Volume 4, Issue 11
December 3, 2017 – December 9, 2017
Jason Mulderrig '18 | Will Atkinson '18 | Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Joe Abbate '18 | Amy Amatya '21


 The idea of a  microgrid  is to allow a community to operate autonomously from the primary grid thanks to self-production (e.g. solar panels and diesel generators) technologies. This is important during emergencies when downed power lines halt electricity flow through large networks. During non-emergency times, the electricity generated is simply fed back to the grid, and the homeowners receive compensation for their electricity.  Other benefits  of microgrids include improved efficiency (fewer losses due to energy transfer to faraway places) and lowering of energy consumption (people psychologically feel like they have more skin in the game). Microgrids have been implemented already by some college campuses and military bases, even helping our own Princeton University stay  partially online  during Hurricane Sandy via our  cogeneration plant . Such a microgrid was also implemented in Brooklyn by  LO3  in 2016 with the added buzzword of "blockchain technology" for facilitating inter-community exchange. -JAA

The idea of a microgrid is to allow a community to operate autonomously from the primary grid thanks to self-production (e.g. solar panels and diesel generators) technologies. This is important during emergencies when downed power lines halt electricity flow through large networks. During non-emergency times, the electricity generated is simply fed back to the grid, and the homeowners receive compensation for their electricity. Other benefits of microgrids include improved efficiency (fewer losses due to energy transfer to faraway places) and lowering of energy consumption (people psychologically feel like they have more skin in the game). Microgrids have been implemented already by some college campuses and military bases, even helping our own Princeton University stay partially online during Hurricane Sandy via our cogeneration plant. Such a microgrid was also implemented in Brooklyn by LO3 in 2016 with the added buzzword of "blockchain technology" for facilitating inter-community exchange. -JAA

  How Much CO2 Will the World Need to Remove from the Air?   November 30, 2017 | ClimateWire/Scientific American | Chelsea Harvey  At this point, it will be challenging to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2oC without “negative emissions” technologies, which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cool the planet. However, the proposed technologies, such as direct air capture or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), have yet to be scaled. Without more concrete plans or rules, we may be using negative emissions as a crutch, giving policymakers the false hope that they can pursue less ambitious CO2 emissions cuts today. -WA

How Much CO2 Will the World Need to Remove from the Air?
November 30, 2017 | ClimateWire/Scientific American | Chelsea Harvey
At this point, it will be challenging to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2oC without “negative emissions” technologies, which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cool the planet. However, the proposed technologies, such as direct air capture or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), have yet to be scaled. Without more concrete plans or rules, we may be using negative emissions as a crutch, giving policymakers the false hope that they can pursue less ambitious CO2 emissions cuts today. -WA

  New 800-Mile Midwestern Power Line Expands U.S. Wind Market   November 30, 2017 | Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis  The CapX2020 transmission project, an 800 mile long electrical interconnection line intended to bring wind energy from rural areas to urban areas in the Midwest, completed in late September of this year. According to Xcel Energy, this transmission project has catalyzed over 3,600 MW of proposed wind and solar energy projects in the region, extending from South Dakota to Minnesota. This project was also the first so-called “multi-value projects” to receive approval from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the electricity operator that serves the Midwest, the South, and Manitoba, Canada. -JPM

New 800-Mile Midwestern Power Line Expands U.S. Wind Market
November 30, 2017 | Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
The CapX2020 transmission project, an 800 mile long electrical interconnection line intended to bring wind energy from rural areas to urban areas in the Midwest, completed in late September of this year. According to Xcel Energy, this transmission project has catalyzed over 3,600 MW of proposed wind and solar energy projects in the region, extending from South Dakota to Minnesota. This project was also the first so-called “multi-value projects” to receive approval from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the electricity operator that serves the Midwest, the South, and Manitoba, Canada. -JPM

  There’s Now a Vessel That Produces Zero Pollution   November 29, 2017 | Bloomberg Technology | Anna Hirtenstein  Cie. Maritime Belge SA has potentially revolutionized the shipping industry by revealing the first commercial ship that runs on compressed hydrogen and produces zero pollution. The trillion-dollar industry produces 3% of the world’s emissions, burning heavy fuel oil (one of the dirtiest and cheapest energies), but wasn’t included in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. With the falling cost of renewables, the next step is to use hydrogen in a cargo ship’s auxiliary engines to reduce the ship’s emissions by 10%, and increase shipping regulations as the International Maritime Organization is attempting to do by 2020. -AA   One of the biggest US oil fields turns to an unexpected power source: solar   December 3, 2017 | The Chicago Tribune | Chris Mooney  The Belridge oil field in Southern California has been in active use for over a century, and its operators began employing the technique of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) on the reservoir in the sixties. EOR involves steam injection into an oil field to force out oil, but lacks the rock fracturing aspect of fracking. In the past, steam generation for Belridge was powered by natural gas. Now, its operator has unfurled a plan for the construction of an 850-megawatt solar thermal array (California’s largest) to power the process. Executives cited California’s recent decision to extend to its cap-and-trade policy as vital to making this possible. Although big oil and big solar may seem like strange bedfellows, this sort of collaboration helps to reduce emissions from fossil fuel infrastructure and will become increasingly common. -AD

There’s Now a Vessel That Produces Zero Pollution
November 29, 2017 | Bloomberg Technology | Anna Hirtenstein
Cie. Maritime Belge SA has potentially revolutionized the shipping industry by revealing the first commercial ship that runs on compressed hydrogen and produces zero pollution. The trillion-dollar industry produces 3% of the world’s emissions, burning heavy fuel oil (one of the dirtiest and cheapest energies), but wasn’t included in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. With the falling cost of renewables, the next step is to use hydrogen in a cargo ship’s auxiliary engines to reduce the ship’s emissions by 10%, and increase shipping regulations as the International Maritime Organization is attempting to do by 2020. -AA

One of the biggest US oil fields turns to an unexpected power source: solar
December 3, 2017 | The Chicago Tribune | Chris Mooney
The Belridge oil field in Southern California has been in active use for over a century, and its operators began employing the technique of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) on the reservoir in the sixties. EOR involves steam injection into an oil field to force out oil, but lacks the rock fracturing aspect of fracking. In the past, steam generation for Belridge was powered by natural gas. Now, its operator has unfurled a plan for the construction of an 850-megawatt solar thermal array (California’s largest) to power the process. Executives cited California’s recent decision to extend to its cap-and-trade policy as vital to making this possible. Although big oil and big solar may seem like strange bedfellows, this sort of collaboration helps to reduce emissions from fossil fuel infrastructure and will become increasingly common. -AD