Can Renewables Meet Rochester’s Power Needs?
The latest Power of Learning Show on KROC-AM took a "critical thinking" look at Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede's push to have Rochester's power needs met by renewable energy sources by 2031.
Jim Walters joins Andy Brownell on the 4th Monday of every month for The Power of Learning Show, which focuses on the importance of using critical thinking in our professional and personal lives.
This month, Jim dove into the numbers in an effort to determine if the Mayor's goal is even possible. He found it would be a very tall order and achieving 100% of the goal might be impossible, but there would be a realistic chance of supplying a sizable majority of the city's power needs using solar generation.
Using existing and commonplace technology, Walters calculated that rooftop photovoltaic solar power arrays could generate around 160 megawatts of power. That calculation is based on using a typical 3 kilowatt home system on nearly every home and larger systems on the roofs of commercial buildings. Walters, whose expertise lies within the utility industry, says Rochester currently has a base load of around 200 megawatts and a peak demand of around 300 megawatts during hot summer days when air conditioning taxes the system.
While solar power, at least using current technology, would not meet 100% of the city's power needs, combining it with innovative energy conservation strategies and other renewable sources would be able to handle a large chunk of the demand and provide the city with an independent source of power should there be a disruption to the national or regional power grid.