5.1 Electricity Infrastructure
Electricity is not prime energy. Yes, it just comes out of the socket - but the ease with which we have it available often lets us forget what electricity is.
Electricity is produced by transforming prime energy (natural - wind, hydro-power & fossil + nuclear fuels) into the flow of an electric charge.
Why is it relevant to think about this?
- For environmental reasons - what ever we believe about global warming - reducing C02 is a good and important thing to do.
- To understand the cost, dependence and risks in this essential service.
In the process only around 30-35% of the prime energy used is turned into electricity. To generate 1 kW hour of electricity we need 3kW of wind, hydro power, oil, gas, etc.
The other 65-70% are lost to heat and friction of the mechanics required to produce and transport the power to our socket. This thought alone could lead to considering to produce electricity locally - at least in part - if the heat that would be generated is useful in some ways as well and if the concept of local generation is viable in financial terms and for supply security.
Even by using wind and hydro-power only 30-35% of the energy entered into the system is turned into electricity - the rest is friction, heat, transmission loss and water or wind flowing on less powerful by the factor of approx. 3.
Careful use of any resource should be mankind's basic and prime responsibility. War generations and people living in developing countries are used, are forced to be used, to this principal.