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 5, 2022 14 min
“Wyoming is the energy state,” Scott Quillinan, senior director of research for the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming, said as a guest on The POWER Podcast. “Our mission here at the School of Energy Resources is energy-driven economic development for the state of Wyoming. … We support the energy industry here through academic programs, research programs, and outreach and engagement.” One of the School of Energ...
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Some cybersecurity experts believe hackers pose a greater threat than ever to power plants and electric grids. Much of the operational technology (OT) used in power stations and throughout the grid was installed at a time when cybersecurity was more of an afterthought than a focal point in the design process. Furthermore, the pool of bad actors has grown increasingly large and complex, including nation states, activist groups, orga...
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Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are often installed to protect critical equipment and loads from power outages, and other voltage and current problems. Many UPS systems continuously regulate the input power, thereby maintaining a constant and uniform supply of electricity. UPS systems are typically used on computer hardware or other equipment where an unexpected power disruption could cause fatalities, serious business d...
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Hydrogen is widely seen as a vital component in efforts to decarbonize the world’s power supply. One example of this is a strategy being piloted by at least a couple of major gas turbine manufacturers, which involves storing “green hydrogen” produced through electrolysis using excess wind or solar power when renewable energy supplies exceed grid demand. Then, when the tables turn and demand exceeds renewable energy supplies, the ca...
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Tuesday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. One woman who has achieved great success is Amani al Hosani, a nuclear engineer in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “I was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. I got my bachelor in science in chemical engineering from UAE University, and then worked in the oi...
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Many power companies have been facing challenges when trying to attract high-quality recruits in the increasingly competitive labor market for engineers and other workers with technical backgrounds This podcast touches on one place qualified candidates can be found to fill some of those high-tech positions—the military. This episode includes input from William Newell, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Will recently transitio...
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Many experts believe hydrogen holds great promise as a clean energy resource that can help nations achieve carbon-free goals. Green hydrogen, which is made from water through electrolysis powered by renewable energy, could be used to decarbonize a wide range of hard-to-abate industries, including petrochemical, cement, and steel, which often require high temperatures and combustion that cannot be achieved with standard wind and sol...
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In February 2021, a severe cold weather event, known as Winter Storm Uri, caused numerous power outages, derates, or failures to start at electric generating plants scattered across Texas and the south-central U.S. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the power supply for about 90% of the load in Texas, ordered a total of 20,000 MW of rolling blackouts in an effort to prevent grid collapse. According to ...
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There are countless risks associated with power plant operations. For example, the risk of equipment failure is present in virtually every power plant system. In some cases, the risk is very low and could even be inconsequential. In others, it’s much higher and could be catastrophic, not only to plant operation, but also to the health and safety of workers. Understanding where the greatest risks lie and acting to reduce the likelih...
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Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts are factoring into merger and acquisition (M&A) deal activity within the power and utilities sector across North America, according to a report issued by PwC, a professional services firm serving the “Trust Solutions and Consulting Solutions” segments. “As policies are clarified and ESG strategies are strengthened, broad investor interest should continue to grow” in 2022, the ...
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New distributed energy resources (DERs) are being added to the power grid every day. However, DERs don’t automatically provide owners with the greatest value possible. In many cases, that requires the help of an aggregator, that is, a company that specializes in managing DERs owned by a pool of clients and optimizing performance of the overall system based on real-time signals coming from the wholesale power markets. “Wholesale ele...
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What is a microreactor and why would you want one? The definition could be debated, but nuclear reactors in the 1 MW to 20 MW range generally fit the bill, and there are countless possible applications for the technology. “This could be used for disaster relief. This could be used for mines, remote communities—on a 24/7 basis. It can be used for data centers, industrial plants—anyone that wants to be off the grid, even though maybe...
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The optimal grease to use in power plant equipment is rarely contemplated by people other than truly dedicated operations and maintenance managers, and the workers on their teams who feel the pain when a piece of equipment breaks down due to inadequate lubrication. Yet, for those individuals, the choice of which grease to use in a component is an important decision. Selecting the right option could not only save energy, but also ex...
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There is a common misperception that “green energy” appeals mostly to liberals. However, at least some of the facts don’t support that view. A case in point can be found in the rooftop solar sector. “It’s not Republican or Democratic. It’s really American. It’s free enterprise,” Jayson Waller, founder and CEO of POWERHOME SOLAR, said as a guest on The POWER Podcast. POWERHOME SOLAR does business in 15 states—some red and some blue—...
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Fusion occurs when two atoms slam together to form a heavier atom, such as when two hydrogen atoms fuse to form one helium atom. A tremendous amount of energy is released in the process. This is the same process that powers the sun. In the sun's core, where temperatures reach 15,000,000C, hydrogen atoms are in a constant state of agitation. As they collide at very high speeds, the natural electrostatic repulsion that exists bet...
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Nuclear power opponents often point to radioactive waste as one of their main concerns. However, most people don’t realize that problems associated with long-lived waste can actually be solved in an economic way with technology that’s already well-proven. Long-lived actinides can be “burned” in a thorium molten salt reactor (MSR), or a breeder reactor. They do not burn fast, but in this way, it is possible to convert the most probl...
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Experts claim power grid infrastructure needs to be upgraded to accommodate the vast amount of renewable energy expected to be added to the system in coming decades. That could require billions of dollars in investments, millions of hours of planning and permitting work, and years of construction in the field. Another option that could help is to optimize existing grid components. While increasing the capacity of present power line...
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Insiders have long been talking about the energy transition taking place within the power industry. Most of the chatter has revolved around renewable energy, specifically wind and solar power, and the shift from coal- to gas-fired generation in the U.S. However, one expert from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) told POWER that carbon capture and hydrogen are the “most exciting” technologies he sees impacting the energy s...
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Is America Ready to Take a ‘Baby Step’ Toward Carbon Pricing? Most people recognize that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas (GHG), and while not everyone agrees, a majority of climate scientists believe increasing GHG concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere are causing climate change. Carbon pricing is a market-based strategy for reducing CO2 emissions. The goal of carbon pricing schemes is to place a value on carbon emissio...
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3D printing is a process used to create an object by sequentially adding build material in successive cross-sections, one stacked upon another. It is a form of additive manufacturing. Once considered more of a novelty, 3D printing has evolved into an incredibly valuable production method used to create very intricate designs, including gas turbine components such as combustors. “We see a lot of activity and creative designs in the ...
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