Energy – 21C Style : GENI & The GRID


While there’d be a different US President in power today if the world had votes, those who wish a better world are working away regardless. Recognising the importance of oil and energy within global politics and quality of life, the Global Energy Network Institute continues to push for a global interconnected electricity grid powered by renewable energy. Say Geni – ‘Two billion people on this planet have no electricity. How can we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?’. Ambitious Australian GENI rep and author of ‘Cosmic Accounting’ Mal Green, drops some alternative futures into the mix:

Drawing attention to the actual energy costs of products seems useful, but actually implementing ‘energy’ as the core of monetary system seems problematic. How do you envisage merging the ‘accounting systems of nature and human society’ in your lifetime?
All that is required is for there to be set up computerised interconnected personal energy accounts. As soon as people ‘own’ energy accounts with a balance of energy that can be depositied into and drawn upon, and when people can transfer their energy credit from themselves to another, then the Cosmic Accounting system begins, and none of this has to interfere with the current economic money accounting system at present. For this to work there will need to be the cooperation of the electricity grid. The administering authority of the grid would have to oversee and monitor that your energy credit (of electricity) has been released onto the grid, that then allows the receiver entitlement to recieve that quantity of energy deposited into their energy account. You might see at this point electricity can become a currency (‘electrical current currency’). Who owns and controls the electricity grid will have bearing on this. In Queensland the state owns the electricity grid. In other states of Australia corporations own the electricity grid. The technology to do all this already exists, is becoming better and cheaper and is doable in my lifetime. Indeed it is doable in the next few, say, eight years.

What are the benefits of networking the electricity grid?
Globally networking the grid allows an integrated world real-wealth wealth-transfer/exchange system (aka Cosmic Accounting). Also there are physical benefits, where electricity generators can match their outputs to loads better, for loads vary over different times through the day, and times vary over distance. Also global grid means that it would literally be possible to send harvested solar sunshine energy from the daytime side of the world to the nighttime side of the world, or at least one/quarter way around the world. It is technically possible at present to economically transmit electricity 7,000 kilometres. Therfore it would be possible to send solar energy from a sunny afternoon in the Sahara to power the evening lights of Turkey, for example. Therefore an interconnected grid can provide (renewable) energy security. And remember that is where we are heading – to power the whole world with renewable energy! GENI stands for these two things – global grid, plus feeding that grid with renewable energy – the two go hand in hand.

What is the progress on the 10m community solar dish in SA?
I’ve just returned from Whyalla and the people of the TAFE college there are giving more and more effort toward realising and building this solar dish. The current state of play is taking the preliminary drawings of the solar dish, as provided by the inventor, Professor Stephen Kaneff, and making detailed engineering drawings of the dish, from which actual fabrication of the dish can occur. The engineering lecturer in metals fabrication, Bevan Austin, at the above TAFE college has taken this effort on. A hopeful finish date for building the dish is mid June of next year.

The Australian Government could support large-scale solar energy development with a large grant of money toward building a 200 solar dish power station in Whyalla. $25 million would be an appropriate level of support – which is about one third of the cost of this solar power station. That amount of money would go a huge way toward helping to make this whole project attractive, and is not such a huge sum of money for a (rich) Federal Government. Furthermore, it is appropriate to support an industry like this in its infancy, one that can take a big step toward developing and ensuring Australia’s clean energy future.

A ‘timeline for everyone to become a billionaire’?
I will continue to stand by the person who was my inspiration, R. Buckminster Fuller who contended that it would be engineeringly possible to make the transistion to a ‘world that works for everyone’ in a ten year period.

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