How Rooftop Solar Can Be Used as a Grid Resource
“How can rooftop solar be utilized for the grid’s needs?”
Rooftop solar is one of the fastest growing types of distributed energy resources. However, right now they are only used to provide power to the buildings of the owner. But what if we could use that extra energy to provide power for the grid? This would increase grid flexibility and allow for further decarbonization. This is How Rooftop Solar Can Be Used a Grid Resource.
“How do we design cities and municipalities?”
Today, around 55 percent of the world lives in urban areas and that number is rapidly growing. That means as cities expand and new towns are built, there must be significant planning done to ensure livability and proper operation of all infrastructure, whether it be in transportation, utilities, or amenities. This can be accomplished through the use of Urban Planning, or the study of how to design urban conglomerates.
Climate Change Attribution
“How can we attribute what is responsible for climate change?”
One of the biggest debates going on about climate change is what is causing it. Many political pundits will claim that everything can be explained entirely through natural factors such as the Earth’s tilt or volcanoes. However, to prove causation, mathematical analysis will need to be done to isolate each component and observe its effects. Using this Climate Change Attribution, we can see that these effects do not contribute greatly to global warming and that carbon emissions is the primary driver behind climate change.
Should California Only Important Electricity Through HVDC Lines During the Rainy Season?
“Should California only import high voltage electricity from other states at certain times of the year?”
California has ambitious plans with renewable energy. Not only is it the leading market in the United States, but plans to completely decarbonize its energy grid by 2045! However, this may require importing wind energy from Wyoming and Hydropower from the Pacific Northwest. The most efficient way to do this is to use HVDC lines with low levels of resistive losses. However, with the advent of climate change, California is experiencing much more and longer periods of drought. This creates fertile conditions for fires, which can be easily triggered in the case of a power line fault. Given that HVDC lines are at such high voltages, a single slip from one can cause intensive damage. As a result, it might be wise for California to only import electricity during the rainy season. Doing this will increase resilience protection and help stabilize the grid during the less sunny winter days. Since wind and hydro resources are also more plentiful when it rains, it would be a great way for other states to offset their surpluses during this time. This might be unnecessary if advanced fault detection and diagnostic technologies are used, but only studies will be able to say for sure!
How Building More Housing in California Would Drastically Reduce Climate Change
“How can we fight climate change by building more housing in California?”
Although my home state of California is a global leader in Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Electric Vehicle Adoption, we are seriously lagging behind in critical area: housing development.
As a result of California’s neglection of residential construction combined with a booming economy over the past few decades, millions have been drawn to the Golden State without making more room for them. This has created a lack of supply with heavy demand, making housing costs skyrocket and pushing out residents further and further away from job centers. This has caused commute lengths to increase, releasing more pollution into the atmosphere and exacerbating climate change.
If California is truly committed to fighting climate change, then it needs to commit to building much more housing near transit and job centers. Upcoming Bill SB-50 holds much promise, which allows for construction of apartment buildings a half-mile from a railway station, quarter-mile of a high-frequency bus stop, or within “job-rich” neighborhoods.
The EPA Federal Test Procedure and Why It Is Important
“How are vehicles tested for emissions and fuel economy in the United States?”
In the United States, in order to sell a car the emissions and fuel economy must be known. But how can this be accomplished? Well, what if we were to make the vehicle undergo a series of standardized and controlled drive-cycles and measure fuel consumption? This way, not only can we measure its performance for that trip but compare it to every other vehicle that underwent a similar trip. Well, it turns out the EPA does exactly with The EPA Federal Test Procedure.
Image credit: Wikipedia
Decarbonizing Air Travel
“How can we make air travel carbon-free?”
One of my favorite things to do is travel. Although I don’t get the opportunity often, I love the ability to see new lands, meet new people, and really change my perspective on the world. And one of my favorite parts is traveling to the destination by plane. Being able to gaze upon the entire world through my plane window almost makes me feel like a child again.
However, as a sustainability enthusiast, I feel bad every time I take a flight. I am aware that in one round-trip flight from San Francisco to New York I’ve generated about 20% of the greenhouse gases emitted by the average American car travel. In 1992, it accounted for 13% of all transportation emissions and is expected to grow in the coming years. As a result, Decarbonizing Air Travel is a necessity for achieving a climate-friendly world. This can be done through a multitude of sources, most notably replacement or decarbonization of jet fuel.