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No idea where to post this

  1. Sep 15, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    So I am supposed to write up a report as part of one of those "design" problems in a Thermo text.

    I am supposed to find determine the respective contributions to the electric power provided to customers by the electric utility serving my area (Salem,Ma) attributable to coal, natural gas, biomass, nuclear, wind, hydro, etc...

    I am trying to google up this info, but the search criteria I am using is too vague.

    Any suggestions as to how to find a reliable source on this one?

    Thanks for any ideas.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2008 #2

    LowlyPion

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    Your electric supplier is likely a publicly traded company. Go look at the 10-K for last year and look for their management discussion of the business, or other distinctions they might make for expenses due to various power sources.

    http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html
     
  4. Sep 15, 2008 #3
    Thanks LP. I will give that a shot. Any other suggestions?
     
  5. Sep 15, 2008 #4

    LowlyPion

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    No more than picking up relevant terms from the filing and googling those. Sometimes phrasing is difficult to know how to limit the range of results and get to what you might need. Using the right jargon helps.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2008 #5

    PhanthomJay

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    The Salem Harbor MA generating station is owned by Dominion Generation. They burn low emmision coal and some oil. Doesn't mean though that all your power comes from the Salem Plant (especially when its shut down!). Could sometimes come from a nuke plant up north, depending on load flows and energy dispatch. Or a trash burning plant, etc. Check out the Dominion website.
     
  7. Sep 15, 2008 #6
    I wish I could get this to work, but when I put in Dominion Virginia Power I get nothing. When I put in just Dominion, I get too many results.

    You would think that finding out from where and what percent electricity comes from would be fairly easy. :/
     
  8. Sep 15, 2008 #7
    It would appear that my city gets its power only from coal burning plant, which is reasonable since it is small and the power plant is located right here in the city.

    I don't know how to make the report any longer if we only get our power from one source:/
     
  9. Sep 15, 2008 #8

    LowlyPion

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    If they are a net supplier to the grid, above what they use to supply your community, then that's it. Otherwise, you could flesh it out by quoting national contributions to the grid from all sources to identify percentages of other types of generation from which your utility draws during peak demand periods.
     
  10. Sep 15, 2008 #9
    Let's say for a moment that I live in Boston instead. I believe that NSTAR is a power company that supplies to Boston.

    I have been up and down their website and am trying to find out what percentages of their produced power comes from hydro, wind, solar, etc... and cannot find explicit figures.

    What kind of keywords should I be searching? Things like percent power from solar...
    are to no avail. I figure Boston should be easier.

    I am using that site you gave me LP, but I have no idea what I am looking at!
     
  11. Sep 15, 2008 #10
    Forget it. I am not doing this. This is a ridiculous thing to attempt only given two days to do it.
     
  12. Sep 15, 2008 #11

    PhanthomJay

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    Don't give up so easy! New England utilities sold out all their generating plants over 10 years ago due to deregulation of the generation market. You won't find any generation stats from NSTAR, because they sold out their plants to some one else (I don't know to whom). New England Power sold to Pacific Power, who later sold to Dominion Generation. LowlyPion's last post was a good one. Probably the bulk of your power in the Salem area comes from the Salem plant, which has 4 units, 3 of which burn coal or oil, and the 4th which burns oil only. You can bet with oil prices these days that the 3 units that can burn either coal or oil are burning coal, and that 4th oil fired unit is being used sparingly at peak periods only. So the bulk of your power probably comes mostly from coal, and the rest of the Salem power gets fed into the complex Grid network. But if you lived in between power generating stations, your power would come from the New England fuel mix of multiple fuel sources (natural gas and coal probably dominating), as well as sources from neighbors to the north, west, and south (Canada Hydropower and NY). Just like a water system, you might have red water flowing into a central distribution station from one end, and yellow water feeding in from another end, and what you get is orange water being distributed to your home (a mix of the sources). You might want to do a paper on the New England or Massachusetts region, instead of Salem, and google on "New England Generation Fuel Mix".
     
  13. Sep 15, 2008 #12
    Thanks PJ!!! I googled that and after looking through some stats and then following a series of links through Wiki, I found This. It has everything I need for my state! Woo Hoo!
     
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