Inventor of Ethernet calls for creation of Enternet

bob metcalfe

Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, is calling for a national energy network modeled after the Internet. Make it smart, resilient, with cheap, plentiful power, he says.

Earth2tech summarizes his main points, which include

  • “It’s easier to teach energy to the entrepreneurs than to teach entrepreneurship to the energy industry,” so take advantage of Silicon Valley-like high tech and entrepreneurship to do it.
  • Screw conservation, let’s create “a squanderable abundance of cheap and clean energy” and change the planet while we do it.
  • Learn from the mistakes the Internet has made and use its distributed structure as a model for a smart grid.
  • Accept that bubbles will happen. The clean energy bubble is the next one. Deal with it.

After wading through dozens of moaning posts today from financial and political bloggers yowling about how screwed-up everything is, it’s a joy to read what Melcalfe says. In fact, the entire world of cleantech is basically ignoring the doomsters and instead, creating a better world for all of us.

I’m with cleantech on this, and so bored with doom.

Bonus quote:

“When we started building the Internet, and I remember this clearly, we did not set out to build a network to support YouTube.”

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  • woody

    “Screw conservation, let’s create “a squanderable abundance of cheap and clean energy” and change the planet while we do it.”

    Really? Lets just squander energy, to hell with conservation? Even renewable energy comes at a cost. Windmills need maintenance, as do wave systems, and even PV. Renewable is clearly the better way to go, but it’s renewable, not free.

    Electric usage climes year over year in almost all areas. If usage is what it was 10 years ago we could shut down half the coal generating plants in the country today because their output wouldn’t be needed. Conservation is key, and not just at the consumer level, but at the manufacturing level. Energy Star™ was a good start, but we need to do more to promote low-power consumption tools.

    A good example: 50 to 80% of the energy used by cell phone chargers is used when the module is plugged in but the phone is not connected to it. One can buy power strips that detect current draw and automatically shut off such devices, or just unplug the charger when not in us. But why is there not a push to put the current limiting technology into the power charger to start with?!

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