Monday, August 06, 2007

A New Place in Time

Several weeks ago, a new report by the National Petroleum Council was delivered to Energy Secretary Bodeman. The report is entitled "Facing the Hard Truths about Energy." The NPC report, two years in preparation, is in response to a request from the US Secretary of Energy.

You can view the slides from the 422 page report here.

According to Kenneth Deffeyes,,”many of the NPC report's authors are from the major oil companies. The overall chairman of the study is Lee Raymond, former chairman of ExxonMobil. The chairman of the oil supply subcommittee is David O'Reilly, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Chevron”.

As you might imagine, this report is an oil and gas report, and as so, it sees more carbon and more instability in the supply lines that provide those carbon fuels well into the next three decades.

I thought about writing a critique of the report and its lack of vision, but others will do that. . Kenneth Deffeyes, the author of Hubberts Curve, provides a brief overview of the report and some of its shortcomings from his Beyond Oil web site.

So, rather than focus on the lack of vision of those who aren’t exactly in the vision business in the first place, it seems more profitable to visualize the kind of energy system that we need in order to respond to the real problems that lay before us.

Lately I have characterized that system as the Unified Photonic Energy Web.

At my utility, we have about 700,000 customers and we sell about 12,000 GWhs of energy a year. If each one of our customers had a 10 KW photonic conversion device (about 1000 square feet), we would see about 17 MWhs a year in production from each of them.

All together, our customers would then be providing the 12,000 GWhs the community presently uses.

Of course this photonic energy would be arriving mostly in the summer and in the afternoons, so we would need to store it for the proverbial rainy days.

The most advanced energy storage devices that store electrical energy are called ultra capacitors. One developer claims that they can store about 17 KWhs of energy per cubic foot.

Using that standard then, we would need about 2 million cubic feet to store one days worth of energy. That would require a building about 200 feet by 200 feet about five stories tall. If we wanted to store 5 days of energy for the city we would need five of these big boxes. We could probably even use existing depreciated big box stores.

In a preferred embodiment though, we would want perhaps 20 or 30 much smaller solid state storage buildings scatted throughout the community, probably next to our main substations.

And what would be the costs?

If advanced third or fourth generation PV can reach the 1 dollar a watt threshold and if the cost goals of the ultra cap designers can be met, the total cost of such a Unified Photonic Energy Web would be around 14 billion dollars. Half of it would be in photon conversion the other half in storage.

That’s a hefty number.

But we already spend almost a billion dollars a year right now.

With a good interest rate, and a 20 year amortization period, we could pay the interest and the principle with a revenue stream of perhaps 1.2 billion. And energy bills would remain flat for those 20 years. As photonic material science continues to develop, we could actually see a decline in rates thereafter.

In order to include the transportation sector, we would need to double these numbers, and we would need to develop a new generation of electrical vehicles. Maybe some would be plug in hybrids, maybe some would be all electric.

Maybe we would choose to develop and adopt an advanced form or strategy of transportation that actually reduces our need to own a car.

Think about it.

If we were to truly focus our energies and our imaginations, we could have an unified photonic energy web that runs our cars and homes and shops. With this large scale capacitance in the system, energy delivery would be dependable and its quality would be superlative.

With a well balanced blend of wind energy, photonic energy, and the fleet of fossil fueled relics of the past age, we could have a sustainable, non carbon emitting energy system that is as advanced as the quantum theory and nano science that makes it possible.

We cannot allow those who have brought climate change, war, and deadly pollution to our table to continue their profit taking ways. They risk our well being, and perhaps our very survival.

Someday, enough of us will know this truth,

And we will make it happen.

And these Monarchs of Commerce

Will watch in wonder

As history passes them by,

and we find a new place in time.



Blogger oZ said...

It should be noted that there would be no fuel component in the above scenario, and that this scenario is not meant to describe the actual scenario that should be employed.

It is meant to show what the boundaries of our imagination might look like.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for dreaming this possibility. some day. SP

6:30 AM  

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