Blue Planet Energy’s CEO, Chris Johnson, recently spoke at a ClimateLink Solar + Battery Microgrids discussion about improving our resilience against power outages and other power grid disruptions. ClimateLink is an organization with a mission to accelerate the development and deployment of climate action technologies through meetups where attendees discuss green solutions and innovative ideas. The meetings act as a starting point for sparking action on what we can do about the climate emergency.
We teased out sections of Chris’ presentation for you to watch and learn about the Blue Planet Energy origin story, trends in the clean energy market, our resilience projects in Puerto Rico, and more.
The Blue Planet Energy Origin Story
Starting at timestamp 2:00, the presentation begins with a brief history of Blue Planet Energy and our roots in the Hawaiian energy market. The islands were one of the earliest pioneers of rooftop solar, to the point that the Hawaiian utility restricted customers selling their power back onto the grid. Our founder, Henk Rogers of video game Tetris fame, decided he would take his house off-grid and searched for the best solution, ultimately creating the first model of the Blue Ion 2.0.
Major Clean Energy Market Trends
Jump to timestamp 8:40 to listen to Chris discuss major trends in the clean energy market. America’s aging electrical infrastructure combined with more extreme weather events is driving the need for energy resilience. For example, this ClimateLink meetup took place in the San Francisco Bay Area, which experienced deliberate power shutoffs and prolonged blackouts during wildfire season in Fall 2019. Attendees could personally empathize with the need for new energy ideas and solutions.
Puerto Rico Resilience Projects
Around timestamp 17:30, Chris provides an overview of the various resilience projects Blue Planet Energy has completed across Puerto Rico. We have worked on water pumping microgrids with Water Mission and Direct Relief, emergency shelters with American Red Cross, and a cancer treatment center with Mercy Corps. Nonprofits and non-governmental organizations have been vital for kickstarting these types of projects. Additionally, our team trained over 1000 Puerto Ricans on the design, installation, and business aspects of energy storage systems. Over 100 of those trainees were hired by local companies in the six months after training.
Chris answers questions from the audience starting at timestamp 23:40, touching on the complexities of microgrid project development, the need for innovative financing options, and the difference in various value stacking strategies. The need for resilient energy systems is clear, but there are some high barriers blocking the market from growing. Many do not see the need to invest in new technologies when we have the traditional grid, for example. Additionally, government policies are slow-moving and microgrid development is still complex involving numerous agencies. Cleantech advocates need to be vocal about preparing one of our most precious commodities for the effects of climate change.