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Energy Key Findings, April 2013

Posted in Energy, Featured

Solar Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

hurricaneTop weather forecasters predict an above-average 2013 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) and tell us that at least 18 tropical storms will form this year, of which nine will be hurricanes. The annual predictions by meteorologists at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project warn that the tropical Atlantic basin has “anomalously warmed over the past several months,” which indicates a 72% chance of a major hurricane making landfall this year: East Coast/Florida, 48%; Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, Texas, 47%. Electrical power utilities and providers, acutely aware of the risks of another active “megastorm” season, are still in the throes of assessing lessons learned during last October’s Hurricane Sandy to help them more effectively plan and prepare. Some utilities and grid operators say relatively new technologies helped them quickly attain and analyze more detailed information  about outages and the extent of damages, including mobile devices in the field tapping information from smart grid systems, smart meters and geographic information systems, as well as more sophisticated monitoring and control capabilities of transmission and generation equipment. This data enabled responders to better pinpoint outages and understand what equipment was needed to make repairs. Another observation from Sandy comes from Jeanne M. Fox, commissioner with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. She says, of New Jersey’s 19,000 solar installations which currently generate more than one percent of the state’s electricity, no significant solar panel damage was sustained during Hurricane Irene or Hurricane Sandy, even to some panels that were on buildings that were destroyed. This compared to 9,000 downed utility poles. Fox notes that with smart grid systems, some design changes to the state’s 1 gigawatt of installed solar (with more being planned), could enable solar to be part of a storm emergency response solution, as well as a green energy supplier to residents of New Jersey. (www.energybiz.com)

Bullets

  • Only 28% of Americans say dealing with global warming is a top priority for the president and Congress this year, little changed from the 30% that said this in 2009. (pewresearch.org)
  • About half (48%) of Americans favor the increased use of the fracking process, a drilling method that uses high-pressure water and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations, while 38% are opposed. (pewresearch.org)
  • By a wide margin, 70% – 23%, American voters support building the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to refineries in the U. S. (foxnews.com)
  • Six in 10 consumers (60%) believe products’ claims of environmental friendliness are often exaggerated or misleading. (BrandSpark; 647-727-4578)
  • More than half of consumers worldwide (55%) are willing to pay more for products in environmentally friendly packaging. (Ipsos InnoQuest; 516-507-3515)
  • Each year, approximately 10 tropical storms form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and out of these, six become hurricanes. Approximately five hurricanes strike the U.S. coastline during an average three-year period, and of these, two are major hurricanes over 110 miles per hour. (randomhistory.com)

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