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A Self-Scaling Market Mechanism to Reduce Indirect Electricity Pollution

Year Awarded: 2015
Awarded: $677,000
Team Leader:  WattTime
Tel: 857-540-3535
Email: gavin@watttime.org

This project was built around technology that will reduce mercury and other air pollutants into the Great Lakes by giving customers the power to choose clean energy over dirty. Automated Emissions Reduction, or AER, sends real-time clean energy data straight to internet-connected smart devices such as energy management systems for large buildings, residential thermostats, refrigerators, etc. and allows these devices to shift the timing of electricity use to work at times when the grid is supplied by clean energy sources.

The team’s theory of change was that smart devices would be more popular with consumers if they carried the AER feature, and that smart device manufacturers would be willing to install AER on their own, establishing a market where there had previously only been a technology.

The team proved their ambitious theory of change. Through their pilot work the team proved that AER is popular with consumers, the addition of AER enables smart devices to outsell rival brands, and AER is painless enough that consumers want to keep it over time.

In September, 2018 the Fund made a second grant to WattTime to allow them to team with electric utilities and demand response recruiters to pilot the combination of two unrelated programs—electric utility demand response and AER—and demonstrate that more customers will be drawn to demand response programs with the addition of AER.