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Basic Training for Renewable Taos John Gusdorf & Bob Bresnahan 27 August 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Training for Renewable Taos John Gusdorf & Bob Bresnahan 27 August 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Basic Training for Renewable Taos John Gusdorf & Bob Bresnahan 27 August 2012

2 Background The Facts of Life All living things need continuous supplies of Energy & Materials 2

3 Energy The amount of energy captured and used by the biosphere each year is: The equivalent of 550 Billion Barrels of Oil 18 times the highest annual production of oil Enough to use up all the oil the world ever had in about 5 years 3

4 Materials Each year, life assimilates about 170 billion tonnes of materials. That’s more than 70 times world production of iron, aluminum and copper combined. 4

5 So, After more than 300 million years of well developed life on earth, Why hasn’t the world run out of energy and material? 5

6 Because Life is a Solar-Powered Recycler of materials. 6

7 7

8 8 “There is no other way to be sustainable in any meaningful sense.”

9 Two points to keep in mind Energy from outside the system is always required. Material recycling is not 100% perfect, Except perhaps in geological time. 9

10 Turning from the biosphere to human activity: 10

11 Where we are now: 11

12 Where we need to be: 12

13 BTW Life is completely bound by the same laws of physics, including entropy, as the rest of the physical universe. Any physical process that can be done by living things, can (at least theoretically) be done by technology also. 13

14 14 There are no reasons to believe that we can’t make our agricultural and industrial systems work like ecosystems.

15 Let’s start with the easy part: Becoming Solar-Powered. 15

16 For human activity Solar means all Renewable Energy: Direct solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, tidal ocean thermal, etc. So from here on we’ll refer to Renewable Energy. Although in Taos County, it’s probably mostly solar With some biomass & wind. 16

17 Taos Energy Use, 2009: 17 TownCounty Energy Use:kWh/yr% % Diesel: 27,824,1116.9% 128,779,1959.5% Electricity: 67,519,00016.7% 210,267,00015.6% Gasoline: 144,754,89535.8% 669,973,56749.6% Natural Gas: 154,309,68138.2% 285,559,47021.1% Propane: 9,466,0962.3% 57,170,5464.2% Total: 403,873,783100.0% 1,351,749,778100.0% Electricity is about 1/6 Gasoline & Natural Gas are > 70%

18 Ultimately We want to produce more energy than Taos County uses for all purposes, mostly in the form of electricity. So that will mean sending a lot of electricity to the rest of the country. 18

19 Our Goals All Town Electricity by 2020. All County Electricity by 2030. Net-Zero Town by 2035. Net-zero means renewable energy equals all energy used, with exports of electricity. 300% of Town Energy by 2050. Net-Zero County by 2055. 300% of County Energy by 2075. 19

20 Why make Taos “The Solar Capital of the World”? Boost to Local Economy – new clean businesses and strengthening of old ones Early Adopters Benefits – people around the country will look to us for expertise and know-how A highly effective focus for marketing our community 20

21 To be an example for the rest of the country & the world. We can’t solve Climate Change in Taos, but we can show the way. Protection of our environment Jobs, jobs and jobs 21

22 Jobs Not temporary jobs Increasing numbers of permanent jobs as construction accelerates over decades 2020 All Town of Taos electricity 200 jobs earning over $7 million 2030 All County electricity 300 jobs earning over $11 million 22

23 Average pay > $37,000 Taos County median household income is $35,441 23

24 Global Warming & Peak Oil? Approach may depend on your audience. Several people have told us not to talk about peak oil, environmental issues, and climate change. But with record heat waves and drought, and Koch brothers funded studies confirming the reality of global warming, it may now be easier to approach people on this basis. 24

25 Climate Change is real and is directly affecting New Mexico: Drought and Agriculture Forests lost to wildfires may never grow back. 25

