Chase on Smart Energy

Dave Chase's observations of developments and opportunities in the emerging Smart Energy field.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

California's smart meter deployment

The Wall Street Journal reports on California's $3.6B rollout of smart meters to help address California's energy demands.

Op-ed piece on progress in Washington (state)

My friend KC Golden from Climate Solutions has a nice op-ed piece about how bi-partisanship won the day in progress towards a clean-energy based system.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Smart Grids, Grid Computing, and the New World of Energy

As more renewable energy production is connected to the general power grid, the more we will need smart systems managing the result. While difficult, it will ultimately be for the good. The efficiencies of smart grid management coupled with the sustainability of renewable energy will be a big win for us all.

Smart Control for Home Solar

Interesting to see the range of products from $30 to $4500 for monitoring in-home use of electricity. The high-end items also track how much energy you are sending back into the grid, etc. but I would assume the prices will come down dramatically over time.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Politics makes strange bedfellows

I'm starting to see a trend of those historically on opposite ends of the political spectrum finding common ground surrounding clean energy that I highlighted in this article...
  • In Oregon, a far left and far right legislator team up on biofuels legislation.
  • The Economist reports in their "Rethinking the Axis of Oil" article about the growing alliance between defense hawks with enviro greens to completely rethink America’s energy strategy which will force the White House to play catch-up.
  • "Set America Free" group combines noted liberals & conservatives with their recently published "blueprint" for Energy Security.
  • Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) are teaming up to get loan guarantees for the world’s first commercial scale cellulose ethanol (this process uses farm waste such as wheat straw) plant to be built in Idaho.
One of the reasons I've thrown my support behind the non-profit Climate Solutions is they have been effective at finding bi-partisan common ground (e.g., with the Harvesting Clean Energy program) to provide economic development support supporting clean energy based businesses. For example last week, I spent a day with Climate Solutions' Executive Director (Rhys Roth) and many of the leaders in Idaho's Republican delegation exposing them to what Climate Solutions is working on. Even though some don't necessarily believe in climate change, they don't have to in order to see the economic development opportunities. We all left the meetings excited about the opportunity to collaborate. For example, the so-called Smart Energy field is already a $2B business in the Northwest (collective annual revenues) and poised to rapidly grow. Read the whitepaper Poised for Profit II - Prospects for the Smart Energy Sector in the Northwest for more details.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New rules for electricity's new era

Jesse Berst (Center for Smart Energy) does a nice job of drawing an analogy to the growth of faxes, telecommunications and computing with what's on the cusp of happening with the electric industry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Global Finance Community Seeks $1 Billion Investment in Clean Energy

Thanks to Jeff Canin of the Center for Smart Energy for pointing this article out to me. That's a LOT of capital to put to work!

Global Finance Community Seeks $1 Billion Investment in Clean Energy

NEW YORK, May 10, 2005 - An unprecedented grouping of pension funds, foundations, European investors and U.S. state treasurers have joined with the United Nations to back a new call for urgent action by the global investment community to tackle the threat of climate change.

Faced with growing evidence of the negative economic consequences of climate change this powerful alliance of institutional investors managing some $3.22 trillion are pressing for capital market regulators to demand more rigorous corporate disclosure of climate risks.

Among other commitments, they are also seeking to unlock $1 billion in capital in the next year for investment in clean technology. The 2005 "Call for Action" was made at the 2005 Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk being held at United Nations Headquarters in
New York.

Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), told participants at the
Summit: "The local and global challenges created by climate change -- environmental, economic and social -- are manifold and will both multiply and accelerate in our lifetimes. For the world's financiers, investors and capital markets the time to act is now."

Toepfer continued: "If our money markets are to manage climate risk more effectively then we must have greater corporate disclosure of how companies are dealing with the economic threats posed by global warming."

The United Nations' environmental head welcomed the 2005 Summit "Call for Action" -- signed by 20 major investors - saying, "investors backing these practical and pragmatic steps send a strong signal to the markets that climate risk is real and needs to be managed aggressively."

The 2005 "Call for Action" came as more than 400 financiers, government and civil society experts met at U.N. headquarters for a summit to explore risks to the investment world resulting from global warming. The summit, which follows on from the first such gathering in November 2003, has been jointly convened by the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, the Boston-based U.S. non-government organization CERES and UNEP.

The four co-conveners are backing three post-summit initiatives to support the call for action by the investors. The initiatives are:

  1. A new Climate Risk Disclosure Initiative (CRDI). This will be aimed at enhancing corporations' climate risk disclosure. The effort will focus on disclosure of corporate emissions, climate actions, scenario analysis, strategic analysis, and plans to address climate risks and opportunities.
  2. UNEP and the U.N. Global Compact, working with leaders in the institutional investment community, are developing Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
  3. A new forum for International Investor Cooperation in Addressing Climate Risk. This forum will promote collaboration and information sharing among investors internationally about actions to address the financial risks and investment opportunities posed by climate change.

The New York Summit comes shortly after the world's biggest reinsurance companies confirmed that 2004 saw the largest ever insured losses from natural catastrophes.

According to Munich Re, economic losses totaled $145 billion in 2004. This included insured losses of $44 billion from natural catastrophes, the highest ever recorded. Swiss Reinsurance has published statistics that show 2004 was a record year in terms of claims, mainly dues to hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons.

"On the one hand, the negative economic consequences of climate change are clear," said Toepfer. "Yet for the financial and business communities our efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change and its impacts present emerging opportunities for those with the vision, entrepreneurial flair and commitment to embrace new business challenges," he said.

As well as seeking to understand the economic and financial risks associated with climate change the business world is also awakening to a range of emerging opportunities associated with efforts to tackle global warming.

It is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions trading markets could be worth $2 trillion by 2012 and it is further estimated that the market for clean technologies could be worth $1.9 trillion by 2020.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Smart Grid Newsletter

Well regarded industry pundit Jesse Berst and his colleagues publish a monthly smart grid newsletter. I highly recommend it.