renewable energy

A must-read explanation of "distributed" power systems

The way of the future:

A distributed system, increasingly powered by renewable sources that are often at the site of the business or home. Efficient sensor-enabled appliances, controlled by communication technologies, would be linked to a grid coordinating a complex network of energy producers and users. In this scenario, the end user is increasingly in control of their own energy supply and demand. As networks of these new energy consumers grow, they will link together in micro-grids that allow autonomy from centralized providers.

I sort of jumped into the middle of the discussion with that quote, so you should go read the whole thing. We've already developed parts of this (new) approach with the proliferation of Solar farms, but many more need to be built, with an eye towards local needs. That includes smaller systems that provide power for 1-3 homes. And yes, that last part about "autonomy" will definitely be opposed by Duke Energy and their cohorts, but their business model is going to change, whether they like it or not. Another *huge* advantage of distributing energy generation is to curtail "lost" power. I don't have the stats in front of me, but even the newest long-distance transmission lines lose (waste) somewhere north of 17% of generated power before it can be used. That's right, one sixth of the toxins and carbon we're pumping into the air return *zero* benefits in power. If left to their own devices, Duke Energy will continue their "macro" approach to energy supply, so this battle is going to be a tough one. But it must be fought.

Wind farm sprouting near Elizabeth City

And it's going to be a big one:

The $600 million project by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables LLC will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, with plans to add about 50 more. Once up and running, it could generate about 204 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes.

Florida, Alabama and Georgia have signed contracts to start importing wind power from other regions to help with fuel price volatility. Wind farms have been proposed in Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama and other areas, the industry group said. Still, without state renewable energy mandates like North Carolina's, the growth could be slow going, experts said.

Which is something dinosaurs in the General Assembly like Rucho and Hager just can't seem to grasp: The REPS isn't a "burden" on the people of North Carolina, it's a catalyst for economic growth and a magnet for energy entrepreneurs. And every time they try to attack it, they show just how poor their reasoning skills are.

Business Likes Renewable Energy

We have already heard that Apple, Facebook, Google and the American Biogas Council have advised NCGA NOT to do away with North Carolina's renewable energy requirements. The Republican majority in the House insisted on passing such legislation anyway.

Now, Triangle Business Journal is reporting, four more companies have added their names to this request:

Offshore wind vs offshore drilling: No contest

Just a few stats for your next argument with the "Drill, baby, drill!" idiots:

In the next 20 years, offshore wind could create about 91,000 more jobs than offshore drilling (about double the job creation potential of offshore oil and gas). A modest and gradual development of offshore wind on the East Coast over the next 20 years could generate enough energy to power over 115 million households.

Based on government estimates, if all of the economically recoverable offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf were extracted and used, oil demand would only be met for less than five months and gas demand would only be met for less than 10 months, at current consumption rates.

As I've mentioned before, NC has an even better geo- and topographical characteristic than other Atlantic Coast states for deployment of wind energy. Both the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds are huge areas, and most of those square miles are not navigable by any craft larger than a ski boat due to shallows. And the wind out there is nearly constant and strong. I didn't even know you could get "windburn" until I took the Swan Quarter to Ocracoke ferry. And yes, it hurts. ;) A few more observations:

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