Sustainable energy is a wicked problem. As we solve one aspect of the challenge, others arise—and the very definition of the problem evolves over time. Yet admitting uncertainty is unpopular. No one is holding a picket sign that reads, “It depends on a number of factors that are mutually interdependent.” So, what should we be thinking about as we work toward a sustainable energy future?
Jimmy Jia is an entrepreneur, author, educator, strategist and speaker at the intersection of sustainable energy and business. As the founder and CEO of Distributed Energy Management, he supports companies in right-sizing their energy consumption to reduce wasted utility spending. Jimmy also serves on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego and the Executive Committee of the CleanTech Alliance in Seattle. He teaches the Sustainable Energy Solutions Certificate at Presidio Graduate School, and Jimmy is the author of Driven by Demand: How Energy Gets Its Power.
Today, Jimmy joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to discuss the wicked problem of energy, offering his insight around energy transitions and the value proposition of sustainable energy. He explains the concepts of a microgrid and a smart grid, speaking to the nuances of those terms and the challenge of assigning a formal definition to either one. Jimmy also addresses what Nori might learn from the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) market and how Nori fits into the overall energy balance framework. Listen in for Jimmy’s advice to consumers regarding sustainable consumption and get his take on nuclear energy, the rise of cooperatives, and even the feasibility of the Dyson sphere!
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[0:44] Jimmy’s energy journey
[4:56] How the laws of thermodynamics apply to business
[7:12] Jimmy’s insight around energy transitions
[12:48] How to frame the value prop of sustainable energy
[14:35] Jimmy’s advice for consumers
[15:49] Why energy qualifies as a ‘wicked problem’
[22:00] The concept of the microgrid
[25:06] The idea of the smart grid
[27:55] What Nori can learn from the REC market
[32:00] How Nori fits into the energy balance framework
[36:44] Jimmy’s take on nuclear energy
[39:48] The rise of energy cooperatives
[41:46] The feasibility of the Dyson sphere