Thursday 18 February 2010

Distributed Power Generation is the most Logical Answer

Obama thinks that Nuclear is OK, but building big centralised Nuclear has just got a lot more expensive thanks to 9/11. From the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding the Westinghouse Electric Company's design;
  • "The shield building is the outer housing that covers both the plant's core and an inner containment shell. The shield not only has to protect the reactor from severe weather such as earthquakes and hurricanes but also has to support a tank of roughly 2700 tonnes of water used to cool the reactor in the case of an emergency.
  • The NRC certified a prior version of the reactor in January 2006 that had a shield made of cement reinforced with steel bars running through it. After the design was approved, however, the NRC added an additional requirement for the shield building to withstand the impact of an airplane crash."
So to make the shield building airplane proof has to be a big cost increase. 

Which is why Sun Earth Energy has always favoured small scale generation plant. By having lots of smaller human scale plants based on renewable power and by demand reduction techniques [such as solar assisted air conditioning plant to give 50% plus electricity savings - see picture and 100% solar hot water systems - SEE Hot Water picture in green] means that each community has more control, big and complex grid networks can be avoided, and outages become less of an issue.

Of course this makes life a lot more difficult for power companies as would have to deal with far more complexity in terms of many many more smaller plants. Alternatively we could turn back the clocks 60 plus years and have these smaller plants owned and maintained by the local municipalities. With exporting excess power back into the existing grid, the grid administration has far more back up power at its disposal run by computers.

More importantly municipalities could also co-ordinate waste collection, sewage and electricity which together are mutually beneficial. Link this to Tri-generation of power, cooling and hot water you have the self contained city. This is the future of the developed world and the future of the emerging nations.
The only losers are the big engineering firms and the oil industry. However even these can change their market profiles. Engineering firms could focus on smaller engineering solutions to co-generation and tri-generation of energy as some already do. The oil firms need to move into energy production, its going to be a lot easier.

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