Peter Kelly-Detwiler: 617.875.6575 | Leighton Wolffe: 781.547.1193 pkd@northbridgeep.com, leighton@northbridgeep.com

NEP Articles & White Papers

Featuring Peter Kelly-Detwiler’s “The Perfect Curve”
Forbes.com column

Forbes-Energy-Column-art

Since 2013, I’ve been writing the column THE PERFECT CURVE, about latest trends in the electric energy industry, for Forbes.com. Nearly every one of my 225+ columns has had one element in common: a focus on a trend, technology, company, or regulatory issue that affects the emerging power grid. In the course of my writings, I have been fortunate to have had access to some of the best minds in the industry. They include the CEOs and leaders of business development of well over 75 companies. While the compensation is impressive—substantially over $5 per hour—it is the ability to gain otherwise unattainable insights and perspectives that has been my key motivator for writing this column.

Interested in catching up? Read some featured Perfect Curve posts in the blog below or view the full Past Articles link list.           ~PKD

Led By Tesla, U.S. EV Sales Rocket In December, Pushing Annual Numbers To New Heights

Inside EVs is almost finished posting the tallies for December U.S. EV sales, which in turn give us the year-end volumes. The numbers are solid, representing a strong reversal of last year’s slight decline. 2014 stood at 122,438, and 2015 backslid to 116,099. 2016 already shows just under 155,000 sales with Ford and BWM (together they will easily yield another 3-5000) numbers still outstanding. And then there are the EV ‘losers’ such as the Volvo CX90 and Kia Soul (which between them can’t seem to muster 400 sales in any given month), which will add a few hundred more.

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Pruitt Can Shred All The EPA Regulations He Likes — It Won’t Help The Energy Industry

After weeks of waiting to see what would come out of the EPA transition team headed by Myron Ebell – a renowned climate change denier – it appeared for a while that President-elect Trump might surprise and head towards the middle of the road. A meeting early this week with Al Gore gave hope to some that Trump would heed the warnings of the majority of the scientific community and moderate his thinking on climate change.

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High (Range) Anxiety: Nissan Leaf Trip MA To MD Shows Limitations, But EV Improvements On The Way

In July, Green Car Reports ran a story about an intrepid driver – John Briggs – who made the trip from Boston to Silver Spring, Maryland in his Nissan Leaf. The narrative highlighted some of the key issues that remain to be overcome in order for electric vehicles (EVs) to truly make it to prime time. The key challenges Briggs faced had to do with both the range of the vehicle and the charging network that currently supports (or doesn’t) longer-range trips.

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Bill McKibben: Why We Need A World War III Approach To Energy And Climate Change

This month, the American Meteorological Society released its 240+ page State of the Climate in 2015 report. The information is not pretty. The report’s introduction notes that,

“In 2015, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – all continued to reach new high levels. At Mauna Loa, Hawaii, the annual CO2 concentration increased by a record 3.1ppm, exceeding 400 ppm for the first time on record. The 2015 global CO2 average neared this threshold, at 399.4 ppm…Owing to the combination of El Nino and a long-term up-ward trend, Earth observed record warmth for the second consecutive year…Above Earth’s surface, lower troposphere temperatures were near-record high.”

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UL Working To Ensure Used EV Batteries Can Be Safely Re-Purposed

Electric vehicles are sexy. They accelerate from zero to sixty in no time. Some of the coolest models from BMW and Tesla have gull-wing doors. And they are beginning to gain traction in the market. To date, some half a million have been sold in the U.S. This year, we are on a record pace both in the U.S. and globally. Last year, 550,000 EVs were sold worldwide. This year, the numbers are already at 308,000 through the first half of the year. Those numbers may appear large, but in the context of the nearly 89 million vehicles sold worldwide last year, they are still quite small, implying tremendous room for future growth.

