As a Californian, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are immune to the inclement weather received by the rest of the United States on a yearly basis. With an estimated 300 days of sun, incidences like snow days, hurricane watches, and unbearably hot heat are rare occurrences and offer many of us the opportunity to head to the beach, go for a hike, or hop in the car for a drive.
Though this experience sounds like a dream (and for the most part, it is), what living in California has in common with the rest of the country is the challenge of energy consumption. On exceptionally hot and cold days, you will find many residents using air conditioning or heating units to maintain a comfortable climate. With the population also growing at a 5.08% percent rate since 2010, more residents are also using electricity to power mobile and desktop devices, work through the evening, and stay connected with friends.
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Due to changing demographics and higher levels of demand, energy companies and service providers must also adjust how they provide their services. From modernizing electrical grids to adding options for solar to making way for electrical vehicles, there is a motivation to innovate and meet demand. Providers such as Southern California Edison are forecasted to spend up to $2.5 billion dollars on upgrades, including $500 million towards cloud solutions alone covering areas such as energy monitoring and grid management.
For cloud professionals such as myself, seeing that Southern California Edison and potentially other energy companies are committing 20% of their upgrades into cloud solutions is a welcome sight. Given that energy consumption and cloud consumption align on flexible use, there could not be a better match made in heaven. While the weather is fairly consistent in California save for the occasional rainy year and cold summer, adding cloud technology into energy management provides more peace-of-mind for energy grid managers who can also notify constituents should their energy consumption fluctuate as well.
The good news on energy innovation, however, does not stop there. As cloud and DevOps solutions continue to mature, energy companies and providers will discover increased opportunities to serve their customers while maximizing efficiency and operations. For example, leveraging IBM BlueMix may allow for the contextualization of energy consumption activities, development of new and scalable applications, and cognitive integration with platforms such as Watson to provide real-time feedback on energy usage. No matter how inclement the weather or flucutation in energy usage, everyone should agree that more resources and data is a good direction to take.