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.