Upcycling sun-tennas

The following picture was taken in Casablanca from the Kenzi Tower one month ago. It isn’t the best example, though, for example, in Cairo, it strikes more to the eye.

What do you see?…

Antenas techo

Actually, there are approximately 200 TV antennas on the roof-tops. Let’s zoom in a bit:

Antennas 25 In this portion, corresponding to one building alone, you have around 25 units.

With the advent of cable television, wireless video streaming and other technology, these antennas could soon become stranded assets in many countries. Imagine how many could be left useless and need recycling. While thinking about asset utilization and the sharing economy, I couldn’t help but think:

What can they be used for instead?… Sigue leyendo

From 0 to 5-star Microgrids

Every building, office or home is a microgrid.

The question is, how good a microgrid do you want it to be?

Here is a simple 5-star rating for microgrids, an approach for anyone to understand;

You get one star for adding each of the following technologies:

1. Control

2. Generation

3. Electric Vehicle charging

4. Energy Storage

5. Microgrid Islanding functionality

Star Microgrid

A normal 0-star microgrid is a conventional building or home, with no automation or else.

It happens you upgraded your home and installed a smart thermostat for electric heating/cooling? Sigue leyendo

Hot. Classic. ConvertEV

The beauty of many classics is appreciated by almost anyone. Even a 5 year-old child has no problem admiring the lines of an old sportscar…


To keep these hot rides running, when the old engine is hardly repairable, there is an option; to make them electric.

There are at the moment some start-ups focused in EV conversion, as Zelectric motors, specialized in converting classics to electric, for example the VW Bug. Another example are the conversion kits from EV West, allowing individuals to convert the vehicles.

Here in Spain we have Jofemar’s Hidronew Project. And they have proven in EV competitions that their converted vehicles are fast.


Although with an electric drivetrain these models are more environmental friendly and have the old beauty and the new efficiency, it’s true that losing the original engine and noise is like tearing the soul of these cars. That’s why i’m in favor of converting the vehicles when the original engine can no longer be repaired as original.


As car workshops get used to EV maintenance and repair (simpler than internal combustion drivetrains) the conversions will grow, adding EV units by reusing old cars instead of building from scratch.

I’m sure this is going to get more and more common, converting an old car will get less expensive and it may become the cheapest (and coolest) way of owning an EV.

La única solución al déficit de tarifa y alguna propuesta más

Tras leer el útlimo post de Jorge Morales, estoy de acuerdo en que lo fundamental es proponer soluciones, no sólo criticar la mala política energética. Me animo a recoger algunas reflexiones personales que aunque no pretenden ahondar en todo, al menos me mojaré un poco proponiendo soluciones.

Un tema fundamental sobre el que hacer propuestas es en mi opinión el déficit de tarifa, pues es la preocupación política principal. Para resolverlo, opino que deben darse soluciones a la sostenibilidad actual del sistema sin utilizar parches injustos, retroactivos o indiscriminados. En esto supongo que estamos todos de acuerdo, incluso los que los han utilizado, pues no los consideran como tales.

Realmente hay varias soluciones, muchas serían también atajos injustos, que incluso pueden defender partidos de moda ahora, por ejemplo, expropiar las nucleares e hidroeléctricas, o las redes de distribución, nacionalizándolas por el “bien común” (Es curioso que expropiación suena tan fuerte como sonaba legislación retroactiva hasta hace poco…), multar a las grandes compañías con un importe equivalente al déficit de tarifa por prácticas oligopolísticas…  Por otro lado, opciones como subir el precio, hasta donde sea necesario (que además es la palanca mas potente para fomentar la eficiencia energética), no las defenderá ningún partido. Voy a defender aquí la única opción que yo veo (querido lector, si tiene una solución mejor, por favor responda a este post)

Si el consumo eléctrico creciera lo suficiente, se podrían cubrir los costes del sistema con los precios actuales, verdad? Sigue leyendo

II Congreso Smart Grids, Madrid

Organizado por: Grupo Tecmared, Futured, AFME, Promovido por Eseficiencia y Esmartcity

Lugar y fecha: Ifema Madrid, 27-28 de Octubre 2014

Web del congreso: http://www.congreso-smartgrids.es/


Para este evento, presentaba desde ABB un artículo sobre rehabilitación energética orientada a tecnologías smartgrid. Tecnologías como el autoconsumo, los sistemas de automatización de edificios o los puestos de carga de vehículo eléctrico en parking de edificios de oficinas. Como ya he discutido anteriormente en el blog, la automatización de edificios es una de las mejores inversiones en smart grids. El ejemplo del edificio de ABB en Madrid, con estas tecnologías implementadas recientemente sirvió como muestra de los impactos positivos de eficiencia energética.

