Thursday, November 28, 2013

An interesting comparison

Good Morning, and Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm sitting in my Brother-In-Law's family room writing this week's Blog and getting ready for the all-day-food-fest that is a get together with my family.  While the coffee perks, I'm thinking about the latest I3 Magazine (It Is Innovation, a CES house magazine.)  A single page filler article at the back really caught my attention, because it puts some numbers to things I've been saying for a while.

Smart Grid isn't going to take off in the residential sector without a significant "consumer pull", that is, customers wanting something that the Smart Grid can provide, or make better.  Thus far that's been pretty limited.

This CES article got my attention because it is based on a survey of people's interest in home automation, which I think is the key to consumer acceptance and adoption of Smart Grid, time-of-use pricing, and a host of other related concepts.  Here's the observation that hit me: 37 26% of those surveyed said they were "very interested" in home automation, and another 25 35%  said they were "interested."  Another 23% were "Somewhat interested, somewhat not interested."  (Normally, I include a link to any article I cite, but I haven't been able to find this one online.  Also, the original figures were from memory, because I left the magazine on the kitchen counter in the rush to get my household loaded into the car.  Corrected figures are now shown.)

Think about this for a moment, more than 60% of those surveyed said they were at least "interested" (more than "somewhat interested") in home automation.  Not knowing anything about the population surveyed, it's hard to draw any hard conclusions, but even if we assume, for the sake of discussion, that the population surveyed were those who have more disposable income to spend on such things, this is a population that contributes quite a bit to system peak.

This makes for an interesting comparison to the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative work on market segmentation of consumer attitudes towards Smart Grid.

When most of the people who contribute to system peak are interested in technology that enables energy management (even if energy management isn't why they are interested) Smart Grid has a real chance to provide significant societal benefit.  Energy management and cost savings may not be the primary reason, but I don't think the grid cares why residential energy management takes hold.

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