Capacity first?

…then Reliability, then Efficiency?

Developing an electrical network is a question of priorities. As is developing anything I guess… Which priorities do you think are most important?

You probably agree that the first step in building an electrical system is bringing access to electricity to most of the population, right?

Capacity to efficiency

This might seem solved, but in reality, access to electricity is still far from being universal. Still 1,2 billion people don’t have access to electricity. It’s in fact part of sustainable development goal 7, and, actually, the road to SDG7 is the road to Energythaca.

While building additional lines and power generation units to solve access to electricity, the values of reliability and efficiency are normally not on the top of mind for system planning. What if access to electricity is provided by renewable microgrids, would values like reliability and energy efficiency be achieved at the same time? Sigue leyendo

Spot the solar plant!

Time for a a game?

Now, let’s see, have a look at the following picture and try to find the solar plant:


Found it? Sigue leyendo

Climate change change management

There is a lot of discussion on how to convince governments, companies and public opinion of the risks of climate change and the need to change the way we live to curb emissions. Changing doesn’t mean living worse, but the focus has to be put on the increase in well-being, progress, prosperity, instead of growth, and these positive consequences of the needed evolution have to be highlighted.

In fact, sometimes it looks like scientists are almost alone on this quest (convincing of the need to change). Besides, if it is the United Nations who should be the leading player, is it too weak to really drive world policy?

My opinion is that the change management on climate change can be improved. It’s all about managing as best as possible the change needed to limit climate change. (Yes, this sounds very redundant…) We need to change for the climate not to change too much, we need to do it fast and do it well (as Ban Ki-moon said recently, time is not on our side).

Be the change

Collage with images from, wikimedia commons, Ghandi statue picture from Victor Oliveira and bed from Cieleke at (*)

Let’s have a look at change management models for how we can do that:

Sigue leyendo

Movilidad eléctrica interurbana – Artículo

Recientemente publicaron un artículo parte de mi doctorado, algo que llevaba intentando desde hace tiempo y que aprovecho para explicar también en el blog.

El artículo completo está disponible en la red en open access.

El ejercicio de investigación que planteamos consistió en elaborar un método para planificar la infraestructura de movilidad eléctrica interurbana.

Source:, Axonite (

Source:, Axonite (

¿Qué quiere decir esto? Significa determinar cuantas “electrolineras”,

Sigue leyendo

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)

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…