Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bigger is Not Always Better

My gentle snowflakes, I think, and I have written in the past that we need to think smaller in order to think even bigger. Now, the forecast for green power is just that: Smaller.

Each house/home/building should be a source of electrical generation. Instead of investing HUGE amounts of money in large wind farms or big mirror arrays that tend to be far removed from the need for the electricity generated, the government money could go into retro-fitting every building with a combination of solar and wind generators--small units. Check here and here and here and here and here.

Perhaps the best part of this idea is that it could put thousands of people to work fairly quickly.

The Vocational-Technical schools could be subsidized to train citizens locally to do installation and maintenance. Many of those no longer working in home construction because of the downturn in the housing market could be cross-trained, with pay, for solar and wind systems. The newly trained could then be paid from a government fund (think the WPA) while all this retro-fitting is going on.

But this will take time, you say. Well, that is true.

But U.S. manufacturers will need that time to gear up their assembly lines to meet the demand for their products. Manufacturers would also require additional employees to make the systems. And since there are only a few manufacturers, the trucking industry will need more drivers and more rigs to move the newly produced systems around the country. We are really getting folks back to work now.

As an added benefit, as more and more units are installed the prices should plummet. With more and more units in operation, R&D would learn more and more about functionality and improved efficiency.

Finally, with all those systems pouring energy into the grid, black-outs (or even worse, the dreaded, rolling brown-outs) should be greatly reduced. The energy is largely consumed exactly where it is created. Any "left-over" is put out on the grid. Areas in greatest need at any time will be supplemented by those areas with less need.

As a recovery takes place and new houses are starting to be built again, the installations can be mandated to be incorporated into any new construction.

Next, we can get busy figuring out what to do about vehicle emissions.

1 comment:

  1. I just heard about a technology that fits into this, and it reminded me of your post. About half of the electricity used in your home could be powered or is currently powered by DC, the same as is produced by small solar and wind generation. Think about how many electrical items in your house have a converter on them: the TV, the computer, your Nook, your phone. More and more lighting is provided by LEDs that run on DC.

    Now companies are working on a new, higher power standard for USB to supply most of those larger DC items, including the TV, desktop or laptop computers, in a more affordable way. I just loved the possibility of connecting small scale power generation with immediate and efficient use of the power in your home.