Our Thinking

Opower achieves its second terawatt-hour of energy savings

  • By Katie DeWitt
  • January 24, 2013

Opower reached a major company milestone this week – our behavioral energy-efficiency programs have now cumulatively achieved two terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy savings worldwide.

While it took four years to achieve our first TWh of savings, this announcement comes only nine months since then. It’s a testament to our exponentially growing scale (both in terms of our market reach and our proven approach to reducing energy consumption) and our incredible utility partners.

2 TWh (equal to 2 billion kilowatt-hours) sounds like a lot, but what does it really mean? Here are some equivalencies that put the number in more accessible terms. Each example is equal to 2 TWh:

-       Taking all the homes in a city the size of 400,000 people off the grid for a full year (think cities the size of Sacramento, Atlanta or Kansas City)

-       Removing 300,000 passenger vehicles from the road for a full year

-       Preserving 10,500 acres of forest from deforestation (in terms avoided  greenhouse gas emissions)

-       Keep the lights on at the stadium, fan experiences, and player hotels for the next CDXLIV Super Bowls (that’s 444 Super Bowls)

-       Delivering 1.8 billion riders on the New York subway, powering it for all of 2013

-       Delivering all the electricity needed by the London Underground for the next 20 months

-       Unplugging Facebook from the grid for the next 4 years

It also means $220 million in energy bill savings for families and businesses across the country.

A common question with energy savings measurement and verification is how to calculate something that is not being used (scientist and environmentalist Amory Lovins even coined a term -  “negawatt,” the opposite of megawatt – to represent a unit of conserved energy). To quantify the energy savings achieved by Opower programs, we follow a rigorous scientific test-and-control methodology that’s been verified by fifteen trusted third parties including KEMA, Navigant & Yale University.

We’re celebrating this milestone not just as a company accomplishment, but also for the growing opportunity it represents for energy efficiency programs to have a massive impact on energy consumption across the globe. You can read the official press release about Opower’s 2 TWh achievement here.

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Our Thinking is just that: it’s the place to find out what’s going on right now in the Opower universe. We discuss current perspectives, opinions, ideas, achievements, and events in the burgeoning fields of energy information, data analytics, and utility customer engagement.