FREEING ENERGY

Podcast 046: Ryan Goodman: Are microgrids the future of reliable, clean energy?

 

Ryan Goodman Scale Microgrids Freeing Energy podcast

Hurricanes, wildfires, and even forced outages are highlighting the shortcomings of our century-old grid. At the same time,  a growing majority of people are looking to accelerate the shift towards cleaner energy sources like solar and batteries. Microgrids sit at the center of these two huge trends and they are becoming increasingly available and affordable. FEP host Bill Nussey talks with Ryan Goodman, CEO and Co-Founder of microgrid leader Scale Microgrid Solutions. Listen in as Goodman explains how new technologies, designs, and financing solutions are reshaping the commercial and industrial electricity industry and turning our outdated grid into an energy internet.

Make sure to ask “why things are the way they are” and “if the answer is … that’s the way it’s always been [then it is a ] direct opportunity for disruption”

https://freeingenergy.libsyn.com/ryan-goodman-are-microgrids-the-future-of-reliable-clean-energy

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Transcript

Bill Nussey:
Well, welcome Freeing Energy Podcast audience, listeners, and friends. We have another fantastic podcast in store for you today. And a lot of what we’ve talked about over the last two years now are topics related to solar and batteries and software and policy. Our longtime listeners know that at the heart of our conversation is microgrids, that is local energy, that is freeing energy. And some of you have said, “Well, gosh, why don’t we talk a lot more explicitly about microgrids?” And the great news today is we have Ryan Goodman is going to join us and going to basically tell us what’s going on in the state of microgrids out there. Ryan, welcome to the Freeing Energy Podcast today.

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, thanks Bill. Looking forward to chatting with you.

Bill Nussey:
Before you were the microgrid titan of the United States, I was really tickled to learn that you were a pretty serious lacrosse player back in the day, you went all district, all the while, nailing it on your grades and coming out the top of your class. So, go Bisons and of course, I’m talking about the Bucknell Bisons here, and then you went into Harvard Business School so clearly, you’ve got the whole package here. A lot of our listeners are in college or thinking about graduate school and things like that. So tell us a little bit about how you went to school and some of the decisions you made and how you ended up deciding what degrees to get and of course, how did you become a lacrosse champion doing all that at the same time?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, thanks Bill. Good old days Bucknell Bison. So how I ended up there is kind of funny. I grew up as a multi-sport athlete, didn’t even know what lacrosse was until sixth grade, to be honest. At the time, it was one of, if not the quickest growing sports in the U.S. as an example, I recall it being a big deal when I was already at Bucknell recruiting our first athletes from Florida and California and that was crazy because five years earlier, nobody played lacrosse in Florida or California. So it was kind of a big deal and now know it’s everywhere.

Ryan Goodman:
I loved it. I’ve always loved it from perspective of it’s fast paced, kind of a mix between soccer and hockey and to be honest, at least when I was looking at where to go to school, it was one of the sports that I could learn the most in. So I love it, it’s one of the things I miss most. Unfortunately, I don’t get to play it very often nowadays, but there’s this thing called the Beil Tournament that I keep saying I’m going to go to, haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I will someday.

Bill Nussey:
I think of lacrosse as a pretty rough and tumble contact sport were there lessons in there that prepared you for the microgrid world?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah. Well, there’s definitely some rough and tumble stories in there. I don’t know if prepared me for the microgrid world other than the normal team aspects of it, the bonding with the team. It was one of the best things in my collegiate experience. So definitely miss that and try to replicate that everywhere I go.

Bill Nussey:
We’re going to talk about skill a lot about skill today, but let’s just step back a little before that and tell us how your professional journey from college into what you’re doing now.

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, sure. So after Bucknell, I went to General Electric, which was a very different company then versus what it is now, but I got involved in one of their leadership programs where you rotate around the company and build up your leadership experience. I was within G-Energy. So it was a great job coming out of undergrad, I advised everyone getting involved with a big company early in your tenure can learn a lot, but the experience was amazing. I appreciate all G did for me, but I knew I wanted to transition even from the beginning out of engineering and more into the business side of things.

