From time to time disasters destroy power and water infrastructure in various locations. Think Timor or even Haiti. What is more, new infrastructure in particular locations is sometimes superfluous when finally completed – consider desalination plants finished in time of flood or power for refining mineral resources that become depleted or uneconomic. We need to think less parochially about infrastructure like this.
I visualise installations that functionally resemble oil rigs at sea in that they can be relocated, towed to where needed, and connected to local distribution systems. We have mining ventures right now in South Australia that are trying to work out how to cooperate to secure both power and water to support their operations in far-flung locations. Why not build such facilities in ship yards and deploy them in such service?Later, when no longer needed they could be moved and loaned or leased elsewhere.
In a national, or indeed even international disaster, some could be re-prioritised and deployed to meet that need – so we would not want all the eggs to be in the one basket. A number of smaller units would provide more flexibility than individual all-powerful ones. Deployable interconnection resources like pumping stations and substations to interface with local resources, ideally container-ised and self-contained, could simplify connection.
If venture capital can not be harnessed to do this with a view to profit, then consortia of governments, shipyards and insurance companies might be persuaded to take it on – at least for a demonstration prototype?