Editor's Note: This article is the second installment of a two-part series, “From Dumb to Smart: The Future of Energy." To read the first part, click here.
By Gregory Craig
What does the future of energy look like?
New advancements in smart and mobile technology are creating an exciting future for the energy industry. Smart thermostats like Nest, for example, are helping to regulate home energy use by automatically adjusting temperature, saving homeowners 12 to 15 percent on heating and cooling costs.
We see this as just the first layer of the onion. With the right technology, consumers can take even greater control and benefit from a new generation of energy efficiency tools.
Combined with near real-time price alerts and tailored recommendations, this kind of customized insight into your energy use will allow you to save money and help balance the grid.
As smart technology becomes even smarter, our appliances will begin to learn our habits and predict our needs automatically. If the weatherman is calling for a scorching heat wave or deep winter freeze, your robot (let’s call her Dolores) is going to recommend you run the dryer tonight, or wait until after things cool off. You’ll be able to load your laundry in the morning before leaving for work, and then set it to start when energy is cheapest.
This kind of rationing response by customers is exactly what energy industry innovators have been dreaming about. It will help utilities manage surges in demand on the grid and help you avoid paying surge pricing. Talk about win-win.
At the same time, mobile apps are being developed that can alert customers when there is more renewable energy on the grid, which usually correlates to when energy is cheapest, too. Ultimately, these innovations enable consumers to “vote” with their electricity use for a cleaner, sustainable future.
With these innovations, nothing is stopping us from catapulting into an excitingly brilliant future – let’s go!
Gregory L. Craig is a 25-year energy industry veteran and the founder and CEO of Griddy, a next-generation energy company. He is also the founder of PowerToConfuse.org.