If you have an interest in electricity and how it flows around North America you might find this interactive map interesting.
Shows present 'main connections' and proposed new lines.
I am seeing a flow from the mid west and from the north to higher population areas like California.
Do I read it correctly?
Re: Electricity grids
Wind farms have waned somewhat in IL because of the lack of government mula to help finance them. In the W. Central area of IL there was/(is?) a project called the Bishop Hill(Henry County) and Pilot Knob(Knox County) project that was going to be the biggest wind farm in the U.S., or even North America. Practically all the applicable taxing and governing bodies approved it because of the obvious future tax revenues, but the developer I believe sold it or was bought and taken over by another company. But when the fed money wasn't forthcoming, the whole project came to a stand-still. Wind is a viable SUPPLEMENT to energy needs, but that project is like Ethanol on steroids because it depends on government direct funding and various tax incentives. I don't know where it stands at now, as I haven't heard about it or checked on it recently.
If you take the land requirements, which are all on prime farm land, plus all the taxpayer incentives, we would be much further ahead to give financial incentives for efficiency or reductions in demand because our "buildings" and the energy needed to support or maintain them is 40% of our energy needs. Look at what roughly 10 years worth of housing development has eaten up in prime farm land. And now, just that ONE project that I mentioned above was supposed to have 266 turbines in Knox County, and another 266 in Henry County with money figures around $800 million(not sure if that is total or just one county), and one of the energy companies has 42,000 acres under agreement. Each wind turbine takes away about a half an acre, and that doesn't include access roads.
Conservation does and should go a long way. But when high roller investors(think T. Boone Pickens) and mega-corporations(B.P. is involved)have easy access to tax money and the politicians that hand it out, and the profits that are derived from that government "investment", common sense goes out the window.
Oh well, I get to pick up a media celebrity in a hour or so and be his host for a few days and show him about our efforts to reduce energy consumption and demand here in the Midwest. A project and the people involved couldn't come to financial and legal terms or a house that I built last year would have made it into a cable show. But, he's a well informed person that has major exposure and people's confidence to help open eyes and minds to energy needs and demands going into the future. He is also going to address a couple of groups while in the area too. It should be fun and I'll pass on some of the ideas and info he gives me/us.
Re: Electricity grids, Dag & Tom
The site I referanced is somewhat 'Canadianized' since it indicates what the different sources are in Canada.
Not sure if you played around with it but if you zoom in you can sort out the different icons and find out how much power each produces, who owns/operates it and what source of fuel it uses.
The proposed distribution lines in the US midwest are for new production probably and look like they are aimed at moving the power into California by my guess. Like dag I also thought of wind farms.
The lines coming from way up north in Canada are water sourced power. Think those sources must be getting limited now but there are plans for more in Newfoundland and Quebec.
I thought it was interesting just how interconnected North America is.
Tom you ideas on conservation are spot on. By retrofitting so we do not use the energy going forward we do not have to build new production units, what ever form they might take.
Hydro One in Ontario has had incentive programs for some time now to reduce consumption. Think they still have a program to pick up old inefficient refrigerators as well as other things like coupons or rebates for improved efficiency.
The other thing that will/is changing our hydro use is Time Of Use metres.
We now pay more for peak times of day and less for off peak times like overnight. Will soon start buying appliances with built in timers so they work overnight on cheap hydro.
Re: Electricity grids, Dag & Tom
Canuck, I came across a blog that a woman from Canada has about rehabbing her home, and all the various details about it. She received a grant from the government in 2 different payments because of the efficiency levels that she attained, but was just one point away from a major grant payment after the testing was conducted. Here's the website:
I came across it and went to the government links to study the incentive grants to use as a guide to write some state and federal politicos. Last year the federal government had a program for appliances that I believe Illinois applied a little over $12 million, and it maxed out in a couple of days. The main problem was that the people that were financially capable of taking advantage of the program needed it the least. The lower incomes that do own their primary residence, or the property owners that provide housing to that same group weren't able to utilize it because it was for owner only, and the others couldn't afford to buy anything. But, that's where a majority of energy inefficiency lies because of the large numbers of household that fall into that category.
There are multiple ways to encourage efficiency, and some ideas have even circled around an increase in the KWH rate as consumption increases, but that just penalizes people that can't afford to upgrade appliances and HVAC equipment, and ironically all commercial customers of the electrical utility have various programs to offset their consumption/costs, and they are the biggest consumers. Case in point, the gas station next to my shop here, the difference of what they and I pay for power is like night and day, and I don't consume probably 1% of what they do, but their rate per KWH is between 1/3 and 1/2 of what I pay. It's a joke in how they(both the power company AND the gas station) try to "justify" it. But, they consume massive amounts of energy to light their parking lot and the perimeter of the building, and the canopy over the pumps to the extent that it's almost like daylight at 12:00 am, and my overnite usage is is under 7 KWH for a 30 day billing period, and with heat it rises to less that 20 KWH over a same time frame.
They can afford efficiency a lot more than I can, but guess who has every politicians phone number on speed dial, and the politicos answer when they call??????
Re: Electricity grids
Tom, yes wind energy is subsidized by our government but how much has Duke Power and other large electrical power producers been subsidized? How much is our gas and oil energy sbsidized? I see wind power as a good alternative because it is greener and should help create many more new jobs. Gas and coal produced electricity will continue to go up in cost and especially as we see tougher environmental regulations put in place. I would think wind power would not have these new extra costs being as much of a problem for them.
Canuck, I see you guys get an awful lot of electricity from hydro. Has that become much of an issue in your country with the tree hugger crowd?
Re: Electricity grids
Yes, they're all heavily subsidized. Conservation would go a long ways for a fraction of the cost, and have a larger job effect, than the few jobs to erect those turbines, and if done right it could be stretched out over a longer time frame. I just can't see the justification of future farm land sacrificed for some current money with wind. One of the biggest issues with those projects that I mentioned was the removal costs of the wind turbines after their lifespan was attained, and how that applicable property was going to be taxed at that point. But, the schools and counties, and the property owners are foaming at the mouth with the thought of big tax revenues and income from the property leases.