Weekly Review March 7-11


Every week at ID we scan the web for articles that relate to what we do and what we like. This week we read a lot about innovation in energy with a social impact.

We liked this article because of its focus on the smart and efficient use of technology as the way to move forward. Now we want to apply that mentality to the folks working in emerging markets. AT&T implemented power management software, upgraded their entire network, and replaced old bulbs with LED bulbs to cut costs by US$44 million. They used technology to become more energy efficient and save money, with the approval of Corporate Social Responsibility Magazine. Now we would love to see them invest some of those savings in the innovative start-ups that are using communications technology to bring critical services to the poor.  
This post on Ideas on Energy discusses energy poverty in emerging markets. As we’ve been saying, there is a call for investors and entrepreneurs to step up and “provide an answer to global energy poverty through the production and distribution of small scale solar systems, mini-hydro plants, household biogas units and fuel efficient cook stoves.” The market is desperately underserved, and that market just so happens to be the Base of the Pyramid.  Christine Eibs Singer of E+CO brought this to attention at the World Energy Summit last month. As she says, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, the technology is there. It’s just a matter of matching investors, ideas, and entrepreneurs. We’re glad the idea is catching on.
This article announces the winners of the 2011 Excellent in Renewable Energy Awards for Project of the Year. The winning projects were in the areas of solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydro. Winners must have had significant impacts on the industry and the community. We love reading about technological innovations in clean energy and there are some impressive projects on the list, but we’d love to see this innovation applied to the BoP.   We’d like to see companies like EGG-energy and SIMPA Networks receive esteemed recognition for their work bringing energy to the fifth of the world that lacks electricity. As we said last week, the challenge for entrepreneurs is to bring this award-winning technology and innovation to the BoP.
Patrick Crane, one of the marketing masterminds behind LinkedIn, is now CMO at Sungevity . He has lots of plans brewing, including combining social networking with social power to create Solar as a Social Network. This will be a way to make solar energy more accessible. For example, they’re working on mobile and social apps “to share information about their solar system production or energy use.” This is a great innovative use of technology applied to clean energy. We would be particularly interested in seeing them incorporate some of the innovative work that our friends at Growing Energy Labs, Inc (GELI) are working on.