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Richard Brooks's picture
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer Reliable Energy Analytics LLC

Inventor of patent 11,374,961: METHODS FOR VERIFICATION OF SOFTWARE OBJECT AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY and the Software Assurance Guardian™ (SAG ™) Point Man™ (SAG-PM™) software and SAGScore™...

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  • Jul 29, 2020
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This article describes the realities we face today in order to insure reliable electricity for consumers in New England.

Here are my key takeaways:

- This year’s peak experience in many ways highlights how the regional power grid is changing and how far it has to go to fully decarbonize.

- Peaks have out-sized importance because the region needs enough power plants to meet demand when demand is at its highest point.

- [RJB this statement in the article is misleading; peak demand no longer means peak consumption] Lowering the peak is beneficial since it means the region can get by with fewer power plants.

- [ RJB  he's describing the yin-yang effect of BTMPV During the afternoon, the behind-the-meter solar installations produce the most power. As the sun begins to set, however, solar power production falls off and the region becomes more and more dependent on large-scale power generators.

- The regional power grid handled Monday’s surge in electricity demand easily, but in doing so it relied primarily on power generated by natural gas (70 percent), nuclear (16 percent), hydro (8 percent), renewables (5 percent), and even a bit of oil and coal.

- If the region’s power grid doesn’t go green, the shift to electricity won’t pay many environmental dividends. That’s why the state is pursuing the purchase of offshore wind and hydro-electricity from Canada, to help reduce reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels. [RJB more can be done to incentivize investments in green power for Massachusetts by enabling prosumers to engage in a wholesale market capacity exchange to meet State Energy goals]

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Thank Richard for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 29, 2020

If the region’s power grid doesn’t go green, the shift to electricity won’t pay many environmental dividends. That’s why the state is pursuing the purchase of offshore wind and hydro-electricity from Canada, to help reduce reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels.

It would be ideal if we could 'green' the energy generation systems first and then electrify the systems, but based on the current climate situation we unfortunately don't have the luxury of taking our time with that-- and with many questions of whether or not to electrify, those require immense amounts of time and investment and then they last for many years (such as new buildings-- using electricity or gas?). So while it's not ideal to electrify more when the grid remains carbon-intensive, a longer-looking view of things still would recognize its payoff. 

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Jul 29, 2020

Hi Matt,

Therefore, effort could be in two parallel paths . Green the electricity generation as mush as possible on one path. In addition to electrifying what available energy end users through distributed RE generation (such as heating ,cooling  and transportation) on the second path . The net resultant will be more greening.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 30, 2020

Agreed, Dr. Khashab! We don't have the luxury of time (that was wasted in the past few decades where time was spent debating whether there was a problem instead of actually addressing the problem), so parallel approaches make the most sense

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