Distributed Renewable Energy

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Chris Dew:

"An Internet of Things infrastructure will incorporate an Energy Internet, in which prosumers (consumers who have become their own producers) are empowered to share excess energy across an open and distributed IoT enabled smart-grid.

Initially, smart appliances may increase energy efficiency in the home by simply communicating with one another to reduce energy use. For example, this could be accomplished by not operating at peak times on the grid, or not all turning on at once, or charging an electric vehicle (EV) during the cheapest and most efficient hours of the night. However, as technologies for renewable and free energy harvesting (e.g., solar, wind, etc.) become exponentially more efficient and accessible to the average consumer it becomes possible for every household to harvest their own free and renewable energy, and share any excess (which may initially be done by selling it back to the utility company for a reduction in costs) across a decentralized smart-grid, or Energy Internet. It is even possible to utilize EVs as an energy storage device and to distribute this stored energy back into the grid during peak times.

Numerous sources of clean and renewable energy are already available, including: solar, wind, wave and tidal action, ocean currents, temperature differentials, falling water, geothermal, electrostatic, hydrogen, natural gas, algae, biomass, bacteria, phase transformation, fresnel lenses, and thermionics, amongst others. Geothermal energy alone can supply more than five hundred times the energy contained in all of the world’s known fossil fuel resources.[7] Additionally, every hour the sun radiates more energy onto the earth than the entire human population uses in one year.[8] Harnessing just one-tenth of 1 percent of the sun’s energy that hits the Earth would give us six times the energy that the global economy now consumes.

Just as Moore’s Law applies to computing technology, solar and wind harvesting technologies are now experiencing exponential growth curves of their own, with geothermal, biomass and hydro expected to follow. For solar photovoltaic cells, the same “doubling” phenomenon as seen with computer chips has been observed, and price has tended to drop 20 percent for every doubling of industry capacity.[10] The price of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells has fallen from $60 per watt in 1976 to $0.66 per watt in 2013, while efficiency of triple junction solar cells has reached 41 percent in the lab.[11] According to industry analysts, “the harvesting technology for solar and small wind power will be as cheap as cell phones and laptops within 15 years.”

Within 10 years, it is projected that every building in America and Europe will be equipped with digital smart-meters that will be capable of optimizing the efficiency of devices and appliances within the home,[13] as well as continuously feeding and receiving real-time data from the IoT network. In the coming years, prosumers will be empowered to harvest and freely share their own clean and renewable energy across a distributed Energy Internet on an IoT infrastructure." (https://medium.com/basic-income/post-capitalism-rise-of-the-collaborative-commons-62b0160a7048)