Smart grid technology is helping to build a cleaner, more efficient grid, and more than ever, energy users themselves are contributing to the process. Through demand response, businesses and organizations can support the transition to a more sustainable energy future and be paid for their efforts.
Demand response offers large energy users financial incentives to reduce energy usage in response to the needs of the electrical grid. Learn how EnerNOC’s DemandSMART demand response network is contributing to a smarter, more efficient, and lower-carbon grid:
To address peak demand for electricity, utilities must keep additional power plants running at low levels, even when they are not sending power to the grid. It is estimated that 10 percent of generation resources are used only about 100 hours per year, yet they continue to send emissions into the atmosphere throughout the year. Demand response reduces reliance on these peaking power plants by harnessing the power of thousands of individual energy reductions. The result is a “virtual power plant” that helps keep supply and demand in balance. EnerNOC’s demand response network has the ability to replace dozens of fossil-fuel-burning peaking power plants.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and most monthly energy bills don’t provide users enough information to manage their energy consumption. EnerNOC gives every customer access to real-time meter data through web-based energy management software. For many of our customers, this becomes an invaluable tool for identifying energy efficiency opportunities, monitoring the implementation of energy efficiency initiatives, and correcting inefficiencies. MGM Industries reported uncovering more than $30,000 in annual savings through DemandSMART.
As more energy from renewable sources like wind and solar are added to the system, local utilities and grid operators need ways to balance intermittencies when wind velocity is lower than forecasted or the skies are overcast. Demand response provides this service by adjusting demand strategically so that each megawatt of renewable energy does not have to be matched with another megawatt of carbon-emitting, fossil-fuel-fired generation. In the UK, the need for this service is expected to more than double by 2020.
At many facilities, EnerNOC harnesses the power of on-site backup generation to create virtual power plants that only run when needed by the grid. In many cases, these generators are subject to mandatory testing. EnerNOC enables its customers to neutralize the impact of these tests by aligning them with the needs of the grid. Berkshire Health Systems had this to say: “We realized that we were already testing our generators anyway, so it made sense to put them to work during brief emergency periods.”
EnerNOC became a carbon-neutral company in 2006 and reports its greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. In addition to purchasing offsets to cover emissions from its own business operations, EnerNOC purchases additional offsets to balance the carbon emissions associated with running on-site generators for the purposes of demand response. EnerNOC pioneered the use of clean generation in a groundbreaking program in Southern California that is endorsed by the Sierra Club.