Thursday, June 11, 2009

Some Solar Follow-up

On the heels of my entry about solar prospects in Lexington and the thoughts on moving forward with a "smart grid" for Central Kentucky, I read some very interesting posts this week.

First, an announcement of a solar powered car to be made available in the Spring of 2010. This is how the European auto companies are doing better than our own auto industry. The innovations that used to emanate from Detroit are now claimed to be "unfeasible or too expensive" for our companies to produce. This is one new that I can see myself getting, too bad they will just be introduced in Europe. A few of the details include:
The BLUECAR is a compact and elegant town car with four seats, five doors and an automatic transmission. Its L. M. P. battery gives it a range of 250 km between charges, well in excess of the 40 km clocked up on average by a driver in an urban environment. To recharge the BLUECAR, simply plug it into a public power outlet or a standard power socket at home. It takes six hours to recharge the car’s battery from a standard power socket, and only two hours on the future fast-charging outlets. If need be, the batteries can be fast-charged for five minutes, giving the car enough power to run 25 km. In big cities, car parks are already being fi tted with electric power outlets, demonstrating the commitment of leading private operators and local authorities to promoting and fostering the development of electric cars. In terms of performance, the BLUECAR will feature a top speed that is electronically capped at 130 km/h and enough acceleration to get it from 0 to 60 km/h in 6.3 seconds.
I would also NOT park this in a garage during the day so as to gain as much solar charge as possible, although I guess that the garages could add solar collectors and/or charging stations as part of the hourly fee for use of the space. At home the garage may then become a more usable space for living and not for auto storage.

Secondly, a post that I saw by way of Planetizen. This piece speaks to the need for the architects, designers and builders to lead the way in changing how our structures fit into our desire for a sustainable lifestyle. There is no reason why we cannot design some of the wind or solar power generating technologies into our new buildings, or even retrofit some our existing buildings to reduce our carbon footprint.

And lastly, a piece that ties both the European mindset and the design of a sustainable city together. The city of Amsterdam is moving ahead to implement a smart grid in which individual houses may install some sort of power generating device (wind or solar) and be able to sell the extra power to the system. In effect making the electric grid a community effort. Here in Lexington we can't even keep the power connected in a high wind and our electricity comes from destroying the natural beauty of our state.

When is Lexington going to make a move in this direction? As always , 20 years after the rest of the nation, and they will probably be 20 years behind the rest of the world.

Let me know what you think.

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