Need for small scale energy independence
image credit: New Paradigm Energy LLC
- Nov 25, 2020 9:57 pm GMTNov 25, 2020 7:29 pm GMT
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In the military we were taught that the three cornerstones for a country to have a true sense of independence are security in food, energy, and the financial sectors of their society. If just one of these cornerstones is not set, the country or society would lose a piece of their independence. As a former U.S. Navy Intelligence Specialist this fundamental truth was drilled into us throughout our training, as was pattern recognition and “best guess” based on credible actions and events, it is with this lens that we look at our energy independence.
I have recently started looking at the patterns of energy dependence in the United States and I’ve found some striking similarities with policies that have been enacted in the endless Afghanistan war and the invasion of Iraq. When a small, select group of people control the flow of a life necessity then they are the ones that are most likely to be listened to, regardless if it is water, food, or power.
In the United States, the U.S. Electrical Grid isn’t fully owned or maintained by the federal government. An independent system operator (ISO) is an organization formed at the recommendation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC). In the areas where an ISO is established, it coordinates, controls, and monitors the operation of the electrical power system, usually within a single U.S. state, but sometimes encompassing multiple states.
What does this mean for us as everyday consumers? It means that we are not in control of where our energy comes from, who our utilities providers are, or how the electricity flows into our homes and businesses. The grid is an antiquated concept with giant vulnerabilities that could be exploited by bad actors or forces of nature. So what is the solution? How about a smart microgrid system that is interconnected forming a larger decentralized energy grid. These smart grids would have the capability to operate as a piece of the whole with the added capability of acting as an island if the need arose. When a catastrophic failure occurs, the smart microgrids automatically switch over to “island mode” where they are responsible for generating, transporting, consuming and storing all the power produced to their local members.
Now let's take this a step further, what if we made all of these microgrid components be green energy generation solutions to include, but not limited to, solar arrays, small wind turbines, micro hydro, and more. We have the technology to create systems that are robust, resilient, and reliable. By using smart, green hybrid energy systems with smart storage solutions we can work towards energy independence at a local level. Puting the responsibility and onus on communities and businesses, with oversight by local governments.
This will help us and our communities to stand on their own.