Gregor Macdonald – Think Piece

Published on
October 27th, 2015
23 minutes

Gregor Macdonald – Think Piece

Think Piece ·
Featuring Gregor Macdonald

Published on: October 27th, 2015 • Duration: 23 minutes

Gregor Macdonald, Independent Energy Journalist and Author of newsletter, describes the structural changes in energy use worldwide, emphasizing China's path away from coal dependency, Germany's pivotal role in power-grid infrastructure, and Japan's balancing act - and why alternative energy storage may offer attractive arbitrage opportunities.


  • GR
    Gregory R.
    6 November 2015 @ 18:28
    W&S are intermittent peak requiring redundant base load capy. Return on W&S only diminishes the payback on base load. ROA on W&S must be calc’d vs incremental base load cost. Low or no ROA on W&S.
  • AG
    Alexander G.
    5 November 2015 @ 11:57
    Learned a lot! Thanks!
  • JC
    JAMES C.
    3 November 2015 @ 06:28
    Reliability of electric supply is still with the legacy generators as they provide capacity regardless of weather. Diversity and storage assist however reliability is not yet properly priced.
  • MD
    Marian D.
    29 October 2015 @ 19:04
    2/2 So you can't really compare a solar plant to a nuke (in nominal terms), b/c the nuke runs 7,500+ hours per year and has therefore a much larger energy output (per nominal installed capacity).
  • MD
    Marian D.
    29 October 2015 @ 19:00
    @Will 1/2: Solar output is quoted as peak output. Depending on location (north germany vs chile) a typical solar plant will have something like 800-2500 operating hours per year.
  • DP
    Daniel P.
    29 October 2015 @ 16:40
    What still amazes me is that energy storage is still so underestimated/misunderstood. There is one company that really are attacking this issue and are still flying under the 'analyst' radar. TSLA!
  • GW
    Grant W. | Founder
    29 October 2015 @ 12:58
    Sadly we were time-constrained. I'm looking forward to having Gregor back again to continue the discussion soon. So much more ground to cover...
  • sp
    shashwat p.
    29 October 2015 @ 06:15
    No Discussion of how our grids, as they are structured today, are woefully inadequate at handling wild fluctuations in power throughput caused by renewables making it incompatible for large scale?
  • SS
    Sam S.
    28 October 2015 @ 16:00
    The energy companies run the world both in terms of product and money. I'm not betting against oil and natural gas anytime soon. It takes oil to manufacture all the other technologies & products.
  • AE
    Alex E.
    28 October 2015 @ 06:44
    2/2 No mention of physical & psychological damage to humans living near wind farms. Renewables kill system reliability precisely when reliability needed. Don't see FF going away just yet, if ever!
  • AE
    Alex E.
    28 October 2015 @ 06:41
    1/2 Massive solar = massive subsidies. No mention of environmental destruction re solar make, never mind massive disruption of natural areas swallowed by solar farms. No mention of massive bird kills.
  • CH
    Calvin H.
    28 October 2015 @ 01:49
    Bah. No mention of US Natural Gas, White House anti-oil bias. No mention of the other uses of oil - like this keyboard I am using. Not even a mention of Saudi, Russia? He is no Yergin or Friedman. :(
  • MA
    Melanie A.
    28 October 2015 @ 01:07
    Super. More and longer please!
  • GS
    Gordon S.
    27 October 2015 @ 19:33
    (Part 2/2). How about charging electric cars when prices are cheap? Push down temperatures a little lower in freezers. I could imagine so many cases where demand could be smoothed!
  • GS
    Gordon S.
    27 October 2015 @ 19:30
    (Part 1/2) Very interesting, but I'm a little bit disappointed at the "only storage" view point. I don't know how liberal the markets are, but how about making the grid smarter?
  • RG
    Richard G.
    27 October 2015 @ 18:15
    If the U.S. scales back subsidies for solar energy, end users that essentially "rent" the solar panels will see sharp interest rate increases. J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs can't wait!
  • TP
    Ting P.
    27 October 2015 @ 17:37
    Nice insight into the energy market. I didn't know solar and wind are complementary.
  • db
    don b.
    27 October 2015 @ 16:57
    Nice job Gregor.
  • ww
    will w.
    27 October 2015 @ 15:47
    Also wonder who will get stuck w/ losses incurred by legacy elec generators if & as per kwh prices get pushed down quite a bit from the renewables prices heading (@ least temporarily) toward zero?
  • ww
    will w.
    27 October 2015 @ 15:43
    interesting, iconoclastic insights - i LIKE it! Am wondering whether the quoted solar plant output capacities are 'nominal' (peak), or 'average' (presumably over operating period of x hours /day?)