Renewable Energy SmartPod

The 'Three Ds' Driving the Energy Transition

October 12, 2021 Sean McMahon Season 1 Episode 14
The 'Three Ds' Driving the Energy Transition
Renewable Energy SmartPod
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Renewable Energy SmartPod
The 'Three Ds' Driving the Energy Transition
Oct 12, 2021 Season 1 Episode 14
Sean McMahon

Bob Yeager, President of Emerson’s Power and Water Solutions, joins the show to outline the three Ds that will play a huge role in future of the energy industry: Decarbonization, Decentralization and Digitalization (3:41).

Bob delves into how FERC Order No. 2222 stands to reshape the power sector (12:18), how improved analytics might have reduced the severity of the Texas energy crisis (19:30) and how the process for purchasing energy might one day come to resemble ordering an Uber -- on your phone and whenever you need it.


Read more about Bob Yeager's Uber-istic vision for the future of power.

Nick Ferris from Energy Monitor on the reliability of fossil fuel energy sources, or lack thereof.

Email me your COP26 Insights -

Sign up for the Renewable Energy SmartBrief

Emerson - Consider It Solved

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

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Follow the show on Twitter @RenewablesPod

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Bob Yeager, President of Emerson’s Power and Water Solutions, joins the show to outline the three Ds that will play a huge role in future of the energy industry: Decarbonization, Decentralization and Digitalization (3:41).

Bob delves into how FERC Order No. 2222 stands to reshape the power sector (12:18), how improved analytics might have reduced the severity of the Texas energy crisis (19:30) and how the process for purchasing energy might one day come to resemble ordering an Uber -- on your phone and whenever you need it.


Read more about Bob Yeager's Uber-istic vision for the future of power.

Nick Ferris from Energy Monitor on the reliability of fossil fuel energy sources, or lack thereof.

Email me your COP26 Insights -

Sign up for the Renewable Energy SmartBrief

Emerson - Consider It Solved

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Sign up for the Renewable Energy SmartBrief

Follow the show on Twitter @RenewablesPod

(Note: This transcript was created using artificial intelligence. It has not been edited verbatim)

Bob Yeager  00:08

Some people say that it you know that the future of the electricity market might even be like Uber, you know, where it becomes so deregulated and so many players on the market that you can basically buy electricity on a daily basis from your phone. Now whether that happens or not, some people will say that's impossible. But, you know, I like to say, you know, things, if it can happen, it will happen always takes a little longer than you think. And there's nothing like a little bit of regulatory support to make things happen.


Sean McMahon  00:36

What's up everyone and welcome to the renewable energy smart pod. I'm your host, Sean McMahon. And that voice you just heard was Bob Yeager, the president of Power and Water Solutions for Emerson. The energy industry is evolving rapidly. And Bob is here to talk about some of the trends that are driving that evolution, specifically, the three Ds, decarbonisation decentralization, and digital transformation. We had a great conversation packed with loads of insights from Bob, so I think you'll enjoy listening to it. 

Looking at the future episodes of this podcast, nearly every guest we've had on the show has spent at least a few minutes talking about the grid. And yes, Bob and I spend some time talking about the grid today too. But we've never dedicated an entire episode to the grid. Well, that's about to change, because Rob Gramlich from grid strategies will be joining me in the coming weeks so he and I can spend a whole episode doing nothing but geeking out about the grid. 

And remember, if you want your renewables news in email format, as well as podcast, head on over to and sign up for the Renewable Energy SmartBrief. And as always, you can follow this show on Twitter, where our handle is @RenewablesPod. 

Before I kick off my conversation with Bob, here's a quick word from the exclusive sponsor of today's episode. Emerson.


Advertisement  01:56

Emerson has a deep legacy of helping our customers in the world's most essential industries solve the most complex challenges of modern life. Our breakthrough software and technologies drive innovation that makes the world healthier, safer, smarter, and more sustainable. Emerson - Consider it solved.


Sean McMahon  02:22

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining me for today's episode. My guest is Bob Jaeger, the president of power and water solutions at Emerson. How're you doing today, Bob?


Bob Yeager  02:31

I'm doing great, Sean, thanks for having me.


Sean McMahon  02:33

Yeah, I'm excited to chat with you here. We got a lot of ground to cover. But before we get into the thick of everything, why don't you just tell our listeners a little bit about your background? You know, and how long you been in the industry?


