News from the prairie


MPR talked about Morris today! A sign of the future in Morris: Cows + solar panels + fast electric car charger. We crave this kind of fame.

Today, the university community is celebrating the arrival of the only fast electric vehicle charger for more than 100 miles around. And later this spring, a 30-kilowatt solar array will be installed in an adjacent cow pasture, sending clean power to the charger.

It’s a big deal for electric vehicle ownership in western Minnesota: It can take days to charge an electric car at home from a regular electric outlet. Before now, the nearest fast charger was 120 miles away in Monticello.

Also, this:

“It’s sort of a wasteland beyond Monticello, and there’s nothing west of us,” said Eric Buchanan, a renewable energy researcher at the center.

(Monticello is a bit more than a 100 miles east of us; the Dakotas are west.)

So now you know. We are an oasis of electricity in the center of great empty wasteland, devoid of anything. OK, there is a bit of truth to that, except we do have far more corn and soybeans than you’d see in a Mad Max-style wasteland.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    I can see the headline now: researcher refers to the Dakotas as “nothing”

  2. blf says

    we do have far more corn and soybeans than you’d see in a Mad Max-style wasteland

    The “wasteland” of Messrs Mad and Max is devoid of free-roaming peas, which is a significant advantage.

  3. johnniefurious says

    Refueling there has been kinda crazy since Master (Blaster) took over.

  4. says

    So, the Dakotas are absolutely nothing? Nice phrasing, Mr. Buchanan. I guess I’ll go out into the nothing and tell it to stop squawking and screaming for food.

  5. Rich Woods says

    for more than 100 miles around

    I’m trying to get my head around this distance, trying to gain some context. Where I grew up in England, 100 miles around would include London, Birmingham and Sheffield. To add context, going twice that distance would just about include Amsterdam. In Minnesota, is the epicentre Jack and Wendy’s farm, and 100 miles just about stretches to Jack’s second cousin Jamie’s farm?

    It’d also be helpful to know the range of the electric vehicle which Jack and Wendy could charge. Just in case anyone wanted to actually go see them.

  6. cartomancer says

    Well there’s your problem – too much soy. Get rid of the soy and you’ll have roving gangs of testosteroned-up marauders in no time. Or something. Endocrinology is difficult.

  7. efogoto says

    @2 blf: “devoid of free-roaming peas, which is a significant advantage.”

    Ah, c’mon now. Give peas a chance.

  8. HidariMak says

    we do have far more corn and soybeans than you’d see in a Mad Max-style wasteland

    Easy enough. Just wait until winter for filming that next Mad Max movie there then. ‘Mad Max: Flurry Road’.

  9. Scott Simmons says

    A college classmate of mine was from Rapid City. When I presented him with a gag from a then-recent Dave Barry column:
    “Last week, my wife got a credit card offer from a bank in South Dakota! I didn’t even know they had banks in South Dakota! What would people keep in them? Pelts?”
    He gave me a flat stare for a moment, then said, “Actually, that seems pretty fair.”

  10. antigone10 says

    @Rich Woods

    Minnesota is 406 miles N-S, and about 300-350 E-W (really odd shape). If you were in the middle of the state, and drove 100 miles in any direction you’d still be in the state. And, family farms tend to get pretty big (my own extended family owns a good 1/4 of kittson county) so yeah, 100 miles away could easily be second-cousin territories.

    I’ve heard it tell that the difference between the US and the UK is that the US thinks 100 years is a long time and the UK thinks 100 miles is long ways. I’ve not been to the UK yet, but I have driven from Florida to Washington, and yeah- I00 miles isn’t really that far away. It’s an hour-and a half trip on the interstate.

    But, also remember the average commuter distance in the US is 15 miles, with a solid 11% doing more than 30 miles one way. That beats UK by a bunch.

    Also, I’ve lived in ND and hunted in SD. Calling it “nothing” is a compliment.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    On the positive side, the ziqqurat/stepped pyramid we build in honor of the squid god will be visible for tens of miles in that flat terrain.
    It reminds me, the latest Jack Reacher novel was set in flat corn territory. Apparently the land is turning people into “Hostel”- type homicidial locals.

  12. Rich Woods says

    @antigone10 #11:

    I’ve heard it tell that the difference between the US and the UK is that the US thinks 100 years is a long time and the UK thinks 100 miles is long ways.

    That’s a good one! There’s certainly some truth to it.

  13. Nemo says

    It can take days to charge an electric car at home from a regular electric outlet.

    This is a bit misleading. For most EV owners, home charging is best described as an “overnight” thing. To get to “days”, you’d have to combine the slowest possible charging rate (which most EV owners do NOT use), with the largest of electric car batteries. Me, I fully charge my car in about six hours.

    I was going to elaborate at some length, but probably nobody wants to read that here. :)

  14. Chakat Firepaw says

    @Rich Woods

    A couple scaling bits I sometimes use are that southern Ontario is about the same size and shape as England and that Canada is bigger than Europe, including European Russia.

  15. Colin J says

    Yeah, we make similar comparisons in Australia. I get so jealous of UK-ians because there are so many countries right on their doorstep. Earlier this year someone posted on Pharyngula that they lived in England and had never been overseas. That same day my partner had to fly to Perth for work – their trip to work that morning was substantially further than going from London to Moscow.