So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.