Tag: electricity

Not looking forward to two feet of snow

Gad I hate the stuff. Actually if it just dumped two feet of it on the ground I’d be ok with it. But this one is allegedly a blizzard which means attendant high winds.

And that translates to power outages lasting days. I swear – I’ve had more power outages where we live now than when we lived on other parts of Federal Hill. But then it hits me – the power in those other parts was underground. Where I am now is all aerial electric plant.

Meanwhile National Grid has been tacking on distro charges and getting double digit rate increases more times in the past few years that I’d like to count. As such I think the RI Public Utilities Commission and the RI Legislature need to get in on the act and say that National Grid has bury as much as they can.

When the U.S. was capable of greatness and how we can get there again

I think one of the shining moments of human achievement happened during the 1960’s with the space program.

I’ve been watching the Moon Machines series on YouTube.  For example, here’s part 1 of the Lunar Rover:

The Apollo program employed, as the program likes to say, over 400,000 engineers and technicians spread across hundreds of companies. Think about that for a moment.

Tell me, what projects and ideas could we use to push the United States firmly into the 21st and 22nd century?

I’ve written a lot about what I consider to be a disruptive change that we could accomplish and I’ll elaborate:

We need alternative energy sources but the key factor is that all of them have to produce electricity. If there is one thing we have learned over time is that electric power is the most efficient energy transmission method. So in that vein I am focusing on a common object that nearly everyone has or uses. It’s the motor vehicle.

Put it this way, there were over 60 million cars produced in 2011. As to the number of them on the road, it’s just shy of a billion cars. With an  average of 12,500 miles per year and you get the following emissions per vehicle:

  • Carbon Dioxide: 11,450lbs
  • Carbon Monoxide: 575lbs
  • Nitrous Oxide: 38.2lbs
  • Hydrocarbons: 77.1 lbs

Now let’s exten those out by the billion cars:

  • Carbon Dioxide:  11,450,000,000,000lbs – 11.45 Trillion Pounds of CO2
  • Carbon Monoxide: 575,000,000,000lbs – 575 Billion Pounds of CO
  • Nitrous Oxide:  38,200,000,000 – 38 Billion Pounds of NO2
  • Hydrocarbons: 77,100,000,000 – 77.1 Billion Pounds of Hydrocarbons

Those are the four main pollutant groups for land based motor vehicles and excludes ships that use bunker oil.

13 Trillion pounds of pollutants. We can do better.

Now imagine if we put the money and talent behind electric energy storage devices. This is a game changer in a few respects as cars require about 20kW at a minimum. Your house on average uses about 1kW per hour.

So how do we pay for this? It’s simple, cut the military and Pentagon budgets by 33% to 50%. But don’t just put the money aside. Instead put it into advance research and development. Shore up the electric vehicles. Because I truly believe that we can create a battery of sorts that can store enough energy to propel a motor vehicle for 500+ miles between charges, and that we can also charge that battery pack withing 15 to 20 minutes.

Then of course there are government incentives to ditch internal combustion machines and change out for electric vehicles. Massive subsidies – again all of the money won’t go into R&D.

The positive impacts:

1) You no longer need a large military machine to protect the oil lifeline. Instead they can be purely for the defense of the country only. No foreign misadventure anymore.

2) The environmental benefits would be astounding.  Imagine 13 Trillion pounds of pollutants and contaminants removed from our atmosphere. Incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases would decrease. And then there’s noise, internal combustion engines waste a lot of energy as noise.

3) The Middle East radicals would be denied money to propagate their twisted views. Foreign policy gets a lot easier when we’re not subsidizing radicalism.

In essence, it would be another moon shot program of sorts, only this time one that directly benefits EVERYONE in the world.



National Grid now asking for another increase

I won’t post the whole article, but if you’re a National Grid employee you might want to look away because I’m going to shred the company a new asshole.

I’ll start with the most ridiculous first.

National Grid also wants to change the rate structure in a way that protects the company from losing profits and revenue needed to maintain the distribution system, if demand for gas declines due to conservation.

Right now, National Grid’s revenues are tied to gas usage. If people use more, the company takes in more money. Conversely, if they use less, the company will have less revenue.

So let me get this straight, you outright fuck your customers for years on end and then bitch and moan when they use less gas. This tactic has been used by electric utilities that encouraged conservation and then found themselves with so much excess power that they then cried for relief.

And then there’s the tactics employed by National Grid when it acquired the electric system in New York.

On the electric side we in RI pay, wait for it, 14 cents a kWh once you factor in customer charges, distribution charges, conservation charges, etc.

For gas it isn’t yet too onerous but our distribution charges roughly equal the actual gas charges. And now they want to hike those rates too.

The rate-increase request is being largely driven by the need to accelerate its program for replacing unprotected steel pipes and cast-iron mains, the company said, which are corroding faster than anticipated. Water and soil interact with these metals and weaken them over time, which has led to an increased number of gas leaks in its pipelines.

So what you’re saying is that for years Providence Gas and Valley Gas let their distribution network fall to pieces and that National Grid did no due diligence when they bought those companies? And that’s the other thing, exactly what do those exorbitant distribution charges actually pay for if not the maintenance of the network? You don’t need more money, you need to work more efficiently.

This is why I say that necessary utilities should NEVER, EVER be for-profit entities. The minute a profit motive is introduced, shareholders start expecting dividends and to pay those dividends you take money from maintenance and replacement programs to pay those shareholders. All of it so you can have a megalithic energy entity. Of course if deregulation of energy utilities had never taken place we probably wouldn’t be in this mess right now.

Deregulation NEVER benefits the consumer when it comes to utilities. The only area where it has is in telephone services. The cable companies offering phone service was a start. But the cable companies didn’t realize that their broadband network connections could carry VoIP rather well. You have to love serendipity like that.