MGK Editor's Take 9/27: Energy Transition Matters Most for the Next Generation

Sept. 27, 2023
Perhaps the biggest thing to remember as we consider the “Many Paths to Net Zero” is that decarbonization is not simply a method to save Mother Earth, but also a way to leave a livable world for our children.

As the father of four incredible children and grandfather of one amazing granddaughter, I fully admit to being biased when it comes to believing in and championing my own. As a coach for youth sports for nearly 20 years, I also supported and worked to build up dozens of other children.

I’ve loved it all. Raising a big, loud and roughhousing family is one of my life’s greatest joys, if not the greatest. Our house has survived, barely. Coaching and working with kids from other families—and making deep friendships with their parents—is only a slightly lesser point of pride for me.

What are we as a society if we don’t take tremendous care of our next generations? Whether it’s nutrition, education, activity and helping form the old moral compass, planning to leave the world at least as good as we found it is like being the good steward of a campsite. Do no harm.

Those last three words, of course, are also a main component of the Hippocratic Oath, sworn by physicians and the medical care community. God bless them for what they’ve been through over the past few years, particularly in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

I combined thoughts on children and health care today because one of our stories focuses on planned battery storage microgrid work for the Valley Children’s Hospital in the Central Valley of California. One of the region’s only acute-care pediatric facilities, VCH is a crucial asset in the hearts and minds of parents throughout the fast-growing and severe weather-prone middle of California.

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Perhaps the biggest thing to remember as we consider the “Many Paths to Net Zero” is that decarbonization is not simply a method to save Mother Earth, but also a way to leave a livable world for our children. What’s the point of fiscal policy if health and environmental care are not at the heart of our considerations?

Some believe the future lies in renewables such as solar, wind and batteries alone. Others think it’s silly to pretend there will be no gas-fired power in 50 years, while some see value in nuclear as a carbon-free and baseload-capable resource, as evidenced by tech giant Microsoft’s move to hire an expert to help plan for small modular and microreactors to power the expansion of artificial intelligence and cloud-based data centers from here to (perhaps) infinity.

Fatherhood changed me and how I see the world, as parenthood has lastingly impacted so many of you. And for those who may not have their own children, they still passionately care about their nieces, nephews and their friends’ kids. As we aim hard and true for the future, may the health and viability of our children and their children inform our targets ever onward.

About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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