Friday, December 05, 2008

More CAPX2020 Open Houses

from The La Crosse Tribune:

Representatives of CapX 2020 — the $1.7 billion proposal to upgrade high-voltage power transmission lines from the Twin Cities through Rochester, Minn., and ending in the La Crosse area — will host open houses about the project.

The open houses will include maps with proposed route options.
The 11 utilities involved in the project are reviewing and collecting data about the route options, including three potential sites for crossing the Mississippi River at Alma, Wis., Winona and La Crescent, Minn.

The schedule includes:

-Winona, Minn.: 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, Riverport Inn, 900 Bruski Drive Winona.

-Alma, Wis.: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Alma High School, S1618 Hwy. 35.

-Centerville: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Centerville Community Center/Curling Club, W24854 Hwy. 54/93.

-La Crescent, Minn.: 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, La Crescent American Legion, 509 North Chestnut St.

Do we NEED it? No. Electricity use is going down and since we haven't really even started yet on the CONSERVATION plan that should be at the top of the global warming list, we can expect it to drop even more.

New ways to locally generate electricity are springing up by the hour including this great idea from researchers at the University of Michigan:
It has been estimated that if less than 0.1% of the renewable energy available within the oceans could be converted into electricity, it would satisfy the present world demand for energy more than five times over. ...

OWC [Oscillating Water Column] is economically viable design due to it's simple geometrical construction and also strong enough to withstand against the waves with different heights and different wave periods and directions. This design consists of a rectangular chamber and a pyramidal top which is installed on top of the chamber . .A conical duct is erected on the pyramidal top to reciprocally move the air from the chamber and into the chamber during the process of wave approach and wave leaves the Chamber. A special turbine which is mounted on top of the duct is subjected to turn at one direction as the airflow moves bi-directional. A generator is coupled to the turbine that produces electricity by rotating it's armature shaft which is coupled with the turbine shaft.

Or, simpler, VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy):
Researchers claim to have fashioned a fish-like hydrokinetic scheme that harnesses both fast and slow underwater currents to generate electricity. Called Vivace, for Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy, the technique has the potential to generate electricity, even from lazy river currents, at a cost lower than other energy sources. Michael Bernitsas, a professor at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), also has launched a company, Vortex Hydro Energy, to commercialize the technology. The technique mimics the ability of fish to use underwater vortices to swim upstream.

Or, what about harnessing the foot power of all those people at the mall or in hospitals to generate electricity?

Engineers and scientists are developing tiny generators that turn the kinetic energy of everyday movements into electricity which can then power sensors or provide electricity for remote installations.
The technology, known as power harvesting, is already being tested in helicopter frames, the floors of discos and in volunteers' knee joints in order to generate electricity. In the near future, harvesters could be used to recharge iPods and mobile phones, say researchers.

But, wait, what about all those cars? Couldn't they generate electricity, too?

In short, we are at a fork in the road, similar to one faced a century ago when the horseless carriage first appeared. Should we build more barns and plan for more horse poo? Or should we consider that things are going to be very different very soon and the old necessities and solutions (CAPX2020) are just going to be wasteful relics and costly mistakes.

With conservation and LOCAL OR REGIONAL power generation, the need for huge powerlines will be a thing of the past. But only if we make it so.