26 If we achieved the IPCC goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the Taos climate will be like Espanola's. If we fail to achieve that goal and warming rises 6 degrees Celsius as currently predicted, Taos climate will be like Las Cruces. Rainfall will probably be less in either case. The forests and the wildlife it supports will be endangered. Our water sources will be seriously threatened. Then ask yourself this question -- in each case what will the climate of Las Cruces be like? 26

27 The era of cheap fossil fuels is ending Maintaining fossil fuel production now requires: 27 Coal: Mountain top removal Oil: Deep water & Artic drilling, Destruction of rain forests for biofuels, Tar Sands, & Fracking Natural Gas: Fracking

28 TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY Solar-Electric: PV, CSP, Power Towers Solar-Thermal Wind Hydro-Electric Biomass Geothermal-Electric 28

29 Photovoltaic (PV) PV, what we’re all familiar with, and what we should continue to promote for the time being. 29

30 30

31 Concentrated Solar Power CSP uses parabolic troughs to concentrate sunlight on a pipe, heating a liquid to above the boiling point to produce steam to generate electricity. 31

32 32 CSP can include STORAGE (discussed below).

33 Solar Power Towers Use a large number of heliostats to focus sunlight on a central tower. Generally include storage. 33

34 34 Sandia National Lab’s 10 MW tower. Spanish Solar Tower

35 TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY: Wind The most economic source of renewable electricity where conditions are right. Appears to have limited potential in Taos County. We may form partnerships with other groups nearby. They will face the same obstacles we do, and are natural allies. 35

36 Hydro-electric Most good sites taken, issues of flooding canyons or large area. Good for baseload (24/7) electricity or backup for solar and wind. Some hydro in Richard Mason’s Pueblo study. (We need to meet with him.) 36

37 Biomass May include garbage (municipal solid waste, MSW) Woodchips from thinning forests to control wildfires. Has large potential in Taos. 37

38 Biomass is often used in combined heat and power (CHP) systems that capture the “waste” heat for hot water, space heat or processes. Potential in gov’t buildings, schools, etc. Possibly in houses. Biomass can act as backup for solar or wind because its output can be controlled. 38

39 Geothermal-Electric Potential for Taos unknown. Can supply baseload electricity or backup for solar & wind. Distinguish from ground-source heat pumps, which supply heat or cooling from ground of normal temperature. 39

40 40 Geothermal-Electric Ground-Source Heat Pump

41 RENEWABLE ENERGY ISSUES Cost Intermittency Grid Backup Storage Grid Capacity & Access to the Grid 41

42 Cost “We can’t afford it.” When we decide that, we’ve decided on the decline of our civiliaztion. 42

43 PV (and wind in some places) are economic now, and should continue to decline in price, as fossil fuel get more expensive. Renewable Energy offers security against future prices increases. Where else would you put your money today? 43

44 We aren’t paying the full cost of fossil fuel energy. Increasing destruction of the environment Subsidies 44

45 ISSUES: Intermittency PV only produces electricity when the sun is shining. It varies seasonally, daily, and even in seconds with cloudiness. We expect electricity 24/7. A renewable system that is not reliable will be unacceptable. 45

46 Electric grids can deal with some intermittency Demand also has seasonal, daily and random variations. Generating plants fail. Grid operators deal with these fluctuations with “spinning reserve,” and by varying plant outputs. 46

47 A drop in output from a solar array or wind farm “looks” just like an increase in demand. That’s why grids can deal with the amount of renewable energy we have now. But at some point, PV and wind will destabilize the grid 47

48 Solutions to intermittency A continental grid Backup generation Storage 48

49 The Grid 49

50 Connect solar and wind generators spread over a continent to smooth out variations. This helps, but doesn’t solve the problem. 50

51 Whether it’s better to be part of the national grid, or independent is debatable, but the grid offers obvious advantages: Backup during the transition (the infinite battery), A way to export excess production. 51

52 Energy Models Centralized – what we have, including big refining and generating facilities, pipelines, an unstable (?) grid, massive pollution from cradle to grave Distributed – a mix of local, regional and central generation; a smart grid; evolving reliance on renewables; lots of technical issues; a threat to profits. Local – generating energy as close as possible to the point of use; lots of technical and financial problems; can be combined with distributed. 52

