GE exec says urgent ‘energy evolution’ is needed
The evolution of a smarter power grid in the United States and the resulting impact it could have on the economy and environment were highlighted in a recent address by Bob Gilligan at the Advanced Energy 2010 Conference.
“While revolutionary energy technologies are developed each day, the way we apply them to modernize and nurture our electrical infrastructure is really more of an evolution than a revolution,” said Gilligan, vice president of digital energy for GE Energy Services. “What’s important is taking steps today to lay the foundation for our growing energy appetite. We can then sustain ongoing efforts to improve our energy landscape.”
Using conservative technology growth estimates, Gilligan laid out a scenario where the total U.S. energy consumption and emissions saved between 2010 and 2030 could exceed the entire electrical consumption and electrical CO2 output for all of 2010. “The net result would be like 2010 never happened,” he explained.
In addition to the energy and pollution savings, Gilligan’s scenario saw the creation of 140,000 sustainable new jobs and an electrical landscape that includes 3.3 billion fewer customer outage minutes. These power reliability improvements could result in savings of $65.7 billion from reduced power interruptions by 2030.
Gilligan supported his call for an energy evolution, including:
· Growing cities that will house more than 60% of the world’s population and consume a vast majority of its power by 2030 cannot rely on an infrastructure designed a century ago
· Global electricity demand is forecasted to increase 75% by 2030
· Energy costs are increasing worldwide; US rates increased an average of 42% between 2000 and 2007
· More than 40% of current environmental emissions are from electric generation
· Approximately half of the transformer assets in the U.S. electrical infrastructure are at or approaching the end of their design life
“The good news is that we are not talking gloom and doom,” Gilligan said. “Our electrical future can be a story of potential, opportunity and global competitive advantage. With increased reliability, efficiency and sustainability, we’ll be able to power traditional economic growth and be ready for the next generation of life-changing technology. We can do it by taking measured, affordable evolutionary steps. However, we, as a country, must act today.”