The Energy Business System: Transformation, Social Innovation and Disruptive Smart Grid Business Models
A low-carbon transition of the energy system is not occuring at the speed required to address climate change. One of the reasons for this is that conventional energy firms have been locked into a profit-maximization purpose that is still operable in current markets. With an unconventional cross-scale and interdisciplinary approach, Martin Wainstein analyses dynamics of the energy business system (EBS) from the Earth system down to the distribution edge of the power grid. It uses systems thinking to uncover root causes of lock-in of the EBS, and design thinking to propose disruptive innovations that can accelerate its low-carbon transition.
The systems analysis presented here suggests that, to ensure Earth system resilience, a major revision of the EBS's fundamental purpose and governance is required. Socially innovation business models have a crucial role in ushering a paradigm-level shift in the EBS. Advances in smart grids introduce multiple opportunities for participatory energy management business models to emerge. Martin designs and proposes a model for scalable social virtual energy networks (SVEN): electricity-trading platforms using virtual power plant and blockchain technology for optimised demand response and democratic energy governance.
Martin Wainstein is a PhD student at the Australian-German Climate & Energy College. He did his undergraduate thesis on Geo and Astrobiology a the University of Southern California, which sparked in him a thirst for holistic and big picture thinking.
As an entrepreneur, Martin has developed projects in renewable energies for the built environment, biofuel projects for large agriculture farms, forest conservation initiatives, marketing and corporate social responsibility campaigns for multinationals and established a network of sustainable architecture to engage in social innovation. Prior to starting his PhD in Melbourne, he co-founded a startup on wellness living and remains a consultant on innovative business strategies. He likes to communicate his research through graphic design and visual art.