economics

Saving Time and Energy through Bus-Rapid-Transit Projects Around the World

Sharareh Tavafrashti, Principal Engineer, San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Elkin Bello, Program Manager, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy 

Monday, April 7, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Shari Tavafrashti Elkin Bello

As the cost of providing space and energy for personal transportation options have increased both on the capital side as well as its energy footprint and consequences, mass transportation is gaining priority for developing and developed countries. In this presentation, we will provide a few examples of the successful and not so successful implementations for the bus rapid transit system around the world. The lecture will compare key features of various BRT projects around the world and attempt to address their impact on sustainable development and transportation solutions in each environment.

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The Rapidly Changing Economics of Solar PV Power, Solar Mini-Series (1 of 2)

Anshuman Sahoo, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford

Monday, February 24, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

This talk examines the economics of solar photovoltaic power both from the perspective of investors in solar installations and from the perspective of solar panel manufacturers. For investors, the key consideration is the cost competitiveness of solar PV relative to other electricity sources. The model calculations I present focus on commercial – and utility scale installations, highlighting the importance of geographic location and the role of federal tax subsidies.

To project the economics of solar PV in coming years, I will summarize some recent work that examines changes in the manufacturing costs of solar panel manufacturers. These findings suggest that the dramatic reductions in module prices over the past few years are partly attributable to cost reductions, but also to massive additions of manufacturing capacity that arguably left the industry with excess capacity. The talk will present a methodology for quantifying the magnitude of these two effects in order to make predictions about the future price trajectory of solar panels and, by implication, the competitiveness of solar power.

 

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Renewable Profits at the Base of the Pyramid

 Ted Hesser, Independent Consultant

Monday, September 30, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Poverty and profit tend not to mix. Yet, the alleviation of the former is creating a tremendous opportunity for the latter. Close to one billion people have risen above the poverty line over the past twenty years, entering the global consumer marketplace. The trend is anticipated to continue – potentially liberating the remaining one billion people from poverty over the next two decades. For investors, the implication is the emergence of the largest new market for global goods and services. An estimated three billion people now earn between $2 and $10 a day. Selling basic services to this market through micropayment schemes may enable technology access, development gains, environmental benefits, and profit opportunities that were unimaginable prior to mobile banking. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar may become the largest opportunity in energy services, and business models positioned at the confluence of declining component costs, rising mobile money usage, and low cost financing are poised for explosive growth over the coming years. Efficient product distribution and working capital financing are the primary impediments to scale. Neither raw demand nor market size is a concern. Rural villagers can save money today and dramatically improve their quality of life as customers of PAYG solar. There are multiple companies successfully selling low cost solar power systems and services to homes and small shops across the developing world through multiple business models. These business models and their execution will determine the spoils of this enormous market opportunity.

 

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Coping with the Scientific, Technological and Economic Uncertainties of Climate Change

Charles Kolstad, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University

Monday, April 8, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The threat of climate change has profound implications for the evolution of the world’s energy system over the coming decades. More than many environmental problems, uncertainty is a central characteristic of the problem – uncertainty regarding the physical science of climate but also uncertainty regarding the impacts, technologies (for mitigation, adaptation and geoengineering), costs, and human preferences.

The problem is larger than simple uncertainty. Some uncertainty is objective and fits into a probabilistic paradigm; other uncertainty is much more vague, with unknown probabilities (such as the likelihood of inventing a cheap way of storing electricity by 2020). Furthermore, uncertainty changes over time, either simply by acquiring more experience or through proactive measures to increase knowledge (eg, R&D). And further, some uncertainty is managed automatically by individuals and organizations seeking to reduce risk exposure (eg, with flood insurance). The bottom line is how to manage the risks of climate change in this complex and evolving environment? Insurance, financial markets, individual action and public policy can and should work in tandem to deal with this uncertainty. This talk provides a perspective on managing risk associated with climate change.

