The Smart Grid Promise

10/12/2010 by NextGenWeb

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies hosted a recent forum titled, “The Smart Grid Promise: A Technology Policy Forum.” The event pulled together a number of representatives from private industry, consumer welfare groups, technology organizations and public officials to discuss the promise of the smart grid – cost savings, better data collection, energy savings, more consumer control over energy consumption and energy efficiency. Each panelist was asked to explore current efforts aimed at moving more of the country onto the smart grid, as well as what types of policies need to be adopted in order to ensure faster deployment and adoption of smart grid technology.

As we’ve highlighted before on NextGenWeb, the smart grid is possible because of the high-speed broadband networks connecting homes and utilities all across America. And it is thanks to the billions of dollars annually invested by America’s broadband providers that today make the promise of the smart grid closer to a reality.

Present on the panel were two representatives from two of those broadband providers leading the charge – AT&T and Verizon. Jeff Brueggeman, Vice President for Public Policy at AT&T, stated that a conversation about the smart grid must start by thinking about the full range of communications needs that enable the smart grid. The challenge, according to Brueggeman, is managing huge amounts of data that flow over the networks. This is why state of the art broadband networks are needed in order to ensure that seamless flow of data and information.

Larry Plumb, Executive Director of Emerging Issues and Technology Policy at Verizon, began by stating that Verizon sees the smart grid as a business opportunity. A good business model is to invest in what consumers really want. In this case, consumers want to save money and reduce their energy consumption, which the smart grid is allowing to happen. We caught up with Plumb following the panel to further elaborate on the idea of the smart grid as a business opportunity (see below).

During the audience Q&A, a question was posed of what affect the Net neutrality and other broadband regulation debates going on in Washington may have on smart grid policy. In near unanimity, the panelists echoed that network provider’s ability to manage their services will be key to realizing the full potential of the smart grid moving forward. To read more about the managed broadband services debate, click here.

FTTH Powering Our Smart Grid Future

09/13/2010 by Shana Glickfield

The FTTH Conference and Expo welcomed guest speaker David Wade, COO of the Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) to discuss how his community is using fiber optic broadband to move from an electric grid to a smart grid.  Wade has seen numerous benefits for his city’s economic development thanks to broadband, and believes this is just one of them.

Wade says that the smart grid is having a huge impact on electricity consumers.  He introduced the smart grid as “intelligent, self-healing, and interactive,” and went on to enumerate the following benefits:

  • Reduce outage times by 40%, which thereby reduces the costs of power disruptions correspondingly
  • Real time interaction with millions of devices leading to reduce peak usage by 100MW
  • Give consumers tools to use energy more efficiently, thereby helping manage usage and costs

Even with all of these benefits, Wade says they are still testing ways to further improve their system.  I’d say this is a great start!

Read more on Chattanoonga’s Smart Grid system here!

The Telepresence Revolution – Fueled by Broadband

07/28/2010 by NextGenWeb

We often highlight how broadband is environmentally friendly by enabling the smart grid and allowing commuters to travel less thanks to telecommuting. Now AT&T, in collaboration with the Carbon Disclosure Project, has joined the chorus by releasing a study showing just how Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is enabling products and services such as video conferencing and telepresence for businesses all around the globe.

The report, titled “The Telepresence Revolution”, looks into how these products and services are reducing carbon emissions, providing energy-efficient alternatives to business travel, and reducing costs. A few of the interesting finding are below. You may also be interested in a recent NextGenWeb interview with Beth Shiroishi of AT&T discussing the study.

· At an economy-wide view, by 2020 US and UK businesses with annual revenues of more than $1 billion can cut nearly 5.5 million CO2 emissions as a result of deploying almost 10,000 telepresence units. These reductions are equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over one million passenger vehicles.

· US firms can reduce CO2 by 112,000 tonnes in 2010 to 963,000 tonnes in 2020. A total of almost 4.6 million tonnes in cumulative CO2 cuts.

· For US firms, net financial benefits from telepresence increase from $315 million in 2010 to over $3.5 billion in 2020. A total of over $15 billion in ten years.

