Solar power is a natural fit for the developing South. Nicholas Thompson and Ricardo Bayon explain why in an outstanding article, Bright Lights, Small Villages.
"It may sound far-fetched to ask poor rural communities to adopt solar and renewable energy before rich developed countries. But in fact, solar energy makes vastly more sense in Patriensa than it does in Philadelphia. Americans tend to take electricity for granted. You can buy a hair dryer, plug it in, and turn it on just about anywhere, thanks to a "grid" of generating stations, power lines, and transformers that enmeshes the entire country.
"But that grid is the product of hundreds of billions of dollars of government subsidies and private investment over the years. In developing countries, by contrast, fully functioning grids tend to be limited to urban areas, are usually nearing obsolescence, or cannot keep up with demand. Most places lack any grid at all. And even if poor countries had the money or inclination to build grids--most have more pressing worries--bringing electricity to small rural villages... wouldn't be at the top of their list.
"Solar power and other decentralized sources of energy can help get around these problems. Mobile phones in Africa, Asia, and Latin America provide a hopeful parallel. For decades, people in developing nations had to put up with expensive and poorly designed telephone networks controlled by corrupt and inefficient bureaucrats. But over the past five years, entrepreneurs have built cellular-phone networks that, in effect, circumvent the national telephone system. Five years ago, Ghana didn't have mobile phones. But as a U.N. task force recently discovered, more cell phone connections have been turned on in Africa in the last five years than land-line connections in the past century."
Thanks for sharing this posting. Having lived in South Africa in a former township for the last two and one half years in a Peace Corps assignment I experienced the phenomenon of cell phone takeoff just as expressed in the article. If developing communities, who may idealize the US/Western, can be supported to instead seek alternative, more effective technologies, they will surely out-pace the Western world which is being held back by Corporate interests from free thought and free development.
Revolutionary new energy conversion systems are under development. Our parent firm, Magnetic Power Inc., is exploring inexpensive technology, that appears capable of tapping what we now call Quantum Dynamos. These systems tap into what Dirac, a well known physicist, termed "The Sea of Energy". The earth is traveling through enormous quantities of energy, that occupy every cubic centimeter of space. Our latest work suggests that it may be possible to utilize a small part of this huge resource -- by converting existing utility hardware, already made in many sizes. If the research is successfull, it may prove practical to produce more than 40% of a transformers rated output -- turning it into a self-powered generator. This is new science, but if existing hardware can be converted, multi-kilowatt 24/7 electric power generators -- requiring no fuel and producing no pollution -- might be in production, under license, by the end of 2004.
An official report to the German government, summarized in the Independent/UK, suggests that 4 times the reduction in greenhouse gases required by the endangered Kyoto Protocol, is urgently required in order to avoid a 30 foot rise in Sea Level during this century. Such an increase would flood London, NY, Miami, Bombay, Calcutta, Sydney, Shanghai, Lagos and Tokyo, according to the article, which was published 12/7/03.
Decentralizing the grid would be readily accelerated, if such technology can be developed, and rapidly placed in mass production. It is simple enough, that assembly could take place in most developing countries.
What is lacking is adequate support from Accredited Angel investors, and bold institutions, comfortable with the high risk at the early stage of such ventures.
I would simply like to get in touch with Mr. Goldes of Magnetic Power Inc. I'm a masters student interested in self powered motors, and I've been reading about Mr. Takahashi's magnets.