Bob Yeager  02:43

Sure thing, Shawn? Well, actually, I've been in this industry a long, long time, almost 40 years. I started out as a field engineer in the early 80s in the nuclear group. So I did start ups of the 1000 megawatt Pressurized Water Reactors moved on from there into the fossil side of the business, so coal and gas, and then from there into projects. And ultimately, I had the honor and privilege of running the research and development group for Westinghouse process control at the time. And then we were acquired by Emerson in 1998. And it's been 20 years in this industry, since we joined Emerson. Wow. So 40


Sean McMahon  03:27

years. So you're telling me you're you're a rookie? Hmm, you're a newbie?


Bob Yeager  03:30

Yeah. Yeah. Still a rookie in many ways, still learning Shawn every day, the way the way the market is going and the grid is changing. It's, it's always an adventure. That's for sure. That sounds


Sean McMahon  03:41

great. So I'm not gonna ask you to outline all the things that have changed in four decades. But let's just look back the last five or 10 years, what are some of the most significant developments in this sector?


Bob Yeager  03:51

Sure thing, so you know, I like to put it in basically three categories. It's decarbonisation, which I think everyone knows about it's decentralization, and digital transformation. So we know that with all the regulatory issues around the world, and they negativity towards carbon, the decarbonisation of the global generating infrastructure is and continues to be a high priority, and it's creating some really good things and some not so good things, and then decentralization as that decarbonisation occurs. we're transitioning from these, I like to think these massive amounts of spinning metal for maybe 1000 megawatt coal unit or an 800 megawatt combined cycle unit to distributed energy and micro grids. That could be maybe a gas turbine, but wind and solar, that creates some issues with respect to reliability and just grid distribution. And then digital transformation as, as there's more complexity in the grid, and maintaining The grid and the bi directional flow of electricity, there's more of a need for software and analytics that we've seen dramatically increase in the last two or three years.


Sean McMahon  05:12

Okay, so it sounds like all three of those things are pretty well tied together, so to speak. So what's the most crucial piece? Is there a crucial piece? Are they all all three kind of equally important?


Bob Yeager  05:21

Well, I would say they're all equally important. But certainly, the decentralization is creating a lot of interesting grid dynamics, because as we all know, the grid is very sensitive to frequency. So in the United States, that grid has to run pretty much at 60 hertz. And you know, at a 10th of a hertz variation, I like to say somebody is open in valve somewhere, because if the frequency varies too much, some bad things happen. You can get equipment damage, there's a lot of trip circuits that that that go into effect. And the result can be brownouts or rolling blackouts that we've seen in the United States recently. So, you know, there's one thing that keeps the grid stable, and that's inertia. And inertia is basically the instantaneous conversion of rotational energy to electricity. And that's great for fossil fuels. You know, for coal and gas, you have young, these large spinning masses of metal. But in wind and solar, for example, there's really, although some people claim their synthetic inertia, but there's really no inertia, it's it's really DC converted to AC and there isn't this massive dampening effect on the grid. So as more and more renewables come into play, it creates issues with frequency and ultimately, grid reliability.


Sean McMahon  06:49

Yeah, you mentioned some of the issues, all this creates. So what are some of those challenges that the industry is facing? And what are some of the ways that folks like yourself are looking to tackle?


Bob Yeager  06:57

Well, challenges, you know, across the board, a challenges factor is interesting. On the front page of The Wall Street Journal today, as we're preparing for this, it says coal shortages weigh on global economics. The issue is, as the economy recovers, and there's more demand for electricity, the fact is that about 40% of the world's terawatt hour consumption still comes from coal, and maybe a little less than that from gas. So you have these enormous amounts of fossil fuel generation driving the economy. And what's happened in just in the last six months, because of this surging demand, coal prices have tripled. I think today, it's like $200 per metric ton. I checked the gas spot price this morning. It's $5.61 per mmbtu. That's a Henry hub that's tripled in the last six months. So this decarbonisation effect Well, it's good for co2 can have hidden effects on the economy and reliability. So that is one of the I believe one of the biggest challenges we face is how do you balance? decarbonisation, everyone's wants clean environment? No one's arguing about that, with global economics. And just, you know, when people turn on the light switch for electricity, they expect the electrons to flow. So this natural Flashpoint there, that's probably the biggest challenge is how do you balance that going forward?