Thomas Edison Wouldn’t Recognize It

07/27/2010 by NextGenWeb

Many people have said that if Thomas Edison were alive today and looked at our electricity grid, he would recognize it. But finally, some 100 years after Edison fired up the first commercial power grid, the revolution is beginning– thanks to broadband.

A recent briefing on Capitol Hill hosted by the Clean Economy Network and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) touched on how broadband is enabling consumer energy tools and the smart grid. Smart grids are being developed across the country, and they will change the amount of control that consumers have over their energy consumption and monthly bills like never before. Presenters at the briefing focused their comments on how broadband providers and utility companies can work together to ensure that smart grids become commonplace.

Following the event, NextGenWeb caught up with Mike Brander, Vice President of Sales for Utility and Industrial at Verizon Wireless, and Tim Greeff, Political Director if the Clean Economy Network, to further discuss the role broadband is playing in enabling the smart grid.

Click below to view interviews as well as complete archived footage of the briefing.

Information Technology is Good For Business

07/14/2010 by NextGenWeb

Earlier this week, a group gathered in Washington to discuss the importance of Information Technology in the business and environmental world. The ITIF event “Using IT to Create a More Sustainable World,” touched on the ways Internet technology can help the economy move forward in a more low cost and low carbon way.

After the event, NextGenWeb was able to interview Beth Shiroishi of AT&T to discuss the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) “Telepresence Report.” Using technology for business purposes is a growing trend among companies today. Now companies no longer have to send employers to events miles away. All work and discussions can be held over innovative online technologies. The telepresence approach to holding virtual meetings can save a $1 billion company nearly 900 business trips a year and reduce CO2 emissions up to 2,271 metric tons over five years. This type of technology also allows the employee to attend multiple events per day without affecting their work or personal life.

To hear more about Carbon Disclosure Project’s “Telepresence Report” watch the interview below with Beth Shiroishi.

What’s Next For Our Economy? Green, Smart, Broad(band) Jobs!

05/19/2010 by Shana Glickfield

The Georgetown Center for Business & Public Policy took to the Hill yesterday with a line-up of experts to discuss future job opportunities that will have the most impact on economic growth.   What are they you ask?

Green Jobs – As we transition to a greener economy, the increased demand for greater energy efficiency creates incredible potential for growth in the green jobs sector.  Mark Doms, a Chief Economist at the Department of Commerce, says that although the green economy is currently just 1-2% of the economy, with the right policies and investments, this could be an important area of growth.  Supporting this trend, fellow panelist Bob Nelson, President of CWG Midwest cited data from the growth of his e-waste recycling company, like the 20% increase in the recycling of cell phones.

Smart Jobs – Panelists were quick to note that often our job concerns focus on manufacturing, when the real opportunities for growth are in services and other “skilled, high wage” businesses.  Georgetown Business Professor J. Bradford Jensen says the smart business service sector is 25% of all jobs (vs. only 10% in manufacturing), suggesting this is where we need to focus.  Paul Delaney, a representative from FedEx Express concurred, even noting that IBM 20 years ago was about 80% manufacturing and 20% services now is 80% services and 20% manufacturing.

Broad(band) Jobs – Robert Shapiro, a Senior Policy Fellow at the Georgetown Center, brought to light the economic reality that job creation has now declined relative to economic growth, and therefore, we can no longer be complacent about job growth. He believes that broadband deployment will be key to new jobs, generating job growth in infrastructure, devices, and applications.  Fellow panelist Nicol Turner-Lee agreed noting that with increased digital literacy opportunities, minority and low-income communities could benefit from economic success.

Shapiro also noted that communities with broadband had more job growth than those without, demonstrating the increased labor value of those who work with these technologies.  He says we need policies that support investment in broadband and cautioned the Administration and Congress about policy changes that could weaken these investments.

Read more about broadband and jobs in this report from the Brookings Institute and this report from ITIF, and watch the video below for more from Robert Shapiro.

