Join the Kansas City Climate Council’s 2023 Earth Festival
The Climate Council of Greater Kansas City is holding multiple events to celebrate Earth Day. Nine days of fairs, workshops, volunteer opportunities and activities throughout the metro area – both in-person and online. Saturday, April 15th through April 23rd.
Come learn about the earth and celebrate the planet we call home!
This event has passed, but you can view the presentation slides at the links below.
Join the Kansas Biodiesel Consortium (KSBC) for our annual biodiesel workshop on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. Presenters will cover how to use biodiesel in your operations. From biodiesel fueling to vehicles to funding opportunities, you’ll learn what you need to know to get started with biodiesel. Each session will have time for an open Q&A with attendees. The final session is a roundtable to get your questions about biodiesel answered, followed by lunch. The workshop is free, but registration is requested.
Masks are recommended for all attendees. A link for an online option will be emailed to all registrants prior to the workshop for those who prefer to attend virtually.
9:15 am Welcome—Edwin Brokesh (KSRE) – KSBC President
9:20 am Biodiesel Funding Opportunities—David Albrecht, Sr. Program Coordinator for the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition, and Tami Alexander, Sr. Program Coordinator for the Central Kansas Clean Cities Coalition, will share information on funding opportunities for biodiesel projects including fueling equipment and vehicles.Click here to see the presentation slides.
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 – 11:45 am Real-World Biodiesel Use Case Studies
· James Jackson, Director of Public Works for the City of Topeka – The Road to Biodiesel: Effective Service Delivery with Environmental Consciousness. Click here to see the speaker slides.
There’s a lot to like about electricity from hydropower. It produces zero emissions. It can respond quickly to sudden increases in demand. A dam can also protect against floods, store water to fend off drought, slake the thirst of cities and irrigate cropland while generating clean energy.
The Age Of Dams
Dams can even serve as sources of national inspiration. In the depths of the Great Depression, building Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) didn’t just provide thousands of desperately needed jobs. The project made news. It was the biggest dam ever tried, built in a searing desert environment. Vital engineering problems were solved with construction already underway. And it was proof that even during tough times, Americans could undertake big, ambitious projects and succeed. 10,000 spectators turned out in 102-degree heat when FDR dedicated the dam in September 1935, a job completed under budget and two years ahead of schedule.
Hoover Dam marked the start of what some have called the Age of Dams. From the 1930s through the early 1980s, America built thousands of large dams. Some are truly huge (like Grand Coulee on the Columbia), some just garden-variety big. These structures rerouted rivers, irrigated vast areas of land, and made desert cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles and Las Vegas possible. There are now about 100,000 large dams nationwide, 5,500 of them 50 feet high or taller. In 2019, America’s 2,400 hydropower dams generated 274 billion kilowatt-hours, a shade under 7% of all of our electricity. So, given all the benefits dams can provide, why aren’t we using more of this clean energy source?
Location, Location Location
It’s complicated. As implied above, only a small minority of dams provide power, and the biggest dams are federal projects. For these dams, there’s a kind of legal division of labor between multi-purpose dams providing power, storage and irrigation, and flood-control dams. Flood-control dams can generate power, but that’s not their main purpose. Example – the vast Fort Peck Dam in Montana has a volume of 96 million cubic meters, and generates 185 megawatts of power. Grand Coulee Dam has one-tenth the volume – 9.1 million cubic meters – but maximum electrical output of over 7,000 megawatts – 37 times more than Fort Peck. Different rivers, different sites, different designs – and different reasons for being. Fort Peck was designed for flood control, with some generation capacity. Grand Coulee was all about power. Could existing dams be retrofitted to generate more power? Possibly, but at high cost, and at the expense of other missions they’re required by law to fulfill.
In a sense, geography is in control. There are only so many rivers that are big enough to dam. On each of those rivers, there are only so many sites that make sense. Even then things don’t always work out. A case in point – Optima Dam. Sited on the North Canadian River in Oklahoma, Optima was completed in 1978, after 12 years of planning and construction. Today Optima Lake is effectively empty. The North Canadian was once fed by underground water from the Ogallala Aquifer. But over time, farmers have pumped so much water from the Ogallala for irrigation that there’s now nothing left for the river or the reservoir. Beyond extremes like this, nearly all the best locations were developed during the Age of Dams. What sites remain are, for the most part, remote, expensive or potentially dangerous.
