Above is a picture of our electrical grid for the whole United States. It isn’t deatailed and doesn’t show the many grids that branch off these lines. It is a grid showing all the major electrical control stations. From these red dots, all of the electricity is routed by computers and directed to businesses and homes.
Electricty can not be stored. We generate electricity daily from our power plants all over this map. Some of the sources are hydroelectricity which is generated from large turbines located deep within dams. Nuclear power plants use atomic energy, wind enegry uses windmills, solar enegry uses the sun, and fossil fuel enegry uses combustable items in steam production or combustion to move a turbine that produces energy. Your town does not get its electricty from any one of these sources. Your town relies on all these sources and the control of that flow directed through the many red dots above.
Raising or lowering the cost of energy directly affects a nursery in several ways. If a fuel source like oil is in demand then plastic pot prices rise as oil prices rise. Plastic pots are made from petroleum products. The energy to heat the nursery is also dependent on the price of oil and how that affects any given power plant at that time. Cost to run power plants that use oil goes up thus affecting the price a nursery has to pay for electricty. The cost is passed to the consumer.
As the oil shortage increases, our demand for coal will increase. Those power plants who run off coal will then pass the cost on to the consumer which means you and the plant nursery. You are starting to see how this works, right? So how do you decrease cost no matter the fuel source?
You make a smarter grid. Look at that grid above. It’s a mess. It’s far more complicated than the above illustration and no one has it figured out completely or exactly. I told you that electrictiy can not be stored and so must be taken from the many different power plants and distributed by computers on steroids to all the locations while hopefully keeping up with ever changing loads.
A whole grid on the Eastern seaboard could go out if a computer malfunctions. That has happened. Remember when NYC went dark and took out a large portion of the Northeast? According to those who study this problem, there is a better solution that will save everyone a buck or two. I know I’d like to pay less for plants.
The plan is to build a better grid that won’t be wasteful. Right now electricity gets dumped or routed to the wrong place. Meaning–some poor guy in the coal mines of Kentucky worked all day for nothing. You paid X$$ for a plant more than you should have because the electricity went down the wrong road or went to a place that already had plenty of it.
Next time you hear the government talking about the Smart Grid and how it’s going to save us money, remember what I’ve told you. A smart grid means better systems, new computers, better routes, and a system that can recognize the load of each user. It means a system that will know the difference in how much electricity your refridgerator needs verses your computer. Each house will get exactly what it needs. Each business will get what it needs so that no business is charged more than another. Right now, the Department of Enegry is running the show.
There is some talk as to privitizing the grid so that each system is maintained and run by a business who is interested in keeping the system efficient. Private business tends to care where the dollar is being wasted. Privitizing our electrical system could be a major dollar squeezing success.
Not believing in the Smart Grid is like leaving your spigot on and letting the water run all the time. If your hose was tied in 50 knots, you would get a new hose. Well America, we can’t afford to keep a kinky electrical system. It’s costing us plant money and that’s just wrong.
Building a smarter grid is environmentally the right thing to do. It’s our responsibility to our children and our world.
I’d like you to take a look at an article I just wrote on Diane Swayer’s 20/20 episode about the struggle of the Appalachian mountain children. It will break your heart. These are coal mining families who work their rears off every day while we waste energy out of ignorance.
Children of the Mountains Struggle to Survive my story about Diane Sawyer and her documentary on the children of Appalachia
20/20 ABC News you can watch the documentary here