AT&T’s Jim Cicconi Talks Broadband At Green Jobs Conference

05/06/2010 by Shana Glickfield

Among the headlining speakers that included Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Sierra Club Executive Chair Carl Pope, and U.S. Senator John Kerry at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference was Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President for External & Legislative Affairs. AT&T offered a unique perspective among an array of green activists and politicians, by talking about the important contributions that broadband is making to our green economy and low carbon future.

Cicconi began by thanking fellow conference participants, including the Blue Green Alliance for their recent report, Networking the Green Economy: How Broadband and Related Technologies Can Build a Green Economic Future. The report talks about the potential of broadband to spur job growth through the development of smart buildings, smart grids, telehealth, teleconferencing, and digital education. Cicconi also referenced the Smart 2020 report, which found that the large-scale adoption of broadband in the United States can reduce CO2 emissions by 13 to 22 percent by 2020 “by transforming the way people and businesses use technology.”

Cicconi touted the $55 billion that AT&T has invested in their networks over the past three years, and outlined plans to invest between $18 and $19 billion this year, an increase of 5 to 10 percent over last year. It is precisely this level of investment that will power our green job future. Finally, Cicconi reminded the audience of the need to maintain the kind of climate conducive to these kinds of capital investments, which are so critical in increasing deployment and adoption of the green technologies that were highlighted at the event.

Click below to watch archived footage of Cicconi’s remarks.

Leading the Way in Energy Efficiency

04/29/2010 by NextGenWeb

You have probably heard us talk about how broadband is green in terms of enabling everything from the smart grid to telecommuting. And while this is all true (check out our “Broadband and Green Technology” page), what we haven’t highlighted is what American telecom companies are doing to lead the way in energy efficiency standards. Chuck Graff, Director of Core Network and Technologies at Verizon presented at the Broadband Properties Summit on what Verizon is doing to be a leader in energy efficiency. Verizon has a set of energy efficiency initiatives that include electrical, environmental and energy requirements, all with the purpose of reducing carbon emissions. Click below to learn more about how Verizon is leading the way.

Broadband Saves the (Earth) Day

04/22/2010 by NextGenWeb

With so much talk about sustainability, climate change, renewable resources, and the like, Earth Day has really caught on this year. But here at NextGenWeb, we make a conscious effort every day to highlight the part broadband is playing in the environmental movement (Make sure to check out our “Broadband and Green Technology” page). Whether it be enabling the smartgrid or allowing customers to reduce their carbon footprint by telecommuting, broadband and broadband-enabled technologies are stepping up to the plate.

This year, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight what some of America’s broadband service providers are doing to celebrate Earth Day. AT&T is the exclusive mobile phone sponsor of this year’s Earth Day celebration on the national mall. They are also supporting Earth Day Network’s “1 Billion Acts of Green Campaign.” Some of the initiatives for this campaign include the AT&T ZERO Charger, the first mobile phone charger that does not waste power when plugged in but not in use; a transition to smaller packaging for wireless accessories; and the rolling out of its 1000th alternative-fuel vehicle. To see more about the AT&T Green Fleet, check out NextGenWeb’s video from last year’s SuperComm below!

Verizon has launched a comprehensive sustainability campaign aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the green initiatives that make up this campaign include adding 1,600 alternative energy vehicles to Verizon’s fleet; partnering with the utility sector to help increase deployment of smart-grid technology; and teaming up with Motorola to produce eco-friendly set top boxes for FiOS TV customers. To learn more about the sustainability campaign, check out this video entitled “How Verizon is reducing its carbon footprint.”

Not only is broadband playing a vital role in the green movement, but America’s broadband service providers are leading the way through original sustainability campaigns that demonstrate their commitment to the cause. We hope that you will join NextGenWeb in finding new and innovative ways to utilize broadband for the ultimate goal of preserving our planet. And feel free to share your broadband experiences in the comment section below!

National Journal Live “Inside the Issue: Climate Change”

04/20/2010 by NextGenWeb

On Tuesday, April 20 National Journal Live hosted “Inside the Issue: Climate Change.” Click below to watch archived footage from NextGenWeb’s live stream of the event.

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