I have known the company for many years regarding their geothermal business worldwide. Solid company, good technology. People shouldn't make any decisions on what two employees allege - could be true or just could be disgruntled. Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd.
I have two zero energy buildings in Arlington, VA since 1995. In both cases, maximum energy efficiency R38+ insulation, thermal barrier coatings, super-insulated windows, LEDs, and the most efficient EnergyStar appliances and office machines. My home also has a geothermal (direct-exchange) heat pump, solar water heater, and a 4.2 kW photovoltaics system tied to a large battery bank. My office building, has PV roofing shingles field to a web-enabled battery bank, small wind turbine, and a hydrogen fuel cell. My business has facilitated many net-zero and zero energy buildings, for commercial applications. - Scott Sklar, The Stella Group, Ltd.
For the last 15 years, my company has installed battery banks at commercial and industrial facilities where the battery banks are dedicated to critical circuits in a building, or at a facility, or at infrastructure sites. The battery banks are sized to offset internally-high electric rates (expressed as demand charges, peak & seasonal power rates, as well as spot/ratchet rates), as well as provide surge, sag and transient protection (which offsets the need for power quality equipment and the need to continually replace this equipment), and obviates the need for back-up diesel generators (and costs for monthly testing, O&M, and trading-out the unused diesel fuel every 18 months). Combining these cost centers - uniquely high electric sub rates, power quality equipment and costs for back-up diesel - make battery banks charged by on-site renewables -- CHP, photovolatics, small wind, modular biomass etc. -- economic and extremely reliable. - Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd.
As electric energy storage becomes more and more of an option, the issue will resolve itself. In my own business, more than 90% of on-site renewable energy is dedicated to batteries which, in turn, are dedicated to critical loads within buildings or along infrastructure. These loads are no longer on the grid. Basically guaranteed load reduction just like screwing in an LED light bulb. For homes and small businesses, that means the solar (small wind, micro-chp, etc) charging a battery bank dedicated to the refrigerator, sump pumps, WIFI/computer, and some lights and sockets -- so these loads are off the grid. The building owners always reduces the costs of these loads on their utility bill and has absolute reliable power with the highest electric power quality (no surges,, sages or transients). As more customers adopt this option, the electric utilities and State Public Utility Commissions will develop regulatory tools to pay for the electricity stored in these battery banks, because it is distributed and less expensive than using peak generators or wheeling electric power across State lines. This will evolve over time, but there is no stopping it. All we are seeing is the push back just as we saw with fax machines (hooking up to the monopoly phone lines) and cellular - the communications industry whined and put up legal and regulatory challenges but the technology overwhelmed them. The same will be true with distributed renewable energy and energy storage. - Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd. & Adjunct Professor, The George Washington University
This article by DeRosa is 'spot on'. Nuclear has lax regulatory oversight, has had significant cost overruns, has had cyber-security breaches, has liability caps (because it is not safe), cannot be shut down or started-up quickly, uses more water for cooling than any other thermal energy source, and is incompatible with a modern 21st century electric grid. •The Union of Concerned Scientists released February 2011 report about the subsidies for nuclear power. The report, “Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies,” found that more than 30 subsidies have supported every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to long-term waste storage. Added together, these subsidies often have exceeded the average market price of the power produced. The report also examines the subsidies for new reactors.?
•Executive Summary: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nuclear_power/nuclear_subsidies_summary.pdf
•Full Report: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nuclear_power/nuclear_subsidies_report.pdf
Scott Sklar, Adjunct Professor, GWU & President of The Stella Group, Ltd.
Lithium Ion batteries may be the front runner at the moment, but the article is wrong that it is or will be the "only" play. In my projects over the last 15 years, aside from LIOn, I have used AGM batteries, carbon/lead/supercapacitor batteries, sodium batteries, vanadium batteries, among many others. We are in a material science renaissance and that benefits and enhances battery development and commercialization. The batteries we are seeing in the marketplace today, will be nothing like the batteries in the next decade.
David Wilson's comments are absolutely "right on". Consumers should use solar. micro-chp, and small wind to charge battery banks dedicated to sub-circuit breaker panels and take the the electric loads off the grid forever. Frankly, it's just like screwing-in LED light bulbs which reduce lighting loads by 80%. If consumers insulate and buy the most efficient appliances when their own appliance die, install LEDs and solar water heaters, and then bring on small PV systems dedicated to critical circuits (refrigerator, sump pumps, WIFI, computers, etc) - buildings can cut their electric loads by 50% or more. Forget the electric utilities, ignore them and their lobbyists and "owned" politicians - save money, increase energy reliability and electric power quality (no surges, etc), and reduce emissions. - Scott Sklar, Adjunct Prof, The George Washington University and President of The Stella Group, Ltd.
This is such a great article, and I will utilize it in my university classes. The idea to utilize naturally-occurring wastes and integrate it into electricity, heat, and fuels is where we need to go globally. We are always going to have wastes, whether they are manures and human sewage, building and cannery wastes, contaminated grains and tree slash that cannot naturally be absorbed into the soil -- all which should be used for materials, energy and fertilizers. Scott Sklar, Adjunct Prof. GWU
While over 85% or the public wants a solar future (some polls say over 92%), unless we all rally behind efforts to make it so obvious so even the dumbest politicians (might be the majority of them) just can't ignore us. The squeaky wheel does get the grease and the political system will respond. So SEIA is correct, we must step up our game, get in their face, so much, so noisy, so raucous -- that they go among even though their well-healed utility and fossil and nuclear funders tell them otherwise. - Scott Sklar, Steering Committee Chairman, Sustainable Energy Coalition (Washington, DC)
I utilize geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal, and photovoltaics in many of my projects globally. And my home in Arlington, Virginia has a direct-exhange (no ducts) geothermal heat pump, solar water heater, and a 4.7 kW PV system with a batty bank. The geothermal makes the house a zero energy building because of the energy load reduction, primarily for cooling. These three technologies are economic and work well together. Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd.
Geothermal using ponds is much more energy intensive than almost all of the modern closed-loop geothermal systems. I also use in my home a refrigerant-based geothermal heat pump system which cut drilling cost by 75% and has been working great. So overall, geothermal technologies in proven, commercial systems, is cost effective. Scott Sklar, Adjunct Prof, GWU