Sunday, July 10, 2016

Energy & Transportation News

Missouri Municipal Electric Utilities, Governor Support Power Line Project

Earlier this year, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected a proposal for a power line that would carry electricity generated at wind farms in Kansas to the grid in Indiana. The PSC’s decision was based, in part, on the fact that no Missouri customers would use the line or the energy it carried.

Clean Line Energy, which proposed the project, has been looking to overcome this object. It has brokered a deal with the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC), which represents a pool of municipal utilities that pool resources to by power. MJMEUC has 67 municipal utility member and 35 are expected to take part in the deal if it is approved.

In addition, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has expressed his support for the transmission line. In his statement, Nixon emphasized the energy savings and jobs that would be created the $500 million construction project.

The line must be approved by the Missouri PSC. It is likely to be opposed by affected landowners who campaigned against the original proposal. Official in Kansas, Illinois and Indiana have already approved the project.

What Are the Advantages of Microgrids?

This is the second in a series of posts on microgrids. See the previous post for a description of what is a microgrid.

Microgrids have several potential benefits. These include
-backup energy supply and improved reliability,
-environmental benefits,
-exploitation of local and alterative resources,
-increased energy efficiency and reduced energy consumption, and
-reduced cost.

Backup Energy Supply and Improved Reliability
Because microgrids can operate independently of the larger grid, they may be able to continue to operate when there is an outage elsewhere on the main grid.

Environmental Benefits
Microgrids are not inherently less polluting than large grids, but they may afford opportunities to manage energy resources in manners that may reduce pollution. Microgrids may be more easily able to exploit variable or small renewable sources including solar and wind energy. These smaller power supplies may also be able to address local peaks and reduce the need to ramp up production at larger, and potentially more polluting, power plants.

Exploit Local and Alternative Resources
Sometimes local energy resources are available that are not suitable for use on a large grid because they are not sufficiently powerful or reliable. Solar energy, an alternative energy source that is variable and relative low power, is an example of a resource that may be more easily exploited by a microgrid.

Reduced Cost
Microgrids might be managed in a manner to reduce costs. For instance, when prices are high during periods of peak demand, a microgrid might switch to a local power supply that is less expensive. This will also reduce the peak on the larger grid, meaning larger power plants do not have to ramp up production as much or be built to address large peaks.

If you’re interested in finding out more about microgrids, here are some resources to get you started.

60 Years of Interstate Highways

President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 on June 29 of that year. Though previous legislation had authorized interstate highways, it was under this act and the Eisenhower administration that our interstate system began in earnest.

Interstates have proven to be a safe way to travel (the fatality rate on interstates is less the rate on other routes).

Even so, the roads are showing signs of aging. Many sections are in poor condition and many bridges are structurally deficient.

Keeping up with the maintenance needs of the interstate system is an enormous task. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the backlog if needed improvements totals $189 billion.

Relate Posts and Articles

Missouri Legislature Fails to Act on Transportation Tax

Though a bill passed in the Missouri Senate, the state’s General Assembly did not act on a proposed fuel tax increase before closing its session in May. You can read more about this issue here.


Blogger Considers Career Change

That doesn’t mean I’ll quit blogging. I’ve never made a living (or even a dime) from blogging, and it has always taken a back seat to other things. By day, I’m an employee of a state that pays the lowest wages of any state (even our legislators are starting to complain about it). Maybe I should cross the river and go back to school where I can learn to be a brewmaster, or possibly a vintner. As I recall, looking through the fog of a couple of decades, I did reasonably well in my undergraduate food processing class, so maybe I can build on that.

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