Ryan Goodman:
So I went back to Harvard Business School, as you mentioned, had an amazing experience there, it’s a great place. From there, I went on to strategy consulting at a company named Boston Consulting Group. Loved the company, one of the best companies to work for in the world. It was focused on energy and healthcare there and I think of BCG as super graduate school, having the opportunity to advise fortune 100 companies on some of the most difficult challenges they’re facing. So I had a great experience there and then from there, I joined my prior firm, ENER-G Rudox, which was a distributed energy business that I helped grow and then sold to Centrica in 2016.

Ryan Goodman:
As the president of the U.S. business, our company was permanently focused on building and financing Cutting Edge Energy projects, touching on technologies, such as cogen lighting or a few other ones. For the second half of my tenure there, I also served on the board of a Global Panel, which was coming in Energy Coach International was ultimately the entity that was sold in 2016. So I got a lot of time looking at the global distributed energy market to see what trends were looking like and ultimately helped me to see the opportunity within microgrids. So the founding team from Scale all happened to come from ENER-G Rudox.

Bill Nussey:
Okay.

Ryan Goodman:
And that helped us a lot to hit the ground running. We I like to describe it is we basically took the same team with a similar business model, which we’ll talk more about, but applying a different technology that has microgrids. So it really allowed us to get moving quickly.

Bill Nussey:
And when did you guys start about MIR Scale?

Ryan Goodman:
2016, 2017 timeframe, there were a lot of moving pieces in that window, but end of 2016, early 2017.

Bill Nussey:
So if you’ve been listening to Freeing Energy for a while, you probably are really familiar with microgrids, but for a few of you that are new to this… microgrid by its very name, maybe just the sound expansive and exciting. It’s a microgrid, how exciting can that be, but I can tell you as both a tech nerd and someone who spent the last couple of years looking at this microgrids are incredibly advanced sophisticated, they’re the very, very cutting edge of the grid and the future of clean energy. So Ryan put on your professorial hat and just give us a very quick review of what is exactly a microgrid?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, good question. Because microgrid means a lot of things for a lot of different people, but a microgrid in general as an onsite energy system that integrates several distributed energy resources could be anything from solar or wind, CHP, dispatchable generation batteries, et cetera, and utilizing that as a system so a single controllable solution, depending on the design, it can operate by supplementing utility grid, being in parallel to the grid or it could be completely autonomous and you could be operating in island mode, either one of those kind of qualify. So it’s a very broad definition, but our version of microgrids is generally an integration of soar batteries and dispatchable generation, as we’ve found that’s the best mix to deliver I guess what we call our tagline or value proposition, which is based around providing cheaper, cleaner, more reliable power.

Ryan Goodman:
So that’s what it means to us and with our standard solution it can operate in parallel mode, it can operate in island mode, but in all circumstances, it enhances the way you utilize your energy on a daily basis. So you can do things like reduce peak demand charges, lower your utility bill, reduce your carbon footprint, depending on what is most important to you or the customer that we’re talking with. We can optimize microgrids designed to fit that, which is one of the fun things about microgrids, because there are multi-generational assets, you can kind of mix and match to fit with customer’s most looking for.

Bill Nussey:
That’s great. And one of the reasons I love the concept of microgrids and have devoted the last couple of years to local energy, which microgrids are the star of that show is because they are so flexible. They’re like Lego blocks in a more complicated grid and you can build them with small Lego blocks.

Ryan Goodman:
I use that to, what I say is where the Lincoln logs in the microgrid space so the same analogy that’s pretty funny.

Bill Nussey:
Yeah. The big grid which we all depend on, and has done an amazing job of delivering affordable electricity to the world. But these are giant centralized systems that cost half a billion to a billion dollars are run and controlled by giant corporations and governments, which generally are benign and are making our lives better, but they are almost devoid of innovation. And so when you want to start seeing interesting stuff happen, you need to go to the grid edge, which is where your company lives. And I explained to people it’s like in the age of mainframes when Wozniak and Jobs sat in the garage and decided to make a tiny little computer, it might’ve seemed easy, but it was actually a breakthrough of technology and vision.

