3 promising developments on the road to energy empowerment


Three stories came across the wire yesterday that, when pieced together, create the outlines of an exciting, empowering new era. Scroll down for details on 'Energy Datapalooza' at the White House, a  new smart grid privacy seal and fresh numbers on the proliferation of home energy management (HEM) from IDC.


Energy Datapalooza keys on innovation

We've been preoccupied with gathering data about energy consumption. As we master the logistics, we're turning our attention to creating value from that data. Value for utilities, to be sure, but value for customers as well.


That was a focus of the 'Energy Datapalooza' event at the White House Monday. As part of the Obama Administration's Energy Data Initiative, Datapalooza gathered 150 of America’s entrepreneurs, software developers, energy experts and policy makers to promote energy innovation. The event was a celebration of new energy-related products, services and apps built with freely available data from the government and other sources.


The event also included several announcements:

·         The DOE is launching a Vehicles Data Challenge to spur technologies that can increase fuel efficiency and protect against distracted driving

·         Utilities and software companies announced "Green Button Connect My Data” initiatives in California and the Mid-Atlantic that enable energy customers to securely and automatically transfer their own energy data to authorized third parties

·         Availability of new energy APIs and data sets for innovators and entrepreneurs


Smart grid privacy seal - building consumer confidence

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a Washington, DC based think tank that promotes responsible data practices, teamed with data privacy management company TRUSTe to launch a smart grid privacy seal program for companies that use consumer energy data.

It will be powered by TRUSTe and made available to companies offering home energy management, remote home control or security, smart thermostats and other services involved with consumer energy data.


The program was developed in conjunction with utilities, regulators and private sector companies including AT&T, Comcast, Ecofactor, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Neustar, Opower, Tendril and Verizon.


"Consumers, utility regulators and utilities must all be sure that companies that seek to access consumer energy data gain consumer consent and have responsible privacy practices in place,” said FPF Director Jules Polonetsky.


Added Dan Fredrickson, Associate General Counsel for Tendril: "Our work with utility companies and their customers around the world continually points to a shared, global concern over data privacy. We are very proud to have been a part of this landmark consumer privacy initiative and believe it represents a big step towards alleviating consumer concerns.”