News from Patrick Flynn

Capturing the sun

Whatever you think of President Obama’s politics, I think it’s great that he’s coming to Alaska to discuss climate change with other international leaders. As a life long Alaskan I’ve witnessed changes in my backyard and learned a lot about how other parts of the state are trying to deal with challenges. Whatever the cause, we’re going to have to figure out how to manage the evolution of our state’s environment.

One of the steps I recently undertook was installation of solar arrays on my roof. It’s proven an interesting process as I am apparently the first residential ML&P customer who is producing power going back into the grid – the system produces more than I need during many days. Alaska has “net metering” regulations that allow for that and, as long as you consume at least as much power from the grid as you put back in, you’re supposed to receive a kilowatt hour for kilowatt hour exchange. The difficulty on that front is that Alaska’s utilities really aren’t up to speed administratively on how to handle the accounting. I’ll say this for ML&P – they’re at least trying!

And that’s an important piece of the future; how do local utilities incorporate irregular, renewable sources of energy into their networks without resorting to their traditional technique of maintaining excess generation capacity (spinning reserves) for which consumers pay? I’ve read of some innovative thinking in that regard. Who knows, maybe the president will drop by my place to see how it works in Alaska!



This contribution was made on Thursday, 30. July 2015 at 17:13 and was published under the category Energy. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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