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  • Mar 17, 2015

Congressional Testimony on Energy Sector Innovation

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U.S. House of Representatives

C3 Energy CEO Thomas Siebel testified before the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power

C3 Energy Chairman and CEO Thomas M. Siebel testified before the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), during today’s hearing on “The 21st Century Electricity Challenge: Ensuring a Secure, Reliable and Modern Electricity System.” Siebel addressed how technology innovation is reshaping the way utilities do business and how removing regulatory obstacles could accelerate an efficient, more secure, and more sustainable modern grid. As the grid increasingly becomes sensored, an unprecedented amount of data are produced, which can only be addressed using the most state-of-the-art information technology. IT offerings have rapidly evolved to today’s innovative cloud computing models, including Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. With these, come opportunities to leverage numerous capabilities essential to fulfilling the promise of the smart grid – continuous access to increased processing speeds and power, more flexibility and mobility, elasticity/on-demand surge capacity, and lower costs through scale. However, the U.S. regulatory treatment of cloud computing models has not kept pace to take advantage of this technology opportunity, and utilities are faced with undue consequences when selecting a cloud computing offering because the current rate recovery rules. “The power grid is now undergoing one of the biggest and transformative upgrades since its beginnings, by adding hundreds of millions of sensors that make devices and other equipment remotely machine addressable – from smart meters and thermostats to transformers and distribution feeders. These systems produce massive amounts of data, some of them in millisecond timescales,” said Siebel. “To take full advantage of this, C3 Energy has developed the operating system for this smart grid. Because our technology produces far more savings than it costs, it does not need any financial assistance from the government to succeed. But that success will occur much faster if regulatory obstacles are removed, and state regulators support a model rule to allow rate recovery from modern cloud computing solutions.” After delivering oral testimony, Siebel answered questions from Subcommittee members on the economic benefit, necessity for Congressional action, and overall impact of the cloud-based software innovations that will make the smart grid “smart”. Seven witnesses, including Siebel, testified at the hearing, which examined how advanced grid technologies and big data energy analytics are helping to build a more modern and flexible electricity system while ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and affordable delivery of electricity to consumers. For more information, the witness list and in-depth written testimonies are available at archives-energycommerce.house.gov.