- What will be the effect of greater decentralization of power generation?
The greater effect of decentralization of power generation will be a balanced control between the suppliers and consumers. Balanced control is huge, because typically it is the power generation companies how have all the “power.” Rather than being stuck with the local power generation company, consumer will have a choice. A choice is huge for consumers. For example the only way in which I can get cable TV is through my local provider, and they are TERRIBLE. They are so bad that I looked for SUBSTITIONS, and I do not have an equivalent one. So my down-grade substitutions are Netflix and Amazon.
A few years ago, that was the same trouble some people may have had with electrical companies. Now consumers are able to compare power generation companies based upon quality, price, any type of green energy factor they like. Hopefully prices drop due to competition, or power generation companies compete for consumers in positive ways.
- What new businesses will evolve in this changing landscape?
As we enter a “changing landscape” I feel that we will see consultation firms evolve and give sustainable advice to businesses or even homeowners. I talked to a great friend/ mentor of mine who is an architect. He told me about how, he had questions regarding a project nearly a year ago, but he was not sure who to go to.
Sustrana is sustainable near Philadelphia, and they have a goal which really convinces me that sustainable consultation firms will evolve.
To enable 1,000 organizations to build strategic sustainability programs by 2020. -That is huge!
- What business can you see yourself creating to serve this market?
If I were to start my own business, it would be in small scale consulting. People need help and I will be there to give them advice. I would take on residential and business projects, hopefully working on new buildings, but also open to updates existing structures. However I have an open mind and am willing to take on new ideas.
-F. Michael Reichart
Times have changed, and if we do not diversify our energy sources today, we are all heading down the road of infinite environmental troubles and consequences. The importance of energy security and energy stability is the nation’s top priority in order to promote economic growth and remain in accordance with current and future environmental policies. Decentralization of power generation will lead to considerable effects on the environment, economy, efficiency, security, and reliability of the current network. First, a decentralized energy system will expand energy sources with new renewable energy companies, expanding the field of renewable energy and thereby reducing the environmental impacts such as CO2 emissions. Second, a DE system will increase competition as it will be more so based on a free market system with limited regulation. The greater number of players in the field of embedded generation will encourage firms to operate in the most cost-effective, efficient manner as possible. In essence, the companies want to offer energy at lower costs than competitors to become successful. Therefore, companies will create or adapt new technologies that increase the efficiency and profitability of the firm. Such techniques that may be considered could be more improved storage infrastructures for renewable energy plants to sell electricity during peak hours. Currently, a significant hurdle in the distribution system is that the supply must be generated as needed. Thus, when supply exceeds demand (as with the case of most renewable energy sources) the excess energy is sold at very low prices on the flooded market. Therefore, I believe that we can expect to see large advances within storage technologies such as improved batteries for PV (Photovoltaic) units, and hydro storage infrastructures that would store energy more efficiently to sell during peak hours. In addition to storage technologies, there will be a higher demand for smart infrastructures such as smart meters and smart grids to manage grid stability. These types of technologies would become invaluable in a decentralized energy system for it would allow real-time monitoring and communication between the producers and the consumers.
Implementation of a DE system would spawn job growth and create numerous market possibilities within the energy and technical sector. I can imagine myself creating a business that would either focus on improving a plants efficiency by improved technology that is original to the market or becoming a consulting business to educate future investors and companies. The renewable energy market is growing at a remarkable pace and with the help from renewable energy payments and rebates, it is only expected to increase. Thus, two years from now, equipment used today may be outdated and not as efficient. Therefore, I believe that there is a niche in the market to keep firms updated and educated in the technological advancements. Perhaps, I could create a sale representing company that conducts business audits as well to ensure that they are operating at an optimum level. If and only if renewable energy technology continues to improve, I could present companies with new more efficient technologies. I also could offer discount rates if they would sell me the old equipment. Then, I could sell this used equipment to start-up businesses or residential units that are searching for less expensive systems. Another niche would be to start a consulting company to help new businesses learn the “ropes” of the decentralized control system to diminish the chance for failure and increase the potential for success. Overall, there are significant opportunities in starting a business catered to the decentralization of power generation; but I feel that these activities would lead to great success for the fact that they both focus outside the industrial market and power plants. The companies can be integrated on a full scale both commercially and residentially increasing the likelihood of expansion.
Low carbon Green Road map for Asia and Pacific. “Decentralized Energy Systems” UNESCAP. Nd. Mozilla Firefox. November 05 2014. Found here: http://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/14.%20FS-Decentralized-energy-system.pdf
Klitgaard, Thomas. Reddy, Rekha. “Lowering Electric Prices through Deregulation”. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. December 2000. Mozilla Firefox. November 5 2014. Found here: http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/current_issues/ci6-14.pdf