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Demand Response


Arizona’s Largest Utility Ramps its Demand Response program to Pursue Carbon-Free Mission

January 06, 2021

The largest electric utility in Arizona is making strides toward a more sustainable future and it’s clear demand response is part of the plan. 

Arizona Public Service (APS) is the owner and operator of the country’s largest producer of carbon-free electricity–the Palo Verde Generating Station. 

Currently, the utility generates clean, reliable electricity for 1.3 million homes and businesses in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties and boasts a current energy fuel mix that is 50 percent clean. 

50 percent clean energy in 2021 is impressive enough, but APS CEO Jeff Guldner sees an even cleaner future and has pledged to cease all coal-fired generation in the APS service territory by 2031 and for the utility’s fuel mix to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2050. 

To get there, APS plans to call on a generation portfolio that is 45 percent renewable in just nine years. 

To help bridge the present and future, APS is counting on its own Peak Solutions demand response program to ensure its grid remains reliable when stressed with heavy electrical demand.

Launched in 2010, the Peak Solutions program engages commercial and industrial customers in voluntary energy conservation measures when demand for energy peaks on APS’s system, particularly during Arizona’s scorching summers.

The program also helps maintain lower-cost power for all customers.

As APS ramps up its drive to a carbon-free future, they’re also ramping up their demand response program and the financial rewards participating commercial and industrial organizations will earn for voluntarily reducing their electricity consumption when the demand on the APS grid is high. 

The APS Peak Solutions aims to include participants both small and large evidenced by its minimum load commitment of just 10 kW instead of the more customary 50 kW minimum required by most commercial demand response programs in the US. 

By not having any penalties for non-performance, another atypical demand response program parameter, APS is further making Peak Solutions attractive to organizations who have never before participated in demand response. 

APS’s CEO Jeff Guldner knows that plans and programs aren’t enough to attain a sustainable future in Arizona.  “Achieving and realizing the full benefits of a completely clean energy mix will take partnership,” he said in APS’s published clean energy commitment document,  “It’s something for all of us, by all of us.”

To learn more about demand response and the APS Peak Solutions program, click here.

Watt’s Up With Backup Generators?

September 30, 2020

Simplifying back-up generation rules, permitting, and demand response participation.

Renewables are here and continue to displace traditional coal resources on the grid. Battery storage is compelling and becoming more cost-effective — but it is still not a full-proof, scalable solution. Utilities are battling the challenges of grid intermittency amidst infrastructure challenges to support renewable penetration. All of this to say, the tried-and-true back-up generator is still the go-to resource when it comes to energy resilience and still remains a misunderstood energy resource.

Join CPower’s back up generation and demand response experts Arusyak Ghukasyan and Michael Mindell for this 30-minute panel to learn and understand topics including:

  • How generators can earn revenue for your organization
  • The rules and policies for BUGs at the federal, state, and local level
  • Common myths about using BUGs for ‘non-emergency’ situations like demand response and testing under load
  • What industries, markets, and programs are more favorable to BUGs for revenue
  • How to fund and finance generator upgrades or replacements

ERCOT’s Effective and Lucrative Last Bastion Against Blackouts

August 18, 2020

Texans love a good fight, especially if there is a lot riding on the outcome and the battle comes down to the wire only to be won in the waning seconds by the last fighter standing. 

Maybe that’s why ERCOT’s Load Resource demand response program has been a favorite of commercial organizations in the Lone Star state over the last few years. 

As we’ve discussed in a previous article on the ERCOT’s protocols for demand-side resources, dispatching Load Resource is the grid operator’s last line of defense before initiating rolling blackouts. 

When demand approaches what the grid can supply within 3,000 MW’s, ERCOT takes action.
7 levers are used by ERCOT before they have to call blackouts (BO’s).

Load Resource has consistently been ERCOT’s most rewarding demand response program. Look no further than 2019 for proof.  

In 2019, a year which saw ERCOT call its first demand response events in half a decade, the program not only paid extremely well,  but participants were never called to curtail their loads. 

In the demand response events on August 13th and 15th of 2019, grid balance was restored before Load Resources were needed. Still, Load Resource participants earned revenue 1) for being available to curtail and 2) because of the spike in real-time pricing that reached $9,000/MWh. 

The year Load Resource had in 2019 embodies how economic drivers of the Texas energy market are working to keep the grid reliable, demand response participants happy, and electricity rates relatively low for ratepayers.

What kind of year will 2020 be for Load Resource?

Predicting the future is usually a fool’s errand, especially when it comes to the energy industry. But let’s give it a shot anyway.

Electric demand continues to rise in Texas and ERCOT has taken measures to keep its grid reliable. The reserve margin is growing and a new demand response program (ERCOT Contingency Reserve Service or ECRS) will eventually be added to the ISO’s arsenal in 2024.

But if we look at the last five years, Load Resource has been called a grand total of zero times. All the while, participants have earned significant revenue for being available to help the Texas electrical grid if needed.

Sometimes the past helps predict the future. In that case, it looks like 2020 will be another strong year for Load Resource in Texas. 

This is, after all, 2020. The summer of the wildest year we can remember isn’t over yet. But the Texas grid has been up for the fight so far this year. If the last few rounds get particularly punishing, Load Resource is standing guard as the grid’s lucrative last bastion. 

To learn more about ERCOT’s Load Resource program as well as the state of the energy market in Texas, join CPower’s Joe Hayden and Mike Hourihan on September 3, 2020 (changed from Aug 27 in response to Hurricane Laura), for a 60-minute webinar: The State of Demand-Side Energy Management in Texas for 2020. Register HERE. 

 

Seasonal Readiness 2020

February 18, 2020
Are you ready for the 2020 demand response season? Our program information and On Demand Webinar resources will help make you successful in your programs in 2020. Here, you'll find program information, key dates (like communication drills), your CPower contacts, market information, dispatch information and more.

White Paper: The Changing Energy Landscape and New Demand Side Management Opportunities (Navigant)

January 02, 2020

The year is 2040. Grid modernization has seen the integration of large-scale storage and renewables overtake traditional fossil fuel and nuclear generation. Sustainability, grid reliability, and energy technologies have been major drivers for a modern grid structure. Customers have become more connected and engaged with their utilities and drive the utility business model beyond selling kilowatt-hours.