoid facing the music,” Doniger said....
Read more http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/09/dc-court-judges-very-skeptical-of-challenges-to-epa-s-clean-power-plan-nrdc-says.html

Here's how the changing energy field is impacting TVA and other utility companies

Here's how the changing energy field is impacting TVA and other utility companies
September 15th, 2016 by Dave Flessner


"The world is rapidly changing," TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas told a conference of TVA executives in Chattanooga on Wednesday. "It used to be we could rely upon 3 to 4 percent annual load growth, so we were continually adding major new power blocks (from nuclear, coal, gas and hydroelectric generators) because we knew we would need them sometime in the future. With the significant changes we are seeing now — and the potential of even negative load growth in a few years — it makes all of us very concerned about making any long bets."

Energy conservation, appliance efficiency and self-generation has combined to cut per capita consumption of electricity in most households as Department of Energy efficiency standards have improved the performance and reduced the power consumption for everything from electric washers and dryers to electric light bulbs and computers. The summertime power peak reached by TVA this year was 7 percent below that reached in 2007, even though temperatures were the same and TVA has added thousands more residential and commercial customers over the past nine years.

"In California, our economy continues to grow, but we haven't had any real growth in electricity demand in 20 years, and we're now seeing negative growth in power demand," said Geisha Williams, president of Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the nation's biggest electric utilities with more than 5 million customers.

Williams said the decoupling of economic growth and electricity usage has come from state policies, technology changes and consumer preferences. California already has 250,000 rooftop solar installations where homes and businesses generate their own electricity or heat their own water. More than 6,000 new rooftop solar units are being added every month.

"We have a new rooftop solar installation added about every seven minutes ...

MIT Study: Low-emissions vehicles are less expensive overall

Study: Low-emissions vehicles are less expensive overall
Detailed look at 125 U.S. auto models finds those emitting less carbon are the least expensive to drive.

Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office
September 27, 2016

You might think cars with low carbon emissions are expensive. Think again. A newly-published study by MIT researchers shows that when operating and maintenance costs are included in a vehicle’s price, autos emitting less carbon are among the market’s least expensive options, on a per-mile basis.

“If you look in aggregate at the most popular vehicles on the market today, one doesn’t have to pay more for a lower carbon-emitting vehicle,” says Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Associate Professor in Energy Studies at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) at MIT, and the study’s senior author. “In fact, the group of vehicles at the lower end of costs are also at the lowest end of emissions, even across a diverse set of alternative and conventional engines.”

The study also evaluates the U.S. automotive fleet — as represented by these 125 model types — against emissions-reduction targets the U.S. has set for the years from 2030 to 2050. Overall, the research finds, the average carbon intensity of vehicles that consumers bought in 2014 is more than 50 percent higher than the level it must meet to help reach the 2030 target. However, the lowest-emissions autos have surpassed the 2030 target.

“Most hybrids and electric vehicles on the road today meet the 2030 target, even with today’s electricity supply mix,” Trancik observes.

The new paper, “Personal Vehicles Evaluated against Climate Change Mitigation Targets,” is being published in the latest issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The research group is also releasing the results in the form of an app that consumers can use to evaluate any or all of the 125 vehicle types....


A marriage made in sunlight: Invention merges solar with liquid battery

A marriage made in sunlight: Invention merges solar with liquid battery
September 22, 2016 by David Tenenbaum

This solar-charged battery, developed in the lab of Song Jin at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, directly stores energy from sunlight in a tank. Credit: David Tenenbaum

As solar cells produce a greater proportion of total electric power, a fundamental limitation remains: the dark of night when solar cells go to sleep. Lithium-ion batteries, the commonplace batteries used in everything from hybrid vehicles to laptop computers, are too expensive a solution to use on something as massive as the electric grid.

Song Jin, a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has a better idea: integrating the solar cell with a large-capacity battery. He and his colleagues have made a single device that eliminates the usual intermediate step of making electricity and, instead, transfers the energy directly to the battery's electrolyte.

Jin chose a "redox flow battery," or RFB, which stores energy in a tank of liquid electrolyte.

In a report now online in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Jin, graduate student Wenjie Li, and colleagues at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia have demonstrated a single device that converts light energy into chemical energy by directly charging the liquid electrolyte.

Discharging the battery to power...

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-marriage-sunlight-merges-solar-liquid.html#jCp

We Could Power The Entire World By Harnessing Solar Energy From 1% Of The Sahara

SEP 22, 2016 @ 12:32 PM
We Could Power The Entire World By Harnessing Solar Energy From 1% Of The Sahara

Could the world feasibly switch to all-nuclear power generation? If so, would that be a good counter to global warming?originally appeared on Quora: the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Mehran Moalem, PhD, UC Berkeley, Professor, Expert on Nuclear Materials and Nuclear Fuel Cycle, on Quora:

I have taught courses in Nuclear Engineering and a few seminar courses in alternative energies. I also worked for two years starting up six solar factories around the globe. In spite of my personal like for nuclear engineering, I have to admit it is hard to argue for it. Here is the simplified math behind it.

The total world energy usage (coal+oil+hydroelectric+nuclear+renewable) in 2015 was 13,000 Million Ton Oil Equivalent (13,000 MTOE) – see World Energy Consumption & Stats. This translates to 17.3 Terawatts continuous power during the year.

