WEDNESDAY 30 MARCH, 2011 |
Solar Power - The Internet Of Distributed Electricity Generation
The world still has a habit of putting too many of its electricity generation eggs in too few
baskets; such as major coal fired power stations and nuclear reactors - sometimes
with disastrous results.
Like the Internet, rooftop solar power offers the benefits of a decentralised network, one that
can withstand a number of calamities says Max Sylvester, co-founder of Energy
, an Australian provider of solar solutions.
"We're now into the third week of the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis,
with no end in sight," says Mr. Sylvester. "Not only has Japan's
electricity generation capacity been dealt a nasty blow, but a huge area around
the troubled site has been evacuated and radiation is causing untold damage to
people and the wider environment."
Mr. Sylvester says reports have come in that Japan's wind farms were
unscathed from the recent earthquake and tsunami and have been called upon to increase output to make up for the
"Centralising electricity generation is a recipe for disaster - both
natural and man-made. A couple of years ago, we published an article about the
importance of distributed generation in resisting even human-triggered events,
such as a terrorist attack on power
Mr. Sylvester likens home solar power systems
to the Internet. The Internet was
originally a U.S. Government defence project, designed to create a network that
could withstand all but the very worst of disasters and attacks.
"Households that install solar power systems aren't just slashing their
electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions, they are part of the distributed
electricity generation revolution and playing an important role in energy
security for our nation," says Mr. Sylvester.
"Hazelwood power station
in Victoria, one of the filthiest, most emissions-intensive
coal fired power generation facilities in the world, supplies up to 25
percent of Victoria’s electricity needs and nearly eight percent of the
National Electricity Market. Imagine an event taking Hazelwood out suddenly and
for an extended period - it would have quite an impact on the state."
Additional benefits of a decentralised electricity generation system with solar
power as the centrepiece are a reduction of infrastructure investment by network
operators and lessening line loss
associated with power transmission;
which can account for up to 10% of electricity production. Solar panels also generate their peak electricity during peak consumption periods; so with
greater uptake, Mr. Sylvester says fewer peak power plants would need to
"Toxic waste, water consumption and emissions aside associated with nuclear
and coal, the distributed
generation benefits of rooftop solar power and medium scale solar farms
alone are reason enough to take Australia's solar power revolution to the next
level.. and to do it now."
Other news for Wednesday 30 March, 2011
Return to main renewable energy news section
Other Energy Matters News Services