The “Weather Channel” for Your Energy Supply
New White Paper Released
Sabreez has just completed our year-long assessment of California’s renewable energy production relative to hourly consumer demand in terms of the Wind Number and Solar Boost. The assessment presents a monthly summary of the Wind Number and Solar Boost for October 2016, January 2017, April 2017, and July 2017. The monthly data show seasonal variations in clean energy production, the best and worst hours of the day to use electric power, and discusses challenges in achieving further reduction of carbon pollution, which is shown to be inversely correlated with the Wind Number and Solar Boost.
Sabreez is a residential demand response company serving the utility industry in California. We propagate a daily consumer-facing clean energy forecast showing energy consumers when their electric power supply is clean or dirty. The clean energy forecast provides actionable data to encourage load shifting on a daily and weekly basis, and informs energy consumers when critical peak pricing events are anticipated to avoid unnecessary energy use during periods of extreme demand. We also show energy consumers how to use cleaner energy to reduce their energy costs either through the existing technology in their home, or through the acquisition of new smart home devices and technology. Please visit our About Us page or Contact Us for more information.
Stay Cool During Wind Power Season
It’s Cooling Season
In the Summer, California’s electric rates are higher in the afternoon when air conditioning loads push demand higher. So here is an easy way to lower your costs by up to One Dollar or more per day and stay comfortable on those Hot Summer Afternoons;
- Know when your peak hours are on your chosen time of use electric rate.
- Know your comfortable temperature setting, i.e. 68 degrees, 72 degrees, or whatever feels comfortable.
- One hour before the start of your peak time period adjust the temperature setting one or two degrees cooler to pre-cool your home. In California, there is now so much solar, this is often a time when the energy supply is very clean.
- If you have a multi-story home, turn off the downstairs air conditioning unit during the peak period. You might leave the fan on to circulate cool air descending from the upper story.
- Around 7 or 8 pm, turn the temperature setting on the air conditioning higher by 2-3 degrees, but leave the fan on. If you time it right, you can avoid that last kWh that needs to turn on each day around 9pm to meet systemwide demand.
The reason we do this is to lower our energy costs, but also to decrease the amount electric power that needs to come from natural gas peaker plants each day. Natural gas peaker plants are the main way that California balances electric power supply with your energy demand. They are expensive, and create more pollution than typical natural-gas-combined-cycle plants that operate over the whole day.
Most modern connected thermostats like the Nest, Ecobee, or the Honeywell Lyric offer a high degree of control, but they often have no way of knowing your electric rate tariff. Utilities sometimes partner with thermostat companies to better manage energy use, but in the case of California, that’s often done by companies like Sabreez. Register and we’ll help lower your bill by up to 20%.
It’s Wind Power Season
California has so much solar now that the hours between 9am and 3pm are often the time of day when energy is cleanest. After the evening peak has passed, wind power is often cranking up to meet overnight power demand. California’s clean energy is abundant and being developed more and more each year, but it’s not always “on.” When it is “on,” electric costs drop, and if you’re not already saving money with a time of use electric rate, you will be in a year and a half when California switches to mandatory time of use electric rates.
Beyond the thermostat, there are a range of methods you can use to decrease the pollution during these hours of the day. Just remember, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to make the “switch” to cleaner energy.
California’s electric rates are rising, but you don’t have to pay more if you switch to times when energy is cleaner. Using this method and understanding the energy supply is great way to reduce your impact on the environment and save money using cleaner energy.
California’s Wind Power Season is Here!
California’s Energy Supply and Demand
It’s May, and that means it’s the start of Wind Power Season in California. California has worked for years to build a sustainable energy system with solar and wind, and now consumers can start reaping the rewards in terms of air quality, and in terms of lower energy costs. For the year to date, California has curtailed about one-quarter million MegaWatt Hours (MWh) of solar and wind power. If that sounds like a lot, it is and it isn’t. It’s 250 Million kWh of clean energy that could’ve gone into homes like yours if you knew it was there and how to use it. With 11 million homes though, that’s only about 22 kWh per household, or about a day’s worth of electricity for each household. That number will grow each year now, until demand shifts and batteries soak up the good, clean energy.
