The ability to track and respond to real-time grid power prices is being programmed into a growing number of grid-edge devices, such as electric-vehicle chargers, smart thermostats and appliances, and behind-the-meter battery control systems. But there’s the price of grid electricity, and then there’s the greenhouse gas emissions profile of grid electricity -- and the two are not always the same.
That’s a problem for anyone hoping to turn smart devices to the specific task of greening the grid, at least in a verifiable way. But with the right mix of grid data and emissions data, it should be possible to turn price-responsive assets into emissions-responsive assets -- and give green-minded consumers and corporations another reason to buy into smart energy controls.
That’s the proposition behind WattTime. Founded in 2014, the Berkeley-based nonprofit started out sending text alerts to customers interested in turning down household energy use during times of high-emissions grid power. But it's since grown to delivering its data to university energy managementsystems and smart EV chargers, and exploring the potential to share it with scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory -- and as a nonprofit, it's making its data available via APIs for others interested in trying it out.