When the Grid Meets its Consumers

Our flagship event, the Cleantech Forum San Francisco, will be held March 16-18! The theme of this year’s Forum is Cleantech Meets the Cloud: The Emergence of Cleantech-as-a-Service. We will discuss many subjects related to energy decentralization and new business models, and in particular the relationship of the end user with the smart grid.

In 2014, we saw stories showing several efforts made to enable more connectivity with customers and their energy systems. Silver Spring Networks undertook a strategic shift by positioning itself not only as a smart meter vendor, but also as a provider of software and analytic services – the company just announced it has acquired Detectent, a provider of customer intelligence solutions for municipal utilities. That’s the Grail companies such as Itron, eMeter and Landis+Gyr and start-ups such as Comverge or Open Energi are chasing: providing the link between homes/businesses and utilities by enabling more consumer engagement and demand response as well as linkages to smart thermostats, solar inverters, electric vehicle chargers and other key distributed energy assets. Using the smart grid’s increasing number of devices and making the most out of the data they generate is the best way to enable the successful realization of a smart and flexible grid.

Customer-facing applications are getting increasing interest from utilities and energy service providers. Silver Spring Networks is working with Consumers Energy on customer engagement and efficiency software services, energy service provider Direct Energy is partnering with Honeywell and Opower on residential demand response, and National Grid has asked Ceiva to manage in-home displays, smart thermostats and web and mobile platforms for its 15,000-customer smart grid pilot project.

In late December, SunPower invested in Tendril and licensed its energy management software for solar data-related services. Last but not least, big news came out of Germany late last year when energy giant E.ON announced it was refocusing its growth on “innovative, customer-oriented solutions.”

If you’re excited about discussing how utilities and corporates can change the relationship between energy delivery systems and consumers, and how the electric grid can become an innovation platform for new software and digital solutions – come join us in March!