AI and Technology: Rethinking energy consumption
How can we harness the power of new and emerging technologies to meet clean energy goals? Gavin McCormick, founder of non-profit technology company WattTime, argues that we need to think beyond generation of renewable energy to focus on the exact moment we use it, if we’re going to see real change in the next five to ten years.
In this first episode of our new series, we take a look at the big picture in terms of global emissions, and how new AI tools are helping consumers to automatically use energy when it’s at its cleanest. Gavin, who is a behavioural economist, explains the need for a shift in mindset – from blaming energy producers and users for emissions to empowering them to make smarter choices. He also discusses the impact of COVID-19 on corporate consumption levels, and the role data will play in redesigning utilities’ energy efficiency programmes. Finally, he shares his view on what will enable us to Transition Faster Together to a clean energy future.
GAVIN MCCORMICK I think that there’s a lot of really interesting things going on about integrating the markets of trading electricity and those have generally been ahead of integrating the environmental component of power grids. I think what this project opens up is understanding - suppose that you are consuming power in Spain. Some of your power is coming from France. Some of your power is coming from Portugal. The more you understand about the environmental implications of making certain choices, the more you can begin to say, how do we not just build a few wind farms in Spain? How do we make sure that those wind farms have the maximum effect possible, and instead of just replacing and turning off wind farms in France, they’re turning off coal plants and helping us all move faster together? We think this type of data is going to make it possible for grid operators and regulators to think about not, what’s the effect on my little town, but, what is the effect I have on my neighbours and the effect they have on me, and how can we have a system that is optimized together to have even more benefit from similar regulations?