We’ve seen it in other industries—the disruption that occurs when new players with breakthrough technologies demolish old barriers. Remember when half the world’s population had never used a phone? For decades, telecommunication leaders were stymied, unable to imagine how to reach every village in the world. Then came wireless. Today a goat herder in Asia can have a mobile phone and instantaneous connection.

Energy is ready for the same kind of jump shift. Renewable technologies are more affordable now than ever. How can their energy be distributed to serve the billions of people eager to participate in the global economy, but limited by their remote geography?

It is time to challenge the current grid system, time to completely rethink the way cities and companies produce and distribute electricity. After all, the electric light bulb was not invented through continuous improvement of the candle.

Winds of Change

A major shift is underway in how companies and communities around the planet find the electricity they need to operate. The change comes on the back of more affordable renewable energy options and Internet-based block chain distribution systems. The result is cleaner power.
Communities in underdeveloped countries have a hard time providing reliable electricity to residents and businesses far from the few power grids available. Even cities in the USA and Europe are challenged in providing electricity to everyone who needs it during peak consumption times.
Energy demand is one of the biggest issues and largest costs industrial and manufacturing companies face each year. Regions with strong, stable power grids have a huge advantage in attracting industry and economic development.

Power to the People

Alternative Resource Group (ARG), a US-based energy project development company, is out to level the playing field by providing companies with more control over the power they need. Investors attracted to ARG see the company as a paradigm changer that offers a simple but powerful premise, ‘Power anywhere in the world. Anytime.’
It is now possible to leapfrog over the heavy investments needed for the mature major players including coal and nuclear. We can deploy energy assets where they are needed with low cost, low emission energy. It allows remote areas to host manufacturing, technology, and other industries that require reliable, inexpensive power—an imperative for economic development.”

A New Model for New Energy

ARG constructs privately-owned decentralized power plants in geographic areas that would otherwise be decades away from access to traditional power grids or sufficient supply. They provide low-cost, cleaner renewable technology, including solar and wind. The systems can also be backed up by advanced battery storage to guarantee on demand power.
ARG is also developing a new kind of operating platform that manages a secure smart-grid system using an Internet-based advanced blockchain backbone and Digital Ledger Technology.
What does all of this mean to international economies? With the global need for energy predicted to double by 2035, it means the whole world is now open, with opportunities for new areas to enter the production game.

Mexico’s New Opportunities

Along the border in Mexico, power grid operation is unreliable, and power is expensive. But laws passed in 2014 are recasting the country’s energy sector. Private companies can now compete in the electricity generation sector. Private investors will be able to buy, sell and build new generation units. Private generators, including renewable energy plants, will be able to sell electricity on the spot market directly to high-volume consumers through government-designated organizations responsible for distribution to end users. Mexico’s wholesale market, which was non-existent before the reform, began test operations in September 2015. ARG is helping companies develop strategic assets located near high-volume users. The first plant will be 80MW Solar + 60MW Natural Gas +10MW Vanadium Flow Battery. This combination can power a small city, with the potential to be replicated in other areas.

Puerto Rico Reconstructing Sustainably

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has reshaped its energy policy. The Governing Board of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority adopted a “Vision for the Future of Power in Puerto Rico” focused on transforming the power utility, in accordance with the Governor’s privatization plan and with guidance from utility executives and energy leaders. The vision is a system that is customer-centric, financially viable, thoughtfully planned to meet reliability and resiliency goals. The ultimate vision is a power system that will serve as the economic growth engine for Puerto Rico. Privatized utilities can incorporate customer-centric innovations like micro-grids that buy and sell power to the grid. This is an invitation to invest in the types of innovative approaches ARG is pioneering—renewable, reliable distributed systems. With these will come new economic possibilities for the people of Puerto Rico.

Impact Energy Investing

What do renewable technologies and operating transparency mean for ARG’s investors? Company leaders believe that investors can make great returns on energy projects that are worth supporting because they benefit people and the planet.
“Investors have a right to expect that their investments ‘do no harm,” said ARG CEO Nathan McDonnell “Energy investments can drive economic growth while bringing cleaner energy to emerging markets.”
ARG is part of a tectonic shift currently impacting investment. The company is an energy infrastructure development firm that constructs decentralized energy projects in developing areas. But ARG adds a crucial component to the new model by bringing a blockchain and asset-based energy token to the market. Where regions and countries are willing to shift to a new concept in energy, new approaches are possible. Projects like those in Mexico and Puerto Rico will literally create value for token owners from wind and sunlight.

Strategic Opportunities

With the cost of renewable technologies dropping as much as 70 percent over the last decade, renewable energy has become financially competitive, often the lowest cost option in most markets today. By combining this price advantage with strategic funding, ARG is determined to work with industry and governments to construct new power plants in areas that would otherwise be years away from support by traditional energy grids. The company plans to combine the profitability and security of energy investment with environmental awareness. Their new operating platform will utilize blockchain and Digital Ledger Technology to enable transactions and manage smart grid operations, within the security of a decentralized database. The opportunity is here, and the time is now to provide more energy, more efficiently. The challenge will be to develop cleaner energy.

Biography of the Author

Michael Lumbley has 15 years of experience as an executive at an oil and gas exploration and manufacturing company and later with multiple Top 5 US-based renewable energy development firms. With extensive international and Latin American market development experience, he is dedicated to energy infrastructure development in emerging markets.