Hertzog raises an interesting question regarding the information about utilities which consumers and the industry have access to— should we measure in uptime or downtime? Currently our standards measure disruptions in services. Instead, we should consider aiming for perfection, uptime nearly 100% of the time. While this measure would be impacted by large natural disasters and states of emergency, most utility level data is compared locally (especially by consumers) when performing analysis. With improved smart grid technologies, utilities will be able to monitor usage and backups that could lead to brownouts or outages. Improving storage techniques (it all comes back to storage) and data visualization and correction from the utilities, consumers could realistically expect near perfect utilities.
Advent of the SmartGrid— Effect on Utility Data?
What do you think?
At what point does the fossil fuel & renewable combination balance out?
We need real energy storage solutions to make any balance work! Once we have large scale solutions for renewables, we will begin to see the abundance, or lack thereof, of jobs.
Do newer technologies offer enough employment to compensate?
Not currently, but having major energy companies invest in R&D and develop alternatives in house could help ease a switch.
With the boom of fracking and heightened interest in natural gas as an oil alternative, we have seen growing concern over the safety of this procedure. Moreover, environmental concerns abound, especially among fracking opponents. For Mitchell, the so-called “father of fracking”, his concern of lack of regulation in the industry is a prudent stance. Nuclear reactors, for example, have a very negative connotation both in public perception and political stance because of large incidents that have drawn public attention (ie., Fukushima, Chernobyl). For a technique that is still so new to the public, as fracking is, preventing large scale issues before they happen is crucial.
Mitchell is mainly concerned about smaller, independent companies. He should be. Larger companies, such as a Devon energy, have a name and reputation to live up to and should proceed with more safety than a company that has nothing to lose. On the flip side, larger companies have less capital invested (percentage wise) than a startup or independent company and can afford minor slips. Placing regulation on companies of all sizes ensures that protocol is followed to some standard.
“Because if they don’t do it right there could be trouble,”[Mitchell] says. There’s no excuse not to get it right. “There are good techniques to make it safe that should be followed properly,” he says. But, the smaller, independent drillers, “are wild.”
One of the biggest concerns around fracking deals with the impacts to nature; groundwater, earthquakes, how fracking fluids effect ecosystems. While adverse effects have been seen across the country, the industry is still new enough that we haven’t seen yet the long term effects of fracking. While stringent regulations should be imposed on the process, it still remains seen if these regulations will be enough to protect the environment.
Government Regulation & It’s Place in Fracking