The huge benefits of decentralizing utilities 4


One of the most striking facts I learned from reading Crossing the Energy Divide is that decentralizing electric utilities would enable saving up to five trillion dollars. Here is a quote from the book (page 94) :

WADE found that the world’s energy industries have a choice of spending 10.8 trillion in new central power plants in the next few years, or spending 5.8 trillion for decentralized generation to replace them. “

Out of these huge sums, Robert and Edward Ayres believe the United States alone would save 1,000 billion dollars. I wonder how much the European Union would save…


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4 thoughts on “The huge benefits of decentralizing utilities

  • Richard

    Hello Edouard,

    Decentralising electric utilities may sound like a good idea (less infrastructure required). However power generation based on thermal processes(like burning coal or nuclear) are way more efficient when done on a large scale.

    It are the solar panels and windmills that don’t require a centralised placing, however it can also be seen that from a practical standpoint large windmill farms or CSP are also done in a centralised way.

    So yes, decentralisation can save money, but no not every power generating process is suited for it.

  • Edouard Post author

    Hello Richard and many thanks for your comment and thought.

    I think decentralizing utilities would prove beneficiary if the heat from the plants is used to heat buildings (cf my post on Crossing the Energy Divide linked above)

  • Richard

    Hi Edouard, it would indeed improve the overall efficiency of the utilities, however the transporting of the fossile fuels will become a problem then. Current utilities are located next to large rivers/seas for supplies and cooling.

    ps. nice to read occasionally your blog, keep the posts coming 😉

  • Edouard Post author

    Hello Richard and sorry for answering your comment so late.

    I believe transpoting the fuel could indeed be a problem, but what if we change it ?

    The swimming pool I swam in last year was heated by non recyclable waste. This could be one of the many new sources we could use.

    Thanks for appreciating my blog. Don’t hesitate to comment, I will answer 🙂