Heatwaves Drive Unprecedented Use of Demand Response

Heatwaves across the US last week created an unprecedented need for demand response capacity, as grid operators tried to avoid black outs in major markets.

Demand response is a relatively new tool that’s part of the emerging smart grid.

Demand response providers work as middlemen, connecting large energy consumers with utilities. Those consumers agree to allow utilities to reduce the power they pull from the system when demand could exceed supply. Although their power might be reduced slightly and just for minutes, it’s enough to stabilize the grid and prevents the need for new power plants.

Demand response leader EnerNOC, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENOC) says its DemandSMART network was dispatched at record levels on July 22, 2011 as a severe heat wave swept North America.

High temperatures and increased electricity use across the continent led to record peaks in demand for electricity and unusually high energy prices.

"When temperatures rise, it puts significant strain on the electricity grid, and utilities and grid operators are increasingly looking to demand response to maintain secure, cost-effective service during these peaks. Our technology allows us to respond to the real-time needs of the grid, rapidly and with precision," says Tim Healy, chairman and CEO of EnerNOC.

"Demand response is a clean, reliable, cost-effective resource for utilities and grid operators, and it also encourages our commercial, institutional, and industrial customers to practice more efficient energy use throughout the year through energy efficiency, supply management, and carbon management initiatives."

EnerNOC’s network responded to a series of dispatches from grid operators including the mid-Atlantic’s PJM Interconnection, New York Independent System Operator, the Ontario Power Authority, and ISO-New England.

EnerNOC was also dispatched by utility partners from across the United States, ultimately providing approximately 1,230 megawatts (MW) of demand response resources in all. These demand response dispatches helped mitigate the risk of blackouts and brownouts and reduce the cost of energy for all electricity users in the affected regions, EnerNOC says.

PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest grid operator, announced that it set a new record for peak power use last week at 158,450 MW.

In ISO-New England, real-time pricing in some areas eclipsed $560 per megawatt-hour, approximately ten times the average 2011 hourly real-time price.

EnerNOC also reached new milestones by deploying more than a third of the sites within its demand response network and dispatching a record number of megawatts to help mitigate these conditions. In total, EnerNOC contributed resources to 12 U.S. states, including all of New England, New York, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Idaho, as well as the province of Ontario, Canada.

"Participating in demand response is straightforward, secure, and unlike a blackout, it’s invisible to our guests," says Phoebe Ky, Director of Real Estate at Loews Hotels, which contributes demand response resources in New York City and PJM Interconnection. "We are happy to do our part to support the grid, and working with EnerNOC helps us to encourage smart energy use, both in our facilities and on the grid at large." 

As of March 31, 2011, EnerNOC had over 6,300 MW under management across more than 10,000 sites.

Website: http://www.enernoc.com/     
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