La transition énergétique : acte écologique ou épisode politicien ?

La transition énergétique est désormais un des termes à la mode de la politique française. Tout discours, tout programme y fait référence comme la priorité émergente du moment. La « pression » sur le sujet est même accentuée par l’accueil en 2015, par la France, de la conférence Paris Climat 2015.

Avant d’avancer toute argumentation, il est fondamental de se remémorer les quatre objectifs principaux de toute politique énergétique :

-                     L’indépendance énergétique est d’autant mieux assurée que la part d’énergie primaire (pétrole, gaz, charbon, uranium, hydraulique, énergies renouvelables) produite dans le pays est importante. Dépendre fortement d’autres pays producteurs d’énergie primaire a un impact très fort sur la politique militaire et de défense : en témoignent les très nombreux conflits ayant pour origine le contrôle de ressources énergétiques.

-                     Le coût de l’énergie, ingrédient de la compétitivité de l’économie

-                     La disponibilité de l’énergie, plusieurs black-out ont montré l’impact économique désastreux d’une rupture massive d’alimentation électrique et, par extension, de tout manque de disponibilité de l’énergie pour l’économie.

-                     L’impact environnemental de l’énergie ne se résume pas aux émissions de gaz à effet de serre générés par la production d’énergie primaire ou secondaire (électricité). Le rejet de déchets radioactifs impacte de manière durable notre environnement.

Ces quatre objectifs sont indissociables. Aucun n’est plus important que les autres, mais aucun ne doit être négligé. Ils confèrent à toute politique énergétique une complexité qu’il est impossible de réduire. Dès lors, toute déclaration incantatoire, axée sur un objectif particulier, perd toute crédibilité et toute pertinence. Par exemple :

« Il faut sortir rapidement du nucléaire » adresse l’impact environnemental mais qu’en est-il de la disponibilité de l’énergie et de notre indépendance énergétique ?

« Il faut avoir un recours massif aux énergies renouvelables » adresse également l’impact environnemental mais qu’en est-il du coût et de la disponibilité de l’énergie ?

Dans ce contexte, est-il pertinent de parler de transition énergétique ? A-t-on vraiment besoin de changer ou de faire évoluer nos systèmes énergétiques ? Et qu’est-il possible de faire ?

Je me suis appliqué à lire attentivement les documents publics sur la transition énergétique : les réflexions qu’ils m’ont inspiré s’articulent en 6 points.

1-         La transition énergétique porte mal son nom et révèle une grave lacune de notre politique  énergétique

2-         La « transition » énergétique est un enjeu politique mais ne doit pas être un enjeu politicien

3-         La « transition » énergétique doit être une évolution systémique

4-         La transition énergétique proposée ne reflète pas une vision systémique

5-         Le processus de consultation à propos de la transition énergétique en cause ?

6-         Quelques premières propositions

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OpenADR Alliance Announces Growing
OpenADR Interest In Asia

The OpenADR Alliance announced that a highly successful interoperability test event and workshop was held in Japan followed by the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korea Smart Grid Association (KSGA). The significant support for OpenADR 2.0 in these countries underscores the growing global momentum behind OpenADR.

More than 30 engineers representing 12 member companies attended an interoperability test event in Tokyo on June 21st hosted by OpenADR test partner Intertek. The OpenADR Alliance is planning another interoperability test event in Japan in September. Over 40 companies attended a one–day workshop following the test event.

Addressing the Korean marketplace, the OpenADR Alliance and Korea Smart Grid Association (KSGA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form the OpenADR Alliance Korea.

Read full press release from OpenADR

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Smart City in Vienna: Model Project Aspern

In conjunction with partners, Siemens is launching a large smart city project in Vienna, Austria. A living laboratory will be created in the next five years in the waterside district of Aspern, one of the largest urban development projects in Europe. Here power supply, building systems, intelligent power grids, and information and communication technologies will interact optimally. The result will be the most efficient resource management possible, with maximum comfort for residents and users. On July 3, 2013, the partners signed the contract establishing the company Aspern Smart City Research, which has a budget of almost €40 million. The company will start work on October 1.

A multifunctional urban district will be created in Aspern, which is located in the northeastern part of Vienna. This area will include apartments and offices, a business, science, research, and education quarter. Altogether, it will cover around 240 hectares. Fifty percent of the space is reserved for public areas – plazas, parks, and recreation areas. Step by step, between now and 2030, the district will evolve into an intelligent city of the future, with 20,000 residents and 20,000 additional jobs.

