John Cooper, President, Ecomergence; Co-author, "The Advanced Smart Grid"
What makes him powerful: Without a doubt, Cooper's most significant contribution to the energy industry has been his participation as an early advisor on smart grid communication, and a change agent and leader of the smart grid team at Austin Energy.
Cooper documented his thoughts and visions in The Advanced Smart Grid, which he co-authored. The book has been heralded as the "smart grid Bible" and was a critical step in sharing lessons learned at Austin Energy. For a complex industry finding its way at a time of dramatic change, clear communication of cutting edge projects and concepts like those developed inside Austin Energy and on the Pecan Street Project provides critical leadership to open the eyes of the industry to new ways of thinking about their mission.
The ideas explored in The Advanced Smart Grid -- converged infrastructure, distributed energy resource integration, consumer engagement, new utility business models, grid modernization, and the future of technology-based energy -- provide a conceptual and practical menu and roadmap to help guide smart grid planning beyond the conventional wisdom of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and distribution automation.
Beyond his work at Austin Energy, Pecan Street, and on The Advanced Smart Grid, Cooper founded Ecomergence, a consulting firm, in 2008 to support consumer adaptation to the emerging smart grid -- a challenge to government, utilities and technology companies trying to find a way to engage 125 million energy consumers in the smart grid and change the way they consume energy.
Cooper's recent work in examining and promoting the concept of Distributed Energy Services has the potential to be highly significant and influential. Technology is introducing new players to the energy industry who aim to provide tailored services to end consumers, where participation with the utility will be optional. The advent of an alternative to the monopoly of grid-delivered commodity kilowatt hours promises to be as disruptive as either smart grid or energy deregulation, driving new consumer value propositions and new business models and bringing the electricity industry closer to the consumer electronics industry.