Diesem Blog präsentiert verschiedene meiner privat verfassten Texte . Die Herangehensweise ist multilingual und interdisziplinär. Die Themen sind international und betreffen vor allem Politik, Nachhaltigkeit, soziale Aspekte und eine Auswahl bestimmter Wirtschaftszweige.
Viel Vergnügen! - JJ Bürger -

Ce blog rassemble une partie de mes textes, créés en dehors de mes activités professionnelles. L'approche est plurilingue et interdisciplinaire. Les sujets sont internationaux et concernent notamment la politique, la durabilité, des aspects sociaux et certains secteurs de l'économie. Bonne lecture! - JJ Bürger -

Monday, December 11, 2017

Resposta de demanda elétrica: experiências no Brasil e na Alemanha

Por JJB

 
A flexibilidade do sistema elétrico está muito presente nas discussões sobre o futuro energético. Efectivamente, o impacto da produção das energias renováveis é frequentemente imprevisível. De mesmo, o consumo elétrico das novas innovações, como por exemplo os veículos elétricos, pode ter consequências desconhecidas sobre o sistema. E essas tecnologias vão avançar ainda mais no futuro.


Mas apesar da importância das grandes visões estratégicas à maneira de Tesla, Google e Uber, também vale a pena perguntar qual é a situação atual dos primeros projetos de flexibilidade. De fato, já existem primeros projetos de Resposta da Demanda, ajustando a procura à produção elétrica, sem precisar de blockchain ou de grandes innovações no armazenamento da energia elétrica.



Resposta da Demanda no Brasil
 
Tradicionalmente no Brasil, a energia hidráulica tem uma posição dominante. Esse tipo de energia já dispõe de um grau importante de flexibilidade intrínseca, visto que a água pode ser armenazada antes da produção elétrica. Isso também significa que os preços no mercado elétrico não estão incentivando a criação de novas capacidades de flexibilidade (veja por exemplo essa presentação da IEEE PES).
Todavia, a energia hidráulica também conhece limitações, seja no potencial de armazenamento de cada barragem, seja no potencial geográfico, ou ainda nos fatores ambientais e sociais que podem entravar a construção de novas barragens. Além disso, o consumo elétrico brasileiro não para de crescer. Assim, o Brasil começou a explorar a resposta de demanda, afim de ajustar a procura elétrica à produção.



Nesse contexto, o Brasil introduziu bandeiras tarifárias. Quando as condições são menos favoráveis à produção elétrica, o preço vai subir. Há quatro níveis diferentes: a bandeira verde (= condições favoráveis, então acréscimo de tarifa de 0 R$), a bandeira amarela (acréscimo de tarifa de 0.01 R$), a bandeira vermelha patamar 1 (acréscimo de tarifa de 0.03 R$) e por fim a bandeira vermelha patamar 2 (= condições muito desfavoráveis, acréscimo de tarifa de 0.05 R$/kWh ou seja 0.01€/kWh). Para o mês de Dezembro 2017, a bandeira tarifária é a bandeira vermelha patamar 1.


Outras medidas de Resposta da Demanda estão em discussão. Porém, hoje em dia, o sistema brasileiro ainda não chega a incentivar as reduções de consumo de maneira direta. Quando as condições não estiverem favoráveis, uma redução do consumo só pode impedir que o valor da conta do consumidor aumente. O consumidor brasileiro ainda não pode ganhar dinheiro com uma redução do consumo, mesmo que ela seja útil para o sistema elétrico.



Assim, vale a pena comparar o caso brasileiro com o da Alemanha.  



