Powering Strong Communities

Glendale, Calif., utility wins approval for efficiency, DR programs

The Glendale City Council in California has unanimously approved multiple energy efficiency and demand response programs for Glendale Water & Power, the city’s public power utility.

The new clean energy programs are part of Glendale Water & Power’s efforts to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Last summer, the city council approved the utility’s plan to repower the aging Grayson Power Plant.

The Oct. 13 approvals included residential and commercial demand response programs, energy efficiency measures for commercial customers, and approval to begin negotiations for the development of a residential virtual power plant program.

The new demand response program would allow Glendale Water & Power to declare demand response events on peak days to reduce peak electrical load. Residential customers may participate in the program by using an existing smart thermostat and receiving a $50 incentive to join the program or by purchasing a new smart thermostat with a $100 discount through the program.

On peak days, Glendale Water & Power will adjust the temperature of the thermostats of participating customers to help reduce electrical demand. Residential customers will receive a $50 annual incentive for participating in the demand response program.

Commercial customers with demand of 50 kilowatts (kW) or greater are also eligible to participate and will receive a complimentary program site assessment to help identify load reduction strategies.

Commercial customers may join the program at two different levels: a 4-hour reduction ($10/kW-month or $50/kW-year) or a 2-hour reduction ($5/kW-month or $25/kW-year). Glendale Water & Power says the program will reduce peak energy demand by up to 10 megawatts (MW) on up to 15 peak days per year. Franklin Energy Services will provide services for the program.

The city council also approved an energy efficiency program for commercial customers that will provide eligible businesses with the direct installation of energy efficient lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades. Glendale Water & Power expects the upgrades to reduce annual electric usage in the city by up to 35,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) and reduce demand by up to 8.3 MW. Lime Energy Services will be contracted to provide the services for the program.

The city council also directed Glendale Water & Power to complete negotiations with Sunrun for a proposed virtual power plant program that would provide solar generation and battery storage from 3,000 to 4,000 single-family residences and 30 to 40 multi-family properties.

The proposed program would deliver solar energy and an average of 25.25 MW of solar-powered battery storage each year to Glendale over 25 years and would provide backup power to participating customers in the event of a grid outage.

Once contract negotiations are complete, the contracts for the virtual power plant program will be presented to the city council for consideration. The utility says it would be the largest virtual power plant program of its kind.

After the contracts are finalized, Glendale Water & Power expects the new clean energy programs to get started early in 2021. When fully implemented, the utility expects the programs to deliver an average peak capacity of 38.4 MW.

“Our new clean energy programs show that Glendale is at the forefront of a clean energy commitment and will help transition GWP to have 100% renewable energy sources by 2045,” Steve Zurn, general manager of Glendale Water & Power, said in a statement.

The utility’s plan for the Grayson plant includes a 75 MW, 300 MWh battery storage system, as much as 50 MW of distributed energy resources that include solar photovoltaic systems, energy efficiency and demand response programs, and 93 MW of thermal generation from up to five internal combustion engines.