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Electricity 2.0: Using the Lessons of the Web to Improve Our Energy Networks

14:35 Thursday, 23-10-2008
Location: C1 Level: Novice

For too long, power distribution has been a top down, subscribe only model, but the electricity grids of tomorrow will be read/write, just like the Web. It’s a commonplace to talk about how IT should be delivered as a utility, but what about delivering a utility the same way the Web works? Utilities need to become more like the Internet: disparate, disconnected electrical grids will be joined up to give us one global electricity super-grid. Imagine the resilience: electricity that can route around problems.

Think about how much more stable the super-grid would be if the excess energy produced by, for instance, Scandinavian wind farms on windy nights could simply be sold to meet capacity shortages in the U.S. as people arrive home from work, or in Japan as they start to wake up.

What if the grid were smart, publishing prices in real time, based on supply and demand fluctuations? And further, what if smart meters in homes and businesses could adjust appliances based on the real-time pricing (thermostats up/down, devices on/off, etc.) And what if, again like the Internet, the super-grid were read/write, i.e., if you could be a producer as well as a consumer?

In this talk Tom Raftery will explain how this vision will be realized, which companies and geographies are leading the charge, and what you should to do to encourage the change.

Photo of Tom Raftery

Tom Raftery


Tom Raftery is the lead analyst of GreenMonk, the energy and sustainability practice of industry analyst firm RedMonk.

Before joining RedMonk, Tom was a social media consultant and co-founder of Cork Internet eXchange (CIX) – a hyper energy efficient data center. Tom documented in realtime the entire build of the CIX on Flickr, Slideshare and www.cix.ie, effectively open-sourcing the build of an energy efficient data center.

Tom has a many years experience in IT and social media and is originally a scientist by training.

Photo of James Governor

James Governor


Co-founder of RedMonk, the first open source analyst company. Work with firms like Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun, helping them to understand how the IT world is changing and how they should respond.

I live and work in London with my wife and son. I travel too much. I could live in a mud hut and only eat raw vegetables and still have the carbon footprint of a small town.