As California transitions to time of use rates, clean energy costs less and less. Residential customers will transition to time of use rates in 2019, but many can start saving today. Prior to this year, time of use rates offered discounts during the overnight and weekend hours, but these rates have become altered by California’s abundant solar power. California has about 15 gigawatts of solar on both sides of the meter. Now there is a demand spike in the morning, and a larger spike in the afternoon. The size of this spike varies with the seasons. Rates are higher when demand spikes, although current time of use rates only charge more in the afternoon. Electric vehicle owners have even more options with utility rates.
As the interior of California heats up, it creates a natural phenomena that generates wind power. Cold air along the coast is dense and drawn inland towards less dense hot air. The state’s wind farms are located in areas optimal for wind power generation and power transmission in this natural system of air movement. Wind power is strongest during this warm season during the afternoon, overnight, and early morning hours. By contrast, wind power tends to die down during the daytime hours, as the heat builds to start the cycle all over again. It’s quite predictable, though weather and electric power demand can lead to electric price fluctuations.
The Wind Number shows you when your power supply is cleaner and costs less. It’s defined as the ratio of power coming from wind over power from fossil fuels, times 100. A Wind Number of 100 means that equal amounts of your power are coming from wind and fossil fuels, which is pretty clean. The Wind Number takes into account both solar and wind, because when it’s sunny, solar power production reduces fossil fuel consumption. Since solar power is cranking when wind power is dropping off in California on most days, the two renewable energy resources balance each other well, but not perfectly. There is that morning peak in demand, and a much larger afternoon peak in demand. This is the time when natural gas peaker plants are cranking up to meet that demand, and when California’s energy supply is dirtiest and most costly.
How Can I Control When I Use Power?
There are a surprising number of ways to change your home’s load for the better. The easiest is to replace your lighting with LED light bulbs. Using the delay button on your dishwasher or clothes washer is another easy thing to do. Own a pool? Try running the pool pump during the early morning hours, or just after the morning peak. If you have air conditioning, you might try raising the temperature a degree or two when that last natural gas peaker plant is cranking up. That’s when energy is dirtiest (usually around 9 pm in the Summer), and you probably won’t even feel a difference in your comfort. Switching your hot water heater, dryer, or cooktop to gas eliminates their electric power demand, and it’s more efficient. If you do have an electric hot water heater, it can be controlled to heat the water off-peak. As we automate with the Internet of Things in our homes, you’ll be able to hit auto and run your appliances, charge your car, or take other measures to increase your clean energy consumption relative to your fossil fuel consumption. That’s the definition of the Wind Number, and if you contact us, we’ll be happy to tell you more ways to save. Clean Energy Costs Less!
California Has Started Wasting Clean Energy
On April 2, 2017, California wasted a record 10 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy.
And it’s no joke that the state wasted 9 million kWh on April Fool’s Day, a day earlier. We all want more clean, renewable energy, so why isn’t it being used?
California’s electric power supply (or most of it) is managed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). CAISO dispatches the state’s various electric power resources and manages the marketplace for electric power. The marketplace is complex, but the state regulations strongly favor clean energy over electric power from fossil fuels for environmental reasons. Even so, there are times when the state can’t shut down enough fossil fuel plants in response to solar and wind power production. During these times, solar and wind power plants are shut down instead to stabilize the system until demand increases, hence the waste.
California’s Clean Energy Resources are Incredible
At Sabreez, we monitor the daily output of California’s clean energy resources closely, and it’s been an incredibly productive year for clean energy. That’s a very good thing. Through wind and solar resources, Mother Nature is able to provide for more than 50% of Californians’ energy needs during some hours of the day, and that’s not even including power generated by hydroelectric resources.
As can be seen in the image, electric power from thermal resources (or burning fossil fuels) drops down to almost nothing during the middle of the day when renewable energy is sufficient to meet demand. However, as demand rises in the evening, thermal resources ramp up and production triples over a short period of time in the evening (shown for hour 20 on the image). Then it decreases during the late night and into the early morning hours. The dramatic swings in demand make it challenging for the state to balance production from renewable and non-renewable sources.
Fortunately, solar costs have come down enough that wasting 20% of the solar output isn’t going to break the bank. But wouldn’t it be nice if people would just use energy when it’s cleaner instead of in the late afternoon when natural gas turbines are cranking up to meet increased consumer demand?
