FREEING ENERGY

Podcast 060: Jemma Green – Will peer-to-peer electricity trading unlock local energy and transform the grid?

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Freeing Energy founder Bill Nussey and Dr. Jemma Green, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Australian-based Power Ledger take us on an illuminating journey into emerging peer-to-peer electricity trading business models, where P2P pilot programs are proving themselves and how distributed ledger technologies like blockchain are helping to securely and accurately track local energy trading.

Here are a few of the insights from Jemma…

“… And so local energy markets are not just a sweet thing. They are about how you co-locate the energy where it’s being consumed so that you can have a more efficient system that drives down cost drives down carbon emissions and also deals with system instability. So it’s actually fundamental to a system that works…”


“In the US, the ability to trade in the wholesale market is going to provide a very powerful signal for batteries. So it will mean that I’m not just putting a battery in my garage to self-supply, but now I, if the price is high in the market, I can dispatch electricity from my battery and move my payback period from say, 11 years down to five years. And that’s very compelling for people. So I think that the regulatory shift is opening up more economic opportunities for solar and battery systems, and that is going to expedite the growth of local energy, but in a more scalable way. In the future, batteries are going to be put where they’re needed and when they’re needed, not randomly, which is what’s happened with very blunt price instruments, like a feed in tariff.”  


“I think being an entrepreneur is like a very immersive and intense experience in the sense of, you have to really understand not only your viewpoint that you’re trying to put forth, but the incumbent’s viewpoint deeply. And electricity is highly technical, highly context-specific, it’s different in every location and that’s a lot of stuff to digest, inhale, respond to. You can’t overestimate the amount of knowledge that’s required to actually solve the problems.”


You can also listen to this podcast and others in our series on these platforms:

Bill Nussey and Dr. Jemma Green during the recording of the podcast

Useful Links

Power Ledger

International Renewable Energy Agency Report on Peer to Peer Energy Trading

International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration Program on Peer to Peer Energy Trading

International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications

Transcript

Bill Nussey:

Well, hello and welcome to the Freeing Energy Podcast. I’m Bill Nussey, the founder of the Freeing Energy Project and your host for today’s podcast. Today’s guest and her company are true pioneers in local energy. They are boldly creating a trail to a future where we all take control of our electricity and we become part of an entirely new business model that keeps the profits and the benefits of energy in the hands of the people that are using it. I am really excited to introduce today’s guest, Dr. Jemma Green of Power Ledger.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Hi, thanks for having me.

Bill Nussey:

You started your career early on in JP Morgan in London doing finance, then you went on to become a research fellow at Curtin University and I’m reading that you were the Deputy Lord Mayor of Perth. Then you set up Australia’s first fossil fuel-free pension fund and you’ve been on a lot of boards championing the whole sustainability movement for Australia and for the world. We’re going to spend a lot of time today talking about the company you co-founded, Power Ledger, which won the the Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge. So, this is going to be really interesting. You grew up in Australia. What was that like?

Dr. Jemma Green:

Growing up on a farm was amazing. Our nearest neighbors were five kilometers away. I think I just had a real appreciation for nature and sustainability at an early age. My father was very interested in planting trees. We planted so many trees on our farm and we invited my school up to do tree planting days. The link to our lives and nature was really just very intimately understood by myself from an early age.

Dr. Jemma Green:

I was really fascinated with making sure that resources weren’t being wasted and that really manifested actually when I went into banking at JP Morgan because I did a recycling project. That experience was really formative, I would say. Although I lived in London for 11 years, in a big city, and traveled to so many places around the world, I think that I would say that I’m more of a country person than a city person.

Bill Nussey:

I like it. I think there’s so much to talk about today, we might just jump right to Power Ledger, if that’s okay, and how did that company come into being? We’ll talk about what it does, but what led you to co-found a company in this space? I mean, it was extremely pioneering.

