As the year winds down to a slow crawl, the election is over, the debate has begun, who will benefit and who will lose. The overall energy industry can breathe a sigh of relief as to the outcome, maybe. There seems to be a bit of bravado in the rhetoric coming from all directions, blame, encouragement and bewilderment are the watch words. I have been off the “grid” for a few months, no real reason, just on the side lines watching the game progress towards some sort of climax or crash.
So, here is my current thought, are you in the game or on the sidelines? We all know the sage advice, either you’re in the game as a player or you’re watching and not participating. The wording may have been more inspirational than my version, but oh well, deal with it. You get the picture. No matter the outcome of the election, your opinions, the state of energy policy, the sound of a truck coming, the train on the tracks, whatever symbolism you chose, it is now time to make a decision, in or out.
I chose in, and I hope you do as well. Now I don’t really care whether you’re on one side or the other, we need both to create a balance and relevant thought, but you need to be in the game. Some of us will be linebackers some will be running backs (sorry for the football reference) some will be quarterbacks. Please not that in some positions there are fewer players and in others far too many, so let’s look to them to lead and we will tackle anything that comes our way. But they all need a plan and a path to play on in order to attain any sort of goal. In my world I tell people that if you’re not in the game, not a player, not really participating, then step off the field. It is ok to watch, but I am not really interested in your opinion, really. I know it sounds harsh, oh well, but I think we have the opportunity to move the energy industry into a new level, a new field, new technology and maybe even a new way of thinking about policy and application. Just maybe we have been pushed off the high dive and are now heading to the surface of the pool, is there water, is there depth, is there clarity, is there a lifeguard or are we just going to land in the same pool of muck that the last few years have given us to swim in?
I for one am looking to see and create a new vision, I even read an article on carbon based solar cells, what are looking to do, move things forward, be disruptive force, a circus performer, a player or just one more “issue” on the field? The New Year will bring many new resolutions and goals, many new visions, many new players. We can welcome them and start a new game or we can get concussions from hit each other in the head with our agenda, we can see how that is working out for football, not my vision for the next year. Now don’t be reading this and thinking I have a plan that is any better than any other, I may not even have a plan. I think more like a linebacker with visions of being a quarterback, but you can make a safe bet that I am on the field and I will be in the game.
Consolidation over the past year and the fight between China, Europe and the USA over who has been bad and who is to blame will be an ongoing battle for the coming year. There will be fall out and there will be more consolidation in the energy industry, and not just in alternative energy. The push for distributed generation and the “community” effort for local control as well as coal verse nuclear will continue to shape how we all look at energy, consumers are more intelligent and more demanding of accountability and choice, will we help or hinder?
Here is a possible thought to stir up controversy, is it really in our best interest to be energy independent in an ever dependent world? The last time I looked complete independence could lead to isolation and a bit of an ego problem. The world is connected, energy is connected, and we are connected, so any solution should be considerate of the connection. In the west we use energy like it comes from a wall socket, much like friends of mine when I was young thought milk came from a carton, and it does not come from a socket. It comes from innovation, hard work and in some cases people’s lives. So, let’s get on the field, let’s get in the game. As in any game there are two sides and many players and that is ok, let’s just get something done.
My plan, be more consistent, be more involved, think bigger, plan more, fight less, be opinionated, share ideas, look at the connection we all have and really care about the outcome.