The flight “dilemma”

As an international sales manager I have to travel within Europe and Africa regularly… This means a lot of air travel.

So, the dilemma I face is;

While I work to make SDG7 a reality by making grids smarter and greener, at the same time I have a huge carbon footprint by flights.

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I know many other people have this “flight dilemma”, do you?

This issue is also related to SDG13 (Urgent action to combat climate change).* How? Sigue leyendo

7 Terms to avoid if you need to discuss renewables

Do you find yourself discussing about Renewable Generation Technologies often?

This post can help you avoid incorrect expressions!

You might well agree that renewables are changing rapidly. Technology has not only become more competitive, but has also solved many issues or challenges that simply are not applicable today.

So, the language we use for evolving technology has to evolve too, right?

Image by Daino_16 on freeimages

Image by Daino_16 on freeimages

1. Expensive

There certainly are some expensive renewable technologies, and certainly expensive renewable projects.

But in general, Sigue leyendo

Offshore wind to float

In a recent article published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, the challenges for the future of off-shore wind were discussed, considering Spain as a case.

The need for floating structures is a clear cornerstone for the development of off-shore wind in countries like Spain, where swallow waters are not convenient or restricted.

The development of these technologies to a commercial level will bridge the difference from on-shore connected windpower and off-shore or off-grid generation. Energy harvesting as discussed in this post with multi-use offshore platforms can be envisioned as a next step.

Picture from Yarik Mishin on freeimages.com

Picture from Yarik Mishin on freeimages.com

Excluding the technological and environmental challenges, there are other hurdles.

As it is highlighted usually, the unstable regulatory framework causes a lack of interest for investment, specially if paired with complicated administrative procedures.

The sustainable Matrix

Disclaimer: This is a forward looking post where I’m not using scientific research. Instead it’s  hypothetical and can be found unrealistic. However, I find it worth to share to imagine a possible future.

For sure you have seen the Matrix, but probably long ago. Watching it again in 2016 made me think about the future of sustainable energy, artificial intelligence and Virtual reality.

What if the Matrix was not conceived to harvest human energy (which has no sense as an energy cycle) but to reduce the energy consumption of humanity and maximize the number of humans?

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Imagen from Xaver trokis in freeimages.com

I’m convinced that we will live in abundant energy in the near future, and possibly with the harnessing of fusion, this will be even more. The problem will not be energy but other more limited resources such as food and water, if more than 100 billion humans are to live in the planet.

Will it be necessary to create a matrix, where we live in virtual reality, but consume the minimum water and food per human? Would that be necessarily a choice for each individual to live in the virtual reality / simulation, instead of real live with restricted access to resources?

If the goal of the human species is to multiply and increase species resilience by becoming interplanetary, virtual reality life paired with lowest resource consumption can allow to live in the mind and multiply anywhere.

In fact, if Artificial Intelligence has the goal of maximizing the number of humans, that is the path we might take, don’t you think?

Regarding interplanetary travel, it might be the solution for several generations to travel while living in virtual reality, until another livable planet 1000 years apart is reached.

However, this theory could be completely wrong if there is an evolution towards cyborg humans where minds become artificial and undying…

NZEB + EV: The decarb combo

Are you aware of these stats?

  1. Buildings account for 40 % of energy consumption and 36 % of energy emissions (EU data)
  2. Road transport accounts for 25 % of energy consumption and 20 % of energy emissions (EU data and EU stats)

Then, what happens when we combine NZEB buildings (net Zero Energy Buildings) with local renewable generation and EVs (Electric Vehicles) charging in these NZEB?

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It’s obvious… -> We can decarbonize 65 % of the energy system!* Sigue leyendo

The battery gap

I explained to a friend this week my concept of “battery gap”.

He thinks batteries will not “be enough”, are “too far away” and “too expensive” for grid energy storage… Well, we’ve heard that old story before.

We heard that old belief that solar energy would never be competitive or only represent a small portion of energy generation, right? Or the one that grids had an inherent limit for absorbing renewable power (yes, some people once said it was 15%) Or that to reach a high degree of renewable penetration, the land use would not leave space to grow food… And such.

Well, the DOE has published an update on the accelerated escalation of LEDs, wind, solar, EVs and batteries. The graphs and the facts are impressive.

The difference in price for renewable energy Vs conventional grows quickly. So there is growing “space” to pay for energy storage. We could represent as follows: Sigue leyendo

How to crowdfund unsubsidized solar

This solar power plant is an important milestone in Spain!

Since April this year, the new 2 MW crowdfunded solar park in Spain from Som Energía has been producing power. It is unique because it has no subsidies and because the energy is sold to the retail cooperative, so the price is supplied at cost* to the investors.

Image Share by Som Energía from Alcolea plan

Image Shared by Som Energía from Alcolea plan

I’m proud of having participated in this project. It’s sustainable, doesn’t need subsidies and also a good investment. The funding will be returned with no interest, but the benefit is through the reduced energy costs in the retail monthly invoice.

Living in a flat with little space for solar panels, I find it very difficult and inefficient to install one or a couple of self-consumption solar panels. So this is a natural option, to team-up with other people to own together renewable power generation. And it avoids facing the so-called tax on the sun (discussed some time ago here).

Of course there are other investment options like Yieldcos (I have shares from Saeta Yield myself). Or simply buying 100% renewable electricity from the retailer. But helping build this small project with a cooperative feels closer to owning the plant. And power generation not only owned by big corporations is also positive, as has been the case in Germany. We can say it’s a good example of the sharing economy, too…

What other options do you see to participate as an individual in the energy transition?

*Actual calculation is 36 €/MWh, which means 6 €/MWh below the market before taxes and network charges.