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“Unemployable, f***ing headbangers”

The colourful Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, Ireland and Europe’s largest low-cost air carrier, has a certain way with words which must be a dream for journalists looking for a soundbite on the Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty.  O’Leary cut out the niceties in using the title quote of this blog to describe the ‘No’ supporters.  Often portrayed as dull and too complex to understand, the Lisbon Treaty has nonetheless created plenty of fireworks between the opposing sides – with each accusing the other of misinformation and dirty tricks.

The Irish referendum this week is seen as the key hurdle to adopting Lisbon, which will reform the current institutional set-up of the EU.  With the likes of Ryanair, Intel and Microsoft lining up behind the ‘Yes’ campaign, the question I’m interested in is why so many in business, and the high tech sector in particular, are supporting the Treaty?

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Smart Grids: Dept of Energy Report & Cisco Thoughts, Part 2

The Dept of Energy last month (July 2009) released its Smart Grid System Report. In my first posting on this report, I noted which areas were rated as Moderate in penetration or forecasted market trending. Of note were the key areas of Pricing and Regulatory Process, and why both were only marked as Moderate for future trending, given their core role in paying for utilities’ massive investments in SmartGrid through more modern billing models and tariff policies. In Part 2 of this blog series, I’ll focus on a couple of the more IT-related areas of the 20 Smart Grid components noted in this report. (Caveat: I am from Cisco, and our role in Smart Grids is to leverage our experience in IT and communications to better enable both utilities and energy customers by bringing end-to-end communications + security to Smart Grids) Read More »

The Power of Connectivity

Recently I had the remarkable opportunity to meet President Kikwete of Tanzania and hear his vision for the future of his country. I was struck by how passionate he was about technology being the key for his developing country to leap-frog into the 21st century. He spoke with excitement of the promise that the subsea fibre-optic cable SEACOM (now live!) will bring by connecting the people of Tanzania to the rest of the world; and how broadband will help his country overcome an acute shortage of teachers and doctors.It’s pretty amazing when you think about how far we’ve come in a mere 150 years. During the industrial revolution, railroads and steam engines connected farmers and merchants with distant markets. Today, connecting the world involves broadband instead of boats, cable instead of coal, and spectrum instead of steam.jyrkaxue4bPresident Kikwete clearly understands the transformational power of connectivity. Connectivity is the enabler for the world to grow and help solve each other’s problems. Just like the railroad in the 1800s, the network has transformed how people connect. But it has gone even further by transforming how we communicate and collaborate; from both an innovation and sustainability perspective. Read More »

Smart Grids: Dept of Energy Report & Cisco Thoughts, Part 1

The Dept of Energy has released in July 2009 its Smart Grid System Report. While many industry observers and experts have provided observations and predictions about Smart Grid adoption, this report offers an excellent 20 point summary of both current penetration of various Smart Grid components and predictions on trending for them looking forward.In Part 1 of this blog series, I’ll focus on those areas rated Moderate today and/or have a Moderate to High trend rating. (Note: the 20 Smart Grid components are grouped into categories of Coordination Regimes, Distributed Energy Technologies, and Transmission/Distribution Infrastructure) Read More »

EU and US Rapprochement on Climate Change

I have just returned from Washington D.C., and it is refreshing to see an era of closer cooperation between the U.S. and Europe, not to mention the rest of the world, on climate change. As the U.S. delayed meaningful action on climate change for the past 15 years, the EU has set an ambitious target to reduce member states’ CO2 emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 — the so-called 20/20/20 initiative. The EU also created the European Trading System (ETS), the world’s first platform for trading of carbon credits. By placing climate change high on his domestic and foreign policy agendas, President Obama has changed the dynamics of climate discussions with the EU and in global climate negotiations, generally. His administration is fully re-engaged in UN negotiations and, along with Congress, is moving forward with domestic cap-and-trade legislation. Domestic legislation would impose mandatory caps on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and set a target to cut emissions by 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The recent economic stimulus package includes $15bn for alternative energy development, more fuel efficient cars and a “smart grid” to bring them together. The US and European are taking different approaches to solving global warming. While the Obama Administration presents reducing greenhouse gas emissions in terms of opportunities through the power of technology and the creation of a green economy, the EU is mainly focused on shorter-term opportunities to conserve, reining in electricity consumption and using less fuel by driving less and using more fuel-efficient, smaller cars, etc.There is, however, a convergence of EU and U.S. long-term goals on climate change, and this is good news. Read More »