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New England Seeks to Balance Renewables and Grid Reliability

September 01, 2020

Grid Operators in the US deregulated energy markets need only look west to California and the Golden State’s recent barrage of rolling blackouts for a reminder of how an ambitious but unchecked drive to a renewable fuel mix can threaten grid reliability.

California’s charge over the last two decades toward a carbon-free future has led to a flood of solar resources fulfilling the state’s electric demand during the day. 

That’s the good news.

That drive has also led to a phenomenon known in the energy industry as the “duck curve” in the evening when solar resources go offline and demand for electricity ramps to consumption levels that challenge the grid on a daily basis.  

That’s the not-so-good news. 

The duck curve (named so because the ramp in daily evening demand when graphed on a 24-hour consumption chart resembles the neck of a duck) isn’t new. 

The “Duck Curve” was coined in the mid-2010s and shows the effects of demand on California’s grid spiking in the evening when solar goes offline.

For years, in fact, energy markets outside of California have cited the graphed duck’s increasingly bulging belly (indicating a yearly increase in solar resources fulfilling daytime demand) as a case-in-point on how renewable intermittency is both a threat to grid reliability and a challenge for energy markets seeking to evolve their fuel mixes away from traditional fossil fuels.  

Energy storage, long hailed as a panacea whose realization was until recently perpetually dismissed as being a few years away, has arrived as an affordable resource, perfectly suited to satisfy progressives’ ambition and grid operators’ reliability concerns.

The question in 2020 and beyond is this: how can energy markets evolve to allow storage resources to participate and help offset the inevitable intermittency of increasingly popular renewable resources such as solar and wind? 

New England may have the answer in its lineup of demand response programs at both the ISO and utility levels. 

Daily Dispatch Demand Response

New England utilities National Grid, Eversource, and Unitil have introduced a new demand response program called Daily Dispatch. 

The program complements the utilities’ highly successful Connected Solutions demand response program and aims to further reduce peaks on their distribution systems.

Daily Dispatch is designed to allow energy storage (batteries, thermal storage) to participate because of the resource’s ability to be dispatched frequently and quickly in response to rising peaks.

The Daily Dispatch program runs during the summer from June through September. The program is intended to be dispatched daily (as the name suggests)  with anywhere from 30-60 events each year during the hot months of July and August. Each event is expected to last about two to three hours.

The new program has an attractive incentive of $225-300 per kW per summer. Customers’ compensation will be based on their average curtailment amount for all the events that are called during the summer.

On-Peak Demand Response

On-Peak Demand Response rewards participating organizations for making permanent load reductions.

On-Peak resources are passive, non-dispatchable, and only participate in ISO-NE’s Forward Capacity Market. Eligible behind-the-meter resources include solar, fuel cells, cogeneration systems, combined heat and power systems (CHP), and more.

Passive Demand Response participants offer their reduced electricity consumption into the market during both the summer and winter peak hours.

Potential for Multiple Revenue Streams

New England organizations can participate in multiple demand response programs. 

That means that organizations with storage resources are in a prime position to open multiple revenue streams through demand-side energy management. 

The New England energy market is evolving toward a fuel mix that features less coal and more renewables. 

By introducing ISO and utility level demand response programs that allow for storage participation, the market is aiming to avoid grid reliability woes brought about by resource intermittency.

Organizations with battery storage devices not only have a leg up in the race to superior resilience, but they also have a flexible, dispatchable resource the grid operator and electric utilities recognize is valuable and are willing to handsomely compensate in times when the grid is stressed or electricity prices are high. 

Watch CPower’s Jobin Arthungal and Mat Tuttelman explain everything your organization needs to know about the New England energy market in the 2020 State of Demand-Side Energy Management in New England video-on-demand. 

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. 

 

Are You Earning Revenue From Your Energy Savings? (Webinar)

July 23, 2020



Are You Earning Revenue From Your Energy Savings?

Has your organization completed an energy efficiency project in the last two years? Are you planning on completing a project before June of 2021? If the answer is yes – you are likely eligible for earnings in addition to the savings your project is already delivering for up to the next four years.

 

Join Kelly Mallin & Jim Hooven from SJI Energy Advisors and its partner, CPower Energy Management, for a 60-min webinar to understand how you can receive these lucrative incentives. CPower can measure and verify your permanent load reduction and submit it to PJM (your regional transmission operator). And your organization begins receiving revenue payments. It’s that easy. No curtailment, no shutdown, no operational changes, no production or customer impact. Just revenue for work you have already completed!

 

Watch this webinar to learn more about:

  • Eligible incentives by state and utilities in PJM
  • Earning potential for past projects
  • Project data submission through CPower
  • How to generate additional revenue from other curtailment programs

PSC Order on NY Utility DR Program Changes for Summer 2020 – Market Minute (Video)

June 02, 2020



 

On May 14th, in response to COVID-19 related challenges and recommendations raised by stakeholders,  the New York Public Service Commission issued an Order directing most of the utilities to implement several changes to their Dynamic Load Management (DLM) tariffs to become effective as of June 1st. These changes will impact the Commercial System Relief Program (CSRP) and the Distribution Load Relief Program (DLRP) for Summer 2020 and are intended to increase program flexibility for DR aggregators and participants.

The PSC Order directs the utilities to make the following changes to their DLM tariffs:

First, there will be an additional enrollment window to allow new participants to participate in the programs in July through September if enrollments are submitted by June 1st.

Second, for customers currently enrolled will have an opportunity to adjust their committed kW reduction amounts for July through September if this is submitted by June 1st.

