This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ABB. All opinions are 100% mine.
There is lots of talk these days about the economy. Is it improving, declining, moving sideways, falling against inflation?
Has all the money printing (or “quantitative easing”) of the FED really been as disastrous as the opponents of the Fed would lead us to believe?
Are the rising food prices what’s causing political instability in places like Egypt and Tunisia? Are these rising food prices caused by the world using the dollar as it’s reserve currency, and as the US creates more currency, the nations which have less surplus simply can’t keep up?
Or, is it simply a lack of resources?
Or, are resources abundant, but just controlled and limited by those who want to see the world suffer?
Is oil as controlled by cartels as we’ve been led to believe? Does DeBeers really intentionally create artificial scarcity in it’s diamond prices?
Are the financial markets truly controlled by just a few companies which have gotten so big that governments have no choice to bail them out, lest their failures bankrupt entire countries?
All of these questions will continue to buzz around the media and the blogosphere in 2011 and into 2012.
Whatever side of these issues you’re on, there is something we can all agree on.
Energy falls to the earth every day from the sun freely. Energy moves around the earth every day in the form of wind. Water falls and creates power simply through the earth’s gravitational force.
Humans have ways to convert that energy into renewable electric energy, without huge impacts on the environment.
If as much money were spent on solar farms and solar wind towers in the United States as the Unites States spent on:
– the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan
– bailing out the United States banks
the United States would today produce all of it’s electricity needs, and have the power lines capable of transmitting that electricity anywhere in the lower 48 states.
This would mean electric transport from coast to coast of the United States would be a complete reality.
All that would need to have happened would have been a re-allocation of the funds which have been spent over t he past 10 years fighting wars in far away places.
The picture in my mind is idealistic of what this would look like today, but it would be a decentralized smart grid, and would operate at lightning speed. Electricity and energy would be abundant, ending the need to fight to secure resources like oil through military conquest.
Some would argue that the amount of money that’s been spent destroying and re-building far-away countries is what will destroy the United States.
I don’t know about all of that.
What I do know is that the future lies in solutions which are renewable, affordable, and effective.
One company working to create effective solutions is ABB.
ABB is the world’s leading power and technology group.
Having commissioned a Bloomsberg Businesssweek Research Services survey recently, ABB made some unsurprising, but interesting discoveries.
Energy professionals were asked to share their thoughts on the major energy issues of the world at large.
ABB’s survey resulted in a full 76% of energy professionals saying that governments need to do more to compel utility companies to produce more energy from renewable resources.
Check out the YouTube video:
Warning, there’s a bit of a rant coming.
The challenge we see with that is that government shouldn’t be trying to drive the market.
Utility companies should be investing much more into using the technologies that are already available to produce energy and get it to their customers. But that won’t be realized until the end customers start waking up and demanding (with their money), that their energy come from more renewable solutions.
It’s good to say that government should step in and enforce policy, but then all you have are companies which resent the government forcing them to do something, when the companies are just there to provide services and value to their customers.
If customers demand more from their utilities and the companies providing them energy, the companies will begin providing it.
End consumers do have the say and the power in the end, it’s just that we’re not using it as well as we should be in our communications and dealings with our utility companies.
We’ll all need to start becoming more aware of where our energy comes from, before the energy companies will make easy access to energy from renewable sources a priority in their own business models.
If government wants to help businesses generate electricity from renewable resources, then rather than enforcing policies that companies may or may not follow (paying the fines later is cheaper than following the rules up-front), companies can be incentivized through large-scale rebate or discount programs, which can help these companies gain tax breaks for the energy they produce from renewable sources.
Enough about that for now though. With regard to ABB, one very cool thing that ABB has done in this arena is create HVDC (high-voltage direct current) power transmission. This technology was first pioneered by ABB 50 years ago and has the ability to really move power long distances, from source to end destination.
That technology, coupled with Flexible AC Transmission devices (FACTS) can create solutions for moving and producing electricity in a way that can serve everyone from large industries to home consumers.
A couple of ABB’s projects you may want to check out are in Brazil.
ABB is currently building the world’s longest power transmission link. This nearly 2,500-kilometer long power highway will send electricity generated by two new hydropower plants in Brazil’s northwest to the densely populated São Paulo area in the south east.
And ABB can now transmit up to 6,400 MW (megawatts) of clean, renewable hydropower across several thousand kilometers with 93 percent efficiency, at voltage levels as high as 800 kV (kilovolts) to minimize losses.
This is the kind of thing that has never been done before on this kind of scale.
As far as we’re concerned, it’s a pretty darn revolutionary to serve the masses with a form of electricity that’s not powered by coal or even less healthy methods of electricity generation.
But we’re open to hearing what you think.
Have a look at ABB’s projects and come back and comment here on GreenJoyment. We’d be fascinated to hear if you think this is as big of news as we think it is, as a way to get electricity moving quickly and effectively across long distances throughout the world.