Deep Dialogues and Expert Series

Expert Series – 2/28/23 – Grid governance with Phil Hanser

In the final installment of the grid series, Phil Hanser returned to present the evolution of the grid and grid governance which led to the deregulation of the utilities and the formation of RTOs such as ISO-NE.  Phil discussed the various electric markets and the participants in these markets.  During the presentation, Phil paused for thought provoking questions from meeting participants.

With over forty years’ experience in the industry, Phil Hanser is an expert in the energy industry – including principal emeritus of the Brattle Group and serving as an expert witness with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

The video for the presentation is here and the slides are here.

Deep Dialogue – 2/27/23 – Decarbonization Strategies for Large Commercial Building with Michael Gevelber

Existing commercial buildings offers significant potential on climate action.  But existing large buildings have special considerations due to the need to meet the building constraints of their HVAC systems, particularly in northern regions.  This presentation addresses the technical, financial, and policy challenges in achieving substantial decarbonization.  Some of us are familiar with the technologies and tradeoffs for decarbonizing residential buildings.  As shown in today’s presentation, large commercial buildings present significantly different challenges.   

Michael Gevelber, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Boston University, will present his findings on decarbonizing the major buildings on the BU campus.  Mr. Gevelber has an undergraduate degree in Physics with from Brown University and a Masters and Ph.D from  M.I.T. in Mechanical Engineering.

The video for the presentation is here. The presentation slides are here.

Expert series – 2/7/23 – Shorting the Grid with Meredith Angwin

In the second part of the series on grid operation and governance, Meredith Angwin, author of Shorting the Grid, discusses the difference between the “Physical” grid, the “Policy” grid, and the “Could” grid.  She then described the two major forms of grid governance – traditional vertically integrated utilities and the deregulated RTOs – such as ISO-NE – along with a discussion of energy auctions and load balancing.  For all utilities the importance of baseload power is stressed.

For the RTOs and ISO-NE in particular, Meredith argues that no one is ultimately responsible for grid reliability, and this can lead to rolling blackouts or worse.

The video for Meredith’s presentation and discussion are here.  The slides are here.

Expert series – 1/24/23 – Introduction to the Grid and Electric Markets with Phil Hanser

The grid and “grid modernization” is key to achieving our emissions reduction targets as we replace the use of fossil fuels with clean electricity.  The grid is more than physical wires and electric generation.  It must be operated so that electricity is delivered reliably and affordably on a moment to moment basis.

With over forty years’ experience in the energy industry, Phil Hanser provided an informative and lively introduction to the grid.  Mr. Hanser’s presentation sets the stage for two more in-depth presentations on grid operation and governance scheduled over the next month.

The slides from the presentation are here and the video is here.

Deep Dialogue – 1/23/23 – Mini-Forest Revolution with Hannah Lewis

Take a narrated visual tour of Miyawaki method forests planted around the world with Mini-Forest Revolution author Hannah Lewis. Learn something about how this proven method allows us to reforest even small urban plots to grow trees for shade and other ecological services faster than we ever thought possible. The first Miyawaki forest in the Northeast, planted in Sept. 2021, is thriving in Cambridge at Danehy Park and several are now in the works in Brookline and Somerville. The questions and discussion were also very instructive. Hannah and her book may inspire you to plan one too! 

The slides from the presentation are here. The video for the meeting is here.

Deep Dialogue – 11/28/2022 – The Importance of Slow Water Movement

Our speaker for the November Deep Dialogue was Erica Gies, an independent environmental journalist who authored the recent book Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge. Erica covers the work of “water detectives” studying the way water works on earth, how our efforts to control water have created problems worsened by climate change and how water problems can be mitigated by restoring natural, slow water cycles. In her presentation Erica offers examples of how innovators in the “slow water” movement in many parts of the world have restored water environments, improved the well-being of people and helped heal the earth

See a review of Erica’s book in our August ECA Mass newsletter.

Watch the video here.

Deep Dialogue – 10/24/22 – Is it Time to Take a Second Look at Nuclear Power?

Carolyn McCreary and Roger Luckmann of our research team work together to answer the question “Is it Time to Take a Second Look at Nuclear Power?” Roger surveys recent nuclear news, documents the nuclear reactor installations in the states and around the world, reports on attitudes toward nuclear energy, cites the opinions of influential people and presents a list of reasons why we should consider nuclear energy. Carolyn addresses the advantages and concerns about adding nuclear power to our power grid.

Watch the video of this deep dialogue here. The slide deck is here.

Deep Dialogue: 9/26/22 – Dr. Ousmane Pame, Founder: REDES Ecovillages, Senegal

Dr. Ousmane Pame, founder: REDES Ecovillages (Senegal, West Africa) shared his personal stories and observations about its global and regional contexts as well as how its grassroots, community-based approach makes a difference on the ground.  REDES Ecovillages’ projects address both ecological and socio-economic root issues of the global climate crisis.  Dr. Pame gave compelling examples of such projects, including (1) pushing back the encroaching desert by developing a food forest and promoting regenerative agriculture; and (2) digging wells and channels to bring water to rural villages, thereby freeing women and girls for education and income generation.

Donations to REDES Ecovillages may be made here.

The video for this Deep Dialogue is here.

Deep Dialogue – 8/29/22 – Senator Barrett discusses climate legislation

We were excited to welcome Senator Mike Barrett, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, & Energy and lead author of the state’s landmark climate “roadmap” law and the recently passed climate legislation, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind.  He provided his viewpoint of the new climate bill and the road ahead as well as answering our questions.  Senator Barrett provides a highly informed and straight forward perspective to the challenges we face and urged as all to remain engaged in the fight against climate change.

The video for this Deep Dialogue is here.

Deep Dialogue – 7/25/22 and 8/8/22 – Residential Building Decarbonization

Roger Luckmann, Ed Woll, and Arnie Epstein of our Research Team have been exploring the challenges of weatherizing and electrifying heating in residential buildings.  The building sector is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state and small residential buildings account for the major share of building emissions.  This is a two-part presentation.  In the first part, the nature and scope of the challenge, is reviewed along with an overview of residential building weatherization and heat pump retrofits.

The video for the first part of this series is here.  The slides from the presentation are here.

In Part 2 of the series we discussed our view of approaches to meet the emissions reduction targets for these buildings and review the scenarios identified by the administration in their recently released 2030 CECP (Clean Energy and Climate Plan).  

The video for Part 2 of this series is here. The slides from the presentation are here.

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