This is our last blog so I wanted to mix it up a little. I just wanted to get everyone thinking about what makes the electricity market in the United States different from other countries.
When we look at decentralization of our electrical power, we must take into consideration that the electrical utility companies are for the most part publicly owned and traded on the stock market. These stocks pay very good dividends. Some utility stocks pay 5 – 6 % dividends per year. There are a lot of these stocks in American saving portfolios such as 401K and IRAs funds. If decentralization was to take place on a larger scale it would cut into the dividends utility companies pay to their stockholders. This would affect the stock market along with the savings plans. The federal regulatory agencies realize this so I will be surprised if a decentralization of more than 20% ever takes place. With that said, I do see small scale, behind the meter projects to be the only real growth that could take place.
With the recent advances in battery technology and improvements in appliance efficiency, I would suggest that off grid home electricity will become the next energy entrepreneurial market. If we are able to reduce our residential electrical consumption to 1/4 of what we use now through efficiency, then battery storage could be a viable source of electricity. To take this further, we could re-engineer our homes to use DC current instead of AC current. There is approximately a 30% loss of efficiency in the conversion from AC to DC. All of our computers, TVs, LED lighting and appliances actually run on DC current. AC from your electrical outlet is converted to DC inside the TV through a bridge rectifier. This consumes a lot of power. If future battery storage would be able to run a house overnight, a photovoltaic array could recharge it during the day. Photovoltaic arrays produce DC current so there would be a minimal loss when charging the batteries.
The area that I feel would see a very large growth in the future is the battery storage and battering charging. Batteries need to be charged and cycled properly. I could start a business that would monitor and cycle the batteries as needed. This would be done remotely through a wireless connection. The temperature of the batteries is also critical to the output and life of the batteries. This business would complement the installation of any small scale, behind the meter electrical projects. The batteries will also need to be monitored 24 hours a day. After the installation, my business would charge a small fee for the monitoring and reporting of information pertaining to the batteries. The company could also send a daily usage report to the owner so they would know what level the batteries are at any time. The business would also develop a phone application to receive battery information at any time.