May 2006
Interview
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Jack Mc GowanEMAIL INTERVIEW -  Jack Mc Gowan & Ken Sinclair

Jack Mc Gowan, President of Energy Control Inc

Mc Gowan is President of Energy Control Inc., an Energy Service Company and System Integrator.  He is the author of 5 books including “Direct Digital Control” on Fairmont Press.  The Association of Energy Engineers named him 1997 “International Energy Professional of the Year and Admitted him to the “International Energy Managers Hall of Fame” in 2003.  Mc Gowan is a Contributing Editor with www.automatedbuildings and sits on the Technical Advisory Boards of Energy User News and Engineered Systems.


GridWise™ Expo Co-Located with BuilConn®

BuilConn participants will learn how the Intelligent Building has morphed into the Intelligent Enterprise and is on the way to the World Wide Grid. GridWise was a topic at BuilConn last year, but it is a strong force this year. Dramatic events and price spikes in the energy world combined with a continuing emphasis on interoperability, and a national focus on business developments in the “Energy Space” make this a must participate event.

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Sinclair: What was the most exciting development in 2005?

Mc Gowan: Without question, the GridWise Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia during December 2005 was the landmark event of the year. Among the diverse set of Energy professionals like Nora Mead Brownell, FERC Commissioner and Joe Desmond, Chairman of the California Energy Commission, the Intelligent Building world came out in force including industry leaders like John Petze of Tridium, Jim Lee of Cimetrics, former President of the BACnet Manufacturers Association and Jeremy Roberts of LON Mark International to name a few.

Sinclair: What does GridWise really have to do with the building automation business?

Mc Gowan: GridWise is a key movement that will help shape the future of the automation business as we know it. First those of us who are old enough, remember that building automation would never have become a $25 billion worldwide industry without the energy crises of the 1970’s. So it is appropriate that the linkage between GridWise and BuilConn marks another major milestone in the automation and controls industry. Don’t take my word for it though, just look at the players that are mentioned above and look at the news stories about mergers and acquisitions in our industry. There is a tremendous amount of business alignment underway in the buildings business worldwide that would indicate that value based propositions that leverage control expertise with integration skill to offer a new flavor of automation is the future. Consider one simple fact, at the AHR in Chicago; Jim Lee announced that BACnet has been amended to add a “GridWise Object”. The writing is on the wall that GridWise will have a great impact on the building automation business.

Sinclair: Do you think this can mean near term projects for Integrators and Building Owners in 2006?

Control Solutions, Inc Mc Gowan: Yes but many of these will implement smaller scale interoperability and technology rather than a full GridWise solution. These projects will likely include traditional energy services funded controls, demand response, distributed generation and enterprise energy management. In the longer term there is, and will be, a whole new demand for energy management with oil hovering at the high $60 mark and natural gas tracking in the $7 to $10 per MMBTU range. The key here is that the price of admission for taking this opportunity to the next level is integration infrastructure. When Integration had training wheels, it used to mean making legacy control systems share information. Today integration and interoperability mean IT solutions that bring value. Customers are demanding value in the form of projects like those above, plus energy cost savings, self-funding capital improvements, shared functionality between the building and the enterprise and much more. Energy is the lifeblood of our economy and business solutions that enhance energy reliability and drive dollars from operational budgets to the bottom line, by using interoperability will become more common. My company is in the design phase for a project that already has stage one funding to use a Web service to integrate a university’s automation systems with smart meters, distributed generation, campus scheduling and the utility supply side distribution grid to improve energy reliability and save money. The GridWise Expo will have an entire panel sharing these types of GridWise Demonstration projects that are happening right now.

Sinclair: What else will be covered by the GridWise Expo?

Mc Gowan: This is a complete treatise on the topic. Rather than doing a boot camp we have incorporated the entire topic into two days of panels. Attendees will be educated about the GridWise Vision by industry leaders representing business and government participants. Day one will also include panels on regulatory, business and demonstration projects. The second day will get into more detailed technology topics including interoperability and the GridWise Roadmap follow by a blue sky discuss of the business future that GridWise presents. There will be keynotes on both days by high level industry leaders to round out a complete education on interoperability as it applies to energy. This is the place to meet the people and explore the potential of a smart electric grid.

For more information, go to www.GridWiseExpo.com.

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