When it’s Sunny and Windy, Energy Can be Free
Wholesale energy prices are often turning negative during the middle of the day this time of year. When weather conditions are just right, renewable energy is so plentiful that the generation component of the electric bill becomes a payment. This can greatly reduce overall hourly costs for customers with direct access to the grid, like larger commercial businesses. This phenomenon will disappear when air conditioning use picks up in the late spring, but the negative pricing will return in the fall, and continue until the state balances demand with supply.
Californians can choose to use a time of use rate to take advantage of this bounty of clean energy. They can also sign up for a program with companies like ohmconnect, Chai Energy, or Energy Hub to receive money when they shift their energy usage. The state of California is adopting mandatory time of use pricing in 2019. That means electricity will cost more when fossil fuel burning plants are cranking up to meet high demand. Conversely, it means that when energy is cleaner, it will cost less. Think about that for a second. You can put solar on your home, or you can just use solar power when it’s sunny and save money. Even better, when it’s windy and sunny, you can save even more. It’s easier than you think, and we’ve produced a new smart grid owners_manual to help.
To Save Money and Renewable Energy, Simply Shift
In short order, companies like Sabreez will offer consumers real time pricing information to know when to shift their energy use to save money and reduce waste. Now that California is wasting up to 10 million kWh of electric power a day, it can’t happen soon enough.
For more information, and a free box of LED lightbulbs, subscribe to our newsletter today!
California’s Clean Energy Ecosystem- Part 2
Save Money with Residential Solar and California’s Clean Energy
The residential solar lease is celebrating its tenth birthday! Over the last decade, residential solar has skyrocketed in popularity. But, just recently, more people are choosing direct ownership of solar over the turnkey solar product owned by a third party, known as the “solar lease.”
The increasing number of homeowners choosing to own solar is just a reflection of the diversification of the industry and individuals’ desire to make a great investment. But, don’t worry, the solar lease and other similar turnkey solar products aren’t going anywhere! Solar power just costs less, so the number of residential solar systems will continue to grow by leaps and bounds as people figure out how much they can save.
GreenTechMedia just wrote a piece about this booming home solar market. But is it the right choice for you?
Use a Solar Lease or Power Purchase Agreement
Solar power has grown cheaper every year over the last decade. So, how low can it go?
On average, California’s residential electric rates range from 20 to 40 cents/kWh. A 400 square foot solar array on your roof can produce about 6,000 kWh per year in round numbers. After incentives, you might pay $10,000 to have solar panels installed, but over 20 years that’s less than 10 cents/kWh. If you don’t want to pay cash, there are a number of choices to finance the savings.
The solar lease rolls the capital cost of your solar system, including maintenance, into a monthly payment. The $10,000 system might cost $100 per month, but reduces your electric bill by $150/month. Alternately, you could choose a power purchase agreement (PPA) and buy electric power on a kWh basis. PPAs might cost 15-20 cents/kWh, but if it shaves up to 40 cents/kWh off your bill, it’s a better deal than paying your utility. Sound too good to be true? The solar lease and PPA have been around for years. They’re good and they’re true.
Use More Energy When It’s Clean, Less During Peak Demand
Now it’s time to blow your mind. Even if you don’t install solar on your home, you can enjoy the savings of solar power. There is so much energy now when it’s sunny, wholesale power prices drop system-wide, and utilities pass that savings on to you, the consumer.
This month, utility-scale solar in California reached 9 GW. That’s gigawatts, which is one billion watts, times nine. A GW is one million kilowatts (kW), which is the unit of the measurement for your home’s electric power bill.
California has about 11 million homes, so 9 GW is almost one kW per home. If every home was using 800 watts, every California home could run on solar power during the middle of the day! Even better, there is a lot more solar power being generated on commercial and residential rooftops too. It’s safe to say, when it’s a sunny day in California, the power is ON and it’s cheap.
This much solar power is enough to supply half of California’s electricity during the low-demand days we see this time of year. During the summer, there’s plenty of air conditioning demand to soak up that much ”sun power,” but this time of year, wholesale electric power prices plummet when the sun is shining and electric power demand is low. By contrast, when the sun sets, California’s natural gas peaker plants crank up to compensate for the lack of solar power, and prices skyrocket; so does pollution.
