AI Being Enlisted to Help Monitor Energy Consumption of Individual Households and Vast Businesses

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Wind power is a renewable energy resource that can be rolled out more widely with the help of AI.

By AI Trends Staff

Energy monitoring can range from knowing about how much energy is being consumed in a household to how much is needed to power a business. The domain of energy consumption is proving ripe for exploitation by AI.

In a recent study conducted by the US Energy Information Administration and reported in VentureBeat, four percent of owners of smart home electric meters reported viewing their hourly or daily energy consumption data. That translated to business opportunity to Mike Phillips, Christopher Micali and Ryan Houlette, who in 2013 cofounded Sense, to develop a platform that taps AI for real-time insights on electrical usage. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company recently raise another $10 million in a Series B investment round, to bring its total B round investment to $30 Mill and its total raised to $50 million.

Previous investors included Schneider Electric and Landis+Gyr. “These additional investments reflect our shared vision of a smart, energy-aware home. From the company’s founding, we envisioned a future when homes would share information about themselves with their owners, who could make better decisions about how to live in today’s world.” said CEO Phillips.

Landis+Gyr is planning to integrate Sense’s technology with its Gridstream Connect IoT platform for utilities. Sense’s home energy app, which monitors energy consumed by electrical devices, will be made available as a plugin for the Connect IoT platform, enabling consumers to see how much energy appliances, lighting and other devices are consuming in real time and recommending ways to cut down on usage.

Schneider Electric has built Sense’s technology into its Wiser Energy System by Square D, and through a partnership with a solar financing provider. The collaborators have signed on more than 200 solar installer partners to date. 

Sense’s technology was developed by a team from Philips, Amazon, Nuance, Vlingo, ScanSoft and SpeechWorks. The company’s $299 home energy monitoring system features a combination of sensors that connect to breakers inside the home’s electrical panel, and a compute box that links to remote services.

Competitors to Sense include Smappee and Currant. Revenue from consumer technology and services for home energy management is anticipated to grow to $7.8 billion by 2025, according to Navigant Research.

Overcoming Persistent Barriers to Renewable Energy

Renewable energy such as solar and wind accounted for 10 percent of all energy consumption in the US in 2016, reported the US Energy Information Agency. Barriers to wider implementation persist. Researchers are exploring how artificial intelligence cold assist in improving the accessibility to renewable energy. A recent account in emerj examined three major categories of renewable energy technologies that incorporate AI, aimed to appeal to business leaders interested in green energy.

For energy forecasting, energy provider Xcel Energy of Colorado seeks to address the challenge of fluctuating solar and wind power sources. The company’s produsting using an AI-based data mining method made available by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It uses a combination of data from local satellite reports, weather stations and wind farms, to identify patterns and make predictions. 

Xcel’s plans to expand wind generation by 50 percent by the year 2021.

For energy efficiency, Verdigris Technologies of California is offing a cloud-based platform leveraging AI to help clients optimize energy consumption. The offering is designed for large commercial buildings and managers of enterprise facilities. Smart sensors in IoT hardware are directly attached to the client’s electrical circuits to track consumption. The data captured is sent to the cloud in a secure manner, and presented to the client on a dashboard. 

Since its founding in 2011, Verdigris has raised over $16.5 million, including from Verizon Ventures in 2016. The company reported working with the W Hotel in San Francisco to identify energy inefficiencies in the hotel’s commercial kitchen. Within three months of use, the system had identified inefficiencies costing the hotel more than $13,000 annually.

For energy accessibility, PowerScout uses AI on industry data to model potential savings for homeowners on utility costs. The product identifies smart home improvement projects based on energy usage, and matches clients to potential installation providers in an online marketplace. 

PowerScout has received two grants from the US Department of Energy amounting to a total of $2.5 million.

Read the source articles in VentureBeat and emerj.