Dr. Jemma Green:

It was quite accidental. Between leaving London and returning to Australia, I did some hiking. I went and did the Camino de Santiago across Spain and hiking in Nepal, Israel, Latin America, and I just got all these ideas in my head. One of them that kind of stuck around was that I might want to build an eco-village. I wrote this email when I was in Ecuador actually, in the Galapagos Islands, I wrote an email to Professor Peter Newman at Curtin University in Perth and said, “I’m a returning Western Australian. My background’s in banking and sustainability, and I want to build an eco-village in Perth.” It was obviously a bit of an audacious email, but he wrote back fairly instantly and copied in the mayor of Fremantle and said, “That’s a great idea. We should build it here.” Pretty soon, when I had got back to Perth, we were figuring out where it would be and I got persuaded to do a PhD, which became applied research for the eco-village, and my PhD is in electricity market disruption. I designed-

Bill Nussey:

That’s cool.

Dr. Jemma Green:

It’s very cool. Looking at Professor Clayton Christensen’s theory around disruptive innovation and also transition theory, I designed a solar and battery system for an apartment building or what you would call a condo in America, which is a shared solar and battery system in the condo. Then I was trying to find software that would allow for trading of electricity within the apartment, but I couldn’t find anything that did that and by chance, a former JP Morgan colleague of mine from Sydney introduced me to John Bulich‏, my business partner.

Dr. Jemma Green:

He had a lot of experience in technology and Blockchain, had developed many Blockchain applications for other sectors already. We set about looking for applications in the electricity sector and saw some examples in the world and went, “Ah, this can actually do what I have in mind for my PhD research project, but also has broader application for the electricity sector.” We decided to set up the company. Actually we had our fifth birthday yesterday.

Bill Nussey:

Nice! Congratulations! Five years of Power Ledger. You’re talking about trading electricity between people that generate it. It’s called peer-to-peer in the industry, and it goes by a lot of names. Tell us about what’s actually involved with that technically?

Dr. Jemma Green:

It depends on the situation, but peer-to-peer trading, most people would think about it as, “Oh, I have solar panels on my house and I can trade with my neighbors that don’t have solar panels.” That is one conception of peer-to-peer, but it’s much broader than that. We’ve just signed a deal with the biggest beer brewery in Australia, Carlton United Brewery, and they are doing peer-to-peer trading by buying rooftop solar from households and that’s being used to power the brewery and they’re being paid in cartons of beer delivered to their house.

Bill Nussey:

I love it.

Dr. Jemma Green:

We call it peer-to-beer trading. But, we broadly call that concept loyalty peer-to-peer trading, where companies that have consumer-facing brands, so you could have telecommunications companies that provide your internet or phone services or supermarkets that have made commitments around procuring renewable energy or want to buy just energy from their customers as an engagement strategy, can do that and pay them in store product or vouchers.

Dr. Jemma Green:

That is basically commercial and industrial customers buying peer-to-peer from residential customers. That’s not just resi to resi. Then you could have companies that have lots of sites, like big box companies in America, some have solar on their roof, some don’t and they’re all owned by the same company and they want to supply electricity to themselves. We call that cross-store peer-to-peer trading of electricity. Then you’ve got local energy, peer-to-peer. It could be any of those permutations, but it’s basically where the network, the grid, has too much energy in one part of the grid or an issue with voltage or reactive power, and what they do is they offer a discount to the network tariff for local people to consume that electricity, so the electricity does not flow upstream and cause issues on the grid. That’s called flexibility trading utilizing peer-to-peer trading, and that’s sort of an emerging field as an alternative way of managing the grid.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Normally what would happen is if you have congestion on your grid, you would upgrade a substation or a transformer or a capacitor and physical infrastructure. But now, they’re looking at, how do we put a pricing on that bit of the market peer-to-peer and encourage local consumption of that? People might charge their electric vehicle, their pool pumps, or things like that, so that’s another aspect of it. But broadly speaking, Power Ledger looks at tracking energy, trading energy, trading flexibility services, which is what I’ve just described, and it could also include batteries or curtailment. We see it as a operating system for distributed energy markets so that renewables can be scaled in the system without causing many of the issues that we’ve seen from very blunt price signals from subsidized renewables to date.

