Over 15,000 pounds of Carbon Emissions Prevented by Drift Customers in Three Months

Drift is proud to announce that our 100% Zero Emissions customers have prevented more than 7.2 metric tons or 15,000 pounds of carbon emissions (and that number continues to grow) in just three months!

 

What does this mean? Our customers’ impact is the equivalent* of:

– Recycling 4,600 pounds of waste
– 187 trees planted and grown for 10 years
– Saving 811 gallons of gasoline
– 241 lamps switched to LEDs

 

At Drift, our mission is to make energy choice and transparency accessible to everybody, everywhere. Join the energy revolution. What are you waiting for?


*Based on EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies: https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

The Eclipse and its Interesting Effect on Power Demand in NYC

The solar eclipse truly was an epic event to witness. We (along with the rest of the industry) expected the output of solar energy to plunge across the grid during the event (obviously, since the sun was getting blocked).

 

Knowing this (and because we’re data geeks) we were interested in seeing how that would impact energy demand across NYC and were quite surprised by the results. Turns out that a city shutting down and going outside to watch the event had an impact on electricity demand across all boroughs. In New York City, the solar eclipse began at 1:23pm and ended around 4pm (ET).

 

Take a look at the chart below. You can see that on an average Monday there’s a steady increase in the morning and decrease begins as we move into the evening.

 

 

The light blue line shows energy consumption in NYC on Monday’s solar eclipse. This is where it gets interesting. There was actually a dip in general energy use.

 

What does all this mean? From 1:23pm to 4pm on eclipse day, NYC spent an estimated $1.75 million less on electricity than they would have on an average Monday. That’s about $58k less every 5 min, $11k less per minute.* And by the way, with $1.75 million, 388,915 New Yorkers could have enjoyed both a coke and a hot dog with their eclipse viewing.

 

We won’t have to worry about any major disruptions to energy production or consumption until another eclipse — which isn’t until 2024!

 

*Estimated consumption was projected based on 5min increments of the previous 12 mondays adjusted to actual demand on Eclipse Monday morning. Assumes all prices were the real-time price of electricity (reported in 5 min increments).
**MWh is a unit to measure power. It is equal to one million watts.

Who uses the most energy?

Imagining energy consumption in the United States takes some creativity because the ideas and numbers are vast. People in the United States are among the highest consumers of energy in the entire world – we use 18% of all the energy used on the planet.  Overall energy consumption in the United States in 2016 was measured at 97.4 quadrillion Btu.

 

What does that mean? Btu is an acronym that stands for British thermal unit, a measurement of energy equal to the amount of heat required to warm one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. A quadrillion is equal to a million billions, so imagining 97 quadrillion requires imagining, oh, 760 world economies, or the length of time since the earth was formed multiplied 2 million times.

 

Energy consumption in the United States is a big (pun intended) deal. Where it gets particularly interesting, though, is in comparing usage across space and type.

 

To answer the question we asked in our title, energy use provides yet more evidence that everything really is bigger in Texas. In 2015, Lone Star staters used approximately 13% of all the energy in the entire country. Add California’s energy use (8% of the entire country’s), and you have two states (or 4% of the states) using more than 20% of the country’s energy. Compare that to the frugal (and, admittedly, smaller) states of Vermont, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, and New Hampshire. These make up the five lowest consuming states, which together used a tiny 1% of all the energy consumed in the country. Interestingly, ever since energy use has been tracked (beginning around 1961), Texas has always used the most energy, and Vermont always the least.

 

Americans consume a great deal of energy, which magnifies the importance of our energy sources. While renewable energy still makes up a small fraction of U.S. energy use, its use has nearly doubled in the past 15 years. More and more energy is being generated from renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydro, and more and more consumers are using that renewable energy.

 

A few states are definitely leading the way! Washington state gets almost 70% of its energy from hydro power, thanks to the Grand Coulee Dam, the nation’s largest hydroelectric power producer. Oregon has legislation in place that commits that state to 100% green energy use by 2050. And California makes the top of the list again, with major use of hydro, wind, and solar energy.

 

At Drift we’re continuously working towards adding clean, renewable energy to our supply. Interested? Contact us here.

