Develop world class software and controllers to convert electric water heaters into valuable demand response assets, empowering electricity users and enabling utilities to stabilize their grids while accelerating the integration of renewable energy.
We coordinate thousands of aggregated water heaters to shift electricity consumption from times when the grid is stressed and power is expensive to times when renewable generation is plentiful and power is cheap. By engaging hard-to-reach ratepayers with a cost-effective solution, we ensure that anyone can participate in the renewable energy revolution.
Shifted Energy was founded by Olin Lagon in 2016 as a spin-off from the energy efficiency and justice efforts of nonprofit Kanu Hawaii, a 40,000-member grassroots organization focused on environmental sustainability and community empowerment.
One of Kanu’s projects was to support Hawaii Energy, the state’s energy efficiency program administrator, to conduct community outreach to 1,500 hard-to-reach residents about Hawaii’s 100% renewable energy goals and their understanding of that effort. During this outreach, the Kanu team found that:
- Electric resistance water heaters are a large consumer of electricity, make up a substantial component of many residents’ total electric bills, and are found in about 60% of homes in Hawaii; and
- Hard-to-reach communities, including multi-family dwellers, renters, and low-to-moderate income individuals, cannot afford or install solar, batteries, or other clean energy devices, so they do not have the ability to benefit from most clean energy programs and technologies.
We quickly realized that electric water heaters, if intelligently controlled, offered a pathway to bring the benefits of clean energy programs to underserved communities. So Shifted Energy was born to achieve that mission.
Our initial focus was aimed at developing software that utilized electric water heaters as grid assets for utility demand response programs, thereby converting a here-to-for large household energy consuming appliance into a thermal battery that could generate revenue and/or savings for its user. We developed a dynamic cloud-based platform (“Grid Maestro“), utilizing the latest in advanced machine learning algorithms, to monitor and optimize the operation of a fleet of intelligent water heaters.
Initially, Shifted Energy tested, installed, and managed a total of 800 grid-interactive water heating (“GIWH”) controllers from five different manufacturers for various pilot projects with Hawaiian Electric. During these projects, we became experts in water heaters and smart controllers, and found that existing controllers lacked some key features and capabilities that would prevent scaling deployments to hundreds of thousands of units – the amount needed to make a noticeable impact on the electric grid.
With that realization, Shifted Energy decided to develop our own GIWH controller (“Ara“) that would not impact the water heater maintenance life-cycle, not rely on a customer internet connection for communications, provide high quality data to inform our algorithms, provide multiple grid services, and most importantly, maximize the amount of capacity available to utilities and minimize any potential negative impact to a customer’s access to hot water.
As of today, Shifted Energy’s Grid Maestro software is a world-class GIWH virtual power plant software that can monitor, optimize, and manage any smart water heater on the market. With our controller, any electric water heater can easily be converted to be grid-interactive and intelligently managed. Combined, we offer utilities, energy developers and aggregators, and property managers a one-stop shop to maximize the value of electric water heaters in their area and allow every customer and resident to participate in clean energy programs.