Bill Nussey:

I’ve been looking at this space for a couple of years and you have laid out a couple of applications and use cases I’ve never heard of and those are really exciting. That’s what’s great about innovation, is you start with a core idea of people trading freely and you’ve expanded it to some really powerful use cases that make a lot of sense that are going to go a lot faster than just two next door neighbors trading electricity. I like it. Let’s talk about the policy. Trading electricity is illegal in United States for the most part. How is it across the rest of the world? Are you able to do that in Australia?

Dr. Jemma Green:

It’s a great question. There is a new FERC ruling in America, which came out in September 2020, called 2222, which essentially means that households or businesses will be able to soon trade electricity directly into wholesale electricity markets in America. The only exception will be Texas because it’s not part of the FERC, although that may change. What that means is that the market is opening up. Yes, trading electricity isn’t like cocoa beans. You can’t just store it very readily so it has a different dynamic to it, let’s say. Historically, as you point out, the highway for trading electricity hasn’t been open to anyone so it’s not like Uber, you can just get on the road and start driving the cars, no matter what the rules say. In some places it was not legal for Uber to happen, but it was possible and it happened.

Dr. Jemma Green:

But with electricity rules and regulations, they are shifting very rapidly, I would say. In Europe in 2018, there was a directive for the member states in the EU to implement local energy sharing rules by the end of 2021 and energy community rules as well. Anyone could set up and become a retailer. Your kid’s school could set up and offer electricity to the moms and dads at the school and set up a local energy market. That is actually being implemented in Europe right now. Many countries, I think Austria is the most advanced, it’s going through their parliament soon, but all of the member states are in the process of doing that. The FERC rule in the US is another example of that. We’ve been working in India in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and they actually just changed their rules to allow peer-to-peer energy trading facilitated by the Blockchain last year. They literally just wrote that into the rules.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Another neighboring state, Karnataka, so Uttar Pradesh has 19 million people, Karnartaka has 64 million people. Australia’s only got, we’ve got under 30 million people, so you just think about these states with the stroke of a pen changing the rules, and what opens up as a result of that. And India, for example, has huge ambitions around growing renewables and they’re hitting a lot of the large scale targets, but the small scale they haven’t, because they hadn’t thought about, “What’s the enabler to create the price signal for that to occur?” The conversation today I think is, I’d love to chat with you and unpack a bit about how is that price signal manifesting? I think in the US the ability to trade in the wholesale market is going to provide a very powerful signal for batteries. It will mean that I’m not just putting a battery in my garage to self-supply, but now if the price is high in the market, I can dispatch electricity from my battery and move my payback period from, say, 11 years down to five years.

Dr. Jemma Green:

That’s very compelling for people, so I think that the regulatory shift is opening up more economic opportunities for solar and battery systems and that is going to expedite the growth of them, but in a more scalable way and what I mean by that is that they’re going to be put where they’re needed and when they’re needed, not randomly, which is what’s happened with very blunt price instruments, like a feed-in tariff.

Bill Nussey:

That’s the most optimistic, and I think enlightened, perspective on the near future of peer-to-peer that I think I’ve heard. I’m delighted to hear it. It’s good news to my ears. I think that it’s one of those snowballs that when it starts, it’s going to gather a lot of momentum because it saves people money and it’s attractive and it’s fun. Whether you want to help the planet, you think this stuff’s cool technically, you want to make money, check, check, check all those boxes. Things like that tend to get done more quickly than something that’s purely save the planet or purely money but all three together, man, it’s going to make a change.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Yeah. I think that is really important point that you make. The international energy agency actually has a task force on peer-to-peer trading. It’s called INATSBA. That’s the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications, in partnership with the Global Observatory on Peer-to-Peer Community and Self-Consumption Transactive Energy Models, which stands for GO Peer-to-Peer. There is so much happening in so many countries, it’s kind of mind blowing. It’s quite surprising, even for me as a practitioner in the space, when I uncovered that it was like, “Wow, this is amazing.” I don’t think it popped out into the mainstream awareness, the extent to which things are happening in this space.

