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Opinion >  Letters

Power grid is obsolete

The November windstorm gave 180,000 Spokane area households a personal demonstration of the vulnerability of our electric power grid. Obama wants to spend $150 billion on smart grid technology, which is a really dumb idea.

With the additional threat of EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack, by a single high-altitude nuclear blast can destroy much of the countries’ electrical infrastructure. It is estimated that without power, we would have more than 100 million deaths in the following year.

The century-old grid power concept is obsolete and needs to be scrapped. Replace it with local co-generation. These are small household-size natural gas powered engine/generator sets with liquid cooling. The engine waste heat circulates to warm the home in lieu of a furnace. Exhaust stack heat can run an absorption type air-conditioning. Co-generation provides an immediate 10 percent savings in power transmission losses.

Additionally, a 50 percent thermal efficiency-free-piston engine/linear alternator design can make for more savings. Avista would continue to sell natural gas, but morph into a co-generation equipment maintenance and leasing service. Hydropower, coal plants and power lines would fade into history.

Dave Barker



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