First of all, I’m back in the saddle after several weeks of village travel/vacation. So the blog is on. This weekend I was able to touch base with one of the more lucrative independent power producers in Alaska, and he mentioned that people in other parts of the nation/world are perking up to putting in microgrids – where there may already be cooperative utility services. One instance he mentioned was a project where his company is putting in a large Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system for a major hospital near downtown Anchorage.
There is a desire for security to have such ‘redundancy’ of supply of energy resources in part due to concerns over the vulnerability of the lower 48 grid system. I’ve mentioned that investigative reporter Ted Koppel’s latest book Lights Out has been raising awareness. One newsletter yesterday put such concerns this way:
“ISIS attacks in Brussels, Paris and California may be just the beginning of an unprecedented plot to bring America to its knees by targeting our nation’s scandalously vulnerable electric grid, warn officials at the Pentagon and FBI. Why? Because terrorist groups like ISIS realize they can’t beat us with brute military force on the conventional battlefield. We’re way too strong for that. But when the electric grid fails, it will be like watching America have a heart attack right before your eyes. It’s like when the heart stops pumping… everything shuts down and the patient flat lines. Our great country would be crippled in a matter of minutes, without our enemies having to fire a single bullet.”
Now, the newsletter was also selling solar powered generators, so this may not be the most unbiased assessment, yet micro and islanded grids (enclaves inside utility districts) are becoming more popular. Sometimes these CHP units serve small pods of residential buildings, or a ‘district’ per se. Yet CHP can also assist single commercial or industrial sites/buildings. We may see more of these in the future, and stay tuned for more such projects applying for grant and state monies!