Resposta da Demanda na Alemanha


Na Alemanha, o progresso da energia solar e das turbinas eólicas significa que uma parte importante da produção elétrica é relativamente imprevisível. Assim, há situações de producão excessiva e otras situações de produção insuficiente. No âmbito da sua estratégia energética, a Alemanha introduziu, em 2013, a Lei sobre os acordos de consumo interruptível (chamada "AbLaV"). Por conseguinte, os grandes consumidores elegíveis podiam pedir a participar num programa remunerando a disponibilidade para uma redução de consumo. Quando estiver realmente necessário reduzir o consumo, o participante deve ser pronto para agir em somente alguns segundos (tipo 1: "interrupção imediata") ou em 15 minutos (tipo 2: "interrupção rápida"). A oferta mínima é uma redução de 5 MW no consumo do participante.

Essa "lei AbLaV" suscitou muitos debates, a oposição parlamentária achando que o dispositivo beneficia só os grandes consumidores. Até a BNetzA, a agência reguladora alemã, repetiu nas suas análises que os mercados já existentes da eletricidade seríam suficientes para incentivar esse tipo de redução de consumo dos grandes indústrias… e isso a um custo muito inferior ao custo da "lei AbLaV". 

Todávia, o governo alemão já prolongou várias vezes esta lei que inicialmente deveria ser só um projeto-piloto de 2013 a 2015. Na versão atual, a “lei AbLaV” permanece em vigor até Julho 2022 pelo menos. 

Mas visto que é um projeto com um tamanho limitado, o custo em 2017 era só de 0.006 ct€/kWh, (seja 0.00006 €/kWh ou em Reais 0.00023 R$/kWh), significando por ano 0.29 € (ou 1.13 R$) para uma família média. Isso é muito mais barato do que quase todos otros programas energéticos da Alemanha, e então não há muita polémica sobre a vontade do governo alemão de prolongar esse projeto-piloto.



Conclusão

O Brasil e a Alemanha começaram a explorar diferentes opções para aumentar a flexibilidade do sistema elétrico. No Brasil, as medidas visam todos os consumidores, enquanto que na Alemanha, visam só um grupo muito limitado. As duas estratégias têm vantagens e desvantagens. Contudo, elas podem nos ajudar para aprender mais sobre as opções de flexibilidade.  É necessário continuar a pesquisa e o diálogo entre os países e entre as diferentes estratégias.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Local Energy Transitions, City Planning and Business Models


By JJB

Energy transition continues to be a much-discussed topic, and local developments and cities play a crucial role for its implementation. But as this industry keeps on growing, solid methods and business models are needed in order to make sure that these changes, as well as profit, are made in a sustainable way. 

That is why a large number of researchers and entrepreneurs followed the invitation of the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) and the HFT Stuttgart to gather at the Urban Tech Hub by Grand Central Tech in New York City on November 27th and 28th, in order to discuss about “Energy Systems and Business Models for a Sustainable Urban Transformation” and, on a more technical level, “Urban Energy Systems and 3D Modeling for Low Carbon Cities”.

Sparkling energy (can you spot the metal workers in the above pictures?), architecture and city planning were at the center of discussions at Grand Central Tech and could also be observed outside, in a neigborhood full of energy.
Ursula Eicker from the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT) and its Reseach Center of Sustainable Energy TEchnologies (zafh) in Germany provided results from energy research and 3D city modeling aiming to improve urban energy planning and demand response.

Richard Graves from DC-based CleanChoice Energy shared insights from his company’s experience as one of the largest direct-to-consumer renewable retail energy providers in the United States. For instance, their Community Solar program allows clients to save on their bills by purchasing power from a close-by solar farm, without having to provide a roof space and without switching the utility provider.

Tooraj Arvajeh and his team from Blocpower presented their young company’s work, bringing energy efficiency, solar energy and other sustainable housing upgrades to underserved neighborhoods in New York and the US, while also analyzing the benefits of microgrids for challenged territories such as Puerto Rico and its ongoing power outages after the devastating 2017 hurricane season.

Michele Lunati explained how Potluck Energy works as broker bringing together roofing contractors, solar developers and owners of roof spaces, thanks to a patent-pending roof sensor system which allows to prevent roof leaks while tapping into the unused economic potential of roof spaces.

