A brutal storm ripped through southwestern Minnesota in April and snapped 2,000 power poles. Worthington Public Utilities kept the lights on with a seat-of-the-pants microgrid.
appliance and turbine manufacturers such as General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse were coordinating on the issue, but that conclusions are mixed. According to Linderman, GE says it can design a machine "for any specification of fuel." But he quotes a different manufacturer as warning that "the only thing that that machine can't do is, it can't take changes in fuel quality on a basis that's just flowing through the pipeline." That manufacturer says it will need to have a quality standard to rely on that is generally available and that "the machine is designed for."
Meanwhile, an editorial in the July 2004 issue of Appliance magazine carries this warning: "Trying to fuel your basic range-top, oven, water heater, dryer, furnace, or hearth product with [LNG] imports could result in some unpleasant risks, namely elevated carbon monoxide emissions, increased yellow tipping, and firing rates that exceed nameplate ratings."
While the gas industry is not yet ready to admit it, there may be a high price to pay to deal with the differences that come from an increase in imports of natural gas from overseas. But the alternative of not paying to avert a natural gas crisis would be irreconcilable.
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