Archive for September, 2012


Monday, September 17th, 2012

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative awarded ten new homeowners on San Juan Island with checks for $1,710 each for the energy efficient homes that they helped to build through Homes for Islanders. The homes received the Northwest Energy Star certification ( and are estimated to save approximately 3,000kWh/year for each home over a standard home built to building code.

Building homes to the Energy Star standards guarantees that the home’s envelope is properly sealed and insulated. Energy efficient windows, heating systems, appliances and lighting are all requirements and everything is verified by a third party. The homes are more comfortable and the utility bills much smaller.

The checks were presented at a luncheon at OPALCO’s Friday Harbor office on Friday, September 14th.

EPRI Calculates Annual Cost of Charging an iPad

Friday, September 7th, 2012

According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), consumers who fully charge their iPad tablet daily can expect to pay $1.36 a year.

The analysis shows that each model of the iPad consumes less than 12 kWh of electricity over the course of a year, based on a full charge every other day. By comparison, a plasma 42” television consumes 358 kWh of electricity a year. Costs may vary depending on what region that a consumer resides and the price of electricity in a particular location.

According to Apple, 67 million of the devices have been purchased worldwide. EPRI calculations show that the average energy used by all iPads in the market is approximately 590 gigawatt hours (GWh). In a scenario where the number of iPads tripled over the next two years, the energy required would be nearly equivalent to two 250-megawatt (MW) power plants operating at a 50 percent utilization rate. A quadrupling of sales in two years would require energy generated by three 250-MW power plants.

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About EPRI: The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI’s members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI’s principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.

Ocean Wave Power

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

An exciting event happened this past week in the area of Wave Power. The first wave power station in the United States received a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build and deploy up to 10 Ocean Power Technology (OPT) devices off the coast of Oregon. These devices together are planned to generate 1.5MW of power. This is the equivalent of powering approximately 1,000 homes.

Living on an island in the NW, we often wonder about the feasibility of tidal and wave power. Tidal power is created by using the ebb and flow of the tides. Wave power is created by using the up and down motion of waves. Both types of systems are beginning to be deployed around the world. Still considered expensive, when compared to traditional electricity generation and even to the costs of other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, advances in technology and economies of scale should bring the costs of ocean power down.

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Learn more about tidal and wave power