This project represents an opportunity to develop a long-term integrated concept for an energy-optimized city district using appropriate technologies, products, and solutions in a real-world infrastructure. The goal is to make the whole system « smarter. » One step involves connecting buildings that have different functions, i.e. offices and apartments, to the low-voltage distribution network. In the future building control systems will manage the energy exchange between buildings and optimize energy consumption locally. This offers building operators the possibility to participate actively on the energy markets.

Information and communication technologies play an important role in this process, as does data evaluation. New IT solutions detect faults in the system, recognize inefficient consumption patterns, and identify potential opportunities for savings. Decentralized power generation from renewable energy sources will supply Aspern’s electrical needs. Modern storage technologies will play an important role here.  
Corporate Technology, Siemens global research department, will be in charge of the project. It will be working together with Siemens’ building technicians and smart grid experts. The other partners include local power companies and development associations.

Read full article from Siemens

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Oracle Study Says Utilities Not Yet Seizing Smart Grid Data Potential

Utilities accumulate enormous amounts of smart grid data, but still need to turn information into business value. A new Oracle study, “Utilities and Big Data: Accelerating the Drive to Value,” the second annual study in the Oracle Utilities Big Data series, shows utilities are increasingly prepared for the smart grid data influx compared to last year, but still struggle to fully leverage the data collected. Significant potential still exists to use this information to drive customer service and operational improvements for business value.

News Facts

Oracle’s “Utilities and Big Data: Accelerating the Drive to Value” report surveyed 151 North American senior-level utilities executives with smart meter programs to gauge:

Preparedness to handle the big data influx

How data is being used to improve operations and customer service

Future short- and long-term plans to use smart grid data

The potential of cloud-based solutions for data management and analysis

Where utilities will derive the greatest value from predictive analytics.

While more utilities say they are completely prepared this year compared to one year ago, less than half of utilities report they are using smart grid data to improve customer service and operational efficiency today.

Key Survey Findings

Preparedness Increasing, but Still Lagging: Utilities are more prepared to manage the data deluge today than they were one year ago, with 17 percent responding they are completely prepared, up from 9 percent in 2012. However, the majority still say they are underprepared. Utilities report slight improvements in information sharing and using information for strategic decision making.

Opportunity to Improve Customer Service: Fewer than half of utilities today use smart grid data to provide alerts or make other direct customer service improvements.

Big Data Skills Gap is Real: Sixty-two percent of survey respondents said they have a big data skills gap – including those who say they are prepared for the smart grid data influx.

Potential in the Cloud: While two out of three utilities are considering cloud-based solutions for smart grid/smart meter data management and analysis, only 26 percent are actually planning, implementing or maintaining a cloud solution today.

Utilities Believe in Analytics: Seventy percent of utilities said they expect predictive analytics to improve revenue protection and 61 percent said they expect it to reduce asset maintenance costs.

Read full press release from Oracle

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Offshore wind in deep waters opens up massive power potential

Floating turbine designs are cost-competitive with fixed-bottom designs in waters over 50 metres deep
- If challenges are successfully met, deep water wind farms could be operating in four years’ time

Deep water wind turbines are key to unlocking the massive energy potential in Europe’s Atlantic and Mediterranean seas and the deepest parts of the North Sea. EWEA reveals that floating turbines in North Sea deep waters alone could power Europe four times over. Offshore wind in Europe could be providing 145 million households with renewable electricity and employing 318,000 people by 2030, while providing energy security, technology exports, and no greenhouse gases.

This technology is cost-competitive with standard fixed-bottom offshore turbines from 50 metres water depth, the report finds.

If the requirements are met, the first full-scale deep offshore wind farms could be producing power by 2017, up from the two floating turbines currently supplying electricity from European waters.

Read full article from EWEA

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Bidgely raises $5M to give you greater control over home energy use

Bidgely has raised $5 million to help people gain control over their energy consumption.

The startup’s technology collects data from smart meters that record a home’s electricity consumption and breaks down how much energy each appliance is using in real time. Its “disaggregation” algorithms measure how much energy was used at what time by what appliance and identifies the greatest sources of waste.

Bidgely’s recommendation engine combines this data with social and demographic information about the user to offer practical suggestions, such as “This is the 30th time you ran the clothes dryer this month. Cutting down your laundry loads to half will save you $134 a year” or “Replacing your refrigerator with an Energy Star compliant refrigerator will save you $180 a year.” The recommendations are prioritized and factor in current utility rates to quantify the benefits.

The platform runs in the cloud and requires no hardware or software to download. All the information is presented in dashboards on desktop, iOS, and Android, and users can see visual representations of their energy use. Information is tracked over time, and you can see how much overall energy you use, how much energy each appliance uses, the costs of energy, downtime energy demand, and future projections. Gupta said that prior to this, consumers only had access to whole-house consumption information. To get down to appliance-level, one had to install expensive plug-level sensors.

