Transmission Woes on Central Coast Rinaldo S. Brutoco is the Founding President and CEO of the Santa Barbara-based World Business Academy and a co-founder of JUST Capital. He’s a serial entrepreneur, executive, author, radio host, and futurist who’s published on the role of business in relation to pressing moral, environmental, and social concerns for over 35 years S outhern Santa Barbara County is literally at the end of the line in terms of the electrical transmission grid. Sixty-six percent of our power is carried through a single pair of high voltage transmission lines owned by Southern California Edison (Edison). They sit in the back of the foothills that ring our county and bring the energy we use between Goleta and Ventura. Since they run on the same easement next to each other in the remote back country, if a tower goes down, we would be without power. As the World Business Academy disple: generate energy locally from renewable resources with a statewide “honeycomb” of interconnected microgrids to replace the existing grid one substation at a time. Microgrids can be built to rely solely upon renewable resources and economically store that energy in numerous ways. When the rest of the electrical grid goes down from transmission line failure, a microgrid could “island” itself and continue to function. It could also interconnect to other microgrids forming that honeycomb described above. The Academy several years ago pro
Helping Through Innovation & Community
3D-printed valves are saving the lives of COVID-19 patients I t is clear that 3D printing will have a big impact on the medical world in the near future. When doctors in Northern Italy needed a replacement valve for a reanimation device and the supplier was out, they successfully printed one themselves.
It is critical to slow the spread of the virus because many patients require oxygenation and intensive care to successfully fight off the disease, but many regions lack the resources to offer this care to large numbers of patients. Fortunately, 3D printing may be able to help close the supply gap in hospitals.
A hospital in Brescia contacted FabLab in Milan on March 13 and asked if it would be possible to 3D print these critical valves. FabLab put the hospital in contact with Isinnova, a company that responded to this call by bringing a 3D printer to the hospital. By the evening of March 14, ten patients were successfully being supported by printed valves.
Hundreds of hospitals have reached out for access to the model. The Italian company shared its plans in a downloadable file and other medical facilities around the world are adopting this life-saving solution!
Five Ways to Support your Community During COVID-19
26 March – 2 April 2020 MONTECITO JOURNAL28 “Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.” – Lindsey Vonn covered in 2012 in an obscure filing made by Edison at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Edison specifically warned the transmission lines would fail from erosion under the towers from rain or fire. Edison hid this statement again in another unrelated 2014 filing.
According to Edison’s report to the CPUC on this issue, when a tower goes down, “all 82,700 metered customers in South Santa Barbara County would lose power until emergency electrical power could be delivered to the area… Without an answer to local reliability needs in South Santa Barbara County, longterm outages could occur for several weeks.”
Since Edison reported that the lines would come down, this is not a theoretical discussion. Based on Edison’s warning, City and County officials should have already initiated a full examination of the threatened transmission network crisis and started to develop local resiliency solutions.
The Academy knows the solution to this precarious situation is simvided a detailed map to the CPUC for replacing the entire transmission network with solar cells.
Abandoning the grid’s 1,100-milelong California “backbone” in favor of microgrids is the only feasible solution for Santa Barbara and ultimately the state. About a decade ago, I created a plan called the California Moonshoot to demonstrate that the state could shift to renewables-driven microgrids at no additional cost within ten years by deploying microgrids one substation at a time to avoid any power disruption during the transition.
Santa Barbara has started to install microgrids for critical facilities like schools, fire and police departments, grocery stores, and shelter sites, but hasn’t begun to tackle this issue on a countywide basis.
A proposal is now pending to build substantial battery storage at the Glen Annie substation as an immediate “hedge” against a sudden loss of power for a short period of time. The Academy advocated this step more than three years ago and is delighted to see this first small step taken. We could also build a Physical distancing is one of the best tools we have for slowing the spread of COVID-19 but isolating at home can leave you feeling helpless in a time of community need. Here are five ways to help your community while practicing distancing.
Be conscious while shopping. If you can, visit stores at less crowded hours and be mindful to shop only for your family’s needs. If possible, try not to buy “WIC-approved” items as these are the only option for those using food stamps. Find novel ways to support small businesses. Consider purchasing gift cards from local businesses that are experiencing reduced demand such as boutiques or restaurants.
Make donations. At-risk populations such as homeless or low-income community members will be hit particularly hard by this crisis. Contact your local shelter and inquire about what supplies they need most.
Be the neighbor you would want to have. Something as simple as getting goods from the store for an elderly neighbor could make all the difference.
Follow credible news sources. Following reliable and accurate news sources is critical for staying up to date. The CDC and verified local news sources are great options for national and regional updates. •MJ solar installation on the abandoned land surrounding Glen Annie. The real solution, however, is to locate a hydrogen fuel cell at each substation so that power can be generated indefinitely from renewable hydrogen.
A study published in January 2020 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that the most resilient cities in the world had common energy efficiency measures to combat climate change. The most common measures included encouraging sustainable transportation, benchmarking and auditing buildings, and establishing municipal build and fleet efficiency policies. The authors of the report concluded that the objectives of energy efficiency and other related measures are “to reduce damage to critical infrastructure, minimize disruptions, and shorten the duration of negative impacts.”
Energy resilience measures increase a community’s capacity to cope with stresses by providing benefits to public health, safety, and quality of life. In the case of Santa Barbara County, building local resiliency is literally a matter of life or death, as we are all too well aware.
In addition to ambitious renewable energy (and climate mitigation goals) in the last year, the county of Santa Barbara, the city of Santa Barbara, and the city of Goleta have passed strategic energy plans, each with key sections focusing on resilience and emergency preparedness.
However, to truly be both sustainable and resilient, our region must demand cooperation from Edison to assist with the widespread deployment of community microgrids rather than restrict them as they currently do. They must be forced, as our public utility, to actively support instead of block renewable and resilient plans. •MJ Microgrids can be built to rely solely upon renewable resources and economically store that energy in numerous ways. When the rest of the electrical grid goes down from transmission line failure, a microgrid could “island” itself and continue to function