Tag Archives: smart meters

AutoGrid pulls in $9M to turn ‘big data’ into an energy source

The San Francisco Bay Area based AutoGrid, a startup founded in 2011, pulled in $9 million to continue the development of its software that helps utilities and businesses control their energy usage.

Founder and chief executive, Dr. Amit Narayan stated that “The capacity of the [smart] grid is not deployed efficiently”. His technology analyzes data collected by smart meters (by putting sensors on the electric grid) to enable operators to meet supply and demand. With the use of machine learning, which gets smarter over time, it can make predictions about energy consumption patterns inside buildings and across service regions. It can then forecast how much electricity will potentially be needed in the upcoming hours or days.

With the advent of analytics tools, we can begin to make predictions about the future and further optimize energy usage. “Up to 20 percent of the power-generating assets in some regions only get deployed ten or fewer days a year,” said Dr. Narayan. His current major customers include the City of Palo Alto Utilities and Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

  Dr. Amit Narayan

Before AutoGrid, Dr Amit Narayan taught on the topic of electronic design automation software at Berkeley and Stanford. He founded Berkeley Design Automation, which is used by more than 20 of the top 25 chip developers.

What’s interesting from a competitive standpoint is the company’s focus on pattern-recognition and predictive analysis. The company’s investors include Foundation Capital,  Voyager Capital, and Stanford University. Last year, it won a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy program to devote to improving the product.

Smart meters, it’s the future!


Europe’s Smart City Initiative

Last year, Europe has set up an Initiative on Smart Cities. The Initiative fosters the dissemination throughout Europe of the most efficient models and strategies to progress towards a low carbon future. European countries should be progressing towards the energy and climate objectives at a local level while maintaining or improving the quality of live. Investments in energy efficiency and reduction of carbon emission can be used to improve local economies.

The Initiative wants a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (with start year 1990), which is very ambitious. This reductions can be obtained by using and producing sustainable energy. The Initiative will support cities and regions in creating a systematic approach and organizational innovation to encompass energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and the smart management of supply and demand. The main components of the Initiative is the measures of buildings, local energy networks and transport. Local authorities have to propose and implement holistic problem-solving approaches that use appropriate technology and policy measures.

Things that have to been done is for example the refurbishment of existing buildings so they use as less energy as possible while increasing performances and comfort. A good example of these sort of buildings are passive buildings, using vacuum insulation, windows, cool roofs,… New buildings have to be build with zero energy requirements or net zero carbon emissions.

In terms of energy, smart grids, smart meters, energy management systems, smart appliances and equipments can be used. And when thinking about transport, we think about sustainable mobility. Advanced smart public transport, intelligent traffic management and more encouragements to walk and cycle.

And all these objectives have to be turned into actions. The Initiative helps with this according to a city’s ambitions and the risk that’s involved. So ambitious cities could get funding for technical assistance to facilitate access to loans and risk sharing loans. And pioneer cities, taking much greater risks because they use radical technology and organizational transformations, could in addition receive grants to support the implementation of the proposed package of technologies and measures.

For more information about the Initiative, its objectives and the actions that will be taken: http://setis.ec.europa.eu/about-setis/technology-roadmap/european-initiative-on-smart-cities