[Paleopsych] Gaming the power grid

Steve shovland at mindspring.com
Mon Aug 16 03:56:33 UTC 2004

I was at a birthday party today and talked to
a guy is building a new house and putting
photovoltaic cells on it- perhaps enough 
produce more power than he uses.

He won't have any batteries- spare power
will feed into the grid.

Here's the game:  His installer is orienting the
array to produce the most power between
12 and 6 pm.  That is peak time, when PG&E
charges 38 cents per kwh versus 8 cents 
during non-peak hours.

He also mentioned that current laws will
allow him to recoup the cost in 5-6 years
whereas without those laws it would take
10-15 years.  Those cells will continue to
produce power for 25+ years with only a
slight decrease in output.

We also talked about the problem of
"spinning reserves."  Because power needs
vary, power companies keep huge turbines
spinning and consuming petroleum even
though they aren't producing power.  They
have to be available on a moment's notice.

The idea I proposed was that instead of
one giant plant we might install a hundred
or a thousand small plants which would
be started when needed using sophisticated

Steve Hovland

More information about the paleopsych mailing list