What a week that has just passed into the annals of history; here are some of my thoughts and of course opinions, however acrimonious and acerbic they may be. The California CARB (California Air Resources Board), one more agency that runs our little world, has tested the software to run the auction of REC’s in the California market. The RNC has finished their convention, there will be changes in the wind and lots of hot air, watch out for the Carbon folks, over the next few months until the dust has been shaken out of the carpet and we know who will be in charge for the next four years. Then there is the news of new installs, new ventures, new closures, new investments and of course new controversy, the purported gaming of the Cal ISO system for another 10 million dollars, after the 73 million dollars a year or so ago by a Wall Street firm, which will remain nameless so I don’t end up in court. They say it is an insignificant amount, until it trickles down to some consumer to pick up the tab, would you think 10 million dollars is insignificant?
If we wrapped it all up in a neat package, added a few more dancing bears, a few more clowns (maybe we have enough) and even a few barkers we would have a grand circus. But what we have is an industry instead. I have met a few circus folks in the past; they seemed much more civil than some of us seem to be. Now I want to reiterate that these posts are my opinion, not derived from some sort of incoherent rambling found floating on a piece of paper in the gutter after the show. I really, really want to stir the thought process and not spew out stats and technical data that can be found in nay number of diatribes on the net or in print.
The number of events and shows that have been spawned by this energy industry we all are part of have itself become a grand industry in it owns right. I think a person could create a business of just going to shows and never really having an brick and mortar business, just going to shows and collecting “stuff” and having fun networking and making dust. Oh, yeah, that’s right there are many such organizations and people. Fine, go get the data, get the unbundled enthusiasm and let us all par take in a vicarious manner. It is all great and all worthwhile, so keep it up. The data can be overwhelming for any one person of organization anyway. I for one can only take so many circuses before I get too much cotton candy and peanuts, let alone the smell of elephant dropping stuck to my shoes. And there is plenty of smelly things stuck to my shoes after every shoe.
Here in California they are voting on issues such as community energy development, I think it is good thing. The IPP’s and the utilities find it not so good for them. The basis of net metering is being challenge all over the place. Should net metering limits be a function of rate payer base and total utility generation, or should it be open to be unlimited. Well I for one think it should be unlimited. Sure there needs to processes to maintain power generation standards and safety and distribution. But how will we ever get to a sustainable domestic energy platform if we cannot generate power for ourselves and our business without the collective PUC’s and other monolithic agency’s having their hand in our pockets every time we turn around.
And in an expected part of the process the government chose to put off for one more year the discussion around California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its effects on development and the environment. They said they ran out of time, they said they had to table the review; they said they wanted more time. Well last time I checked they had plenty of time; they just wasted it on other “stuff” so they could go on a vacation for the rest of the year while the rest of us still have to work and make less than they do for not working. Well I will say the rest of that little rant for another blog on another day. Politics will always be part of our industry no matter how much we do or don’t get involved, so we need to get involved. They even said the policy has gotten out of control, so the will create another board to watch the current board and to oversee the next board so that the current board will not override the prior board so that the consumer board will have insight into the regulatory board so that the governing board will not over step the existing board and the external forces, environmental and development groups, will not be effected or affect the processes or the consumer market. Now if you can keep that straight you should be involved, because I now have a headache.
It was posed as a question in an unrelated net listing that the attendance at the national solar show, Solar Power International, was in question. Organizations wonder if they should attend, should they participate, should they seek to have a voice, should they work to support this industry, should they engage in the process, should they get involved, should they be aware of policy…………I think you get my drift, heck yes they should! If we are not involved we cannot seek a better business and consumer environment, so get involved, go the big show, play a part in the future. Or stay home on the couch and sip cool drinks and wonder when the power will go out and the ice in your drink will melt and you have one more issue to whine about, yes I said whine about.
I was also asked to help define or at least understand some of the issue around cap and trade, not the policy but the valuation and it affect one the market. Now we can all sit back and wait to see how the “politics” and the “regulators” create the market, or we can begin to set the tone and to understand the impacts as we would like them to be incorporated in to our industry, or not. If in the long run the whole cap and trade thing is not your bag ok, but it is still part of the industry so get busy and get off the couch. Research, read, play a role, you can have a voice, just open your mouth and let it out someone will help you moderate and get find a coherent statement, I am still looking for mine but I won’t stop until I do, or someone tells me to shut up, (which by the way never works).
Consolidation, which has been written about and talked about at great length over the past few years it is still happening and great numbers of opportunities will come from this consolidation, are you ready, are you positioned to play a role? Are you thinking of new adventures and new ways of pairing technology together in order to solve problems? Are you in talks with your local representative, political ones? Are you going to PUC meeting? Are you working with your customers to help them understand what is happening? If the customers do not understand they will be driven by the PUC’s and the utilities in the direction they want not in the direction they should be going. Did you buy a ticket the bug show, the circus, the three ring adventure? To borrow from someone else, did you build it or did they build it?
Right now the politics of things are wide open; they are hungry for you vote so give them your opinion in the process. Don’t just vote, speak you mind engage your customers help them be engaged as well, it will be good for the industry and good for your business, really it will. And in the process you will get an education and added skills, there may be some pain but there will be growth as well, not just swelling.
Now with all of that and a fresh headache I want to leave you with this; are you involved, should you be involved? You are the only one that can answer that question. Dirty carbon, exciting events, dirty politics and the big show. It is our industry our community and our world, collectively. You choose. I bought a ticket to the show will you?
Ps: It is my opinion, let me hear yours.