Crunching energy data down to the fridge

A four-year-old startup called PlotWatt has developed smart algorithms that can crunch energy data down to the appliance level to determine which of your household devices is sucking up more than its fair share of power.

How energy data will change the future [VIDEO]

In an interview at the Verge Conference last week, Opower’s founder and a Senior Advisor to the White House discuss why energy data should be open, how utilities will deal with the influx of big data and how government can help. Check out the video:


The big data tsunami meets the next generation of smart-grid companies

Many have predicted a “big data tsunami” that will transform the energy sector and open an entirely new market for smart-grid data analytics. Stepping into the fray is the next generation of smart-grid companies, which this report profiles. It is a diverse group that includes a cast of characters from relatively mature players like Tendril to very young companies like GridMobility. Many would say they don’t need smart meters to implement their products but rather that a smart meter makes their products much more effective. Smart meter or not, what has changed is that utilities are becoming proactive and are looking at computing and data as an opportunity to improve load balance, better address outages, and shape consumer behavior to save energy.

10 ways big data is remaking energy

Analytics and big data tools will remake energy in 2012, from helping curb energy consumption, to reducing energy loss, to adding in more clean power to the grid. Here’s 10 ways this will happen:

A social energy network turns to solar chargers & shopping

Tech companies so far have stumbled when it comes to getting people to be mindful of their energy use and conserve. But startup Changers thinks it’s come up with a better idea: sell mobile solar chargers and create a social networking around energy credits and shopping.

The next home energy battleground: the smart thermostat

Fancy dashboards that can monitor and control a home’s energy consumption haven’t really caught on. But maybe that’s because the dashboard is the wrong device. Increasingly companies building home energy tools are focusing on making software for connected thermostats.

Opower & Honeywell launch a smart thermostat

Earlier this year we reported that energy software startup Opower was considering adding a home energy device to its portfolio. A half year later here’s Opower’s first foray into hardware: the company announced it has partnered with building automation giant Honeywell to sell a connected thermostat.

Introducing: The Cleanweb Hackathon

Calling all do-gooder developers looking for your next opportunity. Introducing the Cleanweb Hackathon, a developer contest and event, which will take place on the weekend of Sept. 10 and 11th in San Francisco.

Opower seeking world domination

Opower, a startup using software and big data tools to help utility customers reduce their energy consumption, is expanding outside the U.S. for the first time, and will be working with U.K. energy company First Utility.

5 reasons why Microsoft Hohm didn’t take off

They’re dropping like flies: the big Internet companies’ online energy tools. Last week, it was Google pulling the plug on PowerMeter, and this week, it’s RIP for Microsoft and its Hohm energy tool. Here’s my assessment of 5 reasons why Microsoft Hohm didn’t take off.

GE to award home energy winners

On Thursday morning, GE will host a day-long event where it plans to announce the latest winners of its $200 million smart grid challenge that are specifically focused on energy use in the home.

iControl raises $50M from Intel, Cisco, Comcast, Kleiner

On the heels of Silion Valley startup iControl securing a deal to provide its software for Comcast’s new home security and energy management service, iControl announced that it has raised another $50 million in a Series D round from its long list of high profile investors

Can social media IPOs make up for greentech struggles?

Will huge returns on social media investments — like Groupon, LinkedIn or Pandora — help make up for underperforming greentech investments in a venture firm’s portfolio? If so, perhaps this gives firms time — and wiggle room — to keep up their cleantech investing.

How big data can save a terawatt hour of energy

Energy data startup OPower says its software will be able to save one terawatt hour of energy from U.S. homes by the end of 2012. That’s equivalent to the energy consumed by 100,000 American homes for a year, and is worth $100M in energy savings.

The broadband smart energy home grows stronger

Who needs smart meters when you’ve got broadband? Two announcements last week — EcoFactor’s energy-saving data and Comcast’s Xfinity Home Security launch — raise that question. If the broadband channel to home energy takes off, it could leave smart meter–dependent home energy startups in the dust.

Consumers on Energy Management: What’s That?

While state and federal legislators are drafting rules to make sure consumers have prompt and secure access to their energy consumption data, consumers themselves are largely unaware of the tools available to manage their own energy. That’s according to a survey out from CEA.

Consumers Will Lead the Way for Smart Grid Adoption

How do we get consumers to use less energy and to use it smarter? State and local governments might be able to incentivize smart grid rollouts, but to ensure adoption, utilities will need to educate consumers and giving them the right tools, such as peak pricing.

Opower Lands Utilities PG&E, BG&E

Can Opower fix utilities smart meter customer relation woes? The startup, which uses data about energy consumption to modify consumer behavior, has two new clients — Pacific Gas & Electric and Baltimore Gas & Electric — that have faced issues with smart meters and consumers.

Home Energy Player Control4 Raises $15M

It’s time for the home energy management firms that have been leading the pack to bulk up. Home automation company Control4, is in the process of raising $25 million and has closed $15 million of that round, according to a filing.

FAIL: The High-End Home Energy Device Is Toast

While energy management startup Tendril announced a partnership and web services this week, the company also quietly confirmed with me that it won’t be selling its sleek “Vision” energy dashboard. It’s the beginning of the end of the stand alone high-end home energy device.

10 Smart Grid Trends from Distributech

The annual smart grid event Distributech kicked off in San Diego Tuesday morning and — as expected — it’s unleashed a whole series of news from smart grid-focused firms. Here are 10 trends and news bits out of Distributech this morning.

Hug Energy Shuts Down Citing Weak Interest From Investors

Hug Energy, which had developed an application for computer energy management, is shutting down. CEO Marcus Tallhamn made the announcement in a blog post and an email to users, citing weak investor interest. It’s a sign of how crowded the energy management space has gotten.

There’s Gold In Smart Grid Data

Smart grid data analytics, or software and services that can mine power grid data, will grow from a $356 million market to $4.2 billion by 2015, Pike Research predicts.

GE’s First 12 Challenge Winners, A Few Surprises

General Electric and some high-flying venture capital partners have named 12 winners of the first $55 million of a $200 million “ecomagination challenge” they launched this summer. The list is full of some already well-funded companies, including several that GE is already investing in.

Tendril Acquires GroundedPower, Raises $23M

Tendril, the venture-backed home energy management startup, has raised yet more funding and acquired a startup focused on software for behavioral energy efficiency. I’d been wondering how Tendril would try to maneuver in the difficult and increasingly competitive space.

Opt-Out: The Biggest Little Words in Home Energy Management

What if the most successful home energy-saving technology ends up being the one people have to opt out of? Utilities can sign customers up for programs automatically, unless they actively choose not to join. Companies targeting the home energy management space should remember this powerful tool.

Home Energy

Tools that can be used to monitor and manage energy consumption with homes and buildings.

Microsoft Looks to Peer Pressure for Energy Tool Hohm

Shame, guilt, and embarrassment are always good tools to change people’s behavior. This morning Microsoft added in a “score” functionality to its energy management tool Hohm which gives a Hohm score to every address entered based on how energy efficient the building is.