This year marks the tenth edition of TechSparks - YourStory's flagship event that brings together the who's who of the industry under one roof. It's also the time when we reveal our tenth batch of Tech30 companies. Every year, we proudly present a carefully chosen list of 30 young and promising startups that we believe have the potential to be major disruptors. The theme for TechSparks 2019 is'India 2025: Inclusive, Future-ready, and Intelligence-led', and we believe that this year's Tech30 companies will enable India to move closer to becoming ready for the future and intelligence-led. Harnessing technologies such as AI, machine learning, data analytics, and blockchain, these 30 companies are looking to solve problems across sectors and disrupt the market with new, innovative ideas.
Ever imagined using energy from your own rooftop solar panels to power all your air-conditioning units, heat up water and charge your smartphone? This can now be a reality. In Singapore, smart-enabled HDB flats to be completed in Punggol next year will allow homeowners to track energy consumption via a mobile app, and control just about any appliance that is connected to a power source. By 2040, one billion households and 11 billion smart appliances can actively participate in interconnected electricity systems, allowing these to alter when to draw electricity from the grid, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Other demand sectors, such as transport, buildings and industry, are also feeling the effects of a seismic shift in the energy sector.
At Microsoft, building a future that we can all thrive in is at the center of everything we do. On January 16, as part of the announcement that Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030, we discussed how advances in human prosperity, as measured by GDP growth, are inextricably tied to the use of energy. Microsoft has committed to deploy $1 billion into a new climate innovation fund to accelerate the development of carbon reduction and removal technologies that will help us and the world become carbon negative. The Azure IoT team continues to invest in the platforms and tools that enable solution builders to deliver new energy solutions, customers to empower their workforce, optimize digital operations and build smart, connected, cities, vehicles, and buildings. Earlier, Microsoft committed $50 Million through Microsoft AI for Earth that provides technology, resources, and expertise into the hands of those working to solve our most complex global environmental challenges.
Cloud-based digital services are rapidly reshaping European cities, businesses and lives. Yet increased usage of such technologies also implies greater need for data centers, which in turn places an additional demand on Europe's energy systems. At a time when governments, companies and consumers are striving to reduce carbon emissions, this demand must be carefully managed. In the latest edition of #TechTalk, Microsoft's Director of Energy Research, Sean James, discusses how Microsoft, which has been carbon neutral since 2012, manages its carbon footprint through an internal carbon tax, while also working to build data centers powered by 100 percent renewable energy and investing in innovative energy storage technologies. James explains how, for companies looking to deploy cloud technology in an environmentally friendly way, collaborating with a cloud provider is ideal: data centers, for instance, are up to 93 percent more energy efficient and up to 98 percent more carbon efficient than traditional on premise operations.
Casual observers of clean energy are often surprised by its limitations. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen in California by 13 percent since 2004, even as the economy has grown by more than a quarter. That unprecedented reduction is partly the result of increased dependence on natural gas, which is cleaner than coal, but mostly because of the falling costs of renewable energy. The change is wonderful: Between 2008 and 2015, the price that energy utilities paid for solar energy fell by 77 percent, and wind decreased 47 percent, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission. Those falling costs encouraged energy providers to construct solar and wind farms all over the state.