Thursday, April 23, 2009

Decentralized Power

There's a big debate going on about how to best handle the power problems facing the country. Some people say coal, others say nuclear (including me), while others still say to focus on solar and wind.

Still, the gorilla in the room is the power grid. It's old. It's falling apart. It' literally can't handle what we need it to handle. So why not simply take the grid out of the equation?

If we change from a centralized power generation model to one where lots of small plants generate the power, we no longer need a super-powerful grid. The weak grid and continuous-generation plants can simply back up the intermittent power from solar and wind. Every town has a wind turbine in it, and larger cities can mandate solar panels on the roofs, and smaller turbines on tall buildings. It's ersatz to a true solution, but we could deploy it immediately and relatively cheaply.

No comments: