MANHASSET, NY -- ConEdison Solutions has launched, together with Viridity of Philadelphia, a demand response process for its customers to generate revenue during periods other than when utilities and independent system operators send out reduction appeals.
The new offering transforms energy users into virtual energy generators by triggering usage reductions when prices rise. Participants sell pre-contracted commodity back into the marketplace when market prices significantly exceed the original price the user had paid.
Similar energy plans exist with other utilities and ISOs.
"For many years, we have worked with smart energy users to help them benefit from price shifts in commodity prices or savings from energy management programs," said Jorge J. Lopez, President and CEO of ConEdison Solutions, in a statement. "This offering brings in dollars for customers by turning users into suppliers."
ConEdison Solutions, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., develops strategies with individual energy users to
maximize their value of energy and minimize their cost.
ConEdison Solutions and Viridity worked with the Drexel university campus with an annual electricity bill exceeding $4.2 million and a peak demand of 10.5 MW. The campus has over the years made significant energy investments including back-up generation and thermal storage systems (see pdf here).
Using Viridity’s VPower optimization software the university receives a day ahead forecast of wholesale electricity market opportunities. Should they elect to participate in a given day, they implement their automated load reduction solution during a specific window, which shifts variable energy usage outside of high-priced market hours.
VPower takes into consideration overall load forecast and generation forecasts, energy prices, and the attributes and matches these operating features against market pricing forecasts for generating an optimal schedule to use the least amount of energy when prices are high, and shifting variable energy load to when prices are low.
The university relationship began as a demonstration and continues to grow in stages.
Initially with three buildings, it expanded to six buildings within the campus infrastructure. The revenue and savings at these buildings resulted in over ten percent of the annual electricity spend for those buildings—or about $53,000 from an approximately $435,000 annual bill. If implemented campus-wise the university is position itself for the smart-grid risk free with no upfront out of pocket cost, according to ConEdison Solutions.
A recent Viridity white paper on the implementation of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order 745, which provides the DR opportunity for consumers, can be read here.
This concept should be expanded another step. Even 20 years ago, our residence in Florida had an automated system that allowed the power utility to shut off some of our demand when power was in short supply. Why not go a step further and notify consumers when power costs are peaking and invite them to feed locally generated power back into the grid from V2G (vehicle to grid), solar power arrays, wind turbines, or emergency generators. When the spot price of electricity gets high enough, there are many distributed power sources that become economical. This would reduce the need for power utilities to invest in capacity that is only needed at times of peak demand. Solar power in particular would have great potential here - it is most effective on hot summer days (when power demand also peaks).
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