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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Collaboration and Competition in the Development of Renewable Energy

I have just returned from a meeting for the World Resources Institute Green Power Market Development Group that BT hosted at our headquarters in El Segundo, California.

The group, of which BT is a member, is a collaboration of leading corporations and the World Resources Institute. It is dedicated to building corporate markets for green power. Our goal is to develop corporate markets for 1000 MW of new, cost competitive green power by 2010.

The agenda included a tour of the progress made with BT's solar installation (see the latest here) and a roundtable where members share and learn from each other's experiences and discuss pursuing collaborative projects in the green power space. It was interesting to compare this collaborative approach with the competitive approach presented by the X-Prize Foundation. The Foundation is planning a suite of future prizes in the energy and environment space.

The two approaches are complementary. The collaborative approach of the Green Power Market Development Group lends itself to the development of markets and commercial scaling up of tried and tested technologies. The higher risk, but higher reward competitive approach of the X-Prize will stimulate creativity, out of the box thinking and ultimately the breakthroughs we also need. It will be interesting to watch the initiatives that result from both paths.

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