Here Comes the Energy Cloud

A quick data point… Navigant Research, a business intelligence firm, is hosting a  webinar on “Technology Trends at the Grid Edge.” The proposition of the webinar:

The transition to the Energy Cloud—where energy markets become more distributed, clean, and intelligent—is speeding up. Utilities must adapt to this transformation to capture the value in new distributed energy resources (DER) and transactive energy markets. Until recently, the smart grid conversation was focused on hardware: smart grid technologies, smart meters, and in-home Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The industry is now shifting toward the next level of maturity on the technology adoption cycle: utilities have deployed smart meters; networks are digital; and utilities are experimenting with smart home technologies. The next challenge is how to extract value from the data generated by IoT devices while protecting critical infrastructure.

Utilities will increasingly turn to platforms to manage increasing volumes of IoT devices—and these platforms will be delivered by ecosystems of technology vendors.

Two of the speakers work for Intel, the chip designer and manufacturer. Intel is pouring vast resources into building its Internet of Things (IoT) business, of which the electric grid is an important component. Advances in sensors, smart meters and algorithms will make it possible to re-invent the architecture of the electric distribution grid from one-way electricity flows to multiple-way flows, making it easier to integrate renewable energy sources. The distributed grid — or the energy cloud, if you like — is coming. Public policy leaders need to wake up and figure out what it portends for Virginia.

If I thought I could understand the content, I’d sign up. But I know the limits of my intelligence.

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