Energy Internet and eVehicles Overview

Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to prepare society for inevitable climate change. To date most people have been focused on how to reduce Green House Gas emissions, but now there is growing recognition that regardless of what we do to mitigate against climate change the planet is going to be significantly warmer in the coming years with all the attendant problems of more frequent droughts, flooding, sever storms, etc. As such we need to invest in solutions that provide a more robust and resilient infrastructure to withstand this environmental onslaught especially for our electrical and telecommunications systems and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with autonomous eVehicles and dynamic charging where vehicle's batteries are charged as it travels along the road, may provide for a whole new "energy Internet" infrastructure for linking small distributed renewable energy sources to users that is far more robust and resilient to survive climate change than today's centralized command and control infrastructure. These new energy architectures will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint. For more details please see:

Using autonomous eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: and

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top:

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change:

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet:

How to use Green Bond Funds to underwrite costs of new network and energy infrastructure:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

NY Times Andy Revkin on Climate Change and Tipping Points

[Great column in today's NY Times on Climate change and tipping points. Thanks to Dewayne Hendricks for this pointer--BSA]

See also my presentation on this topic:

‘Tipping Points’ and the Climate Challenge

A growing effort to clarify such risks has yielded what amounts to the same message climate experts have been conveying for more than two decades: More emissions of greenhouse gases raise the odds of trouble.

USGS report finds that future climate shifts have been underestimated and warns of debilitating abrupt shift in climate that would be devastating.

Tipping elements in the Earth's climate - National Academies of Science:
“Society may be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change. Our synthesis of present knowledge suggests that a variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century under anthropogenic climate change. “

Friday, February 26, 2010

New revenue opportunites for R&E networks in helping universities reduce their energy costs

R&E networks (NRENs) around the world are under serious financial pressure. Direct government funding has pretty well dried up and their members are also suffering financial constraints as governments world wide face huge budget deficits. At next weeks CENIC conference I will be proposing a possible new funding scenario for R&E networks that not only provides them with a new source of revenue but also has the potential to reduce overall energy costs for their member institutions. Not only do the networks get a new source revenue it will also help their member institutions reduce their costs in these challenging times of fiscal constraint.

The concept I propose is based on the idea of cap and reward similar to the new bill in the US congress called Cap and Dividend.

Computers, networks and data centers consume 30-50% of the electricity on most university campuses. Most universities and colleges are committed to reducing their energy consumption and reducing their carbon footprint. Reducing the energy consumption and
CO2 footprint of fixed infrastructure such as building and labs is difficult, if not impossible. The challenge for many universities is that in most cases they do not pass on the costs of power, cooling and space to researchers. As such there is little incentive for researchers to explore new models of cyber-infrastructure that might reduce the institutions carbon footprint. As well the purchase of offsets, even where universities are mandated to acquire them has been complicated by the fact that there are very few high quality verifiable offsets available in either the voluntary or regulated carbon markets. This is further complicated by the fact that it takes considerable time to develop new offset verifiable and auditable standards for cyber-infrastructure tools.

But ICT and cyber-infrastructure is the low hanging fruit of an effective green strategy at our universities. Virtualization, clouds and relocating computer applications and servers to low cost energy sites could have a big impact on an institutions energy costs.
Studies done by MIT and Rutgers indicate energy savings as much as 45%.

Most R&E networks already charge a membership or participation fee based on the size of the institution or the amount of research dollars they receive or some other similar metric. I propose that R&E networks should instead charge member institutions a membership or participation fee based on their annual total electricity consumption.

In exchange for this fee the R&E network commits to provide a range of ICT services that will help the university reduce its energy consumption and CO2 footprint by providing a range of low carbon ICT and cyber-infrastructure services. These would include such things as remote data storage, application hosting, video conferencing services, cloud computing, optical lightpaths, etc. The university is also encouraged to promote these services internally to its research, faculty and students to help the institution take advantage of this offering from the R&E network. If the university manages to reduce its energy consumption, it is not penalized in any way in terms of benefiting from these services and it gets the additional bonus of reduced costs for energy and network services.

I also suggest that universities establish an internal cap and reward fund to promote the adoption of low carbon ICT and cyber-infrastructure, as offered by the R&E networks and by the institution itself. Such a fund could be made up from the money already committed to make then institution carbon neutral, for those institutions who are committed to that path by government fiat or on a voluntary basis. Rather than spending money on dubious carbon offsets, researchers, faculty, staff and students would be encouraged to adopt low energy and carbon ICT practices such as using external clouds and hosting datasets off campus or using distributed optical computing infrastructure such as Optiputer. Researchers would be also encouraged to use video conferencing instead of travel. For those who adopt such a strategy with demonstrable energy savings would receive additional research funding from this special cap and reward fund and access to the low energy services offered by the R&E network.

Another green revenue strategy is to provide a low cost national mobile cell phone Internet service for students and faculty with data offload at the nearest campus or school. But I will save details on that strategy for another blog.

