"Think Globally and Act Locally" is more than just a slogan to one of San Diego's top solar installation businesses, SunPower by Stellar Solar. The company has been invited to take part next week in an international conference on upgrading transmission grids to better support renewable energy and someday, even connecting them into a global network – or "energy internet."
The Global Grid Forum is being held in Vancouver Sept 10-11 and is co-sponsored by Edison Electric Institute, the trade association for U.S. investor-owned electric utilities, plus six other groups, including an international consortium called GEIDCO or "Global Energy Interconnection Development Cooperative Organization."
SunPower by Stellar Solar was also invited to join this GEIDCO consortium, which was formed in 2015 and includes nearly 800 blue-chip firms like ABB, Siemens, Accenture and Morgan Stanley among others. The group is currently chaired by Mr. Liu Zhenya, former chairman of China's State Grid Corporation, the world's second-largest company, generating over $360 billion in revenue annually.
"It's a great honor to be invited to join this important consortium and to participate in the Global Grid Forum, which we believe can lead to critical new strategies for fighting climate change," said Michael Powers, a founding partner of SunPower by Stellar Solar, who will be representing his company at the conference. "From a business perspective, it's exciting to consider the prospect of an 'energy internet,' which could someday allow a solar homeowner in San Diego to trade excess solar energy with a homeowner in Shanghai -- or just three time zones away, on the East coast of the U.S.," Powers said.
"A World That Works for Everyone"
Joining him in Vancouver will be Peter Meisen, president of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), also based in San Diego, whose mission has long been similar to GEIDCO's – promoting the connection of regional energy grids into a high voltage global network for long-distance trading of renewable energy. Meisen's GENI group was also invited to join the GEIDCO consortium.
"This 'Global Energy Grid' is the highest priority of the World Game, a simulation game invented by R. Buckminster Fuller to answer the following question: 'How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest time possible, through spontaneous cooperation, without disadvantaging anyone or harming the environment?'" Meisen explained. "Clearly, we are at a crucial moment in the fight against climate change along with the need to address wealth inequality around the world. Global energy interconnection is a powerful strategy for combatting both problems while creating new opportunities for economic growth," Meisen said.
Powers sees an important alignment between GENI's goals and those of his solar company. "I've served on the GENI board for over a dozen years now and I've supported this initiative for more than 30 years -- even before launching our solar business," Powers explained. "The key value of solar panels on a roof is the dollar value of the electricity they produce. But when the only buyer of that power is the local power company – at a price set by a commission in Sacramento – the value of that renewable energy will always be artificially low. Expanding the transmission grid is a way to expand the marketplace for all renewable energy and boost its value."
Powers foresees a day when so-called "peer-to-peer energy trading" becomes common place, supported by software and a robust transmission grid. "What if we could produce the solar energy here in San Diego and take it off the grid miles away – and let computers take care of the accounting? Besides money and information, electricity is the only other commodity that can be bought, sold, delivered and put to work at the speed of light – at any distance. With the right network, electric current could be traded as easily as currency."
For now, both Powers and Meisen agree that the Global Grid Forum is coming at a crucial moment – just two weeks before the UN Climate Action Summit is convened on Sept. 23rd by Secretary General Antonio Guterres. "After issuing a report on North American grid interconnections at the Global Grid Forum, GEIDCO representatives will travel to the United Nations and meet with energy ministers about using global energy interconnection to address climate change and sustainable development," Powers explained. "It couldn't come at a more crucial time."
For more information on SunPower by Stellar Solar, call 866-787-6527 or visit www.stellarsolar.net.
To learn more about GENI call 619-595-0139 or visit www.geni.org