A recurring theme of my posts has been the adaptation of traditional “green” business models in preparation for the future.
I believe, along with many other analysts, entrepreneurs, government officials, and consumersÂ that energy technology is the next emergent technology set, akin to the growth of the IT (information technology) sector until the dot com crash that occurred at the turn of the century.
And akin to the IT sector, a variety of technologies are proving that they are viable to serve the needs of consumers, with the caveat generally being that they are not cost competitive.
Cost competitiveness does require scale, and unlike IT, scale is harder to achieve with energy products.Â The reasons for this range from the costs of R&D, to cost of distribution infrastructure, production facilities, and parts or components pricing.
There are also other factors at play here as well. Energy utility is measured differently by large scale power consumers, but that utility is also of concern to small-scale consumers. Flashlight batteries are a great example of this, in that the distribution infrastructure for a pack of AA batteries is larger than the gas station infrastructure to consumers, but product packaging, price, regulatory environment, and applications are conducive to supporting this difference.
Many of our biofuels suffer from needing to initially share the tradition petroleum-based infrastructure, which is a barrier since the oleochemical industry is different from the petrochemical industry and the products behave differently from a distribution perspective.Â Wind power generation is another area where the goal of sustainable energy can beÂ achieved if certain conditions are met that not every community can support.
Ultimately energy is a commodity business and requires an infrastructure that supports abundant delivery of the commodity at a price that the consumer (whether it be a business or an individual) can bear and obtain positive value for its use. There is room for as many energy productsÂ as can be delivered at an appropriate price point. This has always been the case, and is unlikely to change in the coming energy age.
Make it a better place…