Home' Technology Review : January February 2011 Contents Briefing 71
system for Duke Energy’s $1 billion smart-
grid infrastructure project, which will con-
nect the utility to four million customers in a
five-state service area. And it has developed
a touch-screen-based system that can con-
nect with smart appliances to let residential
customers manage their energy use.
Startups, which in the past found it dif-
ficult enter the utility grid market because
of high capital costs, have discovered
exploitable niches in smart-grid technology.
Among those attracting venture capital are
GridPoint and Silver Spring Networks (see
“Gluing the Grid Together,” p. 69), which have
partnered with utilities to deploy new energy
management systems, and Tendril, AlertMe,
and EnergyHub, which are developing home
area networks that enable appliances and
smart-grid devices to communicate. The
coming wave of plug-in hybrids and all-
electric vehicles should create additional
opportunities (see “Everything Is the Grid,” p.
68), such as developing software to optimize
the schedule on which cars are recharged.
— Kirsten Korosec
Innovation in distributing electricity has
traditionally been the preserve of corpo-
rate behemoths like General Electric and
Siemens, which sell equipment to utilities.
But smart-grid technology has allowed IT
companies and startups to enter the market.
Currently, most smart-grid money is going
toward the rollout of systems that connect
smart meters in consumers’ homes to util-
ities by means of various communication
technologies. But by 2015, the smart-meter
market will peak at $5 billion, according to
Bob Gohn of the clean-technology analy-
sis firm Pike Research, and utility capital
expenditures will be aimed at automating
distribution, using technologies that improve
the flow of power through the transmission
network (see “Managing Renewables,” p. 66).
In the distribution automation sec-
tor, established firms such as GE, ABB,
Schneider Electric, and Siemens are find-
ing themselves competing against new play-
ers, including large IT firms like Cisco and
IBM and telecom companies like AT&T and
Verizon. The new entrants are attracted to
the smart grid because energy is one of the
last sectors to incorporate IT and they see a
new opportunity to profit from their tech-
nology and customer bases.
Cisco has made a particularly aggressive
entry into the smart grid, moving to com-
pete in nearly every subsector—including
advanced metering networks, distribution
automation, data storage, and even home
energy management. In the past year, Cisco
has purchased the wireless network startup
Arch Rock and partnered with Itron to work
on a grid communication platform based
on Internet standards. Cisco is developing
an Internet-protocol-based communication
soon, appliances such as refrigerators and air
conditioners will network with smart meters.
Source: Energy Storage Association
Note: *Does not include $6.5 billion in increased
borrowing authority. Source: Zpyrme
Global smart-appliance market
(in billions of dollars, 2010)
Source: Energy Technologies Institute.
667.2 mil. tons
U.K. annual CO2 Emissions
(millions of tons)
Source: Energy Technologies Institute
564.76 million tons
International aviation and shipping
U.K. annual CO2 energy emissions
(in millions of tons, 2008)
U.S. wind and solar power capacity
Federal stimulus investments by country
(in millions of dollars, 2010)
Storage technology energy densities
(kilowatt-hours per ton)
Utility Market Opens to
Total length of new and upgraded
power lines that will be installed in
Europe over the next 10 years.
charGE ’Er UP a public recharging station for
electric and plug-in vehicles in london. manag-
ing electric vehicles so that they don’t stress the
electric grid will require new software.
Jan11 Briefing.indd 71
12/8/10 7:17 PM
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