Sean McMahon  08:22

So is it a bounce? Or is it kind of the speed of the transition? Meaning, like, if we kind of everyone wants to crank up wind and solar and everything real fast? What does that put us the economy in danger of some of the situations in the pricing that you're talking about right now? And is there an optimal pace? I guess, is what I'm asking at which the transition should take place?


Bob Yeager  08:41

Well, you know, it's an interesting question, if, you know, it's a lot of it's somewhat political. You know, there are advocates for 100% renewable energy. And, you know, it's certainly admirable cause I think everyone would love to have, you know, zero carbon emissions. But the balance, you know, is is really the challenge. I'm not sure what speed or pace you can do that. I think what we need to do is I'll take a step back and look at the impact it's having on grid stability. You know, we've everyone's heard about what happened in Texas, you know, in the cold snap, that was a direct example of low spinning reserves. Right, because really no one's fault. I mean, it's just it, you know, it was a combination of market diet, people worked really hard to that, but it was a combination of market dynamics, cold weather, lack of spinning reserves, on availability of the renewables frequency dipped, and a near catastrophe in Texas. You know, some people would say, Well, that's because of renewables. Some people say no, it was really the market dynamics. So I think it's, you know, really, you got to take a step back and kind of look at all these things together. There's really no simple answer for that.


Sean McMahon  09:49

I understand. And you mentioned decarbonisation, kind of right at the top there and so obviously with cop 26, coming up where there's a kind of a global focus is, you know, really being sharpened on sustainability goals, and Net Zero, and things like that. So what's the role of the power industry in that? Obviously, it's gonna play a huge role in decarbonisation. But you know, how all those announcements get rolled out or even what they are? What's the role of power industry there?


Bob Yeager  10:12

Yeah, well, the power industry certainly has a lot to do with co2. Certainly. Somebody, you know, I like to put it in perspective. You know, if you think about it, I like to look at it globally. Because if you just think about co2 emissions by country, China, by the way, we have 1000 systems in China. So we are we I like to say we're in the trenches, we have 1000 automation system, mostly the 600 megawatt units and 1000 megawatt units they call units. So we have, you know, finger on the pulse in China. So they emit 11 million kilo tons of co2 per year 11 million kilotons, us about 5 million kilotons, India about two and a half. But interestingly, if you look at it per capita, the US is about 16 metric tons per person. And China is only about seven. So, you know, when you look at decarbonization Also, if you look at megawatts on the ground, installed per 1000 people, that's the generation available us about three megawatts per 1000, China one. So you have this, you know, this dynamic going on whether this push for, you know, decarbonisation on one hand, but the generation needed in these emerging markets like China, they need the electricity, you know, you read in the recent weeks as well, also in the Wall Street Journal, that there's electric, you know, electricity shortages in China, mostly because of coal. But they're saying, look, you know, I know we need to, to be smart on decarbonisation, but we need the power. Right, so they're still building coal units, Southeast Asia, still building coal units. So you have this kind of also a natural Flashpoint there between decarbonisation globally and the demand and need for electricity? Yeah, I


Sean McMahon  12:09

know those new coal units are a little bit controversial, you could say, because obviously, when they stand them up, they're gonna be up for a few decades, you know, so they do they run 20 to 30 years. Yeah. So so looking domestically, what are some of the things you see coming down the pipeline, either from the industry or from government agencies or things like that, that that you think have a good shot of kind of helping tackle, not only the wider, decarbonisation aspect of things, but you also mentioned the distribution of energy?


