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11.13.2008... By the way, utilities that claim to want to help with alternative energy are usually lying or scamming. The "offers" I've seen so far are window-dressing. The utilities would own the equipment and lease them to homeowners so that the overall cost to the utilities are virtually nil and pretty much the whole load is borne by the homeowners. This is not "support;" this is not "partnering."
One of the things I've spoken about locally is the coming wave of Light-Emitting-Diode Lamps. They're beginning to hit the commercial and home markets now, and perhaps soon will be available at prices which will appeal to home owners.
One of the statistics I ran across a few months ago is that "area lighting" in businesses, offices, factories and homes consumes something like 20% of the power output of electrical utilities today!
Most of those area lighting lamps are incandescent, fluorescent, discharge and CFLs. Converting to LEDs will put out similar amounts of luminance at much lower electrical power consumption. For example, my wife used to use a 100 or 150-watt level incandescent as a night-stand reading lamp. After some experimenting, I provided a dedicated reading lamp which she has found to be completely adequate for her needs, but consumes approximately 2 watts. That's quite a bit less than the 23-watt CFL which replaced the 150-watt incandescent.
So I've taken the power consumption of that one lamp from 100-150-watts to 23 watts to 2 watts. A decrease of 98% or more, depending on how you do the math..
What will happen to electrical utilities in the next five or ten years as LED lamps become more and more mainstream in homes and businesses? Essentially, about 20% of their business will drop through the floor.
Are they reconsidering their business models for profitability, growth and generation needs in terms of losing anywhere up to ten or twenty percent of their market? Not likely. But that's what you've got me for... asking questions like that.
Think about it.