GRA
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McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:56 pm

Thomas Edison upended the
world with his novel idea for an electric utility that would centrally power homes and industry. One hundred forty years later, the power industry has been quietly decarbonizing, even as it remains a marvel of efficiency and reliability. As economies gradually feel their way to the “next normal” that is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic—which has curtailed commercial and industrial demand, created new volatility in markets for fossil fuels, and required operational changes to ensure employee safety—industry operators may need to recalibrate the speed and scope of ongoing efforts to curb climate change.

How far and fast they go will depend both on the rate at which the economics of renewables improve and on the advance of technologies ranging from hydrogen fuels to carbon capture, use, and storage. Also critical: an expansion of the battery industry to store power and keep the grid humming when renewables such as wind and solar power aren’t, as well as to accelerate the penetration of electric vehicles..

In this compilation, McKinsey experts provide snapshots of the opportunities and challenges associated with these transitions, and Lynn Jurich, CEO of the San Francisco–based solar player Sunrun, provides a ground-level view of what it looks like to transform residential solar into a new business model for microgeneration that helps utilities manage their loads. . . .

Renewable energy is becoming more abundant—and cheaper. But the pace and nature of its expansion will vary considerably across markets. To see how the power industry could provide cheap, reliable, sustainable power, we mapped the world into four key market types (described below), which collectively make up most of the global market, and created pathways that show the most economical way to fully decarbonize each market type by 2040. We conclude that getting to 50 to 60 percent decarbonization is not that difficult technically and is often the most economic option. Getting from there to 90 percent decarbonization is generally technically feasible but sometimes costs more. And getting to 100 percent is likely to be difficult, both technically and economically (exhibit). . . .
The bolded conclusions should [Edit: NOT] be news to those here who read the El Hierro topic.


https://www.mckinsey.com/business-funct ... b9f70884db
Last edited by GRA on Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:09 pm

I tend to dismiss the writing of anyone who starts of by praising Edison for inventing centralized power stations, or anything else for that matter. If someone who knows anything about anything writes a piece on this subject, I'll read it.
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:29 pm

The fact is, Edison did 'invent' the central station system, I e. generation, distribution, protection, standard sockets and lights (we still use the Edison base on light bulbs), and put it into service first (Pearl St), although.numerous others had developed or were working on various parts like incandescent lights etc. That DC ultimately lost out to AC doesn't change that.
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:59 pm

The system that Edison invented (DC generators with medium voltage DC distribution) was unworkable, requiring a generating station on nearly every city block. The outlets and switches were indeed retained, AFAIK. Tesla invented the system that we actually use, with AC generation and long distance transmission of power. (High voltage DC lines were not originally part of it, as I understand it.)
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:43 am

LeftieBiker wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:59 pm
The system that Edison invented (DC generators with medium voltage DC distribution) was unworkable, requiring a generating station on nearly every city block. The outlets and switches were indeed retained, AFAIK. Tesla invented the system that we actually use, with AC generation and long distance transmission of power. (High voltage DC lines were not originally part of it, as I understand it.)
Actually, DC central stations were able to serve about a 1 mile radius. It wasn't that DC was unworkable, it's that AC was cheaper esp. as it allowed cheap hydro to be sent long distances (Niagara Falls to Buffalo being the first such in the U.S.), and that a lot of businesses (manufacturing, retail, hotels, trolley companies etc.) and a few wealthy individuals had installed stand-alone DC plants because it was cheaper than central station DC. That made AC a better choice for central stations. But Edison led the way:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Street_Station

It's only coincidental that Pearl St. Station and I both made our debuts on the same date (not the same year, obviously :lol: )

Tesla did a lot, but let's not forget that
he and Westinghouse we're building on a business model that Edison had already established. And if you really want to credit someone with inventing the large utility central station business model that has endured for most of the past century, Samuel Insull at Chicago Edison would probably be the best choice:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Insull
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:32 pm

Insull it is, then. Edison's one real talent was knowing who to hire (including Tesla) to invent things for him. As for the DC grid, I find it hard to believe that you think needing a power generation station (powered by fossil fuels, not solar energy) every mile was workable even in bigger cities, much less non-urban areas, but hey, whatever. We would certainly have had less Sprawl with a DC grid, and solar PV would have come into use much sooner...
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:01 am

A DC power grid like hydrogen, both can be done but it doesn't make any sense because there are clearly way better options and it's just a waste of other people's money.
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:59 am

GRA wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:56 pm
Thomas Edison upended the
world with his novel idea for an electric utility that would centrally power homes and industry. One hundred forty years later, the power industry has been quietly decarbonizing, even as it remains a marvel of efficiency and reliability. As economies gradually feel their way to the “next normal” that is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic—which has curtailed commercial and industrial demand, created new volatility in markets for fossil fuels, and required operational changes to ensure employee safety—industry operators may need to recalibrate the speed and scope of ongoing efforts to curb climate change.

