Island powered by renewable energy

7 Comments

TimK

about 12 years ago

100% renewable should be humanity's goal- if we want to be around for a while. That said, we need to start somewhere. If we looked at ourselves as a collection of neighborhoods or communities, instead of red states and blue states, maybe we could start to implement some practical solutions. What if we got rid of the massive electrical grid and instead had neighborhood energy generation co-ops. A combo of solar, wind, etc. that only had to power 20 blocks instead of 20 states. Or what if we all installed a micro-renewable system in every home. If we could plug our refrigerator into a stand-alone outlet that wasn't on the grid, we could shut down most of the coal-fired plants in the US!

Barb Baco

about 12 years ago

check out
bloom energy
better place

TimK

about 12 years ago

Or we can continue the Ford vs Chevy debate on renewables and wait until it's too late (it probably already is too late).

double-E

about 12 years ago

Basically, go back one hundred years? The grid serves a purpose: reliability and stability. The smaller the electrical network, the more susceptible it is to voltage swings (kiss that computer power supply goodbye) and outages due to imbalance of supply and demand. As recently as 30-40 years ago, the grid was regional. Ties were made between the regions to shore up the system. 

Unfortunately, pockets of high demand tend to not have enough generation capacity and must "ship it in." Until technology gives us efficient energy storage, high percentages of non-carbon renewables (coal is renewable - we just tend to be too impatient to wait) will not be practical, at least not without some major changes to our lifestyles and our expectations regarding what should happen every time we throw that light switch.

TimK

about 12 years ago

Yes, we are going to need to alter our expectations. Growth for its own sake is unsustainable. Part of moving to a decentralized power system would by nature of its purpose include reliable storage and stability of voltage. I'm getting sick of the arguments that says the technology is somehow too complicated or not there yet. So let's figure it out! Inertia is a tool of those that run the status quo!

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

Embedded below is an MPR story about plans to build a large-scale power storage facility in Granite Falls that relies on water. 

Since wind turbines tend to produce the most power when it's least needed, a system like this could help capture that energy for use when power is in greater demand.

Barb Baco

about 12 years ago

Bloom Energy technology is installed at Ebay, and Google. This is distributed generation that is grid integrated but not grid dependent. Can run on a variety of fuels, including hydrogen. Solar or wind for hydrgen production makes the Bloom system self contained. Worth a little study.

Better Place wants to make oil less necessary. It's business model includes battery swap stations and a plan to lease the battery of an electric car separate from the purchase of the car itself. Nissan Renault is on board with the cars. Ontario Provence, Canada wants this technology, so does San Francisco, CA. 

Both of theses companies have a lot of Venture Capital invested. To catch a positive black swan event, like the emergence of these new electric ways of energy and transport you have to want to be at the front of the line. Of course you have to know the line exists.

I want this for Duluth.

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