The power companies are starting to enable homes to act as power sources as well as consumers. People can sell back any surplus. In the UK, about ⅓ of the power generated is lost during the distribution. The UK consumed[1] 647 Terawatts (1012) in 2013. This implies that 219 Terawatts are generated and lost p.a. with a market value[2] of £20bn. The loss is dependent on the distance travelled and so one policy response would be to build community micro- or meso-generators. On the whole older power stations are either highly pollutant or potentially catastrophically pollutant and so newer more environmentally friendly generation technology is needed in order to pursue this policy. Electricity can’t be stored which adds to the problem; generation capability needs to be online.

The evolution of a utility network, the coming of water

There are some fascinating similarities with Cloud Computing which is cheaper if processing and data are co-located, moving data is expensive, you can’t store cycles.

[1] Source: Wikipedia and the CIA Year Book.

[2] 10p / Kwatt

Is I.T. a utility?
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