Micro – Urban Infrastructure
Blending Predictions With Planning in 2017
Mapping Power Customers From Highly Blueprinted Micro Grids.
Aligning Manufacturing Companies With Advanced Building Trade Sectors.
The Public Utility Market Meets The Private Mortgage Industry.
Mapping Power Customers From Highly Blueprinted Micro Grids.
What will determine the make up of a broad range of energy fields in 2017?
Will the structural blueprinting that has taken place in numerous energy sectors over the course of the last several years finally enable the masses to benefit from the technologies developed for the masses?
Does the year 2017 have a particular relevance to the inoculation of these technologies into our entire industrial economy?
For some very odd reason, the year of 2017 does seem to have a certain sense of urgency attached to it. If for no other reason than it signifies the first year in many that hopelessly over educated Democrats are no longer in control of any aspect of our federal government and we have a president who seems to have been educated solely on the concept of business belligerency, 2017 appears to be the year from which all concepts of energy management, all concepts of environmental stewardship and all theories of economic development as that development pertains to rebuilding all aspects of our nation’s power, transportation and financial infrastructure must come to some rather obvious and fluid form of manifestation.
In other words, 2017 does seem to be the year that all talk finally stops and progress by leaps and bounds finally smothers the mouths of a small army of babbling idiots who have attempted to rule our economy much more by a hopelessly detached sense of fantasy rather than a purposefully functioning model of full energy interactivity. Yes, 2017 is the year to which we all now turn to to cognitively embrace the fully attainable notion of building a nation of fully integrated micro-grids. As it is and anyone who has been working in the fields mentioned above is chomping at the bit to finally take the ball and run with it, key elements of key industries remain somewhat disconnected from one another. Because of this, even though 2017 will clearly be a year of enormous progress in several energy sectors, the underlying blueprint from which all energy sectors can effectively and fluidly commingle remains somewhat sketchy.
For those of you who have followed my writing on the subject of total urban planning over the course of the last eight years, you will note that my continued emphasis on the clear and cohesive development of regional based model building codes from which every other form of economic structural retooling must occur, remains the benchmark of my theory. In essence, and, quite simply, neither an individual homeowner, a municipality, a public utility, a public or private transportation entity or even a kid on a simple bicycle can benefit financially from the development of a truly advanced energy infrastructure model if the houses we live in are not governed by a set of building codes that ultimately determine the economic livelihood of the occupants living in that house.
Having said the above, this essay revues the writings of several people in key energy sectors who have made predictions for and are bringing forward plans to continue to grow the technologies that represent their particular energy field in 2017. With the purpose of doing so being to point out what I consider to be certain flaws in either the theory or the blueprint for the execution of the theory associated with a particular technology, this essay is not meant to attack the methodology of a given energy expert as much as it is to bring forth a that much more substantial discussion as to how a given technology could be integrated into the whole of our emerging national micro-grid model even further if the technology of one energy sector were fully wedded to the technology of another energy sector, or, even more so, how the technology of one energy sector could enable an entirely separate green industry to unfold by connecting seemingly unconnected dots from several sectors together to form new urban industrial economic links in the process.
I am going to start this essay looking at the development of solar roofing shingles and the larger concept of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) . In my view, the solar roofing energy product sector has in particular the potential to become a rather significant economic link to a wide array of seemingly unrelated industrial functions as those functions do, in and of themselves address key elements of energy use management that would more than likely not be considered as related to the solar industry, but, in fact are. As it is important to note here that solar in general has somewhat of an awkward fit into today’s traditional energy grid and that awkwardness points primarily to the fact that solar only produces power during the day when in many cases demand is less, storing that power for evening use (in particular for residential applications) is today in 2017 considered to being the key to the successful integration of solar on a widespread community by community micro-grid level. As such, addressing the peripheral economic relationships the solar roofing shingle should have with the entirety of the roofing industry is the key.
With the advent of the advanced technology solar roofing shingle, one thing in particular has the potential to occur to the whole of the roofing industry. That one thing is the high level of customization required of each individual roof within a community micro-architectural cluster of homes that occupy the geographical footprint of a predetermined community solar grid. A case in point here is the customization of one particular roof that can be retrofitted to within a specific square foot percentage to actually house solar roofing shingles on it. As the solar shingle capacity of that one roof has been predetermined by the accurately engineered solar energy need and production capacity of every home within a predetermined cluster of homes, the determination of both solar generation and storage along with monitored consumption and disbursement has also been determined. Thus any given house on any given block within any given micro solar grid framework already has a list of solar assets attached to it’s energy grid participation index EGPI (if you will). Grasping the concept of a given homes EGPI then is crucial to understanding the relationship the solar roofing shingle has with the roofing industry as well as any other solar technology that may or may not be placed upon a roof or attached to the whole architectural footprint of a home within a whole community solar micro-grid of equally assessed homes.
