The Chairman of the government-owned State Grid Corporation of China, Zhenya Liu, has proposed the development of a worldwide, high voltage energy transmission network, RenewEconomy has reported. This new “Global Energy Internet” would be capable of sharing renewable energy around the world. The bold proposal was made at one of the largest electrical engineering conferences in the world, in Washington DC, earlier this month.
As Jenny Riesz from the Centre of Energy and Environmental Markets at the University of New South Wales points out, the plan would mean that nations particularly rich in renewable energy resources could become major renewable energy exporters. Mr Liu maintained that his plan is not only sensible and realistic, but is a moral imperative for sustainable development worldwide.
Although it’s a bold plan from the mouth a powerful advocate, the idea of an Internet for electricity, or Enernet, is not new (I’ve written a little on it here). Bob Metcalfe, the “father of Ethernet” and founder of 3Com, has been advocating for such a thing for quite some time now. He says our history and knowledge learnt from building the internet, which progressed relatively quickly, is a “rich vein to mine” when it comes to building this next generation of energy technology.
China is already building a large high voltage energy transmission network, and has an increasingly ambitious plan for continuing renewable energy development. This includes a goal to triple its solar power capacity within just 3 years. The aim is to reach 70 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2017.
Given that investment in renewable energy technologies is beginning to dominate new electricity development in many countries, do you agree that a plan to develop a worldwide “Energy Internet” makes sense?