Since the introduction of distributive energy, the energy system followed a linear model where producers generated energy and and customers consumed. Energy flowed from transmission and distribution networks to feed a growing economy. Today’s energy model has essentially been unchanged since its introduction. This linear model continues to struggle in meeting carbon emission reduction targets and alleviating energy poverty. A recent 2019 Energy Information Administration poll of Ohio households reflected that nearly a third of Ohioan households are struggling to pay their energy costs. The problem extends into small and medium, commercial energy consumers. Interstate and global competition pressures Ohio consumers households and jobs. A large component to these competitive pressures are the direct costs of energy. Energy costs consume large sections of household incomes and business expenditures.
Another component is the additional frustration built by consumers around initiatives like the early 2019 proposal HR6. This legislative initiative was argued to charge all Ohio ratepayers a fee on their monthly bill to subsidize two profitable nuclear power plants. Local energy consumers, small and large, have limited options when it comes to lowering their costs and staying competitive. citizens and organizations alike are frustrated with the lack of options. This encourages public perception that legislation involving energy, pressures representatives for additional rate fees to large centralized energy producers. With these and others, Community leaders, business heads, and government representatives have historically focused a large majority of their efforts in Ohio with competitiveness in conservation.
Conservation is just one side of the coin. Investment in renewable energy sources have serged in Ohio since the decision to begin shuttering coal energy producing centers around the country. Since this decision to shift to more sustainable energy sources, Ohio still generates approximately 59% of its electricity from coal, 24% from natural gas, about 13% from nuclear. Despite continuing investment only 2% of Ohioians receive their electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower. The large driver for non-growth in renewable energy sources has been the large capital cost and long payback periods on these types of investments.
The traditional linear model for energy production, delivery, and use has been centralized, one-way flow, energy production to passive energy consumers. These factors have left the residential user with the options of either continuing to rely on established energy producers to keep costs low or individually invest in renewables such as solar or wind at large capital costs. When the opportunity for a residential power user is available to invest in renewable energy sources, the systems are expensive, complicated, and tie homeowners to technologies which could become obsolete prior to the payback period. Unfortunately, the option to individually invest in off-setting
renewables is often prohibited by zoning regulations and property conditions, particularly in urban and suburban areas.
As outlined here, the complex problem of energy costs and usage for the Ohio energy user is factored by lack of competitive options for energy, the slow-moving pace of investment in renewables, and the complicated and cost prohibited installment of private renewables. However, the energy industry is rapidly changing as emerging technologies such as “designed solar homes, advanced geo-thermal techniques, new battery storage, smart devices, and the expanse of electrical transportation. These emerging technologies are creating the environment for more individual flexibility, visability, and control in not only how energy is produced but also how energy could be delivered, used, and paid.
The effort to solve these sophisticated problems has been the genesis of several innovative grass-root initiatives, organizations, and alternative thinking startups. These new companies and organizations have set their sights on the newest technologies and emerging markets to help solve the problems with energy production, delivery, and payment. Jordan Energy Alternative (JEA) is a hybrid of a silicon valley style tech startup with a clean-energy provider; whose goal is to join the emerging group of organizations, in Ohio, to supply products and services (distributive energy resources) to Ohio customers to reduce energy costs and accelerate the pace towards reliance on clean renewable energy. Given their small scale, relatively low cost and predominantly renewable nature, distributed energy resources represent what many consider to be the best solution for addressing our dual challenge addressing carbon reduction targets and alleviating the energy poverty cycle.
Andrew Carter, Marion Star Published 6:41 a.m. ET June 19, 2020 | Updated 6:42 a.m. ET June 19, 2020
MARION — Jason Jordan said he's not interested in becoming the next tech mogul; he just wants to help people....
Jordan, a Marion County native who returned to the community with his wife and children about six years ago, is the founder and owner of Jordan Energy Alternative (JEA), a company committed to developing "renewable energy products for residential and business applications," according to his website jordanenergyalternative.com. He works as a system test engineer for Whirlpool Corporation.
Jordan's concept earned top honors in the The Forge Business Plan Competition's for-profit division in November 2019. He was awarded $2,500 in seed funding to help get his business up and running.
Winners selected in Marion County business competition
The Forge was created by the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce's 2017 Leadership Marion Class. Scott Hughes, a faculty member at Marion Technical College, is the instructor for The Forge. All classes are conducted at MTC.
Since winning that competition, Jordan has been busy networking with fellow entrepreneurs and venture capital experts, further developing his ideas and learning about ways to finance his project in order to make the concepts a reality.
JEA was selected as one of six finalists in the 2020 IGNITE Business Pitch Competition in Columbus. However, the finals were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was a disappointment that the event didn't happen, but being selected as one of the finalists was encouraging," Jordan said. "It was exciting to earn that validation on a regional level."
Jordan has developed a relationship with BRITE Energy Innovators, a clean energy incubator based in Warren, Ohio. He's excited about the possibilities that partnership could lead to for JEA.
