Friday Green Numbers round-up for Feb 4th 2011

Green Numbers

And here is a round-up of this week’s Green numbers…

  1. Europe’s Energy

    Member States of the European Union have agreed on targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by cutting energy consumption by 20% and increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix to 20% by 2020. The ‘Europe’s Energy’ project gives users a set of visual tools to put these targets into context and to understand and compare how progress is being made towards them in different countries.

  2. Survey results: Utilities executives on Energy Efficiency and the Smart Grid

    The survey asked 106 utility executives ? the people that arguably know more about the energy supply and demand challenges our nation faces than anyone else ? a range of questions on the smart grid, energy efficiency and related topics and issues.

    We issued a press release today with some of the highlights, but to help put this week?s news into context, we also wanted to share a full breakdown of the results. Nothing earth shattering, but worth keeping in mind as the week progresses?

  3. 10 Smart Grid Trends from Distributech

    The annual smart grid event Distributech kicked off in San Diego Tuesday morning and ? as expected ? unleashed a whole series of news from smart grid-focused firms. From new home energy management products, to plug-in car software, to distribution automation gear, this is a list of trends and news from the show.

  4. US Venture Capital Investment in Cleantech Grows to Nearly $4 Billion in 2010, an 8% Increase From 2009

    US venture capital (VC) investment in cleantech companies increased by 8% to $3.98 billion in 2010 from $3.7 billion in 2009 and deal total increased by 7% to 278, according to an Ernst & Young LLP analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. VC investment in cleantech in Q4 2010 reached $979 million with 72 financing rounds. VC investment in cleantech in Q4 2010 reached $979 million with 72 financing rounds, flat in terms of deals and down 14% in terms of capital invested compared to Q4 2009.

    “In comparison to the early days of cleantech, the 2010 US VC investment results reflect a turning point in the industry due to improving credit and capital markets, the deployment of stimulus spending and increasing corporate cleantech adoption,” said Jay Spencer, Ernst & Young LLP’s Americas Cleantech Director.

  5. A jump at the pump – bad news for more than motorists

    Few trends cast shadows on economies and politicians like a rise in the cost of petrol. Barack Obama?s presidency, so far a minefield of crises, can add one more in the form of higher prices at the pump. Entering the last full week of January the average price of a gallon (3.7 litres) of petrol stood at $3.11, up 40 cents from a year earlier. Fuel has never cost so much in January, but that is unlikely to be the highest price Americans pay for it this year.

  6. Arctic Oscillation brings record low January extent, unusual mid-latitude weather

    Arctic sea ice extent for January 2011 was the lowest in the satellite record for that month. The Arctic oscillation persisted in its strong negative phase for most of the month, keeping ice extent low.

    Arctic sea ice extent averaged over January 2011 was 13.55 million square kilometers (5.23 million square miles). This was the lowest January ice extent recorded since satellite records began in 1979.

  7. Despite emails and cold winter, 83% of Brits view climate change as a current or imminent threat

    The public?s belief in global warming as a man-made danger has weathered the storm of climate controversies and cold weather intact, according to a Guardian/ICM opinion poll.

    Asked if climate change was a current or imminent threat, 83% of Britons agreed, with just 14% saying global warming poses no threat. Compared with August 2009, when the same question was asked, opinion remained steady despite a series of events in the intervening 18 months that might have made people less certain about the perils of climate change

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Photo credit kirstyhall


Dude – Where’s My Customer? On Telcos, Utilities and Smart Grids. Towards a “SIM Card” for Smart Grids

SIM card reader
We had a really solid briefing with Convergys today. The firm sells software and services to telcos and utilities for customer care and billing – it has 80k employees worldwide, 550+ clients, and $3bn in revenue.

According to Greenmonk research most?utilities are failing to understand the the need to put the customer right at the center of their Smart Grid strategies. I pushed Kit Hagen, senior director of marketing, on the issue and he came back with a strong response.

“We often see utilities refer to IT as “the meter to cash process”- there is no customer in that. They’re calling the customer a meter.

Now you’re not going to just have disaggregated generation, but potentially a bunch of devices sitting behind the meter itself, and utilities should want to understand whats going on there. The world doesn’t end at the smart meter: think of kitchen appliances, for example.

This is an area the utilities need to start addressing. We can enable the technology, we can help the utilities…”

Electricity microgeneration, supported, for example, by feedin tariffs. How would a utility handle that from a billing perspective, send out two bills – one for consumption and one for production?

Kit’s colleague Mary Ann Tillman, director of product marketing, offered up a near perfect analogy for the kinds of challenge we’ll need to fix – mobile phones and SIM cards.

“Think of roaming. We need the same model for electric vehicles. How is someone that travels from London to Edinburgh in their EV going to be billed for recharging?”

Great analogy Mary – and that’s just within the UK… what about Pan-European requirements? For context – in case you have missed it, it turns out that EVs are one of the promising distributed storage mechanisms- the car battery becomes part of a “virtual utility”, as per Better Place.?We’re going to need the equivalent of GSM, and SIM card standards to support smart grid ecosystems of networked devices.

Not to put too fine a point on it – wireless communications companies are rather more used to this kind of model than traditional utilities, which could prove to be a competitive advantage. The role of the traditional utility billing engine fundamentally changes in smart grids – its definitely time to start refactoring these systems. T-Mobile is already driving a SIM to smart grid integration strategy.

Top down, customer takes what we give them just won’t work in smart grids. Roaming puts the customer first, and “number portability” will have to be part of the model. As we have been saying lately – smart grids and wireless networking are converging.

disclosure: Convergys is not a client.


Any questions for Strato Director Rene Wienholtz?

Photo Credit Rock Alien

Despite being Europe’s second largest hosting company, Strato are also carbon neutral!

They didn’t achieve this by purchasing offsets either. Strato did it by:
1) purchasing energy efficient hardware
2) using very precise cooling methodologies
3) using customised software to run its facilities and finally
4) by buying CO2 free energy from NaturEnergie.

Strato’s Executive Director for Information Technology and Innovation is Rene Wienholtz and I will be chatting to him tomorrow morning asking him how a hosting company, typically a massive power sink, can go carbon neutral.

If you have any questions you’d like me to put to Rene in the podcast, either leave them in a comment on this post, or email them to me ([email protected]).