Biomimicry in Our Electrical Grid

Author: Ben Silton

The traditional hub-and-spoke model of our electrical grid, much like the human body’s circulatory system, is subject to operational issues and rising costs as it ages. Grid-level issues such as outages and grid-borne wildfires exacerbate the costs associated with maintaining poles and wires. As private entities continue to invest more in private generation and storage technologies, customer contributions to the electric utility’s pot of money for grid upkeep (and expansion) are at risk.

Many experts have pointed to the potential of – and argued for a transition to – a distributed energy generation system. Such a system would not resemble our body’s circulatory system but rather our body’s energy system – in which raw inputs such as oxygen and nutrients are distributed to cells but cells individually perform their own process of creating ATP energy (our body’s usable form of energy) with sub-cellular organelles called mitochondria.

In the article “Biomimicry in Our Electrical Grid”, Ben Silton, Principal at ADL Ventures, discusses the transition to a “distributed” energy system using the human body as a backdrop for the principles of such a change. This conversation raises important questions, including how electric utilities – our poles and wires caretakers – can be protected as stakeholders in this transition. Read the full article on ZPryme’s Guest Contributor series.