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Monday, November 30, 2015

Changes in my home town energy mix



My lovely wife go away for a few months and things change back in my home town. The most noticeable change was the half a dozen windmills on a nearby mountain. Pretty impressive. Back in September we saw the materials being assembled at a staging area. Since then they've been assembled.

Some people think windmills are unsightly, but what are the alternatives? Sure beats the heck out of mountain top removal to mine coal. The same people who complain about windmills certainly don't want to live without electric power.

People also complain about solar electric power because they don't want to look at the panels. What a delicate bunch of whiners! These are probably the same sort of folks who are offended by clotheslines.

Wouldn't it be great if those blocked alternative energy production lost the right to have electric power supplied at their homes? It's not fair that some community has to have a dirty coal plant but the bulk of the power gets shipped to rich distant communities?

I wonder how much of the locally generated power goes downstate on the big transmission lines and how much is used locally? Not only does this town have windmills, it has hydro dams, biomass generation and even some limited commercial solar electric.

About two thirds of power generated is lost over long transmission lines. It would make perfect sense for most communities to generate their own power. Eliminating long distance lines would save a lot of energy and materials.

In a slow collapse grid maintenance is one of those things to get neglected. We already see that happening in much of the world. The short term fix has been for businesses and individuals to use small diesel generators to supply power. That's a pretty bad fix as small generators are expensive to run and wear out under constant use. Places that with experience with alternative energy generation and infrastructure should be in a much better position.

It would also make sense to move manufacturing close to places with good alternative power generation. However, available power is not the only consideration. Transportation is a big factor. In the future good rail or canal service, being cheaper than truck hauling, could make a big difference. A location with access to cheap reliable power, raw materials, and water transportation will do well. They did well in the past. Only cheap energy, labor, and transportation allows manufacturing in China to make sense. Don't expect those advantages to last.

Of course, I'm a big advocate for people having at least some power generation capacity. Relying on an increasingly underfunded and maxed out capacity grid seems like a bad bet.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. Simple direct water power could run many processes. We forget it's what "fueled" the industrial revolution.

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    Replies
    1. Hydro power ran the factories directly from watersheds.

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  2. We all rely too much on electricity. Life would be difficult but I could survive without.

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    Replies
    1. It doesn't take much alternative energy to make life easier.

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  3. As long as we can get diesel, I will have some power. My RV has a diesel generator and it works quite well. During power outages in the summer, I go out and get in the RV and stay cool and watch movies. I have a big colletion of movies that I haven't seen yet.

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    Replies
    1. Your RV is a complete self contained spare home you can drive.

      Delete
  4. In Kansas almost all the energy created by alternate energy sources is shipped out of state, be it nuclear or wind. And, yes, I have a problem with that, considering the price I pay for electricity and what Westar is selling it for out of state. Not to mention the destruction of the infrastructure (roads and bridges) that my tax dollars pay for and the wind farm got a 10 year tax break. Which is the expected life span of the turbines. And I won't even get started on the 'carbon footprint' of the manufacturing and transportation of said turbines.

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    Replies
    1. We are fighting a huge new transmission line project right now called Northern Pass. Does nothing for us except ruin the land.

      Those places you ship to should have their own darn turbines -or a freaking coal plant in their neighborhood if they find wind mills unsightly.

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  5. From what I've read Fuel Cells may be the future. They can produce all the power needed for small towns. Every town could then generate its own electric power.

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  6. Video - Carly Fiorina Responds to Planned Parenthood Siege:

    http://commoncts.blogspot.com/2015/11/carly-fiorina-responds-to-planned.html

    ReplyDelete