Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Seattle Renewable Energy Meetup

For those of you already planning for after the holidays, I'll be speaking in Seattle on Thursday evening, January 21st, at the Renewable Energy Meetup. By then Farm Power Rexville will have almost five months of operations behind it and perhaps I'll even have some more progress to report on Farm Power Lynden. I've been giving a development-themed presentation for so long that I need to redesign it to reflect the fact we're actually producing power now! I'm looking forward to other conferences and presentations in 2010, so watch this space for more information.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

One gigawatt-hour

We recently produced our one millionth kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity. That sounds impressive compared to how much an individual home consumes (10-12,000 kWh a year), but the utility industry refers to production in terms of MWh (a thousand kWh) or GWh (a million kWh) which makes the milestone seem less imposing. Our generator is making a little bigger impact on the needs of the Puget Sound Energy Green Power program, producing a bit over one percent of all the renewable energy purchased by voluntary customers.

The New York Times published an article critical of green power programs, but one of their strengths is the ability to bring electricity usage into more human-scale terms. PSE's Green Power comes from about a dozen distinct and relatively small projects in the Northwest, while the larger utility system draws power from hundreds of often-enormous plants spread across the western U.S. and Canada. Unlike other states, Washington requires all renewable energy premiums to stay in their respective programs rather than padding utility profits. We've been very happy working with the PSE program, and we hope their customers who are familiar with us feel more connected to their electricity usage--our generator is running day and night, turning out kilowatt-hours for you!