Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

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moonshadow
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by moonshadow »

Well, I just got billed $89 for 778kwh of service, so that comes out to around 11.5 cents per kwh. Some charges on the bill are fixed, thus the lower the usage, the higher the overall rate is, and vice versa, but I figure its usually around 11-12 cents for residential service, taxes and all included.

For those curious the actual breakdown of this months bill:

Electricity Supply Service
Generation Services $ 32.10
Fuel Factor @ 0.0218583 Per kWh 17.01
Transmission Services 15.58
Distribution Services 20.69
VA Electric Consumption Tax 1.21
Local Consumers Tax 3.00
Current Balance Due $ 89.59


For this we have a 5kw electric water heater, and a 5kw electric clothes dryer. We also run a dehumidifier downstairs all of the time, and that likely tacks on $15-$20 per month. We also run a little electric space heater in the bathroom sometimes.

We heat with our propane heater primarily, and we now have the propane cook stove. So neither cost electricity, however the tank has to be filled twice per year, at around $400-$600 per fill (under current rates)
FranTastic444 wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 2:54 pm
When doing our due diligence on the house we were originally looking to buy in this area we came across minutes from town meetings and other articles that seem to suggest that there are periodic attempts to install public sewers across the whole town, but it always meets with strong local opposition, for some reason.
In my locale, residents don't fancy the thought of paying a sewer bill. Most people have a tendency to "live in the moment" and they don't think about to tomorrow. It's a big fault with American culture in general. They never maintain their septic systems, and when they fail, the look to the government to bail them out and apply for assistance getting new systems installed... either that, or they think they can just dig a hole and throw some rocks in it like their grandparents did.

Septic systems last around three to five decades around here, that's longer than an entire generation. But the problem is many of these houses are at least 50 years old... the original occupants have long since died, and the may now be on its third or fourth owner. Couple that with the various housing crises we've had over the years, people tend to trash houses (and their septic systems) when in foreclosure and we have a recipe for disaster...

To say that we're in "deep sh!t" is an understatement.

So they object to municipal sewer coming in over a proposed tax and monthly sewer bill, but have no issues applying to Uncle Sam for a handout to replace their failing systems...

America 101... :roll:
Faldaguy
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by Faldaguy »

by moonshadow » Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:04 am

Well, I just got billed $89 for 778kwh of service, so that comes out to around 11.5 cents per kwh. Some charges on the bill are fixed, thus the lower the usage, the higher the overall rate is, and vice versa, but I figure its usually around 11-12 cents for residential service, taxes and all included.
I doubt it is germane to much of anything, but if it makes you feel better -- my last couple bills were in the .29 cent per kwh range; and our labor rates are a fraction of US. Our power is pretty much 100% "green" -- primarily hydro; with some solar, some wind, and a dash of thermal. We even export some of it and still have kept supply 98+% green the last three years. Fortunately I have no need of heating or air conditioning, but I must say we get a bit fizzed out about the quasi "public/private" partnership that runs the electric supply and it's ineptitude while paying these high rates--one of the 'cushy' places to work.
moonshadow
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by moonshadow »

Faldaguy wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:50 am
by moonshadow » Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:04 am

Well, I just got billed $89 for 778kwh of service, so that comes out to around 11.5 cents per kwh. Some charges on the bill are fixed, thus the lower the usage, the higher the overall rate is, and vice versa, but I figure its usually around 11-12 cents for residential service, taxes and all included.
I doubt it is germane to much of anything, but if it makes you feel better -- my last couple bills were in the .29 cent per kwh range; and our labor rates are a fraction of US. Our power is pretty much 100% "green" -- primarily hydro; with some solar, some wind, and a dash of thermal. We even export some of it and still have kept supply 98+% green the last three years. Fortunately I have no need of heating or air conditioning, but I must say we get a bit fizzed out about the quasi "public/private" partnership that runs the electric supply and it's ineptitude while paying these high rates--one of the 'cushy' places to work.
Most of our power comes from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas), some hydro, and maybe a splash of nuclear. I don't know of any wind farms around here, ironically when one is proposed on a mountain side, it's the local environmentalist that pitch a fit and block it... they claim that it kills birds and causes a "flicker effect" in the moon light, but in reality they just don't want the wind turbines in their back yard, proof that even the leftist can be just as much as a hypocrite as the far right.

"Green energy" cost more here too, and I'm not really sure why. It cost a ton of money to extract coal from the ground, a miner can pull six figures after he's had a few years in, land leases, the cost of equipment, coal haulers (trucks) and rail line workers, these are all well paying jobs, not to mention the cost associated with actually generating the electricity at the plant...

