US Utility CEO: 'How Do We Get Rid of the Grid?'

Thanks to Greenwin for finding a very interesting article published by US News and World Report in which David Crane, president and CEO of NRG Energy, an electric utility that operates in 11 US States, discusses the future of the electric grid.

Crane is of the opinion that the grid as we know it is rapidly becoming an obsolete idea as new technologies are coming along rapidly that allow for point-of-use electricity generation, such as solar and wind installations. Next year NRG itself will be rolling out a microgenerator called the Beacon 10 (a Dean Kamen Stirling engine-based invention) which allows a house to power itself on natural gas.– producing heat as well as electricity.

Speaking at an ARPA-E conference last week, Crane said, “There will come a day, in a generation or so, when the grid is at best an antiquated system to a completely different way of buying electricity . . . Everyone just stop a moment and think how shockingly stupid it is to build a 21st-century electric system based on a system of 130 million wooden poles . . . Stop trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, and start talking about, ‘How do we get rid of the grid?'”

The article quotes a number of energy leaders, some of whom don’t see the grid disappearing as quickly as within a generation, citing the vast economies of scale that can be obtained by having centralized power generation and distribution — but most seem to realize that there is an inevitable trend towards decentralized energy production.

LENR is unsurprisingly not mentioned as a force in the distributed energy field, but I would think that once LENR is recognized as being a viable and reliable source of energy that inventors like Dean Kamen will immediately recognize the potential for home power generation with the E-Cat as a power source. I’d like to think that maybe the Beacon 11 would be the LENR version of Kamen’s microgenerator!

I read the recent General Electric publication, ‘The Rise of Distributed Power’ on distributed energy production with a great deal of interest. It stated that the age of centralized power is on the wane, and the world is actually going back to the model that was established by Edison in the early days of power generation when all electric was produced locally — and GE was a major player. That report concludes:

After decades of both technology progress and future promise, distributed power is now poised for growth across the globe. Technology innovations have reduced the cost of distributed power technologies while increasing its flexibility and performance. The digital wave and the “Industrial Internet” promise to enhance the capability of distributed power systems. At the same time, distributed power systems are positioned to overcome barriers that are inhibiting the growth of large-scale power plants. There is a strong need for energy solutions across the
globe, and by meeting this need, distributed power has become part of a virtuous cycle of human and economic development.

I think LENR may hit the market at a time where it can really capitalize on the developments taking place in the energy industry and move the world closer to a distributed energy model.