Grid Modernization

Nest thermostats to offer flexible demand capacity in CAISO

Startup company Leap has formed a partnership with Google Nest that allows the digital thermostats to provide flexible demand capacity to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

Under the partnership agreement, Leap has integrated with Google Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards program, allowing customers across the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California to enroll their Nest thermostats into its turnkey platform. So far, Leap says it enrolled more than 2,500 Nest thermostats.

Participants who enroll their Nest devices receive a Nest Hub as an incentive for enrolling and participating in the program. Nest Hub gives the ability to turn Google Assistant-connected devices off through voice or pre-set routines.

Leap says it is leveraging Nest smart thermostat loads to reduce real-time electricity demand in California by accessing the heating and cooling systems of the participating households.

The loads represent a portion of the demand response capacity awarded to Leap in the California Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) in June 2018.

The California Public Utilities Commission created the DRAM pilot program in 2014 to allow aggregators of distributed energy resources to participate in demand response and contribute to California’s electric resource planning needs.

In the June award, Leap won contracts to supply 90 MW of demand response capacity through the DRAM program, specifically 45 MW to Southern California Edison and 45 MW to Pacific Gas & Electric for delivery in 2019. The program allows California’s investor-owned utilities to call on aggregators to add flexible demand response capacity to the grid.

Google Nest, along with other Leap partners, participate in the DRAM program via the Leap Exchange, an open platform that the company created that allows fully automated trading of energy resources.

Leap says the exchange removes technical barriers to entry to trading distributed energy products and attributes by providing a single application programming interface (API), the software that enables wholesale market participation. Leap says its exchange also provides a simple means of responding to price signals and verifying reduction of load.