Solar and wind power are intermittent, and if enough of them are powering the grid, some kind of storage will be necessary. And storage means batteries, right?
Not necessarily. In Seabrook New Hampshire, a start-up is doing it with compressed air.
It’s pretty easy to see how energy stored as compressed air works: When you let go of a full balloon, it flies all around the room because of the energy stored inside. So if you use electricity to run an air compressor, you basically just need to find a way to run that compressor backwards to get electricity again.
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says it might have authority over a controversial project to reverse a crude oil pipeline that crosses the North Country. In a memo DES says while pipelines are regulated by the federal government, it would need to issue a permit for any quote “sizeable change or addition” to line. It does not specify if it considers reversing the flow of the line would be considered such a change.
Camp Rockywold-Deephaven is a rustic retreat on the North end of Squam Lake. For one-hundred and fifteen years, the camp has been cutting and storing ice from the Lake to keep food cold in their old-fashioned ice boxes. John Jurczynski, the co-manager of Rockywold-Deephaven, oversees a team of about fourteen helpers cutting grid patterns into 12 inch thick ice, and breaking off the squares like chunks of Hershey Bar. The squares are floated into a channel; prodded into a queue with long hooked poles where they bob in place, waiting to be hauled away.
The controversy over the development of wind farms in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire has caused a split in the state’s environmental groups. That split was on display during a hearing over a proposed moratorium on wind development.
A $900,000 river dredging project is underway in Newington.
The Army Corps of Engineers is the contractor for the federal project, which is intended to make the Piscataqua River more navigable in one area. When completed next month, some 15 thousand cubic yards of sand and gravel will be taken from the Simplex Reach, upriver from the I-95 bridge. Tugboat Captain Chris Holt says that the project will improve navigation for vessels in that area.
Right now, he says, the three shoals created by river currents can create a hazard.
Governor Hassan’s is proposing the state restore funding to Environmental groups’ first priority: the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. The $4 million dollars a year for LCHIP comes from fees tacked generated by certain real-estate transactions. It’s supposed to go into a dedicated fund used to put land and historic building into preservation.
For the first time New Hampshire has rejected an application to construct a wind farm. The Site Evaluation Committee, which decides whether or not new power plants and transmission projects can be built, has rejected Eolian Energy’s 10 turbine Antrim project.
The nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are recommending reducing the cap on power-plant carbon emissions by 45%. The New Hampshire representative on the RGGI board is Tom Burack commissioner of of the DES.
New Hampshire is about to start re-thinking its ten year energy plan. In a weeklong series, NHPR's Environment Reporter Sam Evans-Brown looked at where we get our electricity from and where we will get it in the future.
Clay Mitchell from Revolution Energy surveys the 60 kW solar array at East Kingston Elementary school. Despite cold temperatures the week before, the panels give off enough heat that most of the snow has slide right off.
For the most dedicated environmentalists, small scale renewables, right in our back-yard are the gold standard of energy generation. In the final installment of this weeklong look at New Hampshire’s energy future, we consider what a more distributed grid might look like.
Along with smart-grid, micro-grid is the newest buzz word in the energy world. Basically it’s a little island of power lines coupled with its own source of energy, that is still wired into the broader grid. They’re not totally self-sufficient but can generate their own electricity for short bursts when needed.
This is SustainX's prototype of a 40 kW compressed air storage system in their facility in Seabrook. This machine has since been cannibalized to create a much larger 2 MW prototype. These machines can be used to smooth demand, either from renewables or for large electric users trying to save some money off peak energy rates.
The energy grid is vastly more complicated than it was ten years ago. The old model was to plug in and pay for what you use, but now the grid is starting to ask for something back from consumers. This change is aimed at flatten the demand curve.
Think about how you use electricity: you wake up, turn on some lights, and maybe have a hot shower. After work you come home, cook some dinner, and watch TV. In the winter, maybe you heat with some kind of electric heat, or – even more likely – maybe in the summer you switch on AC.
Hydro-Quebec generates a massive amount of electricity using hydro-power: 33,000 megawatts, which is more than the record peak of New England's electric demand. But the impacts from those dams are massive as well.
Along the corridor of towns that would host the controversial Northern Pass Transmission line, it’s hard to find much support for the project.
But with power plants retiring and the slow growth of many renewables, all of those rivers in Canada look mighty promising to grid operators. As part of our weeklong series on NH’s energy future we ask does big Canadian hydro have a place in New England’s energy mix?
New Hampshire’s energy grid relies heavily on fossil fuels like oil and coal, and getting the grid off of those fuels will be a major hurdle in addressing the challenge of global warming.
But here in New Hampshire, it’s proving a steep challenge to get carbon out of the electric supply, without breaking the bank for customers or utilities. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying. As part of a weeklong look at New Hampshire’s Energy Future, we ask what’s being done about CO2?