[Ok-sus] TO THE BARRICADES OKIES -- DEFEND YOUR RIGHT TO ROOFTOP SOLAR

oklaterry at cox.net oklaterry at cox.net
Tue Sep 8 14:22:41 UTC 2015


Thanks, Kelley, for your clear explanation. Terry W
---- Kelley C Smith <smithkc at riskiii.com> wrote: 
> Good morning Bob,
> 
> For some further information, here’s an article from NewsOK:
> 
> http://newsok.com/oge-proposal-would-affect-oklahoma-users-of-rooftop-solar/article/5441429/?page=2 <http://newsok.com/oge-proposal-would-affect-oklahoma-users-of-rooftop-solar/article/5441429/?page=2>
> 
> We’ve talked about similar questions before, and i always feel I am unable to communicate the complexity of this type of issue. Also feel that i am perceived as taking OG&E’s “side” even though that is not my intention at all. The question of “load factor” which is the issue even though no one has brought that up, is really fairly simple. 
> 
> So, (deep sigh) I will try again. And, I’ve tried really hard, so I beg your patience just one more time.
> 
> Imagine having 10  100-watt light bulbs. We all know that if you burn a 100-Watt light bulb for 10 hours, you’ve consumed 10 x 100  or 1000 watt hours  or 1 kiiowatt-hour (kWh). A 100-watt generator will do the job; just run it for 10 hours.
> 
> Now, imagine you burn all ten of those 100-watt light bulbs for one hour. You’ve also consumed one kWh of energy. But the difference is that if you want to consume the  1 kWh in one hour, you need a 1 kilowatt (KW) generator. Under the first scenario, you need only a 100-Watt generator. So, HOW and WHEN energy is used makes a great deal of difference if you are the person investing in the generator, choosing the type of generator to build, and buying the fuel for the generator. 
> 
> Now, most people “demand” varying amounts of power through the day / month/ year. The relationship of their “maximum demand” (a term used by engineers much to the chagrin of economists) to their total energy purchase is a fairly big deal. Customers who use a fairly constant amount of power all year long, say a hospital or grocery store, are really much easier to serve than customers whose power needs vary wildly from day to day or hour to hour. This is the reason customers who run a machine shop and fire up three-phase electric motors for a while, then turn them off, then fire them up again, are on the “power and light” rate …. a rate which has a “demand” charge. 
> 
> The person who only occasionally drops in to buy a huge rush of power is a customer with a BAD load factor. I won’t go in to how to calculate load factor, that’s boring. But, here’s another story. 
> 
> An example customer with a really good load factor is an oil refinery. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. They need LOTS of power and they need roughly the same amount of power hour after hour. They fully utilize their transmission lines, and have a more or less constant need for the same amount of power. They have an EXCELLENT load factor.
> 
> An example with a hideous load factor is a rock crusher. They need no power for a couple of months while they toss their left over concrete in a pile. Then, one day for about ten minutes, they turn on this huge rock-crushing machine. It guzzles power. You can’t believe the size of the generator it takes to serve this baby. Then, they turn it off, do something or other with the gravel they now have… pave a road or something, and don’t need any electricity for another two or three months. They have a HORRIBLE load factor. From an investor’s point of view, it’s hardly worth it to build a line to serve them let alone build a generator to fire up their rock crusher. 
> 
> An electric utility has a large diversity of customers, all doing different things at the same time, so they can generally accommodate the rock crushers, while being very happy to have customers like oil refineries, grocery stores, and hospitals.
> 
> Of course, said persons representing OG&E are looking out for the investors and officers of OG&E. To some extent that’s their job, and regrettably, our entire economy revolves around ignoring “spillover” costs and benefits, cohesive social order, justice, and just about everything else that’s really important. 
> 
> The scenario playing in the OG&E head is this. Lots of customers invest in rooftop solar. OG&E’s generators sit idle during the summer much of the time. Then, here comes a cloudy, humid day when everyone still wants to run air conditioning (an energy guzzler) and ZAP. Everyone rushes in to buy power from those generators that were idle for 29 days out of the month of July. the customers' contribution to maintaining lines and substations has been minimal, since their  purchases of energy have been fairly low, and now they want generators fired up instantly so they can run their air conditioners. In other words, residential customers are looking less like oil refineries (they never really looked like that) and more like rock crushers.  This is, of course, financially disadvantageous to an electric utility, but it’s also darned hard to manage for ANYONE …. not just an evil, greedy utility. It would be difficult to know how to manage this even if we’re talking about a municipal utility…..like Edmond —by the way I’d love to hear what someone from Edmond or  Stillwater has to say. 
> 
> One thing that has not been mentioned is the “spillover” benefits of the solar panel purchasers. They are not contributing to the consumption of coal or natural gas for their energy. Of course, there’s the energy and waste from manufacturing the solar panels, fuel used to ship them from China ….. But, there’s bound to be some spillover benefit (positive externality in economics lingo) for which they are NOT being compensated. After all, they have an investment in the solar panels. 
> 
> So, then, there’s a question of the benefit to society of the solar panels (net the energy and pollution used in manufacture and transport) that OG&E (and possibly the Corporation Commission) is not addressing.
> 
> There is also the question of how generation and distribution should be managed—for the benefit of investors, or for the public good. OG&E has a franchise with Oklahoma City until 2030 I believe. Perhaps someone should be thinking now about what should happen in the franchise election of 2030. How are municipal electric systems like Edmond and Stillwater looking at rooftop solar?
> 
> Apologies for the length of the post. Tried hard to communicate the essentials. Hoping someone else will chime in.
> 
> Kelley Smith
> 
> 
> 
> > On Sep 6, 2015, at 10:06 PM, Bob Waldrop <bob at bobwaldrop.net> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > TO THE BARRICADES OKIES!
> > 
> > OGE is trying to kill the market for home solar in Oklahoma demanding
> > concessions from the Corporation Commission that are unprecedented
> > anywhere else in the United States that will punish anyone choose to
> > invest in solar home generation (or wind home generation).
> > 
> > See the details at
> > http://action.dontkillsolar.com/page/speakout/oklahoma?js=false and
> > either use their form to send a letter or send your own letter.  Act
> > soon, time is running out.
> > 
> > Please share this email and pass the news on everywhere.  Thanks!
> > Remember, speak now or OGE will succeed in killing home solar power (and
> > home wind power) in Oklahoma.
> > 
> > Anyone interested in joining me in a series of prayer vigils in front of
> > the offices of OGE directors and their corporate offices?
> > 
> > Bob Waldrop, Okie City
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
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> 



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