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Re: [hreg] Grid revisions

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  • Jim & Janet Duncan
    Han wrote: If you have ever looked at a solar energy map, the part of the USA that receives the most solar radiation is the Southwest (200 to 250 Watts per
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 18, 2003
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      Han wrote:
      If you have ever looked at a solar energy map, the part of the USA that receives the most solar radiation is the Southwest (200 to 250 Watts per square meter on average anually
      Yes it's true the sun shines more hours in the south than up north, it still shines there.
      According to the NREL, the amount of sun in Houston vs.the amount of sun in NYC is:
      "Solar radiation for 1-axis tracking flat-plate collectors with a N-S axis (kWh/m2/day)"
      NYC average for 1 year with the PV array tilted to Lat. 40.78 N = 5.6  kWh/m2/day
      Houston average for 1 year with the PV array tilted to Lat. 29.98 N = 6.0  kWh/m2/day
      Fort Worth average for 1 year with the PV array tilted to Lat. 29.98 N = 6.9  kWh/m2/day
      Go figure.
      The concept of Distributed Generation is what makes the difference. Having PV systems working during the day, say at 10,000 homes in the state of NY, the power NOT taken from the grid during the 'peak load' hours is equal to the amount that is used from the 10,000 systems. Say 10kW per day.
      When all those folks come home from work and turn on the stuff that runs off their system, there is that much less demand on the grid. Even if the homeowners only use 5 kW of that power during the peak use time and into the evening, that's a tenth of a megawatt. Probably not enough to stop the blackout from happening, but enough to make a difference in the big picture.
      Anyway, overload wasn't the cause. FirstEnergy had a history of bad management, poor maintainance and was the company that owns the nuclear reactor that was shut down because the boric acid had eaten thru the 6 in steel plate in the reactor core earlier this year.
      Jim Duncan
      North Texas Renewable Energy Inc.
      Fort Worth
    • John Miggins
      Good point, I wonder who owns the transmission grid? Is it not private enterprise, the utilities although regulated they are a for profit enterprises that
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 18, 2003
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        Good point, I wonder who owns the transmission grid?  Is it not private enterprise, the utilities although regulated they are a for profit enterprises that should have to maintain their own "Assets".  I would look for the usual political hay about this to get some porkbarrel projects put through or drilling in Alaska.  Only by having truly localized and distributed power will we ever be free.  this not need be a large system, in fact a homeowner in NY could invest a few hundred dollars in batteries and a charger and inverter that is charged by the grid but there when it goes down for key circuits like lighting, refrig. etc...
         
        This could be coupled with solar panels if wanted but not necessary.    Just a thought.
         
        I have a similiar system the Solar Harvester that is portable and quite good.
         
        Good discussion.
         
        John Miggins
        Harvest Solar and Wind Power
        1571 East 22 Place
        Tulsa, OK 74114
        918-743-2299 phone/fax
        918-809-7223 cell
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 12:32 PM
        Subject: RE: [hreg] Grid revisions

        I agree with your comments about the blackout being a distribution problem.
         
        According to what I have been told, Texas has it's own relatively isolated grid system. It seems to me that if congress should decide to fund upgrading of the northwestern grid or, as you suggest, a fully upgraded system, we here in Texas would end up paying for something we may not need. Does anyone know just how good the Texas system is? I know that it is not adequate to transmit all the wind farm production from northwest Texas, and there is a project to build more lines for that purpose. Rebuilding the grid system in the Northwest is going to be a hugely expensive enterprise.
         
        Michael
         
         -----Original Message-----
        From: Ooi, Han [mailto:Han.Ooi@...]
        Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 4:14 AM
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [hreg] Grid revisions

        Well,
           I highly doubt solar energy would have done anything for the blackouts in the Midwest and Northeast without an upgraded transmission and distribution system.  If you have ever looked at a solar energy map, the part of the USA that receives the most solar radiation is the Southwest (200 to 250 Watts per square meter on average anually).  Only in that region do you receive enough sun throughout the year to more likely recoup your investment in solar.
         
