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.

Nest Thermostat

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%.

Tesla Motors

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.

SunRun

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.

General Electric

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.

 

LEDs as an Investment

LEDs as an Investment

LEDs- The Best Risk-Adjusted Investment Ever.

Green home

Green home

Carbon Credits separate the Green Component from the Renewable Energy Source.  Solar and Wind Power have an energy component measured in kWh, and a renewable component, measured in Pounds of Carbon.  The concept of the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) is based on this fact, with one REC equaling one ton of Carbon.  Thus, the energy can be sold to one party, and the REC sold to another.  Increasing demand for RECs increases the demand for renewable sources of energy.  Many businesses, and an increasing number of individuals purchase carbon offsets in this growing market.  There is real value in offsetting your carbon footprint, just like managing your other household waste.

With the recent news that a sea level rise of 5 feet is inevitable, there is also a renewed push for Governments to do more.  Why wait for Government action when carbon credits allow you to take individual action today?  It certainly saves money in the log run.  The cost is also much cheaper than you might think given the nature of the “global warming debate.”

Some utilities are further along than others in deploying clean energy and smart grid.  PG&E is a leader in this area, with CO2 emissions of about 1/2 pound per kWh.  By comparison a Utility heavy in coal-fired plants might have emissions of over 2 pounds per kWh.  You can see how your utility stacks up here http://bit.ly/1vMszRv.

Homes typically use 10,000 to 20,000 kWh per year, and in California homes will use less energy due to climate and high electric rates that encourage conservation.  A 2,000 sq. ft. home in the San Francisco Bay Area might have a carbon footprint of 5,000 pounds per year, whereas that same size home elsewhere would probably use more energy depending on climate, but assuming the 20,000 kWh figure, the carbon footprint could be up to 40,000 pounds.  That’s a huge difference!

How much more does that 35,000 pounds of carbon cost?  At terra pass, www.terrapass.com,  they charge $5.95 per thousand pounds.  That amounts to up to $210 more than the California home, but the California homeowner still has to pay $30 to offset their small carbon footprint.  Either way, offsetting your home’s carbon footprint is just not that expensive.  What’s it worth being able to tell your children and grandchildren that you’ve offset your carbon footprint since 2014?

Moreover, the cost of the actual electricity is MUCH greater than the cost of carbon.  Overall, the combined cost per household is about the same at about $2,000-$2,500 per year.  Given that renewables have reached cost parity with fossil fuels, we can expect that all utilities will install more clean energy, and that’s a very good thing given that the cost of doing nothing is much greater, but you don’t have to wait for them to do the work for you.

Buying carbon credits is not expensive, but there are a number of new technologies that save energy, reducing your carbon footprint, and saving more than $200 per year.  These include load shifting on a time of use rate tariff, new lighting, new appliances, solar, wifi-enabled thermostats, and other technologies.  This effectively makes offsetting the carbon footprint from your electrical consumption free!  In many cases, taking a whole house approach allows you to offset your vehicle use with the savings as well.

In coming blogs I’ll explain each of these technologies in detail.