Dispatches from Summer Study: A Night in the Life of the Summer Study

The Monday night plenary speaker at the 2012 American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study of Energy Efficiency in Buildings, held every two years in beautiful Asilomar, California, was Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Wellinghoff described his coming to FERC in 2006 as a border crossing from the world of energy efficiency—according to Steve Nadel, before joining FERC, Chairman Wellinghoff attended 12 Summer Studies—to the world of the grid and the wholesale power marketplace. Now he sees his mission as inte­grating the two.

Using a colorful map of the Midwestern United States, Wellinghoff described a grid in need of some more coordination, so that electricity load and production correlate more directly, therefore causing the electricity grid to operate more efficiently. A system in steady state is more efficient than one that is constantly ramping up and down—this is true of cars, HVAC systems, and the electricity grid.

In Wellinghoff’s example, the blue states are the ones with an overabundance of electric power, making it relatively cheap (even dipping below zero cost), and the red states, the ones where electricity is scarce and expensive. At 1 am the area around Terre Haute, Indiana, is desper­ate for electric power, while up north in Illinois, nuclear power is cheap and plentiful and west­ward in Iowa, wind generation is at a peak. Up by Fort Wayne they are burning kilowatts for next to nothing. Through the course of the day the map constantly turns colors, with hot spots (expensive electric power) and cool spots (cheap power) covering large swaths of the map or popping up in particular locations. In the afternoon, Michigan is dark red and across Lake Michigan, Jainsville, Wisconsin, is a dark blue spot.

Making the whole map bluer, so to speak (no reference to political affiliations intended), requires digital controls at end uses, transmission, and production. It requires the participation of homeowners as well as factory bosses. On the residential end use side, Wellinghoff sees price signals offering individuals the greatest opportunity for control of their energy and the cost of that energy. This is a great opportunity for people to participate more directly in the grid. Imagine utility customers becoming utility partners. Imagine providing power back to the grid from your car battery, and getting paid for it!

Add efficiency to the mix, and you not only increase the load factor, i.e. better match production and load, create a more efficient grid, and lower energy costs, but you can lower overall energy use as well.

Views: 86

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Twitter

Latest Activity

Crosbey Archery liked Crosbey Archery's blog post How to improve the air quality in your home ?
12 hours ago
Crosbey Archery replied to Don Hynek's discussion Testing "Magic Pak" units?? in the group Multifamily Buildings
"second-floor (and higher) units without humping a ladder all the way around the building is a very…"
16 hours ago
Colin Genge posted events
yesterday
Profile IconJon Turnbaugh, Lights N More and John Kamas joined Home Energy Pros
yesterday
Amber Vignieri posted a blog post

Relay Network Targets Multifamily Housing Upgrades Nationwide

Affordable apartment buildings are home to more than 10 million American households, making them a…See More
yesterday
Tom White's video was featured

Robby Schwarz on Builder Collaboration

Hear Robby Schwarz, of EnergyLogic discuss the value Owens Corning brings to Thrive Home Builders.
yesterday
Crosbey Archery liked Don Hynek's discussion Testing "Magic Pak" units??
yesterday
Crosbey Archery joined Norm Bourassa's group
Thumbnail

Multifamily Buildings

For too long there has been relatively little EE focus on multifamily, but some new programs have…See More
yesterday

© 2016   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service