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CERAWeek: Thursday –Day 4: Power talk : utilities, grids

By Todd Peterson

Petroleumworld 03 09 2018

Thursday - Day 4

“CERAWeek by IHS Markit ”, day 4 and it is time to talk power. All kinds of power from conventional like coal, oil and gas, nuclear to renewables.
There was also a lot of discussion about the utility side of the business and the smart grid.

For a utility their most important objective in life is” to keep the lights on” by any means. Everyone expects that when they flip the switch on in their house the lights will go on.

The utilities are constantly challenged by government policy requiring a cleaner carbon foot print by passing more regulations. California is a good example and explains their high cost of electricity. Texas is less regulated and because of that has a lower cost of electricity. It is also the largest producer of wind energy in the USA.

There was a lot of discussion about electric vehicles (EVs) and how utilities will manage the increased demand on the grid for charging. Smart charging will be needed. Today, if you buy a EV you will normally recharge at night but that is when renewables like wind and solar are not available. So smart charging is needed were you charge also during the day when renewable energy is available. For this to happen quicker it makes sense to marry autonomous vehicles and EVs. Electric vehicles also make more sense for fleets of cars and trucks. In places like Texas the EVs will take longer to develop because of the large distances that people travel compared to more urban places.

The game changer will come when there are advances in storage and batteries. This would hasten the transition to renewables away from fossil fuels. One interesting comment heard about EVs is that once you try an EV you will never go back to an internal combustion engine.

In addition to renewables there were papers about clean coal, the future of nuclear and artificial intelligence running all the utilities. And it would not have been complete if there wasn’t mention of blockchains and Bitcoin.

Story Todd Peterson special correspondent from Petroleumworld /
03 09 2018

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