CPS Energy, Honeywell to work on demand response project

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Honeywell will work with CPS Energy on a two-year energy efficiency program. The utility will use automated demand response (ADR) technology and services from Honeywell to connect and collaborate with commercial and industrial customers, and adjust electricity consumption when the demand for energy peaks.

As a result, CPS Energy will have additional tools to enhance the stability of the Texas electrical grid, especially on hot summer days when air conditioners and other cooling equipment are often running at capacity.

The program is expected to be the largest ADR deployment by a municipal utility, and will build on a successful pilot project that CPS Energy and Honeywell completed last year.

The pilot included nine commercial and industrial facilities, and helped trim demand by about 1.5 MW — a more than 10 percent reduction in each building on average. Honeywell and CPS Energy will look to enroll 60 additional sites, bringing the potential reduction to nearly 6 MW, enough electricity to meet the typical load of more than 2,200 homes.

Extreme temperatures can put stress on power lines and transformers, and have historically required utilities like CPS Energy to fire up peaking plants — small power plants that usually sit in reserve to produce additional electricity to meet consumer demand. ADR serves a similar purpose; however, the concept centers on working with utility customers to temporarily use less energy, rather than building costly plants.

As part of the program, Honeywell will identify and enroll customers, audit their buildings to identify curtailment opportunities, and work to customize and implement changes that trim energy use, but don't impact core business functions. In return for joining, customers receive an incentive for each kilowatt they're able to shed. The hardware and software installed can also help each organization better manage electricity use every day and boost long-term energy efficiency.

Honeywell will also provide its Akuacom Demand Response Automation Server, software as a service (SaaS) that enables CPS Energy to send signals to building automation systems at sites enrolled in the program, triggering the short-term load-shedding measures the customer selects — heating and cooling adjustments, and subtle changes in lighting, for example.

Honeywell also manages a residential demand response for CPS Energy, which started in 2004 and now involves more than 81,000 homeowners. Combined, the residential and commercial-industrial programs should allow the utility to generate the same amount of "negawatts" as several gas-fired peaking plants can produce megawatts.

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