Last week I was sitting in an office in Seattle, a guest of Seattle City Light, for the 2nd Face to Face meeting of the Utility IT Energy Efficiency Coalition founded by Mark Bramfitt of Pacific Gas & Electric, (www.pge.com/hightech). About half the members of the online collaborative community of the Coalition participated including representatives from Duke Power, Pacific Corp, Oncor, Bonneville Power Authority, as well as municipal utilities such as Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Palo Alto, Sacramento Municipal, Idaho Power, Madison General Electric, (and more) and from Canada, BC Hydro.
This group of program managers has as their task creating incentives and rebates that will accelerate data center energy efficiency. The morning agenda is lecture-style, with presentations from IDC (market research) Matt Eastwood, describing server growth on a global scale, Andrew Fanara and Arthur Howard with updates on what EPA's server specifications are progressing, as well as Benn Schreiber of Citrix discussing the growth and direction of server virtualization over the next 3-5 years.
The afternoon was spent discussing progress reached by the members - how many programs they are supporting, their challenges with regulators as well as market forces, and the obstacles that they run while trying to save megawatts in their data center markets. Several utility program managers joined the informally named "One Megawatt Club" to set a goal for themselves over the next 12 months, with a set of peers who are similarly trying to save energy.
Vendors who know about this coalition have already been phoning Mark Bramfitt and his counterparts at BC Hydro, Austin Electric, Sempra Utilities and elsewhere. The key to a program such as those in California is that vendors need to bring in the customers who can show energy saved. If you don't have a local customer, don't spend your time tracking down Mark Bramfitt. Vendors seeking qualification for inclusion in utility incentive programs should understand the goals that utilities have: driving market adoption of technologies that "feature superior energy efficiency and delivering on energy savings claims." (Mark Bramfitt's own words) He goes on to say: "The vetting process is technically rigorous and often includes field measurement and monitoring to justify savings claims, so actual customer engagements are a key requirement."
By the way, you've seen me use the term Novel Innovative Collaboration in this blog previously. PG&E's sponsorship of this utility coalition provides over $1 million in intellectual capital for use by other utilities with no direct bottom line contribution. It is truly industry leadership, meant to accelerate data center energy efficiency across the continent. If your utility has energy efficiency programs, but nothing earmarked for data center energy efficiency, they need to hear about this coalition. Contact Mark at 415 973 2933.
Before I departed on Saturday from Seattle, it started to rain, and I mentioned to a street-side coffee seller on Pike Street that I hadn't brought my umbrella with me from San Francisco. And while he was fixing my mocha, he said, "Here, please take mine and just bring it back before 6 p.m." He had never met me before and just trusted me to come back 7 hours later. Is that pretty typical behavior in Seattle? If so, why aren't we all living there? Have a green day!