Archive for May, 2014

Kicking Down the Door to the Hidden Job Market

About two weeks ago, this nugget came into my LinkedIn Articles queue. Really good tactics and some sobering realities in this read:

 Kicking Down the Door to the Hidden Job Market

NB: Since 2006, all of my contract work has come either via folks contacting me in the matrix,  from direct/personal referrals or via networking.

REST in Urban Agriculture

As the ‘indifference’ of Mother Nature, er climate instability continues intensifying, and when the price of petrol gets prohibitively expensive for foodstuffs to make their way to the markets, folks will be wishing for an achievable, sustainability developed schema like REST in Urban Agriculture  that includes:

  • hybrid renewable energy systems technology [HREST] for energy generation and capturing moisture from the air via atmospheric water generation
  • water resource management
  • waste management
  • affordable housing
  • access to fresh produce
  • employment opportunities
  • the 5 R’s – resiliency, redundancy, robustness, reliability, repair


Here’s the BIG PROBLEM | Energy literacy is the energy industry’s BIGGEST obstacle

This one is for all the VCs out there.

It’s taken me the better part of a month to draw the following conclusions and reconcile my latest position as a renewable energy ‘evangelist’…

For about ten years now, I have been searching for the lowest common denominators why MASSIVE deployment of renewable energy systems technologies is still not taking place. I have found over this past year that there are a great many empathetic scientists, engineers and economists echoing my sentiments about having a discussion about making fundamental changes in consumption of fossil fuels. And more importantly, that this needs to happen in tandem with deployment of renewable energy systems technologies.

The majority of (Wo)Men want it all, and has hubris that I find utterly confounding, expecting Mother Nature to acquiesce to certain quality of life expectations we have been accustomed w/o having to make sacrifices or change behavior. Indeed, we should do everything what we can to reduce CO2 emissions while implementing more Earth-friendly energy systems technologies. I, however, don’t think we’ll see the change required on a massive scale until everything breaks, HARD.  Hubris and greed are furtive ‘beasts.’ And so…

POINT ONE. I think until energy literacy is heightened, invoking renewable energy systems engineering proactivity on a massive scale is highly unlikely. Right, to foment this change, for at least ten years now, I’ve been suggesting we need guerrilla marketing–because, quite frankly the public’s complete and utter lack of energy literacy is the renewable energy industry’s, and for that matter, conventional energy of CONG’s [coal oil nuclear natural gas] biggest obstacle. The level of ignorance that almost everyone has about energy, such as how electricity gets to their house, or how gasoline gets into their automobile tank, is on par with children who don’t know where a Chicken McNugget comes from, or that manure from grazing animals can be used as fertilizer/compost.

And because governments have a difficult time developing effective policies, voters don’t understand the issues. These issues are exploited for partisan gain, experts are discredited, and so, terrible, terrible decisions are made. Water and power are taken for granted. And so they are considered entitlements, basic human rights–and as I have tried to raise, any heavily regulated company providing these services are despised when they don’t measure up to a certain entitlement expectation.

It’s interesting how some services are glorified (firefighters) and the ones we can’t live without (power linesmen) are ignored, taken for granted–that is, until the power goes out, then customers are angry. I think this is one area where the examination needs to occur, so this shift can evolve in a more pragmatic and prudent direction.

POINT TWO. Another problem is those who don’t understand thermodynamics don’t understand a physical system dealing with kilojoules or kilograms makes things way more difficult than say, working in the infinite space of the internet. And what’s unfortunate is a great deal of the venture capitalists  assumed energy was like the computer science industry. The laws of physics don’t allow the speedy progress we see and have seen in information technology. I was a participant contributing to the development of the web realm back of the days of the dot-com(edy).  The gains in the energy sector, however, come about incrementally. Energy has to be converted to a useful form, er usually electricity or heat, and the amount that can be obtained is limited, set by the laws of thermodynamics.

But let’s not forget the efficiency issue. Gasoline, diesel, LPG (liquified petroleum gas) and natural gas (NG) are efficient, they also contain an energy rich density no single renewable energy systems technology posses, are relatively easy to transport, store in large quantities and use in vehicles or power buildings/processes. I therefore think energy innovation will come about with revolutionary changes in energy extraction, storage, distribution and application. And so…

…at this juncture in time, I see a game changer being the glut of natural gas from tracking shale deposits in the USA. IF, HOWEVER THE GAS CAN BE EXTRACTED WITHOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE, THIS COULD BE THE CLOSEST DISRUPTOR FOR THE NEAR TERM FUTURE. 

And so for now, the inertia of fossil fuel dependence continues, as do the escalations of ‘indifference’ of Mother Nature, er climate instability.

Energy is all around us and we consume copious quantities of it. We only question it when it’s expensive or not there. – Energy Abundance vs. the Poverty of Energy Literacy



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What is a Hybrid RE Engineer?

An engineering generalist with an understanding of sustainable development whose skills set are typically comprised of an amalgam of mechanical and electrical engineering. One who is able to design and assemble systems and components that are comprised of more than one renewable energy (RE) technology i.e. solar, wind, hydro-kinetic (ocean/wave/micro-hydro), biomass, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal and storage (battery, fly wheel, pumped-hydro). The RE technologies selected depend on one's geographical predisposition, resource availability, the end-use need, practicing conservation (behavioral change) to name a few considerations...

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