Surprisingly, only a handful of utilities have combined demand response and energy efficiency into a unified program. Some examples of combined programs include: Georgia Power, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Austin Energy, Kansas City Power & Light, and Long Island Power Authority.
However, efforts to merge DR with energy efficiency are rising as utilities realize the benefits of achieving synergy between them. Better coordination and tighter integration of DR and energy efficiency would lead to greater cost effectiveness, mainly because of more efficient allocation of resources among program providers. Consumers would likely welcome a packaged approach to manage their energy use, so they don’t have to deal with two different programs. An integrated program with a coordinated marketing and education effort could also increase DR market penetration. In fact, when DR is coupled with behavioral-based energy efficiency programs to raise customers’ awareness of energy use, participation in DR programs tends to improve. Similarly, by blending DR with efficiency utilities can deepen their energy efficiency initiatives.
That’s why the recent announcement by Honeywell and Opower that they will team up to provide an integrated Energy Management platform is worth noting. This platform combines Honeywell’s two-way communicating, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat (built on the VisionPRO platform) with Akuacom’s demand response automation server (DRAS), embedded with a demand response management system (DRMS), and Opower’s interactive, cloud-based software tool to help consumers manage their energy use via the Web or a smartphone. Jeremy Eaton, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions, explained in a statement: “We’re bridging the gap by providing mobility, relatable energy information, precise control, and other features customers want so utilities can reach deeper levels of connectivity and participation.”
The platform is designed to enable automated DR (ADR), using the OpenADR 2.0a specification, for almost all residential heating and cooling systems through Honeywell’s Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat. All thermostats are fully programmed upon installation according to the consumer’s preferred temperature set points and schedules, driving energy conservation and reduced air conditioning or heating use. In addition, the platform uses measurement techniques to demonstrate ongoing energy savings that utilities can use in meeting their required annual efficiency goals. Five utilities are piloting the platform, including Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which is currently testing it with about 500 residential consumers. Its success could help blur the sharp lines between DR and energy efficiency.
Tags: Demand Side Management, Energy Management, Honeywell, Mergers & Acquisitions, Smart Energy Practice, Smart Grid
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