een wereldwijd elektriciteitsnet een oplossing voor veel problemen  GENI es una institución de investigación y educación-enfocada en la interconexión de rejillas de electricidad entre naciones.  ??????. ????????????????????????????????????  nous proposons la construction d’un réseau électrique reliant pays et continents basé sur les ressources renouvelables  Unser Planet ist mit einem enormen Potential an erneuerbaren Energiequellen - Da es heutzutage m` glich ist, Strom wirtschaftlich , können diese regenerativen Energiequellen einige der konventionellen betriebenen Kraftwerke ersetzen.  한국어/Korean  utilizando transmissores de alta potência em áreas remotas, e mudar a força via linha de transmissões de alta-voltagem, podemos alcançar 7000 quilómetros, conectando nações e continentes    
What's Geni? Endorsements Global Issues Library Policy Projects Support GENI
Add news to your site >>

About Us
C A N A D A'S    N A T I O N A L    N E W S P A P E R


Toronto, Saturday, August 4, 1990


Buckminster Fuller's idea of a global energy system is back in favor

A light seen round the world

By Mary Gooderham, Applied Science Reporter

GREG Lyttle wants to read by light generated in Siberia. But rather than move to the remote river where hydroelectricity is produced, he plans to transport it from the Soviet Union to his Vancouver home.

He is head of the Canadian chapter of an organization called Global Energy Network Institute or GENI that has revived an idea first proposed by inventor R, Buckminster Fuller two decades ago.

Supporters claim their initiative could have benefits from ending hunger to eliminating global debt and cleaning up the environment. But they first have to construct a huge extension cord around the earth and convince a good number of skeptics. "The world is catching up with Bucky Fuller. It was only a matter of time," said Bonnie Goldstein, a researcher at the Los Angeles-based Buckminster Fuller Institute.

The resurgence or Mr. Fuller's ideas of synergy, co-operation and livingry makes sense at a time when communications, trade, political changes and concerns about environmental pollution are leading people to think globally, she said.

People may move back to him one by one, but they're moving.

Mr. Fuller was a self-taught architect, mathematician, engineer, inventor, futurist and philosopher, best remembered for the design of the geodesic dome.

He was called the first poet of technology, coining words and phrases such as dymaxion and tensegrity and inventing new tools to benefit spaceship earth. Though a seminal thinker, he was also known as a crackpot with a large cult following of hippies.

His most important rule was to do more with less. and he left a wealth of ideas, principles of universe and inventions on the shelf when he did in 1983 at the age of 87.

The Fuller Dymaxion air-ocean projection, invented in 1946, places the North pole at the center of a map, lays out the continents to show their geological closeness and eliminates political boundaries and distortions of size and shape inherent in the familiar Mercator projection. It essentially tips the world on its ear.

The idea of linking the world's electricity grids came from the playing of World Game, a logistics exercise invented by Mr. Fuller in 1969, where players representing the population stand on a huge Dymaxion map and deal with food, resources, energy and war materials.

Mr. Fuller believed shortages affecting humanity were not a problem of supply but distribution, and called the energy network the highest priority objective of the game.

Proponents say the ability to instantaneously send power around the world into different time zones and climates would mean an abundance of electricity where it is needed. Ready availability of power would improve living standards. Only generators that are the most efficient and environmentally sound would be used constantly, and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar generation would be incorporated into the network.

In the proposal, grids already present in most areas would be linked by underwater cables across distances such as the Bering Strait, an expensive proposition but a fraction of the current cost of the military buildup in the United States and Soviet Union.

GENI members insist the technology is not the stuff of Buck Rogers. The strategy of wheeling powerfrom one area to another is already growing, with places such as California and British Columbia trading electricity. Power grids are expanding, even highly nationalistic countries in the Middle East forming electric links.

Figure 1: The idea of linking the world's electricity grids came from the playing of World Game, a logistics exercise invented by R. Buckminster Fuller in 1969.


Tipping the world on its ear

  • From Page Dl

Technological advances over the past two decades have made a global grid more practicable, with new metallic alloys insulators and current converters that allow ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission. Two decades ago, electricity could be transmitted only about 350 miles Economically, hut today it can travel more than 4,000 miles.

