Utilities and Religions - Same, Same but Different
by Elkana Pressler
Strategy and Business Developer at Brightmerge Ltd
Both are central to our lives: both shape our wellbeing, growth and sustainability – both need to change!
When looking back in history, we see religions as communal structures. Political, social and spiritual establishments that sustain order and promote belonging…along with threatened horrific consequences now and then…
Religion allows people to connect on common ground and to build huge entities, like economies, infrastructures, social cohesion and much more. But over the past century and even longer, religions that wishes to stay relevant have undergone huge changes, moving their core concerns from direct politics and economy to more community and global welfare, ethnic folklore and spiritual guidance.
We can easily see the analogy. Time-honored traditions and beliefs need to change, no matter how well they served their adherents in the past.
Since it became feasible to universally distribute electricity to the populace, we have used the same practices and systems to build energy networks. Generation was limited to fossil fuels, especially coal and more recently nuclear, but all lead to the creation of huge power plants and super complex transmission systems.
For 100 years plus, this structure was the best way we knew to provide a population with energy. But now things have changed. We are in a situation where this paradigm is no longer working as it needs to, it is holding hold us back and moreover, there is a replacement: renewable energy distributed over decentralized local networks also known as Microgrids.
A Microgrid is a concept in which local energy networks replace the national grid mainly with renewable generation and battery technologies. Microgrids can support electricity in an efficient, clean and reliable manner.
Like religions, big utilities will find it hard to let go. The economic and political power they have gained over the past century or so, years will not be given back that easily. As with religion, when a period of enlightenment begins to flourish, people start realizing that there are alternative approaches which are more suited to their daily needs. People seek – and very often find – replacements.
It took centuries until organized religions realized that they needed to adapt or lose their adherents; that coercion and threats of hell-fire were just not working anymore. The same goes with electricity utilities but the other way around – they just fail to keep their promises for reliable and sustainable energy production and generation – these threats to consumers start being met with innovative alternative approaches.
Utilities see what’s going on and yet it may still take some time until they adapt and become an “uber-grid” that manages smaller, local Microgrids. Utilities will have to adapt to a network based on decentralized multi-technology generation entities, along with massive decentralized energy storage.
While we at Brightmerge takes the front row to this huge show, we forecast utilities will play a major role in the huge energy decentralization transition; they will have to be present and active in facilitating a smooth transition; to act on behalf of central government to make sure no one is left on the periphery with dying energy systems, while strong socioeconomic communities adopt modern microgrids.
Even after microgrids will settle in we project an energy marketplace among Microgrids that will be conducted over transmission lines. This system will transfer energy from, and to scattered Microgrids and although it will have many of the current components, it will be designed totally differently. Utilities/transmission entity would be the best candidates to design build and maintain those lines.
Unlike religions that somewhat hold back the process of change on behalf of tradition and belonging, utilities are an essential drivers and connected part of the transition.