It's remarkable that we're not paying three times as much! The only thing I can figure is the coal industry must be heavily subsidized by the government...
trainspotter48
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by trainspotter48 »

Just to provide a comparison with UK energy costs.

My house is an in city brick built end terrace dating from the 1890s.

Over the last year I have used 5487Kwh of electricity. The cost including the 'standing charge' comes out as £1114.48, with the current exchange being around $1.60 = £1. This equates to 20.3p/Kwh.
My heating is by a coal fired boiler, so is charged separately. That burns around 1/2ton/month for 8 - 9 months of the year at around £200 per (monthly) delivery.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by Coder »

moonshadow wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:25 pm
"Green energy" cost more here too, and I'm not really sure why. It cost a ton of money to extract coal from the ground, a miner can pull six figures after he's had a few years in, land leases, the cost of equipment, coal haulers (trucks) and rail line workers, these are all well paying jobs, not to mention the cost associated with actually generating the electricity at the plant...

It's remarkable that we're not paying three times as much! The only thing I can figure is the coal industry must be heavily subsidized by the government...
I would not doubt coal being subsidized. As for green energy, which I quasi-support:

Wind turbines have a limited lifetime - when they replace the blades or the entire turbine they cannot recycle the blades (it's a composite made of fiberglass and resin, not sure about the base), so they have to bury them. Transportation is a nightmare from what I recall from a presentation - to move blades from a plant to a location could require looping around an entire state as that is the only route they can take. For some companies it’s more profitable for them to have their own personal wind turbine than the utility. And NIMBYism - though I find them beautiful, if they made a lot of noise while spinning I wouldn’t want them in my backyard.

Solar - panels are still inefficient, though again for an individual homeowner they make some sense - problem is by the time you’ve made your investment back the panels will need to be replaced. Combining solar power with water heating is nice... but I worry about leaks and upkeep. If you have a backup battery storage unit, that also needs periodic replacement.

I read an article about building solar panels into building high rise windows - though not as efficient as pure solar panels, the sheer amount of surface area hit by light made up for it, and you could see through them.

Finally, you need infrastructure to store this energy during lulls (no wind, night). There are different methods of doing this, but again time/cost/maintenance.
Last edited by Coder on Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
moonshadow
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by moonshadow »

At one time recently I was statlrting to warm up to the idea of nuclear power... but after 2020, I'm just no so sure anymore.... :|
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

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moonshadow wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:22 pm
At one time recently I was statlrting to warm up to the idea of nuclear power... but after 2020, I'm just no so sure anymore.... :|
From a realistic viewpoint the option has to at least be on the table -- although that will be fought tooth and nail by the energy extraction industry who (rightfully) view it as a threat to their ongoing profiteering.

Nuclear power generation has proven quite safe over time, and the safety is getting better with the newer designs and better containment structures. The three "big ones" -- Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukoshima -- are anomalies, and in the first two human error (out-of-bounds reactor control at Chernobyl and "deferred maintenance" at TMI) was in play with TMI being driven purely by greed. Fukoshima was simply overwhelmed by a tsunami that exceeded the maximum size the facility was designed for.

Nuclear fission does produce some truly nasty by-products, but those are, by mass, quite modest compared to the burning of fossil fuels; it then becomes a problem of, "Which is better, millions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses or tens of tons of truly lethal radioactive waste that needs safe storage until it "cools off" by decay?"

We ignore the nuclear option at our peril.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by Fred in Skirts »

Carl you are quite right about the 3 nuclear problems. I have worked in the nuclear field as a senior reactor operator for 24 years and I will tell one and all that nuclear is the only way to go..
In all of those years I spent a lot of time training in fact training was carried out almost daily. Before I retired I spent my last years in the training department as a Simulator operator and still had to maintain my certification as an operator. In the simulator we were able to train operators in handling all sorts of equipment failures as well as containment breaks. They had to know what to do in all sorts of situations. And all situations were covered by procedures that had to be followed word for word and checked off as each step was done. So no flying by the seat of the pants or in our case skirts.

I found as I traveled about in the nuclear industry that Safety is job #1 and knowledge is job #2.
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Dust
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by Dust »

crfriend wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:07 am
Nuclear power generation has proven quite safe over time, and the safety is getting better with the newer designs and better containment structures. The three "big ones" -- Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukoshima -- are anomalies, and in the first two human error (out-of-bounds reactor control at Chernobyl and "deferred maintenance" at TMI) was in play with TMI being driven purely by greed. Fukoshima was simply overwhelmed by a tsunami that exceeded the maximum size the facility was designed for.
Interestingly, TMI released the least amount of radiation, almost none, in fact, due to the safety and redundancy built into the design. US nuclear pants are probably the safest in the world.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

