This comment is posted under the article New Calif. homes would have to be energy producers, by Steve Lawrence in Silicon Valley's MercuryNews.com
First posted on the GMH Blog on April 12th, 2009
Please tell state Assemblywoman Lori Saldana to ask for a complete overhaul of the power industry structure and rules.
I agree that new buildings can and may be designed with the concept of zero-net energy all over the world. I disagree that they should be mandated, as every customer should be able to exert its choice.
Anyhow, there are important barriers to be overcome for zero/net energy and the most critical one is the investor owned utilities’ framework. California deregulation was set to disprove concepts such as zero-net energy buildings to extend the obsolete supply side business model of utilities.
What California, and all other global jurisdictions, need is to reform the utilities’ framework to allow for innovation not just on the supply side, but essentially in the demand side. Please take a look at the EWPC article "Forget Demand Side management (DSM); Think Demand Side Innovation (DSI) ." at the internet address http://www.energyblogs.com/ewpc/index.cfm/2009/4/7/Forget-Demand-Side-management-DSM-Think-Demand-Side-Innovation-DSI
DSM is a utility concept design to maintain the obsolete and monopolistic business model of winning rate case to the regulator, when what are needed are business model innovations similar to those of the computer industry that emerge under competition. Zero-net energy building will not need to be mandated at all, they will emerge organically as DSI’s when the 20 years old awaited reform is enacted.