Wednesday, May 16, 2007

People Moving and Power

Two interesting web connections on the movement of people on the planet and in the United States.

Thanks to Paul Kedrosky for pointing me to this very cool, flash based global map of where people are moving on the planet. Surprised to see the relatively low movement out of China. I suspect that the data has been normalized to mean percentages of inbound and outbound movement. Must be, as China would presumably have orders of magnitude more activity than Peru without normalization. It's a pity that Asia-to-America and Asia-to-Great Britain traffic goes across the rest of the map, as it's hard to discern which dots are going where between and betwixt these edge cities. Someone needs to redo with a "wrap" function so that we can separate out patterns of East-to-West and West-to-East from any country a little easier.

With richer specific data, jonrayjay has parsed U.S. Census bureau data to come up with a notion of the Great Decline of the Coastal Megalopolises. Putting my All Power Is Geography hat on, this population shift in is mostly a net neutral impact for solar, and in general, quite a bad thing for wind. As you can see from even the cartoon picture here, leaving the coasts means leaving some of the best wind resource in America. On the positive side, it means a lot less consumption of heating fuels in the winter. On the negative side, it also means a lot more stain on already constrained internal water resources, and more power to power hungry AC. (Actually, AC consumption and it's strain on the grid is floating north as well.)