Building the Smart Grid: Algorithms of Entrepreneurship — Cristina Corchero (Ep 59)

This week we speak with Professor Cristina Corchero, who is the Serra Hunter Professor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. She is the founder and Chief Technology Officer at Bamboo Energy.

We begin our discussion about her experience taking research and placing it within a start-up company. Christina is a great example of a reluctant but dedicated entrepreneur. Her company, Bamboo Energy is a key component of making the smart energy system work. It is a software platform that communicates with devices in the home or factories and interfaces with the grid to ensure things like the time of day pricing can be accomplished to save users money – and help balance the grid.

Cristina’s story is special because she is originally a statistician, who found love in the energy sector (ok, that’s my adlib) but what she found was the ability to use statics in the energy sector to solve problems. She’s taken her research and brought it out from the academic environment and is now working to scale it up in a commercial environment. We go into detail of why and how she decided to make this change.

This is a double episode in one, because you get to learn about how the smart grid works – why energy communities are essential for a sustainable energy system to develop, and you’ll hear an entrepreneurial story of Cristina and her bold move to transfer her research to the real world.

If you are interested to know what it is taking to make a smart energy system work, then this episode with Cristina delivers. Because it is going to take a lot of innovation and entrepreneurs to bring new technologies into the energy sector. And as we discussed in the last episode with Gerard Reid, there are lots of technologies out there that can make a huge difference. Just some of the obstacles to deployment – including the big companies – need to get out of the way.

For me this episode is special because Cristina really represents the people that I like to have on the podcast. She is breaking out from her day job and seeking to do a bit more with her knowledge and experience. People like Christina are the people creating a better energy system. 

I want to thank our mutual friend Bartek Kwiatkowski, who was a guest on episode 45. For both episodes, we talk about virtual power plants, which serve to balance supply and demand. And in both these episodes, you’ll hear firsthand the benefits of a decentralized and cooperative energy system. Overall, after speaking with Cristina I’m more optimistic that we do have the right people and technologies to go zero-carbon, but we do need to unleash the pent-up innovation that is ready to go.

Transcript

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