Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 21 NO. 7  -  July 2018

Renewables becoming the norm


Today, things have changed. With the increased numbers of wind turbines and solar arrays throughout the country, the amount of energy needed from fossil fuel energy sources has declined. These fossil fuel power plants will not totally disappear in the near future, but energy demands from them are not as they once were. This reduced dependency on fossil fuel plants has led to ramping down of some, and even shutting down of others.

Wind and solar are not the only reasons for the reduction in energy needed from fossil fuel, just about everything we purchase today requires an Energy STAR label. The electrical appliances we purchase today are more energy efficient. CFL light bulbs (now LEDs), have reduced energy consumption 70-80 percent.. With thenumber of light bulbs in the world one can only imagine the demand savings.

Electricity as a norm cannot be stored unless in a battery. Until recently (and still), batteries are expensive. Even with advancements in technology, there can never be enough of them. There is another way to store electricity, but first it needs to be converted to heat. Mediums such as water and ceramic bricks are good places to store this heat to be used later by the means of water heaters and Steffes brick storage furnaces. This is also known as ETS (Electric Thermal Storage). This program takes the electricity produced during nighttime hours and stores it for the next day, providing hot water for domestic use and also for heating your home.

The ETS program is beginning to take on another medium - batteries. A better definition would be EBS (Electric Battery Storage). With the rise in electric cars coming into our future, they can be charged during the nighttime hours as are the water and ceramic bricks mentioned above. We may not see many electric cars now, but they are coming. With the increased distances per charge and with electricity averaging 12.5 cents per kWh, the cost of charging is equivalent to paying $1.00 per gallon for gasoline. Electric car sales have been increasing and, as with everything, as manufacturing increases, the cost of manufacturing goes down making it more affordable for the consumer. With the $1.00 per gallon equivalent cost at 12.5 cents mentioned above, you can see if car batteries are recharged on the storage rate of 4.7 cents per kWh, it would be like paying 38 cents per gallon for gasoline.

Electric vehicles will be coming.

Return to the July 2018 Issue