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I have had Duke Energy’s “Go Green Power” for almost 2 years. I purchase Carbon credits for 500kW hrs a month. In a typical month that is well over 50% of my usage. Lately, it has been bugging me. I feel like I am just giving my money away to Duke Energy. The cost per month is $10 for a yearly total of $120. $120 buys me 6,000 kWhrs of carbon offsets. For simple math purposes I will use 2lbs for every 1kWhr. (Very close BTW) That means my 6,000kWhrs is equal to 12,000lbs. If I were to go to a site like TerraPass that would cost me about $70. Where does the extra $50 go?

Currently, Duke has two trackers on my bill, the clean coal adjustment and the coal gasification adjustment. Beside the fact that they seem to be the same thing to me, they cost me $6 to $10 a month depending on my usage. Duke is already getting my money for something that is supposed to be environmentally friendly. I fell like I am just lining there pockets.

What does Duke do with the Go Green money? They say they buy Green Power. But you and I both know that when you buy in bulk, of anything, you get a better price. So, this leads me to my decision. I am going to cancel my Go Green Power and just buy carbon offset credits myself. For the same cost, I could offset the entire electricity usage for the whole house for the whole year.

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Tonight it is going to get down to 5 degrees. Not unheard of in Indiana but it is still cold. My furnace will run all night to keep up. I have thought about pellet stove on and off for the past four years. I do like the ones that can burn or bio-mass products, such as corn. Now the furnace running for 12 hours will use 6 kW hours for the blower motor. (In any new house I would build I would have radiant floor heating. The water pumps use much less than that.)

I have been able to gather that a typical stove uses about  150  Watts while running. This is an average, so for this night it would be more. 150 W x 24 hours = 3.6 kW for the entire day not just the 12 hour night. With my current furnace setup I figure the corn stove/pellet stove would use have as much power.

So if the stove use 3.6kW a day that would be 100 kW hours. Not that the stove would provide 100% of my home heating needs. (maybe?) 100 kW hours is equal to about $10. If one burns for 5 months a year that is $50 added to the pellet stove operating costs. For most, it may only be an additional 10%. But it is something to remember.

So I am visiting Florida. It is hot and Humid. My first question, do people even have heaters in there homes? I am sure they have electric resistive heaters. I would think they get used very seldom. The next question I had, why doesn’t everyone have a solar hot water heater. Just running the water thru the collector without any sun would at least get it up to ambient temperature. Which right now is 91 degrees. The next question is, why doesn’t everyone have solar modules on their roof? With the great solar insolation that Florida receives it would seem to be an easy option. It is easier to cool down from 90, then it is to heat from 20. Since it seems to rain almost every day, a rain barrel would have you covered on the days that you get missed by mother nature.

BP wind farm.

Now how much does this cost? Compare that cost, to the cost of a new coal gasification plant? Even if they cost the same, one of them does not have a cost of fuel and the others fuel cost with go up.

Today is a good day for my conundrum. It is sunny and the wind is blowing an average speed of 12mph. The windmill in question is a skystream 3.7. At an average wind speed of 12mph I would be producing 400 kWhrs a month. I am guessing the cost installed would be $18,000. What does $18,000 towards a solar system get me? At about $10 a watt installed. 1800 Watt system. Of course, actual prices may very. 🙂 I have an average solar insolation value of 4. That is equal to 120kWhrs per month. Wow, did not see that coming! The one major problem is the neighbors, I don’t think they would like it if I got one.

Link to someone in Ohio that purchased one. His total cost was $15,087.00

After looking at that site, makes me think that 400kWhrs is way high. There maybe a lot of hot air in wind power. Hey, at least with solar all I have to do is place the panels in the sun. Don’t believe manufactures numbers. It is best to find someone else that will have similar conditions to yours.

What about a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT)

PacWind

Urban Green Energy

Mariah Power

Cleanfield Energy

Wind Terra

I like the last link the best. Why? If I can mount it on top of the house and not have to install a pole. I will save money. But, it can’t keep me up at night during high winds.  i.e. it won’t shake the house. Major issue wit mounting on top of the house is weight. Some of these turbine weigh 500lbs.

At half the price, and 40% of the power…. It still is easier to put up panels. Maybe not as cheap per watt but easier. I believe that I am right smack dab in the middle. If I had higher than 4 solar insolation, I would get solar panels. If I had higher then 12mph annual wind, I would get a windmill. What I really need to find is a site that would have done this for me!

From their home page: “DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

If you’re an American thinking about setting up a solar power system in your home, it’s worth checking this out. What’s great is that you can search by state, technology, incentive type, etc. Even if you’re not planning on setting up such a system, it’s interesting to compare what different states are up to.

Efficient conversion of the sun’s energy into human usage will be crucial to maintaining clean energy. Researchers are spending time looking into the photosynthesis mechanisms of cyanobacteria – one of the most ancient organism groups. As research continues for the photosynthesis hack that MIT developed recently, there other pieces of the photosynthesis puzzle that can provide valuable lessons for us.

According to Science Daily there are two avenues of development in process. One is working on genetically engineering real plants and cyanobacteria in order to produce the elements we want – not just oxygen released by photosynthesis, but other fuels such as hydrogen, alcohols, and hydrocarbons. The other direction of research is in line with the MIT discovery, which is mimicking photosynthetic processes in human-made products.

Researchers agree that these two parallels are necessary in the road to renewable energy resources – but we are on our way to a greater understanding of not just how it all works, but how we can emulate the mechanics in our lives.

Here in Utah, the government is committed to having 20% of the state’s power coming from renewable resources by 2025 … ‘if it is cost-effective’ (frankly, a confusing and counterproductive statement). That’s civilized.

According to this story from the Salt Lake Tribune an appointed panel of people are beginning to define ‘renewable energy zones’ throughout the state.

Isn’t the whole point of renewable energy that not only are our current methods of generating power NOT cost-effective (for consumers in any way), but that they are also destroying our own habitat, piece by piece?

It is a start, but not nearly good nor soon enough, I’d say.

The trib story also reports the following facts about solar energy, current and potential, in Utah:

  • Utah has considerable solar potential, especially in the western and southwestern parts of the state.
  • Southern Utah has about 300 sunny days per year.
  • There is no commercial development of solar power in Utah.
  • … Cost of development and access to transmission lines are the biggest obstacles.

Hmmm. Currently bleak. But plenty of potential…

Read the full blurb for the full scope of Utah’s current renewable energy situation regarding wind and geothermal.