Sunday, June 25, 2006

Keeping the churches cool

How will we air condition churches during the summer? We need lots and lots of power, especailly if people keep becoming Catholic at the current rate.

Among the various road maps, one published in 2003 by the Electric Power Research Institute stands out among the crowd, head and shoulders above the White House's own plan. The EPRI report lays out a carefully staged, decades-long strategy that includes modernization of the power grid, decentralized production, real-time price signals in support of demand response capabilities, and — in the long term — use of hydrogen as a complementary energy carrier.

Always some interesting reads from Mr. Udell. What's most fascinating, however, is this little discussion about how to reduce peak power load:

Circumstances, of course, can put pressure on those QoS parameters. In a rolling brownout, it’s in everyone’s interest to shed load intelligently. Site Controls can do this across its network of customers in an automated way, Frost tells me, because each franchise defines its own business rules for a range of scenarios. Petco can’t afford to have a bunch of fish go belly-up, but the people who visit Michaels hobby and craft stores can handle an extra 10 degrees for a while. How much of a problem would that be? Frost argues that it might incur more goodwill than bad, and I agree. Intelligent adaptive behavior of this sort, when clearly motivated by collective social need, could become a competitive advantage.

The question here is, I think, will businesses who are environmentally responsible really do better in the long run? Will people give up a little of their comfort in exchange for knowing what it's going towards. I have in myself a very powerful tendency to imagine that I'm some sort of exception to the rules I wish everyone to follow, but I guess in a power emergency I could really turn off my computers and stay off of the Internet for a few days (hard to believe but it could happen). But can I convince myself that I'm ordinary?

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