March 17, 2014| Sam Burlum | Energy, Green Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published by The Alternative Press.com, and www.SamBurlum.com
It is came as no surprise when the World Green Energy Symposium announced that it would hold its 2014 Expo in Niagara Falls, N.Y., the very birthplace of green energy. With just six weeks to go, the Niagara Falls Convention Center will play host to the World Green Energy Symposium; where attendees including but not limited to energy and technology industry leaders, representatives from governing agencies, scholars from schools of thought, green policy advocates, celerities, and individuals/entities who are seeking out green solutions; will share information from energy conservation to public policy initiatives.
Special guests and speakers this year include the Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who will give an address that unveils updates to New York’s green initiatives; Sergio Fernandez De Cordova, Co-Chairman of the G8 Young Summit; Dr. Kevin Geiss, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy; Ron Uba, Department of Commerce; Professor Robert Gallagher, Executive Chair, World Green Energy Symposium; and many more green industry standouts. The conference will run from April 22-24, during the same week that calendars Earth Day.
Attendees will be provided with opportunities to network with others in the green energy field where the WGES works each year to provide the perfect atmosphere for learning, exchanging, exhibiting, procuring, and investing in the future of latest energy technologies. Past host cities have included Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City; all who are leaders in environmental sustainability and green practices, however Niagara Falls is a special place; it is considered the birthplace of green technology.
On January 12, 1897, the very first hydro-electric facility, the brainchild of Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse, began to supply electric for the very first time. Tesla and Westinghouse won the competition, and contract for their power generation technology to be utilized in the first hydro-electric power plant in the United States. This was an amazing engineering feat for its day; beating out Thomas Edison who was pared with financier J.P. Morgan in a very contentious campaign to see who was going to rule the new power generation and supply chain industry.
This was a heated race on two fronts. On the forefront, was a battle between two great inventors; Tesla who believed in alternating current, and Edison, who promoted his platform of direct current. Tesla, once an employee of Edison’s lab, left Edison’s operation to pursuit his own invention and theories on how to best deliver power for society to use. Tesla is considered by the scientific community as one of the greatest inventors of all time. Some of his inventions and practices are used today by the wireless communications industry, automotive industry, and in power generation. Edison would go on to partner with the banking mogul and financier, JP Morgan to create a company that would monetize the efforts of Edison’s think tank, a laboratory filled full of associate scientist and junior inventors. That company is known today as General Electric. Edison, a New Jersey native, left his mark on the Garden State, from Menlo Park to Ogdensburg, New Jersey and beyond.
This competition did not end with just the inventors and engineers. Behind the scenes of the technology, were the financiers, George Westinghouse, and JP Morgan. Westinghouse was an engineer by trade who had been given credit for inventing the railway air brake, which later became a cornerstone of the company known today as New York Air Brake. JP Morgan, the future heir to the Morgan Family Financial Empire, lust for control over the future paying basis that would be created as a part of offering the new power supply. JP Morgan is known for inventing the practice known as “the hostile takeover,” a tactic he commonly exercised when he wanted to gain control over a company; as he did with Edison in capturing control of Edison’s General Electric, then located in Menlo Park, New Jersey, later dropping Edison from the name.
The era of the “Current Wars” consisted of all of the elements which contributed to one of the greatest free market and public policy debates during the industrial era. You had inventor versus inventor, a battle of a winner takes all implementation of the leading innovation. It was investor versus investor, of who was going to win the battle of the high stakes financial reward. In the mix you had a well-crafted public relations and marketing campaign aimed to create popular opinion. Then there was the regulatory landscape, the watchful eye of the governing agencies that would rule in on public safety and industry policy, and provide commentary on the two very different approaches (AC vrs. DC) focused to achieve the same result. Much like the policy debates of today, all of these factors would influence public policy for decades to follow.
Living up to its reputation 117 years later, Niagara Falls will again be the center of other technological solutions and public policy that focuses on green energy and innovative solutions that provide our society with its current energy needs, while continuing answering a call to environmental preservation. This very event will spur off another round of invention, creating a feverous and competitive free market for the first and best green technology to rise above the rest, just the same as the battle between Tesla and Edison over one hundred years ago.
Niagara Falls and the World Green Energy Symposium; what a perfect fit. The World Green Energy Symposium is in its sixth annual year of organizing the event. I personally am looking forward to discussions and debates of who was the better inventor Tesla or Edison. Rich with much past legacy and full of future forward thinking, there is no denying, this year’s World Green Energy Symposium will be quite interesting.
Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.