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for people who care about the West

More on distributed generation


I am a member of one of those California Sierra Club chapters that Jonathan Thompson mentions in his excellent feature, “The Bid for a Big Grid” (HCN, 8/21/17). Our concern has been more about the fact that up to 25 percent of the power transmitted long distances via high-voltage power lines is lost during transmission. Several California chapters have long argued for a Sierra Club policy that promotes distributed generation — local power generation for local needs.

Distributed generation has the advantage not only of cutting transmission losses; smaller targets are less appealing to terrorists, and the consequences of terrorist attacks on energy infrastructure would be much more limited.

Distributed generation has a long history and has been well studied. In fact, even the U.S. Department of Energy has a report on the subject, published in 2007: The Potential Benefits of Distributed Generation and Rate-Related Issues That May Impede Their Expansion.

I would have liked to see the distributed generation option discussed in Jonathan’s article; it is compatible with a more integrated grid. Even better would be a follow-up feature that explores the advantages and disadvantages of big, centralized power generation as compared to decentralized generation.

Felice Pace
Klamath, California