V2G In Sweden  

Posted by Big Gav

TreeHugger has a post on Swedish plans to increase the use of wind power and build a V2G network.

Sweden isn't a hot wind power market in Europe, not compared to Germany (20,000 MW of capacity), Spain (11,000 MW) or even Great Britain (nearly 2,000 MW). In fact, the Swedes currently have a paltry 572 MW of wind capacity, generating about 1.2TWh of power last year - less than one percent of electricity produced in this Nordic nation.

But Sweden has audacious goals (4.9 TWh of generation by 2010), and is starting to formulate a big vision to go with its big plans, based on the idea of wind power helping to drive (bad pun alert) a new generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles creating plausible climate neutral driving.

The way the Swedish Windpower Developers Association (SVIS) sees it, the Swedish vehicle industry (Volvo and Saab) and Swedish windpower are a great fit.

There are a few reasons why these gung-ho Swedish wind proponents may have a chance. It is true that Sweden will probably need to vastly up its renewable generation and reduce CO2 emissions further in coming years, especially after the EU sets binding CO2 reduction targets for the post-2012 period, which it should do early next year.

Wind is one of Sweden's best bets. Hydro power is pretty developed, remaining rivers are already protected - and biomass resources, which benefited from a green certificate subsidy system, are also fairly well-exploited.

Combining turbines with hybrids in a distributed generation system may not be such a stretch for the Swedes. Wind generation is a bit fickle, and many grid systems including Sweden's are not built to handle lots of incoming electricity from the spots where the wind blows best. But in a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, many small wind installations feeding in power are balanced by electric or hybrid-electric cars plugged in and theoretically offering up their excess capacity during times of peak need, taking it back late at night or when demand is lower.

Two more points in the Swedes' favor: the first European lithium-ion battery developer just opened its doors in Sweden, and Volvo at least is heavily investing in hybrid-electric technology. Volvo Cars is now showing its C30 ReCharge hybrid-electric plug-in concept car, and perhaps as important, Volvo Trucks is at work on a next generation of all kinds of hybrid vehicles.

Also not to be overlooked: Volvo and Saab with their nice heavy (safe) cars, unfortunately have some of the highest fleet-average CO2 emissions in Europe, which they will need to rectify.

There are definite roadblocks - in spite of itself Sweden hasn't been able to yet streamline approvals for wind power projects, whether they are for 12 turbines or 1,200. The approval process for Lillgrund, the new offshore wind farm in the picture, took a decade! And many Swedes, grown up on a combination of clean hydro and nuclear, see wind power as great in theory but in practice, a NIMBY nuisance. There are also clearly technology hurdles - battery cost and sophistication are just two.

But SVIS is conviced that V2G is a great concept to sell to the environmentally-conscious as well as everyone else, and will put forth its vision to the government in a few days, hoping for a new national policy on wind power and a plan for how to form a Swedish V2G network.

Renewable Energy Access has an article on "'Greening the Grid' in California" - an important step towards shifting to a clean energy system.
While "location-constrained" renewable resources can help California meet its Renewable Portfolio Standard, their development is often hampered by a lack of adequate transmission capacity. It can be difficult to find financing for transmission projects to reach generation that has not been built yet—hence the chicken or egg dilemma. Which should come first, generation or the transmission capacity needed to get the power to the grid?

Under the process approved last week, the appropriate Participating Transmission Owner (PTO) would build the "trunk lines" out to the renewable-rich areas, initially recovering its costs through the FERC-approved Transmission Revenue Requirement (TRR). As individual generation projects are built and connected to the grid, each generator would pay its pro-rata share of the annual TRR payments.

This financing arrangement would continue until the entire capacity of the project is subscribed at which time the remaining revenue requirement for the end-state transmission facility is completely supported by the project developers.

Currently, new power plant owners are responsible for the upfront cost of building transmission trunk lines to the grid and the costs can be prohibitive for smaller renewable power developers.

"This plan removes a major obstacle blocking the development of renewable resources," said ISO President and CEO Yakout Mansour. "This new hybrid financing method is a creative way to help alternative energy suppliers connect to the grid. It is all a part of leveling the playing field for green power generators and guaranteeing their non-discriminatory grid access. They still pay their fair share, but the costs are spread and appropriately based on when the green power comes on line."

Grist reports that French President Sarkozy has launched a number of green initiatives.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy today described a smattering of green initiatives for the country, prescribing some and promising to study others. Capping a two-day conference on ways France could green itself, Sarkozy outlined the policy ideas in a speech, with climate campaigner Al Gore looking on. Afterward, Gore offered the praise he was likely invited for, saying of the proposals, "This is the beginning of an historic process." Sarkozy said France would invest in greening its buildings, suspend the commercial planting of genetically modified crops, discourage use of inefficient cars, and will also halt construction of new roads and airports. Sarkozy promised a tax on freight-carrying trucks and mentioned plans for cross-country freight trains to replace them. He also floated an idea from former president Jacques Chirac that's sure to be popular with the United States. "We have to study the possibility of taxing products from countries that do not respect the Kyoto protocols," he said. Sarkozy touted the policies as "an ecological New Deal." Coincidentally, that's also what his critics in the U.S. said.

Richard Steubi at Cleantech Blog has a post on "Carboholics Anonymous".
This weekend, there was an extraordinary editorial in The Washington Post. The essence of the message was "Save me from myself: I can't stop emitting carbon. Unless the government changes the rules to induce me to stop, I will kill the planet."

The author of this plea was David Crane, the CEO of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), the 10th largest power generation company in the U.S. In effect, he is saying that his company is willing to undertake major changes to reduce emissions -- but only if competitors do so too, because NRG would be disadvantaged in the marketplace to take proactive action on its own.

