Archive | January 2012

Gmail – [New post] Low Gas Prices Rattle Renewables – wrosswilliams@gmail.com

Gmail – [New post] Low Gas Prices Rattle Renewables – wrosswilliams@gmail.com.

It’s good to know that our Microgrid design thrives regardless of gas prices. Particularly when we are looking for a more competitive energy environment.

We are the only country in the world with the situations described here. Let’s not blow it.

The Product of the Product

Some folks consider the product to be machinery. Some folks consider it to be the power plant. Others think it’s electricity or energy. But let me ask you. Have you ever sat down on the back porch with a nice cool glass of………electricity?

Have you ever gone to the store to pick up a loaf of bread and a gallon of electricity?
So what is the real tangible product that we get from electricity? And what are the products that could not exist without electricity? One very clear one is digital information. In all of it’s forms. This is where electricity becomes essential. I’ll admit that electricity is essential to the urban planet, and I’d also point out that some of the happiest people I’ve met in my travels around the planet were in places that were a three day walk from the closest light bulb or wheel.
So why is electricity so critical. A lot of reasons, but the biggest ones are convenience, comfort and productivity.The good news for humanity is that we could survive without electricity, but there is no question that our quality of life would be degraded immensely.
So let’s go back to the question. What is the product of wind generators and solar PV generators. Electricity. And what is Electricity?

Well, I think we need to explore that a bit more. It is very important for you to understand how electricity affects your life. From there we can explore from there what impact all of these terms of the day are having and going to have on your life.

The Value’s not the electricity, It’s what you do or make with it that creates the value.

I’ve come to understand in my years of study and practice in the Electricity, Energy and Water fields that energy and electricity are really not end products. we cannot eat petroleum, coal, nuclear, hydroelectric wind or solar energy.

But if we value electricity in the context of essential elements of life, such as Water, Food, and Shelter, Electricity and all energy become quite valuable. I need to point out that my use of the words energy and electricity are very deliberate. Although electricity is an energy delivery method that is always energy, energy has double the application that electricity does. Energy has been around for longer than our planet, but electricity is really quite a new energy source.  Electricity  that is easily delivered to appliances has only been on the landscape for 130 years.

Although I do not consider electricity to be essential to sustain life, we have created our lifestyles around assumed availability of electricity where and where we want it. Particularly, now, in our current urban living, electricity has become essential.

Could we survive without it, yes. But our productivity and the habitability of various Metroplexes would change radically and our productivity would be reduced by 95%. This does not change the fact that electricity without a user is worth no more than lightning. Just like lightning, nature and weather provide the wind power, and solar availability on natures terms. Although these magnificent technologies allow us to create electric current without burning something, the electricity that wind can produce is contrary to the way our modern civilizations us it.  This can be corrected, but if wind energy is to be our savior, we’d better stop hoping we can bend nature to our will.

This is not nearly as difficult as it seems to many. But we do need to realize that there are far more ways to capture the value of the wind than we seem to be realizing. These uses can replace fossil fuels in the other half of our energy use equation. We are in the process of showing how this can be done, but pulling people out of their specialties and core competencies is very difficult these days.

I’ve come to dislike the phrase “out of the Box” thinking as much as the Green word, but we do need to think outside of our silos. The electricity industry has hundreds of specialties, but they all tend to be focused purely on electric system uses. It’s time we started looking at the products, of the products that electricity is part of.

Within the context of electricity we are at an impasse. all of the new transmission in the world can be built to transport uncontrollable energy to market, but in the marketplace, users are not interested in being subject to the weather.  In fact the amount of electricity used during the various times of day seem to be diametrically opposed to the way electricity can be generated by nature. It is resolving this impasse, that the ability to utilize more and more wind power , can become possible. As we continue with this blog, we will discuss many excellent options for matching controllable electricity uses with low value uncontrollable energy generation.