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A news story broke in early September that a wind farm in Upstate New York had to suspend operations due to a shortage of transmission capacity going into New York City. An announcement followed in regard to plans to build additional transmission capacity. Despite claims that the North American grid is rugged and robust, many sections of that grid are old and need to be replaced. That upgrading coincides with a steadily increasing demand for electricity.
During the summer of 2003, most of the North American transmission grid shut down at around 4:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. During the winter of 1998 the American Northeast and parts of Eastern Canada were battered by a severe ice storm that incapacitated much of the transmission grid in that region for up to two weeks. Power outages still occur during severe storms that inflict damage on local distribution networks and to sections of the transmission system.
Since the late 19th century when large generation facilities first appeared, the economy of scale has favored large-scale power generation at centralized installations. By the early 20th century it became cheaper to generate electric power at Niagara Falls and transmit electric power to New York City along transmission lines than to build multiple small thermal power stations in the city. By the mid-20th century many small hydroelectric power dams ceased operation as economics favored the mega hydroelectric dams at remote locations from major population centers. At the dawning of the 21st century there is still a powerful economic case for generating power at remote locations and transmitting it over extended distances using ultra-high voltage transmission lines.
Historically, hydroelectric was the only cost-competitive form of renewable power generation. The cost per kilowatt of many other renewable technologies is gradually declining and over the long term they are projected to become cost-competitive with fossil-fuelled power generation. The promising technologies include airborne wind turbines that can access powerful air currents that flow at higher elevations and free flow kinetic turbines that can be placed in ocean currents, ocean tidal currents and in fast flowing rivers. There have been recent research breakthroughs in solar thermal power conversion technology and into concentrating solar power onto advanced PV cell technology.
There have also been ongoing and recent research breakthroughs into various forms of on-site and small-site power generation. Micro gas turbine engines of around 30-kW output evolved from automotive turbocharger technology and can burn a variety of fuels in very remote locations where no transmission lines exist. Micro turbine engines that burn natural gas and/or biogas from gasified biomass can generate up to 150-kW output in the basements of several large office towers in large cities like New York. Such technology can provide essential back-up power, base line power and/or additional power during peak demand periods.
A project recently got underway in France where ultra-deep geothermal wells are being drilled to access high-grade heat that is in excess of the boiling point of water. Such temperature can be found at the bottom of salt domes that have been flushed of salt and that the natural gas industry uses to store compressed natural gas. It is theoretically possible to build an office tower located next to a river or ocean coast and generate electric power from geothermal heat. A closed-cycle engine that circulates a refrigerant such as ammonia or R-134a can operate from the difference in temperature found between the lower depths of the geothermal well and water in the nearby river or ocean coast.
The cost per kilowatt is expected to decline for both thin-film solar PV technology that can be installed as siding on buildings and for solar PV windows. Both technologies would likely be included in the construction and refurbishing of high-rise commercial buildings located in regions that receive generous solar energy throughout the year. Over time and as the cost per kilowatt decreases over time for decentralized power generation, the percentage of such power generation may be expected to increase over time. Some building owners may choose to go off-grid altogether and transfer on-site renewable power generation for solar and wind sources into on-site storage technology such as flow batteries.
Other owners of buildings with on-site power generation may maintain the grid connection and sell excess renewable power to the grid during weekends, during the AM period that precedes the onset of the business day and during the PM period after the close of the business day. In this way decentralized power generation that is connected to the grid could benefit a larger population. There are several micro nuclear technologies that could be used where mass decentralized power generation feeds into the grid.
Toshiba has developed a micro nuclear reactor that uses lithium-6 for fuel and can produce several hundred kilowatts of power for several years. Another competing group proposes to develop atomic batteries use the isotopes from spent nuclear fuel rods. Each atomic battery is estimated to be able to continually generate electric power without using nuclear reactors for up to 28 years. The spent atomic batteries would contain a radiation-free form of strontium. Hyperion Technologies has developed a sealed nuclear battery that uses uranium hydride fuel. Each generating unit can be buried underground from where it may generate up to 25MW for up to five years when the unit would be returned to Hyperion and recharged.
Buildings with off-grid decentralized power generation and energy storage capability may be independent of any outside power line while serving the needs of building owners and their tenants. Decentralized power generation that is connected either to privately owned power lines that connect to other buildings or to the power transmission grid can serve the needs of a larger community. There is future role for both types of decentralized power generation where they may co-exist with various forms of renewable and non-renewable forms of centralized mega-power generation installations.