53 Backup Have more plants that can ramp up or down quickly, such as hydro with reservoirs, or natural gas plants. Hydro sites with large reservoirs are limited, and natural gas is still fossil fuel. Biomass and geothermal plants could also provide backup if/when they’re developed. 53

54 Storage Batteries Lead-acid batteries are still the cheapest way to store electricity. Lead is toxic, and batteries have to be replaced every few years. A rough calculation shows that batteries for the US would use 5 billion tonnes of lead. More than the world’s known reserves. 54

55 Other storage systems: Other batteries: Lithium: Lighter (and smaller?) than lead, but more expensive, and there may be shortages of Li. Flow batteries (in development) Flywheels Hydrogen (hard to store: high volume, high pressure or cryogenic) 55

56 Pumped hydro (sites are very rare) 56

57 Underground compressed air. 57 Some use natural gas.

58 Concentrating solar power with high temperature storage (Image above, slide 31) 58

59 Solar power towers 59

60 60 Most (maybe all) solar power towers include storage.

61 61

62 Rule of Thumb: Storage is necessary when renewables are about 20% of total. So decisions on storage are a few years away. But storage and/or backup will be necessary in the mid-term. 62

63 Los Alamos Doing a study on PV and grid stability in our area. Due in the next month or so. Installing an 8.2 MWh battery along with a 2 MW PV array in a smart grid. 63

64 64

65 ISSUES: Grid Capacity & Access to the Grid If we’re going to be a major exporter of energy, then the lines running in and out of the county will have to have the capacity to carry much more electricity than they do now. 65

66 That will happen approximately when: The installed capacity (peak output) of renewable energy in Taos County is twice the peak electrical demand of the County. Probably around 2025. But there are lots of unknowns: peak demand, effects of biomass, wind, hydro & storage. 66

67 If we want to sell renewable energy to other coops, then we’ll need to use the transmission lines belonging to Tri-State & PNM. This access is likely to be an issue in the short-term. Discussed under Obstacles. 67

68 ENERGY EFFICIENCY Using energy much more efficiently has to be an integral part of the transition to renewable energy. Improvements in EE are still usually less expensive than RE. 68

69 The EE goals in our model are very ambitious, even if it doesn’t sound that way. ½% per year reductions. 69

70 70 “Except in times of significant economic downturns, no state or country has actually reduced energy use.”

71 EE has at best reduced energy use per person or per unit of economic output, but increases in population and economic growth have always overwhelmed the savings. More importantly, people find new ways to use energy, when its “implicit price” is lower. 71

72 Jevons paradox Technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. ─ 1865 William Stanley Jevons 72

73 Specifically, Increasing energy efficiency increases the amount of energy used. 73

74 So, although EE may be the most cost- effective way to reduce fossil-fuel use for a specific purpose, It won’t reduce fossil-fuel use overall. Only scarcity or higher prices can do that. 74

75 How can fossil-fuel use be reduced? A combination of: Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy A Carbon Tax By making fossil fuel more expensive, a C tax would promote EE & RE. 75

76 Generally, I find people don’t want to talk about Jevons Paradox Is this because Ho-hum, “You’re crazy,” or People don’t hear what they don’t wanna hear? Assuming it’s one of the last two, I’ll explain.

77 Formulated after James Watt increased the efficiency of steam engines from about ½% to 2%. Coal mines feared their market would shrink by 75%, but of course it didn’t. We just found lots of other ways to use steam engines, and coal.

78 This happens because Energy efficiency reduces the “implicit price” of energy, allowing people to spend their money on other things that also use energy, and Because efficiency promotes economic growth.

79 Energy Efficiency has been increasing throughout history (and before) It’s a basic feature of economic and technical progress. Perhaps the best example is artificial lighting, which people have been using for at least 40,000 years, and which has improved by about 100,000 times.

