MCE selects AutoGrid for rollout of DR pilot

US electric cooperative Marin Clean Energy (MCE) partnered with energy internet firm Autogrid Systems to test how technology can be used to ensure grid reliability.

Under the pilot, Autogrid Systems will use its smart grid technology suite ‘AutoGrid Flex’ to help the power company achieve grid reliability through improved management of its demand response (DR) programme and distributed energy resources.

MCE will manage its DR initiative ‘My Energy Insight’ using AutoGrid Systems’ application ‘Demand Response Optimisation and Management System’ (DROMS).

Using DROMS, MCE will help its customers cut energy costs by reducing their power usage during peak periods when prices are high.

The utility firm will use the DR technology to remotely order consumers’ smart thermostats and pool pumps to use less energy during peak periods.

Participation in My Energy Insight is voluntary. Consumers choosing to engage in the pilot will receive a free smart thermostat.

[quote] In a press statement, MCE said it plans to expand the pilot by testing how AutoGrid Systems Flex suite can be used to communicate with water heaters, electric vehicle charging and energy storage systems to avoid peak demands.

Furthermore, the utility cooperative serving 250,000 consumers in California, will trial how it can generate extra revenue by selling capacity sourced from residential distributed energy generation sources into the California Independent System Operator’s grid network. [ENECO selects AutoGrid for distributed energy resource optimisation].

Dr. Amit Narayan, CEO of AutoGrid, commented: “MCE’s deployment of this DR programme using AutoGrid Flex provides further evidence that the energy industry is embracing the Energy Internet as a way to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy to their customers.

“Flexibility management is Energy Internet’s killer app, allowing utilities and energy service providers to lower costs, integrate renewables and drive deeper engagement with their customers.”

Clean energy adoption and grid reliability

The news follows mid-May’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed between US Independent Power Producer (IPP) EDF Renewable Energy and MCE in a bid to increase utility’s clean energy portfolio to ensure grid reliability and reduce carbon emissions.

Under the 25 year PPA, the IPP will provide the utility with power generated from its recently launched 1.11MWp solar energy plant located Novato, California.

EDF Renewable Energy partnered with MCE to construct the plant sited on a 4 acre carport in partnership with the Buck Institute and California-based electrical engineering and construction company Curpertino Electric.

Apart from providing solar powered energy, the solar canopy will provide protection to some 252 employees and visitors vehicles at Institute.


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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.