"I've been participating with them on weekly calls and it's kind of become my home base now," he said. "The very first event I went to was at a Tesla dealership in Columbus and (Youngstown State University President) Jim Tressel was speaking. I was like, 'I want to be a part of this.' They've been able to help me learn how to stay resilient in the current environment and make connections outside of Ohio. The key connection they've helped make is with CleanTech Open Accelerator out of Los Angeles."
Founded in 2006, CleanTech Open runs the world's largest clean technology accelerator program. According to its website, CleanTech Open "has worked with over 1,500 early stage cleantech innovators, helping them develop their business models, engage investors and secure first customers."
Jordan said JEA has been selected to participate in the CleanTech Open 2020 cohort.
"This acceleration program will gain us access to business and technology experts as well as high-profile investors," he said. "All of this leads to a late October Global Forum and pitch contest. We are extremely excited to be included in this endeavor." Jordan is also developing relationships with clean energy organizations overseas, sharing ideas, and learning new concepts. Locally, Jordan has surrounded himself with what he called "a really good group of advisers."
"Jeremy Dunn is in business development and finance and he's been coaching me along," Jordan said. "Ashley Cheatham works in supply chain management for Big Lots. That's something we're inching toward; bringing materials in and out. Josh Cooper is a wiz with sales and marketing. The business is pre-revenue still, but with some of the programs we're part of, we have to start putting things like supply chain and sales into our plan. They've each been critical in helping me out."
Using his own home as a lab, Jordan is testing two types of residential units: a small solar panel array and a portable wind turbine, both of which are located in his front yard. Still in its early stages of development, the smart home system would allow consumers to monitor power usage and efficiency in each room of their home or business. The system will provide detailed analytics that will help customers determine if appliances need to be replaced or other work needs to be done.
The blockchain technology Jordan is developing would allow people to exchange energy.
"It allows us to exchange value without using third parties," he said. "It's the concept of an open marketplace where I can store energy from solar panels and if I don't need it that night, I can exchange it to my neighbor's house at a much lower cost than the peak hour usage. It's basically decentralized energy."
Jordan said the concept doesn't involve trying to compete with or eliminate electric utility companies, but rather develop partnerships with them.
"The utilities provide an invaluable service through the infrastructure of the power network," he said. "What I want to do is help them develop and upgrade their infrastructure to try and improve energy efficiency and make it less expensive for everybody."
Jordan said he's learning that the concept of offering low- or no-cost energy generation to help middle and low income families involves development of numerous partnerships.
"There's very interesting ways to spread that cost out over time so that we build the traction and people are offered that opportunity to self-generate energy and not have the $15,000 to $20,000 expense out of pocket," he said. "We form partnerships with utility companies and local municipalities, then build the infrastructure of offsite power generation and distribute the energy through the blockchain. Whirlpool already has the turbines on its site and there's other projects starting in the local area and we want to participate in that as well."
While Jordan is optimistic and excited about the future of his enterprise, he remains grounded and likely won't forget the people and organizations that have helped him launch his dream.
"Without Marion Technical College, The Forge, and the chamber, I wouldn't be doing any of this stuff," Jordan said.
CleanTech Open, What is it and How Can You Get
Due to the Coronavirus, many sporting events have been forced to cancel, but while the French Open has been postponed, CleanTech Open is still on.
The CleanTech Open funds startups which promote clean technology, with the aim of forging a sustainable future.
Since it began in 2005, CleanTech Open has trained 1,600+ clean technology startup entrepreneurs and created over 3,000 clean economy jobs.
There are a variety of challenges and competitions which startups can take part in to receive funding.
The organisation is the biggest accelerator programme for the industry in the world and operates on the principle of the three f’s: find, fund and foster.
Here are some clean technology examples from previous years, which CleanTech Open has been able to support:
Jason Jordan was enraged when he and his fellow Ohian residents were charged an extra fee, subsidising two nuclear power plants when many were struggling to meet the bill beforehand.
Furthermore, Ohio burns coal for 59% of its electricity, a finite source which will one day run out.
Jason decided that something must be done, so he founded the Jordan Energy Alternative, which provides affordable renewable energy products – such as solar panels – for homes and small businesses.
The startup won $10,000USD for the Global Ideas Award 2019, for a design which looks like a Robovac crossed with a barnacle.
SINN Power uses wave energy technology to supply clean energy from the largest renewable source on planet earth: the sea. The invention is placed on the coast, receiving wave upon wave which is turned into energy. “We see a future where the power of nature and technology become one,” claims the startup.
Although showers save far more water than baths, unused water continues to be wasted down the drain, literally.
With bushfires increasing in intensity across the planet as greenhouse gasses make the world hotter, this precious water is needed to protect people and the planet from destruction.
The Oasense (pronounced: oh-eh-sense) shower head can sense when the bather is standing under the shower head and turns the water flow off when they move away to apply shampoo – saving water.
Do you want to get involved with CleanTech Open?
If you’d like to become a part of the CleanTech Open programme, there are many ways to do so:
However, if you would much prefer to seek investment for your startup, click here.
Our world is changing. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown the leaders of the globe how simultaneously vulnerable and resistant the current status quo is.
Many are hoping to make use of this moment – in preparing our world against climate change.
If you have a promising idea, there are investors waiting to hear from you. Get involved with CleanTech Open and get your idea off the ground.