ORIGINAL REPORTING: Northeastern utilities aim to 'crush and flatten' system peaks with DER
Northeastern utilities aim to 'crush and flatten' system peaks as DERs boost grid efficiency; DER providers and utilities have found shared market interests in New England, leading to cooperative BYOD programs that provide a range of benefits for customers and the power system.
Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 23, 2019 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Utilities are beginning to welcome customers’ devices as a way to manage their increasingly variable and hard-to-predict demand and supply.
The power system's growing need for flexible load and customers' rising demand for backup power are driving new partnerships between utilities and providers of customer-sited resources across the Northeast. Vermont's Green Mountain Power (GMP) is leading this transition toward distributed energy resources (DER) as grid assets. But others are right behind. And instead of the usual market battle, DER providers and utilities are becoming enthusiastic collaborators.
The objective is "a home-, business- and community-based energy system," GMP CEO Mary Powell told Utility Dive. "We envision a future in which the distribution system is primary [and] the distribution utility is the symphony conductor of many different DER devices, with battery storage leading," she said. "And the devices are an almost living, breathing system that inhale when costs go down and exhale as prices go up."
New bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, which target peak demand reductions, are just the beginning, stakeholders told Utility Dive. Synergies among utilities, DER providers and customers can deliver a range of cost-effective advanced grid services. The key, they said, is standardized pay-for-performance and shared savings provisions to protect ratepayers. There are BYOD programs or proposals in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine and New York. But four states are leading.
GMP's DER programs have attracted over 2,700 customers, Powell said. The utility now has 11 MW of DER assets, including customer-owned batteries, EV chargers, water heaters and heat pumps. Battery programs have generated over $800,000 of net value in grid services since 2018 while maintaining customer access to the batteries for backup power. In a new BYOD proposal, private sector providers will aggregate customer-owned devices and "be compensated for reducing kWs over the peak hour each month and each year," she said. The amount of compensation to DER providers and their customers depends on how DER is used… click here for more