Enbala Blog

Enbala

Recent Posts

The Energy Curtailment That Nobody Noticed

By Enbala on Sep 20, 2016 10:49:37 AM

There’s a good reason that traditional demand response (DR) programs only ask C&I customers to curtail energy usage a few times each year. Traditional DR is painful. It’s a no-holds-barred, shut down that conveyor belt, stop production, turn off the air conditioner and send people home kind of deal. It is, by definition, disruptive. And, frankly, not every organization can afford to have its business endure even a few interruptions a year.

But, DR doesn’t need to be disruptive, and to get the most out of today’s demand management technology, we really need to think of curtailment events as a day-to-day method of grid support instead of troublesome headaches that must be painfully tolerated.

That’s what one East Coast utility is doing with the Symphony by EnbalaTM distributed energy resource management platform (DERMS). By aggregating small amounts of response from many different devices in one site, a promising pilot is showing that curtailment can be both effective and invisible to customers.

Read More

Topics: Distributed energy resource management, demand management, DERMs, demand response, energy curtailment, energy consumption management

Spock or Scotty: Which character fits your organization?

By Enbala on Aug 29, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Raise your hand if you sometimes feel like Mr. Scott from the original Star Trek series, frantically trying to keep the engines roaring while the ship takes one phaser hit after another: If you did raise your hand, you’re not alone. There are plenty of reasons utilities might be playing the Mr. Scott role.

One is under investment in infrastructure, which was named as the top concern by 47 percent of utility executives who answered a Utility Dive survey late in 2015. Another is what the California Independent System Operator calls the Duck Curve. It shows how behind-the-meter solar installations are creating daytime over-generation on the California grid and, because rooftop solar quits generating power about the same time people come home and start using more of it, there are steep ramps at the end of the day.

Demand response programs could help utilities deal with these issues. But, utilities that are doing simple demand response are kind of like Star Trek’s Scotty. They’re just getting by, handling one crisis after another, giving it all she’s got, Captain. “I don’t think she can take any more!”

Read More

Topics: distributed energy resources, Solar energy, DERs, virtual power plant

Load, the oft-overlooked distributed energy resource

By Enbala on Aug 17, 2016 2:00:00 PM

INTRODUCTION:

Researchers at DNV-GL did a fine report for the New York Independent System Operator a few years ago. Titled A Review of Distributed Energy Resources, it offered this definition of the various distributed energy resources (DERs) examined in the report:

“… DER technologies are defined as ‘behind-the-meter’ power generation and storage resources typically located on an end-use customer’s premises and operated for the purpose of supplying all or a portion of the customer’s electric load. Such resources may also be capable of injecting power into the transmission and/or distribution system or into a non-utility local network in parallel with the utility grid. These DERs include such technologies as solar photovoltaic (PV), combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration systems, microgrids, wind turbines, micro turbines, back-up generators and energy storage.”

Granted, the research team did acknowledge that some sources – including the New York Public Service Commission – included customer load in its list of DERs, but load wasn’t one of the DERs covered in the report. That’s too bad because load can hold its own against other DERs for a variety of grid-supportive purposes.

Read More

Topics: distributed energy resources, process storage, DERs, renewable firming, demand management, DERMs, grid balance, voltage management, regulation service, flexible load, fast ramping

It’s Time to Ditch Disruption in Demand Response

By Enbala on Jul 6, 2016 11:00:00 AM

According to FERC’s most recent "Demand Response and Advanced Metering Assessment," 74 percent of the potential peak reduction in retail demand-management programs comes from C&I customers. That means that the biggest, most valuable energy customers are also the most likely  allies in a demand response initiative.

Read More

Topics: distributed energy resources, Distributed energy resource management, DERs, demand side management, DERMs, demand response

Behind-the-meter grid support: Past, present and future

By Enbala on Jun 29, 2016 11:48:37 AM

Demand side management (DSM) is the umbrella term for the various methods that power providers employ to get customers to curb consumption. It’s been around since the 1970s, notes Joseph Eto, a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab researcher who wrote a detailed history of it in 1996. He counts conservation education, energy audits, efficiency freebies, financial assistance and time-based tariffs among the forms of DSM utilities use.

