Thursday, June 23, 2011

Inefficiency: a greener version of the old stupid grid.

The latest from the green job plan:

The Department of Energy has issued a $1.4 billion conditional loan guarantee to fund a massive project that would install solar panels on unused industrial roof space across the U.S.

Different from many private solar roof installations, the electricity generated from the Project Amp solar panels will feed directly into a branch of the national electric grid, not the host building itself.

Compare this with Google's "distributed power" approach I wrote about earlier. With 30-50% of electric power lost in transmission, the government found a great way to waste expensively produced energy. By installing sources of electric power away from places where customers are going to consume it, we exacerbate the inefficiency of the old "stupid grid" infrastructure.
The plan is an excellent example of non-creative thinking. That is, instead of looking for a breakthrough, problem-solvers reinforce a wasteful trade-off: the greener the energy, the more money you have to pay for using it.

tags: creativity, energy, distribution, source, system, performance, synthesis

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