I’m posting a question on distributed power — do I understand it?
Amory Lovins extols distributed power; see Nobel prize winner debates future of nuclear power. (Note: Dr. Burton Richter, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in physics, took the pro-position.) Sometimes I think that’s the problem that Lovins wants to solve, not climate change, not the other incredible health and environmental damages of the energy we use. The micropower Lovins mentions? Much of the 100 GW in coal power China installed was micropower.
What do people mean when they talk about distributed power? Are they picturing Alaskan villages far from the grid using wind, solar, and diesel?
If wind power is to produce more than 10 – 20% of US electricity, we will need to schlep wind power all over the US — presumably the wind is blowing somewhere, even if not here. We could use compressed air energy storage but it requires inefficient natural gas to get the electricity out of storage.
Using wind power requires huge grid upgrade, and connecting parts of the US that are not now connected. Despite Lovins contention that we would suffer grid failure less frequently, wouldn’t more connections and more use of wind power lead to more frequent grid failure?
Germany expands the grid.
There are other arguments against distributed grid — as weather varies around the US, it is sometimes cheaper and produces lower GHG emissions to schlep electricity north today and south in a few months.
I’m writing this, though, to make sure that I understand the arguments in favor of distributed power, so please explain!