I received and email from Ray Ku, running for State Rep (98th) about a post he has up on the interesting forward looking idea of Hygrid power.
Unfortunately, most of the proposals that have been floated suffer from the same fundamental problem. Whether the solution is windfarms, ethanol, or solar, the solutions are all large scale efforts that would require enormous investments and changes to our infrastructure, and you know who would pay for those investments, we will. And, after we make the investment, our current energy providers who are largely local monopolies will earn all the profit. Sound familiar?
There is another way -- "HYGRID" power. Hygrid power is based upon the idea that every home and business can and should take advantage of the renewable energy sources are available to it: solar, wind, geothermal, or hydgro. These sources would provide the homeowner with not only a backup source of power during a blackout, they would reduce demand for energy provided by the utility lowering the overall cost of energy in a free market. Even better, when the homeowner is generating a surplus, the utility buys that energy from the homeowner further lowering the cost of energy. Of course, when the renewable energy is not sufficient to meet demand, you simply pay the market rate to the utility just as we do today.
Obviously if enough homeowners and businesses adopt hygrid power it would radically change the energy market by transforming every home and business from simply consumers of energy to energy providers as well.
These are the kind of ideas that can reduce our dependance on oil, improve the environment and bring down the costs of energy. In fact the ideas here are gaining widespread traction in Europe.
The British Parliament introduced a bill to make this possible.
Hygrid power is best understood as a combination of ideas like hybrid cars and the Internet.
First, like hybrid cars, hygrid energy rejects the idea that we need to switch 100% to renewable energy. Instead, homes would stay connected to the grid and draw power from traditional energy sources when necessary, and more importantly sell energy to the grid when the homeowner is generating a surplus.
Like hybrid cars this means that we do not have to wait for some magic bullet (like hyrdogen fuel cells or electic cars) or billions of dollars in investments to change the way we provide and use energy.
Second, like the Internet, hygrid power works on the principle that small is big. Instead of expecting government or a corporation to invest large sums (of tax payer dollars) to change the way energy is provided, and then leave homeowner and business owner to the mercy of government or corporation. Hygrid power relies upon individuals, and the strength of the network effects associated when a large number of indivduals connect together.
Spot on. The key to this is to provide the regulative and market driven impetus to make it happen.
So what can Ohio do? Simple:
1) Promote hygrid power by making it easier for indivduals to learn about it, encourage businesses to provide the necessary components, and to connect the two.
2) Provide tax incentives to indivduals and businesses that adopt hygrid power which would spur interest and investment in that related technologies.
By taking these simple steps, we can:
1) Help make Ohio energy independent, and not Ohio, but individual Ohioans.
2) Spur economic growth by reducing the cost of energy to business and indivduals.
3) Spur economic growth by combining our strengths in technology and manufacturing to become the leading exporter of solar panels, batteries, windmills, and all of the other compents of hygrid power. And,
4) Possibly, become an exporter of energy to other states.
I think these are the kinds of ideas that would kick start Ohio and bring us back to the top of the pile instead of wallowing at the bottom talking about gay marriage and flag burning.