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Just think for a moment Harry. If many decentralized privately-owned micro generators became widely implemented that were connected to the grid, the owners of these generators would surely have to participate in the business of selling power back into the grid at wholesale real-time prices as the large central generators now do. To achieve this would require the micro generators to all have real-time communications with the grid market operator. Consumers of power would also probably want some choice in who they buy their power from, especially if there is a lower priced micro generator source in their neighborhood nearby. Len Gould has tabled an electricity market reform proposal on this website called an Independent Market for Every Utility Customer (IMEUC) that is precisely this.
Malcolm Rawlingson 11.25.08
I agree with Bob's comments for the most part, except it is not likely that a microgenerator is going to be able to produce at lower costs than the large mass producers any more than it is cheaper to build the family car in your backyard rather than in a mass production factory- presuming we have any left next year.
These are all good ideas except it would involve the dismantling of the present grid which I would suggest cannot survive without paying customers.
The more who switch to their own generation the fewer customers are then available to support the common grid and the plants that power it. The big power utilities will go broke and then we will all HAVE to produce our own power like it or not.
Fortunately I don't foresee this occurring to any large extent. While distributed power systems are available (and have been for many years) the cost for most applications is still far higher than electricity available from the grid and most (with possible exception of CHP systems) have very long repay times.
For DG systems that require storage (solar & winds) the cost of storage needs to be included in capital cost. It isn't now because the grid is a handy storehouse of electrons but if grid systems disappear as would be the case if DG becomes widespread then no such source of handy electrons exists and solar/wind generators would need to build such storage. That, I suspect is not cheap.
In Toronto Canada some buildings are cooled in summer by deep lake water from Lake Ontario to alleviate the need for electrically powered air conditioning plants. It is a costly proposition to dig tunnels and lay the pipes necessary but I am told that a substantial number of city centre buildings are now using it with good savings....and reduced maintenance costs. I can see this type of system having some merit as well as CHP systems but pure electrcity production is not likely to compete...at least not at the rates we pay here in Canada which are quite low in relation to other jurisdictions. I have looked at many possibilities for operating my house and no technology available now or likely in the future comes close to the $75 bucks a month I pay for grid power. Solar power I costed out to be $15,000 - and installing it myself. Even if I survived the installation process (not falling off the roof) I would still need to buy grid power at night and non sunny days or buy some big batteries that would need replacing every 4 to 5 years. Geothermal (for heating only) would cost $40,000. I heat with natural gas by the way which explains the low dollars for electrcity...but I am also quite frugal.
Small gas fired microturbines might work but I can't see the capital cost coming down to anything affordable for a single household. And of course most people do not have or are not willing to tie up large capital sums in a home system. While the grid has suffered through some major weather conditions and avoidable problems as Harry wrote about it is still extremly reliable (in the 98% plus range) so most people do not see the point in laying out large sums of money...they'd sooner buy a car or a TV....which of course they do.
Good article Harry always give us food for thought.
To me the focus should be on upgrading the already established grid system before it falls apart. We are not going to be able to continue keeping it operating without taking good care of it...and once it has gone it will never be rebuilt.
Bob Amorosi 11.26.08
I agree the current high cost of a distributed micro generator on a rooftop is really the only barrier to prevent their mass commercialization. But commercial cost has an uncanny way of coming down over time for anything new, particularly once it gets a foothold in commerce, and ESPECIALLY if the general population is sold on it becoming "fashionalbe". Remember too a rooftop generator has the economic advantage of not requiring any part of the existing grid for its owner to exclusively use its output.
If mass commercialization of distributed micro generators substantially reduced the incomes of large central generators and threatened their viability, this is precisely where our governments have a huge role to play - in helping to keep the large central generators and the grid infrastructure viable so that both could co-exist someday. It might very well mean fewer large central generators, particularly fossil fuel ones since they are gradually becoming disfavored from the climate change crisis, and may disappear gradually over time. But big nuclear and existing hydro shouldn’t' disappear, we'll surely still need them.