If you’ve been waiting for clean energy to cost less, you don’t need to wait long. Just reduce your energy use from 5 pm to 8 pm, and your home will be running on some of the cleanest electric power in the country. It’s really that easy.
Harness California’s Wind Power
Before California started installing solar everywhere, there was plenty of wind power. Overall, the state has over 6 GW of wind power potential in its wind farms. When it’s windy, more than 4 GW of wind power can be generated by this system.
Seasonally, wind power generation is strongest in the spring and summer. Another attribute of wind power is that it generally picks up at night and dies down during the day. This works well to balance energy production with solar when it’s windy, but the state still needs plenty of power backup for times when it’s not sunny or windy. During the fall and winter months, it can be windy any time. When it’s windy, power prices drop because supply is being driven by mother nature, not consumer demand. This is why we show consumers the Wind Number. It’s a great way to save money using cleaner energy.
This year we’re seeing so much clean energy that wholesale electric power prices have been turning negative on a regular basis. Sometimes this happens when there is no wind, but when it’s sunny and electric power demand is low. Other times, it’s sunny and windy, creating up to 12 GW of combined solar and wind power, making California’s energy supply exceptionally green. When the clean energy is on and you’re not using electric power, prices turn negative, and can even lead grid operators to curtail wind power generation. This leads to a lost opportunity in terms of system-wide efficiency.
The Wind Number is designed to make California’s overall energy system more efficient by showing consumers when their energy supply is cleaner and costs less. Sabreez shows energy consumers how to use this clean energy and to lower their electric bill using the existing technology in their homes.
Balance Your Demand with Supply
Home solar still makes a great deal of sense whether you lease, buy, or borrow, but anybody can save money just by using more clean energy when it’s flowing into California’s Smart Grid.
California’s electric power utilities offer reduced rates to people that use this clean energy; they’re called “time of use” rates. The rate is low for most hours of the year, but higher during periods of higher demand. The peak rates charged during periods of higher demand are only slightly higher in the winter (+2 cents/kWh), but +7 cents/kWh more during the summer months.
The development of clean energy resources like solar has shifted demand so much, that the daily peak pricing periods have changed. They used to be centered on the middle of the day. Now peak prices occur primarily in the afternoon on weekdays. For now, electric vehicle owners can opt-in to super off-peak pricing during the overnight hours (although utilities may adjust this pricing as solar energy production increases further).
Just remember, clean energy costs less. The more energy you use when the energy supply is cleaner, the more money you’ll save. There are myriad ways to use energy differently now, just subscribe to our newsletter or download our App to see when energy is cleaner and costs less.
California’s Clean Energy Ecosystem- Part 1
California Leads Our Nation in Clean Energy
California has created an energy ecosystem that is among the cleanest in the world. With ever increasing amounts of solar and wind power generating electricity, electric power pricing is becoming increasingly variable depending on whether it’s sunny or windy. When it’s sunny and windy and fewer people are using electric power, prices turn negative to provide an incentive for people to use the electric power. This is reflected in the Wind Number, which trends higher during these periods. We provide daily clean energy forecasting to energy consumers so that you can save money using energy when it’s cleaner.
Great consumer brands are emerging in this new ecosystem. These companies solve global warming while providing value to energy consumers. You may already have some of their products in your home, but as we’ll see, you don’t need a shiny new “smart thing” to use cleaner energy. If you want to reduce your energy consumption, use energy when it’s cleaner, and save money while helping the environment, these are the names that you need to know.
There are dozens of wifi-enabled thermostats now, but none has a more loyal following than Nest. Wifi-enabled thermostats increase your comfort control, but also give the thermostat company data that can help you to save money using a range of automated controls. For example, homes that have two cooling systems can stagger compressor operation to decrease maximum household load. They can also shift a kWh or two to either side of the peak load for the day without affecting comfort. In the case of Nest, you get a monthly report providing energy insights that can reduce your bill by up to 10%.
Teslas are popping up everywhere in the country now, which is remarkable given their price, which ranges from $60,000 to $138,800. When Tesla offered a mid-price vehicle in 2016, people jumped at the chance to wait more than a year to get one. The fuel costs are negligible using an electric vehicle, and maintenance costs are smaller too. The new Chevy Spark is set to be the cheapest form of transportation next to taking public transportation. Since electric power is now cheapest when it’s cleanest, your transportation can be environmentally friendly, if you charge your vehicle when Wind Numbers are high.
