Smart Grid Innovations in Energy and Analytics Take Root in San Diego—Previewing Xconomy’s Smart Energy Event

6/7/10Follow @bvbigelow

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exactly match consumer demand. As energy demand soars on a hot summer day, the grid operator must incrementally increase power production (typically by adding electricity generated by expensive gas-fired turbines) to exactly match power generation with demand—what’s known as “balancing the load.” In less than a decade, however, a third of the grid’s electricity will be generated by renewable energy sources that fluctuate throughout the day—which means that both energy demand and production will be moving targets. So it will be far more difficult for utilities to balance power generation with demand.

Managing the future power grid is expected to require extensive new capabilities in sensor networks to monitor weather conditions, as well as added IT capabilities for data collection, storage, and real-time data mining and analytics. In San Diego, as it turns out, several companies have been moving to address the need for such technologies.

Teradata (NYSE: TDC): The Dayton, OH, company spun out by NCR three years ago, has been developing new applications at its San Teradata 10gDiego-based engineering development center for its core database software, data warehouse appliances, and analytics. “We really did not have a presence in utilities until about a year and a half ago,” Terry Burns, a Teradata executive consultant in energy and utilities, told me earlier this year. “All of a sudden, with the smart grid, utilities are in the process—or will be in the process of gathering lots of information.” Through a partnership with Itron (NASDAQ: ITRI), a leading smart meter manufacturer in Liberty Lake, WA, Teradata is creating a software platform designed to help utilities conduct advanced analytics of energy use, power generation, and grid management. Teradata already provides similar technology that helps wireless carriers optimize their network performance, and Burns said electric utilities can use Teradata’s analytics capabilites to take a more holistic view of grid management by analyzing and modeling both tactical and strategic programs to determine which demand-response initiatives would optimize energy use and efficiencies.

EDSA: The San Diego-based software developer’s move into … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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