Key role of Gregor Czisch in the European Supergrid

I commented today on a Yale e-360 interview with Billy Parish, founder of Mosaic, and used it as the occasion to try again to urge FOSG and Desertec to acknowledge their intellectual debt to Gregor Czisch:

Great work. Mosaic appears to be focused on project finance through lending, which escapes the SEC jurisdiction that is currently holding up crowdfunding for startups. Wefunder has been flying a holding pattern for around a year, with that target. Will Mosaic participate in that startup crowdfunding mission once the SEC rules are clear?

Ditto on the mission thing...it is so important to define a specific piece of the puzzle to focus on. Mine is DC power transmission: I have been working on the supergrid HVDC end of that problem for many years (as an inventor/ entrepreneur since 2008; before that as a political advocate). My invention there is the elpipe: a power line designed like a long train that can go underground easily; it has been impossible so far to move elpipes forward with investors or DOE. Lately, my HVDC circuit breaker invention Ballistic Breakers is having success because it is also applicable to medium voltage DC microgrids. But the idea that I burn to move forward is the elpipe; without it or another high capacity underground transmission option, like superconducting lines or sulfur hexafluoride gas insulated lines (GIL), a supergrid is politically impossible in Europe or the US because it would entail >20 new overhead HVDC lines or more than 200 land based cables. An elpipe-based supergrid enables the least costly way in aggregate to build a supergrid (using 30 GW main lines) and to thus get electricity production off of fossil fuels. A supergrid accomplishes this by creating a continental-scale electricity market. (I hope there will be something posted on the supergrid soon on e-360.) This is perhaps most clearly shown in the Ph.D. dissertation of Gregor Czisch (Kassels University, 2005) which lead to the formation of Desertec Consortium and Friends of the Supergrid.

I have taken it on as a personal mission to see that Desertec and Friends of the Supergrid (FOSG) mention the critical role Gregor Czisch played in the inception of the supergrid concept in Europe. These organizations have nothing to lose through attribution, other than possibly finding it harder to justify to not be willing to talk to Gregor. I get riled up about all kinds of injustice, but this is especially important to me because the bad karma and deceitful nature of denying Gregor credit where credit is due is holding up development of the supergrid. Gregor would have been a great panelist or even keynote speaker at one of FOSG or Desertec's conclaves, and his unique perspective would have helped the advocacy process greatly. Because he is not motivated primarily by profit, as are most FOSG members (I am less familiar with Desertec and MedGrid), he is a more credible political advocate; yet he has been pushed aside by FOSG and Desertec.

Peter Meisen, founder of Global Energy Network Institute has been actively advocating for supergrids since 1991, about the same time I was first active in pursuing elpipes politically in Wisconsin, and about the same time Gregor Czisch decided to do his Ph.D. dissertation on a European supergrid. Desertec and FOSG came later, and they got the idea from Gregor; why not just say so? Both Peter Meisen and I came to the supergrid idea through Buckminster Fuller, but Gregor had never heard of Buckminster Fuller; that whole Europen branch of the supergrid sprouted in Gregor's head.

FEEDBACK from Gregor Czisch

From: Dr. Gregor Czisch <snip>

Dear Roger,
Thanks for mentioning me. But what you mention about me is not fully correct. While I was working on my PhD about the renewable electricity supply for Europe and it's neighbours - this work started in 1997, preparation in 1996 and some preliminary work several years earlier  - I came across Buckminster Fuller when I learned about GENI. The Supergrid idea is much older though. I had several Professors who claimed to have been engaged in promoting the Supergrid long before I started studying physics - I started in 1988. Actually they did not really do much to bring that forward and it did not particularly have anything to do with renewables. But anyway Prof. Helmut Schäfer TU München and his colleagues of my university, the technical university Munich, are the people who I first remember mentioning the Supergrid. But the first inventors of something like the Supergrid are much older. One of them might be Oskar Oliven.
I don't like to be honored for something I am not responsible for. I am not an inventor of the Supergrid or something similar. I would claim to be the first who took the renewable Supergrid serious enough to do serious work on it. This is what I did with my PhD and around it and since then.
Oskar Oliven proposed such a Supergrid idea in 1930.

Thank you for clearing that up Gregor. That led me to this book, which mentions Oskar Oliven:

Electrifying Europe

The Power of Europe in the Construction of Electricity Networks
Front Cover
Amsterdam University Press, 2008 - History - 246 pages
Combining a wide array of rarely used sources, this book unravels how engineers, industrialists, and policymakers gained support for building an interconnected European system, achieved by 1995. The empirical chapters show how ideas of European cooperation in general became intertwined with network planning during the Interwar period, although the Depression and WWII prevented an European network from being constructed. The subsequent chapters describe the influence of the Marshall Plan on European network-building, focusing on both its economic and military aspects. The last chapter portrays how the Iron Curtain was contested. This book is a valuable addition to existing national histories of electrification. It is an original contribution to the history of technology, while also making the role of technology visible in more mainstream European history.

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