How an App is Using Weather Forecasts to Manage Power Demand

Jan 21, 2016 9:53:00 AM by NuEnergen

weather appThese days it seems as though there's an app for just about everything, so does it really come as much of a surprise that an app has been developed to help with energy usage management based on weather patterns? When you think about it, the concept makes a lot of sense. Nearly half of any home or business's energy usage is contingent upon the weather. With this information in mind, Earth Networks (the creators of the WeatherBug app) came to believe that its reliable sensors and home insights could take unpredictable weather and turn it into a resource for utilities. The company's chief marketing officer, Leslie Ferry, has gone so far as to describe the app as "intelligent demand response."
 
In traditional, behavioral demand response, users focus on direct control to adjust electricity and energy consumption based on peak demand events. With Earth Networks' app, however, a combination of weather analytics and smart meter data would actually help utilities to avoid these demand events surrounding heating and cooling.
 
How would this work, though? 
 
Amazing as it sounds, Earth Networks already has more than 10,000 "weather observation points" worldwide, with 75 percent of those being located within the U.S. The sheer volume of points provides the company with data at the neighborhood level, making it possible for them to gain precise insights into the weather's impact on homes and places of business. Smart meter data from the utility can be integrated with an individual structure's profile as a means of constructing a thermodynamic model. The pairing of connected devices and a connected thermostat makes it possible to better predict energy usage and costs.
 
The end result is that utilities are able to manage the grid and make more effective decisions regarding their demand response efforts. Everyone wins. Through predictive analysis, a building can start to be cooled, for example, an hour or two before the peak time. This takes demand off of the grid while helping consumers cut back on their energy bills without sacrificing comfort.
 
The ultimate goal of the app is to enable users to rely upon its intel, becoming a daily "hub" for both weather and climate control. Customers are able to connect compatible devices, like thermostats, to utility data so that all of the information is right at their fingertips. The app is even able to take a building's level of efficiency into account, customizing the way that it pre-warms or cools the home or business based upon its specific characteristics. 
 
With continued growth in energy usage, it's more important now than ever for tech enterprises to continue pushing forward with their efforts to help both the consumer as well as utilities in their management of the grid, and Earth Networks may really be on to something. According to Ferry, "Everyone is trying to help utilities with grid management, and we're on the leading edge with weather data."
 
Could you benefit from using smart technology like a weather-based power demand app? Talk to the experts at NuEnergen to learn more.