Entrepreneurship

  • Expand market for coal ash. New regulation for this coal plant waste byproduct requires more expensive disposal, but it can be used in the production of industrial and consumer products (nearly half of coal ash was used in this way in 2014). Can this difference in availability/use be manipulated to better match? New water regulations (EG) make dry disposal of coal ash more likely, which could also be beneficial to secondary market opportunities. How is coal ash used in product creation? EIA, 32
  • Help states that are lagging in their RPS catch up by investigating the qualifying technologies listed at EIA, 38
  • Provide/create the infrastructure for CA and the 9 other states adopting ZEV laws based on suggestions in Smil - My notes from Smil
  • Training construction workers in how to build cheaper, more efficient sites using green techniques (many only know one way of building a given thing/now a little out of date) - can reduce cost to build, give the construction sites Lovins
  • Sell energy efficiency. Energy cost (2014 graphic from Kiker): paired with the states' energy efficiency requirements (table on EIA, 43) (map: EIA, 44)
  • Leveraging higher numbers of HVDC lines in China to transport renewable power efficiently? Naam
  • A way to let consumers choose their own power source. This already exists but the consumer motive is lacking (it's extra effort and often extra expense, for nothing better than "you feel good about it"). ID a way to make end customers intrinsically motivated to choose cleaner power sources?
  • A way to break out energy usage by type on the electrical bill Friedman
  • Funding/help from emerging technology departments at utility companies
  • Ways to help balance peak loads: colocation of wind + solar, Nest-style smart appliances that seek energy when it's cheapest to generate, others?
  • Preventative maintenance ideas: monitor to know when parts are likely to malfunction, make parts that are easier to maintain (e.g. more washable solar plants)
  • "Smart grid" space - greater efficiency through greater knowledge of how the electricity is used, potentially in conjunction with smart appliances
  • Ways to manufacture and transport large wind turbine components (see Naam) GE is working on this: https://www.gerenewableenergy.com/wind-energy/technology/space-frame-tower.html
  • What are the main causes behind slow hybrid adoption– do they apply to electrics, and are these things we can change? Primary blocker = cost to write off existing investments. Can we grow the market of leased vehicles (at least in some niche)?
  • Soil is typically replenished from volcanic ash, glacier retreat, and uplift of crust. The places where this EIAsn't happen (notably Australia) have very low arable land. Diamond, 381 Target these places first for biochar tillage? Possible to synthesize biochar from waste products e.g. compost in these areas? Challenges – currently uneconomical for Australia to have agriculture as a significant factor in its economy, cheaper to import basically everything. What levers to make local food desirable? Nationalism/tariffs? What are the economics of biochar importation, or are there local undesirable biomass sources? Non-native species such as mimosa and rubber vine (both of which grow crazy fast), combined with high local knowledge of how to do mass vegetation removal? (Also non-native animal species such as rabbits and foxes, but might not work out for positive ROI)
  • Find a way to make kangaroo meat a profitable export of Australia by playing up its exoticism overseas? Probably a waste of time, as local food would be a preferable solution to reduce shipping impacts
  • The cost of installing solar has been dropping to such a degree that the labor costs significantly outweigh the cost of materials, at least in the United States. Does this create an opportunity in parts of the world where labor is very cheap?
  • Painting the buildings of commercial rooftops white to cheaply cut their air conditioning costs
  • Any of these various grid trends– support real-time communication infrastructure to create market mechanisms for small- and large-scale ancillary markets as well as multidirectional power transactions https://www.smartgrid.gov/files/Future_of_the_Grid_web_final_v2.pdf
  • Electricity generation capacity construction tends to follow a boom/bust cycle, possibly due to the delay between market demand (high electricity prices) and capacity availability(permitting and construction) Kirschen, 220. This gives advantage to plants that can get online faster than other new plants (and thus serve the market before prices dip again due to oversupply). How can we streamline to advantage renewables?

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