Arctic blast shows how we take the reliability of energy for granted

  • Article by: Kim Crockett
  • Updated: January 8, 2014 - 6:15 PM

When temps plunge, we see that life depends on the reliability of energy we take for granted.

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davehougJan. 8, 1410:45 PM

Every renewable needs to be backed up by coal or nuclear. Without capacity for the base load, wind solar conservation etc. will fall short at some point in the year.

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twspt7Jan. 9, 14 9:28 AM

Gimme a break. What is reliable now started out as innovation. Like it or not, energy sources such as coal and oil are finite and dirty. We can innovate and do better with our resources, while increasing our capacity. Just exactly what is wrong with this, unless you're a part of the energy production status quo?

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FrankLJan. 9, 1410:00 AM

twspt7, no argument with your comment, but the argument is that these technologies are not ready for prime time. So why force them in before they are ready? Just like electric cars, fix the problems consumers complain about and then come out with an improved product.

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imkirokJan. 9, 1410:17 AM

The author makes a good argument for why we should have more decentralized, renewable power. Most power failures are a result of transmission lines going down or transformers blowing up. If more people had rooftop solar, the chances of losing your power to a blown line or transformer would go way down. Solar and wind are now price competitive and readily available. We should be making the investment there rather than trying to prop up dirty coal.

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davehougJan. 9, 14 3:59 PM

Solar and wind are now price competitive and readily available. = = = Close but not quite. The consumer still pays more for solar and wind. That said, the giant wind turbines of today would NOT exist without government. We had to grow the technology with mandates before any company could build the next generation.

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kmhreadyJan. 9, 14 8:57 PM

Wind and solar are unreliable. We buy our wind rates down to about twice the rate of baseload; solar is still 80 to 100 times base. Wind produces primarily when the demand on the grid is lowest, so the value to the consumer and the grid is actually much lower. Baseload electricity is NOT obsolete, despite the the fantasy in which Joe Sulivan of Wind on the Wires lives. The new MMPA biogas plant - $5.6 million per MW to build; their new natural gas plant -$600,000 per MW to build. Biogas production - ?? they say around $5/mwh; nat gas ?? $2.50/mwh; solar $220/mwh Paying more for unreliable makes no sense.

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imkirokJan. 9, 14 9:25 PM

Where do you get your numbers kmhready? According to Xcel's own documents, wind is cheaper than gas or coal peak plants and is installing as much wind as they can. Solar is a little further behind, but is nowhere near 80-100x, especially when you factor in the cost of installing pollution control equipment on old coal plant. And we also subsidize coal, gas and nukes.

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