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Mix ‘n’ Match DERs

By Enbala on Nov 4, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Right now, analysts see enormous growth ahead for solar-plus-storage systems. A report by IMS Research forecasts the market for storing power from solar panels – which was less than $200 million in 2012 – to reach $19 billion by 2017. And, it’s easy to see why.

After all, rooftop solar panels are more valuable to people if they can store the excess energy produced and prolong the benefits of the on-site generation capacity. Plus, the flexibility of battery energy storage makes it truly valuable. With a quick response time and precise controllability, batteries can provide a wide set of grid services, so they can deliver value to multiple participants in the power system, including end-use customers, distribution utilities and wholesale market operators.

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Topics: DERs, distributed energy resources, Solar energy, battery storage, energy balance, stacked value

Adding PV to the grid: It takes more than firming

By Enbala on Oct 19, 2016 9:20:00 AM

If you’re like most people who’ve gone to a conference lately – or read this blog from its inception – you’ve already heard warnings about what could happen to grid voltage and stability when stray clouds waft over neighborhood solar arrays and block PV generation. The sudden drop of renewable power is what many people point to as the key challenge of variable generation resources.

After all, that’s why utilities are looking for ways to “firm” renewable generation, which is the process of backing variable resources up with some combination of fast-ramping power or demand-side management to jump in when power production subsides. But, while loss of power gets most of the attention, over-production is an equally daunting challenge for grid operators.

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Topics: DERs, DERMs, Solar, photovoltaic, renewable firming

The Energy Curtailment That Nobody Noticed

By Enbala on Sep 20, 2016 8:49:37 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.

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

Spock or Scotty: Which character fits your organization?

By Enbala on Aug 29, 2016 8:00:00 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!”

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

Load, the oft-overlooked distributed energy resource

By Enbala on Aug 17, 2016 12:00:00 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.

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

It’s Time to Ditch Disruption in Demand Response

By Enbala on Jul 6, 2016 9:00:00 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.

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

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

By Enbala on Jun 29, 2016 9:48:37 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.

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

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

By Enbala on Jun 8, 2016 3:28:20 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.

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

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

By Enbala on Jun 2, 2016 4:03:53 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. 

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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 9:53:00 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.

 

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

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