UPDATED: A Brighter North Carolina

UPDATE: Thanks to Justin for catching some typos and just plain wrong facts. I will update all of it later today That should be the name of the initiative. This started as a comment over on A's Nuke Em post, but it got so long I thought I would extend it. The International Energy Association has come out and said that switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs would cut energy demands by about 10%. North Carolina can do this. We did away with regular gas and I remember a lot of people at home bitching, but who even thinks about it now?

Ban the sale of all other energy-inefficient lights and watch what would happen after the break...

Warning, this is an approximation of math, a fictionalization of math one might say.
Compact light bulbs would cut our energy needs by about 1/10th, more or less. Believe it or not, it is hard to find a single list of all power plants in North Carolina. But, if you look at the bottom graph you will see that Duke produces about 1/3 of all the energy sold in NC. And, they say their fossil plants produce about 10,100 and their nuclear produces about 2,200 in nuclear. So, 12,000 is a third of 36,000. I know that isn't perfect, but it is the best I can do until I track down all the plants of all the companies....which I'm not doing anytime soon. If anyone is a better googler than me, have at it. So, 36,000MW, which by the way doesnt' really tell you the MWh (megawatt hours), and in fact the last table makes it clear that we are talking about thousands of gigawatt hours of production (right?). But, let's stick with the MW units for the plants. A 10% decrease (that is what the IEA says) of 36,000 is 3,600MW. If we had such a decrease, we could close:

Plant Units MW Year
Allen..........5.1,140...MW 1957
Buck...........3....93...MW 1970
Buzzard Roost.10...196...MW 1971
Dan River......3....85...MW 1968
Lee............3....90...MW 1968
Riverbend......4...120...MW 1969
Dan River......3...276...MW 1949
Riverbend......4...454...MW 1929
Buck...........4...369...MW 1926
Cliffside......5...760...MW 1940
This is a total of 3583 MW. By JUST switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, we could get rid of all these old plants (those are start-up years at the end). Now, if Justin wants to use less than 10%, let's say 5%, then you would not need 1,800MW or production.

The final catch, the one that would take some kind of linear statistics to figure out, is what that means when some of these plants are open only during the day. I think we could make this conclusion. With such a program, we could close at least one power plant, the Progress Energy's L.V. Sutton plant in North Carolina, which is rated as one of the worst polluters in the United States, and which is rated as about 640MW. That still leaves enough to close down a couple other "dirty" plants.

BTW, freep this poll.

And, I have actually found this figure now, which suggests Duke only creates about 1/3 of the total energy in North Carolina (some of that is sold to SC and elsewhere).

Listen up government types, this should be your primary energy plan for the Governorship in 2008. Hold up a regular light bulb, hold up a compact fluorescent and tell people you will decrease their light bill by 10% and you will close the biggest polluting energy plants in NC within a year. Is that the end? Nope. But, it is a start.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.


Why should California be the only state

in the country that's willing to take on this critical issue. North Carolina can and should be out front on this.

But let's not ban incandescent light bulbs . . . let's tax the hell out of them. That'll make the free-market wackos happy.



“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden


Seriously, though. There are a couple steps that could be taken to make NC a leader in energy conservation/usage.
1. Ban the old light bulbs.
2. Put solar panels on every square inch of every roof that run through the power meter. During the day, when people are at work, the power actually runs out of the house and turns the meter backwards. They are doing this in FL now. Can you imaging dad's everywhere yelling to turn off the lights and unplug the coffee pot, or else the meter won't turn backwards!!!
I guesstimated in an earlier post and I think that would create enough energy to replace 500 MW of power plant energy.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I've recently switched

almost all of my light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent. I've not gotten a bill since, but, I have noticed that everything looks and feels a little 'cooler' under the light. It's certainly more comfortable.

I would also suggest not using all light sockets unless you need...I've got ceiling fans in every room that have 5 sockets. I can get away with 3 bulbs in the living room and office and two in each bedroom without any real lighting problems.

Thomas S. Brock



What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

Photovoltaic Roofing Shingles

are another thing that NC should look into. If every new development had to do a percentage of their homes with this, it would take more people off the grid. Often, the meter would run backward, selling the electricity generated back to the power company. Also, the Feds offer a 30% tax credit and NC offers something like a max of $1400.00 tax credit on top of that.

Would make a good selling point to any who would be interested in going green!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Not Bad, Except for the Math

Fluorescent bulbs are a good start (at Casa Thibault, we're replace the old types with fluorescents as they burn out); but the math in the first section is WAY off. I know you said that the math is fictionalized - let's try to get it in the right order of magnitude.

Total Duke Fossil Generation: 10,000 MW
Energy Reduction From Switch: You said "4 MW"...I figure you were using a 4% reduction to be conservative; but 4% of 10,000 is 400MW
Here's the rub, you reduce the total by nearly 4,000MW. In acutality, you'll have to cut your by
2/3 to be in the 400MW territory. To make up for the 3,600MW difference - you'll have to put nearly all of the plants back on line.

I'm not saying that it isn't a noble conservation effort; but you won't be pulling too many plants off-line. As a matter of fact, most of these plants (according to the Duke literature) don't operate all of the time...they are known as "peaking units" and come on when the load is strong (middle of a summer day when air conditioners are wide open)

Which brings us to the solar panel issue. Solar panels don't generate electricity all of the time; and net metering on a large scale can be tricky for any number of reasons.


Okay. I made some serious, serious mistakes in this post. I am going to fix them up later today. Thanks for the catch. But, i will say that what I am suggesting is actually 10% of 40,000MW, but it should have been maybe 35,000MW, which means about 3,500 in savings.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


Power plant capacity is matched to peak demand. One of the ways to reduce the need for added capacity is "load shaving" at times of peak demand. In NC solar is expensive and intermittent but could be effectively used to reduce load at times of high demand when the sun shines the most and air-conditioning loads peak.

Have'em hold up a motor too....

Most likely your operation’s motors account for a large part of your monthly electric bill. Far too often motors are mismatched—or oversized—for the load they are intended to serve, or have been rewound multiple times.

Motor Challenge, DOE

Electric motors consume 64 percent of the electricity produced in this country. Although they are generally efficient, motors are often run at lowered efficiency because the motor size is not matched to the horsepower requirements of the task.

Motors frequently drive variable loads such as pumps, hydraulic systems and fans. In these applications, motor efficiency is often poor due to operation at low loads.

The operating cost of a motor over its lifetime is many times its purchase price. For example, a 100 horsepower AC induction motor costs approximately $5,000, yet will use as much as $35,000 worth of electricity in a year. Small improvements in efficiency can therefore generate significant savings in energy costs.

Public Service, New Hampshire - energy company

Last year, I asked one of the energy conservation folks UNC trundled out for their Carolina North sales pitch if they were considering a broad attack to reduce "designed-in" energy consumption, like using highly efficient electric motors right-sized for the application over whatever the manufacturer throws at you.

The poor guy had zero idea what I was talking about.

Same for high current solid state devices for on-site power distribution. With all the HVAC on-campus and fixed to be deployed at CN, it'd be great if UNC (heck NC) spend a little time thinking about on-site transmission losses and efficient motors.

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Bring it up.

Sounds like a great idea for citizen comment to the university.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.