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View Diary: Response to Buffet's Investment in Wind Power (82 comments)

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  •  How about no grid? (12+ / 0-)

    Or at least smaller, independent grids for each city? Think of the solar we could also harvest by putting panels on every building in a city... think of running our malls on solar and wind combined that is right there AT the mall...

    I have seen solar panels on street lights all around NJ. THAT could be done anywhere.

    DE-centralizing our grids would also be a good national security move too.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 06:34:04 AM PST

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    •  That's not going to work (7+ / 0-)

      if anything, the opposite needs to be done - to get much more robust grids over multi-state areas.

      Unless wind and solar are to remain niche technologies w/o any real impact on the environment (which is the case now).

    •  solar panels on poles (5+ / 0-)

      maybe someone could come up with a micro wind turbine
      that clamps onto a pole just like this.

    •  I am an advocate of continuing a grid-based (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeminNewJ, Phoenix Woman

      electrical transmission and distribution, but with much more "point-of-use" generation connected to the grid. In fact, I would love to see much more utility-company-owned point-of-use generation.

      Duke Energy has had a very limited program called "solar distributed generation". This involves Duke installing solar panels on the customers' premises, owning that equipment, operating it, distributing the electricity through the existing grid, and continuing to bill the customer for his electricity use. The program even installed solar equipment on single-family houses!

      Unfortunately, this initiative is very limited, and as I understand it Duke has "maxed out" its current effort and isn't installing any more at this time.

      There is almost no downside to this type of generation. Homeowners don't need to invest in and maintain  their own solar (or wind, for that matter) equipment, so that roadblock is eliminated. The cost of solar generation per kW is dropping quickly, and is approaching the cost per kW of building new fossil or nuclear plants. So, as Duke's customer base increases, the increase is picked up by the point-of-use generation capacity rather than by construction of huge new centralized power plants.

      This blows the rightwingers' arguments that "you can't make solar power when the sun isn't shining" right out of the water (and said rightwingers can shove their BS where the sun don't shine); nobody is saying that utilities should eliminate their central generating facilities. They just don't have to keep building as many new huge generating stations. The grid remains, everything is interconnected, and centralized power plants are "smoothing out" the demand when point-of-use solar or wind are not generating.

      An added benefit is that some of the electricity is used at its point of generation, eliminating some of the huge transmission losses that occur as part of the exclusively centralized-generation model.

      Owners of large-footprint buildings - Ikea, for example (pdf) - are already covering their premises with their own solar equipment and connecting to (and supplementing) the grid:

      IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today announced plans to install solar energy panels on ten additional United States locations – its entire presence in the Southern U.S. Pending governmental permits, installation can begin this winter, with completion expected in Summer 2012. Collectively, the nine stores and one distribution center will total 10.7 Megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, nearly 45,360 panels, and a projected annual electricity output of 15,248,334 kilowatt hours (kWh).
      It's well past time for large electricity users, homeowners, and especially electric utilities to get on board with this sort of distributed generation.

      "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

      by blue in NC on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 08:51:51 AM PST

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      •  That's similar to what I've got with my 20 year (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        lease through the company SunRun.  The house is still connected to Xcel Energy and I'm basically providing roof-space to them to generate power.  Xcel doesn't like anyone but them making money in the deal, especially since it's giving up monopoly power to increase their profits whenever they want (since my costs are fixed in the lease for 20 years).  Xcel wants to end all credits for power generated and also weasel out from under requirements for generating a certain percentage of their power from renewables - I think 30% by 2030.

    •  Decentralized Bigger Grid (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman, blue in NC

      Decentralizing the grid means making it a network like the Internet, which means more grid, more thoroughly interconnected. Not "no grid".

      Even the smaller, more local generation like you describe is better when distributed through a more interconnected grid. More efficiency in balancing production to consumption, more redundancy/resiliency. Better pricing, less pollution.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 08:59:45 AM PST

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