How would nature design our energy system?

Sensemaking / How would nature design our energy system?

Join the second discussion in our three-week explorer, 'Living grid: energy inspired by life'.

By Futures Centre / 03 May 2017

In the first week, we asked what human systems can learn from the rest of life on Earth. Now, in week two, we’re asking how nature would redesign our alien energy system for life on Earth. 

It’s as if our human energy system were designed for life on another planet. It sticks out like a sore thumb from the energy system that’s evolved here over the last 3.8 billion years of life. Rather than cycle solar energy through a closed-loop, cooperative system - as other life forms do around here - our linear, centralised grid releases energy into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, wasting it rather than recapturing it. If this mismatch is the root cause of climate change then, to tackle it effectively, we must find ways to reintegrate our human energy system with this wider, living energy system.

Join us now to find out what it would take to make our alien energy system part and parcel of nature again. How would nature design it? Share your ideas in the comments below.

What might the implications of this be? What related articles have you seen?

We're also seeing how a more flexible approach to our energy system can be taken by corporates and big energy users:  http://www.newstatesman.com/sites/default/files/ns_energy_supplement_april_2017_2_.pdf
up
0 users have voted.
How WOULD nature design our energy system? More a question of how DID nature design our energy system.. But not the grid, instead the life cycle, and it is done. networked, broadly based, and that is enough of an answer. Originally posted on Quora - https://www.quora.com/How-would-nature-design-our-energy-system
up
0 users have voted.
Mike Shirley, this Newstatesman article is interesting because it talks about three very interrelated things as if they are separate: (1) energy bills going up (2) cheaper energy from the sun and wind having less of an impact on bringing down energy bills than gas and (3) the opportunity for consumers to be “prosumers”- interacting with the market, selling to it as well as buying from it and even balancing the grid.   From Forum for the Future's point of view, for corporates and big energy users intent on meeting COP21 carbon commitments, the relationship between them is noteworthy to say the least.  Being a prosumer is good for organisations because it opens up new revenue streams, it's good for the use of renewable energy capacity because changing the way we use, store and share energy will allow us to make better use of sources of energy that ebb and flow (in contrast to fossil fuels including gas) and it will help reduce our energy bills by making the whole grid operate more efficiently. Last year's National Infrastructure Commission report 'Smart Power' tells this story and suggests "Prosumerism" could result in a UK energy system that's billions of pounds cheaper to run by 2030.   So organisations involved in demand-side management in energy are leading whole system transformation: it's an amazing story that gets buried in oodles of jargon!  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/505218/IC_Energy_Report_web.pdf
up
0 users have voted.
Look for patterns to inform the design rather than specifics: the outcome of a Living Grid should be to enhance all the systems with which it interacts; contributing to their resilience and adaptability.
up
0 users have voted.
Please register or log in to comment.

Suggested