Thursday, August 30, 2007

Too cheap for my own good?

I usually work at home, where I have good computers, a printer, a (usually) adequate Internet connection and all my books. Usually it’s the most productive place to work.

Today isn’t one of those days. This afternoon the temperature is in the mid-90s here in the South Bay.

Today is a “stage one” power emergency for California because the projected peak demand of 49 gigawatts is approaching the state’s system capacity of 49.8 gigawatts. We are supposed to conserve energy by not using A/C, but (to conserve energy, money and reduce pollution) we never bought A/C for our house — so there’s nothing I can cut.

Today is also a “spare the air” day according to Bay Area air pollution regulators — which is usually triggered in the summer by projected high levels of ozone. There are limited transit subsidies available (but only in the morning) but transit isn’t very useful in getting to our off-campus MBA center (ca. 1:20 one-way instead of 0:30). Mondays I take the (light) rail because service is relatively convenient to downtown SJ.

I suppose if I had a Prius, I could drive around town in my air-conditioned splendor and feel good about “saving” energy. Instead, I’m at home for another two hours hoping to be able to concentrate as sweat drips off my brow (OK, more than anyone wanted to know). If work were closer with better parking, I’d be there already: back in Oceanside, I had a 7-minute one-way commute, making the prospect of driving to the A/C much more appealing.

1 comment:

schnittker said...

This is a great segue into future markets.
The buzz of the past decade has been information; The dot com bubble to provide content- The telecom bubble to deliver content. I think the next decade will be energy. The decade after that will likely be water.

Our interest in niceties are shadowed when a necessity is shorted. Imagine if food or shelter was removed.

In a growing economy, the new market front is always guessing what new luxury the consumer will want to spend his money on. As we feel the discomfort of energy shortages, we change our strategies as the new market front retracts to a topic once thought resolved.

All ready apparent are trends in energy. The number of solar companies that have sprouted in the valley (Nano Solar, Stion, Solyndra, Sun Power, Solar City, Borrego) have taken many of the engineers that used to work in telecom/datacom. I have seen more billboards from car manufacturers bragging on their efficiency than their in-car audio and video capabilities.

It is a beautiful thing to see the market demand, and then businesses react.