El artículo está colgado online en el siguiente link.

Demand energy policy Vs supply; the Saudi Case

In my opinion, there is no better example of where demand energy policy is pivotal than in the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

In KSA, peak demand is expected to nearly triple from 44 GW in 2010, up to 121 GW, in 2035 (Source: ECRA 2010). This is, of course, with the actual demand patterns and expected growth.

The supply energy policy takes these predictions as valid and focuses in covering the expected demand. How is it planned in the KSA case? By building 41 GW solar plants and 21 GW of nuclear, geothermal and waste-to-energy (source: KACARE, Saudi Solar Energy forum 2012). The lead time for building the capacity (specially in the case of nuclear) is difficult to synchronize with the aggregate demand behavior, and there can be frictions. An example of supply energy policy going wrong is that of Spain, where current excess power generation capacity has been (mainly) a consequence of decreasing demand opposed to predicted growth.

However, if we take a look at the demand (source: Saudi HVAC confex), the HVAC represents more than 70% of electricity consumption.

Cooling % in KSA

Given the importance of HVAC, we might agree that the first Saudi HVAC conference, should have taken place sooner than start of this year (February 2013) www.saudihvacconfex.com

Demand energy policy focuses, instead of building GWs of nuclear power to generate, transport, distribute and transform into cooling, in reducing the expected growth in demand. Solutions are building retrofits, HVAC efficiency improvements, renewable self-consumption, solar cooling, etc. Deferred investments in generating capacity are the best return on investment for these energy efficiency and demand response measures.

In fact, during the recent WEC (World Energy Congress), the SEC  Eng. Ali Saleh Al Barrak, President and CEO , highlighted the building retrofit as offering the biggest opportunities. That’s not only true for KSA, Spain, again an example, has a great opportunity in building retrofits to improve energy efficiency and reactivate the building industry.

Moreover, a 2012 paper on efficiency measures, described the opportunity for the future of the KSA, both on supply and demand:


In short, both demand and supply policies have to be considered, but in my opinion, demand measures are more sustainable, more efficient, faster to deploy and have a better return on investment. We’ll see what Saudi does…

Building the Smart Grid bottom-up

I strongly support the democratization of energy, understood as the access to energy for all and the open participation of the people in the energy market, for example by generating energy for self-consumption or through energy cooperatives. (I already posted on this subject here)

I see energy independence is of less importance. Having energy inter-dependencies with other countries may be positive. As an example, electric grid interconnections, even if they meant energy dependence, are built for increased efficiency and optimized use of generation assets. Increasing the interconnection of France and Spain, would increase competition and efficiency, although it could lead to greater inter-dependence. How about islands interconnections? That makes them dependent on the mainland, but energy less costly, more reliable and allowing greater renewable penetration.

Democratization gives an additional momentum to any change, with this I mean, once some technology market is democratized, accessible to all, and each individual can invest in it, the speed of it’s implementation and development is exponential. An example that anyone can understand is the development of apps for mobile devices.

In the energy industry, the democratization of power generation is mainly due to solar power. Germany has built more than 30 GW of solar power plants, thanks to individuals and cooperatives, not concentrated by traditional big utilities and concentrated power plants, now more decentralized.

Ulm church bottom up (tallest church in the world, built by the citizens of Ulm), by Szeder László (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Ulm church bottom up (tallest church in the world, built by the citizens of Ulm), by Szeder László (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

On this subject I wrote an article for Energética s.XXI on their international publication July-August. Individuals not only can have important effects on the grid, they have also have the responsibility to act with sustainability and energy efficiency.

Smart grids have brought the prosumer, as part of a more democratized system where the consumer can also be a producer of energy and participate in the energy market. Building rehabilitation, making homes prosumer microgrids increases the efficiency, the reliability, the sustainability, the security of supply and is also has a very good return on investment. (An example I also wrote about is the V2H business case, part of these home microgrids)

A widespread implementation of smart homes as microgrids would build a smart grid, from the bottom up, from where the energy is consumed, but with effects on the whole grid and energy landscape.