Bob Yeager  12:34

Yeah, so interesting, new regulation from firk, for 2222. And that, that is a it's not into effect yet. But the ISOs and the artios have, I think, within the next year to respond, but basically what it says is that the US market for quants to open the US market to all kinds of distributed energy resources and all products into the electricity market. So distributed energy distributed storage, frequency response, spinning reserves, you know, not not from just traditional fossil sources, but from all sources, including what I like to think of as virtual power plants where you could have a mentioned earlier, like on micro grid with a 200 megawatt gas turbine and some wind and solar. But the key is that it's dispatchable. So, you know, the idea is that you can have this renewable source of energy, a combination of renewable energy and fossil energy that appears to the grid, like 1000 megawatt coal unit, it's dispatchable. But yet, it's this mixture of renewable and fossil energy. So from a mix structure for 20 to 22, we'll address that but then also from a market and economic structure. The you know, some say that the US electricity markets are somewhat dysfunctional for many reasons. And that's also somewhat a political view. But for 2222 says also that in addition to this gradual mix, or allowable mix of more renewable resources that the market dynamics will change, so that the virtual power plant down the street, this this dispatchable, 1000, virtual 1000 megawatt virtual power plant that looks just like the coal unit can bid into the market, just like the 1000 megawatts. So the idea here is to make the market even more open that it is some people say that it even you know that the future of the electricity market might even be like Uber, you know, where it becomes so deregulated and so many players on the market that you can basically buy electricity on a daily basis from your phone. Now whether that happens or not, some people will say that's impossible, but you know, I like To say, you know, things, if it can happen, it will happen always takes a little longer than you think. And there's nothing like a little bit of regulatory support to make things happen.


Sean McMahon  15:09

Gotcha. So and just to take that Uber analogy and pull on that thread a little bit, so these virtual power plants, I mean, so Tesla made a big splash a couple of months ago, kind of talking about how all their their power walls could be kind of pulled together as a micro grid itself. So do you see more of this happening from batteries like that? Or do you see more of a happening from the standing up of wind and solar assets? And kind of pulling those together? You know, which, are we all through them together? I don't know.


Bob Yeager  15:32

Yeah, Shawn, it's actually all because, you know, the virtual power plant certainly will play a role with his new architecture and new infrastructure, but energy storage and battery storage has really come a long way. You know, there's still still many are counting on new battery technologies that will emerge eventually. But even with the current technologies, a lithium technology is today, you know, there are batteries storage units being built in the United States that are, you know, a gigawatt, you know, there's several in California around around the United States that are creating this storage, basically storage of electricity, which by the way, can provide an effect and inertia, right, because they have this stored energy. Now, not as long as a you know, turning a Val, you know, changing the valves on a coal unit. But certainly for several hours, you have a gigawatt of, of generation available that can make a difference. So between the, you know, battery storage between virtual power plants, and, you know, this still mixture of fossil generation, and see how all come together to change the landscape.


Sean McMahon  16:39

We're gonna take a quick 32nd break. But when we come back, you'll hear Bob explain how improved analytics might have reduced the severity of the Texas power crisis. And you'll also hear his bold predictions about the future of the energy industry.


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Sean McMahon  17:39

And now, back to my conversation with Bob Yeager. So you mentioned the power crisis in Texas earlier this year in February, you can also look at other events like the California fires and hurricane Ida, and so very, very recent things that I think are starting to kind of wake people up to the importance of the grid. I mean, I think a lot of folks had no idea that Texas was kind of on its own grid, and couldn't really bring in a bunch of power from other states when they needed it. And also, you know, just the resiliency factor, you know, Hurricane Ike comes ashore, or these fires come in, and people are out of power for days. So what technologies are available today, or in development, you know, kind of just around the corner that kind of help stabilize the grid and make the grid more resilient to events like that?


Bob Yeager  18:19

Sure, well, it's a couple things. You know, from a physical perspective, you mentioned that our car doesn't have an interconnect, there are those that are advocating that look, or cut should no longer be an island itself, but it needs an interconnect, you know, that's a physical thing. There's also you know, the green infrastructure has been around a long, long time, and it's aging. So just, if you look at the major US utilities, and you look at their capital's forecast over the next, you know, three to five years, they're spending massive amounts of billions of dollars of their capital in grid infrastructure improvement. It's not only just the rebuilding of the grid that exists today, but also extending the grid to support these distributed energy resources that are coming on the renewable generation. So it's sort of a physical layer that's happening that will help with grid resiliency. What we talked about earlier is you have to understand inertia. You know, that is something that in most physics courses, you study what a nurse is, but many people don't understand how important nurses and nurse is to the dampening effect of the grid that comes from rotational energy instantaneously converted to electricity, that you have to be you know, whether it's you know, synthetic or from a battery, you have to understand you need enough inertia in the system. And then from a digital transformation perspective, software is really becoming a big issue and an important factor in just understanding between, you know, the analytics that are available now and end to end connectivity from generation, your transmission and distribution all the way to the meter. You know, understanding the analytics of the grid, and being able to do things like load shedding intelligent loadshedding when there is some event that happens, what happened in Texas was I think within 15 minutes, they had to shed 10,000 megawatts, which is an issue to begin with. But I'm not sure that they actually had the optimal strategy for shutting those 10,000 megawatts. But if you had improved analytics and software that could automatically or maybe, maybe optimally shed the load, you could have avoided some of the rolling blackouts that that occurred. So it's this, you know, digital transformation and physical infrastructure that are, they're really going forward will make a difference.


