Energy Grid Update

Below is my proposal to invigorate the Louisiana economy, one that has been wrecked because of natural disasters. Whether prevention was possible or not, our economic woes have been in the spotlight for quite some time. With an unemployment rate of 44% in black males in New Orleans, the lack of jobs is readily apparent. Rents are running at 50% of incomes for most individuals and wages are stagnant while taxes rise.

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So what can happen? We’re in a budget deficit and we’re locked down by an industry which is not hiring. Instead, an independent contractor model of employment has been adopted and leaves many stringing along waiting for phone calls. However, there is a way that we can combine fixing the coast at the same time as we update and fix the electrical grid.

 

Currently, the Coastal Restoration project has earmarked 19 specific projects that they will initiate to create marshes and capture sediment lost through the Mississippi River Delta. These projects will require many man hours of work and will cover the vast Louisiana Coastline.

 

 

In order to create the best value, it would be in the best interest for Louisiana to begin work on other projects, bringing in outside capital and industries to help invest in our coast. The Flood of 2016 showed many weaknesses that our state has against the effects of Mother Nature. The suggestions in this presentation are aimed at combining the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Projects with updating the current energy grid in Louisiana. As most everyone in Louisiana knows, almost nothing raises the fear levels quicker than when the lights go out. Or even worse, the power plant explodes during this flood.

 

During the Flood, according to Entergy, there was a peak of 32,157 customers who without power. All while they were trying to contact loved ones to evacuate, often hampering their efforts. In fact, it wasn’t until August 22, 2016 that most customers had power again.

 

To prevent these occurrences, the Coalition brings in Utility Companies to lay new electrical power lines underneath the diverted sediment. This way wiring can be established under the shoreline and there will be less danger of transmission interruption during extreme weather conditions. On top of this, the establishment of power stations, or rather “nodes” along this coastline. Each node will be interconnected with the other power stations and the ability to re-route transmission should one location fail. To increase reliability, each node would also be set up with energy storage capabilities.

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New power lines and new storage units for electricity. This would compromise a “community” style solar power grid. With the new industry of full rooftop solar being announced by Elon Musk and Solar City, we can create a fully charged electrical grid that would be capable of dealing with net metering. In fact, given the amount of individuals in Louisiana right now having to do large amounts of home repair, this would be the perfect time to invite this industry here. Once the grid is installed, excess power stored can be used for local businesses, helping reduce overall systemic demand stress during extreme conditions.

With the Paris Climate agreement having just passed the threshold to automatically take effect, other methods of generation must be sought out. A major industry that is beginning to unfold is Offshore Wind. The first major Wind Farm has been completed in the United States, Block Island Wind Farm. This falls in line with the Energy Secretary and Inter Secretary’s New National Offshore Wind Strategy. A combination of these two industries can be combined with the current construction taking place as we begin to restore the Louisiana Coastline.

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It is also an industry that has experience in installing electrical cables in deep waters. It is also an industry that could potentially hire many individuals, up to 300,000 according to estimates provided by the Solutions Project, a noble plan being championed by the celebrities of the likes of Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio, to help shift public sentiment.

 

Now, the installation of these Wind Farms are done in phases, the first phase of this is to install “posts” or rather large cylindrical structures upon which to mount the turbine portion. It is these posts that could be incorporated with the formation of barrier reefs and sediment diversion. These posts would be placed along the coastline, providing support structures to build these reefs.

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Each of these set of posts will ultimately connect to a node through the electrical wiring pre-installed before all sediment had been diverted.

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When connected with the existing Solar Electrical Grid, you would be combining hurricane protection with Wind Energy, connected to a networked electrical grid that is compartmentalized to prevent down time.  I realize this is a lot of information and an intense hypothetical. But it is possible and already has seed capital available thanks to the Coastal Restoration Act and the BP Lawsuits.

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