Is the Energy Industry Heading Towards a Civil War?
Tomorrow, the much awaited Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War movie premiers. If you’re a big Marvel fan like me and my family, then you’re aware of the premise of the story that drives a big wedge between two friends, Captain America and Iron Man, and their allies. Recently while attending some energy industry meetings, I started to draw parallels into what’s happening in the energy industry and the upcoming new movie by Marvel. In both the movie and the energy industry there is a divide growing, people are taking sides, and passions are starting to run hot.
At the energy symposium I attended last week, there was a panel with the head of a transmission only company, as well as the head of an electric generation company. The divide that separates the utility and energy industry was extremely evident in their comments. One was focused all on new technology, the internet of things, renewables, and using the power grid to enhance communications while sharing big data with utilities to learn more about the consumer. The electric generation panelist was more old school – focusing on safety, security, tradition, and reliability. It was as if Tony Stark (Iron Man) was debating Steve Rogers (Captain America). That got me thinking: Is Captain America the coal generated power industry and Iron Man the renewable energy industry?
Just stop and think. Iron Man is powered by the Arc Reactor (a mini form of clean sustainable power much like Nuclear). Robert Downy Jr., the actor that plays Tony Stark/Iron Man, even made pro nuclear comments during an interview (Watch it here). Stark has used his technology to create green energy advancements and he is good friends with Dr. Bruce Banner (aka The Incredible Hulk). Dr. Banner is played by actor Mark Ruffalo, who is a green energy activist that has even testified in front of many state Public Service Commissions. And don’t forget the Hulk is Green!
Captain America by contrast, yearns for a simpler time, when things weren’t so complicated. He likes tradition, and is slow to accept or embrace change. He is fiercely loyal and stands his ground for his beliefs. Then add big government that is increasing this divide with its policies (Super Hero Restrictions in the movie and the Clean Power Plan in real life).
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War opens tomorrow (Friday, May 6th) and maybe after they battle they will bury their differences and start to work together for the betterment of mankind. Or maybe the rush to embrace change will usher in something akin to the Age of Ultron. Change is happening at lightning speed in the energy industry, so we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out.
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