Malcolm Rawlingson 11.26.08
Yes I can see that logic Bob, well put. In addition the cost of new large plants is becoming very expensive...some of the latest cost figures for new nuclear I have been looking at are quite shocking. These costs must be paid by the consumer eventually but, overall, the cost of electricity will need to increase dramatically in order for DG to overcome present inertia.
I also agree that mass production will lead to lower costs but the demand has to be there first and it is not at present. The successful systems are likely those that can perform the dual functions of heating (and cooling) the home or office, heating hot water and providing electricity as a "by product". The fuel source would almost certainly have to be natural gas to achieve all of these things at once. Gas turbine microgenerators are an obvious fit but their costs would have to be reduced by an order of magnitude to make it worth the while of the average householder or business.
The other concern I have, and it is a very serious one, is that many renewables rely on the stability of large generators to take up the slack when they are not able to produce. Wind and solar have poor capacity factors simply based on the fuel source and no amount of innovation is going to change that fact. Once the grid loses its funding base (its customers) utilities will find it increasingly more difficult to fund the necessary maintenance let alone make much needed improvements. Those costs will then fall directly on the DG producers unless they disconnect from the grid so a blended system of DG and large generators is unlikely to be the case if DG becomes cheap enough that it becomes widespread.
That is a very scary proposition and one that needs to be very carefull thought out before we start to dismantle a system that has served the public and industry supremenly well over the las 60 - 100 years.
My view is that DG is a very slippery slope. Good (maybe) for those that can afford it. Disastrous for those that cannot.
Bob Amorosi 11.26.08
Your last concern on funding grid maintenance is indeed a huge potential issue with DG. There are probably simple ways to potentially avoid the problem though.
If a micro generator wants the privilege of selling power back into the grid, and if its owner wants to use power from the grid even part time, they must pay some sort of transport fee to the utility company that goes into funding overall grid maintenance. Or a government could use transport taxes much like all rate payers essentially pay now by sharing the cost of grid maintenance. In Ontario we have specific and substantial "transmission" charges on every bill.
Len Gould 11.27.08
I don't think it is fair to say that "DG will never happen because it is too costly for the owners" without evaluating eg. SOFC fuel cell furnaces already developed at $733 / kw, though agreed no yet widely available. I suspect the only thing holding them up is some grid connection standard.
There is no reason to suspect that widespread use of DG will "break the grid financially". The grid simply needs to be separated from generation, and set up as an independent rate-based monopoly with guaranteed returns. What DG could possibly do is make life difficult for the resulting open market generating entities, though given the near-future widespread deployment of PHEV's and EV's I rather expect the opposite. That should not cause anyone any serious disruption I would think, though a well-implemented IMEUC woulld tend to transfer a lot more loads from short-run peakers to high-eficiency baseload units like nuclear. Still, if the renewables lobbies get their way with wind, the potentially idled peakers will still be required to fill in when the wind isn't blowing, provided anyone is still willing to pay the enormous real costs of that power.
Len Gould 11.27.08
And with IMEUC, the DG owners are only paid a rate competitive with the central generating stations, less a fair levy for distribution and transmission required to deliver to their identified customers. It's fair all around, and very low-cost to operate.
Malcolm Rawlingson 11.27.08
I'm not sure Len, that Nuclear Generators are more efficient than any other Generator since efficiency is simply defined as electrical energy out divided by energy in. Most nuclear generators are not as efficient at producing electricity as say coal and oil because of the low boiler outlet temperatures which causes steam saturation earlier in the steam turbine and requires moisture separators and reheaters to be installed. Nuclear steam turbines are significantly larger than their fossil fuelled counterparts as a result of this. Natural gas turbines are more efficient than nuclear steam turbines. But I think you did not mean to use the term as the widely understood engineering definition of it. If what you meant is nuclear has higher capacity factors then I agree.
What I was trying to get across in my previous posts was that I do not see the average Joe with a rooftop or few square feet in the garage having the desire to install systems costing many thousands of dollars with long repay times. Similarly I do not see Municipalities or private individuals committing millions of dollars of ratepayers or their own money and getting into the business of electricity. And when one adds the grid charges that such generators would be required to pay to support the grid they are using then I see a great inertia facing the widespread application of DG. Here is a case in point. When I suggested to my wife that we could install a 115% efficient ground source heat pump by digging up the front yard and installing a few hundred feet of pipe to reduce our gas bill I was greeted with hoots of derision. (I just laid new grass). When I added that it would cost a mere $40,000 Canadian (the cost of a nice new car) to install it and would pay for itself in a mere 27 years (if I nothing major went wrong) ..a very cold and perturbing (for me) silence pervaded my kitchen.