Now, if we cover an area of the Earth 335 kilometers by 335 kilometers with solar panels, even with moderate efficiencies achievable easily today, it will provide more than 17,4 TW power. This area is 43,000 square miles. The Great Saharan Desert in Africa is 3.6 million square miles and is prime for solar power (more than twelve hours per day). That means 1.2% of the Sahara desert is sufficient to cover all of the energy needs of the world in solar energy. There is no way coal, oil, wind, geothermal or nuclear can compete with this. The cost of the project will be about five trillion dollars, one time cost at today’s prices without any economy of scale savings. That is less than the bail out cost of banks by Obama in the last recession. Easier to imagine the cost is 1/4 of US national debt, and equal to 10% of world one year GDP. So this cost is rather small compared to other spending in the world. There is no future in other energy forms. In twenty to thirty years solar will replace everything. There will still be need for liquid fuels but likely it will be hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water and that powered by solar. Then tankers and pipelines will haul that hydrogen around the world. One can also envision zirconium or titanium batteries that store large quantities of hydrogen.

By the way, note that the cost of a 1 GWe (Gigawatt electric) nuclear plant is about three billion dollars. the cost of 17.3 TW nuclear power will be fifty-two trillion dollars or ten times that of solar even if all the other issues with safety and uranium supply are resolved.

All that said, there is a niche application for nuclear power....

Not a deep analysis, but an interesting recitation of a widely held conceptualization of how the transition might proceed. The problems aren't insurmountable, but I'd expect such a centralized model would have (too) high distribution costs and be too subject to disruption as an outcome of normal cussed human in-fighting.

Ohio utilities' attempt to guarantee income for coal and nuclear are part of a trend

Coal and nuclear, nuclear and coal: two sides of the same centralized generation coin

Report: ‘Around market’ moves by Ohio utilities are part of larger trend

Efforts by Ohio utilities to guarantee income for affiliated coal and nuclear operations are part of a broader trend, according to a new report by legal analysts.

Starting in 2014, FirstEnergy, American Electric Power (AEP) and other companies sought to impose added fees on all customers of their Ohio utilities, in order to guarantee sales for certain power plants owned by affiliates of those companies. After federal regulators said they would require strict scrutiny of any power purchase agreements under those plans, FirstEnergy and AEP changed their proposals.

Both companies also announced an interest in seeking re-regulation of electricity generation in Ohio. If successful, that effort would reverse a 1999 law that gave customers the right to choose their own electricity generation supplier. That law also forbade utilities from favoring their own generation affiliates.

The Ohio companies’ actions are among the more aggressive “around market” efforts in a nationwide trend noted by report authors Raymond Gifford and Matthew Larson of Wilkinson Barker Knauer in Denver, Colorado. Those efforts coincide with the exit of multiple coal and nuclear plants from the market.

“This has gone from somewhere simmering on the back burner to a very broad trend,” ...


Industry study: Microgrids to become ‘fundamental building block’

Industry study: Microgrids to become ‘fundamental building block’

David J. Unger
10 hours ago

PHOTO BY Sandia National Laboratories

...Used primarily to ensure reliability and access in military and other critical applications, microgrids have emerged in recent years as a niche interest for utilities and communities looking to bring more renewables online and increase resilience in the face of extreme weather. Despite the heightened profile, microgrids – islandable networks of generation and distribution – remain a small part of the U.S. energy system, making up a fraction of a percent of the nation’s total power generating capacity.

That is poised to change, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA), an industry group representing electrical, medical imaging, and radiation therapy manufacturers.

“[The grid is] moving away from a passive to an active grid,” said Steve Griffith, an industry director at NEMA. “You can actually have distributed generation based on renewable resources – solar, wind and electrical storage devices – power that not only flows from the utility to the customer, but now from the customer back to the utility.”

Microgrids help manage these reverse power flows by addressing the technical challenges of variation in voltage and frequency. It’s why NEMA envisions a future where microgrids play a foundational role in the way the broader power system operates, working in tandem with the existing power structure.

“From 2025 onwards, fully controllable, independent microgrids interconnected with [direct current] links will allow for full decoupling from the alternating current (AC) electric power system.” the report concludes. “They will also facilitate the segmentation of the distribution system, a new paradigm for electric grid management.”...

If interested, you can find your way to the study through NEMA's press release. Enrolling is required to download.:

"Chances are, you haven't heard of Proterra"

The 'Tesla of buses' just made a big move to eliminate diesel buses forever
Danielle Muoio

Sep. 12, 2016, 5:24 PM

Chances are, you haven't heard of Proterra.

The Silicon Valley-based start-up has one focus: to eliminate the need for a diesel bus, forever. It's something the company has been working quietly on since 2004, and has made moderate progress since. It sold its first three, all-electric buses in 2009, ramping up sales marginally throughout the years since.

Proterra started hitting its stride a bit in 2015 when it sold 62 buses across 12 different transit agencies. But with a nominal range of 146 miles, a mark below many electric cars, widespread adoption hasn't been feasible.


The new bus body is made of a carbon fiber composite, allowing it to remain lightweight, but durable. Proterra, which makes its own batteries in its Silicon Valley office, improved energy storage and put most of the batteries "underneath the body of the bus so it helps us keep it very, very low center of gravity," Horton explained.

That innovation has resulted in a bus that fits 77 passengers and can pack 660 kWh of energy to drive 350 miles on a single charge. On a closed track, which doesn't mimick the difficulty of urban driving, a Proterra bus with just a 440 kWh battery achieved 600 miles on a single charge...

More at: http://www.businessinsider.com/proterra-unveils-electric-bus-with-350-mile-range-2016-9?r=UK&IR=T

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