Last year, Centrica established a new global Distributed Energy & Power business with the aim of helping large energy users to take control of their energy.
Speaking yesterday at the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the United Nations in New York, our Managing Director Jorge Pikunic spoke about “The internet of things meets energy: Love for sustainability begins at home.”
You can read the full speech below.
"Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here.
I work for Centrica, an international energy and services company which operates here in the US under the Direct Energy brand.
My role is Managing Director of Distributed Energy & Power – one of two global businesses that were established only a few months ago in response to trends that are fundamentally changing the energy world.
A few blocks from here, in Pearl Street, in the late 1800s, the first central power station was built. So this city, New York, saw the beginning of the energy system that we have all become used to.
I, the energy supplier, give you, the consumer, the energy you use. You flick a switch and the light is there, and at the end of a month or a quarter or a year, you get a bill. With no real understanding of how the energy was used or where it came from. You are a passive consumer.
But this is not the 1800s. The world today could not be more different.
I see three trends in particular that are fundamentally shaping the energy world.
The first one is the growth of renewable energy. Here in the US, over 25GW of solar capacity has been installed – enough to power over 5 million homes.
Second, people’s attitudes towards energy are changing. At Centrica, we have 28 million customer accounts. And we see that customers want choice, they want control, and the ability to use less energy. Increasingly, they also want lower carbon emissions.
Third, technology is becoming more available. As an example, electricity storage is poised to become an established and affordable technology. Lithium-ion battery prices fell by 53% between 2012 and 2015 (GSR, 2015). But changes in digital technology and data analytics are probably even more important. The internet of things is going to have a fundamental impact on the way we do business. It is estimated that the world will have 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Big data and analytics give suppliers the ability to extract meaningful insights for their customers that lead to understanding and changes in their behaviour to, for example, reduce the amount of energy that they consume. One of our products, Panoramic Power, which is underpinned by an innovative wireless sensor technology, does exactly this.
These three trends (renewables, attitudes towards energy, and accessibility of technology) mean that the days of the passive consumer are gone.
It also means that the location of energy – where energy is generated and managed – is changing. Energy will be generated closer to the point of consumption, and we are seeing the emergence of local energy systems and micro-grids.
So ask me what the internet of things means for energy and it’s this: the democratisation of energy. From a handful of players to tens of thousands of large energy users and millions of households and small companies that will play a role.
Thank you. "
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