Electric grids do not change overnight. Power plants and other infrastructure are multi-decade investments, and it’s rare to retire them early. So, it’s a bit painful to watch how slowly they have been getting cleaned up. Even with the majority of new power plants being renewable energy power plants, the percentage of electricity coming from renewables only creeps up.
That can make 100% renewable energy or 100% clean electricity commitments seem car too far out, far too slow. A potential new requirement for utilities in the state of Oregon is one such example. If it gets through the state legislature, it will be one of the most aggressive timelines in the United States. However, it still gives the utilities nearly 20 years to fully decarbonize. Yes, 100% clean electricity by 2040 is ambitious when compared to other laws around the States. However, when looking at how much we need to cut emissions by 2040, that should be more of an average or norm than a leadership position. Nonetheless, in political context, it is something to celebrate.
Additionally, the bill as it is currently written requires that electric companies such as Portland General Electric and Pacific Power (the state’s two largest utilities) cut their carbon emissions 80% by 2030. An 80% reduction in emissions from a baseline level in just about a decade is a pretty aggressive transition for this sector. What is the baseline year, you ask? That’s actually not in the legislation. Not seeing it reported, I dug up the bill (Oregon House Bill 2021) and found this instead of a specific starting point: “Requires DEQ to determine each electric company’s baseline emissions level and, for each retail electricity provider, the amount of emissions reduction necessary to meet the established clean energy targets in the state policy.” Knowing how much these kind of things can be corrupted, I’m not thrilled to see a lack of clarity on this. However, I expect the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would be just about the best outfit to come up with the baseline. I hope.
Back to the state’s potential new requirement, reporting out of Oregon indicates that the legislation is likely to be passed this year. “Everyone OPB interviewed for this story suggested the bill is likely to pass this year, marking a significant milestone in Oregon’s energy policy — even if it’s one other states got to first.” It apparently has 100% opposition from Republicans in the state legislature, but Republicans don’t rule the show there. Its likelihood of passing is reportedly high despite a cap-&-trade bill dying last year as Republicans walked out of session early in order to kill it. This new bill is much narrower. Furthermore, it seems to have the support of the electric utility companies (which is something I find indicative of a not particularly aggressive legislative attempt, but I won’t get into all kinds of speculation or insinuation regarding that).
One line that rather annoyed me in the OPB reporting on the story is the following quote from Sunny Radcliffe, director of governmental affairs and energy policy at PGE, regarding getting to 100% clean electricity: “There is a lack of clarity for how we as an industry are going to get the last bits out,” Radcliffe said. “I don’t know anybody in our industry who knows how to get to zero with the technology we have today.”
I don’t know how Radcliffe doesn’t know anyone in the industry who can see how to get to 100% renewable electricity. After all, some places are already there (including places larger than Oregon), and there are these newfangled things called batteries that some people in the industry must have heard of. Also, by the way, a 2015 analysis out of Stanford showing how Oregon could get to 100% renewable electricity was referenced in the OPB article. In fact, I discovered the Oregon news because the lead author of that paper, Mark Z. Jacobson, tweeted out the story.
Anyway, let’s not harp on one quote from an industry player. Yes, we know how Oregon could get to 100% renewable electricity by 2040 — no worries.
There is plenty of good history and context on the Oregon bill over in that OPB article, so I recommend checking it out if you are curious to learn more. It’s one of the best pieces of local journalism I’ve seen on the topic of state renewable energy. The only major thing I’d change is that I’d point out what I just pointed out above. Though, the writer, Dirk VanderHart, did highlight the Stanford study in the article a bit before including that confusing quote from Radcliffe, so let’s just say that VanderHart slipped in the counterpoint preemptively and less offensively than I just did.
The article also points out key areas where the legislative shift from a cap-and-trade bill to this clean-electricity bill is evidence of somewhat deflated ambition. “Even if successful, the proposal only addresses a segment of the state’s carbon dioxide output.
“According to the DEQ, emissions from electricity accounted for 30% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. The entities regulated under HB 2021 are responsible for the vast majority of that, but some providers are left untouched.
“Several dozen small consumer-owned utilities around the state are not impacted by the bill. Nor is Idaho Power, the state’s smallest investor-owned utility, which was removed from HB 2021 after pressing for an exemption and touting its own decarbonization goals.”
I am certainly of the opinion that we need strong legislation to adequately deal with the climate catastrophe we are inviting upon ourselves. Though, in the case of stories like this, I am typically inspired to point out that we can each take individual action with or without such legislation. We can install record-cheap solar power on our roofs (well, some of us can) and we can switch to electric cars. In fact, the largest electric car seller in the country (by far) is also the second largest solar installer in the country and, seemingly, the one offering the cheapest solar, so you can quickly and easily go solar and go electric at the same time via a simple online store. So, whether Sunny Radcliffe knows how the whole state could run on renewables by 2040, Sunny could be driving on sunshine himself within a matter of months if he wanted to.
