Developing a Global
Developing a Global Power Grid|
The world runs on electric power. In many areas the level of economic development is determined by the availability of electric power. There are huge needs both in developed nations and in the third world. Today, an estimated two billion people in the world do not yet have electric power service.
Heretofore, power needs of each nation -- and, often, for each city -- have been met by building local generating stations that served only local needs. In recent decades, distribution grids have begun to connect local systems for the benefit of all. This movement has grown to be international, with the linkage of U.S. and Canadian grids, and with some interconnections in Europe.
Now, planners argue that we must think in terms of global grids. For example, a connection between Siberia and North America would offer the possibility of substantial savings. North American cities could use Siberian power while users along the Pacific Rim sleep. Pacific Rim users could use North American power while Americans sleep. Typical grid projects include:
Saudi Arabia -- A pact has been signed for a $1.7 billion grid linking Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain with Saudi Arabia, then to extend to UAE and Oman.
There are also many noteworthy projects for protecting and restoring natural areas. Reforestation and forestation projects are of special interest. A U.S. firm, Driwater, has planted more than one million trees in a development near Cairo, Egypt. The firm will plant another 17 million trees in the area, using its "Driwater" product -- water bound in a gel form that slowly releases moisture to the soil over time. The project has successfully planted eucalyptus, acacia, mesquite, gazira, ficus, olive and orange trees.
Also of interest are projects to establish greenways linking natural areas -- creating corridors for the free flow of wildlife and for such recreational uses as hiking. As more jurisdictions adopt green infrastructure programs these projects will grow in size and importance.
A cross-section of proposed and ongoing projects includes:
USA -- U.S. government $8 billion project for "replumbing" the Florida everglades.
At the first GSPC in Honolulu in 1992, we heard a report from a Motorola spokesman on their exciting Iridium project. It proposed to put some 70 satellites in high orbit to blanket the world and provide universal point-to-point communications. Soon thereafter the Teledesic project was announced. It would put several hundred satellites in low orbit to accomplish the same kind of worldwide communication.
As this is written, the Iridium project is in bankruptcy, and the Teledesic project has not gotten off the ground. Now, Loral has put forward a $3.8 billion project called Globalstar to provide wireless global service anytime, anywhere. It would involve 48 satellites. While these may be the most spectacular communications projects, there are many other important ventures. Some of them include:
USA -- Lockheed is promoting a $3.6 billion Astrolink satellite net.
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