Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Electricity generation in Cheshire?

With skyrocketing energy costs, should Cheshire consider generating its own power?

Last year saw the passage of some pretty significant "energy" legislation in Hartford. The bill included enabling legislation for town's to generate their own electricity using microgrids.

This September 2007 article by Lyn Corum gives an idea of the thought process used by Stamford as they consider building a microgrid to generate their own electricity:

A summer heat wave in 2006 forced Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) to cut power to thousands of Stamford residents and businesses. Given this experience, the City of Stamford is taking the initiative to develop a generating facility in its government center—also known as City Hall—and intends to invite owners of other nearby buildings to hook up to the power plant.

Michael Freimuth, Stamford’s director of economic development, says the growth occurring in southwestern Connecticut is demanding more and more power. While service companies with large electrical demands have been moving into the area, residents have been acquiring electronics with monster power draws. The power demand has become huge, while no new generation has come into the state. The two utilities are now in the distribution business, having sold their generation to private companies. Moreover, building new transmission has become a problem politically due to the not-in-my-backyard syndrome.

Freimuth says the first purpose of the planned generating facility will be to provide critical city services. The emergency operating center is located in the nine-story government center, and the city cannot risk having it go down during power collapses. The building does have an emergency generator, but there is concern the outage may last long enough that the generator will run out of diesel. Furthermore, says Freimuth, the government center offers a cooling facility for seniors and others to escape the summer heat, especially during power outages, and it is critical the air-conditioning system stay operational.

So what do you think?

Should Cheshire generate power?
Yes, if we can save money
No, you guys screw up everything!
Maybe, discussions are harmless free polls
I'm wondering if it would make sense to have a microgrid for the Senior Center and main firehouse? Perhaps then expand it to Maplecroft? Dunno... but at least having things like solar power at the Senior Center (and firehouse) is worth serious consideration.

Tim White


bill said...

There are firms in CT that are looking for ground to install small to large micro-grid systems that are powered by natural gas. The systems generates electricity with some going to local demands and the balance to the grid. The systems are scalable and be designed depending on electrical demand. Second benefit is the waste heat can be used to heat water for use in heating. Basically a newer version of a micro-turbine. The systems may be purchased, rented or leased.

Anonymous said...

Most times generating power requires burning a fuel.

Sounds almost like a boiler installation.

Now we're in deep doo-doo.

Anonymous said...

Did we ever get our free photovoltaic cell at the library? If we put some solar and PV cells on our town buildings it would be a good investment and we can save some energy. What are we waiting for???

tim white said...

Most times generating power requires burning a fuel. True... fuel cells, microturbines and regular power plants typically run on natural gas.

Did we ever get our free photovoltaic cell at the library? I think we're still waiting... which is beyond ridiculous. We were supposed to get them... probably two years ago now.

As for investigating solar... I have an update from the May 19 Energy Commission meeting, but haven't had time to write it up yet.

Anonymous said...


I would like someone to look into the idea of enclosing the pool, making it a four season facility. Now here's the kicker..the entire roof will be covered with PV panels which can cut the electric bill by half and also assist or possibly be the main source of hot water.

With a little imagination the sides of the building can be made to slide open in the warmer months to give the building an outdoor feel.

I also have the answer to the broken Social Security system, all it would take is a stroke of a pen. But that's for another day.

Mike Rocci