GLOBAL ENERGY GRID: A SOLUTION TO WORLD PROBLEMS?
By MARK SKOK
Note: The following article was written in Moscow is February 1990, translated into Russian, then back into English and other languages by Novosti Press Agency's Northern News Service, and distributed to newspapers in the Soviet Union, United States, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway. Scan of Original Article
Recently a team of three Americans came to Moscow to discuss a possible solution to some of the world's most serious problems.
The problems addressed by the Americans include: economic and readily available electric power, international hostility, global warning, world hunger, and the population explosion. Their proposed solution: a global ultra-high voltage electrical grid that would supply all continents with reliable, inexpensive power.
Peter Meisen, an engineer from San Diego, California, and director of Global Energy Network, International, explained the proposed solution to reporters, scientists and environmental activists who attended a recent international conference in Moscow.
If nations such as the Soviet Union and United States, can jointly design and build a grid that links their countries (for example, with an ultra-high voltage cable across the Bering Strait), the availability of electricity would increase and the cost would decrease, Meisen said. Connecting the day and night sides of the planet would at least double the available generating capacity, reducing cost to consumers while expanding markets for efficient power producers a win-win situation. Because the countries would buy from and sell power to each other, the economic interests of each would be best served by cooperation rather than conflict.
Cooperation reduces tension. Reduced tension enhances security. And enhanced security will result in reduced defense spending. So, more money would be available to improve the economy.
The grid would allow existing power plants to operate at peak efficiency, while solar and wind-power plants could feed electricity into the grid. So, fewer fossil fueled or nuclear power plants need be built.
The grid also would link developing countries to existing power plants in the Soviet Union, America, Europe, and elsewhere. The new supply of economic electricity would mean power for refrigeration, medical care and food production - All factors in resolving world hunger and the population explosion.
Is such a grid technically, environmentally, politically and economically desirable? Soviet and American scientists are taking increased interest in the question. Academician E.P. Velikhov, Vice President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, has expressed strong interest in the idea. And Victor Yershevich, Deputy Chief Engineer for Power System Development for Energoset Project, wrote about a Soviet-American inertia more than a year ago.
On the other side of the world, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) plans to bring scientists from the Soviet Union , United States and other countries to Anchorage, Alaska, to examine the feasibility question. The conference will be held as soon as financing is available.
"Americans are encouraging their officials to support this conference," Meisen said. "Now we have the pleasure of working with Soviet citizens and their officials to encourage all possible support."
"The USSR is an important member of the global community. So, it's only fitting that Soviet citizens join others in actively seeking solutions to world problems."