AC vs DC: How better economics ultimately beat out a bizarre publicity campaign (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second in a three-part series on the origins of the modern power industry. Part 1 can be found at How Edison, Tesla, and other visionaries invented the modern grid. The sparks that started the AC/DC current wars By the late 1880s, Edison was on his way to dominating the rapidly growing power… Read More

Choreographing electrons and the hidden sophistication of the US electric grid

Flip the switch. Your light turns on. Simple, right? Actually, the light switch is straightforward but the system behind it is anything but simple. When you flip that switch, you are instantaneously connecting your bulb to the most sophisticated machine ever built. Carl Sagan once said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science… Read More

How Edison, Tesla, and other visionaries invented the modern grid (Part 1 of 3)

Take a moment to imagine a world without electricity. You will quickly realize how dependent our 21st-century lives are on this invisible and silent form of energy. The modern electric grid was built from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s during one of greatest waves of invention in human history. The century-old power industry is… Read More

Using new business models to unleash competition and innovation in the power industry

Competition is all about price, features, and customer experience. Right? That’s what business schools have been teaching for decades and it’s largely true. But, if you really want to change an industry, you need to change the rules. You need to create new business models. The untold story behind some of the most disruptive companies… Read More

If we used this much fossil fuel in Edison’s time, we’d have already run out

Thomas Edison famously told his good friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel, when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy—sun, wind, and tide. I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle… Read More

Clean energy seems obvious so why haven’t utilities embraced it more quickly?

Have you ever wondered why utilities don’t embrace clean energy more aggressively? While it’s true that some of them are resistant to change, there’s a bigger and more practical reason:  energy from the sun and wind make managing the grid a whole lot harder. Let me use a little metaphor to help explain the why… Read More