COI Energy is an energy-on-demand platform for utilities and their business customers to identify, manage, optimize and monetize flexible energy resources to drive building efficiency and power the electric grid. The platform provides utilities with real-time information on resources available to purchase energy, as well as the quality and cost of those resources to help solve grid imbalances. Benefits are also available to businesses that have flexibility and are able to support the grid through improved energy efficiency.
The platform provides insights into inefficiencies and recommendations that go directly to the customer. The analysis shows how and where energy is wasted and how to monetize the waste. Ultimately, it helps users save money and make money. In the next five years, the electricity industry will not look the same; COI Energy is helping to build the narrative by enabling more options than just going to your local utility company to purchase power, you’ll be able to buy your power right from your mobile phone, from your neighbor or the market.
“Women typically have to break glass ceilings, climb over walls and push open doors to get to the table. We developed our confidence by overcoming each barrier put before us.”- SaLisa Berrien
COI stands for ‘Circle of Influence”, which means that the people around us can make a difference in our success. This innovative startup creates a climate-friendly world by enabling low-cost, clean and flexible energy resources with the COI Optimizer™ platform for utilities and business users, including high-profile companies, such as a $3 billion utility in Florida. The COI Optimizer™ unlocks the power of energy assets in the building to generate cash. The solution is an integrated hardware-enabled software platform that combines the following four modules: OptimizeDR™ (Demand Response), OptimizeEE™ (Energy Efficiency), OptimizeRE™ (Renewable Energy), and OptimizeIR™ (Incentives and Rebates). Together, these four modules enable clean, low-cost, flexible energy resources to improve the performance of the electric grid. The Software as a Service platform provides two-way communication, allowing real-time data collection with optional manual or automated control functionality.
COI Energy’s secret sauce is its algorithms that offer useful insights and predictive analytics around the energy assets in a building and allows the monetization of those resources. The energy assets include renewable energy (such as solar, coupled with battery storage), energy efficiency (such as LED lights and VFD motors), and demand response (such as production equipment and chillers). COI Energy is like Lyft for the electricity sector. The utility company of the future will be an energy bank, enabling customers to cash in on unused electric capacity by making it available to other customers who need it. Utilities will be the intermediary facilitating the transaction and reducing energy waste in the process. So believes SaLisa Berrien, a Bethlehem native, 1987 Allen High School graduate, former PPL engineer, and now the entrepreneur who launched the startup COI Energy Services in early 2016.
An electricity-industry veteran, Berrien has spent the last 25-plus years driving engineering and business development for leading companies. The impressive list includes PPL, PECO Energy, Con Edison Solutions, EnerNOC, Enbala, and Wipro EcoEnergy. What Berrien observed from studying utilities was that the electricity sector was ignoring the No.1 rule in business: it’s all about the customer. With that lesson in mind, she decided to put the customer at the center of the COI Energy Services platform.
“Women typically have to break glass ceilings, climb over walls and push open doors to get to the table. We developed our confidence by overcoming each barrier put before us.” Berrien believes it is her job to create a seat at the table “because there is no time to wait for someone to pull out the chair.” Based at the University of South Florida’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, COI Energy offers software that helps utility companies and businesses take full advantage of the smart grid and electrical supply networks that can react to patterns and changes in energy usage. Berrien calls it the “Wingi of Energy” which means the abundance of energy in Swahili.