Going Off-Grid - Interview with Miriam Tuerk, CEO of Clear Blue Technologies
With projects in 35 countries, Clear Blue Technologies International Inc. (Clear Blue) is bringing light, internet and power to remote and rural areas around the world along with new off-grid power solutions to projects in developed cities. I learned of Clear Blue last year and found its work with Telefonica, one of the world’s largest telecommunications company, to provide connectivity to communities in the Amazon rainforest, interesting and compelling. The concept of bringing remote communities online without connection to an electrical grid was worth exploring and I was able to recently interview CEO, Miriam Tuerk.
As Tuerk explained during our recent discussion, the provision of electricity works in almost the same way it did 150 years ago. Central locations, like a hydroelectric dam or coal plant, generate power and it is distributed far and wide through electrical cables. These types of massive infrastructure projects obviously cost a great deal of money. As a result, many developing countries, in particular remote and rural parts of such countries, do not have power. Without power, you cannot have internet connectivity. Clear Blue is working to change this and provides on-site solar power, eliminating the need for grid connectivity. In addition to work in South America, it has recently completed projects in both Rwanda and Nigeria.
Clear Blue’s current project pipeline is split between developing and developed nations. In developing nations, the grid infrastructure is not as established, if at all in some places. As a result, utility companies have jumped eagerly on board at the idea of bringing power and connectivity to places where grid technology is simply cost prohibitive. Clear Blue has also been working with Facebook in an initiative, along with other telecommunication companies, to get more people connected to the internet using clean power which can be remotely managed. These types of projects form the basis of Clear Blue’s work in developing nations.
In developed nations such as Canada and the United States where grid infrastructure is firmly established, customers are more likely to be end users who want a particular solution to a problem. For example, North Dakota is putting Clear Blue Smart Grid lighting technology at multiple rural intersections. This illumination of critical road signs and intersections will assist with saving lives. Clear Blue also has an extensive project in the City of Hamilton, Ontario where its technology is used to light pathways. The lights have dimming and energy saving technology so their use can be optimized.
Clear Blue recently went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Venture in July 2018 (CBLU:TSXV). It also listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2018 (OYA:FRA). In deciding to list on the Frankfurt exchange, Tuerk said: “Because European investors understand the strong value of our patented smart off-grid technology,management believes that the listing will generate additional demand and interest in the company and its products” (https://www.clearbluetechnologies.com/en/timeline/clear-blue-technologies-international-lists-on-frankfurt-stock-exchange).”
While this technology does seem poised to be a game-changer in a variety of instances, given Clear Blue is not yet a profitable company, the challenge facing it in the near future is to have its products adopted in sufficient volumes to cover all costs and ultimately deliver a return to investors.
*** This article is for information purposes and does not constitute financial advice or endorsement of this stock or company. I, nor ZSM Creative Inc. operating as The Capital Pink, are affiliated in any way with Clear Blue Technologies International Inc. and do not own any stock in this company. Please review the Legal Disclaimer for further information.
***Cover photo courtesy of Federico Respini on Unsplash