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RE: [hreg] Warren@Prodigy.net has sent you an article from HoustonChronicle.com

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  • Kevin Conlin
    Me too, Warren, I found the article very encouraging and it got me thinking about how to approach his goals in a practical manner. I would like nothing better
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 26, 2008

      Me too, Warren , I found the article very encouraging and it got me thinking about how to approach his goals in a practical manner.  I would like nothing better than having Houston lead the country with a resilient, smart grid. Possible solutions are almost endless and should create numerous opportunities for different technologies.


      Might be a good topic for the new networking group.


      Thanks again for sharing!


      Kevin Conlin

      Solarcraft, Inc.

      4007-C Greenbriar Drive

      Stafford, TX 77477

      Local (281) 340-1224

      Toll Free (877) 340-1224

      Fax (281) 340-1230

      Cell (281) 960-8979




      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Warren Benson
      Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 2:47 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Warren@... has sent you an article from HoustonChronicle.com



      You’re welcome. No smarts involved, just luck. When I searched for “Bill White” this article didn’t show up. For some reason I tried “Bill White, grid” and it came up #1. And you’re right - a very interesting piece. I’ll be looking for those ‘distributed power generation’ incentives he’s talking about!




      From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@ yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of Kevin Conlin
      Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:02 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Warren@Prodigy. net has sent you an article from HoustonChronicle. com


      Thank you very much, Warren , I think the group will appreciate the Mayor’s perspective.


      I’m so glad there are smarter people than me in this group!


      Kevin Conlin

      Solarcraft, Inc.

      4007-C Greenbriar Drive

      Stafford, TX 77477

      Local (281) 340-1224

      Toll Free (877) 340-1224

      Fax (281) 340-1230

      Cell (281) 960-8979

      kconlin@solarcraft. net

      www.solarcraft. net


      From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@ yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of Warren@Prodigy. net
      Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 10:13 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Subject: [hreg] Warren@Prodigy. net has sent you an article from HoustonChronicle. com


      http://www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ editorial/ outlook/6124063. html

      Now is right time to invest in better grid for Houston

      More than 90 percent of people in this region lost electricity in the
      wake of Hurricane Ike. We need to reduce the long-run risk and cost of
      power outages by making our electrical power system more durable.
      Fortunately, new technologies should allow us to build some clean,
      small-scale power sources into the backbone of the power grid, reducing
      both power outages and the price of peak power to consumers.

      The time is right to invest in a better grid. We worked hard to find
      backup generation to keep hospitals and water and sewer pumps running
      after Ike.

      Consumers will have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for more
      than 12,000 tree-trimmers and linesmen. Millions of dollars lost from
      interruption of thousands of businesses will never be recovered.

      We know where to start. CenterPoint and cities in its operating area
      should have sound, affordable long-term plans to bury more power lines
      in connection with various scheduled street and drainage projects.
      CenterPoint should trim more trees, but we should not have to choose
      between trees and electricity.

      In addition, the Houston area should become a national leader in
      "distributed generation," supplementing large remote power plants with
      smaller, localized power sources such as solar panels, gas-fired
      generators and fuel cells. In time we could have power stored in
      batteries of parked, hybrid electric vehicles. The Texas Public Utility
      Commission and the city of Houston support a substantial investment by
      CenterPoint to install a "real-time" metering system for the success of
      both this system and improved energy efficiency.

      To understand distributed power, consider the hybrid car, which runs on
      power from a battery until it is drained or until the car reaches a
      certain speed. Then the engine switches to conventional fuels and
      combustion. Many buildings can work like hybrids, through solar panels,
      batteries storing that power, and gas-fired generators that both serve
      as a peak power source during hot summer days and backup generation in
      emergencies. Remember that the natural gas distribution structure is
      already buried. And the solar panels at NASA and the city's permitting
      center survived the storm in good shape.

      The case for aggressive deployment of distributed generation is
      stronger than ever. The siting, environmental and construction costs of
      large power plants have skyrocketed. Computer and metering technology
      being installed today in Houston 's houses and businesses will allow
      "real-time netback" pricing of electric power. Distributed generation
      also means more power available during peaks and/or emergencies and
      involves cleaner power sources.

      An affordable solar-powered, energy-efficient house built in Houston 's
      North Side uses about 20 percent of the energy off the grid of a
      conventional house.

      The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the
      electricity grid for most of Texas , and the state Public Utility
      Commission should remove all barriers that may prevent customers from
      obtaining credit for amounts generated during peak usage periods.

      For years localized generation was less efficient than larger power
      plants because of economics of scale. Today, that's changing. For
      example, a traditional central power station far from users wastes
      substantial energy in heat and transmission losses. A small gas turbine
      at the site can be configured to allow wasted heat to be captured and
      used for heating in winter and converted into chilled water for air
      conditioning in the summer. This can result in a significant reduction
      in power use and costs. And note that even the cost per kilowatt of
      power from a solar system year round will be less than from
      conventional diesel backup generators used only during weather

      Many have advocated that facilities such as assisted-living centers,
      schools and various categories of public facilities be required to have
      backup power generation. There is a role for mandates, but we must also
      consider incentives for those who install this backup power generation.

      After all, we all benefit from emergency backup power allowing linesmen
      to be focused on restoring power to those without backup power.

      We should incentivize distributed power by creating a mechanism to pay
      or credit those who invest in it with the higher of their retail rates
      or the spot wholesale rate at the time they generate power for the
      grid. This will both help defray the cost of distributed generation,
      and it would provide an alternative to costly, new, large power plant

      The ERCOT system currently purchases some services to enhance
      reliability, such as what industry experts call "spinning" and
      "responsive reserves." ERCOT should use that mechanism to incentivize
      more distributed power.

      California was almost bankrupted in 2000-2001 by its failure to
      maintain a regulated, reserve margin within its equivalent of ERCOT.
      Our Public Utility Commission should have the legal authority and
      oversight to provide some adequate level of reserve generation.

      None of this can happen overnight or for free. I have appointed an
      expert task force to make recommendations on cost-effective measures on
      making the grid more resilient. But now, while memories of Ike remain
      fresh, is the time to act to reduce the risks of outages in the long

      White is mayor of Houston .

      Brought to you by the HoustonChronicle. com

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