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LETTER: The future of electricity

(metro creative)

To the Editor:

What does the future of electricity look like?

Fifteen years ago when I was in high school, I started attending the first couple of meetings with my dad, Bruce Voigt, on what would later become the group that started the Beethoven Wind Farm.

In the early 2000's energy demand had increased, DM&E was trying to expand rail service so more coal could be shipped out east, and our country was fighting a war for oil. California had constant black and brown outs. The future of energy was whatever you could get the quickest and fastest. Wind Energy was on the cusp of a revolution but it hadn't shown up yet.

In the past 15 years the science of electricity has changed greatly. Coal has died, it failed to adapt, natural gas has taken strides as have renewables. Wind and solar most days consuming over 30 percent of our electric needs. But what is the future?

This past fall, Tesla constructed a 100 megawatt/wind farm battery pack in Australia and the results are shocking. The setup can supply power quicker than any other electric plant. The batteries are equipped with software that allows them to purchase power off of the grid when the price is low enough, and to sell it at the right time.

The future is what is called virtual power plants, small home batteries, such as Tesla Powerwalls would be installed into your house and would be paired with rooftop solar. Small commercial scale renewables would be paired with commercial scale batteries. This would eliminate peak power, and greatly cheapen our electricity. The coast are already doing it, why aren't we?

My belief is rural electrics would be the perfect utility to implement these small virtual power plants in an effort to rid ourselves of expensive peak power. This is the future, the question is do we want to be with it or not?

Rather than complain about what type of energy is being constructed, maybe we should all work together to make the smartest decisions on our collective future.

Joseph J. Voigt

Globe, Arizona

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