          A more realistic solution that won't get you laughed out of your congressman's office is to propose an advanced fully upgraded national transmission grid that links a diverse set of electric generation sources including renewables such as solar, wind, hydro, and geo.  This way renewable energy that is generated in areas that are abundant in one type of renewable energy can transmit it to an area that is poor in renewable energy.
         
          As for the proposal for distributed micro generation, it would be feasible in some areas but not in others again depending on the type of renewable available.  You still need a certain economy of scale to justify the cost.  Otherwise, it smells of Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward where every peasant family had an iron smelter in their back yard that produced crap iron.
         
          Bottom line, we are dealing with a problem of distribution, not generation.
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Steven Shepard [mailto:sbtdesigns@...]
        Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 8:48 PM
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [hreg] Grid revisions

        If you need material for a letter to a politician you are welcome to the following:
         
        On Thursday, August 14, 2003 the northeastern and mid-western US experienced the largest blackout in this country's history. 
        Mass transit systems ground to a halt, oil refineries were forced to shut down, the FAA stopped flights into airports, nuclear
        reactors were taken off-line, and millions were left without power.  The blackouts affected approximately 50 million people over a
        9300-square-mile area.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters, "All of a sudden, a few things weren't working
        and then you realized how dependent we are on electricity."
         
        These events cascaded out of control because the electric utility grid was stressed by air-conditioning demand from the summer
        heat.  Almost the entire US was at temperatures near or above 90 degrees.  Because of the enormous energy load it did not take
        much of a trigger to send the energy delivery system down. 
         
        As one should expect during hot weather, the solar resource of this nation was excellent and nearly ideal in most of the stressed
        regions of this country.  A more widely dispersed base of solar energy could have reduced the overall delivery system stress and
        lowered the risk of catastrophic failure.  Thursday's blackouts are a wake-up call, reminding us that North America's electrical
        grid is a dysfunctional patchwork system that requires dramatic changes.  Rising electricity consumption and costs are significant
        factors in the instability of the grid. 
         
        Yet, energy saving products and technologies are widely available.  More efficient appliances, lights, better constructed buildings,
        and various forms or renewable energy such as solar and wind power can dramatically reduce the amount of electricity we draw
        from the electric utility grid at large.  In most cases these energy saving technologies can save money both in the short and long
        term.  Renewable energy is a sustainable product and service that we all need now.
         
        It is incumbent upon myself and my business as a renewable energy vendor to take this opportunity to write and shout about the
        benefits of renewable energy while electricity is on the mind of the public and the press.  We can improve the electricity
        generation and distribution system and help avoid blackouts by using less electricity and producing power independently using
        renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
         
        Now is the time for America to commit to using less electricity and to speeding the installation of distributed energy systems, such as rooftop solar power systems, fuel cells, and small wind energy power systems.  Not only would this decrease the likelihood of
        future blackouts, but it would slow global warming and reduce air pollution.
         
        If everyone in our community were to replace one of their old inefficient appliances or cars with a new energy efficient one, we
        could significantly reduce our reliance on foreign oil and the electric utility grid.  This would help avoid blackouts such as the one
        that recently affected 50 million people.
         
        The solar panels on our office that make up our independent power system provide clean, reliable electricity that doesn't contribute
        to blackouts and helps to conserve our nation's energy resources.
         
        Steve Shepard
        SBT Designs
        25840 IH-10 West #1
        Boerne, Texas 78006
        210-698-7109
        FAX: 210-698-7147
        www.sbtdesigns.com
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 8:31 PM
        Subject: [hreg] Grid revisions

        In light of the Blackout in the Northeast, politicians may be sensitive to related issues.  Now would be a good time to write your congressman and request that renewable energy be part of any Grid upgrade.  Many of the nations potential wind sites need to have grid connection.  Question.  Would the black-out have been as severe if there was more wind power on the grid?  Are wind farms less susceptible to power failures?
         
        -Chris


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