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Why New Daedalus?

Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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Several precise correspondents disagreed with my characterization of the ideal interface on every energy widget as a single Business to Business B2B economic interface. Some argued for Business 2 Machine (B2M) and some argued for Machine to Machine (M2M). A few argued for P2B (Person to Business). I think they all make it too complex, and limit the opportunity for new business models. B2B is meant to liberate new markets, new market entrants, new trading models.

Starting with today’s Automated Demand-Response (ADR) interfaces, we get more benefits as we move them from M2M to B2B. People want to be in charge of their own property, so a Business inside the building puts the occupant in control. A business inside the building can only express their willingness to participate with an offer or bid. As not all bids are winning bids, the energy supplier outside the building must select a group of offers that clears the market and inform the winning and losing bids. To my eye, that is a B both inside and outside the building.

Remember, the biggest Demand Response on record is when ALCOA furloughed an entire plant for the summer to sell power at high prices to California. Business response always has more options than M2M.

The homeowner, or the homeowner’s agent needs the same opportunities to bid as does the business. The homeowner’s bid may be subsumed into a larger bid, say, a bid by the green neighborhood homeowner’s association. For the utility, a single home, a row of townhouses, or a neighborhood should all have the same external interface. Clearly the neighborhood and the business should have all the same options. This means that the homeowner’s agent, no matter how small, has a business interface on its outside.

Homes may sell power to other homes in the neighborhood. This may be generator power after the storm, or solar power in the afternoon. There may be competition between my neighbor and the big utility for my business. Homes need the same selling interfaces as the larger grid.

I may even have an economic competition inside my home. If I have told my washer not to run, or my car not to charge, until the price is less than a target, that might be a simpler market interface. One source of power for the car or washer may be in-home generation. Perhaps I can charge from that whenever I wish. Or perhaps I am able to sell my local generation back to the grid for higher than the target price, so the washer sits idle.

Perhaps my car batteries and my home batteries have their own rules. Each wants a little bit of storage, say for a 20 mile drive, or to run off-grid for 1 day. Each of them also could charge up for longer. Perhaps the car and the house will bid the price higher when they are below these minima. Perhaps the house will sell stored energy to the car, but only at a premium.

Variable pricing makes economic sense out of local storage. Local storage markets grow naturally. Local storage removes Grid reliability arbitrage tax on unreliable sources. This transfers larger portion of dollars (less fee for T&D) to the unreliable producer...Local storage will grow, but only when it is priced properly.

Eco was in economics before eco was in ecology. We can have a vibrant market ecology at every level of the grid, from the largest scale to the neighborhood microgrid, to inside the house.

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