Net zero energy neutrality:
HPA is in effect our own "micro-grid" meaning all energy we use and capture is measured by one HELCO electrical meter near the lower gate to the upper campus. This meter measures kWh, and through some calculations, we can determine our rate of energy use in kiloWatts through the day. As you can see from our graphs, we are energy neutral, or generating more than we are using when the HELCO meter reads zero:
In the graph above, we were net zero with the electric utility (HELCO) at around 9 AM, then mostly until about 1 PM, which is unusual for our campus, since this was a cloudy day. We are usually energy neutral from around 8 AM until 4 PM each sunny day. Net zero means that the total of out and in equal zero.
We have three ways we can claim net zero energy neutrality:
- Net energy neutral: We export the same amount of energy around noon that we use overnight, so as far as the HELCO grid is concerned, we have a net zero energy profile. We still pay for what we use at night, though)
- Net money neutral: We capture any excess energy during the noon hours when the HELCO meter would be spinning backwards, and use this at night from our batteries or other storage). If we were allowed to sell power to the grid, this would also work.
- Net carbon neutral: We measure all carbon used on campus, including transportation, heating and other carbon impacts and offset with energy produced via solar thermal, PV, wind or other means (not nuclear, don’t worry). This is the most current global metric used, and relates well to our sustainability misssion.
Each has certain PR and moral aspects, depending on the goals of the organization. Since our business is creating change agents to solve sustainability issues in the future, each of these is important.
- If we were to attempt #1 above, how could we offset the propane, diesel and gasoline used in other parts of the campus?
- What are these other uses, in other words, what are all of the energy uses on campus?
- If we were to try #2 in the Waimea community, who could our "customers" be?
- How much would #2 cost us if we used lead acid batteries?
- Lithium batteries?
- Pumped storage hydro? (you might have to do some research on this using the energy primer wiki)
- If we were to become carbon neutral, how could we offset the fossil fuels we use on campus?
- Would we first have to become one of the other options?