If a future power system were to be designed from scratch, it would look very different to the current system of large central power stations generating huge amounts of energy — and often pollutants — which is transmitted through long lines and transformed down for use in homes and businesses. It would be a plethora of smaller, low-cost, nonemitting generators, storage and management systems all operating in a huge web of minigrids that is constantly transacting with suppliers, users and storage agents. Most forecasts indicate that this future power system is already under construction and will be in full operation within the next 20 years. Replacing a century-old system in two decades is daunting, but the timelines in the transformation of the telecommunications industry provide an indication of what can happen when a great technology is coupled with huge economies of scale and endless opportunities for innovation. The power sector is on that cusp of opportunity. The winners will b...

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