Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ocean Energy Institute and Energy Systems

The Ocean Energy Institute, founded in 2007 by Matthew R. Simmons, is a think-tank and venture capital fund addressing the challenges of U.S. offshore renewable energy. OEI approaches energy R&D and investment from a systems point of view; not just generation, but usage, storage and transmission all together as an interdependent set of opportunities and the next driving force of the international economy.

Grand Opening - Ocean Energy Institute Offices

Rockland, Maine (July 20) -- The Ocean Energy Institute will be hosting a VIP celebration today for the grand opening of its new office headquarters.

Energy as a Complete System

OEI's "GUST" model (generation, usage, storage and transmission) proposes how the offshore wind resource can be efficiently tapped into and used, and the electricity intelligently stored and transmitted.

This model addresses two of the biggest challenges to the reliability of wind power: seasonality (the wind blows strongest in the winter, when energy demand is historically lower) - and intermittency (the wind blows less strongly during the daytime, when energy demand is highest).

The System Solution
  1. Use the energy in a way that the seasonal match is great (e.g., winter heating)
  2. Use the energy for the 90% of the family energy budget that is NOT "electricity"
  3. Use the energy in applications where energy storage is easy
  4. Construct a North American Supergrid to balance out intermittency
  5. Develop NH3 (ammonia) fuel as a way to seasonally shift energy generation vs. use
  6. Exploit Smart Grids to dynamically balance generation and demand
  7. Stop handcuffing ourselves to a 20 percent renewable "penetration" limit
The "Pickens Plan Plus" a.k.a the Simmons Plan

The Ocean Energy Institute has published an updated version of the original Pickens Plan. The Simmons Plan is outlined in a pdf presentation here.

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