The importance of networks in building the sustainable economy

 

Making transformative changes in our economy, in science, in the arts and elsewhere is often facilitated by the "coffee house dialog." It is a concept well known to Millenials trying to create new businesses, but it is as old as the Renaissance movement of the 14th Century.  Put simply, constructive and creative problem solving works best in a friendly environment that fosters open dialog, the ability to challenge each others thinking and the ability to go away, think and return regularly for new levels of thought and dialogue. Means of formalizing this type of discourse to advance specific topic areas abound, but we are particular fans of two efforts that are very much moving the discussion forward today.

 

 

The first is a members only network that includes several of the most forward thinking of the energy and industrial companies: Broadscale Group.

 

 

 

 

The second is a working group put together by the Rocky Mountain Institute, called eLab.  eLab is an assembly of thought leaders and decision makers from across the U.S. electricity sector. The group focuses on collaborative innovation to address critical institutional, regulatory, business, economic, and technical barriers to the economic deployment of distributed resources in the U.S. electricity sector.

 

In particular, eLab works to answer three key questions:

 

  • How can we understand and effectively communicate the real costs and benefits of distributed resources as part of the electricity system?

  • How can we harmonize regulatory frameworks, pricing structures, and business models of utilities and distributed resource developers to enable varied solutions that yield the greatest benefit to customers and society as a whole?

  • How can we accelerate the pace of economic distributed resource adoption?