Surprising Early Results from the Nation's Deepest Research on Consumer Electricity Use

Event: The Austin Forum on Science, Technology and Society will host "The Smart Grid Unveiled: How Pecan Street's Big Data Research is Uncovering the Promise of a Customer-Driven Energy Revolution" presented by Brewster
McCracken, executive director of Pecan Street Inc.

When: 5:45 p.m., Tuesday, June 5. This event is free and open to the public.

Where: ATandT Conference Center Amphitheater (Rm. 204), 1900 University Ave.


Background: During the past two years, Pecan Street Inc. and the members of its University of Texas-based consortium have conducted a nationally significant smart grid field trial focused on consumer products. Through these field trials, Pecan Street is developing an unprecedented portrait of consumer behaviors and preferences and of how different types of retrofits, existing appliances and new products affect consumer behavior and home performance.

In this presentation, Pecan Street Executive Director Brewster McCracken will reveal surprising early results from the nation's deepest research on consumer electricity use. He will also provide insights into how big data analytics applied to electricity and natural gas offer the potential for a wave of new consumer products and services.

McCracken will discuss some initial findings of Pecan Street's groundbreaking energy research in Austin's Mueller Community, including:

  • The potential role that rooftop solar could play in providing valuable energy during peak demand periods, the effect it would have on grid management, and the changes that would be required to¬†maximize that potential.
  • Insight from the country's first 15-second, circuit-by-circuit residential energy monitoring technology, which allows researchers to identify and analyze what devices are using energy when and for how long¬†and their effect on the home's overall energy consumption.
  • The first side-by-side analysis of electric and gas consumption data.

McCracken was one of three global smart grid project leaders invited by the government of Japan to present at the one-year anniversary conference for the reconstruction of Fukushima in March 2012, and he was the lead author of Pecan Street's successful smart grid stimulus application in 2009. He was elected to two terms on the Austin City Council, serving in a citywide at-large position. Through his elected position, McCracken served as a board member of Austin Energy, founded and chaired the City Council's Emerging Technologies Committee, and led the city's collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin to establish technology incubators in bioscience and wireless technologies.