Big Data could lower your power bill?
As shown throughout this blog, Big Data Analytics is the future for a lot of various frameworks of our society. With Healthcare, Space Exploration, and Social Media leading the way with the advancement of the software behind big data analytics, this will no doubt allow other areas of focus to reap the benefits as well. The next market for big data to impact is the home energy market. Opower, a privately held Software-as-a-Service company, helps promote energy efficiency by teaming with utility providers around the world. Opower is known for its optimization reports on home energy consumption. They are able to mail, email, and send SMS’s of these reports to their 15 million plus residential customers. However, big data demands for the smart grid (https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/versant-nosql-and-the-smart-grid-big-data-challenge) are driving Opower to develop a new software platform, which is built on the open-source big data tool Apache Hadoop (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/opower-takes-on-big-data-for-home-energy). This platform will support mobile phones, smart thermostats (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/opower-adds-utility-customers-tests-smart-thermostats) and other built in-home devices.
Opower now can analyze existing home energy data, incoming smart meter data, consumer behavior data, weather data and lots of other disparate pieces of information. After compiling these data sets, they offer the present homeowner with efficiency tips, utility rebate offers, and other suggestions. Opower has announced a partnership with Cloudera (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/cloudera-energizes-opowers-big-data-165700779.html ), a Hadoop software and services provider. This partnership will allow Opower to increase the number of analytics it can provide to the customer. Opower will now be able to compare thousands of different homes’ smart meter reads to find tiny fluctuations that could indicate when a particular home is over-heating or over-cooling at certain thermostat set-points. Other smart grid systems have been using big data to build its data platforms and better satisfy the customer. Ex: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/dell-and-osisoft-build-smart-grid-platform-for-synchrophasor-big-data , http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-10393259-62.html , https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/autogrid-universal-big-data-plus-apps-platform-for-the-smart-grid . Opower understands the potential of big data in the home energy arena (https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/10-trends-to-watch-in-the-soft-grid ), and has raised ~ $65 million to date.
Large-scale enterprise software-as-a-service is becoming a reality for energy suppliers across the country. Karen Austin, SVP and chief information officer at Pacific Gas & Electric, talked about investments in fault location isolation and service restoration (FLISR) which have helped reduce outages by 70 percent in some areas (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/flisr-when-an-hour-outage-becomes-two-minutes/ ). FLISR applications can utilize decentralized, substation, or control center intelligence to locate, isolate, reconfigure, and restore power to healthy sections of a circuit (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/flisr-of-the-future-tiering-reliability-to-meet-consumer-needs/). With utilities investing a significant amount of capital into infrastructure, communications, and software for the distribution grid, GTM Research publishes an in-depth analysis on the requirements, technologies and strategies that are ushering in the new age of distribution automation (DA) (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/flisr-of-the-future-tiering-reliability-to-meet-consumer-needs/ ).
As more energy companies and businesses invest into big data analytics, this should help the consumer to become more aware of the inefficiencies and wastes associated with our energy consumption in our ever day lives. As we begin to use less energy and become more energy efficient, this will help drive down the rates of all of our energy options.