I write often about the “tough realities” of renewable energy, and sustainability more generally. A good example is coal-fired power plants, and the fact that we can generate base-load electricity at 3 or 4 cents a kilowatt-hour with coal, unquestionably the lowest cost of any source. If you want clean energy, it’s going to cost you a bit more, and the question, therefore, is one of sacrifice; in particular, is our society willing to pay a bit more for electricity that does not cause lung disease, ocean acidification, climate change, mountaintop removal, etc?
There are a few rare cases, however, in which the cleanest solution is also the best, the easiest to use, and the least expensive. I just left a meeting with Robert Rutherford, the CEO of HIVE Lighting, a company whose lighting products for the entertainment industry have no downside. Makers of films and television shows now have access to lighting that provides more illumination, higher quality light, fewer batteries and smaller, less bulky equipment – all for a substantially smaller price-tag.
Readers from my generation will recall the cliché’: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” I’m not sure this is true, btw; there are countless examples of inferior products that have captured huge market-share, e.g., the operating system running on the laptop of which I happen to be writing this post. Having said that, it sure is a gift to be selling a product that is superior in every way, including price. And the boys at HIVE are in exactly that position.