How far and fast they go will depend both on the rate at which the economics of renewables improve and on the advance of technologies ranging from hydrogen fuels to carbon capture, use, and storage. Also critical: an expansion of the battery industry to store power and keep the grid humming when renewables such as wind and solar power aren’t, as well as to accelerate the penetration of electric vehicles..

In this compilation, McKinsey experts provide snapshots of the opportunities and challenges associated with these transitions, and Lynn Jurich, CEO of the San Francisco–based solar player Sunrun, provides a ground-level view of what it looks like to transform residential solar into a new business model for microgeneration that helps utilities manage their loads. . . .

Renewable energy is becoming more abundant—and cheaper. But the pace and nature of its expansion will vary considerably across markets. To see how the power industry could provide cheap, reliable, sustainable power, we mapped the world into four key market types (described below), which collectively make up most of the global market, and created pathways that show the most economical way to fully decarbonize each market type by 2040. We conclude that getting to 50 to 60 percent decarbonization is not that difficult technically and is often the most economic option. Getting from there to 90 percent decarbonization is generally technically feasible but sometimes costs more. And getting to 100 percent is likely to be difficult, both technically and economically (exhibit). . . .
The bolded conclusions should be news to those here who read the El Hierro topic.


https://www.mckinsey.com/business-funct ... b9f70884db
Hardly noteworthy, with results typical for a first year MBA group study project!
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GRA
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:03 am

LeftieBiker wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:32 pm
Insull it is, then. Edison's one real talent was knowing who to hire (including Tesla) to invent things for him. As for the DC grid, I find it hard to believe that you think needing a power generation station (powered by fossil fuels, not solar energy) every mile was workable even in bigger cities, much less non-urban areas, but hey, whatever. We would certainly have had less Sprawl with a DC grid, and solar PV would have come into use much sooner...

Been busy prepping for a trip, and hence the delayed reply. You are assuming that 19th century cities were the size of modern ones, but that wasn't the case. Before the advent of electric streetcars (never mind automobiles) only the upper and upper middle class could afford to commute to work other than by foot, using carriages (very rare), (horse) omnibuses, or horse- (street) cars. Everyone else walked, so cities had to be compact. Cable car systems were far too expensive to be used in more than a few cities.

Edison opened the first central station in 1882, but the first fully successful electric streetcar system didn't appear until 1887, in Richmond, Va. Those systems were also powered by isolated DC plants.

And electric lighting remained more expensive than gas lighting for a couple decades (Insull was largely responsible for changing that, through utility consolidation and encouraging the sale of off-peak power, plus the advent/promotion of non-lighting home appliances, the iron being at the top of the list), so only the homes of the wealthy had it. It was mainly used to light up central business districts: it was "more than a mere functional necessity or a convenience; it emerged as a glamorous symbol of progress and advancement." (David Nye in "Electrifying America", quoted in "Taking Charge" by Michael Schiffer).

Schiffer goes on to write "In some of America's smallest towns, in the middle of nowhere, boosters managed to secure a lighting system. The lighting plant for Lander, Wyoming - a town of 1,500 inhabitants - had to be hauled 150 miles by mule over mountain roads from the nearest railroad station, in a round trip that took 12 days. Despite the obstacles and expense, by 1893 nearly 2,000 U.S. cities and towns had central stations."

As for rural areas, they only started getting electricity in the 1930s thanks to the REA, a process that took over two decades to complete. Utilities had no desire to wire such areas, as they knew it was a money loser.

BTW, one of the ways DC systems brought costs down was the use of storage batteries for load-leveling.
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The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

GRA
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Re: McKinsey: Powering up sustainable energy

Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:10 am

GRA wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:56 pm
The bolded conclusions should be news to those here who read the El Hierro topic.
Uurggh! That should read "should not be news. . ."

I'll fix the original.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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