There are hundreds of ways to go solar in California, but as the first company to offer a residential power purchase agreement, SunRun has always been at the top of the pack. Now in California, you can add battery storage to your system to power your home in the morning and late afternoon when natural gas peaker plants are cranking up. There is so much solar on both sides of the electric meter in California, that when’s it’s sunny during periods of low demand, prices often turn negative due to a surplus of electric power. That’s especially true when it’s sunny and windy at the same time! These are great times to stock up on clean energy, and when used in conjunction with the Wind Number, allow double the pay back. Using clean energy is a great way to save money, whether the solar is on your roof, someone else’s, or out in a sunny field in another part of the state. If you have a sunny rooftop, now is the time to get a quote!
Cree LED lighting
Replacing any incandescent lighting you still have in your home with LEDs is the best clean energy investment you can make. An LED light bulb can last for more than 10,000 hours, and save about 50 watts per bulb. What would you have paid for that 500 kWh per bulb? In California, it’s more than $100, which proves that LEDs are a great return on investment. Since there is a strong correlation between lighting needs and the time of day when peaker plants are cranking out pollution to meet demand, there is also a significant reduction in your home’s carbon footprint when you make the switch. That’s why Sabreez often gives away free LED lighting to our subscribers.
Appliances have featured delay buttons for years, but did you know they can be used to operate your appliances on cleaner energy? Now GE offers an App to take control to the next level. You can control when to pre-heat your oven or see when your laundry is done, among a plethora of other features. To reduce your carbon footprint, you can also clean your dishes or clothes when Wind Numbers are higher; soon you’ll just hit “auto” to run them on cleaner energy!
General Electric might not be the first brand you think of when you think of “smart home,” but GE has been a leader in the shift toward energy-efficient appliances. They even make the wind turbines that provide the wind power!
The Wind Number Method
All of these great new technologies work with our patent-pending Wind Number Method to increase your clean energy consumption, lower your energy bill, and decrease your impact on the environment. As we introduce more and more clean energy into the system, it becomes increasingly important to consider Mother Nature’s natural energy production schedule. Once solar and wind power generators are installed to harvest energy when it’s available, it saves money to use cleaner energy.
There are many ways to use the Wind Number clean energy information system. When combined with your utility’s new time-variable electric rates, it’s easy to save 10-20% on your bill. Download our app, follow us on social media, or subscribe to our newsletter today and start saving.
Sailing Away from Fossil Fuel Energy Production
California is Sailing Away from Fossil Fuel Energy Production. Are You Onboard?
A Message From our Founder;
I love sailing. It takes some effort, but there’s nothing like harnessing the wind to get where you want to go. Even though modern sailboats have a motor, sailors rely on the wind whenever possible, and constantly trim the sails to increase speed as well as comfort. Being over-powered when it’s too windy doesn’t help our progress, so we trim the sails to stay upright. As a skilled sailor, I can usually travel 90% of the distance using my sails. But, when there is no wind at all, I need the motor. This is a great analogy for understanding California’s Smart Grid and its abundant natural energy.
California’s Electric Power System Runs on Several Energy Sources
California’s electric power system runs on multiple energy sources, just like a sailboat. The state is getting much of its power from natural resources like wind and solar and balancing out electric power demand with fossil fuels. The state continues to invest in modernizing the power grid, just like nautical engineers constantly improve their designs. To manage its renewable energy resources, California is installing smart meters, new distribution systems, and other infrastructure that consumers will never see.
In terms of electric power generation, wind power in California has played a major role for more than a decade. Over the last five years, most of the investment has been in solar, both on building rooftops and through solar farms. California has over 4 gigawatts (GW) of potential wind power and over 8 GW of potential solar power, not including what’s on the other side of the meter. Take a look at the Windnumber on our website or the get the data directly from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to see how much power is coming from various resources in real time.