If it is known that only 400 square feet of a 4,000 square foot roof surface can be dedicated to solar generation, it is then, also known that the remainder of that roof surface has to be covered by materials designed to capture passive solar daily heat gain via engineered heat storage and then disperse that heat gain evenly throughout the evening when solar electric storage is also being dispersed. As the combination of roofing materials is then the perfect medium from which solar energy is optimized, it is as well the perfect medium for economic growth in several industrial sectors that without such a comprehensive dialogue would not have the potential for long term economic growth if in fact they were viewed as either separate or competing industrial entities. Thus, as a result of this holistic solar engineering, a significant percentage of traditional American roofs currently covered in non organic and energy efficient petroleum based roofing shingles that have little to nothing whatsoever to do with anything even remotely associated with solar energy or the economy forming around placement of solar, the symbiotic relationship between the combination of passive solar heat gain and storage and active solar electrical energy gain and storage begins to merge quite smoothly with what obviously is the same industrial evolution taking place in the non fuel based production of advanced energy roofing systems.
While all of this is quite fascinating in theory, the fact of the matter is that neither the roofing industry nor the solar industry will find any significant form of long term sustainability in terms of overall economic growth until what it is I have described above is indeed put into practice. As both of these industries are essentially universally connected to one another, that connectivity goes even farther once the true structural blueprint of residential solar application and residential roofing application in conjoined to the delivery mechanisms associated with installing either solar shingles or traditional shingles onto a given roof not to mention a cluster of given roofs within the geographical blueprint of a community solar garden model.
A case in point for the above mentioned interactivity between the roofing and solar industry has to do with the industrial transportation needs required to deliver new product, remove and recycle old product and/or to service and maintain advanced energy rooftop systems within a community solar micro-grid. Just as interesting to grasp as it is as well entirely foolish to ignore, attaching the industrial transportation need of the roofing industry to the whole residential retrofit sustainability mix brings into play both EV charging and storage technology as well as LNG and CNG fueling station modeling of the roofing industry transportation fleet not to mention the personal transportation needs of the micro-grid based residential homeowner.
Whereas what I am describing is clearly a fairly complicated integration of a broad host of industries into the community solar garden model, all of the technology required to do so clearly exists just as the advanced metering infrastructure AMI technology to monitor all of these industrial interactions exist as well meaning that all that is lacking is the structural framework to make all of this happen.
Skipping past the solar roofing shingle discussion for a minute and focusing on AMI and the potential this technology has to fully transform the structural framework of our nation’s public utility model, there are a number of technologies that along with the solar roofing shingle are in 2017 poised to reach a level of structural maturity that will bring the entire understanding of our public utility model into a much sharper and clearer focus enabling in the process a certain sense of economic confidence to take over. To the point where the discussion over who is president, what political party runs either the house or the senate, or what if anything even remotely related to legislative common sense comes out of Washington DC any time in the next eight years is absolutely meaningless, the technologies I speak about below are in fact the technologies that will virtually run our economy in spite of any attempt by any political party to alter their collective ability to do so. Yet even as these technologies are poised to reshape our entire national public electric and public transportation grid, none of them will do anything well if in fact they are not utilized to integrate the seemingly meaningless concept of industrial cross training or industrial cross breading from within the framework I mentioned above and that must coexist between industrial sectors that are currently viewed as being either entirely unrelated to one another, or, as I’ve said before, competitively at odds with one another for virtually no good or rational economic reason whatsoever.
James McPhail, CEO of Zen Ecosystems; Adrian Tuck, CEO of Tendril and Will Greene, product management, energy and safety services at Nest are each operating companies that are now and will more than likely continue to clearly provide the high tech management of energy information required of truly advanced energy engineered residential architecture well into the future. As each of these men and their companies have products designed to process and share energy information with a broad host of entities that could conceivably benefit from this information, each of the technologies these three companies represent more or less address the same need to process energy information. Having said this, the likelihood of one or more of these companies to fail financially within just the next few years is rather substantial due exclusively to the fact that the information being acquired and being shared by others who can manage this information for financial gain diminishes rapidly if that information is not used to grow new industries or connect existing industries to technologies that expand substantially a given industrial sector’s market reach.