I can imagine a similar scene playing out in many households. While I will not comment on the insanity of spending $40k on a vehicle that will be worth nothing in 10 years it is hard to imagine the majority of households wanting to make this type of investment or choosing between making electricity and buying something nice for their family.....and that will prevent DG from make the inroads that many expect it to.
Indeed after the admission of NUG's (non-utility generators) into the market the amount of electricity produced by them is tiny compared to the large generators and one has to ask why that is. There is nothing preventing a SOFC from attaching itself to the grid and I suspect the reason they are not widespread even though the technology works is the cost and the risk and all the regulatory hoops that are necessary. Making electricity is not an easy task.
Most people would sooner leave it to the people who know how to do it best and pay a hundred bucks or so for it a month. I am sure I can make aspirin if I had the recipe but I think it wise to buy it from people who know their business.
Bob Amorosi 11.28.08
Of course the average Joe isn't going to spend $40k on something that pays back in 27 years, no one will dispute this. But I firmly believe both of these numbers will change as time goes forward.
Firstly the $40k is typical of the gouging of homeowners that ANY kind of retrofit job usually costs. To put the same stuff into new homes is usually priced much less. Here in Ontario, just wait for it, the Ontario Power Authority is already studying ways and consulting with the home builders industry to lower retrofit costs for residential consumers of conservation and efficiency upgrades. They are already throwing lots of conservation budget money at commercial and industrial retrofit projects all over the province.
Secondly, the payback times will come down too if the electricity rate crisis I predict unfolds, where in most places in North America we are going to see painful rate hikes to pay for all the new generation and infrastructure refurbishments that are badly needed, and carbon taxes or Cap & Trade schemes on fossil plants that are on most politicians radar screens.
I'm just waiting for the chance to spend under $10k and on some type of solar system on my roof, with storage backup in my basement, that pays back in under 10 years. I would strongly consider borrowing the money for it against my mortgage if it got me off the grid especially when you consider $10k is a paltry portion of the total value of the house.
Malcolm Rawlingson 11.28.08
I forgot to add that the $40k included a Fed refund of $7k so no doubt they increased the price by $7k. Oh yes gouging is alive and well.
But Bob you are far from the average Joe judging by the intelligence of your comments on power issues. Also I don't mean to be condescending to you or to the Mr & Mrs Average out there but they will be faced with spouses whose priorities are not that much different than mine. That is reality....Holiday in Mexico or Solar Panels......go figure which most will choose.
Not only do prices of solar installations (for example) need to come down dramatically, the price of storage batteries to make them work off grid is still prohibitive even after years and years of research and development. So in addition to the cost of the installation you will also need to add the cost of a replacement battery every few years. I am quite sure the majority of people will prefer to just pay their bill every month.
Also DG is really not feasible when high loads like electric ranges are included. OK for running low power electronics but high consumption devices....forget it. You would also then need to convert electric ranges electric heaters etc to gas. In my case I would need to add at least $2000 to $3000 in gas appliances to my solar panel costs...so the $10k quickly changes to $13k plus storage replacement every few years. So even at 10k still a very expensive venture for most people.
The real key to making wind and solar DG work is cheap storage...and that nut is technically a very hard one to crack...and as soon as it is solved the price of grid electricity will come down because peaking generation is no longer required.
So I am not going to hold my breath for DG to make any significant inroads - I have seen too many failed promises over too many years to have any confidence that DG will deliver any time soon....and that is if large numbers of people can throw $10k into it even if they wanted to. The fact is that most people can't afford that outlay and most people don't want to make that outlay even if they could afford it.....that spells massive interia. The very reasons it has not become popular.
Add to that the fact that you as the owner of the system are now responsible for ensuring system output...that means going up on your roof to clear the snow and freezing rain off and keeping the panels clean and clear. I really can't imagine my 86 year old Mom doing that and she sure can't afford the hundred bucks or so to have someone come in and do it. Even if she could her electricity bill is only $80 a month so why should she bother at all. It just does not make any practical or financial sense...even if the Government GAVE the systems away.
