MIT Energy Business Bootcamp 2013


By G.S. Suri (BLI Ambassador and Small Grant Recipient)
Feb 12, 2014 Bookmark and Share

Upon arriving to Cambridge, I walked into the first speaker of the conference Rachael Goydon who spoke heavily on the changing landscape of the energy business. Describing the continuously changing demands, macroeconomic dependencies, and regulations, Rachael discussed how the role of consulting firms is becoming more critical than ever. As a head principal in energy consulting for Deloitte, Ms. Goydon discussed how her firm serves over 600 clients in Oil and Gas and Power and Utilities including 97 percent of fortune 500 companies. Most consulting firms are now focusing in on helping energy companies develop smart grids, handle logistics of grid distribution and implementation, facilitate M&A activities for energy firms, and innovate in order to maintain a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The next speaker was Angelique Mercurio, CEO of Energy Solutions Forum. Angelique formerly worked for Lazard, Barclays, and Citigroup helping to develop carbon and environmental markets. Her firm currently works on navigating through the vast amount of government agencies that are focused on energy regulation and policy. Her firm is attempting to create the next Bloomberg of energy policy helping to simplify the work of analysts, energy firms, and investment companies working to continuously identify changes and trends in the constantly changing energy regulatory environment.

Dr. Matthew Silver, CEO of Cambrian Innovation, spoke next on innovation and entrepreneurship in the energy industry. As CEO, he has successfully guided his firm through 6 years of growth acquiring large federal and private innovation grants helping to support their main product line: energy process systems that help convert waste water into oxygen and natural gas. The biggest challenges facing entrepreneurship from Dr. Silver's perspective were expanding into global markets and understanding the regulatory environment for new products in the market. He explained how his company's product currently has a vastly untapped market in places such as Singapore and Israel, but navigating the legal and distribution environment to expand into foreign markets germane to energy products can be incredibly difficult. This goes without mentioning that the legal environment and making sure their products meet compliance measures is another significant obstacle in that type of expansion.

Professor Peter Zschokke spoke on the development of national grid systems for the energy industry and what type of consumer data that is able to provide. Over the last several years, Professor Zschokke has focused on grid modernization, time variant pricing models, and recovering infrastructure investment. He explained how their is a huge IT opportunity being developed around the energy industry as technologies develop. With millions of digital devices gathering billions of pieces of data, this type of information can be used by energy companies to innovate their processes, plan more effective energy distribution, and improve models to forecast demand changes. Professor Zschokke predicted that we will soon see multinational corporations buying tens of billions of dollars of information from energy companies' grid systems in order to further analyze consumer preferences and market behaviors.

I learned a lot from the experience and realized that there are a lot of interdisciplinary systems involved in the daily operations of the energy industry. A large amount of collaboration and coordination is required to make sure the energy businesses operate effectively within their environment, this experience has made me further emphasize the value of collaboration in business.