Bill Nussey:
And now not only did the PC revolution changed the entire computer industry, you can’t even find a large computing center that’s not made of lots of small systems. So I don’t know how far we’ll go in the electricity industry, but I can absolutely be sure with companies like yours, that we’re going to be taking a lot more of these small energy systems into the main grid and slowly making it better. So one of the big reasons that I think microgrids have become so popular recently, and I’d love your perspective on this is the rise both in the perception of the need for resiliency. People have probably seen more than a few headlines on grid outages because of wildfires and hurricanes now forced outages in California because they want to prevent the grid from creating fires.

Bill Nussey:
So this notion of resiliency leaves a lot of people, particularly institutions and people with health issues in hospitals, where they need electricity, at a very steady way, it leaves them exposed in a way that’s just untenable. This is where microgrids come in. And I’m sure this is a big driver of what you guys are doing. So how does your customers view resiliency when they’re evaluating whether to go with a microgrid, how important is it to them?

Ryan Goodman:
It’s definitely an important thing that people are looking at, as I said, cleaner, cheaper, more allowable power, any combination of those, but resiliency is definitely a big driver of that. And oftentimes, especially in places like California right now, where they’re experiencing a lot of PSPS events, it is a main driver for them. And it’s kind of transformed even what resiliency means to people, people who previously wouldn’t think or have thought that they had resiliency issues or needed to have resiliency now all of a sudden do. So it’s really been a dynamic shift, especially in places like California.

Bill Nussey:
So can you give me some examples of commercial situations, types of your customers were keeping the power running all the time is really important? I mean, obviously when I lose… I have Tesla Powerwalls now, so I’m not planning on having an outage again, but until before I had them if I had an outage for an hour or three or four, I’ll get the candles and the flashlights out, it wasn’t a big deal, but I’m guessing it’s a bigger impact to some businesses, can you give us some examples?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, sure. I mean, first, I can definitely appreciate the losing power. I do not, unfortunately have a Powerwall, but this year to add to the fully remote workplace situation, we have one of the hurricanes that came through the year and wiped out my home’s power, and many employees in the tri-state area, so it wasn’t fun. People probably understand, but just to reinforce that businesses need to be able to make money in order to keep the doors open. And so if they don’t have power to operate their business it becomes a very real threat to the existence of their business. That’s why it’s so important to address the resiliency issues that are created by things like PSPS. So a lot of businesses now simply can’t afford a week long outage and that is where we come in and are able to provide a solution.

Ryan Goodman:
In terms of specific examples, it’s all over the map, depending on the customers and size that you’re talking to, but businesses can potentially lose millions of dollars in sustained outages. Just to give you a few specific examples, one grocery chain where we’re talking with could lose 30,000 in a one day outage, a law firm I’ve talked to they were down for four hours and claimed they lost millions of dollars in four hours. A luxury hotel in California we were recently talking to half a million dollar in losses due to PSPS events in 2019. So these are real dollars.

Bill Nussey:
Quickly what’s PSPS events?

Ryan Goodman:
Public Safety Power Shutoffs, the events that are going on in California because of the wildfires utilities have decided they have a need to occasionally shut power off to avoid wildfires and they’re generally referred to as PSPS events.

Bill Nussey:
Thank you for that. And some of the other areas that I’ve learned about microgrids, for example, data centers, they often have backup systems, but microgrids are sometimes more economic is a longer term solution. We were involved with some schools in Puerto Rico where the school literally shuts down and a backup generation just isn’t feasible economically. But a microgrid system that pays for itself actually works out to be less expensive over time. And these schools just can’t operate unless they have sewage pumps and electricity for refrigeration as an example. So the number of places that are exposed, actually the ones that I remember really struck me was universities, why are they some of the earliest adopters of microgrids and many of them have science experiments and you’ve got antibiotic cultures or experiments that need to run all the time and you lose power and the consequences are sometimes irreplaceable. So these are all interesting examples, which collectively scale microgrid is going to help out and make sure they get continuous power.

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah. I mean the other thing just on universities, and we’ve seen this in some of our customers, I feel like they’re usually early adopters just because they’re an academic environment, right. So they’re always looking to be on the cutting edge, like a project we’re working on right now as part of our project, we’re building in two interns from the university in order to help educate them on some of the technology components of the new things that we’re doing. So it’s definitely a good environment for that.

