Neighborhood energy!

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After today's 4:30 break, I heard Thom mention energy made at the neighborhood level. Made me think of something..... Syracuse University built a new Green Data Center last year and it runs on twelve nat gas micro turbines. They produce a max of 600kw and the waste heat (800+ degrees) is used to make chilled water that runs the air conditioning for the data center and adjoining buildings. The heat also heats the adjoining buildings in the winter. Check it out here (videos too: )

Why couldn't some enterprising individual setup something for a (new) neighborhood that runs chilled water and steam pipes to every home for heat and cooling and the electricity generated would power the homes. It would be a totally enclosed excep for the nat gas intake. I know we are still burning a fossil fuel, but think about it!

Apr. 9, 2012 2:21 pm


A serious comment. If we think instead of react, we can imagine ground-up 'systems' of indigenous and artisanal nature that do what the top-down, "market solutions" cannot even imagine. OWS is a metaphor as well as a movement. It is "leaderless" but not rudderless. It is about a "great transformation" akin to a "great awakening" in the sense that we are no longer non-participants in a narrative of power written elsewhere. Individual action matters, but what makes it matter is how it ties into the actions and imaginations of other individuals. This is Holy Spirit talk, folks.

Churches like to claim that they are proleptic witnesses to the "community of faith" that really acts with inspiration and fealty to God. They like to think that they are the foretaste of heaven or the "vanguard" of God's proletariat holding fast to that which is true and moral. The history of religion and the Church is a sorry record of people being dragged into compliance with this vision, or even not. But the idea that there is something happening and that it takes awareness and love to get it is not wrong.

Possibility vastly outruns our sense of what is realistic, so get ready for a big surprise--but also get to work getting ready to deal with it. "The end of the world is nigh, but human life on earth is not over until it's over." I want to laugh with the Fat Lady as well as sing.

DRC's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

On the down side, anything that consumes more natural gas also drives fracking operations across the US, with subsequent water table contamination.

On the up side, decentralization of energy generation and distribution networks takes profit and power out of the hands of Corporate energy conglomerates HQ'ed in Houston and Manhattan.

For some detailed theory and data on decentralization of energy networks, see UK/Canadian physicist Walt Patterson. His main site is , and his pdf download page is , where the key titles are "Electricity: Decentralized Futures (Working Paper 3)" and "Decentralizing Networks."

Eddie Torres's picture
Eddie Torres
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"Bloom Energy is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy.

Our unique on-site power generation systems utilize an innovative new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA's Mars program.

Derived from a common sand-like powder, and leveraging breakthrough advances in materials science, our technology is able to produce clean, reliable, affordable power,... practically anywhere,... from a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.

Our Energy Servers™ are among the most efficient energy generators on the planet; providing for significantly reduced electricity costs and dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.

By generating power on-site, where it is consumed, Bloom Energy offers increased electrical reliability and improved energy security, providing a clear path to energy independence

Founded in 2001, Bloom Energy is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California." From

Anyone know about this energy--has Thom ever talked about this company? I keep hearing about it from people on the other side of the globe oddly enough.

Google, Adobe, Safeway, and other large corps are using this power in their companies. I do not understand why it is not available for residential use yet.

March 14, 2012
Bloom Energy Launches Mission Critical Systems Practice: Hewlett-Packard's Peter Gross Joins Bloom and Leads New Business Expansion

February 13, 2012
Cox Enterprises Produces Clean Energy with Five New Fuel Cells in California

I would like to learn more about this energy and hear opinions about it.

gladurouthere's picture
Feb. 21, 2012 10:29 am

A step further, if a neighborhood has every home with solar water panels, and EV panels, and you drive the electrical demand from the grid to nearly zero during peak hours. And what happens to the price of any commodity when it is plentiful? It falls to nearly the cost of production.

Any guesses why big oil and the coal and gas fired plant owners spend so much money lobbying to get subsidies for themselves and prevent any subsidies for homeowners to grow their own?

Phaedrus76's picture
Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

Conservatives supposedly hate freeloading. So why are they trying to legalize it?

Conservatives supposedly hate freeloaders.

So why do they support right to work laws - which literally legalize freeloading?

Our nation's nine unelected monarchs on the Supreme Court are poised to deal yet another blow to organized labor.

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