The ZEN Thermostat offers it’s consumer base a broad range of information management and gathering amenities all of which are essentially designed to save the thermostat user money on energy use over the course of time. In turn, TENDRIL’S My Home offers the user “the first mobile application to unify utility programs into a single, personalized interface”. The problem with both of the products being offered by these two companies is that, for all practical purposes, their products are nothing more than basic thermostats connected to basic cell phones to connect information with basic information providers who are for the most part not even remotely connected to any of the energy industries that are also supposed to be being built into the architectural footprint of any given advanced energy engineered home found on a modern, neighborhood based micro-grid. As I am not trying to pick on these two companies any more than I am trying to pick apart the technologies of NEST and it’s Nest Thermostat, the point is clear, a thermostat only tells the temperature of a space. And, until all of the technologies needed of that space to both produce and manage the energy related to that space are intact the potential of market failure of these three information systems remains substantial.
On another hand however, John Carrington, CEO of Stem offers up one of the very product systems that justifies the growth or expansion of the smart thermostat into entirely new markets.
“Stem works with leading utilities and grid service providers to harness our aggregated storage network as a cost-competitive, controllable and fast-acting capacity resources in a way that generates new value streams to utilities”.
“Customer-sited storage is a powerful resource that delivers reliable services to the grid while helping customers shape their loads for the benefit of the grid”.
The above quotes are taken directly from STEM’s website and are focused exclusively on what Stem actually does which is to produce the energy storage platforms that should be in place in every piece of residential architecture in America to one extent or another nationwide and on a very much regionally specific model building code that allows all participants of any energy segment associated with the retrofitting of existing architecture the ability to do so from within a clearly written advanced regulatory building code enforcement framework.
Another quote from STEM’s website: “Visibility and control to the grid edge”; Using Stem’s PowerMonitors, operators gain precise visibility behind the customer’s meter or on distribution lines. Stem’s PowerScope software enables visibility and control into Stem’s fleet of energy storage devices” – sums up the potential of advanced thermostat technology working in unison with equally advanced storage technology to produce the residential market for advanced building-automation via advanced building trade skills development.
With the issue being one one hand a combination of managing energy produced by building owner groups and submetering companies, the larger issue is the sheer proliferation of all energy sectors once all building trades are fully informed of all energy technologies capable of being integrated into a given micro-grid.
State Energy Policies in 2017
Aligning Manufacturing Companies With Advanced Building Trade Sectors.
With policy for renewables and distributed generation set at the state level, it goes without saying that every state is currently undergoing a substantial review of anything to do with energy policy. As such, leaders in all energy fields are awaiting multiple levels of guidance from state regulators in order to once and for all move these sectors into the common core of energy policy and the common dialogue of what should be every day and ordinary discussion of best business practices as that discussion pertains to infrastructure expansion.
As the traditional drivers of infrastructure additions were load growth and connecting distant generation sources to population centers, today load growth is relatively minimal whereas conversations over connecting distant generation sources to local energy need are clearly being supplanted with comprehensive micro-grid dialogue. With the above being the case and renewables clearly being looked upon as critical to meeting residential electric power demand, the notion of transporting electric power long distances is being replaced by the notion of transporting people short distances instead. With residential power load being managed to the point of efficiency never before seen in the industry and consumer habits about both conserving and micro managing power dominant across our nation, moving people about as opposed to moving power to people is just as an important issue as the power needed to do so.
EV technology, LNG and CNG technologies are all therefore critical areas of discussion in that we now have technology that entirely alters our presumptions of how to fuel vehicular traffic. As such, we also have an entirely new perspective on travel. As that perspective is increasingly about how to get from place to place within our own communities, it is as well about what it is we need in our communities to live the less long range mobile lifestyle many in our nation are coming to demand of their communities. Why go far when near can and should be much better?
With this ideology in mind, understanding the structural relationship between the energy sectors that are poised to power our nation’s urban transit model with the energy sector poised to power our nation’s residential energy model is paramount as one simply will not and more to the point cannot exist without the other.
To the point where concerns over the loss of baseload power that roiled organized markets around the country in 2016 will become more acute in 2017 this issue will be fully resolved once a comprehensive understanding between residential energy application and transportation based energy application has been had. As such, the dynamic that needs to be understood is precisely how power generation for these two separate sectors is designed as both a rate creator for the fulfillment of transportation based infrastructure improvements as well as a rate creator for the same infrastructure improvements of the electric grid as well as other grid systems such as municipal rainwater and storm water management. Once the rate structure is in place concerns over the shuttering of old fossil fuel plants or the bankruptcy of poorly managed utility providers will be replaced by the much more fluid structures outlined above. Either way the natural evolution of all energy technologies once caught up with the natural evolution of all financing technologies will make the definition of power distribution from either a long distant region to region distribution standpoint or a localized micro-grid generation and/or storage/distribution standpoint quite valid.
