For more than 100 years, electric utilities worldwide made relatively few investments to electric distribution networks; focusing primarily on generation and transmission infrastructure. As such, the traditional electric distribution system—comprised of a passive network of poles, wires, transformers and capacitors— delivered power to commercial, industrial and residential customers in largely the same manner for decades.
Answering the call for increasing energy self-reliance, a grassroots electricity-sharing model is emerging. “Community microgrids,” comprising community-owned or subscribed solar PV and other renewable energy sources, offer participants and surrounding consumers the security of energy resilience in times of grid failure and protection from energy price increases driven by volatile energy markets. They also give energy producers/consumers (aka “prosumers”) more control over the renewable energy they generate.
We are at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, defined by its velocity and volume, scope and scale, and systems impact. The foundation of this new era is squarely built upon the success of the "digital grid." The first three revolutions—defined by the introduction of steam and mechanization, electricity and computing, respectively—all had profound societal impacts, but they lacked the exponential rate of technological breakthroughs and complexity that define the fourth.
Originally posted on GreenBiz 350 Podcast, Episode 69
Multimedia with summary
GreenBiz editor in chief Joel Makower spoke with Tam Nguyen, the global head of sustainability for Bechtel. Tam describes efforts to advance Bechtel's sustainability through newly announced 2030 goals and targets plus a unique partnership with Conservation International to build resilience in the Philippines.
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