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.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with 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. For more details please see:

Using eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: http://goo.gl/bXO6x and http://goo.gl/UDz37

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top: http://goo.gl/wGjVG

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change: http://goo.gl/juWdH

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet http://goo.gl/niWy1g


Monday, May 21, 2012

When India and China are adding a coal plant a week, energy efficiency in the western world is meaningless


[I am constantly amazed how the western world continues to focus on energy efficiency, smart meters and other energy silliness to address the problem of climate change.
While these technologies may save money and assuage an individual’s  conscience about doing something good for the environment they are absolutely irrelevant and meaningless when the developing world is adding approximately a coal plant per week.  As long as we continue to increase the OVERALL number of coal plants in the world GHG emissions will continue to rise, regardless of what  efficiency strategy we adopt in the western world. As long as the developing world rightly and deservedly desires a western lifestyle, their energy consumption will increase – even if they are using the most energy efficient light bulbs, computers and HAL like super smart meters.  Given the abundance of coal reserves their first choice will be coal powered electricity.

A big, and the fastest growing , part of this electrical consumption will be to power ICT equipment.  Currently somewhere between 6-10% of electrical consumption is for ICT.

So what are we to do?

First we have to understand the scale of the problem. Roger Pielke Jr has done an admirable job in his book “The Climate Fix” in describing the enormity of the challenge.   According to Dr Pielke’s analysis we need to build a nuclear plant (or the renewable energy equivalent) EACH AND EVERY  day for the next 50 years just to stabilize global temperature increase to 2C starting from a baseline of 9 years ago!!  We are already over 3000 nuclear plants (or the renewable energy equivalent), give or take, behind schedule!!   Every 10 days a new nuclear plant has to be built solely  for the ICT sector  for the next 50 years.

Second we have to look at what works.  The biggest reduction in GHG emissions from the electricity sector in North America was not smart meters or energy efficiency, but the ongoing switch from coal power to gas fired electrical plants. Changing the type of energy on the supply side of the equation has a far greater impact on GHG emissions then anything you can do on the demand side.   But gas is only a half way measure. Although its better than coal, gas still has a significant GHG footprint. The obvious end game is to use 100% renewable energy.   And of that renewable energy solar power is likely to be the most common source.  Electricity from solar panels is on track to be cost competitive with coal within the next 5-10 years.

But the biggest problem with renewable energy, particularly solar and wind is its unreliability and predictability.  Most places that have deployed considerable renewable energy such as Denmark are still reliant on coal plants for 80% of their electrical power.  As long as you are connected to the grid  you can’t get rid of the coal plants.  Energy storage is part of the solution on the supply side. But building solutions that can live with this unreliable power on the demand side will probably be a lot more effective. This is the real problem we need to solve – not energy efficiency. This is where ICT can play an important role – firstly in moving ICT products and services off the grid and secondly in helping other sectors of society move off the grid.  Building a distributed  energy system that only uses renewable energy, with no coal plant backup, is our only hope.

Why is it so important that we disconnect from the electrical grid?

If you are realist and looking at the odds of building a new nuclear power plant (or the renewable energy equivalent) each and every day for the next 50 years, then like me you have to conclude that we are whistling past the grave yard. We need to focus on adaptability – and learn how to live in a much warmer climate.  But a warmer climate means a lot more severe weather patterns.   The probability of an extreme heat wave has increased enormously… by about 40 times (4000%) in the last 50 years. http://www.slideshare.net/Revkin/a-defense-of-jim-hansens-climate-conclusions/download .  And this is just the beginning. Extreme heat wave and conversely flooding is going to be very disruptive to the electrical grid – and eventually I think the public is going to start demanding the shut down of coal plants around the world. If they are willing to shut down nuclear power plants in Germany and Switzerland,  then it is only  a matter of time when the public will starting demanding governments to start to shut coal plants.  If this starts to happen you had better have a strategy to get off the grid.  If there are widespread protests and shutdown of coal plants there are likely to be rolling brown outs if not black outs.

If hope against hope, we do develop a global strategy to combat climate change, solar power will likely by the primary source of energy. Whether it is for adaptation or mitigation building ICT solutions that only use unpredictable and unreliable renewable energy, with no back up from coal fired grid, will produce far bigger economic opportunities than anything related to energy efficiency, smart meters and other silliness.  – BSA]