America’s Coal Plants are Lagging Far Behind in Energy Efficiency
While California’s renewable energy system is state-of-the-art, America’s Coal Plants are ancient by comparison. More than 90% of them are more than 30 years old. Until recently, there were coal plants operating in this country that were 100 years old. It’s like powering your boat on a coal-fired steam engine, not very efficient. We don’t see steamers on our waterways, so we shouldn’t expect to preserve coal-fired power plants to feed our homes.
Many of these coal plants are being replaced with natural-gas-fired power plants using the most efficient combustion technology. Combined-Cycle Natural Gas (CCNG) Plants produce half of the carbon pollution and a small percentage of the other pollutants compared to coal plants. However, the natural gas turbines (peaker plants) used to balance power generation with California’s electric power consumption are not as clean burning and are expensive to operate.
Navigate Your Home’s Energy Use with Smart Technology
California has plenty of fossil fuel generating plants that can be turned on to meet your energy needs, but they’re not good for the environment and can cost a lot to operate at certain times of the day. The most efficient plants are running for most of the day; the least efficient plants run for less than an hour. In this system, cleaner energy costs less.
Your home can help to integrate renewables or it can work against them. More and more people are adopting connected devices to enhance control, safety, and efficiency in their home. The smart thermostat can be controlled by your phone. Imagine turning on your home’s heating system from bed on a cold morning, or making sure it’s off when you’ve already left for work or to go shopping. Cameras, sensors, door locks, and other security devices have apps that allow you to monitor the safety of your home. Lighting controls can automate settings within your home, and with the new LEDs that use less than 10 watts per bulb, why not light it up? Now mid-range appliances also have wifi chips in them to allow you to run them whenever you choose. There are electric water heaters and pool pump controls with similar control functions.
You Can Help “Trim the Sails” on California’s Electric Power System
Add home solar and battery storage to these connected devices and you have a Smart Home. Solar is obviously only generating power when it’s sunny, and that goes for your home solar unit as well as the one in a field somewhere (or on your neighbor’s roof). Overall system-wide wind power production and state-wide demand effect how clean your energy supply is as well. When it’s both sunny and windy, the system can be overpowered, much like our sailboat. How do you trim the sails when California is over-powered? By running your appliances, water heater, pool pump, or charging the batteries on cleaner energy.
Sabreez was created to make this system more efficient; to foster “smooth sailing.” We accomplish this by showing energy consumers when their energy supply is cleaner. We also show people how to use this cleaner energy, often using the existing technology in their home.
Knowledge is Power with the Wind Number
It’s all rather complex isn’t it? A simple rule of thumb is that the electric power supply in California is dirtiest in the afternoon around sunset, and in the morning around sunrise, but there are daily and seasonal variations depending on how sunny and windy it is. Now that we’re getting so much of our power on both sides of the meter delivered on “mother nature’s” schedule, there’s a profound feedback mechanism being established that significantly lowers wholesale prices when natural power is abundant.
This is why we created the Wind Number. The Wind Number is proportional to your power supply coming from wind versus fossil-fuel burning plants. Adjusting when you use power to times of day when the Wind Number is high will save money as the state transitions to time of use pricing for consumers. Read our blog to see how this change may affect you.
All this information leads us to the following conclusion; knowledge is power. People want to use cleaner energy, they just don’t know when their energy supply is cleanest. And many people are not aware of the technologies and life-hacks available to realize the goal of using cleaner energy. It’s as easy as hitting the delay button on your appliances; but there’s so much more. Wouldn’t it be nice to know when the “wind’s up” and you don’t have to “rely on the motor?”
Follow our updates to learn more about the Wind Number. Our free services tell you when your energy supply is cleaner and cheaper. Questions? Leave us a comment below.
W Scott Hoppe, Founder
California’s Energy Supply and Demand
The amount of clean energy feeding California homes is incredible now, and it’s growing rapidly each year. California’s hydroelectric power has been around for a long time, but increasingly electricity from Wind and Solar are making a huge dent in the need for fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are rapidly becoming the auxiliary fuel to power the State’s economy.
California developed some of the Nation’s first Wind Farms, and the technology has come a long way since then. More than 4,000 MW of California’s electric power is generated during windy periods. In a much shorter period of time, California has installed more than 15,000 MW of Solar across the State, and plans to install much more over the next 5 years. With today’s peak electric-power demand of 31,000 MW, it’s easy to see that there will be times when the clean energy supply will exceed California’s demand for electricity.
