The Coming Decentralization of the Utility Sector

Bloom Energy Fuel Cell Courtesy Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy Fuel Cell
Courtesy Bloom Energy

Several trend waves are heading for a thunderous collision and are going to change the course of the utility sector. When billions of dollars were poured into energy “cleanies” and “greenies”, few thought about the third order ramifications and potential by-products. But, alternative energy is just that. It means we don’t need the same old companies providing the same old things that they’ve provided for the last 50 years. In fact the alternatives are starting to line up nicely. Like the telecommunications infrastructure that has rapidly gone from big infrastructure to mobile wireless due to rapid advancements in battery power, bandwidth, and miniaturization, so goes the utility sector. The three big waves that are about to hit are miniaturization and efficiencies through nanotechnologies, improvements in battery power and storage systems; and improved human economization of energy. [Read more…]

Drones to Swarm the Energy Market in the Next Decade

Drones Swarm Energy Market

UAVs mature, their roles of sensing and monitoring will eventually give way to robotic functions allowing them to operate as hybrids.  Drones soon will take on far more complex tasks.  Flying drone robots may soon be able to perform not only inspection but engineering modifications using onboard toolkits.   The UAS market in the U.S. hasn’t had the commercial jump start of growth from the energy sector seen in Israel, the U.K.  Much of this revolves around the regulatory challenges. Congress’s recently passed legislation requiring expedited integration of UAS into the national aviation infrastructure by 2015 should finally start the engines. UAS operation has historically been expensive when you add up the cost of hardware, software, training, technical support, and the occasional crash and burn event.  However, as the market continues to grow as does more affordable solutions.  Operators coming back from Afghanistan may find themselves met by more opportunities in the civilian world.  Soon UAVs might be familiar terrain features in the sky above the U.S.  However, integration of aerial vehicles may be easier said than done given the already crowed air space.  However the next decade unfolds, you can count on the fact that unmanned aerial vehicles and their even more robotic successors will be a big part of it.


Civilian airspace might be crowded, according to the FAA, but as you can see from the image, it’s a little less crowded in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota.

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