The U.S. now has more power outages than any other developed nation. Thus, Americans overwhelmingly agree we need to act quickly to modernize the grid. It’s how we get there and what we can improve along the way that provides several competing ideas and philosophies.
At Copper Labs we have proven that our solution is the most practical and cost-effective way to accelerate grid modernization at scale for two reasons:
- Our technology collects data in real-time, with or without smart meters.
In the early days of the stock market, before instant global communication, investors made decisions based on what the stock market was doing yesterday. Today, investors have minute-by-minute updates on which to base their decisions. And just like investors in the old stock market, today’s utilities make grid decisions based on outdated information.
- Real-time data helps utilities take the guesswork out of demand management.
Several companies sell devices to consumers that track energy usage on an individual household basis or analytics software to help utilities form assumptions about actual demand based on what happened yesterday or last month. That’s great, but we aren’t going to solve the energy crisis one household at a time. We need aggregate, real-time data from which we can draw insights at scale to enact change by engaging targeted consumers and creating load flexibility in the moments that matters most to the grid.
Smarter Grid Management Starts Behind the Meter
Utilities want solutions to deliver energy across the grid at an even keel effectively. That means prioritizing solutions that maintain grid resiliency by:
- Avoiding grid outages
- Balancing rapidly evolving consumer demand with intermittent renewables
- Enabling an increasing mix of consumer-sited distributed energy resources (DERs)
Copper Labs’ solution harnesses the power of machine learning paired with real-time data analysis for a grid management solution that allows utilities to flatten demand peaks and valleys. As hotter summer days approach, utilities will begin the summer guessing game of wondering if a surge they’re seeing is caused by an unknown number of customers plugging in EVs or if it’s caused by something else.
With visibility “behind the meter,” utilities don’t have to wonder.
In the case of one Copper Labs customer, co-op members saw a 2x energy usage reduction during peak energy times. Even with a fully deployed smart meter program in place, this utility saw that yesterday’s data wasn’t helpful enough to reduce usage or power supply costs during periods of high demand. But with real-time data, their members immediately acted when it mattered most, ultimately reducing demand for the whole grid.
What’s Next for Grid Modernization: A Hybrid Approach
As a global community, we’re at that awkward stage of growth where we have one foot in both worlds: the old, outdated, carbon-intensive world and the new, greenhouse-gas fighting, built-for-today’s-demand world.
Like another hybrid that comes to mind, Copper Labs’ solution is like the early days of Prius. The introduction of the Prius made the idea of a hybrid vehicle accessible, and it managed to welcome drivers from one world into another with a low barrier of entry. Copper Labs does the same for the modern grid: Copper Labs delivers an affordable path to a smarter grid by leveraging existing meters and data backhaul networks.
For example, the push for electrifying everything isn’t a current solution for freezing climates where heat pumps can’t perform. Customers need signals to know when to use a gas furnace and when to use a heat pump. And their utilities should be armed with data to provide them with those.
Moreover, utilities’ solutions for demand response events need to be sustainable and carbon-neutral. When peaker plants are fired up in a last-ditch effort to deliver consistent energy to the grid during peak events, our movement toward sustainability stalls.
With Copper Labs, utilities have access to the only solution that provides real-time grid-edge telemetry and the ability to take control of energy usage during the moments that matter most.