The other week I had the pleasure of attending EnerNOC’s EnergySMART conference. It was a great opportunity to meet, learn and share ideas with other smart-grid, cleantech and sustainability professionals. I summarize my experience below.
Energy Management is a Vastly Untapped Resource
Did you know that the US is only 24th in the world in terms of energy efficiency utilization (and still a novel idea in the UK)? Being able to measure and manage energy consumption to smooth out energy peaks and transform commercial and industrial complexes into virtual power plants is just the beginning of harnessing the power of energy efficiency. It is a “great time to be in energy management”, said opening keynote speaker Bill Aulet, there are so many great Boston start-ups such as Next Step Living that provide a service that enables real bottom line saving, a positive ROI for energy efficiency projects and a strategy for mitigating risk factors. “This is not your father’s energy industry,” and as it evolves, it will be important to stay nimble, constantly learning and applying new technology.
…and Demand Response is Just the Beginning
With DemandSMART, EnerNOC’s enterprise, SaaS product, companies can easily measure and cut their energy consumption, receive payment for lowering demand and gain a competitive edge (Iron Mountain are you listening?). As the correlation between sustainability and profitability becomes more direct, cost centers can become revenue centers enabling companies to see new opportunities and innovate. Given how easy it is to partner with EnerNOC and start receiving checks almost immediately in the mail – I was surprised that customers were not beating down their doors – but, as I have learned, it will take some time before their solution becomes as “widely accepted a business practice as accounting.”
Looking Beyond DR – Carbon Accounting Helps Mitigate Risk
Looking to go beyond just measuring kWh? EnerNOC’s CarbonSMART solution is designed to give organizations data collection capabilities, analytics, reporting and mitigation planning for scope 1-3 activities. Akamai “reduced its carbon intensity by 50% in 2 years” and gained a greater understanding of its energy drivers. With companies such as Walmart who are ushering in more transparency in their supply chain, companies will be pressured into disclosing and eventually mitigating their GHG – so why not be proactive? EnerNOC’s product helps companies stay ahead of the curve, avoid cumbersome spreadsheets by providing “Carbon Counseling” to help measure, prioritize and deploy GHG mitigation strategies.
Networking & Building Partnerships is Key
It’s all about making connections and learning from one another, remarked Gregg Dixon, EnerNOC’s SVP of Sales & Marketing, who actively encouraged networking at the event. By engaging, collaborating and building bridges across various industries new solutions can be developed to make energy data more meaningful. Because the market is still relatively young, fragmented and lead times for energy projects are quite long, building support networks within business, political and non-profit arenas will be key in moving our country towards energy transparency and independence.
Overall, I Thought this Was a Great Event!
The combination of excellent speakers, content and location was a great mix for learning about current energy issues as well as EnerNOC’s product offering. I will be looking to see how the company develops mobile apps that enable customers to access, monitor and implement energy measures right from their smartphone. I will also be interested to see how EnerNOC leverages customer learnings that can benefit the entire network. I also hope that the low social media adoption rate for this industry improves to help increase awareness, facilitate learning and enable real progress.