Dr. Jemma Green:

But the local energy market piece isn’t just a sweet thing that’s like, “Oh, that’s so nice, I can have energy in my community.” Yes. That’s a nice thing and that’s a reason to do it. The other reason is addressing a far more sinister issue, which is that if you look at all the countries around the world that have high penetration of variable renewables, it also comes with higher electricity costs.

Speaker 1:

Listen up, policymakers and renewable energy advocates. The plummeting cost of energy storage, the dramatic growth of residential and community solar, the increase in extreme weather events, and the rise of concern over cybersecurity attacks on our electrical grid are all shining a bright light on the need for a new approach in how we produce, store, buy, and sell electricity. That new approach is local distributed energy. The evidence is compelling. The new local energy approach costs less to implement and operate than the outdated monopoly utility model, increases overall grid flexibility, saves consumers and businesses precious money, lowers carbon emissions, and provides more equitable access to electricity, not to mention that it creates jobs as well as opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs.

Speaker 1:

What’s holding the transition back? Well, exciting new technologies are in place, but though progress is being made in other parts of the world, the regulatory landscape in the United States is hampering progress. Australia, with its high penetration of renewable resources, is beginning to reap the benefits of policy changes, allowing extensive peer-to-peer trading programs. The European Union, through its clean energy package of legislation, has opened the door to the right to conduct peer-to-peer trading. But in the United States because of regulations, peer-to-peer trading is possible only through micro grids without using the main grid infrastructure and only a handful of P2P projects have been implemented. If you want to learn more about peer-to-peer energy trading and the role Blockchain technologies are playing in the transition to clean local energy, check out the links we’ve provided in this episode’s show notes on freeingenergy.com. And don’t forget to like and subscribe to the Freeing Energy Podcast. Now back to Bill and Jemma to learn more about Power Ledger and her journey as an entrepreneur.

Bill Nussey:

What is the state of the industry when it comes to the pressure point where the folks who have the sunk costs in the old grid, what I call the big grid, meet the folks like you that are espousing a new model? What’s that front look like?

Dr. Jemma Green:

It feels like it’s a thing unique to electricity, but it’s not. In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote the book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It’s a book that is about paradigm shift and he basically argued that there’s a cumulative process that happens for a paradigm shift, but it starts on the periphery of a system and then works its way in. It doesn’t just happen overnight, generally speaking, and it doesn’t happen from the center and work its way out. It happens on the periphery and works its way in. You can see that with energy. It’s totally analogous to what we see happening in electricity where microgrids are examples of the periphery, apartment buildings, shopping centers, offices, putting in solar and more recently batteries, and the first use case was how do they reduce their own consumption of electricity from the grid to drive cost efficiencies?

Dr. Jemma Green:

The second part is about how they could arbitrage the wholesale price of electricity. The third is how they can trade ancillary services with batteries. The fourth is actually selling network stabilization services to the grids. There’s four different elements to that and each one has been built out. Network services is the one that is more frontier and less evolved, but happening, actually quite interestingly in Australia, at a faster pace perhaps than in other geographies. What I would say is that the disruption is happening. Incumbent players are not necessarily all going to love this, but if you look at disruptive innovation theory, incumbent players in whatever sector can do one or a combination of three things when they see their market share eroded or their profit margins eroded. They can fight, they can flight, or they can innovate.

Dr. Jemma Green:

What’s fighting? Fighting in the context of electricity would be fight against renewable energy targets, fight for increased grid charges. Even if households can self-consuming, they have to pay increasingly higher grid charges. Fight for additional taxes on renewable energy. Fight to increase stable income sources for incumbents and that is all happening in electricity markets. Then there’s flight. Flight could be either do nothing and just pretend it’s not happening and let your market share be eroded, there’s a bit of that going on too. Then another version of flight is divest. A utility could separate its assets for old energies and new energies so the new energies is not impaired on its balance sheet or its ability to access capital markets by the perspective of a coal-fired power station or a gas fired power station. And that is happening. In Europe, that has happened over the past 10 years. It’s just happening in Australia now. One of the largest utilities here has just announced it’s going to split itself in two.

