Wednesday, July 23, 2008

At the Stanford Summit - What is Green?

Many of us at Macadamian are very passionate about green tech and the environment. A question we've been bouncing around Macadamian is what role does the software industry have in green tech?

I'm listening to an amazing panel on green tech. On the panel is the Chairman and CEO of Southern California Edison, and the CEO of New Energy Finance to name a couple.

The panel acknowledged that while most of the buzz is about solar and wind power, one of the biggest opportunities in the next decade is the digitization of the grid. The power grid will go through the same revolution as the communication grid. Look at your cell phone bill - every text message is itemized, categorized, and quantitized. Look at your utility bill - it shows you how much energy you used in a month, and if your utility is really sophisticated, it shows you how much was onpeak and how much was offpeak.

As we come online with Smart Meters, it opens the door for new ways of conserving energy. Imagine that your meter can negotiate with your washing machine, to tell it the best offpeak time to start the cycle.

It may not be as sexy as solar, but the impact is huge.

1 comment:

Francis said...

This is interesting because my dad has been running on a manual version of a similar system for over 15 years now. There is a red light near the laundry room that turns on when it is peak time. So you know not to run a load of laundry.

In the case of my dad, peak time is defined with outside temperature. It if is really cold, the light goes on and his electricity is 5X more expensive. His furnace (the biggest energy guzzler in the house) automatically reverts to oil instead of electricity.

Because if most of the electricity in the province Quebec comes from hydro, a clean/renewable source of electricity, you would think that energy efficiency wouldn't be top of mind. However, Hydro-Quebec recognized that if the population of Quebec could be more energy efficient, they would have more electricity to sell to NY state.