And weirdly Texas specific...
If you're a Texan and have not decamped to New Orleans or a city with power, here are my tips. If you are new, welcome to the banana republic. Here is a thread.— Ellen Chang 張 心 瑩 (@EllenYChang) February 2, 2022
1. Power everything. I have a backup handcrank solar flashlight. You can not read a book by candelight.
7. If you use autopay for your electric bill and linked your debit card, swap it out for a credit card. Otherwise you could wind up paying a king's ransom. Buying power from a publicly traded co. is a good idea. They are more leery of lawsuits.— Ellen Chang 張 心 瑩 (@EllenYChang) February 2, 2022
✅ Boarding pass to Cancun https://t.co/GnuF7e7s2E— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 2, 2022
If you'll recall, the state's innovative plan for a magic-of-the-markets reinvention of the power grid proved to be a bit more disruptive than expected, but don't worry, the governor isn't out of ideas.
From Bloomberg: [emphasis added]
Last fall, Texas Governor Greg Abbott gathered dozens of cryptocurrency deal makers in Austin where they discussed an idea that, on its face, seemed almost upside down: Electricity-hungry Bitcoin miners could shore up the state’s power grid, a top priority after a deep freeze last winter triggered blackouts that left hundreds dead.
The industry’s advocates have been making that pitch to the governor for years. The idea is that the miners’ computer arrays would demand so much electricity that someone would come along to build more power plants, something Texas badly needs. If the grid starts to go wobbly, as it did when winter storm Uri froze up power plants in February 2021, miners could quickly shut down to conserve energy for homes and businesses. At least two Bitcoin miners have already volunteered to do just that.
There’s no guarantee anyone will build more generation or switch off just because they’re asked. There’s even a chance the idea could backfire and put more strain on the grid overall. But at last October’s meeting at the governor’s mansion, Abbott made it clear that he was going to count on the miners’ assistance when the electricity grid faced colder months ahead. Help me get through the winter, the governor said, according to four people who attended the meeting.
I have to admit this seems much more cutting edge and Web3ish than the idea we've been pushing for the past decade of promoting mature technology with a proven track record.
I guess we're just old fashioned.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Ground source heat pumps are "the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available," but maybe we can get journalists to talk about them anyway.
I'm joking but I'm not kidding.
If Elon Musk or some other Silicon Valley visionary proposed some laughable plan based on non-existent technology, reporters would be scheduling interviews within the hour, but a solution supported by experts based on mature, tested systems will get little to no coverage.
One of the biggest crises facing California is a failing electrical grid, particularly during summer heat waves which are going to continue becoming more frequent and severe as the planet warms. Ground source heat pumps and similar technology could greatly alleviate pressure on the grid, especially when coupled with roof top solar. On top of that, its efficiency reduces demand for fossil fuels.
If we're going solve our problems, we can't go on being disinterested in solutions.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called ground source heat pumps the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available. Heat pumps offer significant emission reductions potential, particularly where they are used for both heating and cooling and where the electricity is produced from renewable resources.
Ground source heat pumps are characterized by high capital costs and low operational costs compared to other HVAC systems. Their overall economic benefit depends primarily on the relative costs of electricity and fuels, which are highly variable over time and across the world. Based on recent prices, ground-source heat pumps currently have lower operational costs than any other conventional heating source almost everywhere in the world. Natural gas is the only fuel with competitive operational costs, and only in a handful of countries where it is exceptionally cheap, or where electricity is exceptionally expensive. In general, a homeowner may save anywhere from 20% to 60% annually on utilities by switching from an ordinary system to a ground-source system. However, many family size installations are reported to use much more electricity than their owners had expected from advertisements. This is often partly due to bad design or installation: Heat exchange capacity with groundwater is often too small, heating pipes in house floors are often too thin and too few, or heated floors are covered with wooden panels or carpets.
Capital costs may be offset by government subsidies, for example, Ontario offered $7000 for residential systems installed in the 2009 fiscal year. Some electric companies offer special rates to customers who install a ground-source heat pump for heating or cooling their building. Where electrical plants have larger loads during summer months and idle capacity in the winter, this increases electrical sales during the winter months. Heat pumps also lower the load peak during the summer due to the increased efficiency of heat pumps, thereby avoiding costly construction of new power plants. For the same reasons, other utility companies have started to pay for the installation of ground-source heat pumps at customer residences. They lease the systems to their customers for a monthly fee, at a net overall savings to the customer.
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