power lines and wind turbines over a solar field at sunset

WattTime and Microsoft Give European Consumers the Power to Choose the Cleanest Energy in Real Time

Bonn, Germany, November 10, 2017— Today at COP23, WattTime—a Rocky Mountain Institute subsidiary—and Microsoft—the leading platform and productivity company for a mobile-first, cloud-first world—launched a new way to give customers the power to understand and reduce their carbon emissions.

WattTime will now support European data on carbon emissions on Microsoft’s free and open-source platform. It will be the first software to automatically detect the precise carbon emissions caused by using or generating electricity at any particular time and place in Europe, in real-time. WattTime and Microsoft have collaborated using U.S. data since early 2017.

Norwegian utility Agder Energi will be the first organization in Europe to deploy the software, with plans for rollout across the rest of Europe to follow.

“Emerging cloud-based technology is increasingly challenging the old paradigm that reducing emissions has to require costly, time-consuming approaches like building new physical infrastructure,” said Gavin McCormick, WattTime cofounder and executive director. “It’s exciting to see new software tools capable of automatically, effortlessly cutting carbon footprints, integrating renewable energy and balancing grids at the click of a button.”

The tool can inform operators of energy-consuming equipment—from smartphones to large energy storage facilities or entire hydroelectric dams—of the carbon implications of consuming or producing energy at particular times. Armed with this data, consumers and operators can adjust their behavior and operating plans to instantly achieve emissions reductions at a very low cost, with no new equipment or change in operations.

The tool is also useful for policymakers looking to lower carbon emissions. For example, policymakers could introduce price incentives for people charging electric cars to do so at times of lower emissions, or the charging could be automated to correspond to times that would reduce consumer’s costs and emissions. This would facilitate more renewable energy on the grid by moving demand curves to correspond to renewable generation, thus also allowing the integration of higher levels of renewables.

With this new tool, it will be possible to compare renewable energy projects across Europe to determine where projects have the biggest carbon-reduction impact.

This release builds off a previous collaboration with Microsoft on the Smart Energy Azure Demonstration open-source platform that provides data on generation source, average carbon emissions, and marginal carbon emissions. And because the grid’s energy mix changes based on the weather, the platform also pulls in global weather data and forecasts from the Wunderground API.

“We’re seeing the advancing capability of data, machine learning and IoT technologies coupled with the reducing cost of distributed energy resources to decarbonize electricity grids and reduce consumer costs,” said Conor Kelly, software engineer in energy analytics and automation at Microsoft.

“WattTime’s offering is a great example of how technology can lower the cost and increase the possibilities for emissions reductions globally,” said Jamie Mandel, principal at Rocky Mountain Institute. “By unlocking new ways for customers to reduce emissions, WattTime can empower customers to accelerate the transition to a cleaner electric grid.”

Media contact:

Mark Grundy, Media Relations, T: +1 646.643.9946 , E: mgrundy@rmi.org