NewEnergyNews: Monday Study – Getting Ready For Prices-To-Devices

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    Monday, January 03, 2022

    Monday Study – Getting Ready For Prices-To-Devices

    FINAL STAFF REPORT Analysis of Potential Amendments to the Load Management Standards Karen Herter and Gavin Situ, November 2021 (California Energy Commission)

    ABSTRACT

    The Warren-Alquist Act defines load management as: “any utility program or activity that is intended to reshape deliberately a utility's load duration curve” (Public Resources Code § 25132). Load management strategies, including those established by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) first load management standards, have been used to help balance the supply and demand of energy in California since the 1970s. Today, existing load management resources are largely met by utility incentive programs that reward customers for reducing peak loads. However, these existing demand response programs are incapable of shifting loads to periods of high renewable generation, and thus are inadequate for supporting the carbon-free grid of the future. The objective of the proposed rulemaking is to increase statewide demand flexibility through amendments to the existing load management regulations (California Code of Regulations, Title 20, §§ 1621-1625).

    Throughout 2020, staff worked with the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Independent System Operator, investor-owned utilities and publicly owned utilities, community choice aggregators, automation service providers, equipment manufacturers, and many other stakeholders to identify the steps needed to achieve this goal. Staff and stakeholders agreed on the need for a statewide real-time signaling system that enables automation markets to coalesce around principles and technologies for demand flexibility. In August 2021, the CEC published the pilot Market Informed Demand Automation Server, a statewide database of time-dependent electricity rates, California Independent System Operator Flex Alerts, and marginal greenhouse gas emissions signals, which can be linked to flexible loads, enabling the automation of customer end-uses in real-time.

    Building on the CEC’s new Market Informed Demand Automation Server system, staff proposes to adopt through regulation the following four basic requirements for the five largest electric utility service territories in California – Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District – and the community choice aggregators operating within these service territories to:

    a) Develop retail electricity rates that change at least hourly to reflect locational marginal costs and submit those rates to the utility’s governing body for approval.

    b) Update the time-dependent rates in CEC’s Market Informed Demand Automation Server database whenever a rate is approved or modified.

    c) Implement a single statewide standard method for providing automation service providers with access to their customers’ rate information.

    d) Develop a list of cost-effective automated price response programs for each sector and integrate information about time-dependent rates and automation technologies into existing customer education and outreach programs.

    The intent of the proposed amendments is to form the foundation for a statewide system of granular time and location dependent signals that can be used by automation-enabled loads to provide real-time load flexibility on the electric grid. The CEC can then develop flexible demand appliance standards that make use of the proposed demand automation system. With communications and automated control technologies, customers can shift electric use to take advantage of cleaner and less expensive energy. This allows customers to optimize energy use and service quality while minimizing economic and environmental impact. Advanced meters, communications, and automation technologies make this possible today…

    MIDAS Database

    MIDAS is a database developed and hosted by the CEC that consists of current and future time-dependent rates, greenhouse gas emissions, and California Flex Alert signals. The publication of the MIDAS database will allow manufacturers to standardize the design of devices that enable customers and third-party demand response providers to automate load flexibility to:

    • Generate bill savings as customers shift demand to lower price periods.

    • Reduce GHG emissions through better alignment with renewable supplies.

    • Improve efficiency and reliability of grid operations.

    MIDAS is publicly accessible at https://midasapi.energy.ca.gov in a standard machine-readable format through an API that supports both extensible markup language (XML) and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) responses to queries. The rates in MIDAS are uploaded by electric LSEs. The MIDAS format and support allows device manufacturers and California customers to access customer rate information in automating price responsive load shifting through a standard Rate Identification Numbers (RIN). RIN are unique to each rate and include standardized codes for country and state; distribution and energy company (co.); rate; and location (Figure 6). With the use of RINs, customers, utilities, ASPs, and others can match individual automation devices to the relevant electricity price, GHG, or grid signals ensuring appropriate load management for the customer at that site. The MIDAS database is being designed to be scalable to the national or international level via the country and state IDs included in the RIN…

    Currently, the limited release of MIDAS contains existing time-dependent electricity prices from PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, LADWP, and SMUD, and passes through GHG signals from SGIP and load Flex Alerts from California ISO. As of the date of this report, this is the current design of the MIDAS system. However, there may be changes that are not reflected in this report. Future iterations of MIDAS will facilitate the publication of all time-dependent and dynamic utility electricity rates and other time-dependent grid signals in a machine-readable format.

    MIDAS is a foundational component of the load flexibility envisioned in the proposed load management standards and a critical component facilitating research conducted under EPIC’s Flexible Load Research Hub. The database will also expand the scope, capabilities, and benefits of the Flexible Demand Appliance Standards and Building Energy Efficiency Standards…

    Reasons

    Therefore, the CEC proposes to update the LMS regulations to require the five largest electric utilities in California -- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Pacific Gas and Electric, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison -- and the community choice aggregators (CCAs) located within their service territories to:

    • Develop retail electricity rates that change at least hourly to reflect locational marginal costs and submit those rates to the utility’s governing body for approval.

    • Update the time-dependent rates in the CEC’s Market Informed Demand Automation Server (MIDAS) database whenever a rate is approved or modified.

    • Implement a single statewide standard method for providing automation service providers with access to their customers’ rate information.

    ‘• Develop a list of cost-effective automated price response programs for each sector and integrate information about time-dependent rates and automation technologies into existing customer education and outreach programs.

    The proposed regulations will form the foundation for a statewide system of time and location dependent signals that can be used by automation-enabled devices to provide real-time load flexibility on the electric grid…

    BENEFITS

    The specific benefits of the proposed LMS regulations include cost savings to the consumer, cost savings to utilities, improvements to electricity grid reliability, and lower greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation and use. Updated LMS regulations are expected to improve load flexibility by allowing consumers to voluntarily automate flexible loads. The combination of dynamic marginal rates optimized behind the meter energy storage, and better access to utility load management programs will improve the supply-demand balance. This will reduce both the cost of electricity and greenhouse gas emissions from electricity by shifting use to times when supplies are low- or zero carbon and readily available…

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