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New innovation aims to make our energy use smarter

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New innovation aims to make our energy use smarter

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As the energy market has become (slightly) more transparent, there is an increasing desire amongst consumers to become smarter with their energy usage, both in terms of when they use it, and the sources they get their energy from.  This has prompted a response from the more innovative sections of the marketplace.

For instance, the Dutch have got the Vandebron marketplace whereby consumers can decide both how local and how environmentally friendly they’d like their energy to be.  Ohmconnnect are aiming to tackle things from a slightly different angle.  They’re aiming to educate and inform customers on the best time to use energy throughout the day, and to incentivize the most efficient usage.

The system was designed to help customers who were concerned about their environmental impact take charge of their usage.  The pain point for the venture was that whilst most energy companies publish the proportion of their energy they obtain from different sources, it’s next to impossible for consumers to understand which source is powering their home at a particular time.  If you found that green sources were most popular during off-peak hours for instance, you could change behaviour accordingly.

Ohmconnect monitors energy usage across America and can detect when peak energy periods are about to occur.  These periods are particularly damaging to the environment as they often require energy companies to pull on board sources of energy, known as peaker plants, that are used sporadically, and as a result are often quite expensive and inefficient.

So Ohmconnect believe that through their energy monitoring, they can both detect the peak energy times as they occur, and then send an alert via their app to users when a peaker plant is due to come online near them.  What’s more, the app can be linked to smart energy services such as Nest or Tesla Smart House so that energy usage can be reduced at that time.  The hope is that the energy company will notice the drop in usage and avert activating the peaker plant.

The service also has a gamified element to it, with users earning points whenever they save energy during a peak energy period.  These points can be converted into cash once a certain limit has been reached.  In addition, the app will also provide users with a detailed energy breakdown for their house.

The business model for the service is a fascinating one.  It earns its keep by selling this unused energy back to the market.  It’s kind of a form of the negawatt concept that was first mooted a few years back.  The theory is that expensive energy generation is reduced, and some of that saving is split between Ohmconnect and the consumer.

The negawatt concept hasn’t really taken off on a big scale thus far, but hopefully apps such as this one will see that shift take place on a wider scale.

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