Sunday, March 26, 2006

Making Money from Renewable Energy -- the David Taylor Plan

This past week the government of Ontario announced a new program called the Standard Offer Program in which they will buy electricity from small renewable energy projects:

Under the plan, the Ontario Power Authority will purchase electricity produced by wind, biomass or small hydroelectric at a base price of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. The fixed price for solar will be 42 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Like most people, I saw this news and forgot about it. But not David Taylor. He put his mind to just how he could profit from it. And then he decided to share his method with the world. It makes me proud that he's chosen my blog as the route for dissemination. His diagram speaks for itself.

Click for larger version

Electricity is purchased from Ontario Hydro. Electricity is generated by a rodent spinning a wheel. Electricity is sold to Ontario Hydro.

If you'd like to use this method yourself, I have a few notes:

  • Dave recommends a guinea pig, however further research indicates that guinea pigs do not like spinning wheels and could even be injured by them. A hamster would be more suitable. [source]

  • He made BoingBoing!If you want to actually generate some electricty there is a detailed guide for building a hamster generator here, and an entertaining story about a lad who built a hamster-wheel cell phone charger and became famous on the internet but only got a C from his science teacher for it.

  • While Dave's diagram indicates he would be getting the 11-cent rate for non-solar alternative power, I think an argument might be made that as hamsters eat plants to convert carbohydrates to energy and plants sunlight to convert CO2 and H2O to carboydrates, hamster power is really indirect solar and should be sold at the 42-cent solar power rate.
  • However, asking for the 42-cent rate could draw attention to the secret black box technology and you might want to avoid that.
  • If you're not quite getting how this works it's like this: (a) For your own personal consumption, you buy 1,000,000 kwh of power from Ontario Hydro at $0.05 per kwh. (b) Coincidentally, you sell Ontario Hydro 1,000,000 kwh from your "hamster generator" at $0.11 per kwh.
Links: Gov't of Ontario News Release; Backgrounder


Anonymous said...

I think it's brilliant. I wish I'd thought of it first.

coyote said...

Delicious, delicious hamsters.....