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Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.

Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.

Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...

...and yet the coal industry wants you to believe that building more coal fired power plants in Michigan is a good idea!

...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live

 

Smart Grid

Report: 276 Million Smart Grid Communications Nodes To Be Shipped Between 2010 And 2016
Pike Research’s report, “Smart Grid Networking and Communications,” examines the global market opportunity for communication technologies in all areas of smart grid operations, from the utility substation to the HAN. The report analyzes key technology decisions being made by utilities with regard to wired and wireless, public and private, and standard and proprietary networks.

Virtual Power Plants
At present, there is no firm definition of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). In the U.S., a VPP typically refers to the ability to aggregate power production from a cluster of grid-connected distributed generation (DG) sources via smart grid technology by a centralized controller, typically a utility, and then harmonize this generation with load profiles of individual customers. In the U.S., VPPs not only deal with the supply side, but also help manage demand through demand response and other load shifting approaches, in real time. In short, VPPs represent an “Internet of Energy,” tapping existing grid networks to tailor electricity supply and demand services for a customer, maximizing value for both end-user and distribution utility through software innovations.

Microgrids
A variety of trends are converging to create promising market opportunities for microgrids, particularly in the United States. The fundamental architecture of today’s electrical grid, which is based on the idea of a top-down system predicated on unidirectional energy flows, is growing increasingly obsolete. This outmoded infrastructure poses risks to grid reliability and security, and could hinder the adoption of renewable power generation. Microgrids are being driven in part by the broader push to create a Smart Grid that will add intelligence and automation to the electricity infrastructure while facilitating the integration of renewable energy resources, electric vehicles, and greater customer control over energy consumption. In part, however, the microgrid is an alternative vision to a highly integrated “Super Grid” — microgrid proponents are advocating deployments where a community, corporation, or institutional entity can operate autonomously from the larger grid infrastructure.

GE Launches $200 Million Innovation Contest For Smart Grid Technologies
GE, in partnership with venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital and Rockport Capital, today announced the $200 million "GE Ecomagination Challenge," a contest that will fund promising ideas to improve America's smart grid technology. The smart grid technology industry, Immelt said in an announcement today, is expected to grow tenfold in the next 20 years.

Smarter Grids, Appliances, and Consumers
More and more utilities are beginning to realize that building large power plants just to handle peak daily and seasonal demand is a very costly way of managing an electricity system. Existing electricity grids are typically a patchwork of local grids that are simultaneously inefficient, wasteful, and dysfunctional in that they often are unable, for example, to move electricity surpluses to areas of shortages. The inability to move low-cost electricity to consumers because of congestion on transmission lines brings with it costs similar to those associated with traffic congestion. The lack of transmission capacity in the eastern United States is estimated to cost consumers $16 billion a year in this region alone. In the United States, a strong national grid would permit power to be moved continuously from surplus to deficit regions, thus reducing the total generating capacity needed. Most important, the new grid would link regions rich in wind, solar, and geothermal energy with consumption centers. A national grid, drawing on a full range of renewable energy sources, would itself be a stabilizing factor.

Consumer Energy Management
Today, most people are ill informed when it comes to energy consumption and costs, paying the bill every month without understanding what's included and how they are charged. This would be like filling up your gas tank every week with the gasoline price hidden, and not getting a bill until the end of the month. With smart grid technologies in the home—like smart meters, smart energy panels, and smart appliances—consumers can have access to more accurate data and knowledge about electricity pricing, helping them save money and lower their environmental footprint. Smart appliances work with the smart meters to avoid peak-hour energy use and top-tier pricing-without any negative impact on the consumer-by adapting to price signals from the utility. Your dryer may automatically switch from high heat to "fluff" if electricity hits a certain per-kilowatt-hour rate—even if you're at work. Or, the automatic defrost on your refrigerator can delay itself even if you are across the country. If the freezer delays the defrost cycle until after peak energy hours, consumers pay less for the same amount of energy. There are countless ways to conserve energy and save money when smart appliances are coupled with smart meters and time-of-use pricing information.

