The McKinsey Efficiency Study "finds that the U.S. could reduce annual GHG emissions by as much as 3.0 gigatons in the mid-range case to 4.5 gigatons in the high range case by 2030. These reductions from reference case projections would bring U.S. emissions down 7 to 28 percent below 2005 levels, and could be made at a marginal cost less than $50 per ton, while maintaining comparable levels of consumer utility."

The thrust of the McKinsey study is that there are pollution reduction choices that can be achieved at “negative cost.”  This flies in the face of economic theory, which would have us believe that companies and consumers would not willingly pass up profits by making changes in lighting, fuel efficiency, industrial process improvements, etc.  Turns out consumers aren't always entirely rational.

 

 

NREL's solar cell efficiencies slide.  The slide that launched several hundred solar startups is also partially responsible for the great concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) scare of 2008.  It does show the lag between hero experiment efficiencies and real-world PV performance and must be included in every solar presentation -- by law.

 

There are a lot of complicated ways to graphically illustrate the consumer side of the smart grid. This concise slide is not one of them.  EPRI claims authorship of this one.

 

The cubic mile of oil. The world uses about 30 billion barrels of oil per year. That is 1.2 trillion gallons, which works out to just about 1 cubic mile of oil.

And another way of illustrating the same concept:

Image courtesy of IEEE Spectrum

 

This slide from the leading renewable energy utility PG&E of Northern California (by way of Nissan) shows that fast charging a plug-in electric vehicle places a load on the grid equivalent to the average peak summer load of a single home.  Except that these loads move around from place to place and charge up whenever they feel like it, in the middle of the day or the middle of the night.  It means that widespread EV usage can't happen without a smart grid vehicle infrastructure.

 

Germany has the same solar insolation as the U.S. state of Alaska. Yet Germany is the global leader in solar installations. Why is that?  Three words: policy, policy, policy.  Mr. Colin Murchie Director, Federal Government Affairs at SolarCity and performer at Washington Improv Theater, originally produced this slide for SEIA.

 

 

Khosla Ventures' green portfolio.  This slide was immensely improved when the VC firm got a new graphic designer and got rid of the light bulb design.  In any case, it shows what you can do if you have a grand vision, sizable cojones and several billion dollars of your own and other people's money. And time for board meetings -- lots of board meetings.  The slide lists 40+ green startups, intelligently parsed, and we would bet there are a few more not being shown. One of these might be the black swan.  Vinod only has to be right one time out of ten or twenty to reinforce his genius status.

 

 

Bonus shameless self-promotion slide: Downloaded tens of thousands of times, this slide from Greentech Media's smart grid analysts smartly lays out the layers and players in the smart grid ecosystem:

 

And a final word on PowerPoint from Mr. Tufte:

 

***

Michael Kanellos contributed to this article.  Actually, he thought up the title and then went on vacation.

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Tags: al gore, art rosenfeld, caiso, charts, dni, doe, energy, energy efficiency, epri, germany, global warning, graphs, hans, intermittent, khosla ventures