The idea of the global grid was taken off the shelf five years ago by GENI director Peter Meisen, a San Diego mechanical engineer. Affiliates have been established in places such as Australia, Alaska and Singapore.

There has been no other engineering proposal that has ever been as big, Mr. Meisen said. The idea is to put it on the global agenda.

The first step for GENI to propose an ambitious east-west energy bridge between Alaska and Siberia — the Bering Strait, something that would not only be symbolically significant but would provide a day-night link across the International Date line.

A mailing list informs several thousand GENI members of the initiative, and they pass along information and a video tape explaining the proposal to friends and co-workers with an almost religious zeal.

Its an idea that's worth following up — technologically and economically it is feasible, said GENI Canada's Mr. Lyttle, who admits that politicians and bureaucrats remain to he convinced, If we create the parade, meaning the grassroots, then a politician will jump in front.

However, while it was greeted with interest in 1969, when it was first proposed, the resurgence of the idea of a global grid has not so far been embraced by environmentalists and energy researchers.

Even a human species-scale genius like Buckminster Fuller had the right to have a bad day. I think he had one when he thought of GENI. said Norman Rubin, a spokesman for Energy Probe.

Groups such as Mr. Rubin's favor conservation, local small-scale production or electricity such as cogeneration projects that combine electricity generation and heating in individual buildings, as well as an end to megaprojects and long-distance transmission.

Figure 2: Buckminster Fuller designed the Dymaxion Map.

Mr. Rubin said Mr. Fuller's premise that there is a constant surplus of energy was wrong, The idea of shipping it halfway around the world is ludicrous.

GENI supporters are aware of mounting concerns about the health effects of electromagnetic emissions from high-voltage lines, but they say studies about links to cancer are inconclusive and society is already irrevocably wired into electrical fields without GENI.

The proposal has some important people among its supporters. At Mr. Fuller's request, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau reportedly brought up the idea of energy network when he traveled to Moscow in the l97Os to meet with Soviet leaders. It has also been strongly endorsed by singer John Denver, who was a close friend of Mr. Fuller and whose Colorado-based Windstar Foundation was founded on his principles.

Medard Gabel, the executive-director of Philadelphia-based World Game Projects Inc., said Buckyisms such as World Game seem much more relevant now than 20 years ago. The game is being played with increasing frequency; there were 12 World Game presentations staged in the United States in 1986 and more than 175 are expected to be held this year.

There is definitely a perception on the part of humanity, from corporations to world leaders to world leaders to college professors and students, that we are on a planet. No longer are we just a part of the U.S. or Canada or wherever.

The Buckminster Fuller institute, which Is run by Mr. Fuller's grandson, Jaime Snyder, has found a growing demand for the inventor's works, especially with the interest In events he helped organize, such as Earth Day, and the teaching of his version of the world map in many schools.

Now housed in a concrete building, the institute hopes to construct a geodesic design science center to display Mr. Fuller's works and archives, which include everything from models of inventions such as the fly's eye dome to original itineraries recording his worldwide lecture tours,

Meanwhile, followers say they are not concerned that Mr. Fuller's ideas are not readily implemented.

Michael Healey, a partner In Synergetic Solutions, a Toronto-based company that teaches a workshop for business people based on Mr. Fuller's works, said the inventors design science evolution predicted there would be a gestation period for each of his inventions such as GENI. He didn't feel the world was really for everything, Mr. Healed said.

For example, Mr. Fuller predicts that the geodesic dome, which he conceived in 1927, would have a gestation of 50 years. By 1977 there were more than 200,000 such domes in the world, though they have not grown much in numbers since and have not caught on where he felt they would be most useful, as emergency housing.

William Perk, a lecturer at Southern Illinois University where Mr. Fuller once taught, said the inventor believed in emergence through emergency, that his ideas would come to fruition when humanity needed them.

The matter of timing is out of the hands of the designer, he said.

Updated: 2016/06/30

If you speak another language fluently and you liked this page, make a contribution by translating it! For additional translations check out (Voor vertaling van Engels tot Nederlands) (For oversettelse fra Engelsk til Norsk)
(Для дополнительных переводов проверяют )