CleanStart Perspectives: New Vision Aviation

CleanStart Perspectives: New Vision Aviation

New Vision Aviation promotes aviation education with a focus on communities of color in the San Joaquin Valley using all-electric aircraft.

Join us as we talk with Joseph Oldham, the founder of New Vision Aviation . New Vision Aviation, a 501c3 charitable non-profit corporation, was formed in 2018 to promote aviation education with a specific focus on communities of color within the San Joaquin Valley. NVA’s mission is to open the doors for aviation careers to young people that previously would not have considered this path due to cost barriers. NVA manages the four Pipistrel Alpha Electro all-electric trainers owned by the City of Reedley and City of Mendota as part of the Sustainable Aviation Project funded by Fresno County Transportation Authority.

CleanStart Perspectives are short online conversations to connect the greater Sacramento clean tech entrepreneurship community and share insights, experiences, and outlooks. Join us as we welcome our featured guests to share their perspective on what entrepreneurs and innovators can do to thrive and grow.

Register and we’ll send you the Zoom login information prior to the meeting time.

CleanStart Perspectives are recorded through Zoom.

Hot New Business Opportunities in DER Management?

Hot New Business Opportunities in DER Management?

At our MeetUp on January 28, three speakers talked about their experiences in installing and integrating distributed energy resources (DERs) in the grid and offered some fresh insights.  We heard from Lowell Watros and John Franzino of GridSME (“Grid Subject Matter Experts”) and Tim McDuffie of Smarter Grid Solutions.  Here are some of the highlights of that very interesting discussion:

  • The need for much faster-response assets on the grid has been growing enormously and it has been hard for DERs to keep up.
  • By the nature of the DERs and the number of entities involved in managing them, the DERs need to be connected to the internet.  Connections over dedicated communication lines is just not practical.
  • As a result, there is a critical need for excellent cybersecurity.
  • For DER assets deep in the distribution system and often in rural areas, communication may be dependent on RF systems, which are slow and noisy.  This limits what those resources can do and be compensated for. 
  • DERs are not being fully compensated for all the value they bring to a system such as capacity value in addition to energy value, and the value of avoiding distribution system upgrades.  However, there is still concern over the reliability of DERs providing those values and with a quick enough response. 
  • There is a big gap in the systems and protocols for effective DER management that is holding back the next wave of DER investment and installations.  Europe is probably ahead of the US in creating such systems.
  • The US systems are a hodge-podge of rules for DERs and there is not enough motivation to create consistent rules and procedures with full compensation for the values provided
  • There may be an emerging role for more flywheel systems as very fast-response assets within DER systems.  This is different than using flywheels for energy storage in competition with batteries.  Flywheels can inject of absorb power very quickly, smoothing-out fluctuations from DERs in very short intervals.
  • There is a new horizon in integrating more behind-the-meter DER assets into the distribution grid, but it will require excellent communication systems and fast response equipment. Tim McDuffie specifically talked about a project to enhance the reliability of service to the Hoopa Valley Tribe east of Eureka which sits at the end of a long, single distribution feeder.

We could go on and on with all of the insights packed into this 90-minute discussion, but you can learn all about it by checking out the video.  One participant who had been with a number of utilities and dealing with DERs said he found the panelists much more knowledgeable and thought-provoking than he had seen with other online discussions.  That’s high praise and a good indication of why you should play the recording.  This is such a hot topic, we have had three prior sessions on it and likely will have many more.

Many thanks to our panelists and to all those who joined in. 

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, River City Bank

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, California Mobility Center

California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Goal a Boost to Innovation

California’s Zero Emission Vehicle Goal a Boost to Innovation

California’s recent goal to have 100% Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) by 2035 represents a big opportunity for innovation in related services. An Executive Order by Governor Newsom continues aggressive leadership in California by focusing on vehicle emissions. California has focused on vehicle emissions, which are over 20% of its Greenhouse Gas Emissions, with AB 1803 and AB 32 and former Governor Brown’s Executive Order to have 5 million EVs by 2030. These executive orders are actually directed toward the Air Resources Board to create the rules to achieve the stated goals.

There are two thoughts around this. One, it isn’t much faster than we were already going and Second, it supports investment in innovative charging services.

It is impressive but fairly slow. Why couldn’t we do this much faster?  With over 15 ZEVs on the market, more than double that in Plug-in Hybrids, and 10 more ZEVs arriving in 2021 there are plenty of models. Tesla has outlined the road to a sub $100 per kWh battery and several light-duty trucks will be coming on the market.  I would have liked to see a more aggressive approach that would have rewarded early innovators more.

The most important takeaway is that this does set the stage for innovation around ZEVs. Commonly vehicle innovation is associated with large OEM’s like Ford and Toyota, while there are companies shaking that up like Tesla, most don’t have the patient financial backing to compete.  The big innovation is going to be around supporting this goal. What does that entail?  New “fueling” infrastructure, charging and hydrogen, that needs development and user education. Tesla built a Fast Charging network that has supported their growth, it is easy to imagine OEMs and others investing in ones for new cars.  

There are several behaviors and preferences EV owners exhibit that could be opportunities for developing charging with auxiliary services.  Putting Fast Chargers (50 kw or greater) in shopping centers or concierge charging like free wire are two examples of possibilities. This EO gives startups a stronger position against skepticism when seeking investment. I am really looking forward to seeing what innovations come out of this. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center

CleanStart ToDos with Grid Alternatives

CleanStart ToDos with Grid Alternatives

Our guest is Arianne Ortegaray, corporate and community relations officer at GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit national leader in helping low-income communities and disadvantaged communities nationwide get access to clean, affordable energy and livable wage jobs in the renewable energy industry.

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CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, EY, Stoel Rives,

Greenberg Traurig LLP, BlueTech Valley,

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