A Sunday Morning Reflection On Energy

The “No-Electric Power” company that “serves” the Old Place decided to turn the lights off at 6:00 AM, and restore juice at 7:00 AM. A one hour outage is pretty good for a company has longer outages almost every week. Leaving hundreds of thousands of chickens in the cold, and hundreds of chicken farmers praying their losses will not be ruinous.

Why not run the chicken houses on “renewable energy,” like sunshine or wind. Windfarms generate energy at a supply cost of around 75 cents a kilowatt hour, when the wind blows. Over most of the U.S. the vagaries of the winds make large scale wind generation impractical. Unless you want a 100 cow dairy barn size battery bank decorating your back yard.

Solar is more expensive, and averages only around 7 hours a day of supplying energy. Which means those who depend in solar must heavily overbuild, and store energy when the sun shines. The same deal as wind, but with a bungalow size battery pack instead of a dairy barn size battery pack.

Compare that with the typical 11 cents a KwH delivered cost of residential electricity.

A pretty typical American home will spend $150 a month on electric power,meaning a consumption of 1,275 Kwh a month. 100% wind or solar would kick that to around $1200 a month, if English and Spanish experience is typical.

So even with the outages, I am satisfied with the “No Electric Powers” pricing and service. After all, I came from a time when most successful farmers and ranchers depended on 32 Volt service from the WinCharger spinning away in the back yard. If wind power had been economical, REA’s like “No Power” would not have had such explosive growth at the end of WWII.

Between new bearings in the Generator a couple of times a year, battery replacement, and constant problems with the wire on knob wiring, a typical farmer swapped a $40.00 energy bill for a $12.00 electric bill. And mama could get water in the kitchen instead of the well, and indoor plumbing instead of that 40 below hike to the outhouse. And take baths when she felt the need, instead of by the calendar.

But there are problems with our REAsystem. The first is the sheer distance from most consumers to the REA’s suppliers. Ohms law still applies, and when you see a line of “high tension” pylons marching across the landscape, those wieres are dissipating a major portion of generated electirc power.

There is a feasible;e solution to that, the EMP attack threat, and other problems. Neighobrhood generating plants. A 100,000 home block would house approximately 275,000 people, enough for a quite respectable city. If it were practical to feed that 100,000 home “neighborhood” with its own power plant, completely independent of the grid, along with the businesses and industry to provide for the residents, about 1200 neighborhood power plants would supply the United Slates.

It is possible, safe, and affordable. And the usual suspects would scream like a pack of howler monkeys if you suggest it. In two words, thorium reactors.

Unlike the uranium reactor that lost its coolant supply in Japan, thorium is much less radioactive, easier to control, and some reactions leave very little residue. They can be shut down quickly and automatically, and do not need the huge containment structures of “high pressure uranium reactors.”

Cost? Upwards of ten billion for the development model, as little as one billion each for the final 1100. Total? maybe $1,500,000,000 2017 dollars. About $450 for every American, calculating from a mean population of 350 million, over 25 years. Less than $20 for each of us.

Benefits? 50 year replacement time, little waste to clean up, no worries about leaks because almost everything is at one atmosphere, Freedom from the grid, and reduce residential and industrial pwoer costs. Plus energy security for all of us. For a buck a year.

But, as I said, the the usual suspects, who plan on getting the equivalent of Richard Cour de Lion’s ransom riding the global warming scam would howl like a troupe of agitated howler monkeys at the though.


AFTERWORD: Mentioning the WinCjarger systems reminds me of the Halloween French bought his first radio. 1940, and some Republican was trying to shake off the load Hoover put on the GOP, and FDR was pleading for a third term to let him finish his New Deal, and put a chicken in every pot. Feathers and all!!

French listened to the racket for a couple of days, and went back to the Western Auto to complain.

“This radio ain’t no darn good,” French told Jack Pennington. “It don’t get nothing but politics, and I anted the Sunday afternoon opera, Bob Burns, and Amos and Andy. If you can’t get it to do any better you can come and get it.”

The net day was election day, and Jack rode out to the French place to look things over. AFter the howdys, and Jack had a quick look arouind the told French “There’s your problem right there. You tied the aerial to the peak of the barn where it picks up all that stuff off the manure pit. Tie it to the WinCharger tower and it will get you what you want.”


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