Clean Tech Forum 2009: Smart Grid Panel is the Most Important of Event

smart grid panel at clean tech photo

Well, according to moderator Tom Cain, that is. But we have to agree it was pretty darn important. Experts in the smart grid industry gathered to talk about the roadblocks and strategies for the smart grid, and how vital it is to get it up and running nationwide as soon as possible. Click through to hear their talk.The panel included some serious players in the industry. From left to right, moderator Tom Cain, Managing Partner of Sail Venture Partners, Mossadiqu Umedaly, Chairman of BC Hydro, Bill Vogel, CEO of Trilliant, Scott MacDonald, Partner of Emerald Technology, and Eric Dresselhuys, VP and Co-founder of Silver Spring Networks.

The panel discusses disconnects keeping the smart grid from taking off, especially regulatory issues and industry cooperation.

Debate on whether or not start-ups can work in the smart grid sphere, and the impact of the stimulus package.

The panel noted that utilities are big beasts and you want them to be very prudent and have reliable systems, so they have to know their suppliers will be there for the long term and have integrated systems. Because of this, the start-ups have a hard time selling individual components to utilities. But the thing is, the smart grid is so new that most all the companies in the industry are fairly small start-ups. Larger organizations get more attention because of their perceived stability, but start-ups also need acknowledgment.

There's tremendous room for innovation in this stage, including a huge opportunity for small companies, vevnture capitalists, and everyone else. Innovation is definitely wanted by utilities but the responsibility of providing power is so serious that innovation is taken with trepidation.

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