RMI in Brief

News from around the Institute

RMI Wins Bloomberg New Energy Finance Award

RMI’s Business Renewables Center (BRC) — a program to significantly scale investment by Fortune 500 companies into sourcing renewable energy — was one of six winners at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit’s Finance for Resilience (“FiRe”) event. FiRe identifies the best proposals to spur increased investment in renewables and scale them as quickly as possible. BRC will offer corporate decision makers one-stop shopping for renewables deal-making education, such as boot camps for senior executives, information resources including how-to guides and case studies, and transaction services and affordable access to top-tier experts. We expect the Center to promote more than $15 billion in new annual renewables investment by 2019.

Reducing Battery Balance of System Costs

Similar to our previous and ongoing solar balance of system (BoS) work, which looked beyond the solar panel in order to reduce the “soft costs” of solar PV systems, our newly launched battery BoS work (B-BoS) will explore how to lower the cost of battery storage installations by looking beyond the batteries themselves. Although battery costs are coming down and expected to continue their decline, reaching industry-established price targets won’t happen if non-battery costs — such as permitting, power electronics, battery housing, and installation labor — do not also come down. Our B-BoS work will help make distributed battery energy storage systems more cost-effective faster and in more places, unlocking their potential — among other flexibility solutions — to empower customers, balance variable renewables, and provide a variety of values to the grid.

Exciting Steps for Reinventing Fire: China

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

In May, experts from RMI, China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Energy Research Institute of China met in Beijing for a series of feedback workshops with industry experts, including representatives from the Chinese Academy of Buildings Research, the Chinese Electric Power Research Institute, the Chinese Transportation Institute, and industry trade groups for metals, cement, chemicals, and building materials. Next we’ll brief the National Development and Reform Commission on our findings for consideration in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan and hold an “ultra-lightweighting” vehicle workshop with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Science and Technology in the autumn focused on light- and medium-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. One of the project’s senior advisors said that Reinventing Fire: China represents “the most successful U.S.-China energy collaboration he has yet seen.”

Documenting Renewables’ Growth

RMI’s micropower database documents global installed electric capacity and actual generation of all renewable energy systems (except large hydro) plus cogeneration. These modular, mass-produced generating technologies already create a quarter of the world’s electricity today. The database, now newly updated through 2013, presents a clear, rigorous, and independent assessment of global renewables growth. The information is based on equipment counts reported by suppliers and operators, and includes both annual capacity additions and output and cumulative installed capacity.

To download the update, visit www.rmi.org/micropower-database

Written by Laurie Guevara-Stone, writer/editor at RMI. Follow Laurie on Twitter.

This article is from the Summer 2014 issue of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Solution Journal. To read more from back issues of Solutions Journal, please visit the RMI website.

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