Approaching An Age Of Extremes
There’s also maintenance. Dams look massive and unchangeable. But they’re subject to the ravages of time like we are (it just takes longer). By 2020, more than 70% of all the dams in this country were more than 50 years old. Really big hydropower dams like Hoover, Bonneville or Shasta are regularly inspected by federal authorities, but they’re the exception to the rule. And even these kinds of massive structures are now being put to the test by more extreme weather events. Oroville Dam in California faced disastrously sudden melting of a heavy snowpack in 2017. The result was an overloaded spillway, 200,000 residents evacuated and a repair bill north of $1 billion. The May 2020 dam failure in Michigan and the collapse of Spencer Dam in Nebraska during 2019’s intense “bomb cyclone” are examples of what can happen to older, smaller systems facing extreme stress without regular inspection.
Finally, dams have finite lives. They may endure for centuries, but in the end, all reservoirs will fill with sediment. In the Sierra Nevada, in hard rock terrain, a dam might endure millennia. But in much of the American West, where soils erode easily and where flash floods roll car-sized boulders, it’s different. Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado was completed in 1963. It created a reservoir that could hold 27 million acre-feet of water. Today that reservoir – Lake Powell – can hold about 24.3 million acre-feet when full. That missing 10% – enough to cover 2.7 million acres with one foot of water – cannot be replaced, because there’s mud and sand where water used to be. The original capacity of Lake Mead, behind Hoover, was 32 million acre-feet. Today it’s down to 25.8 million – a loss of almost 20%. Ongoing drought, like the Colorado River basin is now experiencing, also limits electricity a dam can produce. The deeper the water above the turbine, the greater the energy output – and vice-versa. As reservoirs fall, so does potential power output. In a region where entire states depend on these dams and lakes, and the power they produce, these physical limits are becoming visible.
While the big picture may look a bit bleak, boosting clean energy output using existing infrastructure may be possible – while stabilizing the grid at the same time. At peak generation, California solar and wind power output is now so large that the state at times is forced to give away electricity. What if that renewable energy could be used to pump water from the Colorado back up behind Hoover Dam to generate more power? In effect, this would use the dam as a kind of battery, without the need for actual batteries. It wouldn’t be cheap. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which supports the concept, estimates a cost of $3 billion, but these kinds of retrofits may be a path forward for enhanced hydropower generation and a more reliable electrical system.
11184 Lackman Road Lenexa,
66219United States+ Google Map
$25 Individual Ticket, No Charge for Elected Officials
The Our Energy Horizon Forum will include a robust dialogue about our rapidly changing energy economy from clean energy experts, policymakers, and industry leaders. How will Kansas navigate the implementation of renewable technology, specifically around utility-scale solar, battery storage, electric vehicles, and transmission? What are the economic benefits of these technologies for the region? What’s happening to enable greater adoption of electric vehicles across the state? All of this and more in a dynamic conversation that looks at what’s happening and how Kansas can capture the benefits of these opportunities and embrace a changing energy future.
Discussion 1: Solar Technology & Battery Storage
Frank Jakob, Black & Veatch
Robert Wright, Burns & McDonnell
Discussion 2: Economic Benefits of Solar & Storage
Moderated by Jessica Lucas, Clean Energy Business Council
Mike Busch, Wichita State University (Property Value Impacts
https://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Our-Energy-Horizon-Event-2-980x757-1.png757980Tami Alexanderhttps://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/mec-logo-400x400-rough-cob-300x300.pngTami Alexander2021-10-14 17:30:232021-10-21 11:48:28Our Energy Horizon: A Solar, Storage, Electric Vehicle & Transmission Event
October is annually designated as National Energy Awareness Month. The U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) participates annually with the intent to draw attention to our nation’s electrical grid system and “to highlight the importance of energy to our national prosperity and security.” As the US DOE states, “Energy, our most critical infrastructure, is all but invisible to most, but our focus on continued innovation protects American lives today and ensures better lives tomorrow.”
This year, Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) will use this truth to draw attention to energy efficiency and how it relates to our infrastructure, including our transportation systems and the built environment. There is indeed innovation happening on a national scale, and it’s occurring quickly. MEC is either hosting, co-hosting, or cross-promoting a number of in-person and virtual events this October to highlight all the ways our nation can modernize the way it uses energy to create a prosperous future for our youth and future generations. Click the links below to learn more about each event and how to participate (more links to come as the suite of events is finalized).
