Earlier this week, Amory Lovins, Chief Scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, and described by the New York Times Freakonomics Blog co-editor, Stephen J. Dubner, as the "energy maven's energy maven," posted a guest blog titled, "Does a Big Economy Need Big Power Plants?"
Amory's piece has garnered over seventy comments to date, ranging from praise to disgust to other commenters who provided further analysis to asked further questions. As a fellow energy 'enthusiast' I could not resist throwing my own commentary (pasted below) into the mix:
Understandably, Amory, as a scientist and physicist, makes his initial arguments describing the physical enhancements that microgrid planning and technologies would bring to bear: namely a more reliable and efficient electricity grid.
But what makes his argument particularly powerful is his understanding of the 'other' non-physical, non-engineering pieces for future grid development - namely the social/institutional (laws and system planning), business-finance decisions, and economic realities of the day that ultimately drive decisions to invest in, and ultimately enhance, the services delivered by our electric grid. Amory quite accurately captures this institutional-economic reality where he states, "Collapsed capital markets now make giant projects even more unfinanceable, favoring lower-financial-risk granular projects even more."
In addition, in the context of nuclear power 'gigantism' as defined by Amory, I would encourage my fellow energy enthusiasts to read about the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Financial disaster, that is. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that just an hour's drive from Wall Street sits an unused nuclear power facility (it is now decommissioned) that will continue to burden Long Island energy bill payers for decades to come. Apropos to the Amory's concluding statement of experiencing a "whiff of prenostalgia" [to gigantic central station power plants], in 2005 the Long Island Power Authority dedicated two wind turbines that were constructed on the Shoreham Reactor property.
Kind of makes one optimistic to know that the advocacy efforts of NRDC's energy and climate specialists combined with the "energy maven's" read on our energy future, that we can indeed achieve the energy evolution we desperately need starting today for the good of our planet and economy: a clean, reliable, and efficient energy delivery system.