Dieter Hertweck, from the Hollerith Research Center and Graduate School for DigitalBusiness (HHZ) in Reutlingen, Germany, presented case studies on the benefits of distributed energy solutions. These benefits included local energy resiliency, optimized market value of solar power via batteries and blockchain, and a mid-sized town in Germany which created a virtuous cycle by combining circular economy and local energy planning.

Felix Thumm from Transsolar introduced the audience to several projects of climate-responsive urban design and architecture. In the case of a large campus building in Winnipeg, Canada, these eco- and user-friendly concepts not only helped to reduce energy consumption drastically, but also improved reported well-being of employees within the building. Even a reduction of 1.25 less sick days per employee per year was observed. 


Picture taken from HUB at GCT


Bernd Thomas from Reutlingen University, Germany, explained how Micro-CHP, solar energy and batteries can benefit from each other. One of his results showed that if adding Micro-CHP to a solar PV and battery combination, the battery may be much smaller (and thus cheaper) than if the Micro-CHP was left out, while still attaining the same degree of self-consumption.
Ahmed Mohamed from the City College of New York provided updates on research on improved microgrid control, reconciling the benefits of decentralized and centralized approaches.
Matthew Sachs from Peak Power described his company’s contributions to peak shaving powered by machine learning, which has the potential to reduce the public cost of infrastructure development while also reducing individual utility bills.

Alfred Helble from AH Consult, based in Stuttgart, Germany, shed a light on cost-saving strategies for waste water treatment plants thanks to energy planning, including for example biogas production.

Many participants voiced that they were impressed by the large number of insights and by the fact that many obstacles and goals are actually commonly shared by many projects in both America and in Germany. The talks were accompanied by lively discussions with the audience and were concluded with a closing reception as well as discussions on follow-up projects to further foster the transatlantic energy dialog. 

Grand Central Tech by night, in the city that never sleeps.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Creative challenges as a key to life

by JJB

What do The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper", David Bowie, Punk Rock's year of 1977 and Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" have in common?

Well, they all had their anniversaries in this year of 2017.
But there's more. They can tell us something about how important it is in life to be able to overcome obstacles in your own creative way, and to pursue new challenges...


1. "Sergeant Pepper" and "The Chain"

Let’s start off with the Beatles‘ „Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, celebrating this year its 50th anniversary since its release in Summer 1967. At this occasion, numerous publications revisited the album’s supposed secret messages and its indeed massive impact on Rock and Pop, as well as on the graphic design and the sheer conceptual design of music albums in general.
An interesting aspect that’s sometimes overlooked is the very idea of creating a fake military band and putting them at the front line of attention, having them sing the opening and (near-)closing tracks of the album. Maybe the Beatles needed a break from being the legends they’d become? Having experienced a considerable exposure to the stress and pressure of music business, it must have seem appealing for the Beatles to put up a barrier between their creative process and the expectations of the outside world. The typical Rock & Roll attitudes and gestures, which had been a force of liberation some years ago, were now becoming clichés. Why not leave it up to another band to the fulfill those standard tasks (like a Sergeant would fulfill his duty), while leaving the expression of true artistry to the Beatles? What better way to make a statement about the dilemma of “authenticity versus accessibility” than to frame this album with a (fake) recorded live concert from an imaginary band?

In some aspects, a similar creative process may have been applied when Fleetwood Mac recorded their song “The Chain”, which was released in early 1977, marking its 40th anniversary this year. It is the only song of the album credited to all five band members and is an assembly of different individual musical contributions that initially didn’t seem to fit together.
The songs’ meaning can be interpreted in many ways, for example as a love song. But it is also quite interesting to see the track as a reflection about the band itself. After all, the etymology of the word “band” refers to something that holds things together, so why shouldn’t we translate “The Chain” by “The Band” in this case? Many personal and emotional tensions had built up among the band’s members and yet they tried to make things work, to stay true to the commitment they had made to themselves and to each other… for the sake of their music. That is why after initial part full of reproach and hurt feelings (“Damn your love, damn your lies / And if you don’t love me now / You will never love me again”) they can, at the end of the process, renew their unity as artists, despite having to acknowledge that everybody also has their darker side (“Chain, keep us together! / Running in the shadows”). And indeed in this case, the chain really does hold all those different pieces together… at least for the duration of this powerful track.

