Top utility companies for demand response named

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The Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) has announced seven winners of its 11th Annual PLMA Awards.

The PLMA Award Program recognizes those energy industry leaders who create innovative methods to meet peak load requirements, mitigate price risks and manage variable generation. Over the past 11 years, PLMA has presented over 50 awards to recipients that have included utilities, curtailment service providers, end-users, and individuals.

They have been responsible for demand response efforts targeted to the residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customer markets. Demand response has grown from simply reducing peak loads to balancing supply and demand for increased efficiency and reliability of a smarter grid.

Demand response and other methods to balancing intermittent power loads are becoming even more important as renewable energy becomes an increasingly significant part of electricity supply.

“2013 proved to be yet another year of innovation, creativity, and success for numerous demand response programs nationwide,” remarked Paul Tyno, Board Chair of PLMA. “These awards are a way for PLMA to recognize and encourage the best initiatives.”

The following are brief descriptions of the award-winning efforts:

Duke Energy’s Power Manager is an innovative step in residential air conditioning cycling program design. When an AC event is called, Power Manager customers deliver a specific kW reduction based on their enrollment. Power Manager customers sign up for the level of contribution to match their goal (either 1.5 kW or 1.0 kW) participation level (their Target Cycle). The program design provides a pay-for-performance model. In addition to a one-time installation bill credit, a variable bill credit is provided for each cycling event. At year-end 2013, the Power Manager program had over 100,000 customers with a capacity 102 MWs of load relief at the meter. Power Manager with Target Cycle has been operational for over five years. Power Manager passed the UTC, TRC, and RIM program requirements.

• Kilroy Realty has integrated an innovative suite of solutions, service providers and tools that provide a practical means to execute viable Auto-DR projects based on today’s economics and in so doing has demonstrated a vision for the future value of this Auto-DR functionality. The solutions and providers include California utility sponsored Auto-DR incentives and on-bill financing with third-party HVAC Auto-DR platform, DR aggregation, and demand visualization tools. In her role as Vice President of Sustainability, Sara Neff continues to demonstrate industry leadership while advocating for energy efficiency and demand response as a speaker and panelist at numerous industry events. During 2013, Kilroy installed and enrolled 1.6 MW of Auto-DR capacity in the SCE service area with 6 buildings totaling 1 million square feet.

• Navigant Research has published an outstanding report on the status of the world market for Automated Demand Response, along with a 10-year forecast on where the market is heading. Brett Feldman led and directed the collection of data from primary research and analysis. This thorough analysis for the next big step in the Demand Response industry derived from the primary and secondary research collected and, combined with the analysts’ industry expertise, will be the seminal source for those wishing to understand what can and will likely happen in the next few years in this developing industry. The report gives system operators, distribution utilities, and curtailment service providers new information about the potential for ADR in their DR business.

• New Brunswick Power in partnership with Natural Resources Canada led a consortium of Maritime utilities including Maritime Electric, Nova Scotia Power, Saint John Energy as well as the University of New Brunswick to develop an innovative technology solution to create a true “plant following” resource. It controls 1,600 devices in 1,270 customer locations allowing 16.5 MW of load to participate in real-time in response to wind power forecasts with strong coordination between the system operator and participating utilities. The Project relies on customer loads having some kind of energy storage capability (for instance, water heaters, electric thermal storage heaters or commercial refrigeration units). The PowerShift Atlantic Research Project represents the next evolution of demand response, a more integrated and intelligent load management process that combines various load resources, real-time load management, and integration with the system operator.

NV Energy’s mPowered program is one of the first to combine DR and energy efficiency for commercial buildings. NV Energy incorporated a cloud-based energy optimization software to its commercial customer base in return for participation in DR events. After the success in its own facility, NV Energy extended the program to some of its largest commercial customers — including casinos, government and commercial buildings. The cloud-based software works directly with the existing building management system and does not require new hardware or sensors, making installation of the system a simple process. Currently the commercial portion of the mPowered program covers about 3 million square feet with a load response of about 1.2 MWs. That is expected to rise to 10 MWs by the time the demand response season kicks off in 2014, with a goal of 75 MWs by 2016.

• Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s voluntary SmartHours program is designed to encourage customers to shift their kilowatt usage from the peak hours of 2 - 7 p.m. weekdays to remaining off-peak periods. During thee off-peak hours, the SmartHours rate per kWh is almost 50 percent of OG&E’s standard rate. Extensive research has pinpointed customers’ primary interests in the program are saving money, having control of their comfort and savings, and knowing that there is no risk in trying out SmartHours for a year. At the end of 2013, OG&E had enrolled more than 80,000 customers in SmartHours. As of April 7, 2014, 10,638 more customers had switched to SmartHours (205 percent of the YTD goal). OG&E achieved these enrollment numbers during the coldest winter and spring in a decade – a time of year when customers generally are not concerned about summertime electric bills. With eight months remaining in the three-year campaign, the goal of enrolling 120,000 customers is well within reach.

• Sacramento Municipal Utility District has fully executed ten demand response pilots and installed an integrated DRMS, investing $27M in demand response research and infrastructure in less than four years. This included a demand response dynamic pricing pilot with 100,000 customers, including default dynamic pricing and rigorous experimental research methods. The results disproved longstanding claims against both low impacts and customer rejection of dynamic pricing by demonstrating peak load savings up to 26 percent by behavior alone, extremely high enrollment rates in the default treatment groups, and no adverse effects in special interest groups such as low income. Evaluations showed significant peak load savings across the portfolio, with residential daily peak load reductions of 6 percent-41 percent, event peak load reductions of 12 - 43 percent, and summer energy savings of up to 4 percent. In the commercial sector, PowerDirect achievements of 3.4 MW peak load reduction with lighting peak reduction savings of 50-60 percent were realized.

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April 2014
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