Energy Grid - The Details
if there was an existing, viable technology that,
when developed to its highest potential, could:
Man's Vision: Energy Abundance
decades ago, inventor, scientist and mathematician
R. Buckminster Fuller proposed interconnecting regional
power systems into a single, continuous world electric
energy grid. While this global vision is still years
away, technological advances over the past two decades
have made the linking of international and inter-regional
networks practicable today.
of this initiative emerged from the global simulation
of the World Game. The World Game eliminates
politics, prejudice, war and human ignorance, and
has as its purpose:
make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous
cooperation without ecological damage or the disadvantage of
earth's resources were catalogued, and human survival
needs were assessed, giving world planners the potential
for global thinking and solutions. Upon realizing
that electricity was the common denominator of all
societal infra-systems: food, shelter, health care,
sewage, transportation, communication, education,
finance - the priority of delivering sufficient power
to every human was established. Access to electricity
for everyone is a primary measure of a modern society.
development now moves power further and cheaper.
years ago, electric power could only be efficiently
transmitted 600 kilometers. Breakthroughs in materials
science extended this transmission distance to 2500
kilometers. This allowed utilities to interconnect
across time zones and compensate for variations in
seasonal demand. The buying and selling of power is
now common, because utilities desire to level the
peaks and valleys of energy demand.
shows the efficient distance of ultra-high voltage
(UHV) transmission to be 7000 kilometers for direct
current, and 4000 kilometers for alternating current.
This would allow for power interchange between North
and South hemispheres, as well as East and West. Because
of electricity's link to a quality standard of living,
the interconnection of regional power grids became
the highest priority objective of the World Game.
Win-Win Solution to Global Problems
power grids has proven to be both economically and
environmentally desirable. Presently, 80% of all power
generation is non-renewable, causing many of the world's
environmental ills -- greenhouse gases, acid rain,
toxic wastes. Yet, enormous potential for hydro, tidal,
solar, wind and geothermal sites exist around the
world. These are oftentimes in remote locations, but
within economic transmission reach. Today, as peak
power is often purchased from a neighboring utility,
the most inefficient, expensive and polluting generators
are being phased out.
of dollars are presently being saved through shared
power, and much of the future demand can be met from
wheeled electricity, rather than constructing the
next power plant. These savings are reflected in reduced
customer costs, while expanding markets for each power
producer -- a massive win-win situation.
developed countries, end-use efficiency is the priority.
However, demand-side management for the developing
countries is difficult when their energy demand is
rapidly increasing. One does not become environmentally
concerned until survival is handled. Efficiency savings
are important, yet only part of the solution.
the Quality of Life
of UHV technology to the developing world is immense.
Exports of excess capacity can be purchased by the
industrialized world, providing cheaper and cleaner
power for the North, and sending needed cash to the
trend analysis shows striking improvement in all major
societal indicators as electricity becomes available
for developing societies. When food and health care
systems can be sustained, infant mortality rates decrease,
as do birth rates. When fewer children die from hunger
related causes, fewer "insurance births" are required
to ensure care for the elderly. Projections that the
population bomb would cease and hunger would end when
the Energy Grid is in place appear to have merit.
The average life expectancy of fifty years for many
developing nations would also increase. Note: What's
needed today in most villages are small decentralized
generators that can meet basic food, water and health
care needs. As development demand increases, the population
can connect into the expanding grid network.
Bridges: Swords to Plowshares
As a high-tech
global initiative that benefits everyone, the Energy
Grid is ideal. Since international cooperation is
required, political tensions and fears would be diminished.
Many experts suggest that peace is enhanced when friend
and foe trade with one another. Already over 50 nations
are linked with neighboring countries, predominately
throughout Eastern and Western Europe and North America.
project of GENI is the interconnection between Israel
and its Arab neighbors, which is now proceeding after
the Israeli/PLO Peace Accords. Two months after the
fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East and West Germany
initiated the linkage of their grids, and all of Europe
is slatted to be interconnected in the next decade.
GENI has opened the dialogue for the South-to-North
linkages of Latin America to North America and from
Africa to Western Europe. Siberian Russia and North
America have enormous untapped renewable capacity.
This hemispheric interconnection would transcend political
differences, being economically and environmentally
beneficial for both nations. Given the technical and
engineering expertise required, the capital, resources
and brainpower could lead the economic conversion
from a military-industrial base to civilian-oriented
of the Bering Strait intertie are less than 5% of
the US/Russian combined annual military budgets. Both
short and long term benefits
dwarf this figure, and experts from both countries
have begun to investigate this scheme. Of critical
consequence for the planet is choosing the appropriate
energy path for India, China and Southeast Asia. Over
half the world's population lives here, and linking
renewable resources is essential if we are to reduce
atmospheric emissions. Leading to the Earth Summit,
the United Nations Environmental Program called the
one of the most important opportunities
to further the cause of environmental protection and
of GENI is to ask the question: if the technology
exists, and the economics make sense, why haven't
we done it? Politics, bureaucracy and nationalistic
thinking are the barriers.
missing is an informed public who can influence political
will. GENI has facilitated the expert corroboration
of this global vision and is working to educate all
people of this viable option.
nations and people knew there was another global option,
another alternative, what
would they do?