Here in Boston, we are having an unusual power outage due to a transformer explosion which cut off electricity to the Prudential center, Copley, Back Bay, and Newbury Street areas. Without power, this major tourist and business area has just gone eerily dead- no lights for shops, no escalators or elevators, no refrigerators for restaurants and stores, no access to cash registers, phones, computers, or internet for businesses.
|Boston's famous Citgo sign and the Prudential tower go black|
There is a direct correlation between access to consistent power and economic development. A local startup- Promethean Power- confronts this issue by developing a milk chilling device to enable remote villages in India to transport and sell their milk production before the milk goes bad. By their estimates, $10 billion dollars a year are lost in India alone due to inadequate refrigeration of agricultural produce. Most of these areas either have no access to electricity or only so many hours per week. The concept was to power high efficiency chillers with solar panels. They found that the solar power was not sufficient, and they are now hoping they can make use of batteries to at least store and use the little power the villages get per week. What we consider a simple grocery staple becomes a luxury without consistent electricity.
|USA Energy Consumption vs GDP 1980-2008, taken from oilprice.com|
|China's Energy and GDP 1980-2010|