FERC may open up markets for Distributed Energy Resources and storage

“FERC has already taken some steps to open power markets to DERs. For instance, a couple of years ago it issued Order 745, which said that RTOs have to treat demand-response aggregators the same way they treat power plants. (That order was quite controversial; it went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of FERC.)”

“Last week, however, FERC went further, proposing a new rule that would represent a huge step forward for DERs.

The details are somewhat technical, but here’s the short version.

For every different kind of source that participates in energy markets, RTOs develop a “participation model,” which FERC defines as “a set of tariff provisions that accommodate the participation of resources with particular physical and operational characteristics.”

That’s a complicated way of saying that every source participates in markets based on rules designed for that source.

The new rule is in two parts. The first part instructs RTOs to come up with a participation model for electricity storage. The second instructs them to come up with a participation model for DERs.

FERC is telling all the RTOs that they have to allow distributed energy into their markets.

Part of doing that means recognizing the different value streams (“unique attributes”) that these resources provide the grid. Different DERs provide a wide range of different energy services. There’s electricity, of course, but there’s also frequency regulation, capacity, storage, demand response, and more. (You don’t need to know what all these are; suffice to say, they help make the grid more stable and resilient.)”

“Some RTOs are ahead of the game on this. CAISO, in California, already has special tariffs set up for “Non-Generator Resources.” But in other regions of the country, markets for distributed energy and storage have been hampered by lack of structured access to larger markets.

This rule is going to open that up. It could help kick of a fundamental shift in the way power markets work. Where a few large generators now dominate, soon there may be hundreds, thousands of resources of every size and nature bidding into those markets. Rather than relying on physical scale, DERs will rely on intelligence, on smart, responsive software that links them together and gives them virtual scale. It’s going to be fascinating.

The proposed rule now enters a 60-day comment period, after which it will be scrapped, amended, or issued as an Order.”


Anyone want to fund my super car idea?

If I started a #GoFundMe to add the following to my @VW #GTI would anyone contribute?

I'm thinking a combo of @proteanelectric’s electric wheels, an autonomous driving package (@TeslaMotors will you sell me one??), an electrolysis cell to produce oxyhydrogen gas for more complete and thus cleaner engine burn, thin film photovoltaics on the roof and hood, and regenerative braking for starters. Would this be cheaper than buying a new Tesla Model 3 with the $8,000 autonomous upgrade? If we can fund that, next I’d replace some of the heavier components with carbon fiber, add a thermoelectric generator to produce electricity when the car is baking on a hot day, and maybe some kind of advanced nanofoam bumpers (are those a thing yet??).

This would turn my front wheel drive GTI into a super-light, super-safe, super-fuel efficient AWD (with all 4 wheels potentially being able to work independently), hybrid gas-electric vehicle, with regenerative braking, self-driving, electricity generation (from solar), and super efficient combustion (from oxyhydrogen gas injection).

What an epoxy how-to video made me think of..

Here’s a sneak peek into how my mind works. First off you have to know I really don’t like to waste stuff. Second, you have to know that when you mix a two-part epoxy in some scrap plastic container you are usually going to have some waste at the end (if you have a trick to avoid this I want to know). Third I nerd out on looking at stuff through a microscope.

Now, here’s where this how-to-video took my imagining mind… You’re applying a finish like epoxy to a workpiece by seeing the piece magnified up to x, and operating a highly articulated sprayer to apply the finish. You just need wide range variable zooming microscope glasses, and capable miniature robotics like in laparoscopic surgery, and maybe a VR or AR skin to go over it (depending on the application). In the case of applying a finish to a precision part you might end up with a much more efficiently – and hopefully effectively-  finished piece, maybe even more akin to how nature preserves things. Working closer to her scale.

Tl;dr being able to zoom in at will on the micro-environments around us would be amazing in a lot of ways. Might even instill a little more biophilia among the masses. See the world in an entirely new way.

Just skimmed the President’s Executive Order 13693: Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade

Boo!!! Not a single mention of agriculture, biodiversity, or the messed up nitrogen/phosphorus cycles. We mostly see this obsession with the carbon cycle and the insane idea that if we reduce emissions we can avoid catastrophic climate change (to be fair water gets a good amount of attention too, but the thinking around it is still all wrong). If we radically changed our agricultural system we could, dare I say, easily sequester enough carbon to get us to pre-1990 levels, while staving off mass extinction, and bringing all the nutrient cycles back into alignment. If Big Oil got their heads out of their asses (or rather their mile deep geologic CO2 injection wells) long enough to realize this and get behind it, they could give themselves a few more decades of pumping without the public hating their guts.

See Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm, and Grant Shultz’s Versaland Farm for examples of how we should be doing agriculture. We need to slow, spread, and sink water on a watershed scale. We need to let animals out of the factories and graze them over the land in dense packs rotating them through smaller pastures for shorter periods of time.

Here’s a link to the Executive Order

One 'Uber for X' to Rule Them All

Biz idea: An aggregator for “Uber for X”. Assumptions: lots of these companies like Handy and Cleanly have to send someone to your home. Some of these companies have not been doing so hot, and their contractors aren’t very happy. Idea: Improve margins by having a human or algorithm pick out potential areas where one contractor could fill multiple roles. Improve contractor morale by marketing it as a way for them to develop new skills. Pay contractors to train one another in each skill. Make it worker owned so that everyone has a strong incentive to be good teachers and to automate themselves out of the job. Ideally worker-owners learn the ins and outs of each skill/job and are thus able to help with the development of methods to automate each task. Slowly the machines take over the tasks with humans overseeing the robots, acting as customer support, building relationships with the client etc.