About Energy Production

Immagine correlataMany qualify electricity from solar panels or wind mills, in a poetical mode, as free energy. There is no such a thing as free energy. It is renewable, but not free. It requires a large energy investment to produce solar panels or wind mills. It is imperative to use the proper tools to analyze any of the so called renewable sources of energy and dispel the notion that they represent free energy. The objective of those renewable sources is to have a positive future flow of output energy, and that flow of renewable energy should be able to pay the initial investment in non renewable energy in a short period of time, say a maximum of 3 years. This standard indicates that we have a real innovation. Any Government financial support does not change the reality of our objective, fast payback of the energy investment. This is the only objective we should have for a measure of reasonable sustainability and cut our dependency on foreign oil. As you can deduct, this definition of sustainability is independent of the price of oil, as it should be. Let’s check the situation of the three most common projects for renewable sources with the standard mentioned above. 1.Ethanol: The future flow of renewable energy is negative. There is nothing left to pay for the humongous required energy investments-1 Gallon of ethanol, uses 1.85 Gallons of oil- If we do nothing, we will be better off in terms of energy consumption and emissions now and in the future. The government support, with all their financial help, cannot change the negative energy balance and the enormous increase in present emissions. Our goal is not fulfilled. 2.Wind Mills: The future flow of renewable energy is positive. However the very large investments in energy to engineer and build the units, including power lines, have an energy payback beyond 30 years. This investment does not avoid the investment in carbon, gas, or nuclear power plants to cover the ~70% of the time they are not producing electricity. We are increasing dramatically the power consumption and emissions as we build the units now, for a meager yearly renewable volume of power. . Our goal is not fulfilled 2.Solar panels: The future flow of renewable energy is positive. The pay back for the initial energy consumption is beyond 50 years. Solar panels produce energy in average ~20% of the time. Any standard technology, let’s say small generators consuming natural gas, cost 1/30 of the energy cost of a solar panel for an equal total output. We seem to be digging our own grave with gusto. None of those projects comply with the most elementary energy objective we have as a country; on the contrary, they produce a considerable spike of energy usage now, that could be avoided, and I doubt that they will ever have a proper pay back in created energy. There is no wealth creation in these activities, no energy savings, only an immediate transfer of money from the Taxpayers to somebody else, destroying other Industries in the meantime. Due to all kind of government money injected into these projects, and the high price of oil, money could be made. But if the price of oil goes below a certain threshold, boom, the project is no longer viable. See T. Boone Pickens suspending his wind mill project because oil went below US$60. Or the several bankruptcies in ethanol due to the higher price of corn in spite of all the subsidies! Millions of barrels of oil that we cannot afford to loose, thrown to the wind. None of those programs complies with cutting CO2 emissions, a suspected objective anyway. They make our dependence of foreign oil much worst, not better, using considerable high level engineering resources for naught. There are enormous opportunities in energy savings and production in many Industries, with a positive balance of energy consumption and paybacks anywhere from 4 months to one year.


Workshop “Vendere il valore”

Il giorno 23 maggio si è svolta a Stezzano presso il polo Schneider il Workshop “Vendere il valore”: una lezione introduttiva tenuta dal dott. Restori sulle nuove figure e nuove opportunità nel campo dell’efficienza energetica.




An Evolving View of Energy Management (guest post by George Belich)

I have been in this industry a long time and have seen an tremendous evolution of energy management over the years. The pedal is to the metal now with technology, sustainability and education moving along at a rapid pace. So in the grand scheme of things I would like to offer a personal overall perspective how I now see energy management.

At the core of coarse are metering and sensor technologies along with sophisticated control devices. The IoT will allow for more points of data and control that we ever dreamed about 20 years ago. In another 10 to 20 years these points will be accessed by multiple systems and multiple users in real time.

The next logical process to the view are the building management and SCADA systems that interface with these devices in order to maintain an operational balance between cost effective performance and effective human environments. Equipment failure and human intervention will cause this to go out-of-balance at some point in time.

Then we introduce in solar, cogeneration, combine heat and power, wind, fuel cells, battery storage and more into the operations so now there is a different complexity to the situation. These introductions also bring the utility into the picture with policies and market programs such as Demand Response  and Demand Side Management that provide revenue or savings back to the end customers and their operators.

Now comes the data integration part of the process where the control data, metering data, utility billing data, weather data and facility information data such as occupancy, holidays, utility events, product output  and more must come together and provide analytics and actionable items. These systems are many, operate on many platforms and may be specialized in the particularly facility venue such as schools, manufacturing, office buildings and more. This is where the ‘Big Data’ of energy management begins and where the focus of understanding how to get more out of the operations and controls of the facility. And more. Used wisely  this information can help to lower your peak demands, lower your baselines and most of all lower your costs.

Now having said all of the above, how can we manage energy without managing the physical assets being monitored and doing the monitoring (ala, meters, sensors and relays). Maintenance systems have been around a while but I am not sure how much they have been used in the energy management process. Preventative and predictive maintenance of a facilities assets can be greatly enhanced with utility data so if there is a process why not use it and if there is not why not put one in place.  Faulty controls, sensors, meters and relays can cost more in the decision making process than ignoring them.

Over the last several years sustainability programs have been evolving to provide corporations more social visibility and overall view of their environmental concerns and performance. This is where the energy data and performance data provide a great deal of input. Not just on the financial side but on the Green House Gas side of the reports. Sustainability provides an additional case for energy management that did not exist several years ago.

This summary can run on with much more detail but is intended only to generate some  larger thoughts on energy management. The above drawing is a clear visual of this process and shows a size and scope of what energy management can be. These circles encompass various levels of personnel and skill sets in an organization that all must be engaged to have what could true energy efficiency. How active are you or you want to be in these functional areas?

Evoluzione del mercato energia – Relazione annuale del GME

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 12 12.28L’andamento del mercato energia non è più un argomento per soli addetti ai lavori. La relazione annuale del GME contiene degli spunti interessanti du un settore che sta vivendo un’evoluzione tumultuosa.


Sul tamburo: le nuove schede TEE 37 e 38

Scheda tecnica n. 37E – Nuova installazione di impianto di riscaldamento unifamiliare alimentato a biomassa
legnosa di potenza ” 35 kW termici. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Allegato alla scheda tecnica n. 37E: procedura per il calcolo del risparmio di energia primaria ……………………….

Scheda tecnica n. 38E – Installazione di sistema di automazione e controllo del riscaldamento negli edifici
residenziali (Building Automation and Control System, BACS) secondo la norma UNI EN 15232 ………………….
Allegato alla scheda tecnica n. 38E: procedura per il calcolo del risparmio di energia primaria …………………………