The POWER Podcast

The POWER Podcast

The POWER Podcast provides listeners with insight into the latest news and technology that is poised to affect the power industry. POWER’s Executive Editor Aaron Larson conducts interviews with leading industry experts and gets updates from insiders at power-related conferences and events held around the world.

Episodes

May 6, 2021 24 min
How Artificial Intelligence Is Improving the Energy Efficiency of Buildings. A lot of energy is consumed by buildings. In fact, the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonprofit energy efficiency advocacy group, says buildings account for about 40% of all U.S. energy consumption and a similar proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. Some estimates suggest about 45% of the energy used in commercial buildings is consumed by heating, ventilatio...
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Serious Power Transmission without Wires Is Closer Than You Think Most people are aware that wireless charging technology is available today for small electronic devices, such as cell phones and watches, but when it comes to larger-scale power systems, the concept of wireless transmission of electricity probably seems like science fiction. The truth, however, is that systems have been developed and are being tested that could resul...
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What’s Been Holding Hydrogen Fuel Cells Back, and How to Change That The technology used in modern hydrogen fuel cells is not new. In fact, NASA used fuel cells for its manned space missions in the 1960s. But fuel cells have not really “taken off” (pardon the pun) in earthly applications since that time. Some industry insiders believe that will change very soon. “We’ve been sort of monitoring hydrogen for a number of years and doin...
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Solar Energy in the Sunshine State: FPL Leads the Way Florida is known as “The Sunshine State,” so it’s no surprise that solar energy is growing rampantly across the state. Among the utilities adding solar resources to their energy mixes is Florida Power and Light Co. (FPL). FPL claims to be the largest energy company in the U.S. as measured by retail electricity produced and sold. The company serves more than 5.6 million customer ...
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Understanding Energy Crises of the 1970s and Avoiding Problems Today. If you were alive and living in the U.S. during the 1970s, you probably remember waiting in long lines to fill your car with fuel. Yet, gasoline wasn’t the only item in short supply during the “Me Decade”—natural gas was seemingly running out and electricity demand was growing so much that new power plants were going up all over the country. “I would argue, and I...
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Is It Safe to Invest in Mexican Energy Projects? In late 2013, Mexico embarked on a path to transform its energy markets. Then-President Enrique Peña-Nieto oversaw constitutional reforms that ended state-run monopolies, and opened Mexico’s power market to competition and investment from foreign and private companies. By most accounts, the policies were highly effective in spurring investments in renewable energy and efficient natu...
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Are 1-in-10-Year Events Really 1-in-10-Year Events Anymore? When evaluating resource adequacy requirements, many power companies and grid operators have used a methodology that originated more than 70 years ago. This probabilistic reliability approach has generally performed adequately through the years. It has generally evaluated loss-of-load events occurring at frequencies of one-day-in-10-years (1-in-10) to be acceptable in term...
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Battery Technology Used in Outer Space Could Be a Gamechanger on Earth Lithium-ion has become the dominant battery technology used in energy storage applications around the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only, or even the best, technology available. Many companies are working on different battery chemistries that could provide safer, longer-lasting, and ultimately more cost-effective options. One alternative that has gotten ...
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February 25, 2021 24 min
Hydrogen and the Energy Transition Power systems around the world are changing. Renewable energy, mainly in the form of wind and solar generation, is being added everywhere, while more traditional forms of power, such as coal-fired and nuclear generation, are being retired from the grid. Meanwhile, natural gas-fired generation has taken the lead role in facilitating the transition by providing relatively quick ramping capability an...
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Dirty Electricity, but Not the Kind You Think When most people hear the term “dirty electricity,” they probably think of power generated from sources considered more-polluting, such as coal, natural gas, or other fossil fuels. However, Satic Inc., an electronics manufacturer and professional engineering firm based in Missoula, Montana, says electricity in homes and businesses is filled with “electrical pollution” that is not necess...
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Is Nuclear Power Poised for a Resurgence? Since 1990, nuclear power has consistently supplied about 19% to 20% of the electricity used in the U.S. However, very few nuclear plants have been added to the U.S. fleet over that time. Currently, the only nuclear project in the U.S. is Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle expansion, which is expected to add two new reactors to the grid by the end of next year. Still, there are 50 reactors und...
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Bigelow Tea Enhances Sustainability with a Vehicle-to-Grid System Sustainability is a buzzword that’s being bantered about up and down Wall Street, and corporate leaders have taken notice. Many companies have adopted environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, which are often tied to sustainability goals. In some cases, the pressure to do so has come from customers and/or investors, but in others, CEOs and boards are s...
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January 21, 2021 21 min
Is a Microgrid Right for You? A microgrid is a discrete energy system consisting of distributed energy resources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, backup generators, and battery storage systems, and loads capable of operating in parallel with, or independently from, the main power grid. A microgrid generally operates while connected to the grid, but importantly, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy resourc...
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Enhancing Operations and Maintenance with an EAM System Enterprise asset management (EAM) involves a combination of software, systems, and services that are used to maintain and control operational assets and equipment. The aim is to optimize the quality and utilization of assets throughout their lifecycle, increase uptime, and reduce costs. EAM involves work management; asset maintenance; planning and scheduling; supply chain mana...
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Improving Asset Inspections with Drones and AI The U.S. bulk electric system consists of more than 360,000 miles of transmission lines, including approximately 180,000 miles of high-voltage lines, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means power companies have a lot on their plates when it comes to inspecting and maintaining those assets. Furthermore, the stakes are high. As wildfires in California and elsewhere have sh...
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Engineering Technicians and Technologists Are an Important Industry Pillar According to Cheryl Farrow, CEO of the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), there are three basic pillars that make up the engineering field. They are licensed engineers, technicians and technologists, and skilled trades. “We can't be successful without all three of these pillars working together effectivel...
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A Hopeful Narrative for the Nuclear Industry Although there is only one nuclear power plant construction project in progress today in the U.S., that doesn’t mean the nuclear industry has gone dormant. A lot of research and development are ongoing, and the federal government is putting millions of dollars behind some of the efforts. The Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program “The Department of Energy’s [DOE’s] Advanced Reactor Demon...
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Could Geothermal Energy Become the ‘Sexy’ Renewable? Geothermal is an often-overlooked and even disregarded renewable energy resource. While new wind and solar energy projects garner headlines nearly every day, geothermal is rarely sighted in news feeds. However, that could change in the future. One company that has made progress on new geothermal technology is GreenFire Energy. In June, the company completed the world’s first fiel...
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Clean Energy Tech Company Offers Customers Renewable Options There is a growing trend toward clean energy around the world. A number of high-profile companies, including Google, Apple, Walmart, and more than 260 others, have set 100% renewable electricity goals, and power companies, too, have joined in the movement, with many targeting net-zero emissions in coming decades. However, most consumers have found it more difficult to sou...
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Developments in Offshore Wind Technology By some estimates, offshore wind energy has the potential to deliver 18 times the current global electricity demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said offshore wind power could develop into a $1 trillion industry over the next two decades, so there’s obviously a lot of growth potential around the world. While the cost for offshore wind projects is currently higher than onshore s...
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