A Technology-Driven Disruption of Historic Proportion: 70 Seconds to Explain

It’s no secret that NRG has been vocal and clear about its opinion of what is happening to energy, in the U.S. and the world, from their lead on the Necker Island (home to out-of-the-box billionaire Richard Branson) microgrid project to their new branding focused on sustainability. This quote of NRG CEO David Crane in today’s RenewEconomy, which they dub as the… “Future of energy – and decline of centralised generation – explained in 70 seconds” – is well worth at least 70 seconds to read and ponder:

“Our industry is in the early but unmistakable stage of a technology-driven disruption of historic proportion. This disruption ultimately is going to end in a radically transformed energy industry where the winners are going to be those who offer their customers, whether they be commercial, industrial or individual customers, a seamless energy solution that is safer, cleaner, more reliable, more convenient and increasingly wireless.

“And I might add just generally more personalized than what is currently being offered to energy consumers through our current command and control centralized one size fits all wire and wooden pole system invented by Thomas Edison and seemingly last improved upon in his era.

“NRG , through our multiple initiatives in the smart home with home solar, distributed generation, reliability solutions, microgrids, electric vehicle charging, and portable solar and energy storage products, is positioning itself to win this long-term future in a way that no other power company is attempting.

“In the short to medium term we continue to execute across our consolidated and unrivaled asset platform in a manner that will allow us to win the next few years as the power plants of the post World War II era create a retirement tsunami washing across our core markets that will benefit us as one of the last men standing thanks to our substantial investment in environmental remediation over the past ten years.”

HOMER Energy has been talking about the coming power of microgrids since 2010, when we first relaunched HOMER (Hybrid Optimization of Multiple Energy Resources) upon our licensing of it from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. HOMER’s original focus was on energy access, but over the years grid connectivity was added, and the focus grew from one segment of the microgrid landscape to a much broader picture, as market analysts began to predict major movement in coming decades. We co-authored the Economics of Grid Defection report with Rocky Mountain Institute, which was based, in part, on HOMER analyses.

As this disruption begins, debate and discussion on how to manage it are coming fast and furious. What’s next for “grid defection?” We don’t pretend to know the answer, but here are some recent articles that caught our eye:

How Fast And How Deep Will Utilities Venture Into The Solar Energy Craze?

Major Walking Dead Spoiler: Energy Storage For The Zombie Apocalypse

Developers to use storage to keep new housing estates off grid

Why it’s so hard to monetize the distribution grid – Utilities & regulators must move quickly to set up markets beyond the substation

Michigan utilities warn of capacity shortfall

Utilities: The Uncertain Future

Facing lower gas prices, Duke Energy wants to cut solar rates in North Carolina

Microgrid News and HOMER Energy would love to hear your thoughts on how we can use the best aspects of the grid system while we move toward a new model. Just like telecom completely disrupted communications, changes to the energy landscape are coming – soon – ready or not.

1 Comment

  1. The industry is indeed in a huge shake up and we will look back at this phase as the energy revolution. If we increase infrastructure asset utilisation and encourage beneficial technologies and usage patterns then the existing infrastructure can continue to be used. If this infrastructure does not allow the flexibility that is demanded then usage will decrease making it less and less economic.

    We need to look at systems as a whole, with whole of life modelling, risk and sensitivity analysis to make good decisions for the future. We need to increase the productivity of each energy component otherwise those that don’t will be left behind.

    Australian momentum is building rapidly in this space and we are helping multiple projects with these aims.

Comments are closed.