Next week, thousands will descend on Washington DC for GridWeek, the “only international conference focused on smart grid.” Now in its 6th year, GridWeek “attracts the complete diversity of global electric-industry stakeholders to explore Smart Grid’s impact on the economy, utility infrastructure, consumers and the environment.”
The theme for this year is centered on deriving value for all stakeholders from an increased complexity, as “grid-modernization and smart grid efforts provide the energy industry with more information, a broader system view, and more efficiency and control.” Three key elements will be explored: stakeholder value, managing complexity and smart energy policy. EDF Economist Jamie Fine will be speaking on the “New Revenue Streams for Utilities” and “Smart Grid’s Role in New Air Quality Requirements” panel discussions at GridWeek.
At the center of all of these themes is Austin’s own Pecan Street Inc. (Pecan Street). Which is why it is no surprise that it is being recognized by the GridWeek Advisory Board for “significant achievements in “Extracting Smart Grid Value” — for all stakeholders, including utilities, consumers and society at large.” Also recognized are the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) and Green Button, a “voluntary effort and the result of a White House call to action: ‘provide electricity customers with easy access to their energy usage data in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format via a "Green Button" on electric utilities' website.’”
GridWeek further states that:
This industry-wide recognition celebrates Pecan Street’s ability to lead the industry in bringing together more than a dozen companies as part of its consortium to help validate a wide range of advanced smart grid technologies, smart grid business models, and customer behavior surrounding advanced energy management systems — with a real focus on customer benefit of smart grid and new energy technology. Pecan Street is a nonprofit research consortium headquartered at The University of Texas at Austin.
The Pecan Street team provides a model for seamlessly tackling a complex Smart Grid challenge through its real-world consumer demonstration project in Austin’s Mueller community. A collaboration among Austin Energy, University of Texas at Austin, Environmental Defense Fund, and more than a dozen companies, the team is working on a five-year timeline to test systems in hundreds of volunteer homes (currently 450) in and around the Mueller community that includes:
- Smart electric, water and gas technologies
- The building of a $1.5 million commercialization lab in the Mueller community to provide testing facilities to University of Texas (UT) researchers, member companies, and technology start-ups
- Data gathering from homes and several electrical circuits in 15-second increments, transmitted to the supercomputing center at UT's Texas Advanced Computing Center
- Distributed clean energy — including solar panels on more than 200 homes
- Energy storage technologies
- Research spurring the purchase or lease of 60 EVs in the Mueller community — less than one square mile — making it the most densely installed EV market in the US
- Advanced meters, smart appliances, home energy management systems, and new electricity pricing models
Last year, Roger Duncan, President of the Pecan Street Board and former General Manager of Austin Energy, was honored by GridWeek with a Leadership Award for Looking Forward with his work “advancing electric vehicle uptake and for his efforts in initiating an advocacy campaign to demonstrate a market for plug-in hybrid vehicles.”
We are excited that Pecan Street is being recognized on this international stage and proud to be a part of this groundbreaking work.
Shortly after GridWeek, EDF will be hosting a Pecan Street workshop in DC for consortium members where we will highlight our role and the work we are doing on environmental metrics, another avenue for providing value to stakeholders, specifically regarding consumers and the environment.