Data sources:
-https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=32312
-https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=87&t=1

What We Talk About When We Talk About Renewable Energy

Consider how much of life as we currently know it is made possible by electricity. Starting at home, there’s everything we plug in, from computers and televisions to toasters and fans. At work, consider the lights and air conditioning, the server rooms and the power tools. In our communities, electricity makes possible all of the above, as well as everything from mass transportation to professional sports games.

 

And this is only the tip of the iceberg! With electricity powering so many aspects of our lives, it’s reasonable to wonder how much of the electricity we use is renewable.

 

Energy is considered “renewable” when its use does not pollute water, air, or earth and its sources are renewed quickly. The sun, wind, water, and certain biomasses are all considered sources of renewable energy.

 

Nonrenewable and renewable sources of energy have both been used for thousands of years. Historians believe coal has been used for energy for at least 4000 years, beginning around 2000 B.C. when a wood shortage led people in China to use coal for heating and cooking. Quite a few years later, around 200 B.C., people in Europe were using waterwheels to grind their wheat and power other community activities. Since then, the world’s usage of renewable energy sources has ebbed and flowed due to influences as diverse as politics, war, and natural disasters.

 

Since at least the 1970s, when solar cell and wind technology became more cost effective for broader use while oil usage was under new and intense constraints, energy nerds have been making concerted efforts to develop and use more renewable sources of energy. It’s taken awhile, but their work is paying off. Forty years ago, renewable energy sources made up a tiny fraction of the energy we used in the United States. Today? Renewable energy sources are gaining on nonrenewable sources in higher and higher percentages.

 

According to the United States Department of Energy, 2017 has seen record power generation from wind, solar, and hydro sources. More and more new power providers are providing energy from renewable sources. Their work has led wind generation to increase by 16% and solar by a whopping 65% in just the past year. These numbers are expected to be higher by the end of 2017.

 

There is still work to be done. The grid was developed under an assumption that coal was god, and many old-school energy companies are heavily invested in nonrenewable energy. This said, Niagara Falls was one of the original sources of power for a state as large and diverse as New York – renewable energy has been a part of the plan and possibility since the start. Here at Drift, we are working to enable renewable energy providers and to connect power consumers with energy providers and sources that make sense for the long term.

Innovation, Renewables, and Grid Defection, Oh My!

Since the turn of the 20th Century, when creative engineers and scientists developed the first methods and routes for transporting power generated at Niagara Falls throughout the state of New York, the world’s use of electricity has been coexistent with innovation. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to consider some of the more recent innovations currently influencing and improving the energy industry.  Later installments will get to definitions and discussions of things like renewables and grid defection, but today let’s spend some time appreciating the phenomenal effects digital innovation has had on the recent course of electric history.

 

Digital innovators have influenced and improved every aspect of power and how we use it, from developing new ways to store electricity to increasing efficiencies at every point from generation to delivery.  In the twenty years since the turn of the 21st Century, we’ve seen massive gains in the ways we produce and deliver energy, as well as the invention of creative new ways of connecting consumers more directly to their power providers. (Ahem.)

 

Consider the Smart Grid. Scientists, engineers, and politicians noticed the need for structural improvements to North America’s electric grid (which is both magnificent and aging) as early as the 1980s.  Energy wonks and workers sought to avoid brownouts and blackouts, as well as to increase efficiencies. Innovations across the field – from smart metering and responsive sensors to creative new algorithms for better predicting the load on the system – eventually led to coordinated policy changes at the governmental level. Nearly thirty years of innovation culminated in implementation of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), signed by President Bush in 2007. Among other things, EISA officially endorsed, defined, and provided governmental support for the Smart Grid that we know and use today.

 

At Drift, we’re proud to be a part of today’s ongoing energy innovations. We’ve created accurate, intelligent software that increases efficiencies both when you receive your electricity and later, and when you’re billed. Our software also connects you, the consumer, with your power producers.  The algorithms and technology we’ve created are built to last, which means they’re built responsive, smart, and lithe.

 

The power grid is almost unimaginably large and underlies nearly everything we do. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how those early innovators even dreamed it up – we’re impressed and grateful. Here at Drift, we consider today’s innovations to be just the newest tributary in the flow of innovation that’s been in progress since before Edison’s invention of the incandescent bulb.