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Insights from Trusource Labs/Everise - Renewable Energy


Peter Butler, General Manager of Trusource Labs/Everise, shared his thoughts with us on electric vehicles, distributed energy and renewable energy options ahead of Parks Associates' eleventh annual Smart Energy Summit. We are excited to feature him as a panelist in the session, Voice, AI, Machine Learning, Diagnostics: Impacting Energy Efficiency on Tuesday, Feb 18 5:00 pm, along with the following speakers:


Eric Danziger, Chief Revenue Officer, Innowatts

James Douglas, President, Util-Assist Inc., a subsidiary of Alectra Utilities; Grid4C Board Member

Daan Goossens, VP of Growth, Mysa Smart Thermostats

Jamie Staples, Head of Key Energy Partnerships, Google


This panel will be discussing how voice-based platforms—such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant—are increasingly used as the de facto hubs in the connected home and will address the impact voice and AI have had on consumers and the future role they will play in driving energy efficiency solutions.


1. What are the current challenges, new services, and incremental shifts utilities are making to leverage connectivity in the home to save energy on the grid?
Some utilities are attempting to incentivize the implementation of smart meters, smart appliances, and other connected devices that would tie into a Home Energy Management System. The goal is to provide visibility to the user so that they can track their energy usage via an app in real time. The most common challenge with this strategy, however, relates to the startup/installation cost for the consumer. Despite the potential long-term savings, the initial investment can dissuade many homeowners.


2. What is the impact of direct consumer participation in energy markets?
Consumers have had the opportunity to participate in energy markets for years now, but multiple studies indicate that the majority of consumers either don’t understand the benefits or are not properly motivated to take advantage of them. In my opinion, what we need in order to turn this vast potential into action is better consumer education.


3. What are strategies to increase consumer engagement?
Existing strategies are heavily weighted toward long-term incentives. This works well when consumers take the time to think about investing in their future, but the reality is that many people are focused on tackling their immediate needs, and consequently, long-term goals take a backseat.


4. What are the barriers to adoption for solar, EV, and storage companies?
Similar to other solutions (like Home Energy Management Systems), a lot of homeowners look at the startup cost for installation and dismiss these options as “too expensive.” Even if there is an option for a payment plan, if there is any uncertainty regarding the return on investment, many will naturally shy away from the financial commitment.


5. How is the impact of voice and AI affecting consumers and the future role they will play in driving energy efficiency solutions?
AI has already made a huge impact in energy efficiency, but the more integrated our smart home products become, the more efficient we can be. If my security system knows that I’ve left home, then my other smart devices should be able to react accordingly. My smart lights can turn off, my thermostat can adjust its temperature, my blinds can open or close themselves based on heating or cooling needs, etc. Amazon, Apple, Google, and Zigbee’s alliance, Connected Home over IP (aka “CHIP”) is expected to help bridge a lot of the gaps in communication between different types of connected devices and provide better compatibility for the smart home.


6. How is the adoption of distributed energy and electric vehicle ownership impacting the grid?
Unsurprisingly, studies suggest that the individuals who invest in electric vehicles tend to be the same individuals who also invest in distributed energy resources - they typically want to do their part to take care of the environment. To help ease the impact on the grid, vehicle manufacturers like Tesla have implemented scheduled charging into their vehicles so that drivers can charge their batteries overnight, off of peak hours.


7. What is the impact of 5G on the utility markets? How does it impact the consumer?
The ability to use 5G as a backup when Wi-Fi is unavailable is game-changing, because it minimizes potential downtime and increases the control we have over our devices. My thermostat is very smart and can typically sense when I’ve left home so that it can be more energy efficient, but if it’s offline, certain remote adjustments cannot be made to ensure I avoid paying for energy I don’t need.


8. How are renewable energy options affecting communities?
From my viewpoint, average communities are increasingly interested in renewable energy, such as solar panels for their homes, and these options are easier and more affordable than they’ve ever been to install. We’ve also seen progress with the laws regarding HOA interference, and the increased adoption by average communities has taken some of the burden off of energy providers.


The eleventh annual Smart Energy Summit will take place February 17-19, 2020, at the Omni Downtown in Austin, Texas. To find out more about the event, visit

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