Business: A Smarter Spark

Adventurous startups are taking the energy industry out of the dark ages by introducing green IT to the grid

By Dan Fost

Photo courtesy of Enernoc

The electric meters on the outside of your house haven’t changed in nearly a century. They’re starkly visible symbols of a utility system that’s riddled with outdated practices and age-old inefficiencies. But now a handful of startups are pushing to create a “smart grid” that could discourage excess energy usage by both utilities and consumers. These companies stand at the heart of a broad and powerful push to reduce energy consumption and deliver it more efficiently. In the fight to reduce global emissions, this initiative could prove even more critical than developing new and renewable forms of energy; it tackles the demand-side issues, where people use it, rather than the supply side, where it’s generated. “The global potential for saving energy is huge,”  said Gro Harlem Brundtland, the United Nations’ Special Envoy on Climate Change, at a Nordic Investment Bank colloquium held in New York earlier this year. “The US has half the energy efficiency of Japan, and China only has one-ninth.”
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Issue 25

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