Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Friday, 4 November 2005


In recent years there has been much talk in backward-looking power-utility circles of 'co-generation.' By which they mean that all the little dummies like you and I will be allowed to help the clever Big Iron blokes a bit by generating a smidgen of power at your place and mine to add to the Real Power being generated in the high and mighty National Grid.

Wrong. The new national grid will be everyone's place interlinked. And that is not co-generation. It is generation. It is to electricity what the PC and the Internet were to computing, eliminating the rule of the Big Iron mainframe. It is millions of Little Iron generation-sites all hooked together replacing a few Big Iron sites way out there. Unless those Big Iron sites are hydroelectric sites, or wind, or geothermal or some other natural means of generating power. In that case they will become feeders to the Little Iron sites, which will store their power as hydrogen. But all the consumer generation will be done at the point of consumption.

Whichever way it works, Little Iron will be king. That is where the true power will lie, in every meaning of the term.

Just as you once had to have a dumb terminal hung off a distant Big Iron mainframe if you wanted computing on your desk, but now you have your own PC connected to the Internet through which you can access whatever data you want or need, and through which you can pool whatever data you generate, so we now have the technology for you to generate all the electric power you need, and via a pooling/sharing national grid access other repositories of power large and small from which you can store what you need or what may later be needed to be shared with/sent to others in your electricity village (like the global village, but smaller).

Every point of consumption of electricity will also be a point of generation, and thus generation will automatically keep pace with consumption instead of always trailing behind it by a country-mile. No longer will we all vulnerable to the failure of some humungous national grid.

Instead it will be a zillion silicon solar cells on a zillion roofs( silicon is the second-most plentiful element in the earth's crust and you can drink the water off it), and a zillion electrolysers and fuel-cells in a zillion basements. The electrolysers will split rainwater using the solar-generated power off the roof, plus the power off the hydro-electric resource, thus ensuring that not a drop of that capacity is wasted. Thus the latent power from lakes will be stored in every basement in the country, where the resource cannot evaporate and does not need to be poured away over spillways during heavy rain. Likewise all the power from wind-farms, tidal generation, etc., will be stored for use right where it is consumed instead of wasted.

Generation will be everywhere generation is needed. No more generation at a distance from consumption. The national grid will be there to link us all together instead of there to link us to Big Iron. Which is how things should be.

That generation will not be just the generation of electricity. It will also be the generation of transportation energy. The hydrogen-making resource in every basement will also be making the fuel for the fuel-cells that will power all the fuel-cell vehicles on our roads.

The only pre-requisites are: (1) Shoot the oil and coal companies; (2) Cure the global addiction to the Black Stuff. Hmmmm...