Lesson 11: A Niche Created from Decentralized Power Generation – Rob Fulton

I think one of the greatest advantages of decentralizing power generation, is that it will improve efficiency of power generation. By reducing centralized power generation, overproduction of energy will reduce. To explain, transmission losses can be avoided by having sources of power located more closely to end users. It is generally understood that between 5% and 10% of grid losses are due to transmission losses, because of the long distance between generation sites and consumers (WADE, 2014).

Businesses both providing and supporting distributed power have the greatest potential for benefiting from increased decentralization of power generation (Owens, 2014). The outlook for Solar PV is especially bright. There seems to be a niche opening for institutions, businesses, and even residential property owners for installing solar arrays on their roofs and properties to not only reduce their energy cost over the long run, but also to produce revenue from selling power to the grid. Such ventures are even better with governmental incentives still making them economically feasible.

With the ever-increasing number of Solar PV companies launching in my home state (California), consumers need a source of information that will provide data such as approval ratings, cost comparisons, customer feedback, etc. on the list of companies serving their locations. Providing such as service would fill that void and with good marketing and advertising I believe the service would be desired and purchased. It could be as simple as paying a fee to enable access to information via the web, with more premium access, at a higher fee, which could include phone or office visit consultation services.


Works Cited:

Owens, B. 2014. “The Rise of Distributed Power.” THE RISE OF DISTRIBUTED POWER. http://www.eenews.net/assets/2014/02/25/document_gw_02.pdf.

WADE. 2014. “How Does DE Work?.” WADE : World Alliance for Decentralized Energy. World Alliance for Decentralized Energy. http://www.localpower.org/deb_how.html.

Lesson 8: Invest in My Company – Rob Fulton

One important point to make is that renewable energy will become increasingly critical to meeting the energy demand of the world. As more people become educated on sustainability, the demand for clean energy will increase. At this point in time, clean energy points towards renewables, which are naturally replenishing and work to reduce carbon emissions. Show the investor that you have a plan for growth. Explain how ongoing mitigation efforts are changing strategies in various parts of the nation – with REC policies stimulating the use of renewable energy.

Why is this important for an investor to know? They must have confidence that they are putting money into a viable product; one that will have an expanding customer base, producing profits. For example, solar PV energy is growing in demand. Presently, it is largely dependent on governmental subsidies/incentives. This information can turn an investor away. However, having a business model that will not rely on incentives can influence potential investors to invest. Showing that a company can sustain sales and operations, by providing not only sales, but continual service in maintenance and repairs can boost revenues. Also, material costs are projected to decrease in the next decade, lowering financial outlay for supplies. Furthermore, showing that maintaining good personnel on the payroll is a model for success, less turnover will reduce training costs and shows stability within the company. When talking with investors I need to talk in “specifics” when pointing out the profit potential of my company.

Even more importantly, when talking with potential investors, I need to convey that I know exactly what they expect from their investment. This can be done by providing projections for sales growth and calculating a positive NPV for an investment will entice investments. Additionally, I must tell the investors what I intend to do with their money. If I am going to use it for advertising, I need to demonstrate an effective advertising plan, with minimal costs, that will also show how marketing the business will grow sales.

Bottom line is to show that my business is in line with expanding into a larger customer base and that the company will be run as lean as possible while maintaining customer satisfaction. This is important to preserve a good reputation for more business opportunities, hence more revenue and more profits for investors.

Lesson 3 – Energy Efficiency: Developing Reliable CCS Rob Fulton

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan of 2013 has set a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030. This is to be done through efficiency standards. The EPA has been tasked with establishing carbon pollution standards for power plants – new and existing. (White House, 2013) Tougher policies requiring emission reductions (for example RPS standards) will force the power industry to take mitigation measures. Cutting emissions of fossil fuel power plants and investing in renewable energy power/infrastructure are two important aspects of the plan. In order to cut emissions of producing power in America, advances in abatement technologies will be needed. A few possible abatement actions include: expansion of nuclear energy, retro-fitting existing fossil fuel plants (increasing efficiencies), and developing reliable carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Utilizing future climate change impact information for design and construction of nuclear plants and implementing safe operating protocols (perhaps modeled by the U.S. Navy Nuclear Program), can aid in convincing society that nuclear energy is a prudent choice for producing cleaner energy. Converting coal plants to natural gas will also make the power industry more efficient. However, coming up with a proven system for CCS has the potential for revolutionizing the power industry.

