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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Smart Energy Use Close To Home

There is no reason why distributed RE cannot be baseload, dispatchable power. All that is required is cost-effective, no-maintenance, efficient electrical energy storage that can be part of a smart grid intertied system.

There already is such storage in the form of economically scalable lithium-titanate battery systems. A recent 2 MW installation was reported at $0.50 per nominal kwHr. But with a reported 15,000 deep cycles for this technology at 90%+ throughput efficiency, this translates to costing about 3-4 cents a kilowatt hour stored, a fraction of the current standard of high-maintenance flooded lead acid batteries which run $0.15+ per kwHr stored.

This would indicate that only financing to ramp up production (which would also reduce costs) of these batteries and the development of mass-produced distributed energy appliances that are cheap to install and have no or low maintenance is what stands in the way. Although mismanagement could also factor in.

This is not a lifestyle choice it is a rational economic choice. It is also a choice which can maintain our lifestyle without wrecking our habitat. If you simply put in RE and allow the continuing incredible waste of energy, nothing gets solved. This means put the knowledge and control at the point of use.