Hurricanes and Distributed Generation
Here is an interesting article on how people in Florida are buying more generators as a way of reducing the problems of hurricanes and power outages.
Retailers say portable generators continue to sell, but they have noticed the trend toward permanent models, which can be twice the size of an outdoor air conditioning unit.
Before the hurricanes, one Home Depot store west of West Palm Beach would sell about five of the models in a year, managers said. In the four months since Hurricane Jeanne struck, the store has sold about 30.
Since Jeanne, county officials have processed about a dozen permit requests a week for standby generators for existing homes or for new construction, said Rebecca Caldwell, county building supervisor.
Before the hurricanes, a couple of requests would come through every couple of months, she said.
The issue of distributed generation (where the generations is distributed vs. centralized, hence the term) can be fairly complex. For example, are the people intalling the generators going to using their generators for standby purposes (i.e., power outages or to reduce the overall usage from the utility) in which case their generator will be operating in parallel with the grid, or are they going to be grid independent? Grid independent is probably the easiest in terms of interconnections, but if something happens to your generator your out of luck until you get somebody to fix it. Operating in parallel to the grid would allow the customer to have a back up supply of energy or shave off a chunk of their usage, but there is the additional issue of connecting to the grid.