"Remember those ideas that suggested hooking gym machines to the power grid? Well, the Times is reporting that something like this to harness free energy is about to become a reality — the footfall of trudging shoppers is to become the latest source of emission-free energy. 'Engineers who have modelled the effects of the technology at Victoria Underground station in central London have calculated that the 34,000 travelers passing through every hour could power 6,500 lightbulbs. - SlashdotI think the future of our energy grid is decentralization. I think a diversity of interesting point sources and sizes will lead to greater overall power availability and stability while reducing the need for a ton of new, polluting generating capacity. What's needed is the legal and financial incentives to make it happen. For example, the SCC needs to mandate that Dominion power connect to any point source that can prove it provides power to the recognized standard, and pay market rates for that power. In this way, solar homes would have a market advantage over non-solar homes in terms of operating costs, and there would be a market incentive for decentralization of power generation.
Of course, such a move would need to be dovetailed with strong, local pollution standards, as simply hooking a gas generator up to each house would be a bad idea, but there is a middle ground in which Dominion Power is no longer given incentives to increase power use to grow its revenues, but instead grows its revenues through improved power availability, stability and efficiency across its service area.