Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

What if the energy grid worked like the Internet? You'd have a completely flexible network that links producers, suppliers and consumers in a system that enables entrepreneurs to build "apps" on top of the smart grid. Drew Clark, from IBM's Venture Capital Group, outlines the benefits of an "Energy Web" in this post on the VC blog. To quote from the post, written just prior to the inauguration:

One interesting thought that is making the rounds of the Obama
transition team as well as those poised for investment into this
emerging 'Smart Grid' sector is the notion of a national
"energy web". This energy web, in concept, would be architected and deployed in a similar way to what we built back in the DARPA days, where a relatively large amount of US treasury was allocated to
build a robust and resilient data exchange infrastructure, based on a
set of open (TCP/IP) standards. Perhaps even more significantly, we all
know the "killer app" that subsequently emerged that was built upon the
Internet in the mid-90s –  it's something we now refer to almost as if
it's a basic  natural resource – the Web.

But what if we could build a second
killer app to help address, on a large scale, this imperative to
provide an intelligent, collaborative network that links energy
producers/sources, with operators and utilities, and ultimately with
energy consumers both big and small. An energy cloud, if you will, that
will link all of the key energy stakeholders, while providing a secure
means of knowing where and how much energy is needed at all times.
Energy Web would  require not only the emergence of standard
interfaces, but also the physical infrastructure to support a way of
distributing not only power, but information, requiring a broad range
of intelligent devices.

Further, what if we could build this
energy web as a robust but accessible (programmable) platform that
would encourage and catalyze innovation around the idea that we need
thousands of entrepreneurs building "apps", applications and services
that address these enormous but critically important challenges of
moving to renewable energy sources as fast as is feasible, but done
smartly and cost-effectively? Think of it as an "iPhone AppStore for
Energy' or something similar…imagine if we could bring even a
fraction of the 10,000+ apps built for this popular mobile device to
bear on key areas like demand response, modeling & simulation,
energy efficiency & conservation, usage monitoring, real-time
pricing, etc.

What we need to do as a community of entrepreneurs
and venture capitalists, in my opinion, is to band together to drive
interest and investment into such a project, beginning with some
top-down support from the incoming administration, to the definition of
a set of architectures and standards that will help us get started down
this path.

This isn't possible, though, without the initial investment in creating a true smart grid. It's something that we've been talking about for a while here. We were invited by then President-Elect Obama to  share our recommendations with his transition team. And judging from recent comments by the Obama Administration, it seems that investment in smart grids are looking more promising by the day.

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January 21, 2016
2:10 am

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1 Trackback
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