Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The USA is stuck in the 20th century.

In 1989 the state of Texas experienced more than two consecutive days in which the temperature never reached 32 degrees Fahrenheit: freezing. To compensate for the high peak demand for electricity, and insufficient generating capacity, rolling black-outs were instituted.

In February of 2011 Texas experienced more than two days where the temperature never reached freezing; insufficient electric generation capacity required rolling black-outs.

This meant that in the intervening 22 years that Texas had done nothing to address an infrequent, recurring problem!

In 2005, when I was employed by TxDOT (Texas Dept. of Transportation), I sent an e-mail to my representative in the state’s legislature observing that the conditions existing on the campus where I worked were ideal for the use of wind and solar generated electricity to reduce the power drawn from the grid.

Nothing ever happened!

Flat roofed buildings (offices, schools, malls, etc…) across the USA could accommodate many thousands of solar panels (for electricity and/or hot water generation), and significant numbers of small to medium sized wind-based power generating structures; it has been possible for decades.

There has been no progress in this area either!

The US central plains are known as the, “Saudi Arabia of Wind.” The Rocky and Appalachian mountains have large regions of strong, consistent winds. The three coasts (Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf) have consistent winds on and off shore. These areas have wind that often blows night and day, so that sustainable electricity generation is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

There has been little progress in taking advantage of these opportunities.

Anybody else see a problem here?

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