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The cost keeps going up. What this means for me is a 19% rate increase down the line. If the next coal plant can be made cheaper then I am kind of okay with this. Why would I be okay with a coal power plant? Because I know renewable energies dirty little secret. For every kilowatt of renewable energy attached to the grid you need a kilowatt to back it up. That backup is going to come, most likely, from a fossil fuel. i.e. Coal. Now, to me, clean coal is an oxymoron. But, a coal gasification process is far superior to others. Here is a quote from the Duke Energy website.

The current 160-megawatt plant at Edwardsport emits approximately 13,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions annually. It operates about 30 percent of the time. Preliminary data indicates a 630-megawatt IGCC plant operating 100 percent of the time will emit about 2,900 tons of those same pollutants (including mercury) annually.

Anyway you slice it, this plant will be far superior to the existing facility. It also use ten less water then the current plant too. Besides solar panels , wind turbines, or any other renewable energy source we need “clean coal”. Even if the new plant get deligated to backup duty in fifty years. We can’t continue to run the oldest plants that have almost no pollution controls on them any longer. The current edwardsport coal facility was built in the 1940’s.

What about conservation! I am all about conservation. I think if Duke gave everyone a smart meter they would not need to build this new plant. Not today anyway. But they would still have to build it someday, because conservation only goes so far.

I would like to see rates go up. Not because I like to pay more but because I want people to use less. Same thing goes for gasoline prices. Energy is too cheap in the USA.

I will say that this Earth Day I am better to the planet then I was the last one. Maybe that is a good goal, to be better to the plane than I was since the last Earth Day. You could either go by “Gut feel” or throw some numbers at it. Me, having an engineering background, numbers. Lets use this past years electric bills. I saved about 30% more kWhrs than the year before. All because I can see how much I use. (TED and Kill-a-Watt) Gas is down almost the same. (Turning down the heat. ) Water is down more than 30%. (Cat fountain.)  Sure, was the easier reductions. As time goes on, it will get harder.

But, you have a whole range of things to improve on. Like my car. It gets a wonderful, 18mpg combined. When I go looking for a newer car I will look at something that gets at least 40% better than that. (Not hard, just don’t get a SUV) What about using less chemical in the house. Or rain water collection? Don’t forget, a push reel mower. The list could go on for ever.

One last thing, is it better to use a credit card to purchase something or cash. After you think about it for a minute, the answer is not that easy. How much energy and waste is really used to make that transaction happen?

This years garden will be totally organic of course. Since Last years garden was a bust I plan on using some organic fertilizer. (Composted chicken manure) That should help get things growing. I am going to start with Lettuce. It is a fast spring crop and I want the kids to get into gardening quickly this year. Tomatoes are a must. My neighbor said he paid $5 for three tomatoes about a week ago. I need to start them from seed today and use my LED grow light. My son really wants to plant pumpkins this year. So why not. The wife wants yellow zucchini. I think they are going somewhere all by themselves. They can get out of hand. If they do, this way they don’t over crowd something else.

This is the year I plan on planting blueberries, raspberries, apple and peaches. May be some more things if I feel like it. Lastly, I have to move my strawberries. They tree grow out and now they are in the shade. When I am all done I will have to take a picture. I still need to figure out where I am going to put my solar power pond?

I think this will work for now. I have the big tank at 120 degrees or so. Since the big tank feeds the little tank, I can only make a good guess based on the dial. (normally, I measure the water temp. with a small thermometer) I have the thermostat on the little tank at 123 degrees. The interesting thing about the little tank thermo is the trip-on setting. I am not 100% sure but I think it has a -7 setpoint trigger. That means the element turns on at 116 degrees. This means that the little tank will not turn on unless the water has sat for some time or the incoming water drops below the trip-on point. So the little tank is a buffer.

After a week with this setup I have about the same heat pump energy usage and a much improved little tank usage of about 1kW a day. It is better for me to use hot water throughout the day. (no need to wash hands is cold water) Why? because the big tanks outgoing water will help keep the little tank from turning on.

What does the wife think? She just want hot water when she wants it. i.e. don’t mess with my hot water!

I received my TED 5000 the other day and I got to install it today. Installation was a breeze. I had one of the CT sensors backwards again. Since I had the same problem the last time I recognized it immediately. (Wattage won’t change when light switch filled on) “programming” the gateway was very easy. I logged on to my router and found out what the IP address was on the gateway. Did the system setup wizard and entered the MTU and Display device numbers. Done and working.

Next was Google power meter. Again, TED 5000 has a wizard to help set it up. This took 30 seconds. I now have it on my iGoogle home page.

Not easy to see but basically the TED5000 sends data to Google every ten minutes. The footprints software shows the recorded data in second intervals. This data comes from the gateway. No need to have the TED connected to your computer. This is the biggest improvement! Seems like a waste to keep a computer on 24/7 to log how much electricity you are using.

Zigbee wireless display works great. I can go anywhere in my house and I get a signal. Works just like it should. No problems what-so-ever. I am glad I got the wireless display now. Worth the extra money.

Don’t think that I have reduced my old TED 1000 to the e-waste trash heap. I have placed the TED1000 on my water heater. Now I can see exactly how much my 240V water heater is using. This is combination with my kill-a-watt on the heat pump will tell me my total usage of electricity for heating water. More on that, later. Now I am going to walk around the house and turn things on and off. :-)

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