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Would it be too expensive to build a global electricity network?

Why spend the money when we still have plenty of coal and oil?

Key Words:

global electricity network, money, coal, oil, current costs, long-term and distributed costs,


When we compute the current costs of coal and oil, we often neglect to include the externality costs we are all aware of — greenhouse gases, acid rain, tanker accidents, Middle East wars and resource depletion. We find that these issues are often too expensive to clean up. At the same time it is impossible to redevelop a non-renewable resource.

Transmission lines are a one-time investment that deliver clean electricity for decades to come. The power source can be located anywhere, whether renewable or not.

A generator can be sited far away from the load. The rule of thumb for transmission costs is about US$1 million per mile (this varies with voltage and terrain). A 100 km line (about 62 miles) would cost about US$62 million.

There are more than enough renewables on the planet for everyone. They are widespread — sometimes concentrated, sometimes dispersed. It is no longer necessary to build the power plant next to the city.

We can develop the renewable resources where they are abundant, then transmit the power to where it is needed by industry and cities.

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Updated 01/07/2002


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GENI -- PO Box 81565, San Diego, CA, USA 92138     Phone: (619) 595-0139
Fax: (619) 595-0403     Email: info@geni.org     http://www.geni.org     Updated: 2002/07/15
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