Rebuilding with Clean-Energy Infrastructure
The Center for American Progress published a major report on the urgent need to build a national clean-energy smart grid to power an innovative, low-carbon 21st-century economy that combats global warming and creates millions of good jobs. Titled “Wired for Progress,” our report—based on an extensive stakeholder outreach process undertaken in partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s Energy Future Coalition—detailed the reasons why we need to build this national clean-energy infrastructure quickly, and outlined key policy measures that must be undertaken in order to bring about this complex project. This call to action lays out the key elements that will determine the success of any national policy to rebuild our electricity grid to enable large quantities of renewable electricity to come on line, while improving the security, reliability, and affordability of our national energy system. Ensuring that the next energy bill includes effective strategies to build a clean-energy grid couldn’t be more central to economic recovery in the short term and broad-based environmental restoration and economic prosperity in decades to come.

What Would 1 Million Electric Cars do to the Grid?
Well it depends... A group of U.S. and Canadian companies just released a study titled Assessment of Plug-in Electric Vehicle Integration with ISO/RTO Systems (ISO = Independent Service Operator, RTO = Regional Transmission Organization) that looked into what would happen if 1 million plug-in vehicles were added to the grid in North-America. The findings are interesting. If the charging was staggered in time over a period of 8 hours, that would be reduced to 819 megawatts, and if you do the same over a period of 12 hours, you're left with only 546 extra megawatts. That's nothing! You won't even have to build a new power plant since there's more than enough extra capacity off peak. A smart grid that can communicate with PEVs could tell them when to charge within a time window pre-programmed by the car's owner.

Smart appliances learning to save power grid
It’s one small delay for dry socks and underwear, one giant leap for the national power grid. Researchers at an appliance lab that looks more like a utility room are fine-tuning washers, dryers, water heaters, refrigerators — even coffeemakers — to help ward off the type of colossal power failures that plunged much of the Northeast into darkness in 2003 and blacked out big chunks of the West in 1996.

Smart Grid Update
April 13, 2010—In an effort to reduce electricity consumption, thereby alleviating strain on the power grid, President Obama has named the Smart Grid a priority in the nation’s energy policy. As it is, the electrical “grid” comprises everything required to generate and distribute electricity. The times of day when an area’s electricity consumption is highest are called “peak” times, while the low-demand periods are labeled “off-peak.” The Smart Grid concept is to have power generation and delivery elements, including power meters and even home appliances, interact with each other and with consumers to help reduce demands at peak load times. “In an ideal situation, power companies would generate just enough electricity so there’s no wasted power,” explains Steve Polinski, senior manager of regulatory affairs for appliance manufacturer Miele.

Keeping Energy Use Down with the Joneses
A few utility companies have been trying pilot programs that show customers how their energy use compares with their that of their neighbors. It turns out this peer pressure is proving successful. The positive effects of this transparency and peer pressure will only get stronger. One component of this much-ballyhooed "smart grid" are home "smart meters" that allow for higher-resolution energy monitoring. So instead of getting information on how your energy use compares to that of your neighbors every month, you could get it hour-by-hour online. Read more: http://www.good.is/post/keeping-energy-use-down-with-the-joneses/#ixzz0jIGF4xqP

Google Power Meter
Google PowerMeter is a free electricity usage monitoring tool that provides you with information on how much energy your home is consuming. Google PowerMeter receives information from utility smart meters and in-home energy management devices and visualizes this information for you on iGoogle (your personalized Google homepage).

How Much Would a "Smart Grid" Reduce Carbon?
There's been lots of talk about building a "smart grid"—a new energy transmission infrastructure that would cut down on wasted energy, reduce the risk of blackouts, allow for better monitoring, and facilitate the development of wind and solar power. But it's been a little unclear what the benefits of a smart grid would actually amount to in quantitative terms. Now we're getting a picture, at least on the pollution front: A smart grid would lower our projected 2030 CO2 emissions by about 18 percent.

Smart Grid
Xcel Energy, the leading provider of wind energy in the United States has just announced that it plans on building the US's first fully integrated Smart Grid in Boulder, Colorado. The idea behind a smart grid is to integrate high-speed communication technologies with the electric grid, allowing for real-time, two-way communication between the utility, the consumer, and throughout the distribution grid. This is a logical yet giant step forward since existing grids really offer little in the way of information to either their own relay stations or the end user. With the new system customers can have programmable control devices installed in their homes, allowing them to automate home energy use and the integration of infrastructure will "support easily dispatched distributed generation technologies (such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with vehicle-to-grid technology; battery systems; wind turbines; and solar panels)." Customers will also have information at their fingertips, seeing what the cost of electricity is at any given time, and being able to choose the actual source of their electricity, be it from natural gas, coal, or renewable sources.

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Working to make Michigan the Leader in Solutions - not pollution