Energy Efficiency - November 24, 2017
Long weekend reads: Turkey poop power; a bikeshare powered Christmas tree; holiday efficiency tips & more
It's Black Friday, and we hope you're all enjoying the day relaxing with family and friends and nursing your Turkey hangover. Or you may be busy working, and if so, hats off to you. Either way, we've come up with some fun energy stories to sink into over the long holiday weekend. Without further ado:
Giving Thanks, but Not for Turkey-Powered Energy (The New York Times): This is a story of loggers, an energy company and turkey droppings — and a dispute that's putting a dent in Minnesota's Thanksgiving. The company, Xcel Energy, wants to stop buying energy from three biofuel plants in Minnesota, one that runs on wood and turkey dropping and two others that run on wood only. The loggers, who risk losing their jobs, and turkey farmers, who would be left with a whole lot of surplus bird poop, are not happy.
With a Bikeshare-Powered Tree, a Town Chooses Sustainability Over Tradition (CityLab): On a chilly Saturday evening in a suburb just outside Washington, D.C., a crowd of kids were furiously pedaling away on a dozen bikes bolted to the base of a 35-foot Christmas tree display. We were just minutes from Silver Spring's annual tree-lighting ceremony at the downtown plaza, and some were seriously giving themselves a full workout. "The faster [they] pedal, the more the light array above them will light up," said Karl Unnasch, referring to a sort of gauge that he and fellow artist Jon Taylor—the electrician of the duo—have installed above each bicycle.
Utilities' holiday efficiency tips are the gift that keeps on saving (Utility Dive): Recent years have produced some exciting technological advancements in the energy and utility space, but one thing hasn't changed: Turkey. It sounds like a non sequitur, but consider this: Every year around the holidays, many utilities send out energy efficiency tips for keeping your bills lower. But most people are cooking the same size bird in the same oven for the same family members. And there's only so much you can do: cooking requires energy, and more so if you cant resist the temptation to peak into the oven.
Can Peco customers really save 44% on their bills? Fat chance (The Inquirer): The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is encouraging consumers to shop for electricity on Black Friday. A quick glance at the PUC’s website suggests Peco Energy customers could save an eye-popping 44 percent on their bills. Buyer beware: Not all prices are as low as they seem.
U.S. average gasoline prices this Thanksgiving are higher than the previous two years (EIA): Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, U.S. retail regular-grade gasoline averaged $2.57 per gallon (gal), up 41 cents/gal from the same time last year. Although gasoline prices are higher than in both 2015 and 2016, the Thanksgiving 2017 gasoline price is still the third-lowest since 2008.
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