Enbala Blog

Renewable Firming with Demand Side Resources? It Can Be Done!

Posted by Enbala on Jan 21, 2016 12:28:48 PM

 

9530315_s.jpgAnyone who thinks distributed energy resources (DERs) can’t be used for time-sensitive applications like renewable firming should have a look at this article about how New Brunswick Power was able to do just that. The NB Power project was the first time load management provided renewable firming for a Canadian utility. Serving some 394,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers, NB Power is targeting 40 percent renewable generation by 2020. Firming for these variable energy resources must be in place quickly, and the project described in the article shows how the utility proved that demand-side resources could do the job.

The NB Power project was the first time load management provided renewable firming for a Canadian utility. Serving some 394,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers, NB Power is targeting 40 percent renewable generation by 2020. Firming for these variable energy resources must be in place quickly, and the project described in the article shows how the utility proved that demand-side resources could do the job.

The project also took an innovative perspective around capacity planning. Normally, utilities anticipate demand and plan generation around it. With intermittent renewables, generation may not follow load, so this utility determined to have load follow generation.

It's important to note that the project represents a significant shift in customer engagement approach. While most organizations present demand side management opportunities to customers as a way to save money on power bills, NB Power presented this project as a way to integrate more renewables into the generation mix. A customer survey showed that virtually all customers – 95 percent – support the idea of a wind pilot project. Feedback also showed that participants were eager for details, both as it related to them and to their impact on the program as well as the program overall. 

Using this approach, NB Power was able to:

  • Avoid fuel costs to provide ancillary services
  • Lower maintenance and fuel use associated with fossil-fueled generator start up and cycling
  • Defer capital expense for new generation, transmission and distribution capacity
  • Cutt greenhouse gas emissions

Read how NB Power did it in this EL&P story. Or access Enbala's case study about this exciting project here.  

Topics: distributed energy resources, demand side management, renewable firming, frequency regulation, wind energy

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