California has a diverse mix of other electric power resources, but the electric power supply is generally balanced with demand by natural gas power plants that generate more pollution and greenhouse gases. They’re expensive to operate, because they only run for a few hours per day. Now that renewables are more cost-competitive than ever, the emerging problem is decreasing the run time of these natural gas plants.
Running your appliances on Mother Nature’s schedule saves money on your electric bill, and it’s been that way for years. Most people are wasting hundreds of dollars each year and don’t know it. Using a rate program that varies over the hours of the day has been optional; However, that’s going to change in a couple of years. California is switching to mandatory time of use pricing in 2019.
There are a number of ways to use cleaner energy today with the technologies already in your home. Even better, more and more new technologies are being offered to consumers to reduce global warming. Using power at the hours of the day when clean energy is abundant reduces the need for fossil fuel power plants. Just check our website to monitor clean energy production, download our mobile App, or subscribe to our newsletter to start saving money today. Clean Energy Costs Less!
Using Natural Energy
Summer’s Last Gasp- Start of Duck Season
The last week of September began with unusually hot weather and wrapped up with near record Wind Numbers over the weekend as wind and solar power were peaking during periods of low energy demand. The Wind Numbers over the period are illustrated below.
September Heat Wave-
Monday’s high pressure led to a complete absence of Wind Power and excessive heat, leading to high seasonal air conditioning load. As a result, we saw afternoon spikes in energy prices up to $80 or more per MWh, as shown below.
Wind Numbers picked up early Friday morning as high pressure moved out and temperatures cooled. The energy supply was exceptionally clean all day Sunday as system-wide Wind Power generation remained above 2 GW while Solar Power plants were cranking up simultaneously. As solar began falling off from it’s daily peak production of approximately 8 GW around 5 pm, Wind Power peaked at approximately 4 GW, then slowly dropped to about 2.5 GW by the early morning hours Monday. During the daytime hours, marginal energy costs ranged from $16 to $20 per MWh, rising moderately higher with peaker plant operation starting around 6 pm.
Still a Peaker Problem-
Comparing Wind Numbers from Monday and the following Sunday, a strong correlation can be observed between the Wind Number and real time pricing. The Wind Number is defined as the ratio of Wind Power over power from thermal power plants (times 100), so this should be expected. Total system-wide net electric-power demand (demand less solar and wind) remained remarkably stable through the middle of the day on Sunday, then spiked more than 10 GW in the late afternoon. It would be helpful if consumers used less power during these afternoon hours, and there are a range of technologies that provide consumers with the power to control when they use electric power. Take a look at our earlier Blog posts to learn some these technologies that can be used to increase your consumption of cleaner energy. Using Cleaner Energy Sabreez.
Energy is Changing
California is leading the United States away from fossil fuels and into a natural system of energy production from Wind and Solar. When combined with energy efficient technologies like LED lighting, smart appliances, wifi-enabled thermostats, home solar, and electric vehicles, people are helping to create a more sustainable energy system that costs significantly less in the long run.
In the short run however, energy costs have risen quite a lot in California. The good news is you don’t have to pay more if you adapt to this new system. Here are a few easy ways to start saving today;
1. Replace your lighting with LED light bulbs. A six pack of LEDs can save 300 watts every hour they’re used, then last for 20,000 hours. That’s about 6 cents per hour in California, or $100 per year, and more than $1,000 over their lifetime.
2. Go on a time of use rate today rather than waiting until 2019. On a time of use rate, you’ll pay less all Winter and only pay more during peak Summer hours. The Wind Number shows you when rates are low.
3. Install a smart thermostat that improves control of your heating and cooling system.
4. Use the delay button on your appliances to run them when Wind Numbers are high and rates are lower.
5. Take a look at your electric bill online. PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E provide all kinds of free money-saving tips that in many cases are personalized to your household’s energy use.
6. Consider rooftop solar if you are a home owner. If you are not, there are other ways to replace your energy consumption with clean energy.
Each of these money-saving tips can lower your bill by 5-10% or even more. Sabreez is a residential energy service company that provides free LEDs when you register to get real time clean energy information. Our service is free to California energy consumers. Just because California is making a huge investment to solve global warming, it doesn’t mean that you have to pay more.