On the verge of a new era, where electricity flows free

In an interesting article in Monday's issue of The Globe and Mail, U.S. Economist Jeremy Rifkin conceptualizes a global economy in which the marginal cost of producing some goods is lowered to zero.

Mr. Rifkin suggests there is opportunity for small players to take on giants, as a result of the internet and other technologies.  Specifically, he refers to the cost of electricity during surplus conditions and the emergence of smart grids. He refers to this as the "third industrial revolution".

President and CEO of the ieso, and Chairman of the Smart Grid Forum, Bruce Campbell responded by stating "the basic market structure in place. I think we’re on the verge of big, big changes in all of this”.


BOMA is represented on Ontario Energy Board Smart Grid Working Group. The article makes excellent points as we see the emergence of renewable energy, energy storage and new thinking that was not given serious consideration during Ontario’s Demand Side Plan or again in the Integrated Resource System Plan. However, Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) - released this year - is anticipating new thinking. In particular, the commercial sector is expected to contribute 50% to the provincial target for conservation and demand. 

While I do not see electricity "flowing free", I do envision new opportunities where customers are treated as energy partners, rather than loads. Response to things like Global Adjustment provide additional examples as to how Smart Grid technologies and new ways of thinking can help achieve multiple objectives - that is, once we articulate the valuable contribution that each stakeholder will receive. 

Exciting times ahead!

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This entry was posted on June 24, 2014 by Katie Ashbourne. Katie is our Communications Manager and manages all of Energy@Work's key communications, marketing and media content.