There’s going to be a revolution

by David Sweet

For many reasons, historians consider the city of Boston in the British Colony of Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American Revolution. While the US recently celebrated Independence Day on 4 July in honour of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, there were in fact many other key events and forces that moved the Colonies to the tipping point where they were willing to risk their lives and property rather than continue under British rule.

On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty in Boston rose up against “taxation without representation” and destroyed the cargo of the East India Company by dumping 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. Today, we may think of the Tea Party as a conservative political movement, however, for over 200 years it has been a symbol of revolution and the ability of the people to triumph against the forces of government. Boston was also the home of a silversmith and patriot named Paul Revere, who became famous for his midnight ride warning of an imminent attack by the British and for the intelligence strategy of communicating whether the troops were coming by the land route or by sea across the Charles River. He instructed the sexton of the North Church to light one lantern in the steeple to signal the land route and two if they were coming by sea.

While Boston may be steeped in revolutionary war history, it will also be the site for discussion of a much more modern revolution and ‘power’ struggle ” that is taking place in the way that we produce and deliver energy. From 19 November to 21 November, WADE will be meeting with the Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative for a discussion of decentralized energy policy, technology and commercial opportunities. Among the notable speakers and guests will be Christoph Burger, who along with Jens Weinmann, authored The Decentralized Energy Revolution, Business Strategies for a New Paradigm. As they explain: ‘The value proposition offered by decentralized generation differs fundamentally from the current energy system configuration: It turns the one-way street from producer to consumer upside-down. It enables every household, as well as all types of commercial and industrial consumers, to become active agents and autonomous providers of energy, either for [their]own consumption purposes or to generate revenues by feeding electricity into the central grid”.

While this revolution is driven not only by a search for self-determination and control, it is also fueled by a need for clean, reliable and affordable electricity. The developments in fossil and renewable power generation technology and in the production of abundant supplies of natural gas are forcing all consumers to take a fresh look at the centralized grid model of power delivery and question whether there are better solutions for our energy future. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the need for a more resilient and robust power system has never been greater, and decentralized energy technologies are in the lead as potential answers.

We urge you to come to Boston for this groundbreaking meeting and dialogue and to meet with customers, colleagues, friends and industry leaders from the region and around the globe. For those with a thirst for knowledge, we will be holding a technical workshop on CHP and trigen systems at the Harpoon Brewery, including a tour of their CHP facility (and opportunities for tasting the local brew).

We will also be discussing a range of cutting edge issues and topics, including: microgrids, smart grids, community energy, distributed renewables and intermittency, innovative financial and business models, the latest on policy issues such as interconnection net metering and standby charges, and a global roundup on decentralized energy developments around the world. In addition, there will be opportunities for quick pitches of new and exciting technologies and projects to this global audience.

We look forward to seeing you in Boston and enlisting you in the revolution. Please go the WADE website, for more details or contact me if you have any questions on how you and your organization can get involved with this conference.

David Sweet
Executive Director, WADE

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