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Green bits and bytes for Jan 13th 2011

Green bits

Some of the Green announcements which passed by my desk this week:

  1. Invensys IMServ, a UK-based carbon and energy solution provider has launched a new programme to help UK schools increase their energy efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their energy bills.
  2. SAP Americas was named 2010 Smart Grid Integrator of the Year 2010, North America by The New Economy.
  3. Enterprise energy management company JouleX has upgraded its network-based agentless product JEM to version 2.5. The new version supports a broader set of IT infrastructure devices, improves energy measurement and accuracy, JouleX Mobile allows employees to become more engaged in company’s sustainability initiatives, “load adaptive computing” allocates computing resources based upon system and application utilisation and has significantly upgraded its reporting capabilities.
  4. Tropos Networks, a company which sells wireless broadband network infrastructure, announced the other day that they were selected by more utilities as the company of choice for their smart grid communications infrastructure than any other vendor. Tropos’ CEO Tom Ayers, whom I video interviewed previously here, said

    I expect that 2011 will be a banner year of growth for our company and smart grid deployments globally.

    Good for them!

  5. UK based Greenstone Carbon Management made me aware recently that Asian-based investment bank Nomura have selected Greenstone’s Acco2unt carbon accounting software to help measure, manage and report its carbon emissions across the Bank?s operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
  6. After a successful pilot, ARRA recipient Burbank Water and Power (BWP) has selected energy management company Trilliant to implement its smart metering communications infrastructure. Trilliant is partnering with GE for meters, eMeter for Meter Data Management, and Siemens for integration. BWP will utilise Trilliant?s solution to help manage service requests, customer inquiries, meter reading and service interruptions.

Photo credit lissalou66

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Green Bits for Nov 18th 2010

Green bits

A few bits of Green News crossed my Inbox in the last couple of days so I thought I’d compile them into a short post –

  1. The Vodafone Americas Foundation and mHealth Alliance announced the last call for entries for the annual competition to identify and support promising wireless-related technologies to address critical social issues around the globe. Applications for the 2010 Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project? and mHealth Alliance Award will be accepted through December 15, 2010, with the winners announced at the annual Global Philanthropy Forum in Redwood City, CA in April 2011.?Previous winners have produced extraordinary innovations that utilized the vast potential of mobile technology to help solve problems and enhance people?s lives,? said June Sugiyama, Director of Vodafone Americas Foundation, ?We look forward to this year?s applicants and their ground-breaking projects.?The Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project? will award $300,000, $200,000 and $100,000, to the first, second and third-place winners, respectively.

    Information about eligibility and an application can be found at http://www.project.vodafone-us.com

  2. Trilliant has been has been selected by British Gas to provide the communications equipment for their Smart Meter deployment. The initial roll out to over 1,000,000 of British Gas? nearly 16 million customer accounts will be completed in 2012. Full story here
  3. SAP is selected as one of four companies to win German Magazine Computerwoche‘s “Green IT Best Practice Award 2010”. The company won for its comprehensive drive to reduce its CO2 emissions – if I understood Google Translate’s translation of the original article!
  4. IBM have teamed up with two Indian technology institutes to develop open system designs to make electricity grids smarter! The technologies will use predictive analytics to make power grids more efficient and therefore more resilient
  5. AMEE’s AMEE Explorersite was one of only six winners of the 2010 Best of What’s New award from the Popular Science magazine’s Green Tech section.

Photo credit aussiegall

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The importance of open standards for broad smart grid adoption

Standards

Photo credit Leo Reynolds

If you are not sure why open standards are important, you need to read this quote from the opening address of the The Southern African Telecommunications Networks and Applications Conference 2005, by then Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena:

The tsunami that devastated South Eastern Asian countries and the north-eastern parts of Africa, is perhaps the most graphic, albeit unfortunate, demonstration of the need for global collaboration, and open ICT standards. The incalculable loss of life and damage to property was exacerbated by the fact that responding agencies and non-governmental groups were unable to share information vital to the rescue effort. Each was using different data and document formats. Relief was slowed, and coordination complicated.

If the Internet weren’t built on open standards we might have found ourselves in a situation where you’d need an IBM browser to look at the IBM website, an HP browser to look at the HP site, a Microsoft browser to view the Microsoft site and so on. In fact it is the very openness of the standards on the internet which has led to its explosive growth and ubiquity.

Proprietary standards lead to vendor lock-in and to the crazy situation where if, for instance you buy a Sony digital camera, it typically uses Memory Stick cards that can be acquired only from Sony and a few select licensees, and this memory is typically much more expensive than alternative memory types available from multiple sources but which won’t work in Sony cameras.

In the Smart Grid space, standards are also extremely important. We need ensure that there is no vendor lock-in (i.e. if a utility has GE transformers, they need to be free to buy their smart meters from any smart meter vendor, not just GE, for example).

One of the most successful of the open standards has been TCP/IP, the protocol used for communicating data across a packet-switched network, like the Internet or almost all home or company networks. The next incarnation of TCP/IP is called IPv6. The advantage IPv6 has is that it allows far more items to be networked than is currently possible and that will be vital if we are to start networking the appliances in our house so they can participate in the Smart Grid. This is why companies like Cisco, who have no history in the energy space, are going to have a part to play in the roll-out of Smart Grids. Indeed Cisco have been talking up the importance of IPv6 for Smart Grids and creating ecosystems “to facilitate the adoption of Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications standards for smart grids.”

This explains why standards and interoperability are becoming really hot topics in the Smart Grid space at the minute. In fact that’s what the majority of the company announcements from last week’s Gridweek conference were about:

By far the most important announcement around Smart Grid standards though wasn’t from a company, it was from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). They presented for public comment a major new report on Smart Grid interoperability standards. That this document was launched by US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke should be an indication, not just of the importance of standards for Smart Grids but fortunately, just how important the Obama administration perceives them to be as well!

Cisco famously said that the Smart Grid space:

will be 100 or 1,000 times larger than the Internet. If you think about it, some homes have Internet access, but some don’t. Everyone has electricity access–all of those homes could potentially be connected

The only way Smart Grids will achieve that scale is if the standards required for that growth are drawn up and adopted.

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GreenMonk discusses Barack Obama’s energy plans with Trilliant’s Eric Miller

Barack Obama

Photo credit Wa-J

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

My guest on this podcast is Eric Miller. Eric is Chief Solutions Officer of Trilliant Inc.

We invited Eric onto the show to discuss President Elect Barack Obama’s energy plans for the US for the next few years. Eric has a lot of inside knowledge of the incoming administration’s plans so we had a fascinating discussion.

Listen in and let me know what you think…

Download the entire interview here
(23.2mb mp3)

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Any questions for Trilliant CEO Bill Vogel?

Question
Photo Credit e-magic

Trilliant, are a Smart Network infrastructure provider who

provides intelligent network solutions and software to utilities for advanced metering, demand response, and smart grid management

Last week they announced that they had

closed a $40 million equity investment from an affiliate of MissionPoint Capital Partners and zouk ventures

Next Tuesday, Sept 2nd, I will be interviewing Bill Vogel, Trilliant’s President, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, for a podcast to be published here later in the week.

In the interview, amongst other things, we will be discussing what smart networks and smart grids are, and why they are such a good thing for the consumer as well as the utilities. We will be discussing the $40 million investment and where that money will be deployed and we will also talk about the Hydro One Smart Grid project (28kb pdf), a project to deploy 1.4m smart meters throughout Ontario.

If you have any questions you’d like me to ask Bill during the interview, please feel free to leave them here in the comments of this post (or email them to [email protected]) and I’ll ask them for you during the podcast.