Articles by Dick Hill


Price comparison

By Dick Hill on Nov. 26, 2010, at 8:42 p.m.
Residential consumers of natural gas now pay about $10 per million Btu. Number 2 oil consumers now pay about $22 per million Btu.

US and nuclear energy

By Dick Hill on Nov. 19, 2010, at 11:43 p.m.
Two nuclear electric generation plants in U.S. are now in the preconstruction phase. Worldwide, 60 reactors are under active construction — 24 in China. Lack of U.S. interest is based on slow …

Stove wood costs

By Dick Hill on Nov. 12, 2010, at 11:33 p.m.
128 cubic feet per cord; 100 cubic feet solid wood per cord; weight of a cubic foot: 50 pounds; cost per cord: $200 (4 cents per pound); typical stick weighs 8 pounds; cost of typical stick: 32 …

Energy from wood

By Dick Hill on Oct. 29, 2010, at 6:26 p.m.
From the work of Dr. Robert Wagner, director of UM School of Forest Resources: Wood provides about 25 percent of electric power generation in Maine, the highest portion of biomass electric generation in the country. It is also the highest renewable contribution of any state if hydropower is not considered.

The wood harvest

By Dick Hill on Oct. 23, 2010, at 1:55 a.m.
From the work of Dr. Robert Wagner, director, UM School of Forest Resources: About 10 percent of Maine’s 15 million-17.5 million green tons of annual wood harvest is used to produce electrical …

Electricity use

By Dick Hill on Oct. 15, 2010, at 6:32 p.m.
Maine uses about 0.4 percent of U.S. electricity and has about 0.4 percent of the U.S. population.

Electricity use

By Dick Hill on Oct. 01, 2010, at 11:20 p.m.
Annual U.S. total electricity use is about 4,000 billion kilowatt-hours. In round numbers: U.S. population — 300 million; hours per year — 10,000. Result: each of us 24-7 uses electricity at an …

Common Ground

By Dick Hill on Sept. 24, 2010, at 11:08 p.m.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has the same problem as the leaders of Maine. Nuclear is not popular. The wind resource is in the North Sea, the major electric demand is in the south, and no one in …

Distillate oil dominates

By Dick Hill on Sept. 18, 2010, at 12:38 a.m.
Of all energy use in the U.S., less than 1 percent is in the form of distillate oil used for residential space heat. Maine, by contrast, uses distillate oil as the dominant source of space heat …

Heating with wood

By Dick Hill on Sept. 10, 2010, at 6:49 p.m.
A vertical, 1-square-foot surface of a wood stove at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit will deliver to a room about 1,200 Btu an hour — 35 percent will be a convection contribution, and 65 …

Solid fuels

By Dick Hill on Sept. 03, 2010, at 7:36 p.m.
From Jay Shelton’s book Solid Fuels Encyclopedia: “For each pound of wood burned with 20 percent moisture content 0.63 pounds of water vapor is generated. … If 50 pounds of wood per day are …


By Dick Hill on Aug. 27, 2010, at 6:49 p.m.
Maine is part of ISO New England’s electric grid. Here is the breakdown on electric energy sources: natural gas, 32 percent; nuclear, 30 percent; co-fired oil and gas, 11 percent; coal, 11 percent; …

The price of power

By Dick Hill on Aug. 20, 2010, at 7:40 p.m.
Each day producers of electricity announce the price they would charge for the delivery of electricity the next day. These bids are rank ordered and the most expensive providers — the last ones to be called on — set the price for all generation. The recent series of hot, humid …


By Dick Hill on Aug. 14, 2010, at 1:41 a.m.
On Aug. 10, the Bangor Daily News carried a full-page ad promoting the MIRA-COOL room-cooling device. Here is how it works. Plastic water containers are frozen in your home refrigerator. These blocks …

Future energy use

By Dick Hill on July 23, 2010, at 6:50 p.m.
Between now and the year 2035, the Energy Information Administration projects almost no increase in the industrial use of electricity. (The big industrial energy users already have moved overseas.) Residential energy use is projected to increase by 24 percent. Population shifts to regions of the country demanding more air conditioning, …

Oil spill statistics

By Dick Hill on July 09, 2010, at 6:27 p.m.
Between April 20 and June 20 the oil leak into the gulf has been estimated to be between 20,000 barrels a day and 100,000 barrels a day. Worldwide use of petroleum is about 100 million barrels a day. …

Energy consumption

By Dick Hill on June 04, 2010, at 8:46 p.m.
About 2 percent of the total United States energy consumption is in the form of burning wood. One half of the wood use is committed to industry (making paper, etc).

Carbon burden

By Dick Hill on April 23, 2010, at 8:09 p.m.
Here’s another projection from the Energy Information Administration, a nonpolicy arm of the U.S. Department of Energy: Driven by increases in the transportation sector and the increased demand for electricity, the total carbon dioxide burden to the atmosphere will increase from the current 5,814 million metric tons per year to …

U.S. and Germany

By Dick Hill on March 05, 2010, at 5:31 p.m.
Germany has 23,000 operating wind turbines with a total nameplate rating of 24,000 megawatts. Wind electric production is 40 billion kilowatt-hours a year, which is 7.5 percent of German electricity use. That same wind power, if installed in the U.S., would produce about 1 percent of U.S. electricity.

Nuclear power

By Dick Hill on Feb. 12, 2010, at 6:27 p.m.
Today, 30 countries generate 16 percent of worldwide electricity from 436 nuclear power plants. The U.S. has 104 of these plants, which generate about 20 percent of U.S. electricity. According to a piece in the fall issue of Daedalus, the quantity of electricity from nuclear plants must be doubled to …