Energy Internet and eVehicles Overview

Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to prepare society for inevitable climate change. To date most people have been focused on how to reduce Green House Gas emissions, but now there is growing recognition that regardless of what we do to mitigate against climate change the planet is going to be significantly warmer in the coming years with all the attendant problems of more frequent droughts, flooding, sever storms, etc. As such we need to invest in solutions that provide a more robust and resilient infrastructure to withstand this environmental onslaught especially for our electrical and telecommunications systems and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with autonomous eVehicles and dynamic charging where vehicle's batteries are charged as it travels along the road, may provide for a whole new "energy Internet" infrastructure for linking small distributed renewable energy sources to users that is far more robust and resilient to survive climate change than today's centralized command and control infrastructure. These new energy architectures will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint. For more details please see:

Using autonomous eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: and

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top:

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change:

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet:

How to use Green Bond Funds to underwrite costs of new network and energy infrastructure:

Friday, February 26, 2010

New revenue opportunites for R&E networks in helping universities reduce their energy costs

R&E networks (NRENs) around the world are under serious financial pressure. Direct government funding has pretty well dried up and their members are also suffering financial constraints as governments world wide face huge budget deficits. At next weeks CENIC conference I will be proposing a possible new funding scenario for R&E networks that not only provides them with a new source of revenue but also has the potential to reduce overall energy costs for their member institutions. Not only do the networks get a new source revenue it will also help their member institutions reduce their costs in these challenging times of fiscal constraint.

The concept I propose is based on the idea of cap and reward similar to the new bill in the US congress called Cap and Dividend.

Computers, networks and data centers consume 30-50% of the electricity on most university campuses. Most universities and colleges are committed to reducing their energy consumption and reducing their carbon footprint. Reducing the energy consumption and
CO2 footprint of fixed infrastructure such as building and labs is difficult, if not impossible. The challenge for many universities is that in most cases they do not pass on the costs of power, cooling and space to researchers. As such there is little incentive for researchers to explore new models of cyber-infrastructure that might reduce the institutions carbon footprint. As well the purchase of offsets, even where universities are mandated to acquire them has been complicated by the fact that there are very few high quality verifiable offsets available in either the voluntary or regulated carbon markets. This is further complicated by the fact that it takes considerable time to develop new offset verifiable and auditable standards for cyber-infrastructure tools.

But ICT and cyber-infrastructure is the low hanging fruit of an effective green strategy at our universities. Virtualization, clouds and relocating computer applications and servers to low cost energy sites could have a big impact on an institutions energy costs.
Studies done by MIT and Rutgers indicate energy savings as much as 45%.

Most R&E networks already charge a membership or participation fee based on the size of the institution or the amount of research dollars they receive or some other similar metric. I propose that R&E networks should instead charge member institutions a membership or participation fee based on their annual total electricity consumption.

In exchange for this fee the R&E network commits to provide a range of ICT services that will help the university reduce its energy consumption and CO2 footprint by providing a range of low carbon ICT and cyber-infrastructure services. These would include such things as remote data storage, application hosting, video conferencing services, cloud computing, optical lightpaths, etc. The university is also encouraged to promote these services internally to its research, faculty and students to help the institution take advantage of this offering from the R&E network. If the university manages to reduce its energy consumption, it is not penalized in any way in terms of benefiting from these services and it gets the additional bonus of reduced costs for energy and network services.

I also suggest that universities establish an internal cap and reward fund to promote the adoption of low carbon ICT and cyber-infrastructure, as offered by the R&E networks and by the institution itself. Such a fund could be made up from the money already committed to make then institution carbon neutral, for those institutions who are committed to that path by government fiat or on a voluntary basis. Rather than spending money on dubious carbon offsets, researchers, faculty, staff and students would be encouraged to adopt low energy and carbon ICT practices such as using external clouds and hosting datasets off campus or using distributed optical computing infrastructure such as Optiputer. Researchers would be also encouraged to use video conferencing instead of travel. For those who adopt such a strategy with demonstrable energy savings would receive additional research funding from this special cap and reward fund and access to the low energy services offered by the R&E network.

Another green revenue strategy is to provide a low cost national mobile cell phone Internet service for students and faculty with data offload at the nearest campus or school. But I will save details on that strategy for another blog.

Comments or suggestions for improvement on this concept are most appreciated.




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