New Hampshire's Energy Future

4:55 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

The Micro-Grid: The Grid Gold Standard?

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.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

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.

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5:19 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Flattening The Curve: Moving To A Two-Way Grid

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.
Credit Eugene Hunt / SustainX

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.

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5:30 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Canadian Hydro And The New England Grid

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.
Credit Peupleloup / Flickr Creative Commons

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?

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3:00 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Decarbonizing The Grid: Where Are We?

Cellulose insulation is piped from a Bruss Construction trailer into the attic of an old, drafty home in Hopkinton, NH
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

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?

Efficiency First

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5:30 am
Mon January 28, 2013

A Decade Of Deregulation

PSNH's control center monitors the flow of electricity across the grid in New Hampshire.
Credit PSNH

New Hampshire is about to start re-thinking its 10 year energy plan. But to understand the future of energy, it’s important to understand the energy past, and how we got to our current energy mix.

In the first of a week-long series looking at where we are and will be getting our electricity, here is this look at today's grid.

You flick a switch, and the lights come on, the microwave starts, the computer boots up.

But apart from knowing that yes, there are some power plants around burning various things to generate juice, how does this all happen?

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