How fostering a new way of harvesting wind can create new products and services in the utilities market.
What if we were able to tap into a virtually inexhaustible source of energy?
There is a cost for producing and distributing electricity, but what if we could make it more affordable and accessible for all European citizens alike?
How would a revolutionary way of producing, storing and distributing electricity disrupt the existing marketplace by making it more open and transparent, thus creating new business models? What new innovative technologies, products and services could stem from such a disruptive force?
Let’s start with the way such a new approach could be financed. We could take a classical approach, government – taxpayer’s money to fund such an endeavour. This would need a local player to take the lead. Alternatively, the European Investment Bank could fund the research and piloting of the first Wind-Dam and leverage from the intellectual properties created, co-owning sites or by simply issuing bonds and loans to finance such mega constructions and operations.
Another, perhaps complementary investment could come from individual Government Investment Funds, like the ones Norway/Liechtenstein/Iceland have. Long term investors e.g. Pension Funds could be interested parties and also provide loans or bonds for the long term project risk, co-financing the lifecycle of these large installations.
And why not, crowdfunding and cooperative funding where a group of interested parties invest in return for usage of the service, or the intellectual property against an agreed lower price? This could foster smaller, more innovative aspects of such a huge construction; e.g. the development of smaller, lighter high performance turbines, nanotech based cables and meshes, smaller, optimised hydrogen factories and combustion sites, hydrogen storage and transport, as well as independent systems to maintain the Wind-Dams and other related facilities.
So, let’s assume that the mega-structure would be funded by large public and private institutions, whereas for example, the turbines could be co-owned by communities who have the benefit of using the produced electricity. Imagine a company could invest in one or more turbines in the mesh and use the produced electricity for their business, be it manufacturing or services. We could even allow different utility providers to fund a partial mesh and allow them to sell the produced electricity to consumers, or even factories converting water into hydrogen. The hydrogen, can then be sold on to other consumers who combust the hydrogen for further electricity production or their own consumption.
Any surplus, either hydrogen or electricity, not needed for local or regional use could be offered and brokered on a digital marketplace.
The oxygen released in the atmosphere also has a value. Remaining – potentially needed – polluting players could finance the oxygen release to offset their pollution effect. This marketplace already exists and Europe is a leading player.
We can actually create a whole new ecosystem of small, medium and big players, European, regional and local, all contributing and forming part of a “blue” factory production chain.
Using smart meters enhanced by smart contracts, consumer, private, public or individual enterprises can set policies for establishing these smart contracts to acquire and/or deliver energy to a smart grid.
For example, consumers can decide to buy part of their electricity directly from a wind turbine, at a certain price and when available. They can also decide to get energy from hydrogen combustion via a local provider in which they are cooperative shareholders.
Companies can for instance, buy hydrogen from an offshore provider and have it transported by a pipeline to produce onsite electricity using their own generator system. They can then decide to buy extra energy from e.g. a leased turbine unit on a Wind-Dam. Any excess energy they produce can then be sold back into the grid.
This will require a brokerage system which negotiates prices between all the providers and all the different consumers. A truly open and liberal energy ecosystem could be built which would be regularized by EU laws.