The Hidden Revolution

Ever wonder about the billions of dollars of equipment and infrastructure needed for you to be able to turn on your bedroom light, wash the laundry, or perform any of the hundreds of daily tasks one does that require steady, reliable electricity?   As the Director of Commercial Clean technology here at the Innovation Center Denmark, I think about it all the time.  I think about it because there is a mostly hidden revolution happening around the world with Denmark and California leading the cause.

At the Innovation Center Denmark, Silicon Valley, we recognize the unique bridge we form between these two innovative Smart Grid economies.  In 2013, we will therefore launch the Smart Grid Advisory Group to bring together experienced operators, researchers, and entrepreneurs from both Denmark and California Smart Grid sectors to foster partnerships, transactions, and to push the state of the art in grid technologies and operations.

We want to change the fact that most people have little idea of what makes the power grid tick or how dependent their lifestyles are on it.  However, when you experience a prolonged power outage, you soon realize how important a reliable power supply is, how quickly it can be interrupted, and how long – and frustrating – it can be to get it back.  Part of the reason for all of this is that we are dealing with electricity and it cannot (yet) be efficiently collected for example, on a sunny day and stored for a rainy one.  Instead, engineers, utilities, regulators, and entrepreneurs have had to build a machine so vast and so complex that it can generate electricity virtually at the instant when you turn on a light switch or plug your phone into its charger.  Multiply that responsiveness across billions of devices demanding electricity, hundreds of power plants producing the electricity, and thousands of miles of wires transmitting the electricity, and it’s pretty close to a miracle that the machine works at all, never mind that it works steadily and constantly throughout the day and year.

In addition, demand is anything but steady – people turn on and turn off devices throughout the day.   This unsteady demand requires electricity supply and generation that can meet it even at the busiest ‘peak’ times, and quickly ramp down when it slows.  Fortunately, for the incredible people who work in the power supply field, there is a lot of historical data and hard lessons learned such as the great Northeast blackout of 2003 that enable operators to pretty accurately predict what the demand will be and when, and how much power they will need to meet it.

Adapting big changes to this equation is extremely challenging. Failure to adequately adjust can be catastrophic, which is one big reason why the utility industry tends to be so conservative – when power goes out, people don’t just lose money, they can lose life and limb.

It is incredible then to consider that grids around the world are experiencing just such rapid change right now with the push for electric vehicles, solar power, wind farms, iPhones, and the mammoth data centers to power all of our Google searches and Facebook posts.

Meeting the entire unprecedented surge in electricity demand is a rapid increase in the proportion of renewable energy making up the supply.  That renewable energy, often sourced from wind and solar energy, is relatively unpredictable.  This unpredictable supply or intermittency effectively adds yet another challenge to keeping the power demand and supply of the power grid in balance.

With a goal of moving from 30% today to 100% renewable electricity generation by 2050, Denmark is arguably the most experienced market in the world with balancing these new electricity supply and demand dynamics.  California also has ambitions goals too increase the share of renewable generated electricity in its energy mix, but on a far larger scale than even Denmark due to the relative sizes of the two economies.

Viva la Revolución Oculto!!

By Patrick Stanton

Smart Grid Applied Denmark: A great success!

Building upon a very successful week of workshops, company visits and a high profile Conference in Silicon Valley this June, this October 24-27, the follow up event, Smart Grid Applied Denmark successfully gathered over 125 smart grid stakeholders from Denmark, the US and throughout the world. The conference centered on discussing the future deployment of smart grid technology in Denmark to support the new government’s ambitious goals of reducing carbon emission by 40% by 2020, incorporating 50% wind into the electricity system by 2020 and phasing out all fossil fuels in the heating and electricity system by 2035. 

 Opening the conference was the new Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Martin Lidegaard, who voiced his openness to rework existing framework conditions to better support the smart grid rollout and create market mechanisms that foster innovation and business opportunities in the space. At the event he received recommendations from Ministry’s Smart Grid Network which has been working toward consensus among all stakeholders in Danish Society with a roadmap for the Danish Smart Grid that will strengthen Denmark’s position as a leading county in the energy sector. A summary of the recommendations can be found here.

Perhaps more interesting and practical than the political discourse were the presentations of cutting edge smart grid solutions being deployed by Danish and International companies in Denmark today. Given the unique market conditions and flexible grid, Denmark is an ideal test market for innovative solutions. Slide presentations from the event will be available shortly on

Innovation Center Denmark was happy to provide key support and inspiration for the event which was planned and carried out by Invest in Denmark, VE-NET, and the Transportation Innovation Network with support from the Danish Energy Association, the Danish Technological Institute, and the Danish Energy Industries Federation.

What is the Smart Grid? has produced this great little video that explains benefits and opportunities with Smart Grid technologies.


Smart Grid Denmark





Denmark has one of the best, if not the best, energy infrastructure where intermittent renewable energy sources provide no less than 34% of the country’s electricity needs. Even still, the energy infrastructure is changing rapidly, and upgrades are neccessary to make sure that the system can withstand the increasing number of electric vehicles (EVs), for instance.

The video tells the story about the energy system of the future – one where generation, transportation, and consumption are linked together intelligently.

Danish Smart Grid experts coming to Silicon Valley June 20-24!!

Danish Smart Grid experts coming to Silicon Valley June 20-24!!

We are pleased that our Smart Grid Applied Silicon Valley Conference is attracting such high level participation from prominent Danish and US experts in the field. With over 20 confirmed participants from Denmark we are very excited to present Danish smart grid solutions and development opportunities in Denmark while matching this group with leading companies and organizations in The Valley including Intel, EPRI, Cisco, San Diego Gas & Electric and many others. Information about the delegation can be found here.

Join us for the Smart Grid Applied Silicon Valley Conference June 22-23

The Smart Grid Applied Conference will highlight how today’s applications of smart grid technologies have contributed to Denmark’s unique position as a global leader in renewable energy, and introduce the next generation of solutions currently being demonstrated and piloted in Denmark by leading global companies and institutions. Through keynotes, showcases and panel discussions, discussion will center on opportunities for collaboration and new business development both here in the US and in Denmark.

Highlights of the conference include:

  • Keynotes by: Lorie Wigle, General Manager of Eco-Technology at Intel, Lars Aagaard, CEO of the Danish Energy Association and Inge Maerkedahl, Director General of the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation among others
  • Presentations and showcases from DONG Energy, Siemens, Vestas and many other established and emerging technology companies.

For more information about the conference program visit


Registration is open to all for the Smart Grid Applied Silicon Valley Conference and there are still slots of available for Danish companies and organizations interested in participating in the rest of the program which includes meetings and workshops with leading Silcon Valley technology companies and research organizations throughout the week. Conference registration is at and additional program information for Danish participants is here.

ICDK Newsletter readers receive $50 off the admission price to the Smart Grid Applied Conference using the following discount code: SGADISCOUNT.

If you are interest in learning more or getting involved please contact Alex Portilla




GridManager once again recognized as top cleantech start-up

GridManager’s work to reduce energy consumption is awarded with the Beacon Award from IBM. The recognition from IBM follows a 2nd place at the European Smart Metering Awards in London in January and a seat in the finals of Nordic Cleantech Open, a cleantech business plan competition gathering the 25 most promising cleantech start-ups is Scandinavia.

Each year the international giant IBM honors an elite group of business partners with the Beacon Award. According to IBM the prize is given to “IBM Business Partners who have raised the standard for delivering innovative solutions and exemplary client satisfaction”.

IBM highlights GridManager as a company helping customers understand and monitor energy expenses and thus providing large cost reductions in energy consumption for clients.

The award can potentially provide winners with a competitive advantage by providing the opportunity to gain greater visibility with clients, across the industry and throughout IBM.

In late 2010 GridManager entered a joint venture with Vento Australia providing access to businesses in both Australia and New Zealand.  If GridManager continues developing at this speed it should be interesting to follow the Danish smart meter company in the future.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...