Monthly Newsletter - August 1, 2017
Summer Heatwave Tests Grid Operators
ERCOT Hits 3 Peak Demand Records in One Day in July
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set three new records for July peak demand three consecutive hours, ultimately peaking at 68,799 MW between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on July 20. Temperatures in major Texas cities approached triple digits, slightly above the seasonal average last week. Despite the three hourly peak load records, grid officials say they are prepared this summer. ERCOT anticipates summer demand to peak near 73,000 MW, while total generation will be close to 82,000 MW.
A summer heatwave has sent load higher in several regions, but in the Lone Star State last week, the impact was most impressive.
The previous July peak was set two years ago, at 67.7 GW. Last week, in three consecutive hourly blocks, ERCOT peak load rose from 67.8 GW to 68.5 GW to almost 68.8 GW.
But while ERCOT officials do not expect trouble in meeting demand this season, the region does face shrinking summer reserve margins. The grid operator's Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy said summer reserves would fall from 18.9% in 2018 to 9.6% in 2027, likely due to load growth as the state's economy continues to grow.
Last year, the grid's peak demand surpassed 70,000 MW nine times - and peaked at 71,110 MW. ERCOT is adding more resources. More than 10,000 MW of planned resources are included for 2018, adding more than 5 GW of capacity to meet anticipated summer peaks.
In PJM Interconnection, peak load hit a high of 146,533 MW, but fell below last year's summer high of 152,178 MW. The New York grid operator reached a high of 29,699 MW, the highest since last August. And in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator's region, peak load hit 120,233 MW, just a few hundred megawatts below last year's high of 120,764 MW.
Extreme weather is now the norm. Grid congestion and brief price spikes pose a clear financial risk for businesses unable to react in time. Below, check out the pricing spikes in ERCOT (red) and CAISO (blue) in the spring of 2017, even before the summer heat swept through the US. No other commodity has these price swings.
Just a few years ago, Demand Response was for peak demand and 4-8 hour curtailments. With ever-increasing
renewables in the mix, these days there is usually sufficient capacity most of the time - THG's automated Demand Response captures value in 15-30 minute periods that could occur at random times.
THG offers a leading technology in automated demand response that can lower the financial barrier and provide scale to entire building fleets, no matter the ISO/utility. Most people don't understand that peak demand - 30 minutes of the highest monthly usage - accounts for as much as 25% of a monthly commercial electricity bill. Automating a quick response (temporary thermostat adjustment, variable speed drives, motors, refrigeration) for 15-30 minutes can save 10-20% of electricity charges.
For a free facility or portfolio-wide assessment, contact THG. We'll work with your team to establish conservative, pre-set strategies invisible to most people while still providing quick payback and significant long-term value. Just tell us where your facilities are located and we'll get started! firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributed Energy Can Lower Costs Up to 50%
Traditional Grids Will Have to Change
Dramatic changes are coming to the old power grid. As infrastructure ages and policy dictates a move away from fossil fuels, utilities and governments are looking at Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) as potential alternatives to continually building out a centralized grid.
DERs include all kinds of hardware that the utility may not necessarily own directly-solar panels, natural gas-fired microturbines, stationary batteries, and alternative cooling. Demand-response schemes, where a grid operator shifts electricity consumer use (usually through incentives) away from high-demand times, are also considered DERs.
Planning for DERs makes grid management trickier than it was when a company simply built a huge new plant and connected a power line to it. Without a lot of data, it's hard to know what kinds of energy resources will have the most impact economically and environmentally and what will be most cost-effective for utilities. But a trio of researchers from Stanford University is attempting to make this planning easier for utilities and policy makers to solve. The researchers published a paper in Nature Energy this week describing a program they built to model DER deployment in a way that will result in the lowest cost to grid operators.
The researchers applied its model to a 10,000-customer sample in California, using real hourly data gleaned from smart meters. The model found that constructing DER infrastructure in a targeted way reduced the Levelized Cost of Electricity (that is, the present value of the resource over its lifetime costs) by nearly 50 percent. This was, the paper states, due to a dramatic reduction in operating costs incurred by the utility.
By offering detailed data on intermittency, customer demand, and operating costs, utilities can take a targeted approach to incentivizing DER infrastructure, which will help them meet renewables goals and reduce costs associated with indiscriminate buildout. "[O]ur results suggest that in order for DER infrastructure to become a reality we must design smart and targeted policies, programs, and incentives that facilitate the balancing of consumer type enrollment in DER plans and programs with the existing grid," the researchers concluded. "Under such smart policies, the optimal mix of consumers could be selected to become part of emerging utility models of organized 'prosumer' community groups to preserve the cost effectiveness of model-derived DER infrastructure plans."
THG is pushing forward to meet the future of smart buildings and IoT devices. We're integrating with battery storage and Internet-ready thermostats, allowing customers to tap into lucrative market programs and drastically increasing equipment payback periods.
The Inconvenient Truth re: City Climate Goals
'There's No Data. We're Not Looking at Results.'
Greentech Media's Energy Gang released a great podcast a couple of weeks ago and we wanted to share it with our audience.
With America now a climate pariah on the global stage, cities around the country are stepping up their commitments to action. But are they just cheerleading, rather than actually leading?
Guest Sam Brooks tells the hard truth about why cities are not living up to their bold pronouncements -- not yet, anyway.
Brooks is the former director of the District of Columbia's sustainability division. He recently penned a piece for GTM on why cities are not leading on climate in the way they claim. The Energy Gang talks to him about the data behind his argument and his experience working in city government: "There's no data."
