Sunday, November 15, 2015

Energy & Water Update

Illinois Approves Power Line Rejected in Missouri

We previously posted that the Missouri Public Service Commission rejected a power line project called the Grain Belt Express, which would connect wind energy generation in Kansas to users in Indiana. The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved the project, making Missouri the only holdout.  Clean Line Energy, the company behind the project, plans to continue to seek approval either by reapplying to the state or seeking an overriding federal approval.

Texas Utility Offer Free Nighttime Electricity

TXU energy has offered customers free energy at night. This unusual offer is an attempt to shift use from daytime, when wholesale energy costs are high, to night, when prices drop.

Texas may be better able to adopt a program like this. It has more wind resources than other parts of the country, accounting for 10 percent of generation, and wind blows more at night. In addition, the Texas grid operates largely independently from the other grids in the country, so it cannot easily sell and deliver excess generation to the larger wholesale market.

You can find out more about this free electricity program here.

Cardboard Sewers Collapse in Canada

In the building boom after World War II, many Canadian sewer service lines were built of a tar-impregnated cardboard. These pipes have been failing with increasing frequency. Some Canadian cities are facing replacement costs of hundreds of millions of dollars.

It appears that these pipes stood up well until dishwasher became common and the hot water began to soften them. This is an interesting illustration of how we are putting new demands on our infrastructure that could hardly have been imagined decades ago when it was originally built.

You can read more about this issue here.

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