You’re going to see more changes in how you get energy in the next five years than you’ve seen in the last 50.
Our nationwide grid of energy is a remarkable achievement. Yet there are a lot of inefficiences. Consider that a giant company generates power far from city and then transmits it over long distance lines to serve a community. But 7% or 8% of all power that’s generated is lost as it travels.
So what has worked well for a long time is now breaking down, as the cost of that power is going up at a dramatic rates around the country.
Technology is ripping the guts out of what we’ve been doing. Because of incredible breakthroughs, it’s now possible to have on-site power plants.
For example, a recent article in The Charlotte Observer talked about how Apple in North Carolina is building massive $1 billion data center that will have the largest fuel cell installation not owned by a utility, and be the nation’s largest on-site solar array owned by company, not a utility. Apple may be able to get off the grid, thanks to supportive North Carolina law.
Meanwhile, The Arizona Republic reports that Sky Harbor Airport now gets half of all power from an on-site solar array that didn’t cost local taxypayers one cent. A private company leases the system to the airport. The priv company in turn guarantees that the kilowatt hours will cost no more than what they’ve been paying, absorbing all the risk of the install, servicing and, if it doesn’t work as advertised, the lost power. And then in turn it shares massive savings with the airport. The airport will save $5 million minimum by having this install.
Finally, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Milwaukee now has a wind turbine running that is about to be connected to the power grid. The wind turbine will handle a lot of electric needs for the port of Milwaukee.
We are on the cusp of reducing our dependence on dirty coal. Wind will work somewhere, solar elsewhere, fuel cells elsewhere, geo thermal elsewhwere and then maybe even technologies we haven’t even thought of yet will come into play.
I recently had the privilege to testify before the Georgia Senate Committee because the power co has put a block on doing innovative on-site power installations. That kind of mentality is so archaic and has no place in the free entreprise system.
We in America are on the cusp of being able to take control of energy needs for vehicles, businesses, schools and homes. This is going to be great opportunity in R&D and good jobs for those who don’t have them right now.
We need to be active, not passive, looking forward, not back.