There is a great need for a company to produce a reliable means of post-combustion capture of carbon dioxide from power plants. This form of CCS can be easily retro-fitted onto existing power plants, making it possible for operational coal-fired plants to continue producing power without the incredibly costly alternative of altering fuel supply, or worse – deactivating the plant. Great investments in R&D are necessary to improve post-combustion CCS which can lead to perfecting the scrubbing process enough for commercial use. Once the capturing process is upgraded, implementing a suitable sequestration process for the plant(s) can then be designed to fully execute the project.


Congressional Research Service. The President’s Climate Action Plan. Jane A. Leggett. R43120. Washington D.C.:U.S. Government Printing Office, 2014.

Lesson 2: Energy Cost Reduction Consulting

Nuclear power plants are considered attractive to financial supporters and the government because of their baseload functionality. Perhaps even more notably they do not emit any of the six common air pollutants (ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, or lead) nor do they emit any greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, or fluorinated gases). The latter fact has increased backing from non-traditional supporters of nuclear power – environmentalists. In comparing the advantages of nuclear energy vs. renewable energy one characteristic is glaringly prominent – nuclear power’s energy density is tremendously higher. Energy density, as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “the amount of energy (as in a beam of radiation) per unit volume.” To explain this, nuclear energy uses less mass of fuel to produce more energy. Another distinct quality that makes nuclear power advantageous is its reliability compared to renewable energy sources. Weather has a great impact on the efficiency of renewables, whereas nuclear energy is sustained at full capacity regardless of the weather. Wind power and solar power have gained support over the last few years; however they take up massive areas of land for the solar arrays and wind turbines. Biofuels also take up land which might otherwise be used to sustain the food supply. Nuclear plants require less land and therefore minimize the displacement of habitats surrounding them. Nuclear power does have its disadvantages – risk of accidents and radioactive waste. However when proper training and implementation of proven safety protocols are established the risk of accidents is significantly reduced. For example, “the U.S. Navy has accumulated over 5,400 “reactor years” of accident-free experience, and operates more than 80 nuclear-powered ships.” http://www.navy.mil/navydata/testimony/safety/bowman031029.txt  The disposal of radioactive waste seems to a major point of contention between those for and against nuclear power.

Cost reductions dominate the discussion and mission of businesses worldwide. Increasingly businesses are turning to bean-counters to provide ideas for saving money. More often than not labor costs headline the list of means to reduce operating costs. More and more traditional jobs are being out-sourced to lessen the costs of payroll – saving money by not paying benefits or payroll taxes. This deters opening a position within companies for sustainability managers. One role of a sustainability manager is to implement policies for reducing energy costs. This opens up the opportunity to provide energy cost reduction consultation to businesses. Determining the energy demand to sustain operations and offering suggestions to meet those demands with “green energy” and “green building” techniques can create a long term savings for companies. This service will increase in demand as the world transitions away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Introduction – Rob Fulton

Hello Class! I am Rob Fulton and I starting my 3rd year of taking courses with World Campus in pursuit of an ESP degree. I currently reside in Orange County, California. After having grown up here, I joined the U.S. Navy spending 20 years on active duty and retiring. I have lived in numerous locations and have visited on 27 nations on every continent besides Europe. I do hope to visit a few countries there someday.

I currently work as an engineer in Newport Beach, CA at a cogeneration facility. I have been in the energy/power production field for 27 years now. I enjoy what I do immensely. I am in pursuit of this degree to gain insight into sustainability policy, having an ambition to serve the public, probably as a consultant at the local or state level. My passion is sustainability issues involving traffic and urban development. With the coaxing of friends and family I have even sparked some interest in pursuing political office.

As for my interests in this course, that will be wait and see. I haven’t given much thought to becoming an entrepreneur, however establishing a sustainability consulting firm may be something I would be interested in. I have done a great deal of research on traffic, public transportation and urban planning in the Los Angeles metro area and hope to share my ideas with those that can put them to action.

I wish everyone the best of luck this semester.