Whether an industry professional or policy maker or technician or a member of the general public, we have at least one event for you. Join us and our members, volunteers and friends during Energy Awareness Month. We’ll celebrate recent achievements and foster accelerated adoptions of energy conservation, renewables and cleaner fuels.
Join us for a FREE workshop to learn more about biodiesel and how it works in today’s diesel engines.
Changes in vehicles and fuels require changes in service
Vehicles, equipment and fuels have changed significantly in recent years. Alternative fuels are becoming increasingly more available in the marketplace. National, state and organizational goals to reduce vehicle emissions and increase use of domestic and renewable fuels have resulted in new pollution control equipment, reduced sulfur levels in fuel, and increased use of biodiesel. Mechanics and technicians in the vehicle and equipment industries need the most current information on fuel and vehicle changes and to better understand how biodiesel operates in today’s vehicles and equipment.
The goal of this workshop is to educate diesel mechanics, automotive technicians and other automotive industry professionals with the most up-to-date knowledge on biodiesel, allowing them to accurately diagnose fuel-related issues, answer customer questions about fuel, and provide recommendations about proper fuel handling and use best practices.
This workshop is targeted at fleet mechanics, diesel technicians, diesel technology students and others who work on diesel engines. Participants should have basic diesel engine experience.
After completing a workshop, participants will be able to:
Describe and compare the characteristics of petroleum diesel and biodiesel
Explain how the fuels work together to power vehicles and equipment
Match biodiesel blends with compatible vehicles and equipment
Accurately identify fuel-related issues
Provide recommendations for preventing fuel-related issues through best management practices
MEG Corpis an ASE-accredited Continuing Automotive Service Education (CASE) provider. ASE Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered for those that meet the requirements for this training. Please indicate when registering if you are interested in ASE CEU credits. Requirements for CEUs are as follows:
Take a pretest before the workshop
Take a posttest after the workshop
Complete a workshop evaluation
Complete a survey provided 30 days after the workshop
Participants receiving 80% or higher on the posttest receive a certificate of completion with corresponding CEUs. Participants receiving lower than 80% receive a certificate of attendance.
The workshop will be presented by Hoon Ge of MEG Corp.
In order to provide adequate opportunity for attendees to ask questions, workshop size will be limited. Register today to reserve your spot!
Hoon Ge, president and founder of MEG Corp, is a chemical engineer with more than 35 years experience in the fuel industry including refining, additive formulation and alternative fuels. MEG Corp conducts educational seminars for students, farmers, mechanics, fleets and the fuel industry throughout the Midwest to provide the latest information on renewable and petroleum fuels.
MEG Corp is an industry leader in fuel consulting and testing services, providing technical support to fuel industries and end users. MEG Corp staff have more than 90 years combined experience in traditional and alternative fuels. MEG Corp has been providing diesel/biodiesel and gasoline/ethanol training throughout the Midwest since 2008 and conducts more than 100 events per year to educate current and future transportation industry professionals.
This workshop is being offered for free thanks in part to funding from the Kansas Soybean Commission.
https://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Biodiesel-BCN-COLOR-300DPI.png250822Tami Alexanderhttps://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/mec-logo-400x400-rough-cob-300x300.pngTami Alexander2021-05-21 16:46:022022-08-10 16:05:42Biodiesel Training Workshop for Mechanics and Technicians 6/24/21
Starting early April 2021, university and high school students across the planet, along with civil society, faith organizations and businesses, will tune into 100 events in fifty countries to discuss regional climate solutions, energy justice, and a Green Recovery. This global event is organized by Bard College and its many partners.
On Wednesday, April 7 at 6 pm CT, join professionals from Kansas State University, MEC, Climate + Energy Project, and other individuals and organizations for the Kansas event. MEC staff members Kelly Gilbert and Justice Horn are scheduled to participate as panelists. During the online program we’ll discuss how together, we can solve climate change by 2030.