Bill Nussey:
Let’s talk a little bit more about your company specifically, tell us about the kinds of customers you’re serving and the kind of problems that you’re solving for them?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, sure. So at the highest level, our solution is perfectly suited for what we call Mission Critical CNI, Mission Critical Commercial Industrial facilities. So large energy consumers who are looking for either more reliable power or sustainable power while ideally saving money at the same time. What we like to say is emergency power usually gets us in the door, but then cheaper and more environmentally friendly is what kind of closes the deal for us. It’s that trio that usually is what customers are looking for or interested in without looking at microgrids. So at the highest level areas of high risk of utility shutoffs, natural disasters, wildfires, things of that nature, there’s obviously a huge resiliency factor.

Ryan Goodman:
Our system is also pretty unique in its deployment time as you probably know, traditional microgrids, microgrids have been around forever, but are always custom and bespoke. So our business is all based around standardized repeatable modular units. And so if we take a traditional microgrid in the 18 to 36 month timeframe, our comparable is below a year which is very important when you’re talking about places like California, that they’re used to buying an emergency generator and we’re trying to compete with that. So instead of installing an emergency generator, that’ll take six months for businesses that we’re generally talking to and we’re saying we can do the same thing in six to nine months, except it’s free, better for the environment, et cetera.

Bill Nussey:
There’s a saying in your industry that if you’ve seen one microgrid, you’ve seen one microgrid and that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about what you’re doing at scale, because you guys were cracking the code on repeatability. So let’s talk a little bit about that. You’ve created a technology set of Legos to put together a system more quickly than some of the competitors are offering how’d you guys come up with that, how does it work?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, sure. And maybe to start, I realize I didn’t give a ton of background on good scaling is and what we’re doing. So maybe I’ll touch on that first, if you don’t mind.

Bill Nussey:
Please.

Ryan Goodman:
The scale building off of the experience we had at my prior firm, we started to see some microgridish type projects and hence kind of so on the horizon, what was coming. So out of that evolved the business model and the technology that we’re now going after today. So my team’s leveraging our past experience to power the world with distributed energy. That’s kind of the tagline that we go by.

Bill Nussey:
I like it.

Ryan Goodman:
Scale is a fully integrated, distributed energy platform focused on designing, implementing, and financing, innovative, distributed, clean energy solutions. We have our own proprietary microgrid solution that integrates solar batteries and patchable generation to provide customers with cheaper, cleaner, more reliable power and that’s the stuff I’ve talked mostly here about, but scale is also building equally important and investment platform to acquire distributed energy assets using the same technical expertise that we have on the microgrid side and applying that to other DER’s. I’m been working with third party developers and customers to finance a broader range of distributed energy assets. So that’s kind of the two sides of the business, the microgrid side and the distributed energy or financing side.

Ryan Goodman:
Now with that overview of where we are, then your specific question, which is one of my favorite topics talking about standardization or the modularization and that’s correct, Bill that traditionally building a custom microgrid means that various components are being integrated for the first time. So that means higher costs, more engineering, longer lead times, and it makes everything more complex. Our approach is to take very standardized, modular pre-engineered solutions using that as the building blocks, like you said, the Lincoln logs of the microgrid space. And with that, there’s two big ways that helps us. One is cost, historical jobs, there’s a minimum size that you have to be in order to absorb all the engineering costs that are needed to go into a bespoke job. So by having standardized solutions, we can come down that cost curve and now smaller microgrids that previously weren’t economically feasible are now feasible with our standardized approach.

Bill Nussey:
That’s awesome.

Ryan Goodman:
And so that’s one big benefit. The second benefit I already mentioned, that is speed, instead of the typical 18 to 36 months, we can do it in under a year trying to target six and nine month deployments. The last thing worth mentioning, I guess, is this kind of goes along with standardization as well, but we offer our solution via energy as a service type business model, so PPA is yesterday’s stuff that I’m sure you’re all familiar with but offered in very similar to how PPS are structured with solar. There’s zero up front money, but they sign a long-term contract. And we’ve found that that also helps speed up adoption because of generality customers are not in the same order of magnitude of energy understanding as we are, and nor should they be, because they’re focused on their business, right? So we try and take that off of their hands and manage that for them and de-risk it for them by us taking the financial risk on maintaining and operating that asset for them.

