Sunday, June 23, 2013

Massive Paradigm Upheaval in Power Production is Already Happening

IKEA recently announced its plans to be a net PRODUCER of electricity by 2020, using solar and wind power to produce electricity over and above what the company uses. They've already committed 1.8 BILLION dollars to the goal. It's just 7 years from now. Walmart also has similar plans for the future. Apple, too. Many other companies, too. A consortium of 33 companies came together to sign a "Climate Change Declaration" to call on the US to move toward meaningful climate change policies. Levi's. L'Oreal. Intel. Unilever. North Face. And many of these companies are also putting money into ramping up their own power production from renewable energy. General Motors...GM has committed to DOUBLING it's solar output to 125 MW by 2020. All of a sudden, the technology is there to turn some of the biggest purchases of electricity in the county into net PRODUCERS of electricity with wind and solar. Over a short period of time. What the hell business does a large retail store like IKEA have getting into the electricity generation biz? NONE, really. None at all! But here we are. In the actual world. RIGHT NOW we are seeing RETAIL and COMPUTER companies saying "Hey....we can produce a surplus of electricity...." while other huge companies worldwide are committing themselves to enormous jumps in wind and solar capacity to....get this.....MANAGE COSTS....
“GM has set an example in renewable energy within its industry and beyond,” said Rhone Resch, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Solar helps companies reliably manage their long-term energy costs, and our top 20 companies are going solar in a big way across the nation.”
So the question is...What does that mean for Business As Usual in the energy industry? What does that mean for the utility companies? When their biggest customers are jumping ship, making their own damn electricity Because They Can? It's a problem for Business As Usual. A huge one. Recently a major utility organization the Edison Electric Institute issued a report on "Disruptive Challenges" for the utility industry and solar power is one of the big ones. A utility company actually used the term "mortal threat" when referring to the effects of rooftop solar on the utility industry.
Today, a variety of disruptive technologies are emerging that may compete with utility-provided services. Such technologies include solar photovoltaics (PV), battery storage, fuel cells, geothermal energy systems, wind, micro turbines, and electric vehicle (EV) enhanced storage. As the cost curve for these technologies improves, they could directly threaten the centralized utility model.
We are in the midst of a massive revolution in how we power our world. One that has reached the tipping point in favor of renewable energy. Keep pushing. Keep PUSHING! This sucker is about to fall right on over the edge and the world of energy production will forever be changed for the better. We're already seeing in Europe how fossil fuel plants no longer make sense as investments. Like any major technological shift, it will happen as if overnight. Our law makers aren't prepared for this massive shift toward decentralized power production. Many don't even see it coming. But it's coming hard. Here in Michigan we had energy forums to talk about our energy future and I fear it focused too much on a centralized model that's just about to collapse in the next half decade. There's going to be bumps in the road. But that's because while the utilities were lording their influence over folks and shoring up their power...........the world changed at the bottom. And there's nothing that will stop this shift now. It's happening. Be ready.