July 20, 2009
Southwest Washington’s high-tech industry is wising up to the business opportunities in the smart grid — also called the Internet for the electrical power grid.
Bringing the nation’s aging electrical grid into the information age will require overlaying the existing grid with a digital communications system that includes sensors, controls and wireless devices. Such systems, proponents say, will give utilities more precise control over power production and distribution that in turn creates energy savings, increases power quality and reliability, and allows more renewable energy sources to come online. Consumers will also gain more control over their energy costs through flexible utility rates and in-home monitoring devices a smart grid would allow.
July 20, 2009
Alaska’s six Railbelt utilities are tapping into renewable resources — but a lot of energy is still going to waste because of duplicated services and facilities. So the utilities companies are developing a plan to connect their resources, from Homer to Fairbanks.
The idea is to save energy by sharing energy resources — so Alaska’s utility services could all hook into the same grid. But the six utilities — Municipal Light & Power, Chugach Electric, Golden Valley Electric, Matanuska Electric, Seward and Homer Electric — have six different ideas on how to roll together.
July 2, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency has released a list of 44 “high hazard potential” coal ash waste dumps across the country. The “high hazard” rating applied to sites where a dam failure would most likely result in a loss of human life, the environmental agency advisory said, but did not assess the structural integrity of the dam or its likelihood of failure.
June 6, 2009
This article by Eric Lidji details the potential energy crisis that could result from Southcentral’s dependence on Cook Inlet natural gas for electricity and heat.
Deliverability, the ability of gas line companies to deliver natural gas to consumers, is dwindling, particularly at times of peak demand. There are several options to fix this problem in the short term, but as gas reserves decline changes in gas supply or gas demand will be necessary. Lidji explores the current problems facing gas producers, gasline suppliers and consumers, and potential solutions here.