Aloha and Welcome to the Woodbury Green Blog

February 17th, 2010, Uncategorized, alex

Aloha and welcome,

Let me first disclose that I am a PV net metering consultant, and I make my living in part by turning folks onto grid tied PV.

Today’s post: A sobering reminder that energy independence isn’t free and that we as citizens need to fight for our rights to secure clean renewable and inexpensive energy. Oh, and did I mention that its been mandated by our Governor?

For those of you who haven’t read the latest from HEI/HECO, attached is a link to the recent article in the Honolulu Advertiser:  Moratorium sought on solar installation While this effort comes as no surprise, given the recent trends of the subsidiary utilities, HELCO etc. requiring fee paid studies to the tune of thousands of dollars (paid to the utility of course) prior to approval of grid interconnection, it does beg the question “Why pick on solar?”

Wait, before we even go there, lets analyze how we got here in the first place:

1.) Petroleum fuel based utility grid.

2.) Fluctuating, skyrocketing fuel prices.

3.) Fuel comes from “un-friendly” nations.

4.) Fuel is a limited resource.

5.) And the best for last, our electricity is 3-5 times the national average!!

So its been…. how do you say?  Driven by demand as a response to our utility rates, and its been ever so successful economically, because are rates are so high that the payback is attractive, wait, a good investment, wait, like the best dang mutual fund ever? YEP! Oh and without the burden of incredibly high utility bills, those of us with PV commercially are now somewhat competitive in a national market because we’re not buried under the weight of our utility bills.

Okay so really, why exactly is PV the target? and why just the outer islands?   Maui and the Big Island AKA the outer islands,  no offense to Lanai and Molokai( just kidding your next on the chopping block)  and yes Kauai, you and your fancy Co-op: you Mo-betta and on your own….  So why again is this even being considered, because of clouds and storms and what else “dude”?  Sounds like a line out of Idiocracy, which by the way is a great and telling movie…

Did I read something about grid instability? From clouds and storms and stuff?

No  PV systems don’t create power outages and grid instability on their own…  PV systems which are comprised of power producing panels and power converting inverters. The inverters have sensitive and advanced electronic components, and yes they are equipped with certain fail safe devices and protective programming…. So when a utility’s power is infirm and its line frequency drops below a certain level,  due to demand side issues,  the PV system inverters automatically shut down at preset levels to protect the system and its owner’s equipment from damage due to brownout etc.  Well this sudden loss of production from PV further strains the grid and yes, blackouts have resulted.  So is this a problem with PV or a problem with the Utility’s grid being outdated….

According to HECO and HELCO PV systems are responsible for several blackouts, and maintaining all that POWER is well… WELL ITS JUST SUPER COMPLICATED OKAY!  YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND! There’s a cute analogy in the article about driving a bus with endless amounts of power and only a gas pedal…. and then having to maintain the speed limit. Apparently its so complicated that we need to ride the short bus to understand it.

They’re doing a great job driving the short bus,  I live on the big island and since the outage from the large 2006 earthquakes, I’ve only experienced two power outages, and both were after dusk.  Must be PV’s fault cause the sun went down….

Here’s my analogy for that bus, develop a clutch ands a flywheel(literally) and stop trying to slam on the brakes on PV!

It seems that the issue starts with the grid, and not the PV producers,  uh scapegoat anyone?

Back to the bus:  Is that bus from the 40’s?  Time to move into the 21st century.  It appears that the problem is a lack of modern grid technology exacerbated by the large amount of infirm renewables ie wind and solar.

With all this discussion surrounding grid instability where is the requirement for smart grid technology and plug in hybrids,  programmable and integratabtle high usage appliances etc. We as an isolated islands model should be the perfect proving ground, yet we’re not.  The large scale role out is in FL as I understand it, along with all the grant money and manufacturer assistance, Oh!  and cutting edge new “green” jobs….

You know, instead of a MORATORIUM!!! (doom’s day music rolls on thick)

So a consultant who remained un-named (clearly it wasn’t me) suggested this PV moratorium and like lambs HECO just goes with the flow…. thats it?  Sounds Baaaddd to me.

Lets not just pick on PV, lets pick on other infirm sources of power,  AKA renewables.  What about wind ( no offense friends, but misery loves company)

What’s the breakdown again

Maui has 30+ Megawatts of wind

Big Island has 30+ Megawatts of wind

and each island has less than 9 Megawatts of solar?

Uh can someone cry unfair along with me?  I’m pretty sure wind is just as fickle, at least last I checked….

Lets not pick on anyone here.  I’m a rate payer, you’re a rate payer.  lets just all tell our utility company(s) to figure it out without a MORATORIUM!!! on anything other than lame and objectionable ideas and in the mean time remember PV keeps the lights on for lot of us. There is a lot going on locally with regard to jobs, economic flow and money circulating in the islands, money that I use to pay my utility bill.

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