Saturday, May 4, 2013

Did Your Electricity Stay On During The Snowstorm?

Mine did, though several neighbors lost theirs, but that's a story for another day.

If you were one of the many unlucky Iowans who lost electricity during our May snowstorm, you might want to advocate for better distributed generation (DG) policy in our state. It’s becoming much easier and cost effective to have emergency power combined with your renewable energy system. However, the mix of policy around Iowa continues to hamper residents who wish to install DG systems, despite the fact that DG technology is clearly ready for primetime.   

So today, I want to pass on this link, an op-ed by Amory Lovins.  Here’s a fun quote of his from the article-  “How to End Blackouts Forever” -    By my accounting, a resilient, microgrid-based, and 80%-renewable electricity system would cost about the same as business-as-usual, greatly strengthening national and family security as a free bonus.”  Something to consider as our country contemplates how to update our decades old national grid and centralized power plant system.

Probably one of the earliest advocates for distributed generation, Lovins also “walks the walk”.  Living high in the Rockies, his house is powered by a grid tied solar PV system, complete with backup power.  He raises bananas in his 1980’s mountain home.  I thought I would dedicate a post to him, as the rest of the world starts to catch up to what he has been advocating for since the 80’s.  He coauthored one of the first books on remaking our century old electric grid into a more resilient, distributed one. While looking for links for this post, I came across this book, “Brittle Power”, which can be downloaded here

Amory also took issue recently with a statement made by President Obama during an interview with the New Republic. You might want to check out “Climate Change: No Breakthroughs Needed, Mr. President”.  Looks like Amory thinks that barriers to addressing climate change are political rather than technological. Maybe the President should have considered him for energy secretary. Amory also seems to believe that addressing climate change will be profitable for the U.S. and its citizens. Even though he is discussing wonky, big, issues, that when a lot us usually read about them, our eyes quickly start to glaze over, we “Mere Mortals” will appreciate how he cuts through all the wonk stuff with quotes like “Don’t worry, beer will still be cold and showers still hot when we switch to renewables”.  His website can be found here.  

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