Utilities vs. Renewables (It's Not a Fight) – A Letter from the CEO
May 9, 2016
Why are the utilities and the renewable people adversaries? It's a question I have been asking myself for years.
Why are the utilities and the renewable people adversaries? It's a question I have been asking myself for years. To some of you, the answer is obvious. The renewable camp will soon replace so much of the utilities’ business with self-sustaining homes, buildings and businesses, that in order to survive and maintain their business model, the utilities must fight the renewables to the death.
My personal view is that in the near term there will be nothing to support the view that renewables can supplant the utilities at anything that resembles the current price and convenience we enjoy today. Renewables have the potential to augment the energy currently generated by utilities thereby allowing the country to grow without adding new power plants. A hybrid system that intelligently integrates renewables, energy storage, nuclear and fossil fuel generators can provide us with a more reliable, affordable and safer grid structure while improving the environment.
The following are a few of my assumptions:
- Keeping up with future power demands will be challenging. Even though many buildings and homes are getting more energy efficient, as the amount of automation and control increases, the demand for high quality, reliable power will continue to increase.
- New fossil fuel and nuclear power plants are very difficult to build. Permitting can take more than a decade and getting through the NIMBYs (not in my back yard) and the NOTEs (not over there either) is very challenging.
- The grid needs upgrades. One way to take the pressure off the grid is to have homes and buildings that could be self-sustaining for some portion of the day and could then absorb excess power generation at night.
- The renewables believe that fossil fuels and utilities are crooks and do nothing but hurt the environment.
- The utilities would have us believe that fossil fuels and the energy grid is the only way for humanity to progress and enjoy an ever increasing standard of living. And, that renewables without subsidy can never be cost competitive.
- The people generally would like reliable affordable power that does not hurt the environment.
The preceding thought process is what led RoseWater Energy Group to design the Residential Energy Hub. We wanted to build a product that would facilitate a more cooperative relationship between utilities and renewables. In doing so, the product would improve power quality, power reliability, grid stability and optimize the use of all available power sources. We understand that the price for the Hub is currently expensive but, most importantly, we know what it will take to make the Hub more affordable. While our goals are lofty and our journey will not be easy, the first steps have been taken and we are confident that we will reach our goals.