Dr. Jemma Green:

And the third area is innovate, and that is where an incumbent player says, “This is happening. I’m not in denial about it. How do I lean into this and make something off it?” And they can do it in a cannibalistic way or a non-cannibalistic way. Cannibalistic means they’re going to erode their incumbent market share because if they don’t someone else will, so I’m going to sell my customers solar panels. I’m a utility. I’m going to sell my customer solar panels, because if I don’t someone else will, I’m going to offer them services that reduce their electricity demand because that’s going to endear them to me and they will be more sticky or make more money over the longer term, even though they might consume less electricity this year, because it’s not just how much money I get. It’s how long I keep them for, because the customer acquisition cost is very high, so that’s another aspect.

Dr. Jemma Green:

So that’s cannibalistic innovation and we’re seeing electricity retailers offer their customers solar and batteries and energy efficiency programs and abilities to participate in virtual power plants, be them niche at this stage. That’s all beginning to happen. The second area of innovation is non-cannibalistic, so that’s where the utility says, “Oh, I’m going to go into new markets. I’m not currently in regional areas. We’re going to start offering a micro-grid solution in new areas and embrace this new paradigm that way.” The long and short of it is the disruption is happening. The destruction of value is a little bit more optional depending on the extent to which they fight, flight, or innovate. The sooner they realize and get involved in the new electricity world and not just dip their toe in the water or resist it, I think the more they’re actually able to engage in the process and actually help drive the transition and profit from it.

Bill Nussey:

That was a 101 or 201 college course on the nature of electricity disruptions. That was great. It reminded me, I was speaking the other day to Lisa Lambert who heads innovation for National Grid, which is a big utility here in the US, and she’s quite famous and says to everyone everywhere that her job is to basically be the innovation for National Grid, because if they don’t innovate internally, they’re going to get innovated externally. And you and I were talking before the podcast started about my very favorite business book of all time, which is Innovator’s Dilemma, and I think if people are fascinated by this notion of innovation and disruption coming from the outside in, that is a highly recommended book.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Yeah, I have that book.

Bill Nussey:

It’s really required reading if you want to be anywhere near the innovation electricity space, because the electricity industry as it stands for the most part is one of the least innovative industries in the world and is in some ways actively resisting making any changes. Anyway, I love this stuff. Let’s talk a little bit about the technology, because I am a software nerd and most of the companies I’m aware of, and specifically you guys, and a few others I’ve heard about who are pioneering peer-to-peer trading have chosen the underlying technology of Blockchain to do it. And I have met people who think that Blockchain is the fantastic best solution for this because it solves issues, which I’d love for you to describe, and there are also critics that say that it’s overkill and there are other technologies to accomplish similar goals. So I would love, maybe you can play devil’s advocate and pitch person at the same time and tell us how Blockchain plays well and what will challenge it?

Dr. Jemma Green:

Yeah, it’s a question we get asked a lot and I think it’s an important one. People are like, “Whoa, could I use a regular database?” Or, “Why do I need a Blockchain?” And we actually use a combination of databases and Blockchains, depending on the purpose. It’s not like a Blockchain is the more expensive solution, but it’s more secure. Why wouldn’t you use something that is more secure and adds no more cost or risks? I think it’s a useful tool for managing things that are very complex that require a lot of trust to drive the value proposition for a product or a service. Because if you look at renewable energy, if people think they’re buying renewables, but they’re not, actually they’re buying coal-fired power and the value proposition is tied to validating the renewableness, people are not going to buy that product or service.

Dr. Jemma Green:

You can see it with carbon credits where people are like, “Oh, if I buy the credit, do I actually know that I’m getting it? What’s happening there? Is it just vaporware?” And that is fundamental to the proposition of a Blockchain and what it offers is validation that actually what I think is happening is actually happening. For our peer-to-beer project I mentioned, customers can log into our platform and see how much solar they’ve generated, how much has been sold to the brewery, and then how much beer has been accumulated and then when it’s going to be delivered and it’s all recorded on the Blockchain. And that’s a very nice sweet summary of it, because that’s a simple version of it if you like for tracking and trading trades between a single buyer and multiple sellers, but electricity is getting far more complicated than that.

