A Comparison of the Information and Renewable Energy Revolution
In a few years, we’re going to be able to generate our own clean, renewable energy, sell it, and even share it.
We are shifting away from a planet powered by centralized fossil fuel power plants, toward distributed renewable energy systems.
A good way to grasp what’s going on in the world with the energy industry is to compare it to a revolution that already happened (and is still going on): the information revolution.
Remember when we relied on newspapers as our only source of information?
The information industry was set up as a centralized source of information, where they generated and had control of what were the news worth spreading.
So what happened next? The computer came along and opened the door to a new realm of possibilities.
At the beginning, computers were the size of a room, now they can fit in the palm of our hand. Why? Because the technology improved exponentially, costs went down and performance went up at impressive rates.
Have you heard of Moore’s law? Moore’s law refers to an observation made by Gordon Moore, Intel’s co-founder, in 1965. He noticed that every two years, the processing power of computers doubles every two years.
What are the implications of cheaper and more powerful computers?
It allowed more people to have computers in their pockets (iPhones), and with this, the ability to access, generate and spread information at their own will.
This destroyed the information industry as we knew it. Now, we get our information from a bunch of sources distributed around the world, we don’t rely on one only centralized source of information.
What’s the interesting part of all of this? The same thing is happening in the energy industry.
The cost of the technology has been coming down and performance improving exponentially, very similar to what in the information industry.
The energy industry is reaching the tipping point in which the centralized generation model is substituted with distributed generation.
Why? Because the technologies necessary to make this happen are all experiencing exponential improvements in performance and costs. These technologies complement each other and will allow the energy industry to go through the same transformation as the information industry.
Which are these technologies? Solar PV, battery storage, electric vehicles, and blockchain technology (the same used in Bitcoin), and the Internet.
Where does this take us? It takes us to a decentralized energy generation system, instead of generating electricity from centralized power plants, usually powered by fossil fuels, which contaminated our environment. When we turned on the lights, we didn’t know where those kilowatts where coming from.
Now, we have the opportunity to generate our own power.
Why? Because we got to the point where it’s now cheaper to install solar panels in our home/business to generate our own clean energy from the sun, than consume it from the grid, where we have no idea where it came from.
Solar is the first step, and it’s already cheaper to consume than retail electricity in many places around the world.
Once the rest of the technologies mature to the point where we can combine them all, the energy industry will go through the same disruption as the information industry did.
We will be able to not only to generate our own clean electricity but to but to actually share it and use it in different ways that we hadn’t use it before.
The same way that the information industry changed. We shifted from reading newspapers to generating and consuming information from distributed sources
With the convergence of all these technologies, we’ll have the ability to generate electricity with our solar panels, store it in our batteries and electric vehicles, and spread it or sell it with blockchain technology. We’ll be able generate money by selling it back to the grid or send it to your mom.
It’s exciting, we’re about to go through a massive change in the energy industry, and we’re right on time to get involved.