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Power From The People


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Power from the people


by Brian Doherty


"From Oscar-winning movies to the Nobel Peace Prize, from government

to industry, anxiety over climate change has unleashed a lot of heavy

thinking about devising new systems to power our lives. Even giants in

the energy industry are beginning to reconsider the top-down broadcast

model that has dominated the provision of power for most of the past

century. Under that legacy system, faraway plants burning coal or

natural gas zip electrons out to all of us at the end point of the

network, losing nearly 70 percent of the energy in the process through

waste heat and line loss. Many of the policy ideas being generated

amount to wealth-reducing restrictions, such as higher taxes on fossil

fuels and mandatory caps on emissions. But a growing number of venture

capitalists, small businesses, and government regulators are asking a

provocative question: What kind of efficiencies could be realized if

power was created by, or at least much nearer, the end user

instead?" (for publication 05/08)



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