Darkness After Midnght
Last week I got a message from Pacific Gas and Electric saying they were cutting off my electricity starting at midnight. They estimated there would be no power for a couple of days. They said they did not want to start a wildfire like the one that destroyed the town of Paradise last year.
It made me wonder about why we still have electric utilities. In the twentieth century, power generation was a very complicated capital and labor intensive business. You had to have access to coal or oil that had to be brought to a generator by railroad or pipeline. Maybe you had to build a hydroelectric dam or expensive nuclear power plant. It was all eventually sent by wire on a grid to millions of homes. Apparently you needed a large organization to do that.
In the twenty-first century, you could connect a solar panel on every roof to a battery in every building. No complex smart grid. No complex network of power lines to spark from one falling tree. Just a glorified extension cord to power your refrigerator. It would localize any damage and not disrupt entire regions. We could then choose if we wanted darkness after midnight.
Here is an idea. When the utility executives cut our power, how about they cut the power in their homes in solidarity? A little feedback as an incentive.
Copyright 2019 DJ Cline All rights reserved.