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Distributed Energy Resources

Northeast utility taps firm to manage demand response, DER programs

National Grid, an electricity and natural gas company serving customers across New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, has chosen AutoGrid to unify management of its demand response and distributed energy resource programs in National Grid's service area in North America.

The programs are expected to enroll more than 400 megawatts of demand response and distributed energy resources over a three-year timeframe.

National Grid plans to implement five programs in the first year of operation across its entire service territory. These include three programs in New York, one in Massachusetts and one in Rhode Island, according to a May 10 news release posted on AutoGrid's website.

Eligible commercial and industrial customers will be able to enroll in the program through vendors such as EnerNOC, CPower, NRG, IP Keys and Direct Energy.

National Grid will use "AutoGrid Flex" to unify management of these programs across all customers through a single dashboard, using it for event dispatch, measurement and verification and reporting for all customers, the news release said.

In addition, the aggregators participating in the program will be able to manage their participation through an AutoGrid multi-tenant customer engagement application.

In subsequent years, National Grid may expand the use of AutoGrid Flex for other non-wires alternative initiatives. These include new programs that optimize customer-sited energy storage systems, solar power systems, electric vehicle chargers, industrial control equipment and other DERs.

AutoGrid involved in Pacific Northwest public power project

Energy Northwest and its Washington State public utility partners -- the city of Richland, Cowlitz County Public Utility District and Pend Oreille County PUD -- together with the Bonneville Power Administration, last year successfully concluded an aggregated demand response demonstration project.

In an April 20, 2016 news release, Energy Northwest and BPA noted that during the trial project, participants successfully reduced energy usage in nearly 80 separate events.
BPA and Energy Northwest placed a pilot-scale 18-megawatt demand response resource in service in February 2015. Pend Oreille County PUD and its customer Ponderay Newsprint Company joined in April 2016, which brought the resource to its fully-subscribed 35-MW capacity.

During each test event, BPA, using AutoGrid's Demand Response Optimization and Management System platform, sent a signal to Energy Northwest's Demand Response Aggregated Control System (DRACS), which forwarded the signal to participants, such as Cowlitz County PUD, which serves North Pacific Paper Corporation, a large pulp and paper manufacturing facility in Longview, Wash.

After receiving the signal, each participant reduced electric power usage. To be considered a successful event, the load change had to be completed within 10 minutes and sustained for a given period of time. Energy Northwest's aggregated control system collected detailed metering information from each asset and reported total capacity response, or electricity use reduction, to BPA.

At the end of an event, DRACS sent a terminating signal for the asset to resume normal operations. DRACS is hosted within Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center, a Department of Energy-funded incubator facility built and operated for such roles.

The Peak Load Management Alliance, a national community of experts and practitioners who advance demand response, recognized the demonstration project as one of the nation's best demand response programs, initiatives and achievements from 2015.