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The Green Button project launches to unleash energy data

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The potential of open access to energy data has drawn U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to the West Coast. On Wednesday morning Chopra and half a dozen utilities plan to announce the official launch of the Green Button initiative at an event in Santa Clara, Calif., which will enable utility customers to easily download their energy consumption data with one click in an easy-to-read format on utilities’ and third parties’ websites.

California utilities PG&E and San Diego Gas & Electric will announce on Wednesday that the feature is available now, presumably via a green button on the utilities’ websites. Other utilities including Southern California Edison, Glendale Power & Light, Oncor and Pepco Holdings will announce that they will offer the feature later this year.

The project is important because it is a broad-based plan to take energy data and standardize the format of it, open it up (while also providing security) and make it readily available to consumers. Data is commonly treated this way on the Internet, but for other sectors, open access to data isn’t as prevalent.

Standardizing and freeing the data can create an ecosystem for developers to use that data to create apps that can deliver new services and products. The Internet has thrived because of open data and standardized information systems. Delivering that energy data directly back to consumers is also important because it can lead to energy-efficiency measures and can help change a consumers’ energy-consumption behavior.

Chopra first introduced the idea of the Green Button initiative back in Sept. 2011 and challenged the utility sector to quickly work at offering customers standardized and easy access to their own energy information.

California utilities are moving first on this partly because last year the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered the state’s big three utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — to follow its proposed ruling on privacy, security and access to energy data. That meant offering up consumers easy and secure access to their data.

A score of startups, utilities and government officials will be at the event on Wednesday looking to discuss the implications of energy data.

8 Responses to “The Green Button project launches to unleash energy data”

  1. Data and transactional standardization in the utility sector is pretty much a pipe dream. Too many differing systems, market models, operational models and value added avenues. Utilities and utility commissions don’t understand the dynamics of the new model that advance meters and the home area network brings. Device manufacturers are wanting one standard or design to fit all when it never will. And data across the backhaul of the utility is too limiting to be of any real benefit to the development of smart technology. The advancement will not be driven by the utilities or device manufactuers but by those who understand the true potential of the new market landscape. From a pure utility perspective, if they would ever develop a fair compensation model for participating in their programs then perhaps they would see more take up from a consumer perspective.

  2. This movement towards green data is fantastic. With the types of information green button can generate coupled with the funding and information tech. of website like energygridiq, it looks as if an energy use revolution is right around the corner.

  3. standardizing the energy data is crucial for moving forward both in benchmarking and in conservation efforts. On top of that, it is necessary for us to get reliable data in areas where there are less than reliable energy data. hopefully green button can help with this. EnergyGridIQ also works towards this goal of aquiring and building reliable data, however we focus more on the incentive and project side of the coin. Hopefully the new influx of energy data will lead to more energy knowledge worldwide.

  4. The high tech industry has got this right, reading the data with Smart Meters, communicating it to the Utility via a back haul mesh, web access to the data – refer My Energy from PG&E – and open API’s to 3rd parties to innovate further.

    Without getting spiritual on us, I remember being told once on giving as we approached Christmas – the people in need are ready to receive – what we needed was the givers!

    This time is 100% the other way about, the givers have assembled and are busy giving. But the receivers – except for a small minority of energy saving enthusiasts – do not have this high enough on their financial agenda to care.

    We have just published a look at the use of Smart Meter Data in CA – PG&E rate payers. 4.4 million meters implemented, the access to data available for 6 months plus. The uptake of this most excellent resource (waiting on PG&E to confirm use statistics) is sadly low – probably around 3%

    I understand that an electricity bill is not the biggest item on a consumers list of monthly costs, living in a small apartment it is actually less than the cost of a cheap dinner out for my wife and I – far less – but we have to get past making decisions based on $’s – these energy savings to matter – and I sincerely hope that this initiative might get some traction.

    But I fear, that like littering, where we had years of campaigning for social change, it was only when punitive legislation was enacted that people began to pay attention.

    I may sound nuts, but the sooner we pass a law saying it is an act of treason to leave an incandescent light bulb burning for a whole night (i.e. not replaced with a LED or CFL) the fine will be $800.00 or 6 months in jail – we are going to see continued consumer apathy.

    The issue is waste, the implications impact our national economy, the dependence we have on foreign oil, and the continued damage to our air from coal.

    I so hope that we will never need such punitive legislation, but people please wake up and know that the light you do not turn off, the HVAC system you leave un-maintained, the thermostat un-attented is slowly killing your neighbor!