Consolidated power generation
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The consolidation of hydrocarbon power generation to electrical power, and increased output of electricity, must take place for this change to occur. Currently, the prime example of this metamorphosis is the shift from hydrocarbon powered combustion engines to electricity.
A requirement for consolidation is the acceptance of a "common" form of energy, such as electricity, to be the predominant one. The prime environment for the consolidation of power generation is the replacement of combustion engines with electric motors in vehicles,
Even if the electricity was produced in coal plants or by burning crude oil, this would consolidate hydrocarbon power generation from millions of small engines to only a few massive power plants. In doing so the release of carbon would also be consolidated, which would allow for more regulation, and it would also increase demand for technologies that increase efficiency and decrease the release of anything harmful to the environment. This would be a gradual and realistic step.
Advantages of consolidation
- Large power plants generally have a higher thermal efficiency than small ones
- A few large power plants can be monitored and regulated more easily than many small ones
Disadvantages of consolidation
- Centralization of electricity generation leads to transmission losses, which will partially offset the increased efficiency of generation
- There may be objections from local residents to the construction of large power plants
- It goes against the Green movement's philosophy Small is Beautiful
- Combined heat and power schemes can be arranged more easily with small power plants