Not your Father’s Utility Company

May 18, 2009 at 10:09 pm Leave a comment

It is interesting that technology is changing lots of things that have stayed the same since my father’s first purchase of a home. However I hadn’t considered that the definition of a utility company might change along with the technology.

Now a while back I wrote about how my home town was on the forefront of water desalination technology ( but it seems a city to the south of mine is going for a much more aggressive stance. The city of San Diego has just approved a $320 million plant to go in. The story is via (

Excerpt: “The plant, to be built near Carlsbad, north of San Diego, will be the first large-scale desalination operation on the West Coast and the largest in the hemisphere. “If they build it well and it operates well and the price is right, we will see more,” said Peter Gleick, the cofounder and president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif.

“I think there’s going to be some hesitancy to really expand desalination until this plant is up and running,” he added. “There’s going to be hesitancy on the part of everyone — regulators, water agencies and municipalities.”

The other more out there possibility is that someday soon there might be neighborhood nuclear power stations. The story on Eart2Tech ( goes a long way to dispelling this a joke.  I know what I think when someone says nuclear power, but this may a technology whose time has come.

Excerpt: “Despite the hurdles, Hyperion has some lofty goals for its nuclear-in-a-box modules. It’s aiming to build several factories around the world to produce a first batch of 4,000 units. The transportable nuclear modules, each with a price tag of about $25 million, are expected to pump out 70 megawatts of heat and 25 MW of electricity via a steam turbine, targeting off-the-grid applications and developing countries where there isn’t a dependable electric grid.

What with smart grid technology it is obvious that even the staid utilities are evolving at a rapid pace and will look  a great deal different tomorrow than they look today.

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Entry filed under: Technology. Tags: , .

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