Emerald Gryphon

Ramblings from an ex-squid on politics, religion, current events, and whatever else catches my attention.

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Alternative Power and distributed power and storage

Posted by emeraldgryphon on Wednesday, 21 February 2007

I’ve been looking into installing a solar electric generation system on my home. With all the talk about funding for alternative power, there are no significant public sources of funds to help defray the costs here in TN. I believe that partly to be due to the amount of federal subsidy to the local power infrastructure. The co-op that is my local electric monopoly gets about 33% of its base load power from TVA hydroelectric plants. These, of course, are significantly supported by federal funds. That makes not only consumer cost for electricity low, but also the power is reasonably clean. So, I’m looking for non-governmental sources of funds to help with becoming a net producer of energy to the grid. If anyone knows of private groups that have grant programs for green power, please let me know. 

 I know, in my previous post I touched on what I consider the fallacy of anthropogenic global warming, and this may seem like I’m saying one thing and doing another. However, there are other reasons than the doom and gloom scenarios to push for distributed, clean power. The first in my mind is security, both for my family and for the country. In event of a grid failure (i.e. power outage) we still would have lights, heat, etc. Also, from a national security standpoint, the more alternative power we generate reduces the amount we are dependant on foreign sources of energy, and the less money we are contributing to both our enemies and to oppressive dictatorships abroad. I don’t know if this correlation has any provable causation, but it seems that the major oil producing nations have an awful human rights record, and I’m a little uncomfortable supporting these regimes with my money. The second national security implication for distributed power generation is that large power plants are a target. You might as well paint a bull’s-eye on them. The potential for producing disruption is huge. Envision: hear a loud series of explosions, the power goes out, no sources of news and information since the vast majority of people rely on electronic devices for their (electrically powered) media.  Emergency responder coordination could be affected by the traffic snarls due to the traffic signals not working.  Panic may not be far behind.

Another reason for self-generated power is of course pollution. While solar isn’t completely clean (once you calculate in the byproducts and waste from construction) it’s definitely preferable to coal for peak load production.   And oil is simply too valuable as a chemical precursor to be burning it for fuel. Think about what wouldn’t be likely without petroleum. Plastic would be unavailable. Think about that for a second… Plastic would be unavailable…. How many things do we rely on plastic for? From keeping our foods safe to eat to making our houses and cars more energy efficient to the clothing we wear and the shoes on our feet, chances are that plastic is as ubiquitous in your life as it is in mine. (If you haven’t made a conscious decision to limit it, that is)

With distributed storage as well as production, a number of residences could easily produce the peak draw needed to supply local businesses during the day, and still have enough stored up to take care of most of the home’s load at night. This would reduce our usage of the dirtiest fuels and plants, as they are only fired up when demand is high.  

I know that one person cannot change the country. I also know that if you don’t lead by example, you will never convince anyone.  




One Response to “Alternative Power and distributed power and storage”

  1. The hidden holocaust — our

    Early in 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported the findings of a three-year study, projecting

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