GEARED is working to attract and train the next generation of engineering professionals who will drive innovations our grid operations. GEARED also provides updated systems integration training for existing power systems professionals who are facing a rapidly changing U. GEARED also developed nearly new power systems engineering curricula elements, which tackle topics like how to define smart grids and how to build and operate electric grid systems that will be able to accommodate increased levels of distributed energy production.
Each year, GEARED sponsors a national student-centered research conference where student leaders review technical posters and academic research. In October , the U. The Blue Collar and Green Collar Jobs bill looks to tackle that challenge by providing inclusive support to groups of people that have too often been left out of the transition to a 21 st Century energy economy.
The bill would create a nationwide energy workforce development program to invest in improved education and training for energy-related industries. The program would focus on institutions and employers that recruit religious and ethnic minorities, women, veterans, individuals with disabilities, socioeconomically disadvantaged persons, current and former foster children, formerly incarcerated individuals, and unemployed energy workers.
Individuals in these groups have often not had access to the training for positions in these fields — and as a result have not had access to higher paying jobs. The version of the bill advanced by the committee provides support to prospective workers across the full range of the 21 st century energy economy. The Alliance is especially encouraged by the support provided to employers and workers in the energy efficiency industry, including jobs in the construction and design of new energy-efficient buildings, weatherization, retrofitting, inspecting, auditing, and software development.
A proper model for achieving this goal would be a very large undertaking, the sort of thing that should be done by a team of experts with a budget.
Is anybody at the Department of Energy listening? But I can identify some key pathways that are, in my estimation, no-brainers. Because the solutions going forward will be quite different for each country, I will limit my recommendations to the US.
Solar energy could turn the Belt and Road Initiative green
Rail should be Priority 1, and should be granted the largest portion of public funding. Utility scale projects like giant solar farms in the desert and giant wind farms in the Midwest or offshore all face serious hurdles in siting, permitting, environmental impact, and transmission capability. Rooftop photovoltaic PV solar systems face no such issues and can be deployed right now, building capacity incrementally over time. Since reconfiguring our urban topology around transit and deploying light rail will take decades, we will need some transitional solutions that still allow us to get around in cars for a good many years.
Most of the efficiency gains we can make are thermal: reducing the energy it takes to heat and cool buildings.
An interview with James Fenton
We'll need large solar plants across the Southwest, and huge wind farms in the Midwest and offshore. The good news is that we already have most of the technologies we need in this area. All that we lack is the will and the funding to put it in place. If we back off too much too soon from oil and gas production, it could leave us without adequate or reasonably priced fuel to accomplish this transformation, and sink the entire effort. This post originally appeared on GetRealList , and has been reprinted with permission. We should begin as quickly as possible with light urban rail, and work over the next 40 years to build a comprehensive high-speed long-distance rail system.
Rail is by far the most efficient form of overland transportation we know, and moving people out of their cars and freight off the roads will yield real and immediate savings in liquid fuel consumption.
Not only will this help alleviate America's need for rapidly declining oil exports, it is a proven, fairly low-tech, sustainable and workable solution that would allow renewably generated electricity to be phased in over time with minimal disruption. Rooftop PV also has a capital advantage. Whereas utility-scale solar and wind projects need to secure large power purchase agreements in order to raise enormous amounts of capital that will be tied up for decades, small rooftop PV systems are purchased outright by the end-users, assisted by ratepayer-funded incentive systems.
Simply getting projects done is considerably easier. From a funding perspective, rooftop PV is arguably one of the easiest sources we can develop, and options are proliferating. Cities like Berkeley and San Jose are offering municipal bonds to finance local projects, which keeps the financing small, local, and low-risk. Third-party financing companies are springing up all over the country, making it possible for home and business owners to put solar on their roofs with no out-of-pocket expenses and pay them off at the same rates or less than they're already paying to utilities, with nearly zero risk to all parties.
End-users enjoy an additional benefit of having a known, fixed cost for their future power, even as fossil fuel prices skyrocket.
Energy and environment in 21st century India
Another very important advantage is that rooftop PV is distributed , which contributes to the resiliency and robustness of the grid. In most modern neighborhoods, no grid upgrading is needed to support rooftop solar systems. More distributed power generation also means fewer points of failure: a cloud over here is compensated by clear sky one mile away.
It also enables micro-islanding , which would allow most of the grid to stay up when there is an outage, instead of taking vast chunks of the country's grid down along with it as we have seen in the recent past. Utilities also win with rooftop PV, because it means they don't have to spend an enormous amount of effort and money in search of enough clean, green kilowatt-hours to meet their renewable portfolio standards, nor spend it on beefing up their grids.
Renewables Global Status Report
It essentially costs utilities zero to take up energy produced this way; in fact it can be a net benefit to them because the homeowner ends up paying for the new smart meters they plan to deploy across their grids anyway at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. Feed-in tariffs FiTs that pay a premium for kilowatt-hours generated by rooftop PV have been employed with great and immediate success in Germany and Japan, to the point where both programs will be largely phased out within the first decade.
go Support for a national FiT in the US is still weak, but I believe it could become a reality if the public were educated about the success it has enjoyed elsewhere in the world. All-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are a two-fer: They can take advantage of growing renewable electricity supply, and they can function as a giant, distributed battery for intermittent renewable sources using vehicle-to-grid V2G technology.
In time, V2G could provide the final link that allows renewable energy to fully displace fossil fuels.
We will need to begin building the electric vehicle charging infrastructure as quickly as possible to accommodate these new vehicles, but it needn't be any more complicated than deploying a new row of parking meters. This I think is a good and proper use of public funding. The automakers themselves should be able to find adequate funding via the private sector, with perhaps a modicum of federal support for research to jump start next-generation development of batteries and propulsion systems.