With the key to this type of long range transmission planning being a firm understanding of DERs and the interconnectivity of distributed energy resources to and with the building trades within multiple municipalities within a given state, at the present time due exclusively to the fact that an electrician doing business in one community that does perhaps house a decidedly more educated population than another community in the same state, that educated electrician is at a distinct economic disadvantage. Due to the fact that once he attempts to expand his electrical business to another community only to find the consumer base and labor base is virtually clueless to the technology he is an expert at installing, he, because of his advanced knowledge of DERs remains financially constricted to the smart community while the stupidity of the neighboring community brings down the entire state’s economic performance in otherwise viable DER markets. While all of this might sound a bit ludicrous, the fact of the matter is that without statewide model building codes, without comprehensive statewide alternative transportation regulatory knowledge and without comprehensive statewide policy on neighborhood micro-grid development, the state and virtually every industry in the state is at a fundamental risk of economic collapse due to the fact that the state is operating without a tangible infrastructure model in the first place.
Back to the Solar Roofing Shingle
The Public Utility Market Meets The Private Mortgage Industry.
Regardless of opinion, solar energy is at the core of all future industrial growth in our America. Due simply to the fact that virtually every building built has solar gain potential attached to it somewhere within it’s architectural footprint and that solar gain transformed to either heat or energy storage fully alters, or, much more to the point, fully celebrates the fact that our entire American industrial society has simply evolved.
Solar engineering knowledge is as common place as the knowledge surrounding waking up in the morning. More specifically, solar energy can be demonstrated to anyone by simply sitting on a picnic table outside on a cold but sunny winter day without gloves on. Regardless of where you place your hands on that table, one hand will eventually become either warmer or colder than the other due simply to the arc of the sun as it transverses the surface of the table while you sit there as well as the fact that one hand will block the rays of the sun from getting to the other if both hands are left immobile. Once however the hands begin to work in unison with one another, one hand might reach for an item to help block the prevailing wind blowing across the surface of the table while the other will reach for something to insulate both hands from the rising dampness coming from the ground beneath the picnic table. The moment both hands reach for an advanced packet of DERs however, the earth, the picnic table and the body attached to the hands sitting at the picnic table are not only warm but fully capable of holding the dollar bills generated by the mind attached to the body to invest in the infrastructure that makes it all possible in the first place.
Solar energy is simply here to stay. As such, determining whether or not this energy sector has the possibility to generate as much electrical current as fossil fuels is neither here nor there. What is important therefore is to redefine what we consider as baseload, or, more to the point what we consider as being highly task specific groupings of multiple baseloads that are strategically placed geographically around the picnic table to enhance the energy, environmental and economic performance of the people sitting at the table.
The key to advanced energy growth in 2017 remains as it has been, state and much more specifically, local decision making that is designed to substantially expose via comprehensive community based education, the remarkably broad application of DERs into the advanced socioeconomic framework of each and every neighborhood in each and every community statewide and in all fifty states nationwide This can happen rapidly if something equally dynamic begins to take place within the context of fully developing a neighborhood based micro-grid economy. With the something I am speaking about being a combination of a whole and total before and after energy audit of a residential property via the traditional mortgage application, such before and after knowledge would serve the community banking community in every bit the comprehensive manner as it would serve the service sector and manufacturing entities that do business within that community not to mention all public utility providers whose collective potential for realizing a substantial rate of return on a collective body of distributed energy resources is virtually nil without that before and after energy audit.
If all a given homeowner has to do is walk into a local real estate office to view a list of properties that suite his or her’s physical architectural needs, view a complete photo gallery of that properties physical assets while in turn viewing a complete before and after energy performance profile of that dwelling only to simply walk down the street to the local lender to qualify a mortgage based upon that homeowner’s intention to architectural improve that dwelling over time?
This is not in any manner a wayward and abstract thought. In fact, what I have just described is a classically and historically accurate scenario to the path to home ownership, ongoing home improvement planning, continued community development, continuous updating of fair market residential real estate value of constantly improved real residential property neighborhood wide. reliable assessments of public utility billings, exposure to a well educated and well funded community school district and access to a broad host of retail, service and manufacturing based business entities that thrive in that neighborhood due simply to exposure to advanced DER based environmental consciousness not to mention a AAA bond rating for that whole micro-grid based neighborhood of real and fully functioning neighbors.
Thanks for stopping by.
Mike Patrick Dahlke
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