Bag It Again News and Comment

Some news stories from around the world about the environment and sustainable living.
Tags >> renewable energy

Last week, I twice watched inventor Saul Griffith's lecture on "Climate Change Recalculated". For about an hour and a half, Griffith speaks in concise, non-political terms on the amount of energy that is required for us to continue to live at the 'quality of life' that we enjoy today, and how we cannot sustain this existence through the burning of fossil fuels. If we continue on our current course, we'll head dangerously past acceptable limits of carbon in the atmosphere in about 40 years. His talk includes a monologue on the staggering amount of non-carbon emitting energy sources we must manufacture over the next 25 years in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Griffith's seminar is a product of his desire to calculate his own personal energy consumption in extreme detail, which he did for the full year of 2007. We see a pie chart that shows how much energy is used to fulfill every aspect of his 2007 life, including the embodied energy in his "stuff", his dietary habits, and his auto and jet travel. Wishing to trim down from an 18,000 to a 2,200 watt (the world average) lifestyle, we see the impact of the 200 or so watts that are used to produce the plastic bottle that holds his 20 ounces of flavored water.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates state utilities, approved OG&E's comprehensive renewable energy program, which includes construction of a high-capacity transmission line between Woodward and Oklahoma City.  OG&E, which powers more than 765,000 customers in Oklahoma and Arkansas, sees the approval of their plan as vital to the development of future wind energy projects.

"A high-capacity transmission line from Woodward to Oklahoma City is an important step in unlocking the full potential wind energy in western Oklahoma," said Pete Delaney, OG&E chairman, president and CEO. "The approval of our plan by the Commission is a significant development in providing the benefit of wind energy to our state."

The 115 mile, 345 kilovolt (kV) line between Woodward and Oklahoma City will be the first step in OG&E's plan to quadruple its wind energy capacity in the state to at least 770 megawatts. The approval keeps the transmission line on schedule at current costs and assures that the development of new wind farms can be coordinated effectively with the availability of new transmission capacity.  The new line is needed because the existing transmission facilities in the area are nearly at capacity.

The cost of the plan to the average residential customer, including the cost of adding the new transmission line and new wind generation, as well as savings from using wind energy, is estimated at $1.50 per month in 2010.  The plan will include a renewable energy purchase program, which will allow more OG&E customers to choose up to 100 percent renewable energy.

The Commission's approval today included the cost to build the transmission line between Woodward and Oklahoma City; a rider to allow recovery of costs for the line beginning at the time it goes into service; and a tariff that will allow more OG&E customers to choose up to 100 percent renewable energy.  The program will be expanded as new wind generation capacity comes online -- a planned 300 MW or more in 2010 and another 300 MW in 2011 or 2012.

Source:  OG&E 

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