Feb 2 2011

Texas has it’s own power grid, but it doesn’t mean freedom from blackouts

It’s been a while since I’ve have a chance to post anything, but I thought I’d quickly comment on this morning’s news that Texas is under a ‘rolling blackout’ order. This is due to the increased demand on the grid due to the cold-snap.  Yes, it is true that Texas has it’s own power grid (a result of WWII-era factories’ need for reliable power, an independence-oriented Texan attitude, and the sheer abundance of fuel resources within the state.), but it is no guarantee of continuous power.

Authorities say that blackouts are to be no more than 45 minutes at a time, in order to prevent a more serious collapse in the system. This sort of thing simply highlights the need for local, alternative power generation capability – solar water, solar electric, and wind (it’s been really windy lately). Wind and solar could be fed back into the grid, and solar water heaters would reduce the overall load. Both strategies would reduce the need for these rolling blackouts. If Texas is to be truly energy independent, then I think it’s high-time that Texas start thinking beyond the next fiscal quarter, and be proactive in educating citizens about the need to decentralize power production – because that makes us truly independent – ya’ll get it now? Checkout the Houston Chronicle article for more details.

Apr 30 2010

Old Stuff Saves Energy

Earlier this month I was at the quadrannual antique show in Roundtop Texas.  Although I went to shows in several small towns in the area, I found the most interesting stuff at the Marburger Farm – huge tents setup not only sold traditional antiques, but also newer handcrafted folk items.  I know this is an energy blog, but as I said in my previous post, buying antiques saves energy.  Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it has outlived its usefulness, or that it is no longer stylish. OK, you might want that ultra-modern look, and you really want that entertainment center from Ikea.  That’s fine – I’m guilty of that myself, but there is no reason why you can’t mix and match with antiques.  I ended up with a few items – a rustic wooden bench from the 1880s, a Cosco-brand serving cart from the mid-1950s, and some sort of wooden cubby-hole thing with a copper-green paint job – no idea what it was originally for, but it makes a cool shoe rack.  On the way home I even picked up some retro stainless-steel stacking containers for sugar, coffee, tea, & flour.  Checkout the gallery below to see some of the stuff I found.