An innovative solution to addressing the mobility and distributed power generation issues, however we have to recognise that we have allowed a chasm to open up between the reality and the possibilities that will have to be bridged by ‘smart’ elimination of the ‘loss to society’ that arises from our hugely ineffective use of mobility miles in our creation and consumption of products and services.
Recently in Portland, Oregon, Rocky Mountain Institute www.rmi.org used their convening power to assemble automakers and utilities, real-estate developers and retailers, telecoms and infrastructure firms, electronics and battery wizards, journalists and marketers and policymakers in an unprecedented three-day summit. Together they explored and refined new business models and technical insights for “Smart Garage”—ways for electrified cars, buildings, and the electricity grid to exchange energy and information and thus create new forms of value. This three-way integration, first suggested in 1991, has vast potential because cars will ultimately have over ten times as much electric output capacity as all utilities own.
Recharging a half-plug-in-hybrid car fleet at night would save carbon and wouldn’t need more power plants, but would justify bringing on line 230 billion watts of wind power that could more than replace all coal plants. That much wind power isn’t a fantasy—it’s already been proposed but is stuck in the queue waiting for transmission access. RMI also analyzed wind energy across the Great Plains and found that combining sites that are windy at different times could save over half the wind capacity needed for the same reliable supply. Alternatively, they found, two-thirds of all coal-fired electricity would no longer be needed if every state (adjusted for climate and economic mix) simply used electricity as productively as the most efficient ten states now do.
Support RMI’s work if possible