80 Efficiency of Lighting, Log Scale

81 Lighting to 1900

82 Lighting, 1800 to Now

83 Now, does anyone think that we use less energy for lighting than the average caveperson did?

84 EROEI Energy Returned On Energy Invested A simple formula for determining the density of an energy source If it takes 1 BTU to produce 3 BTUs, the EROEI = 3 Some common energy sources: Oil =20; offshore oil = 14; shale oil = 2-3 Coal = 55 Natural Gas =17; LNG = ? Nuclear = 8 84

85 Hydro = 30 Wind Farm = 28 Solar Voltaic = 14 Biomass = 15 Concentrated Solar = 10 Liquid Biofuels = 0.8 -3 85

86 We need to keep these ratios and other issues in mind when thinking about replacing fossil fuels with renewables Other Issues Renewable energy fuels like biomass rely on fossil fuels for production Maturation of renewable technologies takes time Often, we can't just drop in a renewable in place of a non-renewable. Some scarce resources are involved in some renewables 86

87 OBSTACLES TO RENEWABLE ENERGY Cost, Storage, Grid Capacity & Access Stranded Costs Tri-State’s contracts with rural electric coops: The 5% limit. Loss of Income to Local Utility 87

88 Grid Access Utilities are required by federal law to act as “common carriers”, ie, to allow their transmission lines to be used to send electricity from one utility to another. In fact, this “wheeling” happens all the time. 88

89 But utilities can claim “technical obstacles.” Apparently, PNM & T-S did so to block a KCEC – Pueblo plan to sell PV electricity to Los Alamos. Utilities charge for wheeling, which can make RE too expensive. 89

90 Stranded Costs Large Utilities have borrowed lots of money to build fossil fuel plants. They need to keep the plants running to pay the debt and make a profit. We need to investigate: The extent of Tri-State’s liabilities, and How other counties, eg, Germany, have dealt with this issue. 90

91 91 “As a wholesale power supply cooperative with significant fossil-fueled generation resources that are of relatively recent vintage and which operate at high capacity factors (85-95 percent of the time), the retirement of such resources or the reduction of their operating capacity would have a substantial impact on the cost of electricity that Tri-State provides to its Members and ultimately to their end-use consumers.” - Tri-State

92 This makes sense from Tri-State’s perspective, but It doesn’t explain why they’re planning to build a new coal plant in Holcomb, Kansas. 92

93 Solutions to Stranded Costs First, it happens all the time in technological societies. We “advance” from one technology to another and a lot of the old infrastructure is written off. Second, there are strategies for dealing with technological evolution. The computer and telecom industries are great at it. They transition from one to another without major disruptions. It calls for TRANSITION PLANNING. Third, there is a legal way for dealing with it – bankruptcy! The bond and stock holders take a hit, and society moves along. 93

94 PNM & Tri-State will have to pay $100s of millions to reduce haze causing pollution from their existing coal plants. This could be an opportunity for them to invest in RE instead. If they’re willing to listen, and If the EPA is willing to negotiate. 94

95 Tri-State’s 5% Limit T-S has contracts with all rural electrical coops, including Kit Carson, that limit the coops’ own generation to 5% of the electricity they sell. With the latest PV arrays, KC will be at ~4.2%. 95

96 It is very unlikely that the contract can be broken legally. It would cost $110 million to get out of. The PRC cannot intervene in a legal contract. The NM legislature cannot intervene in interstate commerce. 96

97 To get out of the 5% limit, the Town or County could “condemn” (municipalize) KCEC, taking over all its assets and employees. This has been proposed in Santa Fe & Boulder. 97

98 In order to keep the lights on, the new utility would have to either: Negotiate a new arrangement with T-S (they probably won’t be very cooperative), or Install some generating plants to keep things going for a couple of decades, while we develop the renewable capacity, including storage. 98

99 99 Where would we want to build these? How much water do they use? Does it make sense to build new plants, and then phase them out as fast as possible?

