New Use Cases
The ingredients are coming together for innovations in power consumption
New use cases emerge with innovation. So many of our everyday habits would look strange to people living 75 years ago.
We walk around with pieces of plastic in our ears, listening to an unlimited supply of music and news. We take an unlimited number of photos, and we record almost every waking moment. All are enabled by an explosion of procession power and data storage.
I often consider what new use cases will emerge from the energy transition. In the coming decades, we should be able to produce most of our energy at zero marginal cost through wind and solar power and then store it whenever it suits us best.
We already see examples of this with Bitcoin demand response in Texas, where companies leverage the nodal pricing scheme to consume energy when prices are near zero and then get paid to stop mining when the grid is strained.
I’ve been vocal about this being a less-than-productive use case - you shouldn’t get credit for alleviating the strain you helped cause - but nonetheless, I like seeing the innovation and business model evolution.
Another new use case is co-locating data centers with structures that need abundant heat. In this scenario, companies like Deep Green will power different data centers with cheap renewable power. Then, apartments, commercial buildings, or swimming pools will receive the excess heat as it is funneled to them - reducing their overall energy costs.
Add to AI to an abundance of cheap power and heat and you have the ingredients for an explosion innovation in power and heat consumption.
By definition, we can’t predict this evolution. But with cheap and flexible power continuing to be the trend now and in the foreseeable future, I’m excited to see what founders will come up with next.