The Energy Internet Explained, with Jeremy Rifkin

The Energy Internet Explained, with Jeremy Rifkin

Well, we’re all familiar with the first Internet,
the communication Internet. We’ve been on it for 24/25 years most of us. We use the
Internet all the time to communicate and send information. The energy Internet is very,
very new. It’s now actually being built out in places like Germany, in Denmark and across
Europe so it’s no longer academic. Here’s how it works. We are moving toward renewable energy across
Europe. We have millions and millions now of buildings, homes, offices, factories, retail
stores that have been transformed into micro power plants and they are producing their
own green electricity on site, solar panels on the roof, vertical wind on the property,
geothermal pumps for energy underneath the ground, bio converters to convert garbage
to biomass energy in the kitchens, et cetera. In Germany alone we’ve retrofitted one million
buildings, made them efficient, put in the insulation and put these new renewable technologies
on the building. A million buildings are producing their own greens electricity. And there’s
a feed-in tariff that gives them premium for sending their electricity back to the grid,
they get more than the market price. So now we’re setting up storage and an energy Internet.
You have to store these energies. The sun isn’t always shining. Sometimes the wind blows
at night, you want the electricity during the day so we’re putting in all sorts of storage
technologies like batteries, flywheels, capacitors and hydrogen. We’re most bullish on hydrogen
as a storage technology to store these energies so that you can use them when you need them.
Because if the suns under the clouds you’re in trouble, you’ve got to store it when the
sun is out. And now we’re taking the electricity grid
of Europe, the whole transmission grid and we’re transforming it to an energy Internet
using the same technology we used with the communication Internet. You know, today everywhere
in the world, the transmission electricity grid is servo mechanical; it’s 60 years old.
It isn’t even digitalized. It’s designed to be centralized and go in one direction. Where
the power is generated, nuclear fossil fuel power, then you send it to the passive consumer
at the end of the line. So this old transmission grid wasn’t designed to handle millions of
small players generating green electricity on site, solar wind, et cetera, and sending
it back and then controlling the peak and base flows. So we are actually transforming
the entire electricity grid of Europe to an energy Internet. So when millions of buildings
are producing just tiny amounts of green electricity, storing it in hydrogen like we stored media
in digital, then if you don’t need some of that green electricity in your home, office
or factory at a given moment you can actually send your green electricity across that energy
Internet from the Irish Sea all the way to the edge of Eastern Europe just like we create
information, store it in digital, share it online. That actual energy Internet is now
coming on line in real-time. It’s already out there in places like Denmark and Germany
and other places. So, the energy Internet is really the Internet
brought to energy and it’s a perfect fit. The great economic revolutions in history
occur when new energy regimes emerge and new communication revolutions emerged to organize
them. In the 19th century as we said you had to have steam power printing to come together
with coal and steam power and the locomotive. In the 20th century we had to have centralized
electricity and the telephone to manage the complexities of an oil, auto and suburban
era. So here in the 21st century the distributive collaborative peer-to-peer Internet communication,
and that’s its signature, is now converging with energies that are distributed, had to
be organized collaboratively and scale peer-to-peer. Renewable energies are distributed, they’re
found everywhere but they’re small amounts. So you have to create critical mass by collaborating
across entire continents to organize that energy and then you share them in lateral
economies and scale. So, this is the energy Internet that’s going along with the communication
Internet to form the beginning of this neural network. And this is already happening in
real time.

Danny Hutson

37 thoughts on “The Energy Internet Explained, with Jeremy Rifkin

  1. Ok, let’s not forget smart billing.  Cars using batteries are cheaper for the first thirty to sixty miles as plug in vehicles for your daily commute.  So, for the rest of the day they could plug in at work requiring either less batteries or more storing capacity during peak green energy.  For instance store the energy from your solar paneled home on your car plugged in at work.  Although hydrogen is not cost effective, combined with batteries on a car it is comparable to gasoline. 
    Billing or crediting the mobile car battery rather than the home or building owner is a major part of solving this puzzle that should be mentioned and not overlooked. 

  2. Fucking thank god, about time someone figured a way to generate energy without draining finite resources.

  3. this was all great, then he said NEURAL network at the very end. How are these internetworks related to neural networks? or is he just throwing buzzwords at us?

  4. Yet another cool thing that will never come to America because it would cost someone money to do 😀

  5. guys guys, do you hear what he is saying? that's fucking incredible. it might change the whole world forever. it's insane.

  6. guys guys, do you hear what he is saying? that's fucking incredible. it might change the whole world forever. it's insane.

  7. "The energy internet is very, very new" –  As a concept this is misleading.
    Buckminster-Fuller envisioned this almost 50 years ago.  Corporate led politics made sure it didn't happen because it wasn't as good a return as fossil fuels when no intrinsic monetary value is applied to them make a very few owners very wealthy indeed at the real cost of us all.  We should have moved much further by now to have averted the onset of climate change.

    'Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth' – 1969.  R. Buckminster-Fuller.

    "The fossil fuel deposits of our Spaceship Earth correspond to our automobile’s storage battery which must be conserved to turn over our main engine’s self-starter. Thereafter, our" main engine," the life regenerating processes, must operate exclusively on our vast daily energy income from the powers of wind, tide, water, and the direct Sun radiation energy."

    Trust in money, misdirected greed and listening to our intuitions instead of looking at the evidence with our intelligence has been our greated failing.  There's not much new in the world, even ancient man realised that greed is not a virtue – maybe it could be if directed at the sun?

  8. The problem is, what happens when many facilities need large amount of energy at the same time? Is it safe to guarantee that there will always be enough?

  9. This is what I'm talking about! In a beautiful future, most buildings produce electricity and nobody has to pay for it. Imagine how much money that would leave in people's pockets! I think we could also do the same thing with food distribution… a food internet? Seems like it's a century away, but how about many small, local food sharing networks for starters. Imagine using one room in your home to raise a few crops and bartering them with trusted co-enthusiasts on the web.

  10. If you can send energy through the internet like data, then does this mean that you copy energy, like you copy files? (Of course this does not quite obey the laws of thermodynamics, but could there be a way round it?)

  11. There's a 3rd predicted type of internet i remember hearing about (besides communication and energy) i cant remember what it is. Can anyone help?

  12. Amazing , this would be a great solution untill the time we have fusion energy or even more advanced nuclear type energy that can exploit the energy of a simple rock. By the time most planet would have energy internet would be also the dawn of a new era when we discover how to use Fusion and other very advanced tehnologies.

  13. Million homes in Germany haha the population of this planet is more than 6 billion+. But we must be optimistic nonetheless.

  14. With the money we spend on oil and gas, not counting costs from environmental damage, we could spread this all over. If we wanted to.

  15. Why are you so certain/optimistic about hydrogen as a storage technology? Are there any study? Who would be a good supplier of this systems?

  16. The problem is that energy in Denmark and Germany is expensive. Im from Denmark and i hate the price of power. It would be nice to have an electric internet, but I would prefer to have nuclear. The problem is that people fear that. But its safer than solar or wind.

  17. I love those concepts but I don't like a super government (EU) with unelected technocrats forcing people at gun point and taxes to achieve those concepts.

  18. Iron Man : "Tony Stark, what are you building?" Remember Tron ? – the MCP was monitoring citizens' energy consumption and overcharging many, while suspicious of programmers requiring more energy consumption. At least that is how I remember it.

  19. Micro power plants……sounds expensive and almost like the great leap forward. Requires subsidies.

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