Bill Nussey:
Do you also sell the system so they take it over and run it themselves is that one of the things you offer?

Ryan Goodman:
I mean, we have done it before, but it’s not-

Bill Nussey:
Not your strategy?

Ryan Goodman:
No, and that’s primarily driven because a big piece of what we… There’s a lot of incremental value that is unlocked because we do own it, being able to manage it and the way that we know how and incorporating the appropriate controls and algorithms, et cetera, is one of the ways that we’re able to unlock value. So, well I won’t say we are not ever open to doing it, we find the value proposition for the customer is much more appealing when we’re financing it.

Bill Nussey:
That makes a lot of sense. And it’s always interesting to me to see where the industry people fall, but ultimately you’re becoming a utility, a plug-in replacement for the utilities and you become someone who gets paid power bills from your customers, but that power is cleaner and it’s more resilient, it’s a win-win.

Ryan Goodman:
Exactly. Yep.

Bill Nussey:
Must be like shooting fish in a barrel. I suspect you just walk in and people are just like, Ryan, where do I sign, can I pay you twice as much?

Ryan Goodman:
I wish that were true. Usually it’s, what is a microgrid again, but after they understand what it is, I wish more people were saying that.

Bill Nussey:
What causes them to hesitate on moving forward?

Ryan Goodman:
Probably one is it’s more complicated and two, just the lack of understanding, the true value proposition and the risks. You know, at the end of the day, we do ask them to trust us with a lot of things and they need to be willing to take that leap.

Sam Easterby:
Microgrids can keep the power going on a commercial or industrial campus, but how do they support the big grid? The national cost of sustained power outages is estimated to be $59 billion annually. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 70% of that cost is borne by commercial customers and 28% by industrial customers. So more and more companies are looking at microgrids as an option. Microgrids are localized grids that can disconnect from the traditional grid to operate autonomously because they are able to operate while the main grid is down. Microgrids can strengthen grid resilience and help mitigate grid disturbances as well as function as a grid resource for faster system response and recovery. Microgrid support a flexible and efficient electric grid by enabling the integration of growing deployments of distributed energy resources, such as renewables like solar. In addition, the use of local sources of energy to serve local electric loads helps reduce energy losses in transmission and distribution, which further increases the efficiency of the electric delivery system. Now back to Ryan and Bill for more.

Bill Nussey:
When you’re engaging with the customer and talking about the pros and cons of microgrids, what are the regulatory issues that you come across? And I can imagine they come in two buckets and love your perspective on both. One is the, I would have put a natural gas generator or solar or high powered electricity system here and the other one is the, you’re part of some jurisdiction regulatory domain, where you have to get approval for this or payback for that. I mean, talk a little bit about some of the mechanical and regulatory challenges to moving forward on these projects.

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah sure, and then there’s really a couple of buckets, or it depends on which we’re talking about that drive the answer to that question. So for traditional, what I would call smaller DG assets is not nearly as burdensome. So the two big things often in my head are always interconnection and landlord consent. So interconnection, meaning getting approved from the utility and any incremental costs that is due because of the system and understanding what that is, and because you’re dealing with utility that often takes time. But within DG, usually it’s relatively straightforward because you’re not putting a ton of power back onto the grid. So that’s manageable in that space and then landlord consent is the other common one. If dealing with a tenant instead of the building owners, it often takes time to talk to them, why the tenant is doing this.

Ryan Goodman:
So those are the two big ones that stick into my head of traditional behind the meter CNI DG type projects. But then there’s also the larger and or community microgrid type projects. And those are more complicated. And the same two issues, I guess, landlord consent usually isn’t as big of an issue because usually we’re talking to the landlord, but interconnection for bigger projects is always more challenging. But you have the added wrinkle of one, there’s a lot more stakeholders generally when, at least on the community or project you’re dealing with, but then you also have a lot more political and utility issues to deal with. So on the policy side, you have multiple customers, you have a number of regulatory bodies.