100 It appears that only a lot of organizing, demonstrating and political pressure can remove the 5% limit. In the meantime, there’s a work-around: “Behind-the-meter” renewable energy. 100

101 Behind the meter: A federal law (PURPA) requires utilities to allow customers to have their own RE systems. This applies to private, institutional & government customers. It also applies to Community Energy Systems, Like KCEC’s at the Charter School. 101

102 Cases where KCEC buys wholesale electricity from a third party are not behind the meter, eg, Arrays at UNM, Rio Castillo & Blue Sky. 102

103 Behind the Meter Problems It’s limited to the amount each customer uses. Customers don’t get paid for excess production. To get to ~90% of electricity use, we’d have to get almost everyone to sign up. There’s no way to become a net producer of electricity, let alone energy. 103

104 It detracts from the local utility’s revenue. When KCEC buys from T-S and sells to us, they get a margin (profit) on each kWh. When we generate our own, they loose that income. Fortunately, Community Solar Systems can work for both customers and KCEC. 104

105 So, Behind the Meter gives us a way to promote renewable energy for the next several years, while we try to find a way out of the 5% limit. 105

106 Promote: Individual houses, Community Solar Systems, Major users: Town of Taos, Taos County, Taos Ski Valley, Schools & The Hospital 106

107 Another behind the meter idea: Electric Cars and Solar Charging Stations All-Electric & Plug-in Hybrids The PV Arrays at Kit Carson, the Eco-Park & the Charter School are designed to have 2 charging stations. Encourage the Town, County, Pueblo & Schools to purchase electric vehicles and install solar charging stations. 107

108 108

109 Meanwhile Our biggest obstacle remains Tri-State, and Behind Tri-State is 109

110 110 COAL

111 Coal’s GHG emissions are 43% of World Emissions 34% of US Emissions 43% of New Mexico’s About 80% of Tri-State’s (>70% of T-S electricity is coal-fired) 111

112 Coal harms people & the environment in various other ways, including serious health problems, especially among Navajos and other native Americans. 112

113 So, while we can make some progress in the meantime, We will have to deal with Tri-State and the coal industry. 113

114 Some Scary Numbers 565 – the maximum number of gigatons of CO 2 that would allow us to meet the IPCC goal of holding warming to 2 degrees Celsius 2795 – the gigatons in “known reserves” belonging to the big producers $30 billion/year – the budget for oil exploration Do we expect the big oil companies and countries like the US & Canada to leave that MONEY in the ground? 114

115 So Really, What is the Biggest Obstacle to Sustainability? The Fossil Fuel Industry and Their Allies Exxon, Shell and the other big extraction and refining companies Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Canada, USA, etc. The Coal-powered Utilities including Tri-State and a lot of the local utilities The Fossil Fuel Propaganda Machine 115

116 GOING FORWARD: Local: Build a coalition around KCEC, local solar companies, Town, County & Pueblo, (Green) Chamber of Commerce. Promote behind the meter solar, including Individuals Community Solar Major users 116

117 State: Join in New Mexico & Colorado to fight against coal and for renewables Shift focus from PNM only to PNM, T-S, etc. 117

118 National: Lobby for a National Energy Plan, including a Carbon Tax 118

119 119 The End Thank you

120 Notes: 120 Slide 3, Energy: From Goldemberg,, Energy for a Sustainable World, John Wiley, 1990, p. 403: Total global production: 101.7 Terawatts (TW) 100 x 10 12 W x 24 hr/day x 365 day/yr = 876 x 10 15 Wh/yr = 876 x 10 12 kWh/yr = 3.154 x 10 15 MJ/yr. 3.154 x 10 15 MJ/yr / 5,729 MJ/bbl = 550.5 x10 9 bbl of oil From BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012: One barrel of oil contains 5,7299 MJ World production of oil in the record year (2011): 83.576 million bbl/day = 30.51 x 10 9 bbl/yr

121 121 Slide 4, Material: Goldemberg, p. 403: Net Primary Productivity: 3.36 tn/ha/year x 100 ha/km 2 = 336 tn/km 2 /yr 336 tn/km 2 /yr x 510 x10 6 km 2 = 171.4 x 10 9 tn/yr US Geological Survey: stati.pdf stati.pdf, Table 9: MetalThousand tonnes Alumina 76,400 Copper 15,900 Iron ore2,240,000 Total:2,332,300 = 2.3 x 10 9 tonnes/year Slide 5, 300 million years of well developed life on earth: Wikipedia: e#Detailed_timeline e#Detailed_timeline 363 million years ago: “By the start of the Carboniferous Period, the Earth begins to be recognizable... vegetation covered the land, with seed-bearing plants and forests soon to flourish.”

