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From 6 to 1

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization, Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
  • 299 items added with 117,556 views
  • Sep 16, 2021

Today to receive energy you have six commercial choices:
1)    The electric grid
2)    Natural gas pipelines
3)    Fuel oil delivery
4)    Propane delivery
5)    Buying gasoline or Kerosene at a station
6)    Buying biomass

With the Green transition, number (2), (3) (4) and (5) disappear. Some amount of sustainable fuel may replace portions of (5), but the majority of sustainable fuel will be used for transport.

Biogas will not support keeping (2) running – there is just plain not enough, and chemicals will offer higher prices for biogas, than home heating or other uses.

We use 3.5 billion tons of natural gas a year globally – Renewable deployment to replace the natural gas with hydrogen is an enormous undertaking, and likely not energy efficient.

Biomass, even if we grow specific crops to support it, just does not grow fast enough on the land left over from farming, urban centers, and solar deployments to name a few to support more than a small fraction of the global demand, and we want forests to help capture GHG, not release it. Haiti in the 1990 was a good example of too many people using biomass for the cycle to be sustainable.

With the 5 networks gone, the remaining network needs to be rock solid. New Orleans and Puerto Rico stand as testaments to the power of the weather, Texas to points to issues with a single network, not because of the network, but because of energy assurance.

Rethinking what makes a good single network is important to getting consumers comfortable with moving to a single network.

The goal should be ZERO outages, ever for any reason.

Most will disagree with this goal, but do you want your grandparents without power in a polar vortex?

We have a serious design challenge, are you up for it?


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