Sean McMahon  20:36

And so you mentioned that a lot of the utilities are spending big on that, are there any companies out there, they're kind of doing the same, I mean, we read a lot about, you know, the Amazons, and the Googles, and things like that, like standing up their own power resources. And I think there was, I don't know, I'm not gonna name the name, but there was a chip manufacturer down in Texas that was offline for a few days, and it cost them 10s of millions of dollars, you know, here, we are already in a global chip supply crisis, and then they were offline. So are there any companies out there, they're just kind of seeing that, hey, if we invest in this stand up our own generation sources, our own power, I guess, what I'm trying to say, so that they kind of don't have to worry about being knocked offline by some of these things. And other companies doing that, and


Bob Yeager  21:16

actually shown that that concept is not new there, you know, over the years, there are many large manufacturing facilities or critical resources that have their own power block, so to speak, it could be could be just a couple of gas turbines, some Recep engines, it could be a full combined cycle, that they actually have their primary source of electricity as their own. And what they do is, it's sort of its redundancy, they still have the connection to the grid, of course, in case their power block would go down. But they have that just to protect, you know, the process that you talked about in chip manufacturing, or pharmaceuticals, on life cycles, I mean, you know, they lose power, that there's millions and millions of dollars a day that they impact on their on their business. So the difference is, is, you know, so that's been around for a while, a long time, actually. But you know, as the market deregulates, and we see legislation, regulation, like for 20 to 22, that allow much more open participation in the electricity markets, you might see more not so much power blocks being built for these critical manufacturing resources. But these virtual power plants being built just because they want to get into electricity generation as a business. So they say, look, I, I'm going to create a virtual power plant, I'm going to create my own company, so to speak, and the markets wide open. So I'm going to, like maybe, maybe it's an ancillary service, you know, maybe I'll provide spinning reserve, maybe I'll provide frequency response, you know, and as the market opens up and pays for those things, then I think you'll see more and more businesses get involved in that, which is, you know, which is good for the market, and much better for grid reliability as well.


Sean McMahon  22:58

You just mentioned how, during the Texas crisis, if some of the systems had enhanced analytics, you know, the crisis might not have been as severe because they, you know, when they shed the load, it could have been done in a more optimal way. Let's dive deeper into that whole digital transformation. So what does that look like for the power industry, not only in a crisis like Texas, but also just in day to day operations? Like, how much can that enhance the performance and cut costs and things like that?


Bob Yeager  23:21

Sure. So obviously, analytics can help at all fronts. Now, it's not just load shedding and optimal dispatching and those kinds of things or automatic generation control, certainly can help there. But what's also an issue in the certainly in the North America, power industry is aging workforce. I just started this conversation, but I've been here 40 years, right? So if you look at our industry there, you know, there are many, many experts in the industry, who, you know, you don't learn about the power industry or processing a power plant and how all these things work. And you know, one or two or three or even five years, it's 10 1520 years, so you have, you know, this massive amount of knowledge that over the next 1015 years will transition you'll have the next generation coming in. So what digital transformation can do not only from analytics, and an operational perspective, but there are things like digital twins that can create not the virtual power plant that I was talking about, but work with me on this. It's a virtual virtual power plant. Okay, so the virtual power plant I was talking about is actually you put together some mix of generation and it becomes a dispatchable virtual power plant. A virtual virtual power plant is a complete software version that looks and feels and acts and behaves as the same 800 megawatt combined cycle or the 1000 megawatt coal unit or hydro generating unit. So when you sit down in front of the operator console, or the engineering console, all of the first principle thermodynamic models are there. It's totally synchronous. This is the breakthrough in technology in the last three to five years is simulation is not new in power that's always been, you know, nuclear nuclear just has had it for since forever. But they were always kind of standalone digital twins and kind of worked on their own. Now the next generation of digital twins is actually integrated with the actual real power plant. So you have this sort of bi directional flow of data from the real environment into this virtual world. So the next generation can come in and try things, you know, look at logic learn, they can actually trip the unit as if it would trip offline, of course, not the real unit, but an experience that instead of firsthand in the plants, you know, this virtual environment, the ability to learn more quickly, is credibly enhanced.


