lunes, marzo 21, 2016

The “Genius” of the Macrogrid “And” Truly Fair Microgrids

Jose Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio | Apr 18, 2010

Charles Petterson has given an opportunity to clarify the central point of the EWPC article Enabling Truly Politically Correct MicrogridsHis opinion was as follows:

Let's compare the difference between the contemporary situation in the United States as far as electrical supplies are concerned versus the idealized distributed energy plan. At the moment centralized generation is available to every household and business with the ability to either pay the monthly bill or get their faces in front of a charitable organization. This system provides electricity on demand regardless of sunshine or wind conditions and the consumer is not obligated to have an electrical storage unit on his property. In contrast, the distributed model requires large capital outlays for the generation device(s) and if one desires electricity on demand, a storage device to compensate for calm or dark periods. This model precludes energy supplies for people without the means to fund the installation. This model also means the owner will have to maintain, repair and replace whatever devices that are in service. In my little part of the world I see scores of abandoned windmills because the good idea of "free" energy wasn't as good an idea as connecting to the grid for providing the power. Unhappy about the utility making a profit? Buy some stock and let the dividends pay your bill, the investment will be less and the power more reliable.

This is my response:

Thank you Mr. Patterson,

Your opinion is based on the “large series of, increasingly complex, incremental extensions of the century old and thus obsolete Investor Owned Utilities Architecture Framework (IOUs-AF).” For that reason, I am sorry to tell you that it is no longer true that the IOUs-AF provides electricity on demand regardless of sunshine or wind conditions and the consumer is not obligated to have an electrical storage unit on his property.” As you will see next, also “regardless of sunshine or wind conditions,” microgrids are here to stay.

To properly set the response, the contemporary situation in the United States is described based on Collins and Porras’ book “Built to Last.” Instead of being set as you suggest under the “Tyranny of the Or,” as an “Either” macrogrid “Or” microgrids proposition, it is actually set under the “Genius of the And,” as an effective combination of a macrogrid “And” microgrids.

To justify the need for microgrids, please take a hard look at the January 2009 EWPC article Just as Pogo, IOUs Found the Enemywhose summary says:

Just as everybody else, power industry investors win by changing their IOUs paradigm mental model. Well in agreement with the insights of three DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee reports, a transformation to the end-state of the power industry, for quite some time, is the EWPC paradigm that allows the application of two crucial socioeconomic insights.

In that article you will also see that at the moment, the United States IOUs-AF power service can be characterized as that of a third world country:

According to the Galvin Electricity Initiative, ‘the U.S. electric power system is designed and operated to meet a ‘3 nines’ reliability standard. This means that electric grid power is 99.97% reliable. While this sounds good in theory, in practice it translates to interruptions in the electricity supply that cost American consumers an estimated $150 billion a year.

It is precisely because of that example of low reliability standard that microgrids are needed to serve those loads requiring high power quality, high reliability, high security, high availability, or any combination thereof. The central point of the article is to stress that “State Legislatures need to give a new mandate to state regulators to enable truly politically correct (or better yet truly fair) microgrids. By trying to go the easy way out, microgrid proponents’ ongoing strategy won’t work; it will reveal state governments’ lack of vision that sets the poor to bid against the microgrids.”


There is a 'trickle' from the 'haves' to the 'have-nots'. But this trickle is 'trickling down' the face of the dam.

The first electronic device for 4,000,000,000 people is either the pocket calculator, the Walkman radio, or the 3G Cellphone. Thereby providing him with the tools of an Education, Information, and Communication. The very nearly instantaneous creation of 'money' in the form of transferable 'minutes' purchased by a 2nd or 3rd party for storage on his cell phone shows the ability of the 'great unwashed' to step into the 21st Century from the 10th Century. For some, this transformation took 90 days.

These comments are about Power. But Power doesn't exist in a vacuum (O.K., O.K., Steam engineering...). As this distributed technology takes effect, Power will not be left behind. The Individual will not allow this acquisition of personal authority to stop at an arbitrary point dictated by Capital Accumulators. Nocera at MIT is already talking about the concept of PE (Personal Energy). Whether house or hut, every advance in the generation, storage, and consumption of Energy is moving toward Personal
Ken Peterson

Thank you Mr. Ken Peterson for being at the opposite end of Mr. Charles Petterson. In the mean time, before we get to scale, we need to balance viability, feasibility and desirability.

Eventually, for example, disruptive solar technologies "to step into the 21st Century from the 10th Century," as you write, may be closer to "personal energy" than many people may believe.

The EWPC-AF market has emerged to bridge both extremes. Close to your end of the sprectrum, where microgrids will have a lot of extra capacity, they will be available to satisfy low solar events.
Jose Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio