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Originally posted on Medium.
The explosive growth of data in our lives and our technology is a trend that I’ve built my entire career to date upon. I was lucky to have spotted this trend back in 2012 and have worked over the past six years in a variety of data science and data engineering roles, all revolving around leveraging novel datasets to create value. During this time, a hobby of mine has been to widely explore the most obscure industries I could find, and imagine how the creative application of data could be used to make these industries more efficient and productive.
Of special interest has been the world of energy and the electricity grid. This was accelerated about a year and a half ago, when I encountered the startling fact that wind turbine technician and solar photovoltaic installer are the two fastest growing jobs in America, efforts which supported a rapidly growing 8% of our power mix for 2017. I dug deeper, researching energy broadly and speaking to industry veterans. These conversations taught me about the duck curve in California, the concept of demand response, the massive grid impact potential of battery-based energy storage and electric vehicles, and the recent onslaught of smart meter deployments, with over 76M smart meters deployed in America today — due to reach 90M by 2020. (out of 150M total meters).
It now seems clear that over the next five to ten years, we are going to be dealing with a Brave New Grid: a grid with new, volatile sources of both supply and demand. The operational processes that have worked until now will cease to be effective, because in addition to all of the above, the changing climate will bring more extreme weather events and make it even harder to manage energy load and generation. We’re already seeing regional operators like PJM, CAISO, and MISO move to comply with FERC Order 825, which requires the transition from hourly settlements to 5-minute settlements, in an effort to promote more fine-grained price signals for generators and ensure that market participants respond efficiently and reliably to rapidly-changing grid conditions.
It also seems clear that the unique combinations of these new grid stressors and the influx of newly available smart meter data (as well as the modern advances in AI and cloud computing) represent an astounding opportunity to build new data services and infrastructures to help regional operators, utilities, energy suppliers, and ratepayers navigate the complexities of this new reality and adapt to the age of the fully smart grid.
With this inevitable energy future in mind, I am proud to announce that I have founded a company to accelerate the transition, called Amperon. My co-founder, Sean Kelly, is a 12 year energy trading veteran. In the ten months since our founding, we’ve built our product, made great strides in a number of pilot deployments, and closed our pre-seed round with some incredible investors and angels including Notation, SV Angel, Lattice Ventures, Ramez Naam, Chris Wiggins, Erik Nordlander, Jon Stritar, Robert Winter, Scott Kidder, Joe Lallouz, and Aaron Henshaw.
On a more personal note — this my second foray into entrepreneurship, and I’m incredibly excited that I’ve taken the plunge once again. I’m even more excited to be working on this particular problem, as climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of my generation. If we get things right at Amperon, we will be doing our part to stem the tide and usher in a more sustainable, reliable, and efficient energy future. I hope you will share my enthusiasm, and yes — we are hiring!
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