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The Morphing Role Of The Electric Utility: Investors In The Change To Come

A state of affairs that cannot be ignored – This past month, Fitch Ratings issued a note highlighting the risk of solar energy net metering to the creditworthiness of America’s publicly traded electric utilities. The agency noted that distributed (rooftop) solar now represents 1% of all energy generated, and the potential to further eat into utility revenues is an issue to be concerned about.

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Mining Bitcoins Is A Surprisingly Energy-Intensive Endeavor

Today’s modern economy depends upon a mindboggling array of servers spread across the planet – mining and retrieving data to create value for humanity. Indeed, much of our modern economy is digital. By its very nature, this modern, digital economy is fueled by affordable electricity. In this modern economy, a new form of currency has emerged called cryptocurrency. Based on encryption (encoding) there are literally dozens of these digital currencies, the most famous and popular of these being Bitcoin. Bitcoin – and the energy use required in its creation – is the currency we will focus on in this post.

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The Challenge Of Keeping The Lights On In New England: A Conversation With ISO-NE’s CEO

In March, I moderated a panel at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin entitled Creating the Next Energy Market Structure. There I had a chance to hear the thoughts of Nick Brown, President and CEO of the Southwest Power Pool and Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England (ISO-NE). I came away with the distinct impression that running today’s highly complex electricity markets is no easy task.

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One Expert’s View On The Near-Term Future Of Energy Storage

I spend a good deal of time at energy storage conferences, trying to figure out where the various technologies and business models are headed. I thought I had most of the nuances figured out – until I ran into Sam Jaffe at the Energy Storage Association conference in Charlotte in April. After a brief discussion, I realized I had some more understanding to do, and was able to arrange a follow-up conversation. I first met Jaffe when he was active at Navigant Research as their main energy storage analyst, and he has since moved on to become Managing Director at Cairn Energy Research Advisors (Cairn ERA). Jaffe’s spent more than 10 years in energy storage as an analyst, consultant, entrepreneur and executive from all ends of the business. So he’s practically been watching this space since before it became relevant.

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ARPA-E: What Role Should The Government Play In Commercializing New Energy Technologies?

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) recently celebrated its seventh anniversary this year and held its seventh annual innovation summit at National Harbor outside Washington D.C. For those of you who are unfamiliar with ARPA-E, it is an agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that is modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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Alevo, The Other Energy Storage Gigafactory, Begins To Stir

In late 2014, a virtually unknown company called Alevo announced it was entering the energy storage market with a new inorganic, sulfur-based lithium ion battery technology that it had acquired from the bankrupt German company fortu PowerCell. Alevo entered the U.S. with a big splash, investing over $68 million in the 3.5 million-square-foot former Philip Morris tobacco factory in Victory, North Carolina, outside Charlotte. It also announced that it would hire up to 2,500 workers over three years, with a potential maximum workforce of 6,000 capable of turning out thousands of megawatts of electricity storage products annually. In other words, Tesla would not be the only storage company with a gigafactory.

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Clock Strikes Midnight On Emergency Generators And Demand Response

The clock struck midnight Sunday on emergency generation for demand response, and the boom fell today: May Day was supposed to have been a bad day for many of the curtailment response providers (CSPs) – and their customers with emergency generators – that provide demand response to competitive power grids across the United States. That’s because May 1st (well, in reality May 2nd since May 1st fell on a Sunday) was the anniversary of a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affects the ability of emergency generation to serve as a demand response resource. The week was quiet, with no news until a few hours ago, when participants reportedly received notification that the time is now up and emergency generation is off the table as a demand response resource.

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Itron’s Idea Labs: Innovate Or Risk Being Pushed Aside

Last month at ETS16 in Austin, I had a chance to hear Roberto Aiello, Managing Director of Itron’s Idea Labs, discussing the role innovation plays within Itron. Some folks may know of Itron as a metering company, but they actually do much more than just provide metering systems for water, gas, and electricity utilities. These days, Itron is increasingly a technology and services company, involved in collecting, communicating, and managing enormous amounts of data and turning those bits and bytes into useful information.

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