Ryan Goodman:
The U.S. Public Utility Commission in general is usually vertically integrated utilities, centralized resources. So getting to the right person could take and they don’t always clearly define the legal and regulatory requirements for integrating assets, it’s very clear and getting back to the vertical point back to one type of asset, but when you’re integrating different assets talking about how that plugs into things, it gets pretty confusing. And some places, frankly, just don’t have any guidance on it. So a lot of States are working hard to define that, but it’s still a relatively new area.

Bill Nussey:
You’re showing up in some of these places and they’ve just never heard of the idea. They have no policies for it, it’s like the people showing up with solar 15 years ago, right? I’d like to put solar panels on the roof and semi excess electricity back in your grid and they’re like, what are you talking about?

Ryan Goodman:
That’s exactly right. Yeah. So there are a number of projects we’re working on right now that we are helping them to like craft the policies to dictate what we’re doing. And I mean, that’s not an ideal situation, to be honest, inevitably means it’s taking longer, but it also is exciting because we’re able to help craft some of that.

Bill Nussey:
Super interesting. So we’ve talked a lot about the microgrid stuff and got all my nerdy, technical stuff covered. But the funniest part you’ve mentioned as well is a big part of your business and you guys are helping finance the build out of the distributed grid, can you tell us a little bit about what you guys are doing?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah. So both sides of the business are really exciting and on the investment side of the business, we’re really leveraging some of the experience we have on the microgrid side and being able to step in at any place in the value chain that a developer or partner works through on an energy project. So we have experience in that and have experienced financing our own microgrid assets, so it’s a natural extension to be able to offer that financing and technical capability to other asset owners. So we love working with developers, channel partners that are interested in finance solutions. And are looking for someone that is more savvy on the technical side of things, really anywhere in the developer value chain than traditional finance.

Ryan Goodman:
We find that financing can often kill deals. So trying to line up financing and line up a solution and then line up the customer, it’s very complicated to get all those things lined up at once and we found it very valuable to be a one-stop shop for those things. We only publicly announced this side of the business a couple months ago, but there’s been a lot of buildup to that and it’s been received very positively and are excited for our various development partners in different industry verticals, as we start doing more and more of that.

Bill Nussey:
One of the areas that really caught my attention from your website and your focus is indoor agriculture. I’d love to hear more about what you guys are doing for indoor Ag and what you found?

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, sure. You know, it’s kind of an interesting story believe it or not, the way we originally got into this was looking at some of the growth in the cannabis space.

Bill Nussey:
There you go.

Ryan Goodman:
I mean, we didn’t ever actually do any cannabis deals, but there’s a couple of facts that are applicable to both cannabis and non cannabis indoor Ag. Cannabis at the time was one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and indoor Ag is also a rapidly growing business. What people might not know is, it’s also a massive energy footprint. So to give you an idea again, on the cannabis side, the environmental footprint of that industry will exceed the entire County of Los Angeles. The order of magnitude of the quantity of energy that is consumed just emphasizes why it’s important that they’re addressing their energy needs. And that’s something that caught our eye and it was applicable both for cannabis and non cannabis. So it did lead us into that industry and now I would argue, we are the leading expert in non cannabis indoor Ag, as I think we’ve done more microgrids in this space than anyone else. So it’s a great niche market for us and I think there are some unique things about the industry that having experienced and done a number of jobs there makes a big difference.

Bill Nussey:
Yeah. I think it’s an incredibly exciting industry. It solves a lot of problems. It’s like local energy, it solves a lot of problems, it puts communities in control. It’s good for the earth so it’s a really a triple win and it’s so cool to me that you guys are at the intersection of that. So I’ll watch the indoor Ag industry through you guys too.

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah.

Bill Nussey:
So one of the areas that I was hoping to get your thoughts on today, Ryan, are a little outside of the specifics of scale, but as an entrepreneur. So you have done something that I think a lot of folks, particularly folks who listened to Freeing Energy are really interested in, which is you built a company as an entrepreneur in the clean energy space… The cutting edge of the clean energy space and you’ve also raised a ton of money to finance these projects, and so what advice do you give to entrepreneurs that want to build businesses and the local energy industry?

