Old Green vs. New Green Technology


New Thinking in Green Technology

No one can deny that we need to rethink how we generate and spend our energy. Several new green, sustainable ideas have been put forth, but these are far from being equal. The time has come to leave in the past old, outdated ideas about energy generation and boldly step into the future.

We are finally emerging from the century of Big Oil and now is the chance to embrace new paradigms. The graphic below lists the difference between the upcoming options we face: Old Green Technology vs. New Green Technology. We advocate smart electric grids and distributed electricity generation.  A local network of small plants and renewables is far more secure and reliable than massive and lossy transmission lines that are not themselves sources of power. For examples of this new energy thinking, see the web page of San Diego Smart Energy. If you doubt that this can be achieved, consider this study by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

On Distributed vs. Centralized Energy Generation

“...Early generating technology converted 7 percent to 20 percent of the fuel to electricity, making electric-only production quite expensive. To reduce fuel costs, energy entrepreneurs, including Thomas Edison, built generating plants near thermal users and recycled waste heat, increasing net electric efficiency to as much as 75 percent. A second wave of technical progress after World War II drove electric-only efficiencies to 33 percent (after distribution losses) and increased individual plant size to between 500 and 1,000 megawatts. Central or remote generation of electricity only, while still wasting two-thirds of the input energy, became the standard. Buttressed by monopoly protection, utilities fought competing on-site generation and, by 1970, replaced all but 3 to 4 percent of local generation, ending waste heat recycling. Government regulations, developed over the first 90 years of commercial electricity, institutionalized central generation...”

Read more at the Energy Bulletin.

Published Jan 20, 2005 by The Skeptical Inquirer.

Old Green Technology

Centralized energy generation

Transmission of electricity enormous distances

Huge solar-steam farms

New Green Technology

On-Site energy generation

Interlinking, load leveling local grids

Rooftop photovoltaics


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