Comments or suggestions for improvement on this concept are most appreciated.




twitter: BillStArnaud


skype: Pocketpro

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cap and Dividend versus Cap and Reward

[As many of you may know I have long argued for a program similar to cap and dividend where the money from a cap and trade system or carbon taxes is returned directly to consumers. However I have advocated that we use carbon rewards where instead of simply returning money to consumers we create a virtuous circle where the consumer is rewarded with virtual products and services delivered over the Internet. For more details please see BSA]

Cap and Dividend versus Cap and reward

Cap-and-dividend: the jolt Harper needs?

Can we settle the carbon pricing debate by giving the money back to the people?

The loudest debate in climate policy at the moment is no longer about whether or not there should be a price on carbon emissions (there will be), but rather how to go about pricing the most dangerous greenhouse gas.

As long as this debate has been going on, two camps have emerged as the favorites of conventional wisdom—the widely lauded cap-and-trade system and the underdog, a straight-up carbon tax. Plenty of ink has been spilled criticizing and defending the two. Cap-and-trade, say the tax camp, would be too complicated, too riddled with loopholes, and too easy for Washington to screw up. A tax, counter C&Ters, is a political nonstarter, enough said. Both proposals, though, share a problem that more or less renders all other points moot: if you make energy more expensive to produce, you make energy more expensive to buy. Meaning that until clean energy gets cheaper (which it will), anyone with a home to heat, a Civic to fill, or a refrigerator to keep cool is going to take a hit in the wallet. Meaning the voting public isn’t going to be happy about putting a price on carbon. Meaning elected officials aren’t going to support it. (See: the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, a pretty weak carbon pricing plan that was still, more or less, dead on arrival.)

True, scientific—and economic—evidence now creates an even stronger case for urgent greenhouse gas reductions than it did even a year ago when Lieberman-Warner was introduced. And, true, leadership on Capitol Hill and in the White House are much more amenable to firm action on climate change than they were even on January 19th. (And that’s a whopper of an understatement.) But it’s still pretty much impossible to see a filibuster-busting 60 senators standing behind any proposal that—in the eyes of their respective constituencies—simply makes energy cost more.

Enter the Great Third Way, more formally known as cap-and-dividend. The cap part is familiar—a set number of pollution permits would be auctioned off, placing a firm, predetermined, and annually-dropping ceiling on carbon emissions. Cap-and-dividend’s first twist away from the typical cap-and-trade orthodoxy comes in where, exactly, the carbon is capped. Historically, cap-and-trade systems—like the acid rain program that so effectively reduced sulfur dioxide in the early 1990s—place a cap at the end of the industrial cycle, where the pollution left the smokestack. That’s easy enough to do when there are relatively few factories and plants emitting SO2.

This still leads to pricier power—the mine will charge more for the coal, and your utility will send along a higher bill for electricity. Which brings us to the meat of this “third way”—the dividend.

All (or most) of the revenue raised from carbon permit auctions would go back, in equal shares, to the American people. Barnes calls it an “Atmospheric Trust” that would work like the Alaskan Permanent Fund, which sends everyone in the state a check each year for their share of oil revenue.

We’ll soon find out. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is introducing a bill this week that would cap carbon emissions by 2012 and distribute 90 percent of revenue from an “upstream” auction directly to Americans in the form of monthly dividend checks. Van Hollen already has one supporter in Barnes, who called the bill “beautiful.” Time to see if the American public and their elected reps agree.

twitter: BillStArnaud
skype: Pocketpro

Monday, February 1, 2010

Obama orders 28% reduction of government-wide GHGs - Government CIOs are under the gun

[As I have blogged previously Government and other not-for-profit sector CIOs such as universities are soon going to be under the gun as the primary agents for reducing GHG emissions in their respective organizations. Information Technology (IT) is responsible up to 50% of the electrical consumption in most of these organizations. But IT has the most tools at hand and greatest flexibility in order to reduce its carbon footprint. Compared to reducing our carbon footprint in other aspects of our lives, IT should be relatively easy. As mentioned in this press release the Government is the single largest energy consumer and it government has a responsibility to its citizens to reduce its own footprint. This is a fantastic annoucement by Obama but is undermined by his own administrations activities where the GSA , NSA and NCRA are build mamoth data centers powered solely by coal fired electrcity in Utah, Wyoming etc . See for more details- BSA]

WASHINGTON, DC - President Barack Obama today announced that the Federal Government will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 28 percent by 2020. Reducing and reporting GHG pollution, as called for in Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability, will ensure that the Federal Government leads by example in building the clean energy economy. Actions taken under this Executive Order will spur clean energy investments that create new private-sector jobs, drive long-term savings, build local market capacity, and foster innovation and entrepreneurship in clean energy industries.

As the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy, the Federal Government spent more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008 alone. Achieving the Federal GHG pollution reduction target will reduce Federal energy use by the equivalent of 646 trillion BTUs, equal to 205 million barrels of oil, and taking 17 million cars off the road for one year. This is also equivalent to a cumulative total of $8 to $11 billion in avoided energy costs through 2020. "

As the largest energy consumer in the United States, we have a responsibility to American citizens to reduce our energy use and become more efficient," said President Obama. "Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift Federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy."

Federal Departments and Agencies will achieve greenhouse gas pollution reductions by measuring their current energy and fuel use, becoming more energy efficient and shifting to clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. Examples of agency actions that are underway are available on the White House Council on Environmental Quality website and can be found at .

Blog Archive