Thursday, May 3, 2018

Fossil Fuel Geezers

While much of the known world has, and continues, to develop and implement sustainable energy technology, the good old USA, led by the Trumpists, has retrogressed into the fossil fuel Dark Ages.

Most Americans falsely believe their nation is a technology leader. We are not. We are Fossil Fuel Geezers.

We operate our society on electricity generated by antiquated coal and natural gas, or worse, nuclear-powered generation plants, that are wired together with an “1880 Power Grid” that loses nearly 69% of the electricity generated and distributed to us. (See video below.)

Additionally, the “Grid” is invitingly vulnerable to any “nutcase” or terrorist committed to causing painful mischief, or natural disasters, including floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, solar storm cosmic radiation, etc.

An answer? A bunch of small power plants.

Solar or wind electricity generated by rooftop systems, or a plethora of standalone systems, massive wind farms or massive solar arrays, in many cases joined together in microgrids, is fast becoming the world standard.

Why? Because we have developed a lot of new technology since the 1880s, and it is cost effective.

Please check out: Solar Surprise: Small-Scale Solar a Better Deal than Big, John Farrell,, 9 Mar 2018.

"If you’re a Public Utilities Commission eyeing the least cost solar energy, it’s clear that electric customers benefit regardless of the scale of the solar build, but there’s definitely not a benefit to building bigger than about 10 to 20 megawatts. In other words, you may need to consider different factors, such as who earns the return on investment from the solar project. If solar projects are comparable cost, a Public Utilities Commission ought to favor project development with maximum public economic benefit, as opposed to utility shareholder benefit."

"If you’re a city or community looking to maximize the value of your solar investment, smaller is best. There’s every reason to favor distributed solar because the economic multipliers far outweigh any benefit from building solar bigger. The final chart shows the combination of purchase price less local spending value."

Small is beautiful, wrote E. F. Schumacher, but when it comes to solar,
it’s also an economic smash-hit.

One supposed sticking point I often hear is, "What happens when the sun goes down or the wind stops?"

No doubt you’ve heard about Tesla Powerwall? That is one proven solution.

Under development is another that may be coming your way…

Stanford researchers have developed a water-based battery to store solar and wind energy, Tom Abate, Stanford University, 30 Apr 2018.

“Stanford researchers have developed a water-based battery that could provide a cheap way to store wind or solar energy generated when the sun is shining and wind is blowing so it can be fed back into the electric grid and be redistributed when demand is high.”

Please go here for the whole story.

Tired of being a Fossil Fuel Geezer? I am. (Too, please consider the potential for new, higher-paying jobs that will be created when we switch over.)

"Lost in Transmission": How much energy we lose from plant to plug

"How much energy is lost between the power plant and your house? Inside Energy's Jordan Wirfs-Brock explains."
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