Sell Every Megawatt: Sustainable Computing with Renewable Energy – with John Belizaire, Soluna

Episode 88

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with communities, governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Quantum Quote: “An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Edward de Bono

There is exponential growth in new clean energy production, with numerous companies creating solar & wind power plants across the globe. Clean energy is now the least-cost source of new electricity virtually everywhere on Earth, and renewable energy was 87% of all new electric power plants in the US in 2021.

Unfortunately, a lot of that energy doesn’t reach the grid due to a mismatch of consumer demand with nature’s power.

Clean energy growth is exponential – and so is the increase in the world’s information consumption and processing needs.

Enter Soluna Computing.

Soluna was founded to bring flexible data centers that are powered by clean energy – maximizing the value of solar & wind plants when they aren’t being used for general electric capacity.

As Soluna CEO John Blizaire says “the renewable energy industry needs more flexibility; the computing industry needs more green power. It’s a perfect match”.

Join us today as we see how information technology and renewable energy can be combined and dive into the potential to make renewable energy the world’s superpower resource for the information age.

John Belizaire is the CEO of Soluna Computing Inc. He is on a mission to reimagine the renewable energy grid to make renewable energy more efficient and environmentally friendly. Soluna is currently focused on some of the biggest unsolved problems for the economics of renewable energy: sustainable computing, sustainable data center spaces, and wasted energy.

Since his days of selling floppy discs in high school, John has had an entrepreneurial spirit and interest in technology. He was a recipient of the Intel Scholarship Program and he went on to receive a computer science and engineering degree from Cornell University. When he was 28 years old, he sold his first start-up company for $150 million. He is a versatile CEO and serial entrepreneur who has successfully founded and scaled several more multi-million dollar technology companies.

Today, he is CEO of Soluna, a company helping to shape the future of renewable energy development. His expertise as both a highly effective business leader and technology strategist has led his new venture to operational success by steering complex initiatives from concept to funding, launch, and growth.

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SuperNova #1. Most people want more green power but they don’t understand the challenges with getting it. I don’t think people understand the challenge with renewables. The grid has this very structured way in which to build that infrastructure, and at the heart of it is this concept of dispatchability. With renewables, Mother Nature is deciding dispatchability, and most people don’t know that. This creates the wasted energy issue.

SuperNova #2. There’s a lot of renewable energy that’s being built, but what most people don’t realize is that up to one-third of that green energy never actually makes it to the grid. That’s because the grid here in the US – and just about everywhere – suffers from an architecture problem. It was originally designed to synchronize the production of the power to the consumption of the power. But as we start to change those power plants and replace them with intermittent green power resources that are really controlled by Mother Nature, that synchronization no longer exists.

SuperNova #3. Most people don’t know how powerful storytelling is, and they aren’t very good at storytelling. But stories are at the heart of how you get action, and how you turn ideas into execution. You have to get people to buy into a vision of the future that they can all believe. Then, they can see a path to creating that vision of the future.

Worst Career Moment: “We were developing a power plant. To develop a power plant, you have to be on the ground. You’ve got to be meeting with the government officials and you’ve got to have local interaction with the local communities. In March 2020, that was totally shut down. We had to sit down and really think about what our business is going to be. We hunkered down. We made time to really think broadly and laterally. One of the things we’re able to do was to get this big renewable energy agency to talk to us over the phone. In cracking that code to deliver them a firm set of power, firm price, firm delivery, the computing was actually the answer.” – John Belizaire

Most Energized About Today: “Today, I’m most energized about building our team. We’ve been attracting some fantastic people from different industries – from the renewable energy industry to financial expertise. We’re forming new partnerships with some of the largest infrastructure companies in the world.” – John Belizaire

Parting Advice: “Keep pushing. No matter what happens, just keep pushing. Never stop. That’s how you get to success.” – John Belizaire

Connect:

·         Website: www.solunacomputing.com

·         LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/solunaholdings

·         Twitter: @solunaholdings; @jbelizaireCEO

We have a climate change problem, and if we don’t do something drastically different – bring some new ideas and put those ideas into action – we’re in big trouble.

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