The Future of Energy Begins IN Bangladesh
A transition technology has the purpose to pave the way for the “old” to become the “new”. Hence, once legacy technologies and incumbent business models stop producing the desired results, a transition mode is put into action. In energy technology, however, things are moving at a much faster pace.
As macabre as it may sound, with every new disaster peeling away layer by layer the inefficiencies of our current system, the stronger the push for a form of regenerative capitalism (Fullerton, 2015), the stronger the push for real impact investment.
The Paris agreement is the global consensus on how this decarbonization process will shape up going forward. The question is the speed and the mode. Investors should realize that right now the danger of energy lock-in effects is critical.
MY recommendation is not to bet on transition technologies combined with old business models but to leapfrog instead.
As the world continues to decouple carbon emissions and economic growth, the old paradigm of centralization, where electric power is produced far away from where it is used, will also change.
And with this a democratization of energy generation and consumption, where prosumers will be the key actors disrupting conventional business and delivery models and empowered through digitization which allows automated payment settlement of electricity trades.
An interesting piece from the Harvard Business Review titled The 3 Stages of a Country Embracing Renewable Energy, divided this transition path into three phases at a country level (Burger & Weinmann 2017):
Phase 1: A country focuses mainly on promoting renewable energy sources, possibly with secondary objectives of establishing a domestic manufacturing base.
Phase 2: The shares of renewables in the energy mix reaches a level where grid operators have to intervene more frequently to keep the grid in balance. The landscape of utility companies is undergoing significant transformations.
Phase 3: The electricity supply industry sees first-hand how their sector is transformed from being a public infrastructure towards a truly private one where solutions are customized for each producer and consumer.
So in essence, no country is in phase 3 yet. However, I would dare to argue that SOLshare’s rural customers in the remote areas of Bangladesh have already gone full circle, embracing the 5 D’s (: Decentralization, Decarbonization, Disruption, Democratization & Digitization) and actually find themselves in phase
Under the leadership of the Government of Bangladesh, the Infrastructure Development Company Ltd. (IDCOL), close to 30 million people today produce their own electricity via solar home systems (SHS), completely decentralized.