Thursday, October 11, 2007

Technology Leadership

Almost twenty years ago, visiting my in-laws in Austria for the first time, I found myself having my wife explain to me the concept of "Nachtstrom", whereby the household was set up to draw electricity from the local utility at night, and run the water heater when electricity rates were low. This seemed very sensible to me.

And now, only today, I have an electricity meter attached to my house that would allow such rational pricing, distinguishing between peak and off-peak usage (this is key for electricity, especially as we want to move to unreliable sources like wind and sunlight). The meter replacement was done with much fanfare. Surely, much of the grief we have today regarding energy comes from our profligacy and lack of concern with pricing of the resource.

Of course the sad thing is there is still no new pricing structure. We are still being supplied at what I remain convinced are subsidized rates, which surely will have to change.

Doc and Phil have some excellent remarks on this related to water usage, not electricity, but the principles remain the same. I have, by the way, had my water use metered for several years, and it does make me careful.

In the end, though, my lesson from this is that those other folks have a lot to teach us. And on different issues it is different other folks.



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