Monday, April 13, 2009

Crossed wires

The April issue of  Wired Magazin had an interesting article about one aspect of president Obama's energy challenges - the grid.

- 40% of all the energy used in the US  (coal, oil, gas, wind,nuclear) is converted into electrons that travel the grid

- "considering how wasteful, unresponsive and just plain stupid the grid is" it not surprising that outages cost 150 billion a year. "The real shock is that the damn thing works at all."

- demand for electricity is expected to increase with as much as 40% in the next two decades - more than twice the population growth rate - another 214 gigawatts needed (equals 357 large coal plants).

Sobering - especially when we know that the energy consumption = equalling CO2 mostly is so much higher in the US than elsewhere already now. So fixing the grid is needed  - and politically more challenging nuclear power.

But also using less. From Megawatts to Negawatts - measuring usage, feeding solar power to the net, cutting the peaks (10% of generating capacity exists to meet the last 1% of peak demand...). Much space for sense-making investments.

4 comments:

Janne said...

Smarter planet was the IBM theme in the Masters commercials this year - they were playing at least in the US. One of the focus areas was Smart Grid, so they have picked up the message.

http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ideasfromibm/us/smartplanet/topics/utilities/20081124/index.shtml?sa_campaign=message/smarterplanet/feature/spot6

MarcHe said...

Additional and deeper thoughts about mankind's future, the challenges that lay ahead and the possible ways to tackle the energy issues may be found in "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Thomas L.Friedman. I almost finished reading that interesting book (a little too US-centric) : we have no time to loose and no excuse to loose either!

BoHarald said...

Thanks for useful link Janne. Must read Friedman's book.

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