Monday, 17 February 2014

electric avenue

Plans to construct an electric corridor within the next decade, some four-hundred fifty kilometers north to south through Saxony-Anhalt through Hof and the Oberpfalz along the Czech border to just north of the Augsburg-München, to deliver wind-generated power from the North and Baltic Seas to insatiable metropolises in the southern part of the country is not be greeted with optimism by all.

Just one conduit of four proposed, those in the path of the energy-Autobahn (Stromtrasse) are fearful what the giant masts and towers will do to the natural landscape, the wires necessary robust and bundled to prevent too much dissipation of power over the long journey—though the circuit only takes a nanosecond for the electricity to transverse, and the debated and unknown affects that living in proximity to strong magnetic fields poses. While being able to siphon off surplus renewable energy to climes less capable of producing it for themselves is certainly laudable, I do also respect the rights of the residents to question the long-term consequences and second their concerns, as a project of this scale has inertia and cannot be easily stopped or re-directed, much like the pledges to take all the German nuclear reactors off-line, and the electric Autobahn project is being managed by concerns with vested-interests and a subsidised agenda that would blanch at the idea of detours and diversions—even of the resourceful and innovative variety. It seems like an awfully big amount of money to devote to rehabilitating infrastructure that might be better served with something more ambitious, like a massive lightening-rod or a space-elevator, a cable tethered to a satellite in orbit to harness cosmic-rays. What do you think? Are more power-lines the answer or should we be more willing to explore novel ways of moving supply to demand?