We are often asked; "How's GENI doing?" or "What results
have you produced?" Working in this energy sector keeps us focused
on a relatively narrow set of daily headlines. While most of GENI's work
is done below the radar of mainstream media, the progress in linking
renewables around the world is encouraging.
The interconnection of power grids offers numerous benefits: economic
exchange of power, back-up reserve in case of emergency, system stability,
load leveling of seasonal and diurnal demand, and access to remote renewable
resources. System operators at your local utility use these options every
day whether you know it or not. Now, Iran,
Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia are cooperating with a power link so
they can achieve similar benefits. And the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continues it's work towards a regional
energy network among all of its members. This is a big deal
and probably not a headline in your local newspaper.
Another significant feature this month is California's
2005 Integrated Energy report on Solar Resources. It's been said that
if California was a nation, it would be the world's 7th largest
economy. To make the state engine run requires about 55 GW (gigawatts)
of installed energy production. The Solar Resources Report identified
17,000 GW of potential solar capacity! more than 300
times what Californians need today. Half of that potential is located
in the southeastern desert where few people, trees or animals live. High-voltage
transmission could deliver this energy to our cities.
Admittedly, solar PV is still more expensive
yet if we chose to make the investment in solar farms, then
all of our daytime needs could be met using the sun's energy. The abundance
of this solar resource is far beyond what we need for sustainable living.
The answer to those initial questions: GENI is pushing as hard and fast
as we can in a world that is resistant to change. Today, enlightened self
interest is favoring grid integrations between nations for both economic
and stability reasons and renewables are growing as the world attempts
to develop in a more sustainable fashion. The trend is positive
just not quick enough.