Remote management of electricity loads originating from homes and businesses – demand response management, or DRM – plays a key role in the operation of microgrids and utility grids and new, evolving distributed energy resource management (DERM) business models. Growing deployment and use of distributed renewable energy and energy storage is fueling developments, and the San Francisco Bay Area has emerged as a hotbed of activity.
In a bid to enhance its ability to deliver renewable power and further reduce customer costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, non-profit community clean energy services provider MCE (Marin Clean Energy) is using the AutoGrid Flex DERM software suite’s Demand Response Optimization and Management System (DROMS) to connect to customers’ smart thermostats and pool pumps via the ¨Energy Internet.¨
Seeking Value In Demand Response Management
Launched on May 31, MCE aims to have 100 customers sign up for its year-long My Energy Insight field trial. Those that do receive a free smart thermostat and gift card.
MCE is taking a gradualist approach in its DRMS pilot test. In addition to smart thermostats and pool pumps, the non-profit community renewable energy services provider also aims to connect water heaters, electric vehicle (EV) chargers, energy storage systems and other DERs to DROMS.
Reducing loads from HVAC systems and pool pumps during periods of peak electricity demand is expected to yield benefits for both customers and MCE.
In addition to reducing customer energy costs by reducing load during peak periods, MCE is using AutoGrid’s DROMS to determine if it can leverage its new DRM capacity to participate in the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) electricity market.
Cutting Energy Costs and Enhancing Grid Power
AutoGrid DROM sends real-time signals to My Energy Insight participants’ smart thermostats and pool pumps if market prices move above a specified level, Redwood City-based AutoGrid explains in an Oct. 6 press release. Shedding load during periods when grid capacity is strained without inconveniencing consumers is a valuable public service, and CAISO market participants profit by doing so.
MCE is also keen to gauge customers’ response to the My Energy Insight DRM pilot. More specifically, it aims to find out if offering free smart thermostats and other incentives to DR program participants increases customer engagement and satisfaction with MCE.
“MCE is focused on providing our customers with an affordable clean energy choice that does not compromise service, reliability, or supply,” said Beckie Menten, Director of Customer Programs, MCE. “We are excited to partner with AutoGrid to deploy this innovative DR pilot program, and learn if we can provide further choice to our customers by enabling them to use their smart thermostats, pool pumps and other DERs to lower their energy bills.”
AutoGrid has emerged as a pioneer in development of the ¨Energy Internet.¨
“MCE’s deployment of this DR pilot program using AutoGrid Flex provides further evidence that the energy industry is embracing the Energy Internet as a way to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy to their customers,” said CeO Dr. Amit Narayan was quoted in the press release.
“Flexibility management is Energy Internet’s killer app, allowing utilities and energy service providers to lower costs, integrate renewables and drive deeper engagement with their customers.”