If these systems are installed in new homes it will take decades to make any inroads into the present large generator supplied grid system and will likely cause major generators like OPG and Bruce Power to go bankrupt...the Government subsidies will soon disappear when that reality strikes and revenues from these organisations dry up.
Like hybrid cars they look good on paper....the reality is not nearly as good and much the same bizarre economics as ethanol fuel.
Bob Amorosi 11.29.08
Yes it's true many have failed over the years to significantly reduce the cost of solar or wind after considerable research. Today though R&D in just about everything has enjoyed an accelerated pace thanks to my industry and computers, so although I am not holding my breath either, I'm not counting anything out in my lifetime yet, especially on the battery front. The peak oil crisis that will continue to unfold after the current economic mess recovers (if it ever does) will drive more efforts to crack the battery storage nut. In the meantime I hope here in Ontario our provincial government sticks to its plan to massively spend on new nuclear and grid refurbishment to keep our lights. on.
I feel sorry for many parts of the US though, they are in much deeper trouble than Ontario is. No matter which way it plays out there and here, we're all in for rate hikes as the days of electricity being a bargain are numbered I'm afraid.
Matthew Nissen 11.29.08
Bob and Malcom, you guys are debating a topic near and dear to my heart! There are many solutions to these issues that I think will favor DG in several forms in the near future. From the little bit of research I have done over the years in renewable technologies and CHP, single-family homes have the best technical prospects due to low usage, but the worst economics if it falls on the homeowner to pay for it. Storage - forget about it - too expensive per unit. What is interesting is a trend in some areas for community power pools - and the economics are even better for utility scale storage systems. Currently batteries are expensive (T&M, O&M) with Lead Acid but polymers and chemical composites may bring costs down. How about battery irrigation systems? VRLA still has a short life-cycle.
Now a move from suburban to urban increases the payback and availability for more power options; apartment buildings offer similar low usage per floor area (density) compared to commercial or industrial buildings. TODAY multi-family housing facilities can cost effectively (~10year ROI) incorporate building integrated PV, Wind, CHP, a building management system, and the commissioning without subsidies. The buildings could technically become distributed resources to a utility if they produce substantially more energy than they use, but grid connected and with nameplate DG rating less than the secondary service cabling. Naturally the subsidies in urban centers and the economy of scale should make these very attractive, but then it becomes an issue of knowledge, funding, and vested interest. The electrician costs in major US cities could make or break these budgets, but if the design is cost effective it could be a win-win.
Many properties that are rentals, the owner passes energy costs to the occupants. Where the owner(s) occupies, they have a vested interest in reducing energy costs and increasing efficiency. As Bob pointed out, the economics are going to get better and better as electric rates increase, the mass production or R&D bring the costs of these technologies down.
My employer, a consulting engineering firm, has substantial experience designing facilities with building integrated renewables (generally PV~5% base load, CHP for DHW and HHW) like the Solaire and 4 Times Square in NYC. We have also worked on some high profile hush-hush projects where the owners wanted "Energy Positive" features, but the costs of the PV along and limited subsidies in EU broke the budget and these are currently not being built. When the building costs are as large as they are for high-rises in urban centers, the engineered systems almost pale in comparison (not to mention our fees, which are less than the costs of commercial carpeting). I think solar will eventually become feasible economically but it has to come down in unit price and increase in output. Both are happening.
The economic issue is extremely important - how do utilities remain financially solvent when customers are becoming producers? For now, this is not an issue as the bulk electric rates for commercial, municipal and industrial facilities are well below the rates that residential facilities have. Additionally new construction is generally more cost effective than retrofits - that is if they can afford to build anything in this market (not for a while I'm afraid).
Malcolm Rawlingson 11.29.08
Matthew, Thank you. A very objective view. Building integrated systems are much more realistic to me since they both reduce the consumption and create electricity but I am quite sure they are economic for new construction only. Perhaps they should be written into building codes. The retrofit costs as you say are prohibitive so I don't see major changes along that front....especially for high rise complexes and large public buildings such as shopping malls.
I am not against the idea of DG - in theory it seems like an ideal solution - but one cannot ignore the fact that utilties and their shareholders have hundreds of billions invested in power plants and for society to simply write that investment off as a problem for the utilities is very short sighted. I am sure that many pension plans are invested in those utilities and their plants.
