An increased use of information communication technology (ICT) helps prepare many communities and countries to continue economic operations in many situations, including natural disasters. For example, earlier this year when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland, global trade kept flowing. This happened in part through the utilization of “virtual” meetings resources, including web technologies.
Electrification offers even greater potential for increasing global trade. For example, through increasing the proportion of electricity transmitted and used as a fuel, and correspondingly decreasing the proportion of fossil fuels (saving of natural resources), jobs can be created with much less impact on the environment than burning fossil fuels for the equivalent energy.
In November 2009, I acquired a copy of a sweeping report outlining a vision for the deployment of a fully integrated, electric drive network.
The report, Electrification Roadmap, details the dangers of oil dependence, explains the benefits of electrification, describes the challenges facing electric cars—including battery technology and cost, infrastructure financing, regulatory requirements, electric power sector interface, and consumer acceptance issues—and provides specific and detailed policy proposals to overcome those challenges.
Following on the heels of the report – which was written by the Electrification Coalition in conjunction with the global consulting group PRTM – we are seeing a once dreamy vision of the future come into reality. No longer just a forecast, electric cars are now mandated in mass production. New opportunities are flourishing.
It is worth noting that the report details how to best shift our transportation sector to plug-in vehicles over the next couple of decades. The coalition released an analysis that illustrated huge benefits to the US economy would result from implementing most of the policies and strategies outlined in the report.
The coalition members contain some influential organizations, including A123 Systems, Nissan, NRG Energy, PG&E, and GridPoint. By joining forces, members of the coalition have ramped up lobbying efforts with the launch of ad campaigns promoting the Electric Vehicle Deployment Act, which would direct billions of dollars for a small number of “deployment communities” to set up infrastructure for vehicle recharging.
Included amongst the reported benefits would be strengthening and broadening high paying manufacturing, travel, tourism, and professional jobs (e.g. an additional 1.9 million jobs created by 2030). The proponents have one more reason why switching to a high-tech, innovation-based, green jobs focus would do the world a world of good.
Locally, Mayor Adrian Fenty, not only utilizes an electric smart car, he also supports electricity dependent infrastructure for Washington, D.C. For example, when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $293 million in federal funding for six transit projects – primarily streetcars – Mr. Fenty was reported amongst the politicians seeking funding.
Fortunately, the supply and demand trade in electricity as the energy vector over long distances is becoming very suitable using virtualization, when compared to trade in oil and coal over the same distances. This is true even with the same source for the fossil fuel: generation local to the fossil fuel deposit and long-distance transmission of electricity is more efficient than long-distance transport of fossil fuel and electricity generation local to the end use.
In conclusion, electricity offers major opportunities to the global market, in terms of social and economic development, while the sharing of best practices through international standards can help developed and developing countries combat the energy and climate change challenges of the future.
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