Eto also covers the technological approaches designed to achieve objectives like load shifting, peak reduction and off-peak consumption increases.

Read More

Topics: distributed energy resources, Distributed energy resource management, DERs, demand side management, demand response, utility of the future

The Art of Persuasion: Studies that Can Help You Recruit DERs

By Enbala on Jun 8, 2016 5:28:20 PM

Every demand response program, every virtual power plant, every distributed energy resource (DER) management system needs one thing to be successful: customers who are willing to hand over their DER controls. Given that participant recruitment is such an important factor in a DER management program’s success, it can’t hurt to bone up on the art of persuasion.

That’s easy to do with The Small Big, a business book that looks at several different studies on how to coax others to do the things you want them to do. Its authors include Robert Cialdini, who wrote Influence, a business psychology text that has been on Fortune’s list of the 75 Smartest Business Books for years. Influence boils down the art of persuasion into six key motivators.

Read More

Topics: DERs, demand management, demand response, customer persuasion

Up, Down, All Around: Maximizing Demand-Side Resources

By Enbala on Jun 2, 2016 6:03:53 PM

For too many people, demand-side management (DSM) of energy resources means one thing: shedding load. That’s a limiting and outdated view of DSM.

Given the right control platform, Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) can move their power consumption up or down to support the needs of the power system. To get the benefit of that flexibility, you need to think of all DERs – even loads – as resources that can be charged up the same way you charge a battery energy storage system. 

Read More

Topics: distributed energy resources, DERs, demand response, load shedding, Metcalfe's Law

More Equipment or Better Engagement: Which will pay off better for you?

By Enbala on May 5, 2016 11:53:00 AM

INTRODUCTION:

Raise your hand if you’re a utility professional or grid operator planning to make some significant infrastructure investments in the next few years. You won’t be alone.

After all, energy infrastructure in the U.S. earns a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). If you went to the ASCE report card, you’d see some mighty big numbers associated with the transmission and distribution spending that will likely be needed by 2020 to fill the investment gap, which is the difference between what’s needed and what’s planned.

 

Read More

Topics: distributed energy resources, DERs, utility infrastructure, utility CAPEX improvement, peak load management, T&D infrastructure, CAPEX/OPEX

Renewable curtailment: one symptom of grid troubles

By Enbala on Apr 29, 2016 1:08:54 PM

This past March, Chinese energy regulators put the brakes on further deployment of wind-energy projects in Mongolia during 2016. Why? Call it too much of a good thing. China, now the world leader in solar and wind installations, doesn’t have the transmission infrastructure necessary to transport electricity from the windswept Mongolian steppes to the power-hungry cities that need it.

During 2015, China installed some 33 gigawatts of wind turbines, which was more than half of new wind installations worldwide. But, in the same year, government statistics show “33.9 billion kilowatt-hours of wind-powered electricity was wasted … equivalent to the electricity consumed by 3 million American households a year,” according to an article published by InsideClimate News. ”That was about 15 percent of China's total wind power generation, up from 8 percent a year earlier.”

Read More

Topics: Solar energy, grid optimization, wind energy, DERMs, grid balance

Renewable Energy a Threat to Conventional Utilities?

By Enbala on Apr 25, 2016 11:59:50 AM

This past Earth Day, plenty of power system participants celebrated our lovely planet. PECO used the date to launch it’s new Solar Stakeholder Collaborative. Louisville Gas & Electric sponsored a do at the Louisville Zoo. First Energy held EarthFest, Ohio's largest environmental education event, for some of its six million customers. Even California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) used the date to push eco-friendly living. It issued its summer power supply forecast via a press release that sported the headline, “Energy Conservation: What’s Good for the Planet is Good for the Power Grid.”

Ultimately, that’s true. Ironically, a recent survey by the consultancy West Monroe Partners found that most utilities treat DERs -- like customer-sited solar -- as a threat. The same survey shows that only 3 percent of executives who responded view the growth of DER as an opportunity.

Read More

Topics: distributed energy resources, Solar energy, DERs, DERMs

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all