Third, testing will occur only if an event has not already occurred, and the PSC has directed utilities to not administer a test before July 1st.

Lastly, for customers that have utility interval or AMI metering installed but have not been able to establish communications between the meter and the utility will be provisionally approved to participate, pending establishment of the necessary communications and providing that meter data for the CBL baseline calculations and test/event performance can be retrieved to assess program performance for settlement and payment.

These changes will be applicable to all utilities within New York, except for PSEG-LI. The PSC Order directs Department of Public Service staff to work with LIPA/PSEG-LI staff to see if similar changes can be implemented for their CSRP and DLRP programs for this program season.

If your organization is currently participating in one or both of the CSRP and DLRP programs in 2020, or had opted not to enroll in these programs due to operational and electric load changes for the season, you now have one more opportunity to enroll to participate in July through September, or to adjust your level of participation through adjusting your enrollment value.

If you have any questions or would like to enroll, or adjust your current enrollment amount, in the CSRP or DLRP programs by June 1st, or have any other New York energy question, contact CPower and we’ll help you in any way we can.

On May 14th, in response to COVID-19 related challenges and recommendations raised by stakeholders,  the New York Public Service Commission issued an Order directing most of the utilities to implement several changes to their Dynamic Load Management (DLM) tariffs to become effective as of June 1st. These changes will impact the Commercial System Relief Program (CSRP) and the Distribution Load Relief Program (DLRP) for Summer 2020 and are intended to increase program flexibility for DR aggregators and participants.

The PSC Order directs the utilities to make the following changes to their DLM tariffs:

  1. Enrollment – an additional enrollment window has been added. New enrollments must be submitted by June 1st for participation in the CSRP/DLRP for July through September.
  2. Enrollment Adjustment – participants may adjust their committed kW to the CSRP and DLRP programs by submitting updated enrollments by June 1st, to become effective July 1st.
  3. Testing – utilities have been directed to not administer tests in their programs until July 1st at the earliest, and to not administer a test if an event has already been called.
  4. Metering – customers that have utility interval or AMI metering installed but have not been able to establish communications between the meter and the utility will be provisionally approved to participate, pending establishment of the necessary communications and providing that meter data for the CBL baseline calculations and test/event performance can be retrieved to assess program performance for settlement and payment.

These changes will be applicable to all utilities within New York, except for PSEG-LI. The PSC Order directs Department of Public Service staff to work with LIPA/PSEG-LI staff to see if similar changes can be implemented for their CSRP and DLRP programs for this program season.

If your organization is currently participating in one or both of the CSRP and DLRP programs in 2020, or had opted not to enroll in these programs due to operational and electric load changes for the season, you now have one more opportunity to enroll to participate in July through September, or to adjust your level of participation through adjusting your enrollment value.

If you have any questions or would like to enroll, or adjust your current enrollment amount, in the CSRP or DLRP programs by June 1st, or have any other New York energy question, contact CPower and we’ll help you in any way we can.

Brave.

May 21, 2020

Since December of last year,  the truly brave men and women in the healthcare industry that are treating and saving the lives of COVID-19 patients come to work, put in uncountable hours, and in every second of that chaotic day risk exposure to the worst disease we have seen in a very long time.

New York City has been one of the worst-hit areas in the US. CPower wants to thank all of you in New York and in every US city dealing with the pandemic. As a small token of our appreciation to your selfless donation to humanity, we have come together to donate to our friends at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Flushing Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, and Presbyterian Hospital in NYC.

We encourage all of our friends, followers, and employees to find a way to support these true heroes. A sandwich, coffee, cash, or even a heartfelt thank you card is so meaningful to the selfless individuals in this great time of need.

It is said that in a time of crisis is when you see the true character of humanity.

There are few times in anyone’s life when they are asked to put their own life and safety aside to protect someone else’s. Someone they have never met, loved or cared about until that moment. Yet, this is what our healthcare workers do — without question or consideration. Not just once or twice in a lifetime, but every day.

In healthcare, you don’t earn a medal. You don’t get a 21-gun salute. But know that you get a heartfelt thank you from every person and family that you save. 

You are our heroes.

Thank you for showing us what it means to be brave.

Now it’s our turn to show what it means to be human.

PJM in Motion (Environment + Energy Leader Webinar)

May 20, 2020



 

 

In 2015, PJM announced that it was retiring its seasonal emergency capacity demand response programs and replacing them with a single, year-round program called Capacity Performance, or CP. June 2020 was set as the first season that PJM would offer CP as their only capacity program.

June 2020 is just a few months away — and the world is a very different place from when CP was first proposed. Who knew PJM would solo their new emergency capacity program in the middle of one of the greatest upheavals in the last 50 years?

It’s no surprise that times of great flux and uncertainty bring more questions than there are answers for, and misinformation that can cloud the path to needed solutions.

CPower is committed to helping PJM energy users get a better understanding of the facts, clarify the misperceptions, and identify opportunities that still exist in this unprecedented year of change and complexity.

That’s why we’re bringing together our top experts on PJM and Capacity Performance in this timely and important webinar.

New York’s Rule 222 for Distributed Generation (Video)

April 20, 2020



Submit your question to the Energy Engineer’s Notebook:

Fill out the form below and your question may be the subject of an Energy Engineer’s Notebook episode.

(If your question isn’t selected for an episode, a CPower engineer will get back to you with an answer.)

 

Backup Generators for Demand Response (Video)



Submit your question to the Energy Engineer’s Notebook:

Fill out the form below and your question may be the subject of an Energy Engineer’s Notebook episode.

(If your question isn’t selected for an episode, a CPower engineer will get back to you with an answer.)