Dr. Jemma Green:

I mentioned the battery in a supermarket that is providing its own needs, but then trading the wholesale market for energy and the ancillary service market and then selling to networks as well, so you’ve got lots of buyers and sellers, lots of rules, lots of different prices. You can have lots of intermediaries that sit between those counterparties which add a lot of costs, or you can have a trusted platform with smart contracts to more efficiently coordinate the dispatch and payments and settlements off the back of that. And I think that’s where a Blockchain is much more efficient at scale in very complex settings. Just at scale, it might be a regular database is better, but that complexity with lots of small market participants, low value items, that’s I think where the Blockchain in the context of electricity is very effective and for renewable energy certificates.

Dr. Jemma Green:

One megawatt hour of power is a certificate, and companies buy certificates to cover the volume of energy they’ve consumed in a year to be able to validly claim, “Oh, we’re using a hundred percent renewable energy,” but you could double count those certificates. Two people could own the same certificate and think that they’re both being renewable, whereas tokenizing that as a nonfundable token and creating that record on the Blockchain means that no two people could own the same certificate at the same time or the certificate can’t be retired and simultaneously sold to somebody else. It’s retired and that’s it. You can’t get a copy of it.

Bill Nussey:

These are good examples. These are really good examples.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Thanks. I think that that is fundamental as well to the confidence in that market. If you think that there’s lots of double counting in your market and duplication and funny business, people are not going to want to buy those things. And the other piece, which is really exciting is the settlement. Let’s say someone in a company in Singapore, there’s not much renewables in Singapore because it’s only a small island, so if they want to buy renewable energy, they have to buy certificates from, say, Thailand, which means they have to do a trade with a company in Thailand and someone sends the certificates and then someone pays and you send the certificates and you don’t know if you’re going to get paid and you have to wait and hopefully that company is going to pay you. And if they don’t, you have to take them to court. It’s really complicated and expensive. Whereas actually trading that certificate on the Blockchain, trade and settlement can be one and the same thing so there’s no counterparty settlement risk. You cannot actually move the certificate to the buyer’s wallet without payment actually occurring, so that cross border trading and just reducing counterbody settlement risk, I think is really a neat feature of the Blockchain as well.

Bill Nussey:

Excellent. Thank you for that explanation. Another question is more technical, electricity, so if I’ve got, an example like you said, I’ve got maybe a multi location retailer and they want to be able to generate electricity in one place and use it in another that may not have solar. What are the limitations for that on the physical grid?

Dr. Jemma Green:

Well, if you’re just trading electricity from the north of Atlanta to the south, it’s actually a financial transaction more than a physical transaction if it’s possible to do that. It’s not a bad thing, but if you do that en masse, the financial transactions and the physical movement of electricity may be quite materially different and that’s not good for a grid. The premise really is around how do you encourage the most consumption locally where that energy is generated and put the price signals such that that occurs, both in terms of installing the energy and then also consuming it when it’s generating and being dispatched or flowing into the electricity grid.

Bill Nussey:

So it’s not locked into the physical distribution grid, but it benefits from being on the same distribution feeder and that’s the ideal best world because it doesn’t stress or strain the overall grid structure.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Correct. So most people think about like, “Oh, local energy markets like my suburb or my neighborhood or my street,” but our conception of it is really tied to the actual network topology of the grid, so where is the substation and anything below that is a local energy market particularly if there’s a constraint at that bit. It’s not necessarily how you would think of it, in the sense of how I live my life, the suburb I live in. It might be that your suburb and the neighboring suburb all sit below a substation, and so you might be a local energy market within that physical location. And it might be that there’s another one and there’s no constraint so you guys can all trade freely between each other, but if there’s a constraint, it might be that the pricing model tries to get you to consume that electricity just below that substation. We think about the electricity markets in reference to the network topology.

