Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pointless White Elephant

It’s not often there is an industry leader with a vision of the future that really excites me and this energy industry is full of people who lack a vision.  NRG Energy’s CEO David Crane makes a powerful statement and is so bold to put it on the company’s website.  It’s worth reading.  This is the future of the energy industry.

There is no Amazon, Apple, Facebook or Google in the American energy industry today.
There is no energy company that relates to the American energy consumer by offering a comprehensive or seamless solution to the individual's energy needs.
There is no energy company that connects the consumer with their own energy-generating potential.
There is no energy company that enables the consumer to make their own energy choices.
There is no energy company that empowers the individual wherever they are, whatever they are doing, for however long they are doing it.

This guy has an idea how to transform the alternate energy retail supplier business.  In an industry that is so stuffy where few have imagination it’s refreshing to hear these words 

Why can’t an energy company connect my smartphone to their smart meter.

Why should I want a smart freezer or smart refrigerator so it can communicate with the electric company but it’s unable to communicate with me?

Consumers don’t want to give up control and become disconnected to their dishwasher.  Consumers want to be enabled to gain more control of their energy usage.  Consumers want an energy company that isn’t afraid to engage them and provide tools for managing their own energy usage.

David Crane went on further with his letter. 

Just a few years ago the prevailing wisdom was that the path to a clean energy economy depended on our collective willingness to build a nationwide, high voltage transmission system in order to transport electricity in vast quantities from the relentlessly windy and brutally sunny parts of the country, where people generally don't live, to the more moderate places where Americans tend to congregate. The folly of that idea thankfully was realized before anyone actually began to build such an expensive and pointless white elephant. Now we are headed for the same goal BUT in the opposite direction: down the path towards a distributed generation-centric, clean energy future featuring individual choice and the empowerment of the American energy consumer.
The only real question is how quickly will this future occur?

How about that!  Here’s an energy company that has no connection to Iowa, Kansas, or Illinois and he calls projects exactly like RICL and GBE  as “POINTLESS WHITE ELEPHANTS”.


I just wonder how long will it take FERC and the state regulatory commissions to recognize these projects for what they are, pointless white elephants.  I wonder how long it will take the investors in Clean Line Energy Partners to realize they are being taken for a ride on top of a white elephant.  Just like a pony ride at the county fair, this one keeps going around in circles until it’s time to pay up again. 

It’s great to hear a CEO from an energy company recognize transmission from the Midwest as a folly and there are better solutions.  There aren't many energy companies whose leaders has a good grasp of the future.  I'll be following NRG Energy closely.

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