Microgrids and the Distributed Energy Future

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The promise of smart grid is creating a sustainable, scalable, modular, standardized approach to the power grid of the future.  Achieving this yoga-like perfection requires that we must simultaneously ‘go big’ and ‘go small’. Going big means finding ways to bridge the gaps between the regional interconnects so new sources of clean energy can scale sufficient to be profitable.  This means building high voltage transmission to bring renewable solar and wind energy from remote locations to load …Continue Reading »

Pure Essence of the Laws of Physics

Instantaneous, in perfect balance, universal---those are characteristics of the electric power grid.  Imagine anything else in your life with such exacting standards.  No, I am not talking about your honey--do list! More than 100 years after we learned to harness the laws of physics to create light, power machinery, and put it to work to grow our economy the power grids have operated much the same.  Yes, we have more powerful machines.  We learned to move power over longer distances.  We have …Continue Reading »

TCLabzTRENDS is the new name for ZAP! Crackle! Pop!

SOURCE: TCLABZI started this blog in 2008 when I exited from Ventyx after an eight year run as division president for its Global Energy Advisors division.  I created Scalable Growth Strategy Advisors to focus on the disruptive innovation technology and global competition that are transforming the energy industry.  My clients were mostly software, data and technology companies asking themselves the same transformation questions---what is going on and how do I keep it from eating my …Continue Reading »

When Will Disruptive Technology Shift Power to Energy Customers?

The power of disruptive technology to reshape and change the dynamics of competitive markets is not necessarily in the products we use.  Often it is in the ideas that make those products attractive to customers.  The more attractive the products the more transformational their use can be in competitive markets when customers make choices. We see it in play all around us. Mobile phones erased the monopoly of traditional landline communications companies like AT&T, Verizon and their …Continue Reading »

Which Way Will Solar Energy Go?

Life in the solar energy business is a constant battle between soaring aspirations for long term growth juxtaposed against the terrifying reality of falling prices and global competition.  Selling more might actually mean your solar energy business will just lose more money faster. There is, of course, more than one solar energy business.  There is the photovoltaic panel (PV) business dominated by low price Chinese exports.  Then there is the utility-scale solar energy business segment where US …Continue Reading »

Debt Deal Warnings for Energy Subsidies

The drama that produced the deal to raise the national debt ceiling without increasing taxes is sending warning shots across the bow for many industries.  The message for energy subsidies including the tax credits and treasury tax grants for wind and solar as well as tax credits for oil and gas companies could not be clearer.  The gravy train is ending because the Government cannot afford it and political realities won't tolerate it much longer. Energy Companies Need a No Subsidies Plan B. The …Continue Reading »

From Solar Energy Torment to Distributed Energy Transformation

In Solar Energy Tough Love I confess I ranted about the perverse impacts of government industrial policy on the solar energy sector in its vainglorious attempt to choose winners and losers.  That policy is failing. The market gods hate to be trifled with and they respond with thunderbolts and torment.  This will continue until grid parity is reached, politicians find another target for their affection or ire, and the solar energy sector purges itself of the toxic practices of subsidies, …Continue Reading »

Disruptive Technology is Driving New Ways of Learning

I was surprised at the comments I received about my rant about the need for disintermediation to transform higher education.  You can read them yourself, but the sense of the comments is that neither students, parents nor employers thinks the system serves their interests.  My call to consider disruptive technology changes in the way higher education is formulated, packaged, priced and delivered hit a responsive chord. Technology has transformed other industries to their core, but my experience …Continue Reading »

Time to Turn Disruptive Technology Loose on Higher Education

Let’s Amazon Education! The demise of Borders Books this week is a useful reminder that bad things happen to good people in business just as in the rest of life.  Borders and Barnes & Noble were pioneers in the big box book business.  Borders sprang out of Kmart and was spun off to extract the value it created by offering more variety and lower prices than local neighborhood bookstores that fell in the face of such big box competitors.  B&N and Borders were on a roll and grew market …Continue Reading »

Solar Energy Tough Love

Across the EU Solar Energy is facing tough love conditions as its feed-in-tariffs (FiT) face Déjà vu in another round of reductions in FiT subsidies. Like the classic Tale of Two Cities the world of solar energy today seems filled with the excitement of seeing its revolutionary potential realized by rapid growth while fearful that falling prices, changing feed in tariff subsidies and looming government deficits will overwhelm it first. There is no denying solar energy’s promise and potential.  …Continue Reading »