Category Archives: Thought Leaders

Friend & Mentor Byron Washom Orchestrating 100% Renewable Energy Initiative for Billionaire’s Hawaiian Island

Byron and I at UCSD in 2011. He was and continues to be such an incredible mentor.

Byron and I at UCSD in 2011. He was and continues to be such an incredible mentor.

 

 

 

Congratulations to my great friend and exceptional mentor, Byron Washom, on his newest adventure! He is charged with the admirable work of powering Lanai with 100% renewable energy. The island was recently purchased by Larry Ellison for $500 million. As he would say, it’s going to be a game changer. Byron on 10 News San Diego

Here he is when we first met. I was interviewing him on a climate change initiative I started on campus at UCSD while I was a grad school student.

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Global game to connect 2 billion people & change the world


Hi from Sinal do Vale in Xerém, Brazil and Merry Christmas Eve. I am at a friend’s sustainable farm and retreat in the hills above Rio de Janeiro!!! Just what I needed for the holidays. I got here the day before yesterday after an amazing trip to Paraty, a colonial beach town a few hours from here, where some friends and I attended a beginning-of-the-world party at the city’s Cultural Center.

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We were invited to Paraty by Edgar Gouveia Jr, an architect specializing in bioarchitecture and intuitive technology with a post-degree in cooperative games. He is also the founder of Elos Institute and Warriors Without Weapons program. This guy is at the forefront of applied research on how to change the world. As it so happens, this particular night, December 21, also marked the launch of Edgar’s online game – Play the Call – that aims to change the world — for real. Thousands of programers from around the world, including employees at Pixar, have contributed their time to the cause. Here he is a couple years ago on TEDx Amazonia (it’s in Portuguese…).

Edgar is an amazing human that makes you believe, through his positive energy and optimism, that anything is possible. I tip my hat to him and the rest of the Play the Call team. Best of luck guys!

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And, again, Merry Christmas Eve. Tomorrow I will be at Copacabana Beach for a concert with Stevie Wonder and Gilberto Gil. The event organizers are expecting 1 MILLION people. Rio de Janeiro, here i come. (I still haven’t forgotten to tell you what the Great Barrier Reef, NYC, and the Brazilian Sertão have in common. It’ll be one of the next blog posts.)

My Close Friend & Mentor, Byron Washom, On TEDx

From Midway Island to Hawaii, from Hawaii to California, then MIT and back again. During this journey, he explored live ammunition fields, fell for surfing, set numerous energy world records, and developed amazing projects here at UC San Diego. Byron’s incredible life experiences, game-changing accomplishments, and deep insights create a story you MUST hear!

How do we tap into our innate creativity? Byron encourages us to follow our passion and push the boundaries, even beyond our comfort zone — beyond the barrier reef. How right he is. One in a million, Byron. Slam dunk!

Byron Washom, Battery Storage, and Smart City San Diego

Yesterday I had a great meeting with mentor and friend Byron Washom, Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives at UCSD. I met Byron as a graduate student studying environmental policy and energy economics. Everyone  around said, you must meet Byron. When we met, I shot a video interview and immediately understood why he is so well respected. His level of intelligence, commitment, and curiosity are unlike anyone else I know in SD. Not only that; he deeply believes in the value of students taking their ideas beyond the classroom to find real-world applications – i.e. “lab to market”. I couldn’t agree more with this belief. During yesterday’s meeting, I accompanied Byron on a campus site visit where a multi-organization partnership will be installing a battery storage facility at one of the campus’ parking lots. Where will the batteries come from? They’ll we be sourced from electric vehicles that require new batteries to meet acceleration requirements, which generally  occurs after a 20% loss of a battery’s useful life, says Byron.

It’s partnerships such as these that will provide the pulse of innovation and know-how throughout our region. Below I’ve outlined precisely this type of collaborative effort taking place in San Diego, both on and off campus.

Smart City San Diego is an innovative partnership between the City, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), General Electric (GE)CleanTECH San Diego, and UC San Diego. Keep an eye out for tangible projects coming out of the pipeline thanks tothis program – e.g. CAR2GO (image below).

Last year I consulted for the City regarding electric vehicle integration within the City fleet. Though I cannot release specific details, let’s just say there are some real opportunities to introduce cost savings, reduce tailpipe emissions, and access state/federal resources. Opportunities abound. However, with the exceedingly low price of natural gas likely to continue trending downward, look for CNG vehicles to make a surge as cash-strapped policy makers and committees must make tough short- to medium-term economic decisions.

Other initiatives include: Smart Appliances, Economic Development and Job Growth, Solar Integrated Energy Storage, Policy Leadership, and the achievement of making SD a Solar Decathlon 2013 Finalist.

For more information, here’s an interesting article.