Electricity supply is in the forefront of public concern. This is because electricity end use is so darn useful. Effective Transition Engineering in the electricity area requires knowledge, consideration and contextualization of the whole energy system:

  • Natural Resource Extraction, Civil Engineering Infrastructure
  • Emissions, Pollution, Biodiversity, Water Use, Land Use, Mineral Use
  • Mechanical and Electrical Power Engineering of Energy Conversion Processes and Technology, EROI
  • Power Engineering, Transmission Lines, Dynamics and Controls
  • Markets, Costs, Policy, Standards, Social Justice, Economic Benefit
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineering End Use Devices, Conversions, Energy Services
  • Quality of Life, Risks, Security, Safety, Sustainability

The one common element that has come out of all of the Transition Engineering work in electricity to date is one critically important and disturbing idea: 

Western societies use too much electricity and demand must decline in order to transition to low-carbon renewable energy systems.



Wicked Problem:
 Critical Peak Electricity Demand

Wicked Problem: Critical Peak Electricity Demand

Details  New Zealand meets nearly 80% of total electricity energy from hydro and geothermal. The critical peak demand in New Zealand is in the winter evenings and mornings. Electricity prices have been rising substantially, set by the marginal price which is gas for peaks and coal for winter. There are several scenarios that could improve security and help to manage costs, but there are also some surprising shift projects that have come out of considering this wicked problem.
Hydrogen Crash Test

Hydrogen Crash Test

Details  The InTIME Method step 3 is a road test of policies and a crash test of technology and behaviour wedges for reducing emissions or mitigating risks.
Decarbonising Heat

Decarbonising Heat

Details  Electricity production in New Zealand is close to 80% from hydro and geothermal. Electric space and water heating are common. A coal Rankine cycle and gas combined cycle power plants are used over the winter months, and gas turbine power plants are used to meet peak demand. The only way to decarbonise the electricity is to switch heating to wood.