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Vehicle to Grid: A New Spin on Car Payments

For 15 years, Willette Kempton, who directs the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration, saw fleets of electric vehicles as valuable backup power on demand to utilities. Using electric vehicles for grid backup would reduce the need for costly new generating plants and help ensure a reliable supply of electricity.  Instead of paying other utilities for backup power, a utility could pay an electric vehicle owner for backup electricity, an approach known as "vehicle to grid."

Kempton has calculated the amount of klowatts that could be available to the grid if the 146 million cars, SUV's and pickups in the U.S. provided their stored electricity to the grid.  They could produce 10 times the power of all U.S. power plants combined.  The car owner would enter information into a dash-mounted control panel, including when he needed to travel, and how far. A microprocessor in the control panel would calculate whether the car had power to spare.

The advanced batteries in electric vehicles can respond within seconds to a need for extra power.  They are especially useful for frequency regulation that balances supply and demand which must be kept in balance at all times, something that's done 400 times a day.  The value of such regulation could be worth $5,000 a year for a single car.  With our current electricity system, most of the supply is constant while demand varies.  As more wind and solar is used to provide our electricity, not only demand, but also the main sources of supply will vary making balancing the system more complicated.  For more details, see the article:  Vehicle to Grid:  A New Spin on Car Payments.

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


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Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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