Decentralize The Grid

A lot has been made about the security and the resilience of America’s electrical grid. From the extreme weather that we experienced in Texas in the winter of 2021 to the physical attacks on power substations in 2013 and more recently in North Carolina and the Pacific Northwest. The grid is a large distributed target with no true federal oversight and therefore very hard to upgrade and protect. Of course if it goes down for any length of time due to whatever reason, the consequences could be deadly. While many argue, including Bill Gates, about where to start in order to keep the grid up and running, my two cents is to flip this problem on its head and start with the home and individual buildings.

The grid in its current form is not built for what we are trying to use it for. It was never built for extreme weather conditions or the loads that some parts of the country can place on it at any given time. Instead of just upgrading the existing infrastructure, which seems to be the goal of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 passed by Congress, it’s time to flip this on its head and go from the bottom up instead of the top down.

Congress did this in some ways but the states can go further. Have a goal of making each dwelling self sustainable up to a certain amount of days and have the existing (or soon to be upgraded) power infrastructure as the backstop. It’s more feasible than we think.

Solar panels on your home is nothing new. Walk through your neighborhood and you’ll see more and more homes outfitted with them. Costs continue to come down and while having your home run off power from the almighty sun it’s obviously not fool proof. The battery technology for your home is even more important than the panels on your roof or the wind mill in your backyard if you are fortunate enough to have an HOA allow that.

When it comes to batteries, lithium batteries appear to be the only game in town for now. While we need to mine the Earth to get it and there is only so much of it, it is the only game in town right now so we’ll have to make that trade off.

Again goal here is to make your dwelling more self sustaining and a by product is that we are now decentralized. Moving this route may take just as long but it empowers the homeowner or building owner, and combine this with things like heat pumps and we should be on our way to sustainable energy. We do this the right way and we may very well be able to pull resources together and push power back out to those who need it most or who’s power has gone out.

Yeah it may seem a little pie in the sky but in today’s world where we can barley agree on where to go to dinner, isn’t this something that everyone can get behind? Hey, think the government is out to get you? Well be self sustaining and you’re one step closer to autonomy. Really want to do your part as far a helping slow climate change? This is also the route to go. Who knows, maybe doing this separately brings us together.






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