Improving demand response (DR) and demand-side management (DSM) has increasingly become a priority for utilities looking to extract additional value from smart meter investments. Additionally, capacity constraints — caused by the decommissioning of old plants, the lengthy approval process for new plants and the growth of intermittent renewable generation — are hastening the need for responsive, dynamic controls.
Until recently, employing demand response has been too daunting and too capital intensive for most utilities and end-users. Typically, only large power consumers (100 kilowatts and above) participate in demand response programs because of the expense and additional hardware involved. Most demand response programs require advanced planning and have limited functionality: Typically utilities only use demand response 50 or so hours a year and have to request a DR “event” a day in advance.
These events also only impact a very small universe of power-consuming devices. In most cases, a DR event mostly involves turning air conditioners up by 2 to 4 degrees. DR and DSM represent a tremendous advance in power management, but their flexibility and functionality have been limited by existing technology.
AutoGrid’s Demand Response Optimization and Management System (DROMS) provides a low-cost, low-risk solution that dramatically expands both the user base for demand response and the frequency that DR events can be called. DROMS can be implemented in weeks, not years like traditional solutions, because it is a cloud-based solution, accessible through public or private clouds and not a discrete, single-function network. Additionally, DROMS events can be scheduled and implemented within minutes and employed to control power through a wide variety of appliances in facilities ranging in size from industrial plants to single-family homes.
Our platform can be accessed through a highly secure public or private cloud, depending on the needs of the customer. And because it is based on open standards, such as OpenADR and ZigBee, our platform is compatible with the broad ecosystem of software, networks and hardware already deployed. Open standards also mean that we can leverage the advances in security and reliability being achieved through industry-wide initiatives. Security can’t be tackled in isolation.