I just came back from Bombay where they have a huge electrical congestion problem. They are trying to build new plants, but the companies that the government has commissioned for the new plants have yet to meet any of their deadlines.
The current solution is scheduled load shedding. Every morning from 9 to 10:30 and then again from 3 – 4:30 the power would go out for our neighborhood. To be blunt, it was terrible. The midday temperatures were well over 90 and without a fan, it stunk in more ways than one. Also, good luck if you were caught in an elevator at these times.
I can’t imagine this being good for anyone, particularly the local economy. I know I would not be out during these times and the shops would be very dead at these times.
One solution would be generators for the buildings. However, with all the existing vehicular pollution, adding a generator every 50 feet would considerably worsen the already poor air quality problem. Plus, generators are not cheap.
I was wondering what people thought of regulating the amount of electricity each user throughout the city gets rather than blacking out neighborhoods. At any given time, each user would not be able to draw more than a certain wattage. All that would be needed would be a fuse on the users incoming electricity that would blow if a certain draw were exceeded. This way, the store owners could at least turn on the fan, or someone could at least operate an elevator in an emergency situation, etc. I could also only turn on what is most important to me. While I understand that this would not save energy, it would make day to day living better.
While thinking about this, I really realized that energy problems and their solutions are closely tied to social habits. For example, I do not think that regulating electricity would work in America. Going from all the electricity we want to regulation would be far too difficult as it would be moving backwards. But going from 3 hours of blackouts to constant electricity would be an upgrade and welcomed (I would imagine). What works in one country will not work in another. Perhaps this point is obvious, but I really grew to understand it at around 3 pm every day for the past three weeks.
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