Symbiotic Energy Grid
"In a decade-long building boom of renewable energy, we’ve reached a milestone. There are now one billion watts of wind and solar installed across the world. That’s about half the capacity of all coal and three times that of all nuclear. But make no comparisons to the energy past. Unlike fossil fuels that produce a consistent supply of baseload electricity, renewables only generate power one-third to one-fifth of the time. The same logic no longer applies; the task is not to stoke an eternal flame with combustibles pulled from the deep. Our new goal is one of grace. Like Mother Nature, or a Zen master, we must find balance in the forces of night and day. A new type of grid is needed to handle this balance. It’s a symbiotic energy system that exchanges electricity, similar to how nutrients pulse through tree roots and food webs in a forest. Rather than the current one-way stream of electrons emanating from giant, isolated power plants, this new system will be composed of millions of interdependent sources of generation, storage, and adaptive response. While at first, this distributed network may be more challenging to manage, eventually it will enable a stronger grid that’s less vulnerable to outages and provides dozens of mutual benefits to producers, consumers, and communities."
- Trevor Decker Cohen