Read full post from Venturebeat

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EU offshore wind installation grows in first half 2013 – but warning signs evident

277 new offshore wind turbines, totalling 1,045 megawatts (MW), were fully grid connected in Europe during the first six months of 2013. This is double compared to the same period in 2012 when 523.2 MW were installed. In addition, 268 foundations were installed and 254 turbines erected, all during the first 181 days of the year.

Total offshore capacity in Europe is now at 6,040 MW in 58 wind farms across ten countries – up from 4,336 MW in June 2012.

Twenty-one offshore wind farms are under construction or in preparation, with a total capacity of 5,694 MW.

The 277 wind turbines fully grid connected in  the first half of 2013 were in seven wind farms: Thornton Bank (BE), Gunfleet Sands 3 (UK), Lincs (UK), London Array (UK), Teesside (UK), Anholt (DK), BARD offshore 1 (DE).

Read full article from EWEA

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ENEL and Hera together for Smart Grid development

Enel Distribuzione, the company that runs the Enel distribution grid and Hera, the Italian multi-utility firm that operates in the environmental sector and provides water, gas and electricity services, have reached a partnership agreement to launch a pilot smart-grid project.

The agreement specifically aims at  applying the technological solutions and the specific functions that Enel Distribuzione has already developed or is testing on its own grid, assessing their benefits and giving rise to a process that will transform the electricity grid into a two-directional operation.

Enel Distribuzione will bring its long experience and the know-how it has acquired in this field to the partnership, in order, for the first time in Italy, to build a smart grid on another distributor’s network. By working with Hera they will thus create a de facto standard that will lead smart grid technologies in Italy.

The project, lasting two years, will be developed in the Province of Modena on the grid linked to the Pavullo substation. It will involve four distinct technology modules in order to create an automation system for the medium-voltage grid, integrating distributed generation into the monitoring and control system. This will make it easier to detect breakdowns, with the further development of remote control, for better integrating distributed generation from renewable sources such as as photovoltaic power, and storage of the energy generated. There will be greater customer involvement, including devices installed in homes to monitor consumption.

Within the framework of this collaboration, the two companies will work together on evaluating the use of battery systems for energy storage (Storage) and the Smart-Info system that allows customers to have the information recorded by the electronic meter at their fingertips , thus enabling them to optimise their energy consumption, leading to more efficient and sustainable behaviours.

The implementation of the smart-grid technologies on the electricity distribution grid will produce a number of practical benefits for distributors and end users, in terms of reducing the number and frequency of power cuts, thus improving the quality of the service on the Hera grid. It will also reduce CO2 emissions thanks to the distributed generation of power from renewable sources. Hera will also be able to enjoy the advantages of access to the Enel know-how and benefit from a reduction in operating costs.

Read full press release from ENEL

 

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Alstom and Soitec sign an agreement to create a French alliance for concentrated photovoltaic power plants

Alstom and Soitec, a world leader in generating and manufacturing semiconductor materials of extreme performance for the electronics and energy industries, have signed a cooperative agreement in order to provide concentrated photovoltaic power plants.

This agreement follows the call for tender issued by the French Energy Regulation Commission, last March 13th, in order to exploit solar power plants using whole or in-part concentrated photovoltaic technology, for a total power capacity of 100 MW.

In order to propose a complete and competitive offer, Alstom and Soitec will combine their experience in delivering turnkey power plants and in providing integrated solutions and main equipment for power generation on one hand, and concentrated photovoltaic technology, on the other hand. Soitec’s high efficiency solar modules are well suited to the solar power production in the South of France.

Alstom and Soitec are seeking to create a sector of excellence, which will create jobs and be ready to meet the challenges of the French energy transition. These future power plants will also showcase and promote concentrated solar photovoltaic power plants internationally.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar energy, including both Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaics could account for 25% of global electricity by 2050 and cover a third of global energy demand after 2060.

Read full press release from Alstom

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Demand Response Programs Will Reach Nearly 22 Million Sites Worldwide by 2020

While demand response (DR) is a relatively mature market in the United States, DR programs are just getting underway in most other regions, including Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East & Africa.  In the years ahead, countries in these regions promise to develop robust DR markets with solid growth prospects.  According to Navigant Research, the number of DR sites worldwide will reach 21.9 million by 2020, growing from 10.3 million in 2013.

Both energy demand and reliance on intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar power are growing in many countries.  These developments make it necessary for utilities to balance the grid through DR on a continuous basis (frequently second-by-second) to address constant power fluctuations on the grid, the study concludes.  In addition, new technologies (e.g., smart meters) and open standards like OpenADR and Smart Energy Profile 2.0 are opening up new DR opportunities.

Read full press release from Navigant Research

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