I am very sympathetic with Mr. Crane's argument. It's a fine thing if people want to engage in emission reductions voluntarily. As for me, I admit that I'm not enthusiastic to unilaterally make changes that I otherwise don't prefer in order to reduce my carbon footprint. My rationale is that my miniscule contribution to solving the climate problem is individually meaningless, and I don't want to be just one of very few parties incurring costs or inconvenience without having any macro-scale impact anyway. Put another way, I'll do what it takes without complaining if everyone else is in the same boat, but I'm not going to be put out if most people aren't. I don't mind sacrificing, but if I'm going to sacrifice, it's only just that the sacrifice must be shared.

This is where public sector leadership comes in, which in turn is based not only on courageous voting by citizens, but also by visionary companies that demand a new world order. I'll gladly pay the price if everyone else does, and I'm eager to change the rules of the game so that we all bear our share of the burdens -- and it looks like NRG is of the same opinion. With more corporate leaders committed to taking the same stand, maybe we'll finally get somewhere with sound climate policy in Washington.

Tom Englehardt points out the obvious in his introduction to Jack Miles' article "Endgame for Iraqi Oil?: The Sovereignty Showdown in Iraq". Could they really be suggesting the Iraq war is over oil ? What a ridiculous idea - I'm sure the saints within the State Department (who are very disappointed at the way the Iraqi government selfishly refuses to share its oil revenues) and the Bush administration wouldn't dream of such a barbaric act of piracy.
Here's the strange thing about the Iraq oil "debate" in our media world. Call me crazy, but if you were going to invade Iraq and oil wasn't right at the forefront of your brain, you would be truly derelict, even if you hadn't run a major energy services corporation or hadn't had a double-hulled oil tanker named after you.

From the article itself:
The oil game in Iraq may be almost up. On September 29th, like a landlord serving notice, the government of Iraq announced that the next annual renewal of the United Nations Security Council mandate for a multinational force in Iraq -- the only legal basis for a continuation of the American occupation -- will be the last. That was, it seems, the first shoe to fall. The second may be an announcement terminating the little-noticed, but crucial companion Security Council mandate governing the disposition of Iraq's oil revenues.

By December 31, 2008, according to Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, the government of Iraq intends to have replaced the existing mandate for a multinational security force with a conventional bilateral security agreement with the United States, an agreement of the sort that Washington has with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries in the Middle East. The Security Council has always paired the annual renewal of its mandate for the multinational force with the renewal of a second mandate for the management of Iraqi oil revenues. This happens through the "Development Fund for Iraq," a kind of escrow account set up by the occupying powers after the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime and recognized in 2003 by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483. The oil game will be up if and when Iraq announces that this mandate, too, will be terminated at a date certain in favor of resource-development agreements that -- like the envisioned security agreement -- match those of other states in the region.

The game will be up because, as Antonia Juhasz pointed out last March in a New York Times op-ed, "Whose Oil Is It, Anyway?"
"Iraq's neighbors Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.... have outlawed foreign control over oil development. They all hire international oil companies as contractors to provide specific services as needed, for a limited duration, and without giving the foreign company any direct interest in the oil produced."

By contrast, the oil legislation now pending in the Iraqi parliament awards foreign oil companies coveted, long-term, 20-35 year contracts of just the sort that neighboring oil-producers have rejected for decades. It also places the Iraqi oil industry under the control of an appointed body that would include representatives of international oil companies as full voting members.

The news that the duly elected government of Iraq is exercising its limited sovereignty to set a date for termination of the American occupation radically undercuts all discussion in Congress or by American presidential candidates of how soon the U.S. occupation of Iraq may "safely" end. Yet if, by the same route, Iraq were to resume full and independent control over the world's third-largest proven oil reserves -- 200 to 300 million barrels of light crude worth as much as $30 trillion at today's prices -- a politically incorrect question might break rudely out of the Internet universe and into the mainstream media world, into, that is, the open: Has the Iraq war been an oil war from the outset?



Links:

* The Oil Drum - Australia: The Place To Be (Part 1)
* The Oil Drum - Review of What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire
* Kuwait Times - Why Kuwait wants to shift to heavy oil
* The Oil And The Glory - Sign of the Times For Big Oil
* WSJ Energy Roundup - The SPR Mystery
* Energy Bulletin - Iran worries and oil prices
* Cleantech Blog - Is Australia approaching 'K' day?
* Cleantech Blog - Australia the untapped market - new report on Australian Cleantech investment activity
* Haaretz - Cities find bright way to cut energy use
* TreeHugger - Honda FCX-concept Series Name to be Announced
* TreeHugger - Myths That Waste Energy In The Kitchen: The Baking & Roasting Episode. Preheating the oven is "an old wives tale".
* Tom Paine - Biofuel Backfire
* WSJ Energy Roundup - British Scientists: Massive Investment In Alternative-energy Research Required
* New York Times - Cement Industry Is at Center of Climate Change Debate
* The Guardian - Lime is a much greener option than cement
* Grist - Wild Thing, I Think I'll Miss You: Photos of species threatened by climate change
* AP - Much of U.S. Could See a Water Shortage
* Rolling Stone - The Prophet of Climate Change: James Lovelock
* UC Davis - Bee Specialist Eric Mussen Fingers Prime Suspects in ‘BSI: The Case of the Disappearing Bees’
* Washington Post - FEMA Meets the Press, Which Happens to Be . . . FEMA. If you can't handle real press conferences, fake them. Its a little like being President.
* Past Peak - Many-Fold Increase In US Airstrikes This Year In Iraq
* The Economist - Where Have I Heard That Tune Before ?


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