I bekieve that power system changes need to be made gradually and systematically and I suggest that is precisely what will happen as the various DG technologies are improved. But it isn't going to happen any time soon.
There is another post here related to PHEV's - I found it most intriguing since it overcomes the capital cost problem quite nicely by putting the storage battery in ones car. I am sure my Mrs. would not mind buying a brand new car but it's a thumbs down to $10k - $20k on solar panels.
PHEV's seem a better approach...but the same problem exists....now the problem is not what to do with all the power plants that no longer make money - it is what to do with all that gasoline we no longer need.
Len Gould 12.1.08
Malcolm: A lot of your objections are founded in the belief that "improving the energy infrastructure is a luxury not a necessity". However, with oil now selling for about 1/2 the cost per bbl of discovering replacement barrels, and international desire (demand = desire x ability to pay) growing continuously, its only a matter of time.....
Bob Amorosi 12.1.08
A large portion of retrofit costs for anything in existing buildings is often the exorbitant labor charges. The skilled labor gets a premium because they know the building's owner will pay it given the only alternative if they want the upgrade is to sell the property and have new construction built.
Now with the tanking world economy and good paying manufacturing jobs in North America continuing to disappear in droves, there's a large available labor pool emerging that could potentially drive the costs down of retrofitting DG into existing buildings. Just a wild thought here but if governments believe in the "green jobs of the future" ideas being touted around, all they would have to do is retrain many laid-off workers to become electricians and home renovators.
There is an even bigger opportunity for DG technology developers to come up with do-it-yourself kits. The HomeDepots and the like have thrived on a substantial portion of the consumer population prepared to do their own retrofitting of just about everything.
Malcolm Rawlingson 12.2.08
Len. Yes exactly my point. The average person out there will indeed see it as a luxury and not a necessity. While you and I (we are a tiny monority) may see the advantages and possibly even do something most people will not. In order to make DG work the majority will need a complete change of mind, heart and a bigger cheque book...that is massive inertia.
Even with an incentive of 42c per KW hour for solar power in Ontario people are still not flocking to install PV panels. The explanation is rooted in my proposal that people would rather by a car or a TV or something nice rather than install solar panels.
The price of electricity will need to rise many times before most would even have DG on the radar let alone commit thousands of dollars to it. And when that happens almost all of the industrial base will have left so it will not happen.
So large DG...it has been talked about since the 70's and I do not see solar panels on every roof top I doubt if I will see it in my lifetime.
Bob Amorosi 12.3.08
As long as electricity prices stay at the bargain levels they are now, or even double, and even if solar costs come down to half from where they are now, I agree we won't see solar on every rooftop in our lifetimes. My point here is that if everyone agrees we need to build thousands of nuclear plants or other plants to stave off the looming disconnect between supply and demand growth, including in North America, electricity prices will skyrocket.
Now combine the above with emerging electrification of autos and the peak oil crisis that will rear its ugly head in the near future, and you have recipe for gut wrenching changes to our energy economies. The economic pain will foster many more R&D efforts, probably with much more government incentives support, to find lower cost DG solutions. IF they are found, just watch for it to show up on every rooftop in new home construction first, then eventually in HomeDepots. And once it becomes “fashionable” with the public, you wont believe how fast consumers will jump on the bandwagon.
Len Gould 12.3.08
Bob: I was going to object to your idea (4 back) about training ex-auto workers to install DG units, but in fact, I realize you are right, that could easily be done. I guess my only objection then is your catagorizing them as electricians. They wouldn't be. An electrician is someone willing to stand in the same small room with a 10 MVA 27 KV transformer / manual switch and throw the handle because they know they've installed it correctly and all the tests and inspections came out good, even though the utility linemen refuse to do it because the last one they did blew up and severly maimed their crewman.
Bob Amorosi 12.3.08
I agree "electricians" is a poor choice of words. "Multi-disciplined contractors" might be better.
You raise a good subject point. A big concern in installing any DG system in homes or in commercial/industrial buildings is the installers must know what they are doing to hook it up properly to the local utility grid. Certification of a contractor is a big requirement before a utility company will even consider allowing it.
Len Gould 12.4.08
Bob: True unless the utility's meter system provides a safe pre-anti-islanding-disconnected plug connection as an optional 4" tall adapter which fits between the meter and the socket.