EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first part of a two-part interview with Tim Healy, co-founder and chief executive officer of Enernoc, a pioneering energy management company. The conversation, exclusive to The Energy Times, was edited for length and style.
Next week: Helping Energy Customers with Complexity
ENERGY TIMES: Where do you see the Internet of Things heading as it pertains to energy management and demand management?
HEALY: There will be more transactive automation than exists right now. There's a lot of automation, but there's not a lot of transactive automation. That's one of the things that IoT is going to be impacted by and is going to impact. There will be 50 billion internet-connected devices feeding information to a grid, to various commercial and business systems that will use that big data to make better decisions inside the enterprise or the home. In turn, those devices will also be equipped to automatically transact in ways that are not happening today. When an electric car goes to the grocery store, I wouldn't be surprised if that grocery store is enticing the car owner to come there because it is going to offer free power. We will see lights and equipment that change their setting and change their mode. That will all be done without human intervention because the lighting systems will have automated transactive capabilities.
ENERGY TIMES: Do you see new kinds of companies being cobbled together as we pursue an industrial internet?
HEALY: I do. It's not just about pursuing the industrial internet, but it is probably reimagining what an energy company is in the future. New technology, demographic shifts, climate change, the need for transparency, new energy technologies, energy markets, how energy is procured, all of that is hitting the enterprise in a massive wave of transformation. The enterprise is sitting there saying, ‘Wow, a decade ago I didn't spend much time thinking about my energy decision making.’ Now, they are thinking about compliance reporting with federal and state ordinances and renewable energy targets that their board, chairman or CEO is setting for the organization. How are they going to get there and what tools are they going to use to measure their progress along the way? They are thinking, ‘How do I put renewables on my roof and know that I am structuring the right contract for the right duration and buying energy from the right supplier and have a mix of renewables that is right for me?’ It is just much more complex. With complexity, businesses generally turn to third parties to help them put in new business processes, new systems and new technologies so that they can adapt to that changing business landscape and make better decisions.
ENERGY TIMES: Where is your company headed in the next 5 years?
HEALY: We have created an exciting, new business in the energy intelligence software space that just a few years ago really didn't exist for us. Now, we have a $70+ million line of software at EnerNOC that is the fastest growing part of our business. It's going to be choppy growth, but there will be periods of acceleration in certain pockets and certain verticals. The commercial real estate vertical and the industrial vertical where energy is a significant part of the variable costs of running their business profitability are going to be further ahead of the curve than less energy-intensive industries.