TLDR
Standing up against pressure of expectations may not always be easy, but it can help you to find out what really matters to you and foster it. Whether excessive pressure arises from the outside world (as described for Sgt. Pepper) or from within (as described for The Chain), it does not necessarily have to be the end for your endeavors. Overcoming it can even spark your creativity.

 2) Punk Rock and David Bowie
What does Punk Rock’s eruption in 1977 have to do with all of this? Well, some might argue that it was a similar revolution against a society that, despite its proclaimed liberalism, put an excessive amount of pressure on the individual, in the form of social and economic expectations. Others might have questioned whether the radicalism and obscenity of 1977 Punk Rock were really necessary.
Regardless of these questions: It is interesting to note that despite Punk Rock’s refuse of traditions and norms, and despite its emphasis on anarchy and anti-intellectualism, it always had very strong connections to art genres such as Expressionism and Dadaism (which in their time were, in a way, provocative youth movements of their own). Maybe there is such a thing as a constant generational need to seek a complete rupture from tradition?
After all, and despite its negative connotations, “Punk” is about to become a term that also designates anything or anyone who does things differently, who seeks disruption rather than tradition. This trend can for example be illustrated by the term "Business Punk", which is the title of a book about disrupting the beer industry, and which is also the name of a German business magazine and an online fashion store.


The importance of blocking off the weight of expectations and norms can be seen very strikingly in David Bowie’s last album, “Blackstar”, celebrating this year its 1 year anniversary, whereas Bowie’s self-titled first album from 1967 turns 50 this year. January 2017 would also have been Bowie’s 70th birthday.

While it became clear that his cancer progressed to a very serious and final stage, Bowie put many efforts into the creation of a piece of art that would outlast his death or at least give a meaning to his death that could help him go in piece. This is particularly explicit in “Lazarus”, the album’s first single (and also the title of a musical Bowie was working on simultaneously). As a matter of fact, in “Lazarus”, the lyrics start with “Look up here / I’m in heaven” and the video ends with Bowie disappearing in a closet. But we also see Bowie being productive as an artist in this video, and the song’s title refers to the biblical story of Lazarus who was brought back to life by Jesus. So is it the artist being who we see vanishing here or the human being? And is it a goodbye forever? In “Blackstar”, the title track and other single of the album, one central part of the lyrics quotes “Something happened on the day he died / […] Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried / I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar”. Many discussions tried to decipher the meaning of the album's “Blackstar” metaphor, but in this particular lyric context, couldn’t it just refer to something that shines despite the darkness… just like Bowie was an artist who did not pretend that the dark sides of life didn’t exist, but who tried to overcome his demons as well as society’s expectations and achieve greatness nevertheless? 

Maybe the legacy of an artist is just like the clothes in a closet that others may still try on, reinterpret and carry on? Maybe Bowie took some comfort in believing that his art would be a part of him that will live on? In any case, the posthumously released track „No Plan“ (also written for the “Lazarus” musical) offers a comforting yet honest vision of hereafter: even though it is the great unknown, it must not necessarily be terrifying. It’s just the “no place” (as Bowie calls it in the song), where all our plans become “no plans”… yet they may live on in future generations.

TLDR
When facing his own mortality, what mattered most to Bowie was to accomplish this last work of artistry… rather than any kind of wild experience of parties, luxury or vacation. This shows how important it is for us as human beings to be able to love what we do. While pursuing this, it can be a heavy burden when systems, roles and norms become too rigid for any truly personal expression, too narrow for any bandwidth between the individual and the social norm. But facing some pressure of expectations and conventions is not necessarily a final obstacle; finding your own way to get over it and focusing on what you really want to do can even stir your creativity.