Bill Nussey:

Got it. That’s a good explanation. It’s not locked in and required, but it’s the framework in which you build the price signals and the optimizations.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Correct, yeah.

Bill Nussey:

We are unfortunately running out of time. This is something we should have three or four hours on and we may have to follow up. But one of the things we like to do with all of our esteemed guests is, we ask them a bunch of the same questions and the answers are always amazing. And one of the first questions I like to ask all the folks who are in the entrepreneurial world is, because a lot of our listeners are entrepreneurs or want to be, they want to be in early stage companies, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve found being an entrepreneur in the electricity industry?

Dr. Jemma Green:

Being an entrepreneur is a very immersive and intense experience in the sense of, you have to really understand not only your viewpoint that you’re trying to put forth, but the incumbent’s viewpoint deeply. You can’t overestimate the amount of knowledge that’s required to actually solve the problems. There are some outliers. If you have higher variable renewables, then you have higher electricity costs. Idaho is an exception. And why is Idaho an exception is because they have legacy pumped hydro storage, so if there’s too much wind, they pump the water up a hill and they use it later. And they also dry a lot of corn. Not everyone’s got corn fields and pumped hydro storage lying around to sort that out, so that’s more of an outlier than a reference, but you’ve got to know a lot of this detail really to understand it.

Dr. Jemma Green:

And also, if you go to a new market, they know their market very deeply. You’ve got to get your head in that game, so I think that’s one piece. You have to have a big why to want to do that. It’s a lot of work. I think in my case, I am very excited about the idea of working on a paradigm shift and helping to transition to low cost, low carbon, and stable energy and impacting the lives of a billion people. That makes me want to get out of bed every morning and work on that.

Bill Nussey:

I love it. We have four more lightning round questions, and these are quick, off the cuff answers, and we’ll wrap up with those. So the first lightning round question is, what excites you most about being in the clean energy industry?

Dr. Jemma Green:

Energy that works for everyone.

Bill Nussey:

I love it. Okay. Next question. If you could wave a magic wand and see one thing changed on the transition to clean, renewable energy, what would it be?

Dr. Jemma Green:

That it happens faster.

Bill Nussey:

Perfect. And what do you think will be the single most important change in how we generate, store, and distribute electricity in the next five years?

Dr. Jemma Green:

Electric vehicles hitting the mainstream and changing the way the grid is managed using storage as a result of that.

Bill Nussey:

Last question. We all get asked. I’m sure you get asked a lot, especially with all these leadership roles you’ve played in, people ask, “What can I personally do? I want to do something, I don’t know what to do. I can vote. I can write a letter to my legislator, but…” What do you tell people that are motivated and want to make a difference as an individual?

Dr. Jemma Green:

Well, I think get involved in understanding things. For example, hydrogen is something that’s talked about a lot. We’ve just become a founding partner of the zero carbon certification scheme for hydrogen with the Smart Energy Council in Australia, and understanding what is green hydrogen? What is brown hydrogen? I think that understanding, “Oh, if I put a battery into my house, what’s possible for my family from an income perspective and saving money on power, but also what does that mean for the grid?” I think having that personal connection to this and becoming citizen utilities, citizen journalists, that is something that I think that people can do and become more engaged.

Bill Nussey:

Citizen utilities, Gemma. I have never heard that. I love it. I’m writing it down and I will borrow it and give you credit. That’s a great phrase and thank you. I’m not sure I’ve ever learned as much as I have today, and you have really opened my eyes to the potential, and I think the inevitability, of this new paradigm for electricity. It’s why I got into the industry, and you are clearly at a Master’s or PhD level on what’s happening and how it’s going to get there. I am grateful for the time you spent with us today. Thank you very, very much.

Dr. Jemma Green:

Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for joining us today. You have been listening to the Freeing Energy Podcast, personal stories from the clean energy movement. To learn more about the Freeing Energy Project, visit our website, FreeingEnergy.com. Subscribe to the Freeing Energy Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and anywhere podcasts are found. Make sure more people learn about clean local energy by rating and reviewing the show on Apple Podcasts.

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