Sean McMahon  25:45

So the virtual virtual power plant, I gotta clarify, the VPP, or the v two p two. Yeah, yeah, that acronym already flying around. Yep, yep. Yep. What about cyber? I mean, so obviously, colonial went through some things earlier this year. So what role, you know, where does digitization play and in enhancing the cybersecurity of the grid?


Bob Yeager  26:06

Yeah, so for sure, cyber is an issue, it's, it's one of those, you know, you tend to hear about it every day, and there's always an issue, that's somewhere, you know, we know for sure, and this is not new, either, that there are state sponsored groups, you know, with hundreds of 1000s of people that when they come into work every day, you know, their job is to try to hack into basically whatever they can, I that's a fact of life. So what I believe, you know, from a, from a product perspective, what we do, you know, we have a, have a heightened awareness of this, and we have a layered of very layered effect approach to it, you know, at the low level, the operating system level, we've, we design and develop our code to be not 100% immune to cybersecurity, but certainly robust at the embedded in our system. Then layered on top of that, there are some antivirus and intrusion detection, malware detection, you know, sort of that layer, there's a third layer called cyber analytics, that will look at traffic on the network and say, you know, these IP packets that are floating around the plant, they look a little suspicious, you know, I've seen this footprint, you know, at another site, and you better watch out. So here's a plan of attack, and a response plan or playbook to respond to that. And then our fourth layer is legal protection. Heaven forbid, you know, the Department of Homeland Security has something called qualified anti terrorism technology that basically provides legal protection to the end users should something terrible happens. That's from a vendor perspective, from from a user perspective, really, there's, you know, three things that you really have to be done is you have to first do an analysis of what you have, and understand, what is it that I have? Where am I vulnerable? Just understanding what the infrastructure is. The second thing is, what's my strategy? What's my defense strategy? How will I protect How will I optimize my cybersecurity strategy. And then the third thing is, is continuous review. Because the one thing about, you know, cyber software, it has a much, much shorter life cycle than automation software, because things change so quickly. So you have to have this concept of view. And if you do those three things, you have a good chance of not being, of course, you're always at risk, but at least protecting yourself.


Sean McMahon  28:26

Understood. So where does Emerson fit into all this in terms of the role you play and offerings when it comes to this digital transformation? You guys play a huge role. So where's your footprint? You know, specifically in renewables,


Bob Yeager  28:37

our automation system, I'm sitting here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you know, we're This is our goal, global headquarters, and we have offices all around the world. And we have systems all around the world we have on the ground, we have 1.6 million megawatts, which is about 20% of the global generating capacity. If you walk into the control room, you're gonna see, you know, our our equipment. In the United States, we have about 475,000 to 500,000 megawatts nameplate genic capacity. So roughly about half the us generate capacity for mostly the large units. You walk in the control room, we're gonna see CR system. In China mentioned we have 1000 systems. So all around the world, you know, we have this automation infrastructure for all fuel types, coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, battery management, battery storage. So we have this large infrastructure. We also have cyber security because you know, the four layers of protection that I described, namely we we advocate that we, you know, we deploy that we work globally, with end users on cyber strategies. The three elements that I just mentioned to you is very important. And then the the analytic software and the digital twin software. I like to think we're somewhat of a pioneer in that we have about I think all together, we probably have 40 to 50 million lines of code. And that digital twin is probably eight to 10 million lines of code total. So a lot of software that we've introduced for the power industry and like I said earlier, we're kind of in the trenches, and we're close to what's happening there. So, you know, as far as strategy is going forward, we because we see every day, you know, I see, you can see the maps behind me, I have, you know, I if you if I would show you the rest of the room, I pretty much know where every power plant is in the world. Okay, and we know what happens on a daily basis, if the unit trips off in India trips offline, we know it, and we can detect it, and we can respond to it. Hopefully, it's not our problem. Sometimes it can be, but we look at you know, sort of the the global generation pattern globalization strategy. But you know, from all the things we talked about decarbonisation and decentralization is, that's how we, you know, keep in touch with a global generation. And then make sure that we, you know, I like to think we're stewards of the industry. Yeah, we, you know, we have products and things that we sell. But I don't think that's why always people buy from us. I think it's because of our knowledge and know that we understand the industry and are here to protect the industry and our customers.


