Hawaii takes a big (regulatory) step towards 21st Century Electric Web

October 22 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment   Year: 2009   Rating: 1

The future of Hawai’i will likely be shaped by its new vision of an energy web based on clean abundant resources.

Hawaii’s Vision starts with Regulatory Changes
On Monday, Governor Linda Lingle announced a comprehensive agreement to move the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity and ground transportation. The plan includes underwater electrical transmission wires across islands to tap more than 400 MW of wind power on neighbor islands of Honolulu,Oahu. The island grid could eventually tap other resources based on wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy (e.g. Jatropha and algae-based biodiesel).

There are few places on Earth that have as much pressing need (and desire) to become more reliant on local energy resources- than Hawaii. Now its political and economic development leaders have taken a very bold step forward in changing the regulatory framework of its local utility HECO to put the state on track for having 70 percent of its energy use come from clean energy sources by 2030. While state leaders are promoting the rhetoric of ‘energy independence’, the state might actually be enabling a future of cheap, clean abundant energy. And if local startups like Sopogy and Hoku Scientific succeed the state might become more integrated into global energy sector as they export energy systems around the world.

Recipe for growing renewables?
Change role of utilities, and focus on low cost renewables

Hawaii’s leaders understand that the key to expanding renewable energy resources is dependent on changing regulations that govern utility power generation. This means tackling ‘Big Grid’, not ‘Big Oil’. Leaders are rethinking the role of utilities beyond power generation in a world shaped by a ‘smart energy web’ shaped by the potent combination of software, sensors and storage.

Hawaii is now taking clear steps to end the era of a one way electricity grid in favor of a more integrated web based on distributed power generation and storage system. And HECO must explore new future roles as a 21st century utility.

The state appears ready to move beyond the era of liquid fuels and the combustion engine, as it prepares to reinvent its electricity grid to support batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and capacitors for electric vehicles. [Read: Startup planning to build out Hawaii’s electric vehicle infrastructure]

Continue with a detailed look at plan

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GM picks Korean LG Chem Unit to supply Volt batteries, bad news for startup A123 Systems

October 23 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Environment   Year: 2011   Rating: 1

Energy storage is the key to accelerating the era of electric vehicles powered by a combination of batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and capacitors. Of these three, batteries are expected to be the primary energy storage device for the first generation of commercial electric vehicles like the GM Volt.

Big Auto turns to Big Chem
According to a Reuters report General Motors has selected Compact Power Inc a Detroit-area based unit of South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd to supply lithium-ion batteries for its Chevrolet Volt which the company expects to produce 10,000 vehicles in 2011 before scaling up.

The decision supports GM’s intentions. of electrifying its transportation fleet and trying to shed the manufacturing and design liabilities of the combustion engine. Electric cars are coming, but energy storage remains our greatest challenge!

The Future of Energy Storage Startups
Many energy pundits had hoped that General Motors might go with new nanostructured lithium ion batteries from start up A123 Systems. That news would have been welcomed by cleantech energy investors hoping that at least one start up might break into the energy storage sector. But now it appears GM has gone to a bigger, more established chemical company and industrial battery maker. This is a harsh reminder to startups that ‘scaling’ matters and incumbents are likely to hold that advantage.

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Top Energy Stories of 2008: #7 Geeks Go Green

December 16 2008 / by joelg
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 1

By Joel Greenberg

Geeks look at the Big Grid and it reminds them of the old main frame computer days.  They look at the auto industry and and see rust.  So, they'll change it themselves.  Through their RE<C program, Google is funding renewable energy companies with the goal of generating 1 gigawatt of energy at a price less than coal.  Applied Materials has joined Google as high tech leaders that are covering their rooftops and parking garages with solar panels.  Former Intel CEO Andy Grove challenges his old company to get into batteries for electric vehicles.  Silicon Valley VC legends Vinod Khosla and John Doer fund cleantech companies.

Can these hi-tech leaders find success that scales in a business where there's no Moore's Law?

Geeks Go Green: Google fires up it's rechargeIT and RE<C programs

Photo courtesy Google.

Top Energy Stories of 2008:

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Boston Power raises $55 million to expand production of Li-ion batteries

January 15 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2012   Rating: 1

Boston Power logo

Advanced energy storage and portable power solutions continue to grab attention from energy investors.

Massachusetts-based startup up Boston Power has announced a $55 milllion Series D funding round to scale manufacturing, sales, marketing for its Sonata Lithium-ion batteries.  This infusion of cash follows an announcement in December that Boston Power would supply HP with batteries for a coming line of laptops.

Boston Power's solutions are most relevant to supporting the continued growth of high performance portable electronics.  But the company expects to be involved in first generation electric vehicles powered by batteries. Its branding effort has been to promote itself as a 'cleantech' company with high standards for its sustainability practices and partnerships with Asian manufacturers.

The Evolution of Energy Storage - Batteries, Fuel cells & Capacitors

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