Friday, July 22, 2005

More Microgeneration News

I've noticed a number of items up in the past few days dealing with the concept of renewable microgeneration of electricity, and I really think this is an idea that needs much more promotion. Shoot, even the wind farm opponents could certainly get behind smaller-scale wind and solar power on already-existing buildings... couldn't they? Rucio, that's your cue...

From Greenpeace UK, a new report on microgeneration potential in Great Britain:
Britain's homes and workplaces would become mini-power stations generating huge amounts of electricity and making the UK the leading nation in the fight against climate change, if the vision laid out in a new report becomes reality.

The current, outdated electricity system is so inefficient that two-thirds of the energy in the fuel is wasted before it gets used at homes and workplaces, according to the report released today by Greenpeace.

The huge loss of energy, enough to heat all the buildings and all the water in the UK, occurs because the large power stations far from our cities that make our electricity discard an enormous amount of heat through chimneys, while more power is lost transporting the energy long distances through power lines.

The report, Decentralising Power: An Energy Revolution For The 21st Century [in PDF], argues that a reform of the electricity system is urgently needed to end this environmentally destructive wastage - the power sector is the single greatest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. The solution is to generate electricity close to where it is needed, or 'decentralise' it.
Grist's Umbra has chimed in on small-scale generation, too, noting that Canadians in particular have a wealth of resources available to them to determine if wind power is the right way to go for home-scale power needs.

And Time at The Future is Green has pointed us to a report from the University of Alberta about development of "a wind energy generator [that] is small enough for people to use to power their own homes." While this development is still in the experimental stage, I agree with Tim that the market potential for a commercially-viable product of this type could be huge.

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