Dec 24, 2014

Costs of Electricity in Alberta

Some days I make less than 1 kWh, if I removed the snow I would get 4 kWh from only 7ish hours of sun. This year I have now made 6500 kWh and I have banked 1500 kWh. In Alberta, all micro generation sites are allowed to send electricity into the grid and get that energy out from the grid at a later time. You still have to pay for the Transmission and Distribution Charge, but at lest you don't have to pay for the Production Charge. That is why people with solar still want to buy a hot water tank that can use electricity only when the sun is sunning.
ProductionChargeTransmission ChargeDistribution ChargeFranchise FreeTotal Invoice
My invoice tells me I pay 29 cents per kWh. I am amazed that the Local Distribution Charge is 2.5 times more than the cost production of the electricity. If I used a gas generator to generate electricity I figure it would cost me 37 cents per kWh now that gas is only 87 cents / liter. (Wiki says 87 octane gas has 32 MJ or 8.88 kWh per liter. Most gas generators are 35% efficiency so 1 litre of gas can make just over 3 kWh.) If  I go "fill up" at a charging station it is $0.79 per kWh. With lithium energy storage still at 4000 cycles per useful life storage still costs $387 / kWh

Dec 14, 2014

Can Alberta build a green grid?

Atco Electric released this video yesterday. I guess they don't see the problem. Paying for electricity in Alberta is quite expensive - at least that is what my neighbors tell me. If you look at the highlighted section of my bill ($83.18) you will see that the major expense is the transmission charge. 69% of my bill goes to pay ATCO.  31% is admin and energy charges. Gone are the days when I get 15 cents / kWh, now I receive and pay 6.99 cents per kWh. Cheap if I didn't have to pay for transmission. Paying 25 cents / kWh to Bow Valley instead of 34 cents / kWh to Atco feels a lot easier.

 In 2014 I produced 6500 kWh via my 6 kW solar panels, but 5500 kWh was used by our home so I have only banked 1 MWh or $70. This year I hope to turn on my hot water tank only when the sun shines so I will bank even less.

It is strange, where I live, we have these tax funded programs like rural electrification and a few years later no one uses that infrastructure. There are a lot of dead phone wire in the ground and I am the only house using natural gas. Most people use a propane tank even though the gas line runs along the road. I think more people will disconnect from the electrical grid if transmission costs stay at 69% of the total energy costs. Both my neighbors have their total amp capacity reduced to 75 amps even though they have 100 amp breaker in their house. In Alberta we get charged less if we never go over 75 amps (18 kW).

Even Internet Access has been publicly funded, but most of the companies that receive those monies are not providing Internet for the residents any more.

In BC I normally pay only 8 cents / kWh, so solar is not that good of an investment compared to Alberta where if I use my generated electricity I am saving about 30 cents / kWh. Pretty soon we will be back to storing our energy like the off-grid people do. Solar city sells these units in California. Good thing we don't live in the city where we would be charged a franchise fee.

With gas down to 84.5 / liter in GP, Alberta and a liter of gas has 8.7 kWh of energy and most gas generators are 25% efficiency, it would cost you 42 cents to make 1 kwh of electricity. Now you know why most of my neighbors don't connect to the grid unless they can connect for free.
Does anyone want to help me win $2 million?

Jun 5, 2014

My solar saga.

Just over a month ago I passed the 2 MWh of energy produced by the sun and now I am at 3 MWh. As you can see by the image I only produced 18 kWh yesterday. Mind you, the day started off snowing. Only for a few minutes did I actually produce 6 kWh.
I just found out that Ontario has just shut down their last coal generation plant. In Alberta we still have 18 coal fired generators currently producing over 5000 MWh. Even in the United States Gina McCarthy (EPA) has announced a Clean Power Plan which will reduce the use of coal. Locally Tumbler Ridge is already feeling the pinch -- house prices are less than last year. In Alberta Wind and Solar are already surpassing Hydro. Not that gas is the best way to get energy.

Apr 14, 2014

Passover and the four blood red moons.

The first of four consecutive full moons occurs tonight at midnight MST. The earth is coming directly in between the Sun and the Moon so most of North America should be able to watch this lunar eclipse. In fact, the moon will turn red for 1 hour and 18 mins. The earth axis is 23.4 degrees and the moon orbit is 5 degrees more and it hangs over the earth like it is tied on. This causes an Umbra eclipse (see image) to potentially happen twice a year.
The really exciting thing about this eclipse is that it occurs during the passover (Nissan 15). Could this be another judgement against the Jewish people? The last time there were 4 consecutive full moons (tetrad) that occurred on the passover and the Feasts of Trumpets was when Israel recaptured Jerusalem and invoked its inherent right of self-defence, launching a preemptive strike against Egypt in June 5, 1967. The previous tetrad was 1948. The tetrad before that was in 1492 when the Jews got evicted out of Spain. Will this full moon passover be the start of some calamity? "The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and glorious Day of the Lord." Acts 2:20
What do you think? Is it judgment day yet?

Apr 9, 2014

Who is the best ISP for Rural Canada

What is the best Internet Plan for the County of Grande Prairie residents? To me it seems to be Bell or CCI.  Bell offers 6 mbps down and 1 mbit up and a 55 msec ping rate and that is only using the HSPA network and not the LTE network. Not sure when the 40 mbps LTE network will be available further than 20 km out of GP  The setup is only $35 after you have bought your LTE enabled Tablet.

GP Networks have a $400 upfront fee, but most people cost average the wifi radio over 3 years. They are sharing their 11 mbps connections with multiple connections so don't expect great throughput at 8 pm. Paying $80 for only 50 Gigs does seem steep for not being able to connect wherever you are.

 Any time some ISP offers unlimited traffic my ears pop up. CCI Wireless does this. For $89.95 you get a 6 mbps So now you can finally watch HD Youtube. They are using WiMax so you should be able to watch your favourite shows in the evenings.

Nexxcom  has 2 systems deployed one in the licensed high 600Mhz band using docsis protocol and and another running in the 3.65 semi-public band on a more generic modified wifi protocol so your throughput should be great at 8 pm.

Xplornet offers 25mb/s for $89.95 with 200Gigs downloadable and only $2 per gig after that. They use fixed LTE radios

Jan 1, 2014

Exchanging digital info with others. 2013 a year in review.

My quest for making digital communication easier is finally jumping by leaps and bounds. In 2013 5 times more Chromebooks were sold than Macbooks. I have 2 times the number of friends on Google+ than on Facebook and 5 times the number of viewers. Even video editing and viewing isn't controlled as much by Microsoft and Apple. We have come a long ways since 2012.

Why is Linux on the Desktop important? When companies control file formats information remains hidden. ie. to open a .doc file you need Microsoft Word, if you can't get Microsoft Word then what is in that file remains hidden.  The easier it is to exchange info without having to get a licence from some company the better off we all are.
Why is Google+ better a than Facebook? Google allows you to send email to other domains. It also allows you to liberate your data.
Why is VP8 video so important? It allows us to exchange video without asking Apple for permission. My new Nexus 5 has VP8 encoding built into the Snap Dragon 800 CPU. Nokia (Microsoft) even sued HTC (Google) already and lost.
With all the copyright hurdles overcome I look forward to 2014. Thanks for helping me fulfill my dream. I look forward to exchanging digital info with you in 2014.