Battery powered trailer boost range, efficiency — now for $120,000 less
The RA electric trailer from Range Energy promises to turn your diesel truck into a hybrid or extend the range of your electric semi – and now it qualifies for a $120,000 voucher in California.
California’s Clean Off-Road Equipment (CORE) Voucher Project aims to make it easier for commercial fleets to decarbonize. Last July, Range became the first trailer electrification platform to be accepted into CORE with an $80,000 rebate.
This year, Range Energy bumped its largest battery offering to 300 kWh. The state, in turn, showed its confidence in the electric trailer concept by bumping that rebate a full 50%.
“Becoming eligible for CORE proved that trailers truly matter in the transition to electric, and that CARB recognizes the meaningful impact electric-powered trailers can have on reducing the emissions of the commercial trucking sector,” said Ali Javidan, founder and CEO of Range. “Increasing our trailer platform’s incentive value by $40,000 further solidifies that position and makes Range a realistic near-term solution for fleet owners and operators.”
The company claims the Range Energy electric trailers can double a trucks’ fuel economy and slash its NOx emissions by as much as 67%. When we last covered Range, its electric trailer system had just undergone independent testing that found a 36% real-world improvement on a 25-mile urban/high loop at 60 mph top speeds with a 59,000 lb. gross vehicle weight (well below the 80,000 lb. maximum).
It’s great to see concepts like this electric trailer come into play with some government dollars behind them. If they work (and if their weight penalties don’t hurt shippers’ profit margins), they’ll make it real easy for truck fleets to dip their toes into the waters of electrification while hydrogen and batteries battle it out for ultimate supremacy.
I’m betting batteries, for what it’s worth – but Range Energy customers will be able to put their electric trailers to work behind either!
Quick Charge Podcast: February 26, 2024
New episodes of Quick Charge are recorded Monday through Thursday and again on Saturday. Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.
Stories we discuss in this episode (with links):
Listen & Subscribe:
Share your thoughts!
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also rate us in Apple Podcasts or recommend us in Overcast to help more people discover the show!
You won’t believe who bought almost $1 million worth of Tesla Roadsters
In a surprising turn of events, we now learn that billionaire Dan O’Dowd bought the 3 Tesla Roadsters that were lost in a Chinese port for over a decade.
Last year, we reported on a strange story of three brand-new Tesla Roadsters that were found inside a shipping container in China.
It appears that a Chinese company bought the Roadster back in 2011 with the hope of reverse-engineering them. However, the shipment was blocked by customs in China and the vehicles never made it to the company.
Last year, someone finally was able to get them and ship them to the US.
Tesla ever only produced just over 2,000 original Roadsters between 2008 and 2011, making them rare in the first place.
On top of the usual unit you lose to accidents and time, Roadsters had a few bad luck incidents, including losing dozens of units to two separate fires at Gruber Motors, which specializes in fixing first-generation Tesla Roadsters.
It makes the remaining ones more valuable, and ironically, Gruber was leading the auction for the lost Roadsters.
At one point, the company claimed that the three Roadsters together would go for over $1 million.
Almost a year later, we now know who bought them.
Dan of the popular YouTube channel What’s Inside got an exclusive look at the Roadsters – giving us a great look at this little piece of EV history:
Dan revealed Dan O’Dowd, the billionaire founder of Green Hills Software, is the new owner of the Roadster.
To Tesla fans, O’Dowd is better known as the guy running the Dawn Project, which is basically a campaign against Tesla’s Full Self-Driving effort.
It could be surprising, considering how consistently O’Dowd has been attacking Tesla and Elon Musk, but he is apparently a fan of Tesla vehicles other than its Autopilot and FSD Beta, which the Roadster is not equipped with anyway.
He already owns a couple of Roadsters, according to What’s Inside’s video.
Now, if you are familiar with What’s Inside, you know that they tend to cut through things to find out what’s inside them, but obviously, Dan won’t be doing that with these Roadsters. The video is still a great look at what could be some of the best-preserved Roadsters on the planet.
Also, we now learn how much O’Dowd paid for the Roadsters.
Carl Medlock of Medlock and Sons, an independent Tesla repair shop, helped O’Dowd in the purchase and confirmed that the billionaire paid $800,000 for the three Roadsters.
That’s well below the up to $2 million offers that Gruber teased. In fact, Medlock claims that the only other big serious offer was for $500,000.
Regardless, at an average of over $250,000 per Roadster, it makes them some of the most valuable Roadsters to date.
Sports1 year ago
‘Storybook stuff’: Inside the night Bryce Harper sent the Phillies to the World Series
Sports11 months ago
MLB Rank 2023: Ranking baseball’s top 100 players
Environment9 months ago
Japan and South Korea have a lot at stake in a free and open South China Sea
Sports2 years ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Environment1 year ago
Game-changing Lectric XPedition launched as affordable electric cargo bike
Technology3 years ago
Game consoles were once banned in China. Now Chinese developers want a slice of the $49 billion pie
Politics2 years ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?
Environment10 months ago
Tesla advances Powerwall pilot project with German electric company