Why AI Is the Next Big Bet for Climate Tech

June 01, 2023

With the rise of ChatGPT and other artificial-intelligence chatbots, AI is everywhere, from your doctors office to your brokerage account. It’s also poised to shake up another hot sector of the economy: clean energy. 

So-called virtual power plants, in which household energy resources can be tapped to supply power to the grid, are getting a lot of chatter. Can you talk about what they are and how AI is a key part of them? One of your companies, Shifted Energy, seems to fit under the VPP umbrella. 
If you have solar panels on your home, if you’ve got a battery backup system, if you’ve got a heat pump, you can use that as a resource for the grid. You might be able to smooth out your demand profile. You might be able to use that solar power when energy prices are high. If you have extra energy, you can put that energy back into the grid. You could use your EV as an energy source. You have a bidirectional relationship to the grid.  

Shifted Energy is [managing supply and demand] for homeowners who have electric water heaters. They’re heating when renewable energy is available and when the price is cheapest. Their technology is also applicable to electric vehicles. It started in Hawaii where electricity prices are high and renewables have a very high penetration. This innovation was fine-tuned to serve lower income families. Now they’re deploying in California, Colorado, the Southeast. 

Read the entire article at the Wall Street Journal.

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