Volts Community Thread #03
Open to all free & paid subscribers
This is your monthly opportunity to share! Use the comments section in this community thread to:
CLIMATE JOBS & OPPORTUNITIES: Share climate jobs/opportunities
SHARE WORK, ASK FOR HELP, FIND COLLABORATORS: Share your climate-related work, ask for help, or find collaborators
CLIMATE EVENTS & MEETUPS: Share climate-related events and meetups
DAVID'S NOTES: Discuss David’s Notes
EVERYTHING ELSE: Discuss anything else climate-related
MAILBAG QUESTIONS: Ask a question for February’s Mailbag (anyone can ask a question but mailbag episodes are a paid-sub-only perk). We request that you ask questions via these community threads. Volts has a form for those who are shy, but David prioritizes questions posted in the community threads.
🚨 To keep organized, please only “REPLY” directly under one of Sam’s headline comments, which are in all caps. Anything not posted as a “REPLY” under a category may be deleted, as will anything inappropriate, spammy, etc. Be nice! Check out our Community Guidelines.
1. Volts’ first ever mailbag episode was released last week! I answered questions about the podcast’s theme song, my approach to interviews with for-profit companies, ideas on what blue state legislatures could be doing better in terms of climate policy, what I’m currently reading, and much more. It was fun!
Speaking of community threads, last month’s thread really blew up, especially the jobs section. PUCs, ISOs, institutes, startups — all kinds of cool opportunities. Our hope is that these threads continue to develop into places where Volts listeners share knowledge rather than just ask me questions.
2. ✅ Community response(s) of the month: concerning the recent episode Another hot rocks company gets in the storage game, Randy S. asked:
If the TPV cells are only 50% efficient, where does the other 50% of the energy go? With a large facility like this, that would be a lot of heat. Do the TPV cells have to be cooled with cooling pipes, pumps, cooling towers, etc? There was no discussion of this, but it seems like it might be important.
Saahir G. provided a useful NREL link and responded:
Looking at the schematic, there is a heat sink, so that would lead to some of the heat loss. Another factor is that once the graphite cools, the panels become less efficient. So hypothetically, you could put in electricity and heat up the graphite to 2400C, but the panels might stop producing electricity once the blocks cool to <1000C, so you can’t recover that leftover heat.
Geoff S. then followed up with a deeper diver on these systems, which you can and should explore further.
3. Listeners know I'm a big fan of the enhanced geothermal power company Fervo. (Here’s my pod with CEO Tim Latimer.) Just today, Fervo released some incredible test results from its early pilot projects. Long story short, their learning curve is even steeper than they had hoped; their latest wells are being drilled 70 percent faster and at about half the cost of their first wells. Go EGS!
4. In April last year, at the invitation of Generation 180, I went to Washington, DC, to chat with a group of comedians about the clean energy transition. They have a whole network of comedians learning about climate-related topics, with the intent of getting some humor out of them. Here’s an early result, from Iraqi-American writer and comedian Reem Edan.
More of this!
5. You may remember from an episode last September that the voters of Maine were offered an opportunity to close down their two big investor-owned utilities and create a single publicly owned utility, Pine Tree Power, in their place. Well, that woefully outspent initiative failed, pretty badly. But there are still interesting things happening around public power — keep your eye on Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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