How a Dallas Meeting Will Help Bring Renewable Energy to a Pacific Island Country

Dallas-based EARTHx, GridMarket, and the Republic of Palau are working together to bring more renewable power to the country.

renewable energy

By 2025, the Republic of Palau wants 45 percent of its energy to come from renewable power and the plan to make that happen all started in — Dallas.

It was a happenstance meeting.

GridMarket CEO Nick Davis was attending an event hosted last spring by Dallas-based EARTHx, a Trammell S. Crow-founded nonprofit that throws the world’s largest eco-conference and exhibition.

“We were sitting at a breakfast with a senator from Rhode Island, Trammell S. Crow, the EARTHx team, and a guy sitting over in the corner which happened to be the president of Palau,” said Davis, whose New York startup is helping people transition off the electrical power grid and toward generating energy onsite instead.

“Palau will be a model for small island nations across the globe …”

Trammell S. Crow

By August, GridMarket was traveling to the Pacific Island country to perform preliminary work.

GridMarket, EARTHx, and the Republic of Palau formally announced in October a partnership to revamp a large portion of the country’s electrical grid to renewable energy sources.

During its annual event last April, EARTHx debuted the E-Capital Summit, which along with its EARTHxHACK, cover the cleantech innovation ecosystem from prototype to Series B funding, according to the nonprofit.

The Palau project is an example of how EARTHx’s mission to cultivate a greener future is being carried beyond Dallas and long after events bringing stakeholders together have wrapped.

“Palau will be a model for small island nations across the globe looking to implement renewables, strengthen resilience, and transition their economies away from a dependence on imported fossil fuels,” Crow said in an October release about the partnership.

CHANGING THE WORLD’S MODEL FOR ENERGY USE

GridMarket, which was founded in 2012 amid the wake of Hurricane Sandy, has helped buildings, cities, and states transition off the power grid, but Palau will be its first country.

Since the partnership announcement, Davis said other countries have approached him inquiring about how his startup could aid them in developing renewable solutions.

He equates the startup’s process as being akin to cutting the cord from cable.

“We have a similar model for energy where we are helping people become a little more independent, save money, and save the environment, too with clean solutions.”

Nick Davis

“We have a similar model for energy where we are helping people become a little more independent, save money, and save the environment, too with clean solutions,” Davis said.

GridMarket offers a data platform, which automates energy recommendations for properties. Users can type in an address and pull up a list of technologies that would work, as well as the providers that offer those solutions and find out how much those clean energy sources would save the property owner.

“In the past years, the idea of the distributed, renewable clean energy became more like a luxury than something that everyone should do,” Davis said. “But, what we’re finding now is because all the materials are so much cheaper now, it’s actually cheaper than the grid to produce your own energy onsite.”

GRIDMARKET HELPS DALLAS-AREA SITES GO RENEWABLE

GridMarket has done work in Japan and northeastern states of the U.S. Less than a year ago, it made its foray into the Dallas area where it has enabled many data centers to go off grid by installing solar power, fuel cells, and other technologies. It’s also helping Paul Quinn College in South Dallas build solar farms.

Texas leads the nation in wind power capacity and has been amping up its solar sources as well, according to The Dallas Morning News

Davis said the state has been known for its cheap energy, which means proving GridMarket’s model here was crucial. So far, he’s seen ample possibilities. 

“We’re really excited about the Texas market, too. It’s untapped, there’s a ton of sun, so great, free energy potential,” Davis said. 

“We’re really excited about the Texas market, too. It’s untapped …”

Nick Davis

The Palau project will be a much larger scale than anything the startup has tackled, but Davis said its experience should translate well.

“The good thing about energy is whether you’re in Palau, New York, or Dallas we face the same types of challenges,” Davis said. “… We can apply the same logic that we do to a neighborhood in Brooklyn or Manhattan that we do to an entire country of Palau.”

PARTNERS WILL GIVE PALAU UPDATE AT APRIL EARTHX EVENT

Crow said Palau President Tommy Remengesau and partners will give updates on the progress of the energy project at this year’s EARTHx event, which will be held April 20-22 in Fair Park.

As far as any further alignments with EARTHx, Davis said the Dallas nonprofit will be a valuable partner in the years to come.

“We see working with EARTHx [will help us] generate new opportunities, new properties, cities states, countries that are prepared to transition their energy future,” Davis said.

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