Sean McMahon  31:13

Based on all this conversation we've had about what the grid looks like now, what power generation looks like now and what it's going to perhaps look like, in the near future. Do you have any bold predictions about what that future will look like?


Bob Yeager  31:25

bold predictions? Well, I think the last three or five years has been pretty bold. I mean, it just what's going on? I mentioned the Wall Street Journal's every day I it's, I love to just get it look at the Wall Street Journal. Usually there's something about power generation on the front page. It's just just, it's unbelievable. But as far as World predictions, I think the challenges the challenge that will that will be faced is this. I mentioned earlier, this natural Flashpoint between this huge surge for renewables and decarbonisation, which, which is a good thing, no one's arguing that. And also, the absolute critical need to preserve grid reliability, and inertia in the system and how we balance and protect the economy. Because, you know, all three of those come together, you know, if we, if we don't have, you know, a good strategy on that it could be totally dysfunctional, like we have seen. So that'll be a real challenge for the global infrastructure as we go forward. Market. deregulation certainly always creates new issues. But, you know, this is not the firt, you know, in the mid 90s, the ISOs, and they are artios were formed, and the market was deregulated. This is not new. All of the US utilities actively participate in that and our major. No, so it's not necessary. You know, that's, that always happens. But it will create some interesting dynamics, but certainly, I think us utilities are up for the challenge there.


Sean McMahon  32:56

Okay, great. Well, I really enjoyed our conversation today, learn a lot about you know, what the future is going to look like, and the role that companies like yours will play in it. So I really appreciate your time, Bob, thank you very much. Great.


Bob Yeager  33:06

Thanks, Shawn.


Sean McMahon  33:16

Now it's time for the PodBrief segment of today's episode. And I just want to take a minute to point you toward a couple of resources I think you might find interesting. As always, I'm including links to these sources in the show notes, so head to today's episode page to give them a read. 

First, if Bob's comments about energy markets, perhaps one day looking more like Uber, where you buy your energy on your phone whenever you need it. Bob has an entire LinkedIn post where he explains that concept in greater detail. It is definitely a cool concept that might one day become the norm. 

Second, Nick Ferris over at Energy Monitor published a fantastic piece recently about the so called reliability of fossil fuel energy sources. Critics like to slam the intermittency of wind and solar. But recent events like the Texas freeze and the energy crisis going on in places like the UK, Europe and China call into question the myths surrounding the always on reliability of oil and gas. Plus, the rise of battery storage means the intermittency of renewables will be smoothed out as more hybrid projects come online. Nick breaks it all down with some excellent data, so be sure to check out that article. 

Oh, and one more note with Kop 26. Less than a month away. We've got some special episodes on tap here at the renewable energy smart pod one in advance of the conference to talk about expectations, and another after everything wraps up in Glasgow to talk about the key takeaways. If you or someone you know might be keen to share your expertise as it relates to cop 26. I'm including my email address in the show notes so you can get in touch. And you never know. I might even bring you on the show so others can hear your insights. Well, that's all for today's episode. 

Before we go, I want to say one more thank you to the exclusive spot today's podcast, Emerson. 

If you like this podcast, please share it with your friends and colleagues. And be sure to follow us on Apple, Google Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow us on Twitter for our handle is @RenewablesPod. And if you'd like a daily dose of renewable news delivered to your inbox, head to and sign up for the Renewable Energy SmartBrief. The Renewable Energy SmartPod is a production of SmartBrief - A Future company

Outlining the 'three Ds'
Balancing decarbonization with power demand
Is there an optimal speed for the energy transition?
The role of the power industry in decarbonization
FERC 2222 and the Uber-ization of energy
The rise of virtual power plants (VPPs)
The Texas power crisis, wildfires and hurricanes
Digitalization and the Texas power crisis
Digital transformation and the aging power workforce
Virtual Virtual Power Plants - V2P2s!
Cybersecurity in the energy industry
Bob's bold predictions about the future of power
PODBRIEF: More on the 'Uber-ization' of power
PODBRIEF: Nick Ferris from Energy Monitor on the reliability of fossil fuel energy sources
PODBRIEF: Looking ahead to COP26