Can micropower become as deep a game-changer as microprocessing?

This is the title of the speech I’m giving Jan. 8, 2016 at the annual meeting of the Geosciences and Reservoir Engineering Group of the Energy Development Corp. The title says it all.

Developments in the renewable energy field indicate that we are entering a period very much like the early period of microprocessing. The technologies are almost there but not quite. Lots of innovation is going on. Prices keep dropping yet production keeps rising, contrary to what conventional economics predicts. This was exactly what happened when integrated circuits were first introduced, which later led to the earliest microprocessors and solid-state memories. It was a matter of time, before the first microcomputer was designed and built with these new components. The rest, as they say, is history.

In this speech, I explore the possibility that micropower, or small-scale generation, also called distributed generation, can be as deep a game-changer as microprocessors. By deep, I mean changing the rules of the game not only within the industry, but in society as well.

My conclusion: To become a deep game-changer, the energy industry must find a way to scale down, not up, the power units in energy systems, enough to activate the economics of increasing returns to scale and trigger virtuous cycles of greater demand and lower prices.

The full text of the speech may be downloaded here (Can micropower be as deep a game-changer as microprocessing by RVerzola).

 

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