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Hydrogen Energy in California

Mark Lerdal, Hydrogen California and MP2 Capital

Monday, November 12, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Hydrogen Energy California is a project for converting fossil fuels to hydrogen in order to generate clean power and manufacture low-carbon fertilizer products. HECA will be one of the first industrial complexes combining a large, commercial scale power plant and a low-carbon footprint fertilizer manufacturing facility, while capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the fossil fuel to hydrogen conversion process. Utilizing the CO2 for fertilizer production and enhanced oil recovery increases domestic energy security, while simultaneously storing the captured CO2 permanently in the geologic formations where the oil was extracted. It is a project that offers California, the nation, and the world progress toward controlling global climate change, while providing enormous economic stimulus through construction and related jobs over the intermediate term and permanent manufacturing and related jobs over the long term.

 

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A New Industrial Revolution for a Sustainable Energy Future

Arun Majumdar, former Deputy Director of LBNL and Professor at U.C.-Berkeley

Monday, October 1, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Access to affordable and reliable energy has been a cornerstone of the world’s increasing prosperity and economic growth since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Our use of energy in the twenty-first century must also be sustainable. This talk will provide a techno-economic snapshot of the current energy landscape and discuss several research and development opportunities and challenges to create the foundation for this new industrial revolution. The talk will also discuss policies to stimulate innovation and align market forces to accelerate the development and deployment of affordable, accessible and sustainable energy that can simultaneously power economic growth, increase energy security and mitigate the risks of climate change.

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Saving the World and Having a Job: Distributed Solar - Exciting Challenges and Rapid Growth

Shawn Kerrigan, Locus Energy 

Monday, June 4, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Distributed solar generation is growing rapidly across the United States and around the globe. Use of renewables has always been desirable environmentally, but now for the first time in many places it makes solid economic sense as well. A tidal wave of investment and innovation makes distributed solar a dynamic and exciting industry.

Solar energy has many advantages when used for distributed generation, such as saving costs by bypassing congested transmission and distribution systems, and directly generating power at the point of consumption. Distributed solar power brings a number of new challenges, however, due to volatile production output and a need to manage large numbers of systems across a broad area. Solving these problems requires innovations in forecasting, monitoring/analysis, managing, and servicing the large number of small-scale generation assets. This seminar will cover some of those challenges and what Locus Energy is doing to help address them.

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Unlocking the Benefits of Active Customer Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets

Frank Wolak, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Because electricity is a necessary input to so many economic activities, there are significant political obstacles to charging business and residential customers retail prices that reflect the hourly wholesale price of electricity. A long history of retail electricity prices that do not vary with real-time system conditions makes this task even more difficult. Finally, the lack of interval meters on the customer’s premises makes it impossible to determine precisely how much energy each customer withdraws in a given hour.

Recently a number of jurisdictions in the U.S. have installed the interval meters necessary for customers to participate actively in the wholesale market. This talk will summarize the results of a number of research projects at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development for allowing electricity consumers to benefit from active participation in wholesale electricity markets. The results of dynamic pricing and information provision experiments will be summarized, and current and future directions for research at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development will be described.  Necessary changes in state-level regulatory policies that can also unlock the economic benefits of modern technologies for active participation of final consumers will also be discussed.

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It Pays to Do the Right Thing: Incentive Mechanisms for Societal Networks

Balaji Prabhakar, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University

 

Monday, May 14, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

In many of the challenges faced by the modern world, from overcrowded road networks to overstretched healthcare systems, large benefits for society come about from small changes by very many individuals. Researchers in the societal networks group at Stanford University are running a series of pilot projects aiming to develop principles for inducing small changes in behavior in networks such as transportation, wellness, energy and recycling. Pilots have been conducted with Infosys Technologies in Bangalore on commuting and with Accenture-USA on wellness. Two others are ongoing: public transit congestion in Singapore, and traffic congestion and parking at Stanford.

In this talk, Balaji Prabhakar will describe this work and present results from the pilots. Some salient themes are the use of low-cost sensing and networking technology for sensing individual behavior, and the use of incentives and social norming to influence behavior.

 

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Connecting the Dots: The Water, Food, Energy and Climate Nexus

Monday, April 16, 2012 | 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM | McCaw Hall, Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center |

We have a special Stanford program today and encourage our Energy Seminar community to attend. Registration is required. If you are not a student enrolled in the Energy Seminar and wish to attend the Connecting the Dots program on April 16, please register at connectingthedots.stanford.edu. Additional information is available at the Connecting The Dots website.
 
Please note this event is being held in a different venue then most Energy Seminars.
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