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Coder wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:51 pm
Wind turbines have a limited lifetime - when they replace the blades or the entire turbine they cannot recycle the blades (it's a composite made of fiberglass and resin, not sure about the base), so they have to bury them.
Just because it wasn't done before doesn't mean it can't be done. In fact, there's a company here that can dismantle the blades on site and then decompose them into their constituent parts ready for re-use. There's a whole new industry about to grow around this. The materials are valuable, you aren't going to just bury them! Even you legally could, which you can't here.
Coder wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:51 pm
Solar - panels are still inefficient, though again for an individual homeowner they make some sense - problem is by the time you’ve made your investment back the panels will need to be replaced.
This must really depend on where you are. Here they pay for themselves in 7-10 years and they are guaranteed up to 20 years. They don't ever wear out so it would seem the business case for replacing them is much harder than the original install. The part that is most likely to fail is apparently the inverter. The warranty on those things is only 12 years.
Coder wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:51 pm
Finally, you need infrastructure to store this energy during lulls (no wind, night). There are different methods of doing this, but again time/cost/maintenance.
Meh, these are "engineering problems". We spent 70 years doing zero research into energy storage, it's gonna take some time to catch up, but it's absolutely doable. We're busy engineering out the need to fancy rare-earths, it's just a matter of time.

That said, I think nuclear has its place and I'm curious if SMR's will catch on, because they would seem to solve many of the issues.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by Dust »

rode_kater wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:26 pm
Coder wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:51 pm
Wind turbines have a limited lifetime - when they replace the blades or the entire turbine they cannot recycle the blades (it's a composite made of fiberglass and resin, not sure about the base), so they have to bury them.
Just because it wasn't done before doesn't mean it can't be done. In fact, there's a company here that can dismantle the blades on site and then decompose them into their constituent parts ready for re-use. There's a whole new industry about to grow around this. The materials are valuable, you aren't going to just bury them! Even you legally could, which you can't here.
I didn't watch their video, but it sounds like they are just grinding them up, and mixing them with new resin to make new composites. That's fine, but such a composite will be inferior to something made from fresh materials, with fibers run in the direction of expected stresses and such. Still, it keeps some things out of the landfill, which is good. But don't think we have discovered a way to just melt them down and mold them into fresh blades just as good as the ones they make from all new materials, the way you can with metals.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

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Dust wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:52 pm
rode_kater wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:26 pm
Coder wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:51 pm
Wind turbines have a limited lifetime - when they replace the blades or the entire turbine they cannot recycle the blades (it's a composite made of fiberglass and resin, not sure about the base), so they have to bury them.
Just because it wasn't done before doesn't mean it can't be done. In fact, there's a company here that can dismantle the blades on site and then decompose them into their constituent parts ready for re-use. There's a whole new industry about to grow around this. The materials are valuable, you aren't going to just bury them! Even you legally could, which you can't here.
I didn't watch their video, but it sounds like they are just grinding them up, and mixing them with new resin to make new composites. That's fine, but such a composite will be inferior to something made from fresh materials, with fibers run in the direction of expected stresses and such. Still, it keeps some things out of the landfill, which is good. But don't think we have discovered a way to just melt them down and mold them into fresh blades just as good as the ones they make from all new materials, the way you can with metals.
Yep! I’ve heard of these companies that want to reclaim them - but epoxy is a chemical process, and there is no way (or no profitable way) to break them back down to their original components, hence the grinding. I’d much rather seem them repurposed as something else (shed roof? Interior design element? Column covering?) than waste landfill space or energy.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by pelmut »

Carbon fibre will burn and so will epoxy (with a lot of stink) so some types of blade might possibly be useable as fuel.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by Jim »

pelmut wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:57 pm
Carbon fibre will burn and so will epoxy (with a lot of stink) so some types of blade might possibly be useable as fuel.
If these have a lot of carbon in them, maybe burying them could be valued carbon sequestration.
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Re: Very O/T - A Query About Home Heating

Post by rode_kater »

Coder wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:25 pm
Yep! I’ve heard of these companies that want to reclaim them - but epoxy is a chemical process, and there is no way (or no profitable way) to break them back down to their original components, hence the grinding. I’d much rather seem them repurposed as something else (shed roof? Interior design element? Column covering?) than waste landfill space or energy.
The same could be said of concrete, the creation of which amounts to maybe 8% of worldwide CO2 emissions and is also not reusable in any useful way. I don't see people saying we should stop using that. Yes, it would be great if we could find a better way to make these blades, but this is really way far down the list of priorities.

Similar to people complaining about birds and windmills, while not talking about cats or the hundreds of millions of birds killed by tall buildings. Bird kills by turbines should be looked at but it's like focussing on a leak in a roof while there's a gaping hole a bit further over.
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