THG Provides Solution + Revenue Model
THG works with city governments directly, as well as third-parties who currently manage community business efficiency and sustainability programs. We understand budget-strapped cities don't typically have funds to support multi-facility energy and water data management dashboards for their business constituents.
THG can structure a turn-key, business-facing program that requires no up-front costs, no additional human resources, or back-office support. The best part? Each utility account we manage generates monthly proceeds back to the city or third-party program to support ongoing sustainability efforts. THG provides portal training, customer/tech support, back-office admin/accounting, product demos, and quarterly settlement. We simply plug into your current community efforts and hit the ground running. In fact, we can set up a private-label version of our portal that can be embedded into an existing web page to make it easy for community members to find.
For example, THG currently supports a local non-profit that offers a business scorecard program but their members needed help dealing with cumbersome utility data management. Now, the non-profit can stick to programming and outreach and leave energy, water and waste recycling data management to the pros!
to see how the non-profit used THG's private-label solution to embed value-added energy management services into their own website and program marketing materials (THG services start on page 9).
Contact THG's Director of Sustainability, Chad Burden, for more information: email@example.com or 918.8584943
Denver Imposes $2K Fine for Failing to Report
Commercial Buildings Must File Energy Benchmarking Reports by 9/2
The requirement is part of a city ordinance adopted late last year that requires commercial and multi-family buildings with more than a 25,000-square-foot footprint to track and publicly report their annual energy performance. This is just one aspect of Denver's 2020 Sustainability Goals, which focuses on 12 resource areas: air quality, climate change, energy, food, health, housing, land use, materials, mobility, water quantity and quality, and workforce.
"There are approximately 2,400 buildings over 50,000 square feet that need to comply this first year," said Katrina Managan, senior advisor of energy efficiency for the Department of Environmental Health, in an interview on deverite.com. "Investing an estimated $340 million in improving building energy efficiency could result in 4,000 local jobs and $1.3 billion in energy savings over 10 years."
The city is planning to publish building energy performance data annually.
Colorado has committed to meeting or exceeding greenhouse gas reduction targets set in the international Paris climate treaty that President Donald Trump rejects. It was reported today that Colorado has signed on to the U.S Climate Alliance, a collection of states and companies countering the Trump administration by shifting more quickly to wind and solar energy.
ENERGY STAR Included in Appropriations Bill
BOMA International Lobbies Congress to Support ENERGY STAR
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations passed a bill out of committee that included funding for the Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR® program. Though questions remain about the future of the program, this is good news for the commercial real estate industry, which relies on ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager to benchmark building energy, waste and water.
This spring, the White House proposed cutting the program entirely, which prompted BOMA International and other industry groups to move quickly to advocate for its protection. BOMA's advocacy staff met with senior staffers on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and sent a call to action alert asking BOMA members to weigh in with their support of ENERGY STAR. The inclusion of the program in the committee's bill is a sign that these efforts are having an impact.
This is the first step in a long appropriations process, and BOMA International staff will continue to lobby Congress to support ENERGY STAR. In the meantime, it's not too late to write your members of Congress and tell them to support ENERGY STAR. To do so, please visit the BOMA Grassroots Action Center.
EPA ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager is a free tool that allows you to measure and manage your buildings' energy, waste and water consumption. Over 500,000 buildings currently use Portfolio Manager to benchmark themselves against the rest of the industry and it is the widely accepted gold standard for helping building owners and managers control costs through proper energy management. President Trump's FY2018 Budget has proposed to eliminate this essential program. This is short sighted, as many programs require the use of Portfolio Manager and there is no private market substitute.
Please write your Member of Congress today as they prepare to discuss the proposed 2018 budget and let them know how important ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is to you, your business and your buildings.
No matter how the ENERGY STAR politics pan out, THG offers a robust, automated data management and benchmarking platform we call the Energy Intelligence Suite. It's superior to ENERGY STAR in many respects, allowing customers to track any commodity type without keying data. Customers can also add real-time submetering, smart meter data, and demand response programs. While we hope our Congress can settle this the right way with the Trump Administration, please don't allow our politicians to impact your management processes. THG is not from the government, we're here to help!
THG for Multi-facility Energy Management
Leading Energy Management Programs Require Scalable Technology
The industry is still in the very early stages of aggregating and leveraging big data and creating useful information.
For most users, sources of data from multi-commodity bills, meters, devices, are completely dis-aggregated.
Add to this all the emerging technology IoT, smart meters, solar panels, batteries, smart inverters, real-time pricing and grid condition - All very data-rich and data-driven.
The generic term for all of this destructive innovation is Energy Transition. This transition will drive and define the entire energy economy for the next 30 years.
Very similar to how building system and equipment vendors have evolved, none of the equipment vendors or utilities seem to address aggregating and managing for the multi-facility client. Many multi-facility clients are just now starting to act on the reality that utilities are controllable costs with real options and choices
It's a very nascent market, with almost unlimited growth potential.
THG offers a turnkey energy management platform providing better visibility in energy management and sustainability.
Since 2003, THG has been working with energy companies, Commercial and Industrial customers, local governments, non-profits, intermediaries, and efficiency vendors to integrate and compliment service offerings using utility bill and energy analytics. THG launched its proprietary Energy Intelligence Suite (EIS) in 2011. Today, THG also provides utility bill data support and other value-added energy management services, like: IDR integration, real-time sub-metering, ENERGY STAR scoring, and turn-key automated demand response solutions.
THG won Product of the Year in 2016 by Energy Manager Today for its Energy Intelligence Suite (energy billing and management system) and Fierce Energy's Product of the Year Award in 2014 for its automated demand response solution. THG is an ENERGY STAR Products and Service Provider.
THG's Energy Intelligence Suite
No Matter Your Energy Management Goals, You Have Options