Sunday, August 28, 2005

Getting Off The Grid

By way of Sustainablog, comes word of a report by Greenpeace, U.K' Decentalizing power: An Energy Revolution for teh 21st Century.

More than half the electricity generated today is used just to get the power through the wires; it is an enormously inefficient system. Greenpeace proposes a decentralised energy system that would see everyday buildings playing host to devices such as solar panels, small wind turbines and combined heat and power boilers, which generate electricity as well as providing heat and hot water. The electricity created would be used directly by the house or workplace, and the surplus would be fed into a local network. This electricity would then be locally distributed, avoiding the significant loss that occurs when electricity is transported long distances.

As Greenpeace points out, decentralizing energy would also democratize energy, providing real opportunities for local political leadership on climate change, and curbing the influence of the centralized industry’s powerful vested interests. By enabling local action and empowering individuals and communities as producers, decentralisation has the potential to bring about a massive cultural change in our attitude to and use of energy.

A Green future is not only possible and within our reach, but it may be the only way to survive declining supplies of hydrocarbons.

But the corporate mentality, that knows nothing but huge, centralized solutions will be difficult to overcome. Already they are spending billions attempting to consruct the "hydrogen economy" even though huge, inordinantly difficult technical problems remain unsolved. An efficient, community based economy will have to be built from the ground up.


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