Monday, June 22, 2020

Enbridge Energy vs. State of Michigan-Need for a Redundent and Adaptable Energy System Highlighted

There has been controversy brewing between the State of Michigan and Enbridge Energy. It appears that some of the pipe was damaged when a support anchor shifted. Other damage occurred in the recent past when a ship hit it with a huge anchor and dented it. Thus, there will likely be further legal proceedings and arguments. There is a wider discussion on energy vs. environmental protections.

Now, I'm not that familiar with the case yet but I would say we need energy for economic growth and we need a safe environment for long-term growth and health. This debate is natural depending on the emphasis in one's value systems. Until there is a solution there will be conflict.

In essence there is a new pipeline being built that may be operational in 5 years and there is a demand that the tunnel get shut down within 2 years for perceived safety issues. Both arguments seem to make some sense and have a lot of supporters piling up.

We can look at some growing trends in Global Warming/Environmental Protection as well as a need to create Economic Development. So this is about two different philosophies that are clashing as they relate to the condition of tunnel and risk of damage.

We do know that if we are going to rejuvenate as a nation we will need more energy sources, consistent energy, and lots of energy to fuel our factories, homes, and activities. To add to this there is wider discussion on improving our energy system to protect it from foreign sabotage. It would seem there could be a sort of middle ground that would improve the system, protect it and ensure the environment is safer.

First, lets say that innovation creates less need for energy as waste is reduced and we can say that the development of alternative energy can lower heavy reliance on single sources of energy. To incorporate more sources (emerging and existing) forms of energy we need a power grid that allows redundancy and adaptability.

Because the environmental vs. energy trends will clash as they seek to find a solution we can say that understanding this legal case in the wider need of a safe energy system that encourages economic growth.  Thus the case is part of a larger debate that would be less controversial if we engaged in a la broader systematic review such as SWOTch. ....meaning looking at our grid from a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat and Change (alternate strategies).

As our nation grows we might want to think about creating a more adaptable energy system that allows for inputting of energy from multiple sources that can support each other in case of an energy emergencies. Ideally it would be great to diversify through multiple sources (oil, propane, solar, wind, etc...), multiple power locations (local, state, regional, federal) that can interconnect and/or disconnect, and have import and export (i.e. allowing power to move from local to central and central to local sources) thereby protecting the system from large scale default and reducing environmental impact through rerouting options. Such a power system will follow ideas in many ways like data of the internet as knowledge moves from one field to another.

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