I’ll go out on a limb here and bet that Donald Trump knows little to nothing about renewable energy storage technology and its role in our energy future, though would be willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to his energy secretary, Rick Perry, who may have overheard the concept at a cocktail fundraiser.
Like Don Quixote, Trump is tilting at the windmills of his own dangerous imagination.
“We’re the No. 1 energy producer in the world,” Trump declared, and “I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which, frankly are not working all that well.”
We can only be grateful that he doesn’t sit on Royal Dutch Shell’s Board, the world’s second largest oil conglomerate, who is investing over $2 billion annually in “windmills,” while other oil and auto giants are following suit. Trump would do well, as we all would, to take a tour of Shell’s Ontario crude refinery and motor oil plants – ironically outfitted with solar power and industrial scale battery storage.
And just as Trump favors fast food because it’s of a “certain standard,” there is some merit, however murky, to his assertion that renewable energy is “not working all that well.” Fossil-fuel powered energy plants are reliable – whereas wind and solar are not.
Yet over the next 30 years, according to BloombergNEF forecasts, half of the world’s electricity will be generated by solar and wind. It seems our paraffin will be in search of a new paramour. This paradigm shift will not materialize though, unless and until the issue of reliability is adequately addressed.
That’s where storage technology comes in.
Mary Powell, CEO of Vermont’s Green Mountain Power, calls renewable energy storage a “leapfrog technology that’s really needed in a world that’s focused on dramatic climate change.” America’s aging power grid and its utility owners will continue to play a key role in the ensuing transition to renewables.
Carbon-based power transmission is responsible for one-third of all U.S carbon dioxide emissions. As with American agriculture and its shifting of production closer to the consumer, our energy sources are becoming increasingly localized – might we say organic? Whereas Green Mountain Power has partnered with Tesla to provide its customers with reliable battery storage, Rocky Mountain Power is partnering with Sonnen (owned by Dutch Shell) in a unique and significant partnership model – in a move inconceivable to the current administration and their quixotic windmills.
Some 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah, lies Soleil Lofts, a new and game-changing apartment development, consisting of 22 buildings and 600 units. Game-changing because all the participants were primarily driven to build a “community of the future” – one in which each apartment has its own solar energy storage battery. These batteries are precision-controlled by Rocky Mountain Power, enabling the utility to store and activate solar energy during times they would normally supplement with their own carbon generated electricity.
And within this model lies the mass market for renewable energy, virtual power plants, a birth of renewed cooperation, love, peace, and happiness. I’m just flowing with the current …
When we, a community of empowered citizens, return to our senses (take your time) and resume control of our energy future, may we be forever mindful of the example of Enron and what happens when we bequeath Wall Street with our most cherished gift – electrons!
After years of globetrotting, Todd J. Broadman finds himself writing from his perch on the Palouse and loving the view.