016. Energy on a Blockchain with Joanna Hubbard

“I really do think this would make a huge positive difference. And when you find that thing, there’s nothing else in the world you’d rather do than just stick with it until you’ve made it happen.”

Joanna Hubbard found her thing, the thing that motivated her to move mountains or in this case move energy, renewable energy even, distributed on a blockchain.

Working in the energy sector, and recognizing that there was a long way to go where Cleantech was concerned, Joanna started questioning the status quo.

Why couldn’t they work on changing energy demand rather than solely focus on managing supply?

Coal plants being subsidised to keep up their huge production volume didn’t make sense to her, when she knew of much greener ways to produce energy.

It seemed like the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing? Why weren’t these systems integrated, communicating with one another? Why wasn’t a real price being placed on energy, one that factored in the environmental cost?

Why hadn’t the energy sector changed its old ways of thinking and doing things?

Joanna said to me that “It’s partly mindset, it’s partly tech, and it’s always incentives.”

Joanna believed that consumers would be able to change their habits if they were incentivised to do so. And what about incentivising energy producers to find cleaner, greener ways to generate energy? Like a puzzle that was waiting to be solved, Joanna found her missing piece. The thing that would fuel her passion to make a positive difference in the world, — the possibilities that came with energy on a blockchain.

Armed with the ideas of blockchain technology, and the ideals of a Smart Grid, Joanna now works as Co-founder and COO of Electron where their key objectives are decarbonization, decentralization,

We talked about price signals and how to create a more resilient cleaner grid. Batteries, solar power, wind energy and other renewables, and the subsidising of coal plants.

Joanna explains that one of the biggest fundamental problems at the moment is that there is no shared digital infrastructure. It just doesn’t exist yet, but Joanna explains what can be done.

One of the most authentic moments in our conversation is about women in the fintech space. And to be totally transparent, it went in a direction that I didn’t see coming. I would urge other women, and even more, men in this space, to listen in to two women talking about what it’s like to be a woman and to be seen as a woman in a professional environment. #metoo

Last but not least, Joanna answers some of my favourite short answer questions and gives a shout out to the incredibly talented journalist and blockchain podcast host Laura Shin and her show, Unchained

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