15 November 2008
Electric Grid ~ Global Infrastructure Solutions?
I just read MIT alum Peter Huber's piece on Oil, Gas and Wires in the latest Forbes where he makes the case for creating a high-voltage, continent-spanning and unified US national electric grid. This $75 Billion investment in infrastructure would unleash market forces in the power sector, enabling new generation sources, more competition and lower prices for electricity, and encourage many liquid fuels users to electrify. As MIT's Tech Review spotlighted in an article on A Smarter Power Grid, the current US network is trifurcated...This got me interested in the more general question of whether interconnecting into a global electric grid was a logical extension of Huber's argument. This is what organizations such as GENI Global Energy Network Institute argue for (and which Bucky Fuller first suggested decades ago)... GENI also points out the growing number of regional international grids and cooked up this promo video to advocate the grid... While grid solutions do seem to make sense in general and under ideal conditions, it nevertheless seems like a lot of good will come from off-grid innovations -- whether it's bringing first-light to remote villages through solar or it's creating backups and alternatives to the all-to-frequently "flaky grid".