Ryan Goodman:
So the challenge of building a global distributed energy business is something I’m very passionate about and interested in, but it’s not going to come easy. There’s a number of companies that have failed to do that over the ages and so don’t expect it to come easy, but at the same time, it’s very rewarding. I love being part of the solution to building a better world for my children and firmly believe that DG assets is one of the few things that really has. I don’t know, it’s cliche, but like the triple bottom line impact, it’s better for the environment, it’s better for the grid, it’s better for customers and everybody has a chance to make money if it’s structured right.

Ryan Goodman:
So it’s really exciting and I think also you’re not limited just by technological innovation, but also business model innovation is a big piece of what we do and what a lot of businesses in the DG space are trying to do. So it’s a multifaceted problem and you can really depending on where your expertise lies, still approach it from a different way, and hence, add a lot of value to the overall goal of transforming the world with distributed energy.

Bill Nussey:
I’m glad you mentioned the business model stuff, because I do think that’s what’s particularly exciting about microgrids is that they really break from the century old paradigm of selling kilowatt hours. Well, that’s a big part of what you sell, it’s wrapped in a much more value added package of resiliency and clean energy and all that. So I do think that’s a particularly exciting part about the part of the clean energy space you play in. Well, listen, I think we’re a rounding the finish line here, and we love to ask our esteemed guests a couple of quick questions near the end. We call it the lightning round short answers, gets you more points. Just kidding, there’s no wrong answers, but just a couple of the common questions to get a profile of the fantastic people that take the time to chat with us and share their stories. So the first one for you is what excites you the most about being in the clean energy industry?

Ryan Goodman:
Man, there’s so many things, but I guess if I were to pick two that come to mind, the challenge of building a global DG business, I mentioned this earlier, but challenge of building a global DG business, which history has proven is hard to do gets me excited. And also just being a part of building a better world for our children.

Bill Nussey:
All right. Number two, if you could wave a magic wand and see one thing changed on the transition to clean renewable energy, what would it be?

Ryan Goodman:
Politics, I don’t know. Do I have to say more than that?

Bill Nussey:
No.

Ryan Goodman:
Anything to make it easier, standardized interconnection, I think it would be an amazing boom for the distributed energy space.

Bill Nussey:
Boy, I hear you on that, man I couldn’t agree more. What do you think will be the single most important change in how we generate store and distribute electricity in the next five years?

Ryan Goodman:
Two things that we are having our focus on and one is batteries, just the technological advances in energy storage and two is electrification broadly, but I think EVs being a big piece of that.

Bill Nussey:
Excellent. Last question. A lot of the people who listen to this podcast are really interested in getting into clean energy, either at an individual level or even a professional level, many already are, but the question comes up all the time when people ask you, what can I do to help make a change in the path towards clean energy, what do you tell them?

Ryan Goodman:
Maybe linking back to my prior question, the first thing is vote. Don’t underestimate how much impact policy and government initiatives make on the clean energy revolution. And then two, I guess I’d say constantly asking within the energy sector why things are the way they are. And this is probably true of any industry, but I find it especially true for age-old industries like energy. But if the answer is ever that’s the way it is or that’s the way it’s always been, that’s never a good response. And if anything is a direct opportunity for disruption, so constantly be pushing that envelope.

Bill Nussey:
Right. That’s actually a completely quotable answer. I love it. When someone tells you we’re doing it because that’s how we’ve been doing it, that’s where Ryan Goodman and team come in to make a change and so you’re on the job and that’s fantastic. Well, listen, I’m glad we had a chance to do this. Thanks for sharing some time today with all of us, have been really excited to speak right to the heart of the local energy movement. You guys are at ground zero, making it happen, really excited for you and really excited to see where you take this company and I think we’ll all be watching you. So thanks a bunch for your time today, man.

Ryan Goodman:
Yeah, I really appreciate the time, as always good catching up and looking forward to move forward.

Sam Easterby:
Thank you for joining us today. You have been listening to the Freeing Energy Podcast, personal stories from the Clean Energy Movement. Visit freeingenergy.com to learn more about clean local energy. I’m Sam Easterby, Bill Nussey is my cohost and the founder of the Freeing Energy project. The Freeing Energy Podcast is made in partnership with Frequency Media. 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 podcast.

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