A gigantic tip of the hat to the man who’s just coined the best new phrase I’ve heard in a long while to sum up the value of distribution system modernization, negawatts, DR, DER, DLC, and the rest of the alphabet soup of the smart grid:
This simply brilliant, and brilliantly simple, five-word sentence was spoken by Tyson Brown, a utility demand response program manager. It wraps up both the breadth and the power of automated home direct load control into a neat little idea that tells a story. You can picture a house with an electric cord sticking out of it, read to provide power. Many thanks to Utility Dive for the story.
My reaction to this gem of a sentence would be the same no matter who said it or where. But knowing its source makes it all the more amazing.
First, the where: “The house becomes a battery” crystalizes an idea being touted all the time in New York, California, Massachusetts and other blue-state costal intellectual hubs. But it didn’t come from the enlightened coasts. Brown works at Kansas City Power and Light, a 130 year old utility serving Missouri and Eastern Kansas. Perhaps they don’t call it the “Show me” state for nothin’, as “the house becomes a battery” shows you what demand response actually means.
And the who: Tyson Brown is, according to LinkedIn, a program manager. Too often utilities and other organizations only allow top management to talk to the media or the public about what they’re doing. This means that there’s a gap between the folks who are on the ground doing the work and the folks trying to explain the work. There are usually other gaps too, like a generation gap, a technical gap, or a . By trusting Brown to talk freely about his and his team’s work, KCP&L has given us a fresh perspective on a tool that’s usually dismissed as too technical to explain or too unreliable to really make a dent in our electricity needs.
Brown also says, “"The end game is to have a connected home that has energy efficiency and demand response measures built into it across the board. From your dishwasher running during the day because there's solar on the roof, to your hot water heater taking wind, to the utility managing peak demand and locational benefits of the home.”
This isn’t a environmental activist talking or a State energy official. It’s a mid-western utility program manager. And it’s the best thing I’ve heard all year.