Climate change may have contributed to the cold spell last February when the supply of electric power was not sufficient to meet demand. This occurrence prompted many to call for Kansas to develop a climate and energy plan that includes resilience and proper preparation for cold weather. The online event, Solve Climate by 2030 by Developing a Kansas Climate and Energy Plan, will feature presentations followed by a panel discussion addressing this issue.
https://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Solve-Climate-Logo.png11001747Tami Alexanderhttps://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/mec-logo-400x400-rough-cob-300x300.pngTami Alexander2021-03-29 19:22:052021-08-19 13:42:00Solve Climate by 2030 – Developing a Kansas Climate and Energy Plan
https://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/BHM_Graphic_Draft_ll.jpg788940Kelly Gilberthttps://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/mec-logo-400x400-rough-cob-300x300.pngKelly Gilbert2021-02-23 14:02:052021-03-01 10:31:17Celebrating Black Leaders in Energy
Batteries are ancient, by today’s tech standards. Benjamin Franklin is the first person we know of to use the term, and the first published science on the topicdates to 1791. The days of metal disks stacked in brine are long gone (exceptin middle school science class). Lead-acid batteries in cars and golf carts are still common and will be for years, given their low cost.But the focus here is on the next generation of large-scale systems. And the question is how these batteries – bigger and more powerful than anything we’ve known –can redefine and remake the world’s electrical grid.
You’ve likely heard the expression “lightning in a bottle”. Storing electricity at industrial scale is very much like that. Electricity moves fast. In copper wire or other conductors, it’straveling at somewhere between 50% and 99% of the speed of light. And in grid operations, it has to be sold – that is, used – as soon as it’s produced. If it isn’t, grid and utility engineers run the risk of power plants disconnecting, since they’re only designed to run in a very narrow range of conditions. What this next generation of battery tech provides is a way to store that electricity and in doing so provide a whole basket of benefits – financial, technical and environmental.
Arguably the biggest single benefit battery storage provides is the ability to capture electricity from renewable sources. Obviously, the wind doesn’t always blow. And even when it does, that’san issue in itself. In February 2017, the Danes powered their entire country for 24 hourson windpower. But if a wind farm produces more power than needed, the system operator must start shutting down turbines or face overloading the grid. And while the sun defines “predictable”, solar plants only provide power for so many hours per day. Large-scale storage means that intermittent, low-cost, and environmentally-friendly electricity can be stored now and used later.
Having large amounts of electricity in storage and ready to go at a moment’s notice is a financial boost for power companies. It means that utilities can sell back low-cost power from renewables to meet peak demand; when power sells for far more than it cost to generate. It also means that utilities can meet their own demand spikes without having to pay the often-bruising high prices electricity markets produce at peak demand.
There’s more. Energy storage can improve the system’s operating reserve. Like energy, the grid is always moving – more demand here, less demand there, big storms and equipment failuresnow and again. It’s a dance that never stops. Engineers and analysts meet these constant changes with machines and datato keep the system balanced. But they are never 100% correct in predicting what will happen on any given day. Having stored reserve power that can be deployed in seconds boosts the operating reserve, and in doing so, boosts grid stability. Improving stability can mean lower infrastructure investment costs. It can also cut the costs of “black starts” when generators go down. Typically, they have to be restarted with diesel generators, but battery systems for just this purpose have already been successfully tested.
So, what do utility-scale batteries look like? Imagine shipping containers lined up in an electrical substation, or row after row of gigantic desktop computer towers. The Hornsdale Power Reserve, in South Australia, was designed and built by Tesla. It uses lithium-ion batteries (like in your computer) and provides 129 MWh of power – enough to supply all the electricity for about 3,500 homes for an hour. These projects sound large, though total deployments to date are tiny – globally about 6 GWh through 2018. But there’s one simple fact that you need to remember. In 2010, commercial battery packs cost about $1,100 per kilowatt-hour. By December 2019, that price had fallen to $156 per kilowatt-hour, a drop of 87% – and nearly 50% of that total decline came in the preceding three years. With costs set to break the $100 mark by as early as 2024, batteries are increasingly likely to be included in energy infrastructure and development for years to come.
A Pre-Proposal meeting to review the Request for Proposals (RFP) for Alternative Fuel Deployments in Kansas and Missouri will be held on January 19, 2021, at 10:00AM CST. During this meeting, MEC staff will conduct a walk-through of the RFP document. The meeting will be conducted online only; attendees should register for this meeting to receive join credentials or to receive a recording after the event:
https://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-mec-logo-400x400-rough-cob-e1508175894274.png200200Tami Alexanderhttps://metroenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/mec-logo-400x400-rough-cob-300x300.pngTami Alexander2021-01-11 15:03:122021-08-19 13:42:00RFP Walkthrough: Alt Fuel Projects in Kansas and Missouri
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Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to create resource efficiency, environmental health, and economic vitality in the Kansas City region – and beyond. Learn more about us and our programs.
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