Laura Jones with Regent Power in St Louis, Missouri is a renewable energy innovator and integrator. Projects at Regent Power range from all sorts of solar integration for DC fast charging microgrids to smart city LED lighting with gunshot detection and camera surveillance. Laura and Regent Power are out to make the world better and safer and using clean renewable energy. Laura’s passion is for a better life, a better home, and a better world.
Climate change is real, and we need a lot more people on board or our children and grandchildren are going to be handed a lousy hand. Why is there anything bad about protecting our future and future generations? What is the downside? Hoping that we find more balance. People like the people at Regent Power are providing real solutions.
People may not appreciate things until it directly affects them; things like cancer and illness. When Laura spent time in China and had drastic health issues related to the coal dust in China, she realized things had to change. While there is a respect that people are concerned about jobs, there is growing concern that many may not realize how dangerous things like coal dust may be. The health impacts are real.
People may not know they have a choice and may not know what they don’t know.
Laura and Marla connected via a whole chain of events and mutual connection via a peer in St. Louis and indirectly through a new connection for Marla, Dirk Spiers of Spiers Technology, who was a long-time business colleague of Laura’s. Small world!
Electrify Your Ride
Electric vehicles (EVs) are in the news everywhere now. There was a recent article about an electric pick-up truck and every major car manufacturer has an electric vehicle on the horizon. “To adopt EV faster, it’s all about the infrastructure.”
When in energy automation, Laura was working on a GM project for Volt and in her mind, she could see charging stations in grocery store parking lots and “visualize the infrastructure we were going to need for people to drive EVs and not have range anxiety.” We are slow to get the infrastructure in place. Like phones have different chargers, electric vehicles have the same issue.
There is an opportunity to leapfrog infrastructure issues with electric vehicles, especially with DC, direct current, charging, which is more efficient. It’s like comparing dial-up internet vs fiber optics. DC charging allows more power faster in a charge. Yet too many people charging at once is like too many people on the free wi-fi at the airport where everyone suffers slow speeds. Add energy storage to supplement the charging, the whole power of the system is available all the time to alleviate the infrastructure challenge, so people can drive electric vehicles without range anxiety.
Laura drives an EV. Marla would love to drive an electric vehicle yet has range anxiety herself especially when driving the 473 miles from OKC to St. Louis. Laura’s EV is technically a plug-in hybrid, which also has a gas back up. No oil changes, no maintenance except tires and has been a great car. Most of the expected expenses of owning and driving a car – gone! Along with the hassle. These types of benefits often get lost in the conversation yet make a big difference.
True that currently the car is charged from the power company – the grid – yet the future is to be on charging stations utilizing renewable energy such as solar or wind. The grid is the system of transmission lines, stations, substations and power generation that provides electricity to us. Utility companies are needing to change too as more and more renewable energy comes into the grid through both big solar and wind installations as well as individual, privately-owned renewable energy.
Natural disasters, terrorism and more are threats to our electricity delivery via the grid. Independent charging stations can help provide resilience should the grid go down or be compromised.
For those in industries which may be in a downturn with the evolution of technology and renewable energy, new jobs are coming online in the renewable energy industry and related fields.
In addition to electric vehicle charging stations, bring innovative products out.
A street light solution brought 3 very different women together to create a patent-pending, private label LED light that saves 70-80 energy usage with better quality light. These lights are integrated with camera surveillance and gunshot detection. When a gunshot is detected by the light, the cameras are activated to help locate the shooter. They are partnering with law enforcement and cities to provide safer streets and neighborhoods.
Smart City challenges through DOT to improve cities and to make cities feel safer and do it more economically. “Smart cities can make the architecture of the city smarter and more efficient.” We pay better attention to visual cues and smart cities lighting can use these visual cues and make the city safer and more efficient. Smart Cities is both an organization and a movement. Many cities are looking at how to make their cities smarter. So many cities adopting these new technologies. Predicts in a year we will see a dramatically different landscape.
“Personal mission is to inspire hope.”
Laura had a chance to walk her talk with an energy audit with Kellye Markowski and said it the best money she could’ve spent. She has an old home and knows intuitively that her home has issues and wants to address things in her home in a smart way. She wants to know where the best place is to address first.
Kellye identified energy losses and assessed energy bills to provide a full report and list of items to implement. Laura anticipates implementing a few of the recommended items will pay for the energy audit in a short time. Hear more about Kellye and her work in homes on The Home Detective episode.
The Rise of the Smart City, WSJ – subscription may be required
The 3 Generations of Smart Cities, Fast Company