122 122 Slide 7, Figure 1: After Edward J. Kormondy, Concepts of Ecology, Prentice- Hall, 1969, p. 4. Slide 17, Taos Town & County Electricity: William M. Brown III, Greenhouse Gases Emissions Profile and Forecast: Taos & Vicinity, New Mexico 2009-2030, p. 124. Slides 22 & 23, Jobs: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) models. Numbers of jobs decreased for our lower cost estimates, and for annual decreases in PV costs. Slide 23, Median Income: US Census Bureau.

123 123 Slide 25, Forests may not grow back: Dr. Craig Allen, New York Times, July 5, 2012 Slide 32, CSP figure: Ken Zweibel,, “A Solar Grand Plan,” Scientific American, Jan 2008, p. 73. Slide 34, Solar power tower photos: Spanish tower, Google Images Sandia tower, power-tower.pdf p. 2 power-tower.pdf

124 124 Slide 36, Mason’s Pueblo Study: Richard Mason, Taos Pueblo Renewable Energy Feasibility Study, Tribal Energy Program, U.S. Department of Energy, 2006 Slide 40, Geothermal & GSHP Images: Google Images Slide 37, large potential for Taos: Douglas Webb, Personal communication, 6 July 2012.

125 125 Slide 54, 5 billion tonnes of lead: Tom Murphy, A Nation-Sized Battery, The Oil Drum, This is probably an overestimate, but 1 billion tonnes for 5% of the world’s population is still way too much. Slide 61, Storage & Output: power-tower.pdf power-tower.pdf p. 8 Slide 60, Tower with storage: Slide 57, Underground storage: Ken Zweibel,, “A Solar Grand Plan,” Scientific American, Jan 2008, p. 71.

126 126 Slides 63 & 64, LA Battery: NEDOSmartGridCollaboration.aspx 010-11smartgrid%20article.pdf Slide 72: Jevons Paradox: Jevons, The Coal Question, cited in Wikipedia: Slides 79 -82, Efficiency of Lighting: William D. Nordhaus, “Do Real Output and Real Wage Measures Capture Reality,” 1992. Slides 84 & 85, EROEI: Need references for all EROEI numbers. Include Pimentel on liquid fuels from biomass.

127 127 Slide 89, PNM & T-S did so to block: Luis Reyes, Personal communication, 13 June 2012. Can make renewable too expensive: Douglas Webb, Personal communication, 6 July 2012. Slide 91, Tri-State quotation: Tri-State, Greenhouse Gas Management Roadmap, Executive Summary, Updated June 2009, p. 12 Tri-State-GHG-Roadmap_Executive-Summary.pdf Slide 96, $110 million: Luis Reyes, Personal communication, 13 June 2012. PRC & Legislature cannot intervene: Jason Marks, PRC commissioner, personal communication, 5 July 2012.

128 128 Slide 104, community solar can work for KCEC: Luis Reyes, Personal communication, 23 August 2012. Slide 111, Coal GHG stats: World: International Energy Agency, Key World Energy Statistics 2011, p. 44. US: US EPA, Trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Figure 2.6 NM: Inventory of New Mexico Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 2000 – 2007, Prepared by the New Mexico Environment Department, March 15, 2010, Table 2, p.7 T-S: >70% of electricity from coal, Ref slide 86.

129 129 Slide 114, McKibben, B., “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math,” Rolling Stone, 19 July 2012. warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719 warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

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