Amory Lovins – Founder of Rocky Mountain Institute and Electricity Grid Visionary

Now that the DOE grid has been released, we speak with the visionary Amory Lovins of RMI. Amory is the founder of RMI which recently celebrated its 35th anniversary.

I asked Amory about his thoughts on the study and some more questions.

Can we blame LED lightbulbs for stagnating demand or is it something else?
What is the most dangerous conclusion in the study?
Why do you think Connecticut and Texas agree that energy markets should be deregulated?
Will there ever be another coal or nuclear plant built in the US?
If you were to write this grid study, what would be the biggest difference in the report?

This is one of the biggest names to join EnergyWakeup to date and we are thankful to have Amory’s leadership in the clean energy space.

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Rebecca Cantwell, CO SEIA Executive Director, about settling with Xcel and moving solar forward

Rebecca Cantwell is the Executive Director of COSEIA, one of the best State level trade associations. Rebecca has been the director for 5 years and brought COSEIA through a multitude of regulatory issues. With a small budget of about $250,000, COSEIA brings results in a true David versus Goliath fight.

COSEIA is an independent entity. It may be listed as an affiliated partner, COSEIA does not report to or receive funding from SEIA. This is a separation that has been made clear to SolarWakeup by many State SEIA groups.

Most recently, COSEIA was in the room where it happens. Negotiating with Xcel Energy in Colorado has been a nearly yearlong effort. Through many full days of sitting in Xcel conference rooms, COSEIA was an intervenor in all three solar related dockets. The group came to a settlement which had some positive effects which Rebecca covers in great specificity in our conversation.

What struck me is that even though COSEIA was an intervenor, SEIA also deployed resources by intervening in two of the dockets. That means COSEIA and SEIA were duplicating efforts, representing their own memberships. I would see it more effective to send capital to the State and align the interests of both SEIA entities.

In the coming weeks, we will be speaking with more State level directors on how the State level chapters are driving their markets forward.

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John Gurski, Founder and CEO of Energy Toolbase, a solar startup creating a smarter proposal

This week I spent time with John Gurski, the young and hungry CEO of Energy Toolbase. While I was familiar with Energy Toolbase COO, Adam Gerza, I had not met John yet and was surprised to find out he was based in South Florida. So I made the drive to join him and some of his team at their offices.

John has spent time as a solar developer, pitching clients and working on roofs. It was 2012 when he came up with the problem, how can you create a better proposal for customers without having to copy and paste inside an excel file. The only problem was, he didn’t know how to code. So like any reasonable solar developer, he taught himself.

Launching in 2014, John convinced his fiancée, now his wife, and his father to man the startup alley booth for the newly founded Energy Toolbase booth at Intersolar NA. With initial clients signed up, the company was off to a big start.

Now the team is over a dozen, 3 offices and revenue in the millions. Energy Toolbase has taken the proposal tool further by integrating sophisticated rate analysis and a robust database of utility rates. The team scours the utility rate schedules and updates them for their users on an ongoing basis.

Coming soon is the complete overhaul of their storage analysis platform. With the ability to either upload 8760 data or create a simulated version based on energy bills, contractors and developers will be able to model demand reduction, demand shifting and demand arbitrage with the new release.

I love spending time with startup founders that choose solar over other fields. Energy Toolbase is a success story and they have not raised any money, yet.

If you enjoyed this episode as much as I did, make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher radio. Please subscribe and share with your friends how much EnergyWakeup is helping you!

Tony Clifford from Standard Solar: Being acquired by Gaz Metro and working on SEIA

Tony Clifford has been with Standard Solar for over a decade, spending much of his time as the CEO until stepping aside late in 2016. This wasn’t his first time in solar, having worked for Solarex and BP Solar in the Carter/Reagan years. What are the parallels between the Carter/Reagan transition to those between Obama/Trump when it comes to solar?

Standard Solar was recently acquired by Gaz Metro, a diversified energy company based in Montreal, which also owns Green Mountain Power. Tony and I discuss how the process played out and how Standard Solar was able to stand out amongst the many solar companies that went to market last year.

Our discussion also goes into Tony’s work in policy. Since stepping down as CEO, he has been devoting much of his time on policy and business development. As an longtime elected member of the SEIA board, Tony was part of the search committee for the CEO job at SEIA that went to Abby Hopper.

The next steps for Standard Solar look bright. With access to capital, including tax equity, Standard will be looking to acquire development projects throughout the Country.

If you enjoyed this episode as much as I did, make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher radio. Please subscribe and share with your friends how much EnergyWakeup is helping you!