Morning Brief: New Zealand invests in flow batteries, ‘NextGrid’ goes off the rails

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‘NextGrid’ goes off the rails: The Illinois Commerce Commission’s “NextGrid: Illinois’ Utility of the Future” study, which began with grand hopes three years ago, ended with barely a whimper Friday. “This is really a terrific opportunity for the ICC and the state of Illinois to lead the nation in terms of the thinking around what the grid is going to look like in the next 10 to 15 years,” said then-ICC Chair Brien Sheahan. But Sheahan lost his chairmanship and then saw his term expire before his legacy project was complete… “The ICC will not be releasing the study,” spokeswoman Vicki Crawford told RTO Insider. While the study may be a dead letter, Sheahan’s stewardship of NextGrid could provide lessons for public policy classes on the subject of regulatory capture. Read more at: RTO Insider

Flow battery energy storage firm Redflow has received an order for 10 of its zinc-bromine flow batteries to help provide mobile and broadband coverage for off-grid parts of New Zealand. The order from the Rural Connectivity Group – a venture between the NZ government and mobile network operators Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees – follows up on an initial order for eight batteries last year. Source: Renew Economy

In recent flow battery news:

Avalon and redT unite in $70 million merger of vanadium redox flow battery startups

Tesla has uploaded video and transcription from the company’s recent QCon presentation. The presentation covers the evolution of the company’s Virtual Power Plant architecture. The video comes in around 43 minutes long and the presentation is hosted by Tesla Sr. Staff Software Engineer Colin Breck and Percy Link, a staff software engineer on the Energy Optimization team at Tesla. Source: InfoQ

GAF Energy, a solar roofing company that integrates modules as a part of the roof’s primary water-shedding layer, has announced a new version of its solar roof product, DecoTech 2.0. This new version is largely the same as the company’s DecoTech 1.o, but with a simplified installation process. The 2.0 has less points of attachment to a roof than the 1.0, while also using new fastener hardware that the company claims cuts down installation time. All GAF roofing solutions utilize efficiency Solaria panels. Source: GAF Energy

The University of Arkansas’ Department of Mechanical Engineering has announced its second solar design contest. Open to any University of Arkansas student or affiliate university student, regardless of previous design experience, the contest will use a computer-aided design based framework to engage in an authentic solar energy systems design for an on-campus architecture. The kick-off the contest is planned for the middle of May, with winners being announced May 14 and 15. First prize wins $500, second wins $250 and third wins $100. Source: University of Arkansas Newswire

The first dodecahedron was discovered nearly 300 years ago, yet no one is certain just what they were used for.

The pentagon has declassified three Navy videos showing “unexplained aerial phenomena.” The UFO videos were first leaked in 2017, before being acknowledged by the Navy as real.