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Thread: Wind & solar powered muni electric utilities

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    Wind & solar powered muni electric utilities

    Does anyone know of any towns that have gone this route yet?

    What are people's thoughts on this possibility in general?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The idea has been tossed around in a few places. I have a couple contacts in the industry who were promoting the idea 2-3 years ago. PM me if you are interested.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    For some reason my PM function is disabled and I can't figure out how to enable it.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    That's OK, I just googled the company since it has been a couple years - they have gone under. It was a good idea. The owner was an entrepreneur who wanted to focus on western states. I encouraged him to look to the midwest, which has a tradition of locally-owned municipal utilities and innovation in energy.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    Here is the deal:

    Like most cities, we have a franchise agreement. Ours is with a fairly large utility that is in much of our state. We get a lot more outages than most places. The substations that service our town are 5 miles away. They are really slow and unresponsive to things like street light replacement.

    I am not sure if that is grounds enough to get out of a franchise agreement, but its about the only leverage we have. Our town is not huge. Of course, just getting our use info from this utility has proven to be problematic. They tend to hold info close to the vest. I was wondering how many mills it would take to power a town of 2,500 to 3,000? Or how many solar cells or some combination thereof?

    We are sort of a backwater to this utility, so I don't expect we would ever get a better service level.

    I suppose a study would be the first step, but that would require somehow getting data from the current provider, and that may prove problematic.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    Here is the deal:

    Like most cities, we have a franchise agreement. Ours is with a fairly large utility that is in much of our state. We get a lot more outages than most places. The substations that service our town are 5 miles away. They are really slow and unresponsive to things like street light replacement.

    I am not sure if that is grounds enough to get out of a franchise agreement, but its about the only leverage we have. Our town is not huge. Of course, just getting our use info from this utility has proven to be problematic. They tend to hold info close to the vest. I was wondering how many mills it would take to power a town of 2,500 to 3,000? Or how many solar cells or some combination thereof?

    We are sort of a backwater to this utility, so I don't expect we would ever get a better service level.

    I suppose a study would be the first step, but that would require somehow getting data from the current provider, and that may prove problematic.
    Figuring out how much power your city needs is not an exact science. You also have to consider you business and industry in the town, what happens you exceed your peak demand load and who is going to manage your power.

    Renewables are great but they do not always generate enough power to meet demand. He is a map to see if your area of Iowa has a suitable wind for turbines
    http://www.eere.energy.gov/windandhy.../wind_maps.asp

    Have you talked with neighboring communities to see if they are experiencing similar issues? If so then it might make sense to form a Co-Op. This could lead to higher power rates but it should increase reliability.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  7. #7
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    There used to be a consortium of cities that were working on starting munis. I think Iowa City was in on it. If it is still active that is your best bet. You don't have the cash to go against Alliant or Mid American alone. Generally it is tough to start a new muni.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    The City of Brockton, MA installed a solar array "brightfield" a couple of years ago on a brownfield. Good idea but I don't know what the return on investment or the community impact has been like.

    http://www.mtpc.org/rebates/press/pr..._brockton.html

  9. #9
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    BC has had a few run-of-river small hydro projects proposed but as far as I know they are by private utilities on contract to the provincial utility. Some minor solar installations for equipment not on the grid. We're all hydroelectricity already and haven't changed much toward green lately beyond that.

  10. #10
    BANNED
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne View post
    BC has had a few run-of-river small hydro projects proposed but as far as I know they are by private utilities on contract to the provincial utility. Some minor solar installations for equipment not on the grid. We're all hydroelectricity already and haven't changed much toward green lately beyond that.
    Our company, has started to work on creating electricity using Wind energy.

    We are one of the biggest utility sector company having customer base of 2.6million

    try googling into SAS. they work on hardcore wind energy products
    Last edited by ved_theone; 06 Oct 2008 at 8:11 AM. Reason: spelling mistake SAAS instead of SAS

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Hull, MA, which is on a peninsula in the harbor, has a municipal windmill next to its High School football field. They replaced a smaller one a few years back with a larger one. I hear it supplies all the streetlights in Hull, and maybe the municipal buildings as well?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Shellac And Vinyl VelocitY's avatar
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    Private companies as solar power middlemen. Case study: 1BOG

    From 3/5/09 NYTimes Magazine: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/ma...l?ref=magazine
    Summary:
    . . .Owned by Virgance, a for-profit company based in San Francisco, 1BOG aims to make money by collecting what amounts to a referral fee from the solar installer, and some of the incentives it offers to consumers involve straightforward middleman functions: mastering the details of state, local and federal incentive programs that drastically lower costs; vetting solar-installation companies; and so on. Solar panels are, after all, a big-ticket item that few consumers know much about. (Costs vary, but under normal circumstances a $20,000 price tag is not unusual.) Finding the best installer and getting a fair price can be intimidating and bewildering.

    But it’s the way that 1BOG goes about building its collectives that gives some credence to the assertion by Steve Newcomb, Virgance C.E.O., that the company is engaged in something of a “societal, economic and political experiment.” When 1BOG starts a “campaign” in a city, it relies on its consumer participants to recruit more consumer participants. “The reason we call it a campaign is that we run it like a political campaign — house parties, signs in yards, bumper stickers,” he says.

    This can work only if it taps into something besides the savvy consumer’s hunt for a good deal: the more abstract quest to be part of a solution or even a movement. Newcomb explicitly positions his company’s strategy as a kind of sequel to Obamamania...

  13. #13
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I am seeing a large increase in solar powered devices used by our State DOT or its contractors. I would not be surprised if the trend will be for self-sufficient devices, reducing the need for wires and utilities.

    I personally welcome this trend as every few months a year you hear about some scrapper zapping themselves to ashes due to pulling wire out of a streetlight!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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